Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Motive of Jewish Skeptics – Settled!


[What if this were America?]

Let’s do a little thought experiment.

Imagine for a moment that secular American society was extremely Puritanical. Imagine that secular Americans lived something like the way Saudi Arabians live – with the most extreme restrictions and anyone breaking the rules is imprisoned or killed. [This is not difficult to imagine. For example, the Soviet Communist Party actively encouraged chastity as well as atheism. The two may be compatible.]

On the other hand, imagine that the Orthodox Jewish community would practice the most permissive sexuality – nudism, group sex, wife swapping, pornography were all encouraged and would be legally permitted provided that one is a member in good standing of the Orthodox Jewish community. The Orthodox community would be something like Sweden in the 1960’s. [It is not difficult to imagine a religion teaching this. For example, the Satanic Bible page 37 states "Satanism encourages any form of sexual expression you may desire, so long as it hurts no one else." What if the Torah would say that?]

Everything else however would be exactly the same.

In this case would we still find so many young people deciding, “science disproves Judaism”? Would they all say, “It’s going to be hard; I’m going to miss all that hot, wild sex. But I’ll just have to give it up, become a gentile, live a life of strict chastity, because those stories in the Torah don’t make a lot of sense”? Or would all the “questions” regarding the Documentary Hypothesis and Evolution suddenly seem much less important to these people?

If it’s all about science and truth, then we should see no difference even if theoretically the sexual morality in the Orthodox world and the secular community were different or reversed. Truth is still truth; that’s all that counts.

I think the answer is fairly obvious. Jewish skepticism = sexual addiction.

30 comments:

Larry Tanner said...

I don't understand your logic. Really, I don't see how you are getting from point A to point B.

Are you saying that if America were radically puritanical, Americans would still question religion?

Are you also saying that if Orthodox Jewry were radically permissive, then Jews would forget all about evolution and understanding history from other-than-religious perspectives?

Please clarify. I do want to understand.

jewish philosopher said...

Everything else would still be the same. Americans would still be agnostic\secular\evolutionists and Jews would still believe in Torah from Sinai, creationism, Shabbos, kosher, etc. Just the sexual morality would be different than it is now.

This is not so hard to imagine. Many Communist countries have been quite Puritanical and some Jewish hippie communes were very permissive sexually.

The Raz said...

What the hell! That didn�t even make sense! In a hypothetical world where Jews are immoral, sex crazed lunatics and the atheist world was into monogamy, you propose that the skeptics should and must still attack Judaism because the attacks are based on truth, not sexual promiscuity. SO in your flipped example you state unequivocally that in this hypothetical world that does not exist, populated with skeptics, they unequivocally and unanimously (in your made up world, mind you) don�t attack Judaism anymore thus PROVING that they aspire for sexual experimentation or else why would they now promote Judaism rather then secularism.

Please oh please tell me I understood your post completely wrong.

You didn�t just make up a world and make up a conclusion to link to your previously self proven forgone conclusion, right?

Only a mild a jab, I really am hoping I am just tired this morning and misread your logic.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't follow you.

I'm saying let's say everything else would be the same, except the Torah would encourage promiscuity while secular American society would be extremely conservative sexually.

According to what Jewish skeptics claim, we would still see the same number of Orthodox Jews leaving Judaism. After all, their skepticism, questioning, atheism etc has nothing whatsoever to do with sex; it's all because of science, modern Biblical scholarship, etc. Sex, who is talking about sex? Only old perverts like me.

Well, obviously that's not true.

The Raz said...

Wouldn't your proposal mean we should find no monogamous married athiest/skeptic men? Furthermore, would finding such men finally refute your hypothesis? Or must it reach a certain percentage to be statistically significant to you and what would that number be?

jewish philosopher said...

I think the point that I am making is very clear. In a world were Orthodox Judaism meant sexual permissiveness and atheism meant sexual conservatism, we would suddenly find far fewer (if any) atheists, except possibly women who want to get married.

Can you imagine the "Hasidic Rebels" out there blogging hysterically "We must leave the primitive nude beaches and the orgies behind! We must realize the fallacy of Torah! We must accept atheism and put veils on our women like all normal, enlightened Americans!"

Yeah, right.

Larry Tanner said...

So you don't believe anybody can genuinely search for truth outside of Orthodox Judaism.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't think someone raised in an Orthodox home can sincerely reach the conclusion that the Torah is bogus.

Larry Tanner said...

Do you mean that you don't think someone raised in an Orthodox home can sincerely reach the conclusion that the Torah is bogus...unless they have a sexual addiction?

jewish philosopher said...

Or some other insincere material motive.

The story is told about a group of Russian Jews who had recently been baptized. They were discussing why they had done it. One insisted that "he really believed". His friends scoffed. He explained "No, I really believed. I really believed that without baptism, I would never be appointed a professor."

Garnel Ironheart said...

The gemara tells us this same thing: the only reason our ancestors worshipped idols was for the sexual permissiveness those religions offered.

Larry Tanner said...

I like the Russian Jews story. Do you happen to have a source for it?

jewish philosopher said...

Unfortunately, I don't remember.

Hasidic Rebel said...

Your logic is completely absurd. What you'll end up having is people questioning both the validity of the Torah AND the puritanical lifestyle of general American society.

As it is, there are many on the extreme right who think liberal Jews have caused the decline of morals in America. So your scenario is actually not so far out, and the outcome just the opposite from what you predict.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't understand this comment. Is the author sober?

The Raz said...

Come on man, Jacob please come back with something stronger then character assassination.

jewish philosopher said...

Can you assassinate the character of an anonymous person?

I really don't know what he means.

alex said...

I'm sorry for not checking all your other posts on the similar topic, but I'd like to ask a question: When you write "sexual addiction" are you coming to include something as simple as a 16-year-old yeshiva student who wants the freedom to date girls? Or do you only mean addiction to the actual /act/ of sex?
Thanks in advance.

jewish philosopher said...

An addiction is defined as 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.

alex said...

But there are indeed, sadly, yeshiva students who go off the derech, not because of an /addiction to sex,/ but because of a /desire to date/ (which, they feel, would do great things for their social life.) I'm still not sure if you're coming to include this desire in your definition of "addiction to sex."

jewish philosopher said...

I think addiction broadly includes doing something obviously harmful to oneself for the sake of a momentary pleasure.

alex said...

I guess that "obvious"ly is in the eye of the beholder.

Matt said...

What do you think of Conservative Christians and Messianic Jews? Do you find yourself in common grounds with them on many issues philosophically and theologically?

jewish philosopher said...

Conservative Christianity may not be bad for gentiles. However I cannot agree with the worship of Jesus. The claim that he (or any man) is divine is so unbelievable and the evidence supporting that claim is so slender that I cannot take it at all seriously.

onionsoupmix said...

Again, a nice chunk of your posts are about sexual addiction. This just leads me to believe that you, yourself are struggling with these issues and trying to somehow connect other's struggles with religion to your own impulse control difficulties. Many, many people, myself included have no addictions, whether sexual or otherwise, and have serious doubts about the veracity of Orthodox Judaism. Your thesis only makes sense if it is seen from the point of view of a man struggling to make sense of his own addictions and belief system. Good luck with that.

jewish philosopher said...

"This just leads me to believe that you, yourself are struggling with these issues"

And by that logic people who work for the Drug Enforcement Administration are probably all addicts themselves.

"Many, many people, myself included have no addictions, whether sexual or otherwise, and have serious doubts about the veracity of Orthodox Judaism."

Prove it.

onionsoupmix said...

Prove what? That I don't have any addictions? How do you suggest I do that?

jewish philosopher said...

That's the point. You are trying to prove something using facts which have no basis in evidence.

Pen Tivokeish said...

Look if truth means nothing to you , and sex would cause you to overlook the truth, then you are the one who needs help.

Only don't assume that the rest of humanity is that dishonest.

jewish philosopher said...

No, I'm not overlooking the truth. But a few other people are.