Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Making of an Atheist


[Karl Marx, Jewish atheist]

How does an Orthodox Jew become an atheist?

Actually, the Talmudic sages, in the Sifra (beChukosai 2:3, paraphrased by Rashi in Leviticus 26:16) answered that question 2,000 years ago. They list seven levels of spiritual descent, beginning with neglecting Torah study and inevitably ending in atheism.

This the first step toward atheism – a lack of intensive Torah study. If you want to remain a believing Jew then learn Torah. If you want your children to be believing Jews, teach them Torah, the more the better, the longer the better. There is no other solution. I have yet to meet an atheist who had previously studied Talmud for five years or more full time after the age of 20.

For women, I believe the process works somewhat differently. Women need to have close, loving relationships with Orthodox people. If, for some reason, they don’t, then they may leave. The neglected daughter, the older single woman, the convert to Judaism who tends to be a loner are all at high risk.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

The Jewish man whose mind is not on Torah starts thinking about other things. The woman who has no close circle of family and friends looks for happiness elsewhere. Pornography is a common substitute – whether it may be porn movies for males or romance novels for females. After that, casual sexual relationships are usually sought and found.

The Jew is now sliding into the grip of addiction. He or she is developing bad habits that are very difficult to break. To cope with this unpleasant reality, defense mechanisms are employed.

One of the most common defense mechanisms is denial. The lapsing Jew will deny that he is doing anything wrong and misbehave only in secret. He may deny to himself that he really has any problem. The more he sins, the more those sins seem acceptable to him.

As time goes by, and the Jew has greater and greater contact with non-observant people, directly or through the Internet, movies, etc. he feels more comfortable with their way of life and their opinions. A non-Jewish lifestyle and belief system seems “normal” while Judaism seems strange. Addicts often will immerse themselves in a new subculture of similar people.

The final step is rationalization. This is a decision to justify ones misbehavior by explaining that there is nothing wrong with it. Usually a few philosophies are “purchased off the shelf”, from atheistic websites and books. One thing I wish to make perfectly clear: These philosophies are ALWAYS AFTER THE FACT EXCUSES. The preponderance of evidence is clearly in favor of Orthodox Judaism and that is obvious to any fair-minded person, just as much as the evidence is in favor of sobriety to any fair-minded person. There is not an iota of evidence that atheism is a good thing any more than there is that alcoholism is a good thing. All of the questions like “What about fossils? ” and “What about suffering? ” can be answered easily in a few minutes. The new atheist, however, is totally biased against religion. Any evidence in favor of Judaism is brushed off as insignificant while any shred of evidence against Judaism is given tremendous weight.

Now the Jew has reached the point of no return. Once he has totally rationalized his misbehavior and denied the Torah and/or God, there is most probably no turning back. The atheist no longer wants to turn back and this is what Proverbs 2:19 means “None that go unto her return, neither do they attain unto the paths of life”. The most we can hope for is that the heretic will leave the Jewish community as quickly as possible, before he has too much negative effect on others. The ability to shed the weakest and most disloyal members of the community, while extremely painful, may be one of the secrets of Jewish survival and excellence. Similarly, we are highly selective in accepting converts. Judaism, like the Marines, is looking for a few good men and women.

Maimonides (Laws of Idolatry 2:9) writes that someone who denies the existence of God or the divine origin of the Torah and therefore casually transgresses Torah law is not considered to be a Jew and even if he does eventually repent he may not rejoin the Jewish community.

[Please do not bother to comment and suggest that your story disproves this post because you are an idealistic atheist, unless you will also give me some way to check out who you really are and verify your story. Thank you.]

10 comments:

Joebaum said...

What was the story with your ex wife? if i may ask, you naver spoke about her.

jewish philosopher said...

In my profile, if you click on the link for more information about me, I have a little more there about it.

Benquo said...

"This the first step toward atheism – a lack of intensive Torah study. If you want to remain a believing Jew then learn Torah. If you want your children to be believing Jews, teach them Torah, the more the better, the longer the better. There is no other solution. I have yet to meet an atheist who had previously studied Talmud for five years or more full time after the age of 20."

I'd be a bit more circumspect in drawing a causal link here; it's quite possible that only people already committed to the extent that they're unlikely to become atheists are willing to put that time in studying.

LakewoodShmuck said...

once again,
excellent post!

jewish philosopher said...

"it's quite possible that only people already committed to the extent that they're unlikely to become atheists are willing to put that time in studying"

To me it seems a bit like a vaccination. Do vaccines help prevent disease or do perhaps only people who are more health concious bother to get vaccinated?

Joebaum said...

I meant, why did she leave Judaism.

jewish philosopher said...

Basically she met another man at work who was not Frum and wanted to marry him. In the end, she didn't. He rejected her.

Joebaum said...

well that was easy to her.

Ninibear said...

The very idea that atheism stems from pornography or from not having friends is ridiculous. Shame on you for judging others and their beliefs. I am an atheist myself, as well as a mother, devoted wife, great employee, and member of my community. I have never been an outcast from friends or family, nor do I enjoy pornography, drinking, or other deviant behavior. That I seem to be the single anomaly to your equation doesn't quite fit either. I was raised by a Jewish mother and Father and simply rejected the belief in a God from about age 7. I have always been a moral person regardless. Where did I get these morals you may wonder? There is a striking similarity in the stories founf in Aesop's fables that I loved as a child to those found in the bible, which I refused as a child. More thorough research may be required on your end before you continue spouting off about issues into which you clearly have no understanding.

jewish philosopher said...

Were you previously an Orthodox Jew? That's what this post is talking about.

Also, did you notice that I wrote

"Please do not bother to comment and suggest that your story disproves this post because you are an idealistic atheist, unless you will also give me some way to check out who you really are and verify your story."