Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jewish Skeptics and Sex


[George Collins on Sexual Addiction - Part 1 Part 2]

There are a certain number of Orthodox Jews who choose to leave Orthodoxy. I would estimate that about 3% of those raised as ultra-Orthodox and 10% of those raised as modern Orthodox leave Orthodoxy as teenagers or adults. In addition to that, there are hundreds of people who continue to pose as Orthodox Jews although they no longer believe in the basic principles of Orthodox Judaism (see Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels by Hella Winston page 51).

What is motivating these people?

If asked, the standard answer seems to be something along the lines of “I feel that Judaism is ridiculous and science has proven it to be false.” When questioned more closely about what exactly proves to them that Judaism is false, they have difficulty explaining and usually don’t want to discuss it. When they are questioned about the absurdity of atheism and are asked about how they explain the existence of the universe, the existence of life and the authorship of the Torah, they are unable to answer. Nevertheless, the Jewish skeptics are not at all bothered by these philosophical problems. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that these people are motivated by scientific or philosophical questions. They don’t seem to be doing any real searching. They may go online and enjoy ridiculing Jewish leaders from Moses to present day rabbis however that is generally about as far as their "intellectual" activity goes.

So what is actually going on?

One clue I think is the gender of the people involved. Based on my experience on the Internet, about 90% of Jewish skeptics are male. Winston in her book (page 57) seems to have noticed this as well. There seems to be something about the secular world that attracts Jewish men far more than women. The desire for sex is strongly influenced by testosterone, a hormone found in much higher levels among males than among females. 72% of visitors to Internet pornography sites are male and sexual addiction is most commonly a male problem.

In addition to that, it would appear that sexual prohibitions are generally among the first ones breached by Jewish skeptics and among the most frequently breached. In Judaism, basically any sexual stimulation outside marriage is prohibited. Even though there are good reasons for this, apparently many Orthodox Jews find these restrictions to be very burdensome and they are anxious to abandon them. One subject in Winston’s book (page 123) considered wearing a t-shirt stating, “I eat everything and I fuck everything.”

The eagerness to dispense with the Jewish sexual prohibitions is the one common factor which I have noticed in all apostates I have been personally well acquainted with (and there have been several, including my first wife) as well as with all of those profiled in Hella Winston's book (with the exception of Malkie Schwartz, who is the only person mentioned by their real name).

I think therefore it is reasonable to suggest that the current wave of Orthodox Jews leaving Judaism is primarily motivated by a desire for greater sexual freedom – pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, casual sex, etc. I think this can be called an addiction in the sense that it is a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life. The idea that “I feel that Judaism is ridiculous and science has proven it to be false.” is then adopted in order to escape from feelings of guilt.

In other words, I think that the Orthodox community is currently under siege from sexual addiction. That’s what the “Frum skeptic”, “kids at risk” and “Orthodox drop outs” are really coming from.

I want to point out that probably 90% of the time, addiction is based on pain. People suffer because of divorce, abuse, their parents' divorce, the death of a loved one, etc and they choose to medicate themselves with something harmful. The next stage is to rationalize and decide that they aren't doing anything wrong. The earlier in life pain is suffered, the greater affect it generally has. It is therefore imperative that we try to shield our children from unnecessary pain. That means: if at all possible, don't hit kids, scream at kids, hit your spouse, scream at your spouse or leave your spouse.

In any case, first of all, we must save ourselves. Torah study is of course protective. I have yet to meet an atheist who previously studied Torah full time until age 25 or later. We must develop self control. And we must be vigilant regarding our loved ones. No one should have a computer without filtering software and we should be monitoring each other. We should also be prepared to intervene and to expel from our schools and our homes people who have this addiction until they have demonstrated full recovery.

65 comments:

atheistsanon said...

Cool.

I guess mechanics and engineers should be included too, since these fields are dominated by men. LOL.

Just a hunch, but does somebody have a little ... issue? It is not uncommon as you get older.

jewish philosopher said...

I think what makes me most suspicious of the Jewish skeptic movement is the apparent indifference to any really serious thinking.

People will ask “Don’t the fossils contradict Genesis chapter 1?” I answer that. People ask “Doesn’t the silence of the archeological record contradict the first half of Exodus?” I answer that too. I also refute evolution. But none of the skeptics seem to really care. Why not? Because scientists disagree?

How would you explain the apparently extreme gender bias in the atheistic community? Is atheism so complicated female brains have trouble grasping it? I’m not sure.

The Raz said...

Need clarification please b/c the paragraph/sentence is worded very awkwardly:
“The eagerness to dispense with the Jewish sexual prohibitions is the one common factor which I have noticed in all apostates I have been personally well acquainted with (and there have been several, including my first wife…….”)
Does this mean that you feel one of her main motivating factors to leave Judaism and the marriage was her desire for sexual promiscuity? If I am wrong I apologize but the way you wrote the sentence is poorly composed and is a bit confusing to the reader. Anyway, please clarify or possibly consider re-writing.

jewish philosopher said...

I meant exactly what I wrote:

The eagerness to dispense with the Jewish sexual prohibitions was one factor which I noticed in my first wife.

duh said...

Atheism is prevalent amongst men because, let's be honest, women make decisions more on an emotional level as opposed to a rational one. (This is on average and not a description of every woman.) Atheism, as opposed to religion, is a rational decision solely arrived at through intellectual rumination. Religion is emotion personified, from the invisible father-figure to the pleasing thoughts of an afterlife.

jewish philosopher said...

Religion, as opposed to atheism, is a rational decision solely arrived at through intellectual rumination. Atheism is emotion personified, based on hormonal influences.

AtheistsAnon said...

JP

You may enjoy the 12 step plan for getting your self off of your deity addition:

1) You must admit that you have a problem. You can make no decision in life without consulting your imaginary friend.

2) Submit your higher power to the will of yourself.

3) Allow your mind to associate your name with your problem. "I am JP, and I am a dei-holic".

4) Allow yourself to be free. "It has been 6 months since I last rationalized genocide and slavery."

5) Demand not to be controlled.
At this point you might have a funny feeling in your head and not know what to do. This is called an "independent thought". You will start worrying that you may not be allowed to think such a thought, but do not worry. Independent thought is not harmful (in and of itself).

6) Commit to de-deification. I know better than my preacher/rabbi/imam what is best for me. I are more about my well being than they do.

7) Smash an idol. It worked in the old days. Only this time smash ALL of them, not just everyone else's.

Go ahead JP, there are only 5 left. You may start to feel a sense of something we call "happiness". Do not worry. It is normal, not something to be afraid of. You may see others being happy living therirlives, and you may not be inclined to bash their skulls in. This is harmless, it is called "tolerance". Many people live to a ripe old age with this condition, so again, not to worry.

You may start to "Jones" or go through withdrawal. If you feel yourself needing to sway to the feeling of the presence of god / Jesus / Thor / Zeus, just meditate on how dependency is death. You can beat this thing JP. I know you can.

DrJ said...

The previous two comments, as well as the post itself, are entirely conjecture.

There are whole populations of both men and women who are either atheists (if they live in Russia or Finland) or believers in God (if they live in Afghanistan).

The psychological process or motives for belief or non-belief among "religious" western countries like the US is a phenomenon worth studying, best left to psychologists or sociologists who can study it in a systematic and scientific way.

While sexual abstinence/restraint/restrictions is a common feature of most modern organized faiths, and a person may choose to adhere or not adhere to these restrictions (for whatever reasons), it is difficult to imagine how with such choices a person could "force" himself to believe or not believe. Either something makes sense to you or not, in the context of your knowledge, personality and environment. Cognitive dissonance might challenge this belief, but a person can't "make" himself believe what he honestly doesn't believe or vice versa.

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, this post is specifically about the motivation of apostates from Orthodox Judaism today. Why other people believe what they do is a different issue. I think that regarding religion, people almost always accept whatever ideas they are most comfortable with. This is why Orthodox Judaism has always been accepted by only a very small number of people. It's simply the truth, and few people wish to sacrifice for that.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheistsanon, go ahead, have another drink. You're good.

Anonymous said...

I am an agnostic who was grew up in a traditional OJ home and studied torah close to full time until approximately the age of 25 and then became agnostic for purely intellectual reasons, after I began to carefully and honestly question the validity of my own beliefs and standard OJ beliefs.

Just to address one of the points you made. Sexuality is a strong natural drive and sexual messages are omnipresent in modern society. It stands to reason that sexuality will be a prominent issue and/or will be strongly felt in many, if not most, formerly frum people who leave the religion, be their reason for leaving whatever it may be. It's almost impossible for things to be otherwise. That doesn't mean that sexuality is what CAUSES those jews to lose their beliefs. It certainly doesn't prove that most people leave for sexual reasons (although I would agree that sexuality is likely a strong factor for very many). For me it honestly wasn't the reason I lost my beliefs. The defining factor was my decision to be completely honest with myself and devote myself to searching for the truth wherever that search would lead me.

jewish philosopher said...

Frankly, I would not expect too many people to be candid and say "Yeah, that's it, I left for the sex." However how else can we explain the apparently large gender imbalance in the Jewish skeptic movement? How many men do we hear complain "I just wish my wife was an atheist too." but we never seem to hear the opposite "I just wish my husband was an atheist too."

Izgad said...

"I have yet to meet an atheist who previously studied Torah full time until age 25 or later."
Jewish Philosopher. Did you study Christian theology full time until you were 25 before you rejected it?

As to the issue of sexuality causing people to leave Orthodoxy; I would agree with anonymous. Cause and affect are complicated. For example lots of people die in hospitals. That does not mean that hospitals cause people to die.
So to in regards to sexuality; the desire for sex can serve to put certain issues in perspective for a person. It is fine being Orthodox as long as you do not have to make a real sacrifice for it. As long as there is no price being paid the threshold for proof is very low. As the cost for being Orthodox rises so does the threshold for proof. The moment being Orthodox means turning down a beautiful girl (or boy) then you have to be able to justify that sacrifice. It is basic economics.

jewish philosopher said...

The point of this post is not merely idle curiosity, but rather we can only expect to deal effectively with the Jewish skeptic problem if we understand what causes it. Torah ignorance certainly seems to be a factor. I'm a little stunned that in all the blogging I've been doing I've never met a guy who even claims "I've been in kollel in Lakewood for the last 15 years and now I'm an atheist."

What I see happening typically seems be a several stage process:

Stage 1: Suffering. The Jew's parents smack him, scream at him, divorce or he himself divorces.

Stage 2: Medication. The Jew turns to pornography, prostitution, etc for solace.

Stage 3: Rationalization. The Jew decides that since most people and even most professors and scientists consider Judaism to be bogus, they must be right.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the gender difference is the result of "Nashim Da'atan Kalot"?

jewish philosopher said...

I think "Nashim Da'atan Kalot" just means that women are more cooperative than men.

Shaya Getzel said...

I don't know where to begin here, but JP loves to use anecdotal evidence so I'll join right in with some of my own.
1. Where do these statistics come from? 3% 10% 90% ...
2. Hella Winston's Unchosen, only scrached the suface of the "problem".
3. I don't know whom he asked, but I could very clearly explain to you the reason I left Orthodox Judaism, and the absudity of Religion.
4. I was and remain married when I went "off the Derech", so sex had no bearing on my decision.
5. I think one of the main reasons the numbers are so skewed towards males, is the way the orthodox education system is set up, girls are not taught to ask questions, nor are they expected to have a deep understanding of the concepts behind their beliefs. That is also the reason there wasn't the same "dropout" rate a couple hundred years ago, all the boys where at work by age fifteen or younger, and the girls never went to school to begin with.
6. As for this pain nonsense, my parents aren't divorced, I wasn;t abused, and I haven't lossed a loved one. If I may say so myself, I am a happy, well adjusted, well (self) educated member of society.
7. I went to various Chassidishe Yeshivos and Kollels all through my early 20's.
8. As for JP; you sound like a naive ignoramus, so all I can say is GEY LEREN MIT A GER BARTENEEREH.

jewish philosopher said...

"1. Where do these statistics come from? 3% 10% 90% ..."
Can you read?

"3. I don't know whom he asked, but I could very clearly explain to you the reason I left Orthodox Judaism, and the absudity of Religion."
Please do.

"4. I was and remain married when I went "off the Derech", so sex had no bearing on my decision."
Married men can also be sex addicts.

"5. I think one of the main reasons the numbers are so skewed towards males, is the way the orthodox education system is set up, girls are not taught to ask questions, nor are they expected to have a deep understanding of the concepts behind their beliefs. That is also the reason there wasn't the same "dropout" rate a couple hundred years ago, all the boys where at work by age fifteen or younger, and the girls never went to school to begin with."
So learning in yeshiva causes people to drop out of being Orthodox, yet we see that people who learn the longest don't dropout.

"6. As for this pain nonsense, my parents aren't divorced, I wasn;t abused, and I haven't lossed a loved one. If I may say so myself, I am a happy, well adjusted, well (self) educated member of society.
7. I went to various Chassidishe Yeshivos and Kollels all through my early 20's."
Care to verify any of this?

"8. As for JP; you sound like a naive ignoramus, so all I can say is GEY LEREN MIT A GER BARTENEEREH."
As for you, all I can say is go f--- yourself.

jewish philosopher said...

I beg your pardon, Shaya Getzel, however based on your blog you sound like a total loser who couldn't make a living as a civilian, so therefore you decided to dump Judaism and join the army. To make it sound a little better, you read about two books by atheists and you repeat them verbatim. Good luck.

Shaya Getzel said...

Whew! I guess the truth hurts, but let's take these things one at a time. First of all, these statistics-who invented them? Are they just a figment of your imagination? Are they researched? Can they be backed up?
Next up my beliefs (or lack thereof), I have one simple question: Can you prove to me that there is a God? Don't quote the Torah, or the Ramba'm, or your personal feelings, Give me 100% rock-solid proof of a God. A good rule of thumb would be, anything that can be applied to the tooth fairy, is not rock-solid proof. (I've had this conversation many times before, including with "professionals", and I've never lost)
As for the sexual addiction hypothesis, it's just laughable, and is based on opinion and anecdotal evidence, so it's not even worth addressing.
Learning in Yeshiva doesn't necessarily cause people to drop out, but it does lead certain people to ask questions beyond what the Magid Shiur can answer
As for me verifying my background, I've kept my identity secret in order not to cause harm to my family, but if you'd like to test me, I challenge you to Farher me on any topic you think a good Yeshiva boy should be familiar with.
As for me being "a total loser", all I can say is - when I left orthodoxy I gave up a very successful career, and a very comfortable life not far from where you live, (yes, hoity toity Wesley Hills). I was doing quit well for myself after leaving too, but I joined the Army purely out of a sense of patriotism, and a love for this country, and I took a huge pay cut upon joining.
Finally as for your accusations of where I get my material from, Please could you point me to the books that I supposedly quote verbatim, I'd love to see them. Plus if I where stealing other peoples material I would hope I'd sound more professional. But all that aside, wether or not what I say are my own words, you haven't negated the points made.
The bottom line is, Frumkeit runs away from competition, they're afraid of the heat. How else do you explain the frantic fear of the internet? ("self control" "filtering software" "vigilance") If you have all the answers what are you afraid of?

Speaking of plagiarism, only one post back about bananas was clearly stolen from hear: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4472004596147265716

jewish philosopher said...

On my blog I wrote "I would estimate". Do you understand that GS? If you have a different estimate, let's hear it.

Sure I can prove God exists. Who created the universe? Who created the laws of nature? Who created life? Who wrote the Torah? Check out my post.

SG, did it ever occur to you that more than one person might have noticed independently the perfection of the banana? Did you know that many people eat bananas?

Did you know that Net Nanny is not only being bought by Frum people?

"As for me being "a total loser", all I can say is - when I left orthodoxy I gave up a very successful career"

All I can say is, I think you're full of bs.

Shaya Getzel said...

Maybe the tooth fairy created the universe, the laws of nature, or life. Maybe she wrote the Torah too, prove she didn't.
Net Nanny and other program's like that are made for religious fanatics, orthodox Jews or otherwise.

jewish philosopher said...

So you're admitting that God exists and He wrote the Torah but you think His name might be "tooth fairy"? Why do you feel that way?

Every business in the world and probably most families that have Internet access use filter software. My company doesn't have too many fanatics and filters porn, gambling, alcohol, dating and some other stuff.

Izgad said...

There is a very important difference between God and the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy does not help you deal with the issues raised by the ontological, teleological and cosmological arguments. This is not to say that these arguments make it necessary for one to believe in God. Just that God is a solution to these issues in ways that the tooth fairy or the flying spaghetti monster for that matter is not.

Shaya Getzel said...

Or maybe it was Santa Claus, or the Easter bunny, I don't know I wasn't there, were you?

jewish philosopher said...

I don't understand why God's name makes a difference.

Shaya Getzel said...

My point is, there's no more proof for God than there is for Santa, the tooth fairy, or the flying spaghetti monster.

jewish philosopher said...

Sure there is. There is no community of millions of people who believe that Santa spoke to their ancestors from a fiery mountain on the North Pole and who possess a book of amazing wisdom written by him. However God did speak to the Jews at Mount Sinai and gave them His Torah.

I think you're just repeating things you have seen atheists write about Christianity.

Shaya Getzel said...

Millions of people believe in Jesus, millions of people believed in Zeus, why don't you believe in them?

jewish philosopher said...

Same as Santa. See my last comment.

Jewish Philosopher Fan said...

Interesting article. One should also note that 93.74% of converts to Judaism are male. We need to carefully analyze the reason for this in order to encourage it further. The obvious answer is that these people join Judaism for sexual reasons as well. The niddah prohibitions spice up one's sex life thru the period of separation, and unlike Christianity Judaism has a very positive view on sex. It allows one to have one's wife cooked, baked, boiled, broiled, turned upside-down and downside-up, or however else he wants her (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, Chapter 240). Also Judaism allows concubines, which is convenient when your wife is a niddah, as well as for general fooling around. True, Ashkenazim don't allow it, but if you're a convert you get to pick what are. So you just pick Sefardi. Although some converts choose to define themselves as Litvaks, Glicianers, or Hungarians, which still needs some understanding.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, that's an interesting point. The majority of converts to Judaism seem to be female.

Shaya Getzel said...

Or maybe it was the Big Bang, you haven't convinced me otherwise.

jewish philosopher said...

The Big Bang created people? Can you explain?

Shaya Getzel said...

Educate yourself, read a single book on science and/or evolution.

jewish philosopher said...

Educate yourself, read a single book on Judaism.

Frumlibertarian said...

Jewish Philosopher,
I'm a little confused about something you said. Could you please clarify it?

you said;
"we should be monitoring each other. We should also be prepared to intervene and to expel from our schools and our homes people who have this addiction until they have demonstrated full recovery".

While sexual depravity is a chillul hashem. These people are still Jewish, and need Help! not ostracizing!

And doesn't monitoring people breed Loshon Hara. And I believe it is Asur to deprive a Jew of Torah learning, and expelling kids from jewish schools (because they have a problem) does just that!

jewish philosopher said...

Enabling an addict doesn't solve any problem.

Frumlibertarian said...

I'm not saying we should enable an addict. I just feel they should get help! And I don't feel that depriving them of a jewish education, because they have a problem, is the answer.

jewish philosopher said...

Intervention may be the most effective type of help.

Frumlibertarian said...

"We should also be prepared to intervene and to expel from our schools and our homes people who have this addiction"

Intervention is one thing.

expulsion and ostricizing someone from school and home is somthing else!

jewish philosopher said...

Intervention usually means that all of the addicts loved ones come together with and tell him that he must get help or they will all cut him off completely.

This isn't done with children. We're talking about at least older teens.

Frumlibertarian said...

I don't think you've ever actually been to an intervention! (I have!)

An Intervention is where loved ones confront a person with their addiction, explain to them how their actions hurt the ones they love and help them come to terms with the idea that they need help.

An intervention that results in the person getting expelled from their school and being shunned by their family is a failed intervention.

jewish philosopher said...

Of course, a successful intervention means that the addict gets help.

Frumlibertarian said...

yes!

I'm not trying to be overly critical, I just wanted to state my dissagreement with the statement you made about; "We should also be prepared to intervene and to expel from our schools and our homes".

Giveing the person the altimatum of "Get better or leave!" is Never an option in proper Interventions.

If someone trully wants a person to get better, the last thing they want is for the person, who needs help, to be on their own (or feel that they're on their own).

jewish philosopher said...

Tough love consequences are usually part of an intervention.

Miss S. said...

I do not think I have the mind to debate this post (or the comments) at this time. But my mind ventured onto two subjects while reading this. 1) the high "sex appeal" that Israeli men tend to have on women (also most Israelis may not be "frum" but many do in fact believe in G-d and observe more mitzvot than you would think) and 2) unmarried women using the mikveh

Not saying anything one way or the other though...

onionsoupmix said...

This post is full of baseless assumptions. First of all, you oddly seem to think that those who go off the derech always become atheists. Not true. Second of all, there are plenty of women and men who are off the derech and not violating any sexual issurim. This is difficult to understand only if you have previously dealt only with adolescents who are off the derech or if you see off-the-derech people as some homogenious group that you have never really looked at in-depth.

Have you read Off the Derech, by Margolese? She does a much better analysis and doesn't resort to stereotypes and speculation.

jewish philosopher said...

Yes, I have you read Off the Derech, by Margolese. Nevertheless, it is my impression that approximately 95% of those people who have left Orthodox Judaism since 1960 have done so in the hope of finding better sex elsewhere.

onionsoupmix said...

Your impression v. her scientific study. Which one wins?

jewish philosopher said...

I feel her methods were a little misguided. Asking drop outs "why did you drop out" is a little like asking Alzheimer's patients what type of illness they have if any.

Anonymous said...

Serious comment, seeking your thoughts.

Why do you believe that people who are not religious, are atheists (maybe you don't but it seems implied in your posts), promiscuous, etc.

Not everyone who is not a practicing jew is promiscuous, and not every practicing jew is trustworthy.

jewish philosopher said...

All I'm really saying is "I think therefore it is reasonable to suggest that the current wave of Orthodox Jews leaving Judaism is primarily motivated by a desire for greater sexual freedom – pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, casual sex, etc."

Anonymous said...

JP (what a great nickname!), like you said in a different post, emesdik, true, judaism DOES provide a means to seek balance in every aspect of a person's life.

Unfortunately, your flip and insulting remarks do not show you to be a follower of TORAH TRUE judaism. Rather a sad, mean spirited sheep who used to be able to think for himself who now sees himself as an authority on morality - are you so confident in your own tzidkus, so sure that you DON'T live in a glass house, that you can afford to be throwing stones?

jewish philosopher said...

I think I'm actually pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

You THINK you are a nice person - but are you SURE?

How about a good person? Do you think you are a good person, or are you sure?

jewish philosopher said...

Compared to you, probably.

Anonymous said...

That depends on what you based your comparison on!

Anonymous said...

"The eagerness to dispense with the Jewish sexual prohibitions is the one common factor which I have noticed in all apostates I have been personally well acquainted with (and there have been several, including my first wife).."

What did she find unsatisfying about sex in an orthodox marriage?

jewish philosopher said...

I think "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was an issue.

Anonymous said...

אני רק הוסיף את העדכון שלך למועדפים שלי. אני באמת נהנה לקרוא את ההודעות שלך.

Anonymous said...

The guys I know best who left OJ did not leave because of a desire for sex. I guess all men desire sex, but correlation is not causation.

One guy was my step father. He was married three times, and thought that Judaism (and all religion) were likely not based in fact. He was a very ethical guy, who felt himself a Jew totally. Married three times to Jewish women. A complete mensch.

Another is a guy who is the first born of an orthodox rabbi. Smart as the day is long and very ethical and hard working. Very, very non neurotic and a super accomplished student.

He checked it all out and also thinks it is probably not based in fact. He also thinks that G-d does not exist. He is not sure, but he says he would be very surprised to find out G-d was true.

He is becoming a NYC school principal. Still close with and considerate towards his family. Did promise his parents he would marry a Jew for their sake.

I think orthodox men do (like all men) have a desire for sex that is strong. I believe based on my own investigation that orthodox men are a very substantial customer base for prostitutes here in NYC.

I think where you are wrong is that orthodox men leave orthodoxy for sex. In total honesty, I believe they find a way to deal with this impulse through prostitutes. I actually know for a fact that there is a significant intersection between prostitutes and orthodox men in NYC.

Just as an aside, I know from my own research that almost all of these prostitutes do not permit intercourse. It is other kinds of sexual activity that goes on.

T

jewish philosopher said...

I think that the number of people who admit they left for sex, or better sex, is zero. I think that the number who actually have that motive is about 95%. This is referring to apostates from orthodox Judaism to atheism post-1960.

Anonymous said...

Maybe women are less likely to be atheists. But women (in my experience) are much more likely to believe in astrology, the power of crystals, healing energy and other somewhat superficial ideas. (I am not saying G-d is a superficial idea! G-d forbid.)

I believe women are somewhat more relationship oriented than men – somewhat more giving. They have other attributes that distinguish them from men in subtle ways.

I once asked a hasid b’al t’chuvah what made him become religious. He answered that it was for intellectual reasons – and that for most men it is for intellectual reasons. He contrasted it with why women become religious, but I can’t remember what he said on that score.

But I have detected some male “types” that gravitate to orthodoxy quickly, fairly easily, and without feeling very conflicted.

I used to break it up into guys who smoke a lot of pot and are natural spiritual seekers, guys who are afraid they will never have a solid relationship with women, guys who had a severe trauma in their personal life – then I added: guys who have very strong needs that are not met in the unstructured secular world – the list kept getting longer.

On the other side, I watched a video with a famous professor at Stanford who was brought up ultra orthodox and at age fourteen left. He was from a early childhood consumed with dinosaurs and gorillas and the like, and was intensely drawn to science, and also how the brain works.

Anyway, he became a world class academic and atheist. He also said in his review (this was a video of how religion works on the brain level) that his greatest regret was not being able to develop a relationship to his own religion. The biggest regret of his life.

He didn’t leave for sex. Life is not that binary. I think one mistake I hear kiruv rabbis make is to present life in binary terms, and then present a neat solution to that false premise. I think kiruv fails to bring people in many times because the audience instinctively knows the binary premise is not really realistic.

I also think your doing the same gives your writing the punch it has! Your blog is like the Fox News of religious blogs. Keeps me thinking!

T

jewish philosopher said...

How many Holocaust deniers admit it's because they hate Jews? Of course that has nothing to do with it. It's all about the facts, the evidence, etc. What else could it possibly be.