I love signing on to Facebook on Shabbos to see which of my “frum” friends are online. :)
I had a basketball game tonight and as I finished changing into my basketball shoes I realized a had put them on in a mystical manner: put on right, put on left, tie left, tie right. Old habit I guess.
We lost the game. Someone on the other team must have used an amulet or some more pristine form of ancient magic. FML.
Do you remember the first time you realized you were alive? Your first memory? Your first recognition of you. Perhaps your mother rocked you in her arms as she sang your favorite lullaby. Or maybe you sat on the kitchen floor and played with blocks or dolls or airplanes. However fuzzy the moment may be, you can think of it if you try. But can you recall the first idea that you learned? Unlike your first memory, your first idea came from someone else – most likely a parent or teacher. While your environment did not predetermine the exact experiences that created your first memories, your first ideas depended on your environment almost entirely. And your developing brain accepted almost any idea presented to it.
As your life progressed, you experienced a continuous flow of moments that fermented into many more memories, although many have since spoiled. However, most of the ideas taught to you are still fresh. You acquired them before you gained the ability to discern the rationale behind them. Those ideas solidified as you continued to develop in your environment. You held onto them and likely still carry most of the same ideas you first learned. Nevertheless, there are many ideas you recognize to be false. They tend to be the ideas that conflict with the ones given to you in your youth and they tend to be held by people who received them in the same manner in which you received your ideas.
This begs the question: how do you know your culture, truths, values – your ideas –are indeed rational? If you recognize that other people’s ideas that you hold to be irrational come solely from their environment, how can you be sure that the only reason you believe in your ideas isn’t because you received them in the same manner; as a child without the ability to evaluate the rationality of any given idea?
Like all ideas, someone did indeed create your ideas at some point in history. Instead of accepting the truth of an idea taught to you in your infancy, would it not be better to look into how the ideas you believe in originally developed. In what context did they come about? How were they transmitted? How did they evolve? Then look at the competing ideas and study them in the same manner. Develop an objective view of your ideas and decide if they are still rational after evaluating them in their proper context.
When one looks at the social system of a country like North Korea and sees that people are born into classes of soldiers privileged with the right to torture political dissidents (deemed as such based on the actions of grandparents), one clearly sees that people born into a system cannot recognize the appalling evil they commit in the name of irrational ideas. But it’s a lot easier for people to see this when it results in atrocities such as this. However, one must realize that the soldiers committing these acts do not view them as atrocities because they were given a different idea of what an “atrocity” is when they were young. It should be quite terrifying to you that the ideas you hold may be atrocities, or at least harmful, to someone else. That alone should cause you to examine them.
Not too personal. I “came out” to my wife about a year ago, which was about 9 months after I stopped believing in religious Judaism. We were always modern Orthodox and to the left of most of our friends. But we still belived in God and kept kosher and shabbos holidays and such.
When I first told my wife I was doubting the truths of Judaism, she was pretty taken back and we got into a pretty big fight. Words like “divorce” came out of her mouth a few times. I then backed off a bit and told her that my issues were more with rabbinic Judaism and not with God, which was not really true. But I didn’t know what else to say.
After a few months of relative calm, I could not keep my true feeling in. On Tisha Ba’av I told my wife that my issues went beyond rabbinic Judaism and that I didn’t believe in God. Once again, the ordeal escalated and and got pretty heated. We made the best decision of our lives to see a therapist.
Since then we’ve come along way. She totally accepts who I am and her views on Judaism have changed a lot as well through more open discussion. She’s not an atheist, but seems a lot of room for interpretation and flexibility and understands my positions. I don’t try and change her mind and she does not try and change mine.
My mom and her parents don’t know I’m an atheist, but they know I’m less religious. My dad knows (my parents are divorced) but he’s actually an atheist as well so he is very happy. I have a few friends who know, but mostly those who are not religious.
One day in the future I’ll have a more public announcement and really letting people know. I am proud of it and I know there are other people like me who went/are going through the same stuff and it can be very hard and scary, especially if you have a spouse.
I will say that telling my wife has been the best thing for me. Keeping it secret for so long was very hard and I was always in deep thought and felt I was not true to myself. The second best thing was deciding to see a therapist. That probably saved our marriage.
I’ll still make kiddush at home b/c my wife likes it, i don’t wash for hamotzie and I don’t really do anything else. I do enjoy shabbos dinners with family, but I don’t keep shabbos in the house, but I’m not breaking it publicly. We still live in a pretty frum area (but looking at houses in a much more chilled area).
Thanks for the question!
It’s been hard to find time to write the past few weeks. Have lots of work and family stuff going on. I’m gonna open it up for some asks to help get my tumblr juices flowing (as opposed to other juices).
This is a very interesting clip from Yaron Yadan (the man behind Da’at Emet) talking about how both frum and non frum people have issues with criticizing religion as they feel it somehow takes away their identity. I can say from experience that this is very true and it’s something I have discussed with my wife as she is still a “believer” and this issue comes up when we talk about matters of faith (she knows I’m an Atheist, I “came out” to her almost a year ago, but that’s another post).
Watch the video:
then watch the other videos in the series:
I’ve been out of town since Thursday. Time to catch up…