Thursday, March 6, 2014

Estranged from Myself

I feel estranged from my own body.

I watch my body go through the actions I have become so accustomed to doing but my heart is not there. My arm is strapped with tefillin, my head wrapped in a tallit, my lips move, forming the words but my mind stares at me, confused. My mind races with the doubts that fill me so. I have become almost separated from my religious experience. Going through the motions like a machine.

I still challenge and question. I find that many people do not bother themselves with questions of faith. Maybe at one point they did, and maybe they heard an answer of sorts, and then they climbed into their belief curled up and were content happily ever after. Is that my destiny? To be so unextraordinary? To live without passion in my belief? To follow the steps as I have been taught without presence of soul? Have I sealed my own fate?

Or should I leave it all? Should I cast my belief aside until I have reason to believe it is actually true?

But, what of my future children? Should I rob them of a life with meaning? Should I raise them in a world without objective truth?

I know that, like many of the people in my shoes, if I were to leave my faith, I would be remembered as someone who gave up the truth for a life of temptation. Such is the way of some religious thinkers. They believe it is okay to ask questions so long as you are willing to accept their answers. If not, you are a fraud. Tragic really.

Well, they should know: I have an incredible life. I have a wonderfully close knit religious family, I am respected in my community, I am knowledgeable in the vast library of Jewish thought, and up until recently, I saw it as my duty to battle philosophically for God.

And then I asked questions and more questions and found that many of the religious thinkers I have spoken to have admitted that Judaism is not objective truth.

Objective truth as I understand it is a truth that can be proven objectively. Such as 2+2=4. No one can reasonably argue with such a claim, (except philosophers who have an annoying tendency to be skeptical of any conclusion) it is not based on a person's orientation but because two items put together with another two items is four items!

The more I realize that the reason I sit here with a kippah on my head and not a cross around my neck is simply that I was born to my parents, is the more I realize I have no objective belief at all.

How long shall I live a double life?

How long does God intend to let us wallow in our misery?

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