Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Secret Orthodox Atheists and How to Catch Them


[You are so busted.]

One unfortunate problem that seems to be increasing in recent years is the presence of secret atheists within the Orthodox community. These are people who may be from very respectable Orthodox homes and communities but who secretly do not believe in, and often do not practice, Orthodox Judaism. They like to call themselves Orthoprax, Frum skeptics or Hassidic rebels.

There is a group for these people on yahoo.com. Some of them have blogs. You can read about a young Orthodox father who secretly checks his email on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. You can read about Hassidic Jews secretly eating pork on Yom Kippur. Hella Winston in Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels page 51 indicates that there are at least hundreds of the these people.

In a certain way, this is a testimony to the beauty and warmth of the Orthodox community. Some people choose to remain within it even though they don't believe in it. To the best of my knowledge in other religions, for example Christianity, this is very rare.

The question is how should the Orthodox community respond to these people who hate Judaism, however who wish to remain in the community?

Seemingly, these people may have a very negative influence on others – for example they may secretly try to corrupt immediate family members, classmates, etc. I would assume that the recent kosher chicken scandal was the work of such an individual. We can only imagine in what other ways these people may be spiritually undermining the community – whether in making their family’s kitchen not kosher, writing not kosher mezuzos and tefillin, leading the congregation in prayers which they do not believe in, spreading illegal drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

Fortunately, I believe that there is a solution to this.

I would suggest that anyone who suspects his spouse or child of being a secret atheist should install monitoring software on their home computer. This may easily settle the question. An additional option might be in some case to use hidden cameras, for example in a child’s bedroom or in the kitchen or home office. If the suspicious person is using a vehicle or carrying a bag or a briefcase, a GPS tracking system can be used to monitor their precise movements. In some cases, a cell phone may be used as a tracking device.

If that is not practical or is inconclusive, then ask that person to take a lie detector test, during which he will be asked about his belief in the divine origin of the Torah. In addition, he should be asked to take an STD test and a hair drug test. A refusal to be tested should be taken as an admission of guilt.

Once a person is found to be guilty, then all communications with him should be severed permanently and his name, address and photograph should be published on a website established for this purpose.

In summary, I am suggesting that we use the same methods to screen our spouses and children which the FBI has used for decades to screen applicants. In addition, I think that religious organizations, such as schools, kosher supervision organizations and others, should use these tools. From now on, we should have zero tolerance for secret atheists.

In any case, this is my personal suggestion. Each individual case should be subject of course to the guidance of senior rabbis.

As a postscript, I want to mention that some commentators have suggested that once a secret atheist is discovered, we should attempt to be “mekarev” him, meaning that we should use gentle persuasion to convince him of the truth of Judaism. I personally feel that gentle persuasion, such as inspirational lectures and invitations to Sabbath meals, is surely the correct strategy to use when dealing with someone who has always been an atheist. However, in regards to someone who has been Orthodox for years yet has chosen to reject Orthodoxy, I cannot believe that gentle persuasion will be effective. After all, he has already heard many lectures and celebrated many Sabbaths yet he was apparently not impressed. In addition to that, even if he at some point claims to have repented, he has no credibility since we know that he attempted to deceive us in the past. I feel that the only appropriate response is to focus on damage control – in other words do everything possible within the law to protect Orthodox Jews from his influence.

In addition to that, some people might question the ethics of invading the privacy of secret atheists. However consider the case of a man who is providing financial support to a 20 year old daughter under the impression that she is Orthodox while in fact she is smoking marijuana every Friday night or the case of a woman who is married to a man and having children with him under the impression that he is Orthodox while in fact he is surfing the Internet early every Saturday morning. Don’t those people have a right to know the truth and evaluate the relationship accordingly?

146 comments:

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Man, see, the thing is you're new to 'the fold', and 'baalei tshuvah' are usually stricter than those who were always religious. But within the community who have always been religious this has been a big problem, 'crossing partisan lines' (i.e. being applicable to both hassidic, ultra and modern orthodox), and the answer is definitely not being stricter, because it is 'blind strictness' that causes them to get turned off in the first place. Non of us are 100% and spreading knowledge is the best way to 'do kiruv'.

BrooklynWolf said...

Ah, yes, because we all know that atheists do drugs and spread STDs...

Snark aside, I don't know how you came up with this idea. This is one of the single-most horrible ideas I have ever heard. Nah, let's not work on possibly being mekarev people and allowing them to do teshuva. Instead, let's break up their family, and publicly shun them in such a way that (a) they'll never want to come back to Yiddishkeit and (b) no one will ever want to do anything with them anyway.

What next? A website that publishes the names and addresses of people who dare to speak to the people who have been outed?

The Wolf

Larry Tanner said...

This is the most immoral post I have ever seen coming from a Jew. I am horrified, disgusted and ashamed.

Please remove your post and just tear down the blog. Study Torah and Talmud, spend time with G-d and your children. Above all, consider the meaning of justice and mercy.

If you get your way, before long we will all stand before the Inquisition.

DrJ said...

This is the equivalent of niddui which was in fact practiced in the Jewish world until the 1800s. It still goes on in Bnei Brak.

What is your purpose of such a response? Is it to protect your community, or to protect the Jewish people, or to "punish" the individual (which of course doesn't make him regret his actions)?

The sort of response has been tried and it simply doesn't work any more. Just look at what happened to world Jewry during the enlightenment.

Sociologically it might have worked had Judaism been a majority culture-- like what the Muslims do in Muslim countries. But as a dwindling minority leaving in free countries, it doesn't work any better than when other religions in the West try to impose beliefs.

I see that you have particular ire reserved for former believers. This sounds more like contempt and an emotional desire for revenge rather than anything practical. Kind of like the Grand Inquisitors attitude about Christian apostates. I guess that you're willing to "forgive" Jews who weren't observant in the first place. Or should they be cut off, too?

His Lordship, Garnel Ironheart said...

Why don't you recommend tarring and feathering while at it?

If someone is a frum atheist, then that says volumes about the conflict they're in. After all, if they didn't care about their past they'd have chucked it all, like our old friend OfftheD. That they secretly check their mail instead of blatantly? That they secretly don't pray or eat pork? Imagine the torment they're going through. They are, from their perspective, living a lie but they're doing it for their families. We may not agree with their choice or viewpoint but there should be some understanding of their suffering.
And unfortunately, drug use and STD testing, if offered, should also be made compulsory for much more of the frum community. Sometimes it's the believers who cause the most damage.

Jewish Atheist said...

LOL. Bravo! You've managed to almost top yourself in ridiculousness. I hadn't thought it possible.

jewish philosopher said...

The problem is that I don’t believe that Orthodox Jews wish to have in their homes and in their synagogues people who are not Orthodox Jews but who are pretending that they are. I think that many Orthodox Jews are unaware of how common these imposters are, however I am trying to increase an awareness of this phenomenon and to urge a very aggressive, although completely legal and non-violent, response to it.

I don’t believe that anyone has a right to be dishonest and to fool his family and friends about his religion so that he can fraudulently enjoy their love, respect and affection.

What would you think of someone who falsely claimed to be a veteran and received full benefits however in reality he was a Nazi war criminal? Or that’s fine too? I guess it is, if you’re a Nazi war criminal…. Sieg Heil everybody.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, and shows little to no consideration of reality.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to rephrase: I very generally appreciate some of your goals, but you need to spend some time rethinking this.

jewish philosopher said...

I did think about this, however if anyone has better ideas, that why I have comments enabled.

BrooklynWolf said...

You really think that a modern-day witch hunt is the best way to deal with atheists in the frum community?

Seriously, just listen to yourself. Anyone can accuse someone of being an atheist and if they don't submit to a lie-detector, drug and STD test, then they're obviously guilty. No one (including, I suppose, their families) can have any contact with them and they have to be publicly branded.

This almost sounds a lot like the Salem witch trials and the Inquisition.

The Wolf

Garnel Ironheart said...

Ah, so I understand now. Okay, let's try this again:

>I don’t believe that Orthodox Jews wish to have in their homes and in their synagogues people who are not Orthodox Jews but who are pretending that they are.

Not necessarily. Certainly some would not. Others might see it as a kiruv challenge, a chance to fulfill the mitzvah of v'ahavta l're'acha kamocha. You can't attribute blanket likes and dislikes to Orthodox Jews as a whole.

> I don’t believe that anyone has a right to be dishonest and to fool his family and friends about his religion so that he can fraudulently enjoy their love, respect and affection.

No sensible person would disagee with that but your leap of logic isn't correct. Just because someone is doing something dishonest doesn't mean he's fraudulently trying to enjoy their acceptance. He may be faking because he's worried his family won't understand his feelings and be torn apart. He may be worried his kids and spouse will be social ostracized because of his choices. He may be concealing his views simply because he loves his family and doesn't want to cause them emotional hurt. It's impossible to simply ascribe malicious motives to him.

>What would you think of someone who falsely claimed to be a veteran and received full benefits however in reality he was a Nazi war criminal?

One has nothing to do with the other. In the benefits case the person is trying to defraud for illegal purposes. In the case in your post, there are all sorts of mitigating circumstances.

Understanding and brotherly love go a lot further than STD testing and tasers.

jewish philosopher said...

"You really think that a modern-day witch hunt is the best way to deal with atheists in the frum community?"

Yeah.

Garnel, I'm afraid that brotherly love does not apply to people like this.

BrooklynWolf said...

"You really think that a modern-day witch hunt is the best way to deal with atheists in the frum community?"

Yeah.


Well, for the record, let it be known that I strongly disgree with you.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

OK.

Are you a secret atheist? Just wondering.

BrooklynWolf said...

If you read my blog, you'd know the answer to that question.

Seriously, however, do I have to be an atheist to oppose a witch hunt? What if it were Christians being subject to a witch hunt and I objected? Would that make me a secret Christian?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

Why doesn't it surprise me that a secret atheist would support secret atheism?

jewish philosopher said...

Good luck, but if I can help it, you are so busted.

BrooklynWolf said...

Are you accusing me of being a secret atheist?

The Wolf

DrJ said...

>The problem is that I don’t believe that Orthodox Jews wish to have in their homes and in their synagogues people who are not Orthodox Jews but who are pretending that they are.

This is totally false.

I go to an Orthodox synagogue in Israel,and participate like anybody else in services, including leading High Holiday services. Nobody in the shul asks me or anybody else what they believe, how pious they are, how many times we've checked our tefillin. I don't think they think its their business. I certainly don't think that anybody would want me (or other skeptics I know there) to leave the shul.

By home, do you mean one's own home or somebody else's home? I don't know what planet you live on, but I don't know anybody that feels the way that you describe. (except you)

Perhaps you are only speaking of dysfunctional Cheredi people, who live in a cocoon.

One of my staff workers is a Chabadnick who also works in Bnei Brak, and she tells me some of the sicko dysfunctional behaviors in charedi society there, which I don't think anybody wants to emulate.

>I don’t believe that anyone has a right to be dishonest and to fool his family and friends about his religion so that he can fraudulently enjoy their love, respect and affection.

I wonder if you are speaking about yourself here--if your friends and family only knew about the insanity that you spew out on this blog, they might drive you out of town:)

BrooklynWolf said...

Two points:

1. One can be a theist and not believe in the Torah. But that's a side point.

2. You obviously have not read my blog. In many places I have made the point explicitly that I believe in Torah Min HaShamayim.

Do you also think that I'm a secret Christian because I would oppose a witch hunt against them?

Do you also think that I'm a secret black because I oppose racism?

Do you also think that I'm a secret bear because I oppose bear hunting for sport?

IOW, don't think that because I support or don't support something that I am a member of the offended group.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

Wolf, I don't think you believe in Torah.

DrJ, I am talking about secret atheists who apparently are being dishonest with their families. Read the title. This post has nothing to do with people who openly believe whatever they believe.

BrooklynWolf said...

Wolf, I don't think you believe in Torah.

Again, you obviously have not read my blog very well. In numerous places I make the point that I *do* believe in the Torah, in TMS, in HKBH and creation.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

And you also believe that the Deluge was a myth and that Hassidic rebels should be left undisturbed with with their pork on Yom Kippur. I wonder how you family feels about your beliefs? I wonder why you blog anonymously?

BrooklynWolf said...

And you also believe that the Deluge was a myth

I did not say that.

Hassidic rebels should be left undisturbed with with their pork on Yom Kippur.

I believe that that is a matter between the person and HKBH. The penalty for eating anything on YK is kareis... even when we had a Sanhedrin it was strictly between the person and God.

I wonder how you family feels about your beliefs?

My family knows about my blog. Again, you obviously never read it because my wife comments on my blog often. Other relatives of mine (and friends) read my blog and occasionally comment as well.

I wonder why you blog anonymously?

That's for me to decide. However, if I was really and truly a Kofer, then why would I pretend to be someone who believes in TMS on a blog as long as I was anonymous?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

"I believe that that is a matter between the person and HKBH."

What if your wife was sexually unfaithful? You'd be fine with that? You'd try to be mekarev her?

I feel being religiously unfaithful is no different.

BrooklynWolf said...

You're wrong, it's very different.

Firstly, sexual infidelity has direct halachic implications on the state of the marriage. Eating pork on Yom Kippur does not.

And you still did not address the points I made in my last comment.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

"Firstly, sexual infidelity has direct halachic implications on the state of the marriage. Eating pork on Yom Kippur does not."

I think that should up to the people in the marriage to decide. Likewise, if parents of a secret atheist want to continue associating with him.

XGH said...

JP, you should be ashamed of yourself. The Rambam clearly paskens that kofrim and atheists are to be murdered in cold blood, and all you want to do is put their name up on some lame-o website! What a disgrace.

Freethinking Upstart said...

Jacob,

You are truly a Torah True Jew. MeChayil el Chayil!

jewish philosopher said...

"kofrim and atheists are to be murdered in cold blood"

Sure, you go first.

jewish philosopher said...

"You are truly a Torah True Jew."

Well, I do my best.

Sex Depraved Heretic said...

Jacob, after reading this post I actually considered starting a blog whose purpose would be to mock and spoof your blog...but, alas, I realized that this role is already being played by your blog itself. Kol Hakavod.

Anonymous said...

Jacob Stein, why are you just sitting there blogging about it!? Like you said, this is a very serious issue in our communities!

I think that an artiuculate spokesman for such a great cause like yourself should petition the gedolim about this IMMEDIATELY!

(Philosopher my...the Rambam's rolling in his grave)

jewish philosopher said...

Well, let's sum it up like this. I hope that the Orthodox community is getting a little tired of being duped by phonies who are giggling while they munch on pork under their streimlach.

It's payback time.

Anonymous said...

by the way, the Wolf isn't anonymous. He was outed on YWN a while back. His name is Sam Berger, a lawyer in Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this got even crazier while I was gone. Accusing BrooklynWolf of being a secret atheist because he, like all of us, thinks the idea of atheist hunts are wacko? I mean, this isn't out of McCarthyism, it's out of satire of McCarthyism.

Oh, and what about drug users or adulterers who are believers, but don't want to submit to tests? Shall we kick them out as well? Why stop there? Why not have lie detectors to see who has broken Shabbos or don't go to minyan?

Besides, people sometimes have issues with emunah. That's life. Sometimes they work past those issues with time, sometimes they don't. That's not deceit, and I have a feeling that kicking them out of the community won't exactly help resolve their issues in favor of religion.

Where you get the notion of atheists trying to "dupe " everyone else while "munching on pork" is absolutely beyond me. Take a look at Garnel's post from 10/28 2:45 pm again...

Anonymous said...

You're a sick, sick man.

Larry Tanner said...

There's no such thing as being duped. Let's just live our lives, be humble, be quiet and try to be better.

That's the answer. The only one.

jewish philosopher said...

I think when enough Orthodox wives read this post, there may be a lot of sick, sick secret atheists around.

It's time to start fighting back.

jewish philosopher said...

"There's no such thing as being duped."

There sure won't be if I can say anything about it.

Michael Schulman said...

WOW! Radicalism at its best. If a person is an atheist within the orthodox community I'm not sure how you see that as a good thing. Have you thought about the possibility that they would actually like to leave but are too afraid to??? And if they want to stay and feel a part of a community and quietly have their own personal beliefs then-to each his own!
Your suggestions to find out if someone is an atheist, including your own children, are absolutely insane and may I say unintelligent for someone who declares himself as a philosopher.
I wish you well in your studies.

jewish philosopher said...

"Have you thought about the possibility that they would actually like to leave but are too afraid to???"

Of what?

"And if they want to stay and feel a part of a community and quietly have their own personal beliefs then-to each his own!"

If your wife would have a lover or your son is a crack addict, you're cool with that? To each his own? That's how we feel about atheists.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that only fools wish to compel others to think as they do. Your failure to see that means that, whatever you may have learned about Judaism, it isn't how to behave as a Jew.

You may never have wrestled with anything - unlike, say Yakov Avinu. But that is a reason for you to tread softly, rather to insist on compulsion. That is arrogance.

I perhaps ought to to make it clear that I am orthodox, technically competent with religious practice, a believer and a graduate of a Yeshiva. I just don't subsrcibe to the need to force people to do anything. My God is better than that.

jewish philosopher said...

"I just don't subsrcibe to the need to force people to do anything."

Anon, in your yeshiva, did they ever read Exodus 31:15? Or you missed that one?

Rich Perkins said...

JP, I'll skip commenting on your actual plan since i'll just be echoing everyone else's comments, i was just wondering if your wife reads your blog?

And do you bring this nuttiness up at shabbas meals with guests?

jewish philosopher said...

Rich, tell me where you live. I'm coming over with my lie detector. And please show your wife this post. As more women read this, I am just waiting to hear all the explosions.

Rich Perkins said...

I live in Israel. You coming over any time soon? I think they could use a few more fanatics in Meah She'erim to toss acid and generally torment the "sinners".

Regarding my wife, she knows where I stand and that I question orthodox judaism & God. We both agree that I am currently doing religious stuff only because we are married and that if I was single i would have left the fold long ago.

Rich Perkins said...

and you didn't answer my question of whether your wife sees this blog and whether you share all your fine ideas and thoughts with your friends.

and why the heck are your comments being moderated now??

jewish philosopher said...

Oh you're a real hero. I'm sure your wife is just thrilled. And I'm sure she doesn't know everything either.

jewish philosopher said...

I've got my photo, name, address, photo of my home and my family, etc. etc. on this blog and you're wondering if it's some kind of secret? I think we need a brain scan here, not a lie detector.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this blog is like the jewish Stephen Colbert…….only serious.

The back of the hill said...

So there are these four sons, see, one of whom is wise, one wicked, one simple, and one sheino yodeah lishol......

You would consider the secret atheist a rasha. It is far more likely that he is one of the latter two.

Or, on the other hand, either a myrtle branch or a willow branch. Not all are etrogishly inclined.

jewish philosopher said...

Listen, I get it. From the point of view of 99% of Internet users, being an atheist is no big deal. So what if you no longer believe in God? So what if you go out and have some coffee and cake on Yom Kippur or surf the web on Saturday morning? Who is it bothering? So one guy is a Republican, one guy is a Yankees fan, one guy is an atheist, so what?

Well - listen to this and listen well, according to Orthodox Judaism it is a very, very, very big deal, like the biggest deal ever. Got it?

Zev said...

Jacob Stein wrote

"kofrim and atheists are to be murdered in cold blood"

Sure, you go first.

If Jacob Stein were really a true believer, he would listen to the Rambam, not wait for someone else to go first.

/sarcasm
//Only needed to point that out because he might actually take me seriously

words are also a big deal said...

"Seemingly, these people may have a very negative influence on others – for example they may secretly try to corrupt immediate family members, classmates, etc. I would assume that the recent kosher chicken scandal was the work of such an individual. We can only imagine in what other ways these people may be spiritually undermining the community – whether in making their family’s kitchen not kosher, writing not kosher mezuzos and tefillin, leading the congregation in prayers which they do not believe in, spreading illegal drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, etc."

What this man did was wrong. Doesn't mean he did other things that were wrong, or that you have any entitlement to publicize your assumptions about him. I am, of course, assuming that you didn't get to know him personally before deciding to call him out by name in your article.

Anonymous said...

Proof that Jewish fundies are just as despicable as Christian and Islamic fundies.

G3 said...

Let us suppose that your suggestion was actually implemented. What kind of environment would it create in our communities? A father discussing the rav's drasha at the Shabbos table and questions a point will be reported by his idealistic teenage son or daughter. The next day a black car will pull up in front of the house and men in black trench coats and black hats will enter and demand that he submit to testing or be banned from the community. Maybe they'll even drive Mercedes and carry lugers. Oh, and here's a great idea! If the lie detector and drug tests don't tell us what we want to know, maybe we can torture him on the rack. That should be fun for everyone!

Soon enough, nobody will say anything to anyone for fear that their words will be construes as apikorsis and the men in black will come for them. Then we will live securely in a pure, wholey frum community.

Jack said...

This is moronic. Torquemada would be proud. Life is rarely black and white, no matter how desperately you might wish it were otherwise.

jewish philosopher said...

I see I have really struck a raw nerve. It's going to be very interesting when wives, husbands and parents start fighting back instead of being duped and conned by all the hypocrites out there. There are going to be a lot of smack downs once this article gets around. Imagine whats going to happen when some women start monitoring their husband's Internet activity.... Total smack down.

It's payback time.

About the chicken thing, I can't imagine someone who believes in God having done what he did, and I know the details. Does anyone know where he is now or what he is doing? I would be very interested.

torahtrue said...

Thank you for telling it like it is. Those of us who were married and lived in Orthodoxy only to be burned by a family member going astray, are the only ones who get it. You invest your life, and the others in whom you invest just do as they please. The Orthodox world world is due for a good purge, physically if necessary.

I think that for each community, a few public hangings would be sufficient. These might be better orchestrated as "accidents", in most places.

BTW Vote Nov.4 for the O man.

MDJ said...

kol haposel, b'mumo posel

jewish philosopher said...

Yeah, sure.

How about this as a little advice for the "Frum skeptics" out there: before you get caught, repent.

words are also a big deal said...

About the chicken thing, I can't imagine someone who believes in God having done what he did, and I know the details. Does anyone know where he is now or what he is doing? I would be very interested.

Yes, I do. He feels terrible about what he did, but he hasn't given up on himself yet.

I'm not defending what he did, and it is reasonable for someone to speculate in private about his motives. It's calling him out as an example of a generic rasha that is out of place. If he is to be continually judged, it should be ba'asher hu sham.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm sorry but I don't understand. Do you mean that a man who believes in God and the Torah, who has no doubt about it, for years labeled absolutely non-kosher chickens as kosher and sold them to Orthodox Jews because he wanted to make a bigger profit? How is that possible??

Did his family eat those not kosher chickens? Did he keep kosher himself at all?

MDJ said...

Please explain 1) how your life is negatively affected by those you want to out and 2) what halachic imperative, or even permission, there is to do what you propose.

jewish philosopher said...

If you have a chance, please read the post. It's all in there.

BrooklynWolf said...

If you have a chance, please read the post. It's all in there.

No, it's not. You sort of answered MDJ's first question, but you did not answer the second at all.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

About the chicken thing, I can't imagine someone who believes in God having done what he did, and I know the details.

I think that you need to either broaden or narrow your horizons/imagination. The Yetzer Hora works in strange and mysterious ways:

ט עָקֹב הַלֵּב מִכֹּל, וְאָנֻשׁ הוּא; מִי, יֵדָעֶנּוּ. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceeding weak--who can know it?

Consider this: Would you submit inveterate Lashon Hara speakers to your purge? I'd imagine that there are more of these in your shul than there are closet atheists. Can you imagine someone who believes in God, living a century after the Chofetz Chaim and 20-60 years after all the good work of the Imrei Emes,the Manchester Mashgiach and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and having spoken what they spoke and continue to speak?

עבירה גורת עבירה and when he first did it he was, no doubt, motivated by greed and expediency. After enough repetitions it probably became compulsive and below the realm of his "bekhira point". While I agree that the man is a consummate Rasha and a חוטא ומחטיא את הרבים I think that it is a leap to therefor presume that he is also a כופר בעיקר

jewish philosopher said...

Wolf, you mean there is some sort of prohibition against asking your spouse to take a lie detector test? What is the sotah all about? And what's the alternative? We should all enjoy more delicious non-kosher chickens?

Anon, if someone has some real information about this person, I am all ears, however merely speculating "No, he may have been a really sincere Jew, just a little greedy" is wasting everyone's time. I find that hard to believe.

BrooklynWolf said...

Wolf, you mean there is some sort of prohibition against asking your spouse to take a lie detector test? What is the sotah all about? And what's the alternative? We should all enjoy more delicious non-kosher chickens?

I don't think you can draw any valid inferences from Sotah in this case.

Firstly, Sotah was related to one specific issue -- and that issue was NOT closet atheism.

Secondly, that only worked under specific conditions -- conditions that don't exist anymore.

Thirdly, Sotah relied on an explicit miracle to work -- and there were conditions under which it did not work anyway (i.e. an adulteress would drink and still not die). So, using Sotah as a basis for your view is again flawed.

Lastly, even if a Sotah refused to drink, she still wasn't cut off from her family, her condition wasn't publicized for all the world to see, and she wasn't banned from communicating with anyone else ever again.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

A) Not everyone who is insincere is automatically a kofer

B) Further I don't even think that most of the interent-surfing, skeptic blogging people are either. They are, for the most part agnostics who are tortured with "what if" and live hellish כף הקלע bipolar lives swinging wildly between faith and disbelief, people with theodicy gripes against G-d who act out their gripes by being פורק עול or folks with severe emotional problems.

I say this because if they were 100% convinced of G-d's nonexistence they would not be seeking Jewsih community nor adressing Jewsih blog audiences anymore. They'd merely walk away into the welcoming arms of some other community or subculture in this free country. After all, that's exactly what you did when you lost total faith in the dogma in which you wre raised wasn't it?

Once you knew for ceratin that X-tianity was a crock you made your move.

Tell us, are you angrier with the crypto-kofrim for lacking your faith or for lacking your courage to move on?

jewish philosopher said...

Since it is known that this phenomena of secret atheists does exist, it is a responsibility for all Jews to do whatever is possible, in a legal and non-violent way, to make certain that these individuals are identified and are not permitted to affect other Jews. There is no question about this from the point of view of Orthodox Judaism.

BrooklynWolf said...

it is a responsibility for all Jews to do whatever is possible, in a legal and non-violent way, to make certain that these individuals are identified and are not permitted to affect other Jews.

Source?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

We are not allowed to stand by idly while someone is being killed. See Leviticus 19:16 "neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour"

If that means physically, then all the more so spiritually.

BrooklynWolf said...

Does it? So, do you also propose a website to publicize people who speak Loshan Hara? They also harm people spiritually (as well as emotionally and financially).

Or how about people who talk during davening? I hate it when people talk during davening as it disturbs my davening. I hate it when people talk during laining because it disturbs me and I can't do my job properly. Have a websie and lie detector/STD test set up for them?

How about people who jaywalk? They also put people in danger physically.

Lastly, even if I grant, for the sake of argument, that the pasuk *does* mean you should do something, what source gives *you* permission to break up families over it? What source gives *you* the power to declare that we should be forbidden to even speak to a family member (or anyone else).

The Wolf

David said...

Jacob, you are one very, very sick and demented puppy.

The similarities between your way of thinking and the type of thinking that animates folks like Torquemada, Robespierre and Ayman al-Zawahiri are more than a little alarming.

I guess even "frum skeptics" can thank God that nobody is ever going to take you seriously!

Lurker said...

JP: We are not allowed to stand by idly while someone is being killed. See Leviticus 19:16 "neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour"
If that means physically, then all the more so spiritually.


What an interesting proof text for you to bring. Following your logic, then, the prohibition against "stand[ing] by idly while someone is being killed" means that you should get up and help kill him.

Anonymous said...

I think we should tar and feather atheists within us. Bring back corporal punishment...There are ways to make them conform!

Anonymous said...

"We are not allowed to stand by idly while someone is being killed. See Leviticus 19:16 "neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour"

If that means physically, then all the more so spiritually."

Perhaps, just the opposite. That is, if someone's LIFE is in danger, we cannot sit idly by, but this does not suggest that one need intervene for a spiritual crises.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, let’s put it like this.

Let’s say there would be somewhere an Orthodox yeshiva with 100 students. Let’s say that the administration became aware that several students were using cocaine and in addition were encouraging other students to do likewise – by offering them free samples, telling them how great they feel, etc. They want to, discreetly of course, share their “great discovery” with all their friends, plus maybe make some money dealing.

How should the administration respond?

Perhaps they should say, “It’s everyone’s personal business what chemicals he wishes to use.” Or “Cocaine is not that big a deal, after all everyone sins. Some people speak during the services, some gossip; no one is perfect. We cannot demand perfection.” Or “We have no right to break up friendships and spoil reputations.”

Or perhaps they should say “We have a responsibility to save lives, as per Leviticus 19:16 ‘You may not stand on your brother’s blood.’ Our primary responsibility is damage control. We must make sure that those students who are not yet users remain clean. Therefore we will ask all students to undergo drug testing. Those testing positive or refusing testing will be expelled.”

Unless you use cocaine yourself, I think the answer is obvious.

The secret atheist problem is like a cancer, which must be completely surgically removed as soon as possible.

For those who are concerned about being expelled from their homes, and from the response this post is getting there seem to be a lot of you, I have a little advice: REPENT. Click off the porn and open up the gemora. Throw away the pot and coke; get high on davening and stoned on Torah. Really give a try. You never know, Judaism might be better than the crap you’re using now.

BrooklynWolf said...

JP,

Just whom are you addressing? Is the problem atheists? Or is it drug dealers? Or is it people using porn?

Or is it your contention that every atheist *is* a drug user and a porn addict?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

I consider atheism a spiritual danger comparable to cocaine usage.

BrooklynWolf said...

You didn't answer my question.

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

I was making an analogy.

The yeshiva = the Orthodox community.

The cocaine users = the secret atheists.

BrooklynWolf said...

Then why are you telling us to throw away the coke and pot? Shouldn't you just be telling us to believe in God?

In any event, you also did not answer my questions from 11:27 this morning. Those people are also a danger. Do you advocate drug/STD testing (and public humiliation) for them as well?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

Get rid of the pot, coke, porn and whores and open the gemora and eventually you will believe in God.

This post is on the topic of "Secret Orthodox Atheists and How to Catch Them". About people talking in shul, my rabbi actually has publicly humiliated people who do that and literally driven them out of the shul.

But anyway, that's not what this post is about. Maybe next week.

BrooklynWolf said...

Get rid of the pot, coke, porn and whores and open the gemora and eventually you will believe in God.

What about atheists who don't use pot, coke, porn or whores? What about atheists who do learn Gemara?

But anyway, that's not what this post is about. Maybe next week.

Sorry, but it *is* relevant to this post. You're basing your whole argument on the fact that atheists are a spiritual danger to those around them - therefore they have to be shunned, kicked out of their homes and publicly humiliated. Well, the people I mentioned are *also* spiritual dangers to other around them. So why aren't you advocating the same for them as well?

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

still awaiting your response on my theories vis a vis the treif chicken purveyor and skeptic bloggers not being kofrim.

jewish philosopher said...

"What about atheists who don't use pot, coke, porn or whores? What about atheists who do learn Gemara?"

Show me one.

"So why aren't you advocating the same for them as well?"

You want to know under what circumstances should you cease communicating with someone because they may be a bad influence. That is something which you will have to discuss with a personal mentor.

"the treif chicken purveyor"

I would love to find out more about that guy, however based on the little which I do know, I would say this. To say that he is a sincere, believing Jew who got a little too greedy I think is like saying that Dennis Rader is a very nice man who lost his temper a few times.

The Raz said...

Do you just hide behind your PC or do you actually live out what you preach? Do you fight homosexuality and atheism? Do you confront these people in real life? Do you participate in rallies? Heck, why don’t you organize rallies, organize protests, try to change legislation or for your latest idea, make the website yourself and start posting information. I’d like, and I think many others as well would like, to see you practice what you preach and post pictures and stories here. Do a blog entry about how you put someone in their place on the street, at work etc.
If your not willing to preach it in real life, then your just as bad as the rest of us anonymous bloggers. You won’t make a difference here in cyber blog world but you could if you actual do as you say.

So how about it? Do you accept the challenge? Does anyone else here want to see Mr. Stein actually do these things in real life and then post them here? You should consider it, as it will invigorate your writing and put some credence behind your words cause if not, then your just blowing out hot air.

jewish philosopher said...

Raz, I accept the challenge. Bring me a secret atheist and I will yell at him.

BrooklynWolf said...

"What about atheists who don't use pot, coke, porn or whores? What about atheists who do learn Gemara?"

Show me one.


Are you stating that you believe that *every* secret atheist in the frum community uses pot, coke, porn and whores? Are you stating that *not one* secret atheist learns Gemara?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

Yeah.

Anonymous said...

To say that he is a sincere, believing Jew who got a little too greedy

You are distorting my argument. I acknowledged that he is a hypocrite, a rasha and a chotei umachtee, I merely argued that this, in and of itself, does not "prove" qefira b'ikar.

Why not adress my lashon hara analogy?

PS I'm not a frequent reader of this blog but do you bring as much passion to the cause of "outing" and excommunicating frum pedophiles?

I'd think that they damaged their communities a lot more, both spiritually (issur skila vs. lav greida)and psychologically (suicides, depression, cyclical molestation and/or adult homosexuality vs. kashering the kitchen stress and expense) than chicken man in Monsey or Chazir Cholent man on his blog ever did.

Anonymous said...

JP has quoted the traditional source literature on atheists; he would do well to remember that converts are as hard for Israel to endure as a sore.

jewish philosopher said...

"does not "prove" qefira b'ikar"

I didn't say so either. I wrote "I would assume".

"do you bring as much passion to the cause of "outing" and excommunicating frum pedophiles"

Sure. But that's not what this post is about.

jewish philosopher said...

"Israel to endure as a sore"

Because we are so righteous, other Jews look bad by comparison. So true.

Anonymous said...

self-righteous is more like it. And seemingly so lacking in any sense of solidarity that they/you are merciless in being meorer the strictest of dinim on their fellow Jews.

Tsk tsk too bad Chazal lacked your deep insight and ahavas HaShem. They should have said:
טובים גרים לישראל כרופא נאמן הכורת את הסרטן ומציל נפשות

jewish philosopher said...

You're right. Real Jews love atheists. That's why they pray for them die a few times every day (Birkat HaMinim).

bankman said...

why not supply a rehab for your yeshiva boy coke-heads? (instead of expulsion) try to "save" them. help them. imagine the benefits of turning around the lives of those youngsters.

jewish philosopher said...

OK, fine. Give them the address of a rehab. But kick them out of the yeshiva as well.

Anonymous said...

Real Jews hate non-Jewish atheists. Real Jews love the yiddishkeit/pinteleh yid of Jewish atheists while having utter contempt for their atheism. Real Jews are moved to tears over the dissonance between what these misguided souls think that they believe and what real Jews understand taht they believe in their heart of hearts.

fixed your typos.

jewish philosopher said...

I think the Chofetz Chaim is Jewish enough for me. See what he wrote in chapter 8 paragraph 5.

bankman said...

if you expose the "clean" boys to the cokeheads and get those clean boys INVOLVED in turning the bad boys' lives around - imagine how many turn-around specialists you could create. imagine how many other lives could be saved with so many rehab specialists on the street.

jewish philosopher said...

Which yeshiva would handle it like that? I wouldn't send my kids there.

bankman said...

you dont want to help save a life of someone that is struggling with drug addiction? you dont want to teach your kids compassion - that they can help people. that they have strengths and can contribute to society and help people that maybe are not as privelaged? is there a bigger mitzvah!?!?

jewish philosopher said...

Atheists are hopeless cases. We hate them and pray for their deaths.

The Hedyot said...

> ...it is a responsibility for all Jews...to make certain that these individuals are identified and are not permitted to affect other Jews.

The irony of it all is that Jacob Stein probably has more of an adverse effect on Jews than any atheists in the community. He is the one who is so negatively affecting other Jews, not the closet kofrim! I don't think any atheists could make Orthodox Judaism look as bad as he manages to do with almost every post on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Jacob, you should unceasingly pray for my death until it occurs, perhaps 40 years from today. If you do spend every moment beseeching Hashem for my demise, you would find less time to molest your cat.

jewish philosopher said...

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for all their comments. Based on the warm response, it looks like a lot of people out there are getting really scared, and with good reason. I hope we have reached a point where really Orthodox Jews are mad as hell and won’t take it any more. We refuse to be conned by sleazy phony Frummies. We will use all the capabilities of modern technology to hunt them down and spew them out. We will take the war to the enemy.

Imagine what’s going to happen when wives use monitoring software and discover what their husband is really working on in the home office. Imagine what’s going to happen when Mom and Dad put a nanny cam in their teenage daughter’s bedroom and watch her snorting coke. There are going to be a lot of total smackdowns.

A few people have mentioned the problem of breaking up families that will result. I have no problem with that. These families are already broken. Someone who does not believe in Torah is not a Jew; he is a gentile. This person is no longer your spouse or your child. Expelling him from the community is analogous to amputating a gangrenous limb before it infects the rest of the body.

Anonymous said...

Oy Gevalt...

יא כֹּה, אָמַר יְהוָה, עַל-שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי אֱדוֹם, וְעַל-אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ: עַל-רָדְפוֹ בַחֶרֶב אָחִיו, וְשִׁחֵת רַחֲמָיו, וַיִּטְרֹף לָעַד אַפּוֹ, וְעֶבְרָתוֹ שְׁמָרָה נֶצַח. 11

Thus saith the LORD: For three transgressions of Edom, yea, for four, I will not reverse it: because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever.

jewish philosopher said...

Very amusing. That refers to the evil Esau pursuing the righteous Jacob. I am referring to exactly the opposite.

Anonymous said...

According to your organization of reality, perhaps. This is itself a very debateable point. But even if your self-image is accurate what's troubling is that your pursuit is informed by the same Esav-like pitilessness, wrath and remorselessness.

Question: IYO when the Levi'im slew the Egel worshippers, some of whom were their half-brothers do you think that they were conflicted or clinical and dispassionate about what they were doing? To put a finer point on it had Avraham not loved Yitzchak with an indescribable love, had Dovid not loved Avsholom with an indescribable love would their tests have really been tests?

Ambivalence is good.

jewish philosopher said...

And in your opinion, should a doctor let a patient die rather than "mercilessly" amputate his infected limb?

bankman said...

you first try to save the limb. you may spend weeks, months, years - going to specialists around the globe trying to save the limb before amputation.

"Atheists are hopeless cases. We hate them and pray for their deaths." - are drug adddicts helples cases, or can they be helped and recover?

jewish philosopher said...

"you may spend weeks, months, years"

Not always. However that is why I added "Each individual case should be subject of course to the guidance of senior rabbis."

"are drug adddicts helples cases"

It depends. If he's an atheist, probably hopeless.

DrJ said...

>A few people have mentioned the problem of breaking up families that will result. I have no problem with that. These families are already broken. Someone who does not believe in Torah is not a Jew; he is a gentile.

JP I don't see any smilie emoticons on your comments, but I must say that I have a hard time believing that you are serious.:)
You certainly do manage to get people riled up.

mOOm said...

Fascinating, that you don't say: "We should try to persuade him/her to return to true belief in the Torah". Apparently you have no hope of that working.

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, I am aware that not everyone may fully agree with my philosophies, however I hope that my ideas will have some influence.

Given all the tools at our disposal, I believe that the secret atheists, like small pox and other diseases, will soon be a thing of the past. We just have to make the effort.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jacob.

I'm an atheist and I attend my rebbeshe shteeble every shabbos. To date, I estimate that I have planted the seeds of doubt about Hashem's existance in at least ten mispalilim.
That's at least ten people that won't fall for the fundamentalist crap that you spew.
And that's just the men. Who knows if the guys havn't contaminated their wives and children with the truth. I pray to hashem every day that I succeed on my deprogramming quest.
Who knows, I just may show up in your shul too.

jewish philosopher said...

It wouldn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

"I'm an atheist and I attend my rebbeshe shteeble every shabbos. To date, I estimate that I have planted the seeds of doubt about Hashem's existance in at least ten mispalilim."

Don't you think the time might be better spent encouraging people to, oh lets say, get involved in chesed? But,I guess thats not important to you.

Anonymous said...

And your also proving JP point, that closet atjeists are a danger to the community.

Anonymous said...

>Don't you think the time might be better spent encouraging people to, oh lets say, get involved in chesed? But,I guess thats not important to you.<

Its highly presumptuous of you to assume that I don't also do that.

Anonymous said...

">Don't you think the time might be better spent encouraging people to, oh lets say, get involved in chesed? But,I guess thats not important to you.<

Its highly presumptuous of you to assume that I don't also do that."

Well, do you?

And even if you do, every minute spent subverting orthodoxy is a minute not spent encouraging chesed.

And how do you recruit people to do chesed? Is there an atheists equivalent of hatzolo, or bikur cholim, or tomchei shabbos?

Lubab No More said...

JP,

Thanks for the link! ;)

shoshi said...

What you are describing is "Big Brother is watching you" or the world in eastern Europe during communism.

If you do not want people to stay outwardly observant while rejecting judaism, you should:
1) Insist that everyone gets a proper education which will permit him/her to lead a decent life without being connected to the jewish community.
2) Let people go if they want to go, without ostracising them.
3) Not marry them off before they can support their families.

jewish philosopher said...

Or how about this: We could all stop being Orthodox in order to make sure that no one is a secret Orthodox atheist. I don't know why no one suggests that.

Anonymous said...

LOL!!!

J.P. you are a truly demented indvidual. Were you by any chance mollested as a kid?

jewish philosopher said...

I am not making moronic anonymous insulting remarks, like some people. So I wonder who is demented.

BlackEyedP said...

I actually think that's a valid question. Did you experience abuse as a child? And Im not making light of something I, myself have experienced. Just wondering.

jewish philosopher said...

"I actually think that's a valid question."

First of all, why?

Second of all, would you believe a negative answer, since you would just have to take my word for it?

Josh said...

Our sages teach us that converts cause much pain to the Jewish people, and that it is best to avoid converts. This post is an example of why. Ironically, in his zeal to create a fantasy Judaism which never existed, this outsider wishes to dispossess those for whom Judaism is their home.
It is a fact that Judaism is not an especially doctrinal religion or a religion with an especially unitary doctrine. One need not look at the exhaustive bibliographies of Marc Shapiro to see this. Instead you could open the two most popular books of medieval and early modern Judaism: the Zohar and the Guide, and see their diametrically opposite views of the nature of God. Better yet, one could open the first Tosfot in shas and see evidence of theurgy which is anathema to Maimonides. If this is not enough you could open your Bible and see if God is ever anthropomorhized in that book, or ever compared to pagan Gods, or ever violates the norms of your imagined religion.
Unfortunately, you have obviously never done this. Instead you have assumed a univocal Judaism which is a complete denial of reality and Jewish history. This effacement of Jewish history is not innocent or acceptable. In fact, by imposing this unitary hermeneutic, you are blotting out many different voices of our tradition in favor of a combination of ideas synthesized last week and I assume your very Protestant notions of religion. When the sages warn us of kelippah clinging to the body of Catholic Israel via conversion, it is precisely this kind of undesired intervention which they meant.
The Talmud has God asking "would that they forsake me and keep my Torah." This seems to be the condition you are describing, one which is favorable to God according to our sages. Once again you would like to enforce a totalitarian crackdown on a situation that God describes as tenable.
I am less worried about someone who is an atheist davening mincha for me than someone who is from the side of the S"M and Amalek davening mincha for me.

Mordy said...

This blog is amusing, but it's still one of the most transparent parodies I've ever read. C'mon all of you concerned commentators, I've heard of Poe's Law, but this is ridiculous. The author supports surveillance in order to bust "secret atheists," in one of his first defenses in the comment's thread he transgressed Godwin's Law by, apparently, positing that you are all Nazis, and then he suggested that anyone who has a problem with privacy violations might themselves be a secret atheist who he can't wait to "bust." Are you all kidding me?

jewish philosopher said...

Interesting. And which convert wrote the twelfth blessing of the Amidah - the Birkas haMinim, the curse against heretics? And was Maimonides also a convert? He wrote (Laws of Murderer and Protection of Soul, 4:10-11):

Heretics, that is, Jews who do not believe in the Torah or in prophecy -- it is a commandment to kill them. If one can kill them with a sword in public he should, and if not -- he should act against them with cunning until he causes them to be killed. How? If he sees one of them fallen into a well and there is a ladder in the well, first he should remove the ladder and say, 'I must take my son down off the roof, I'll bring it back' or something like that.

jewish philosopher said...

Mordy, I wonder if you have a little secrets... Care to share?

Mordy said...

I have loads of secrets! I'm a secret Nazi atheist, for starters. Also, I can tell when a tongue is firmly held in cheek. (Btw: Apparently no one else picked it up, but I know that no frum yid links to a Korn video.)

jewish philosopher said...

When you're willing to put your name, address and photo on the web, we'll talk about you.

mOOm said...

Attitudes like those of Josh are more of a problem than those of JP, though both are bad for keeping people (including me) in Orthodox Judaism. Children of converts like me are not welcome apparently...

jewish philosopher said...

It's all just another phony atheistic trick.

If I would be born a Jew, they would say "Of course you believe in Judaism. You are biased. You were born a Jew." Since I am a convert they say "You're opinion is not valuable. You only a convert."

You cannot argue with people who are simply addicts who are living in denial.

Josh said...

I did not say your opinion is invalid because you are a ger. I said your opinion which attempts to write Jews out of Judaism is especially odious coming from a convert. This would be in consonance with the Halakhic view, for instance, that a convert cannot Judge a Jew, only his fellow convert, or exercise power over Jews. My view also jibes with common sense; you just got here, you do not go kicking out those who have been here forever. Our religion is nice enough to accept converts, but does not want these arrivistes displacing the real Jews. Had you made an argument about football, or even a Jewish argument about almost any other of the limitless sets of Jewish topics which do not involve selecting leading reading texts to hurt the actual Jews, I would brought up the whole convert thing. In fact, it might have been Halakhically wrong to do so, we are commanded to love the convert, this is a serious commandment. As it stands, you did make such a spurious and hateful argument, unless it is a parody. Therefore I feel justified in bringing up your heritage as an especially offensive part of your anti-Semitism.

jewish philosopher said...

Interesting, opposing atheism is Antisemitism.

Sickening.

GPS phone said...

Service to track your gps phone

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad most people don't agree with, Jewish Philospher. My husband and I live in a frum community with our children and although I am still a believer and am maintaing a kosher, shomer shabbos home, my husband is openly atheist. It has been eye opening to see who in the community has continued integrity and continues to accept our family and who has basically shut us out.

jewish philosopher said...

Who told you most people disagree with me?