Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Head in the Sand

Some of my brethren, fellow Chasidishe bloggers, have practically made a sport of something most would consider very unsporting -- burying their heads in the sand. They like to trumpet their faith loudly and stridently, seeing themselves as vociferous defenders of all things Orthodox in general and Chasidish in particular. All the while refusing to engage in rational debate anyone not prone to see things in the exact way they do. That is a failing common to fundamentalists of all stripes, and not something we can ever hope to eradicate. Some people are beyond the reach of reason.

I do not take particular pleasure in knocking others' most cherished beliefs, and I generally do not go around seeking out blogs proclaiming faith in the God of our fathers just so I could attempt to dissuade them of notions I consider hopelessly erroneous and dangerously flawed. Sometimes, however, when one of those self-proclaimed Chasidim puts up an invective filled, inane screed against those "rotten heretics" of the chasidishe persuasion, I am tempted to reply in kind. That is a failing of mine I hope to rectify some day.

That is what happened here ( For some odd reason, that blog owner chose to delete my comment. I'm sure he would love an opportunity to debate his point of view, but doesn't want to upset the sensibilities of other delicate souls reading his blog and give them indigestion -- or worse. Therefore, I've decided to repost my original comment here, in order to give anyone who wants to comment on this issue an opportunity to do so. I'm kind, like that. Here is my deleted reply: (Please make sure to read the original post first, or the following will make no sense. Italics is text quoted from Nuch's original; regular text is my reply.)

"What have I been thinking..."

Always dangerous...

"Their goal is to plant those into every one visits their blog for a good read, the innocent come there just to read something light enjoy and have fun, when in fact they are fed poison, and are caught in a web of 'kefira' and Apikorses."

Are you fond of conspiracy theories in general, or is it only this particular stupidity that caught your fancy? The goal of most blogs, such as it is, is simply to express the opinions, musings, frustrations, and views of the blog owner. There is no cunning scheme to force-feed anyone the "poisonous" truth, as you seem to think. Is your goal with the blog to brainwash others with the lie of Orthodoxy?

"Never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own." -John M. Barrie

"These rotten bloggers who are missing the proper education to know what Torah or mitzvahs are "

While that is no doubt true for some, I'd bet many of "those" are better educated in what Torah and mitzvahs are than you are yourself (not to mention less rotten).

"Emunah is something that our parents and grand parents gave their life for"

Some of them did, indeed. However, arguing the truth based on someone else's conviction and sacrifice for that supposed truth is a logical fallacy. (For example, many others gave their life for Christianity -- and Islam. That says nothing as to whether those faiths are true.)

"If one doesn't believe in the thirteen principles of Jewish faith the ANI MAMIN he is officially considered a מין and is not a part of 'klal yisroel'"

A pity, then, that the Rambam himself didn't believe in the simplistic formulation you have in mind. For example, he didn't believe in a gehenom in the afterlife -- and neither did he believe in your conception of gan eden. Or didn't you read his perush on Sanhedrin on which the thirteen principles are based? Talk about not getting a proper education!

"Now, they claim to be intellectual apikorsim, but the truth is that it's not intellectuality that brings them to stop believing, but solely temptation"

An old canard, based on nothing more than wishful thinking. Did you even attempt to determine the truth in that claim? Or do you simply accept it because it is mighty convenient, so your puerile world view can remain unthreatened by the inconvenient reality that others have honestly investigated the bedrock on which your childish faith is based and found it lacking?

"They claim to have come to the conclusion of "apikorses", but the truth is that they are non believers because they don't know enough, or anything at all or about the subject to believe it"

Or, perhaps, they know more about the subject than apparently you can wrap your mind around.

"It's like I don't believe in the nuclear technology, it doesn't exist, and so I have a ton of questions on the whole 'sugya' of aerodynamics, it must be a lie, it cant be"

Projecting, much? Do you think that because you are woefully undereducated others must be the same? Did you attempt to understand the opposition? Did it even enter your mind that perhaps they have a point? Did you attempt to listen? Debate? Educate yourself?

"that brings them to come to conclusions that are not based on knowledge, but on suffering"

Another canard, based on the feverish imaginings of someone unwilling to consider his own biases.

"and you need to filter out the heretics and atheists"

Or maybe, just maybe, you actually need to figure out if you hold a tenable position? You can't keep sticking your head in the sand, you know. (Well, you can, actually, but it isn't very useful advice to give to others.)

"I will not get into any debates" said he, knowing he will lose. What makes you so sure you are right, then? The cosmic accident of your birth to observant Jewish parents? Had you been born to observant Christian parents, you'd be sure that Jesus was the messiah and son of God, and condemn all disbelievers to hell!

Time to grow up and realize that the particular circumstance of your birth has no bearing on the universal Truth.