Monday, December 01, 2008

Am I a Traitor?



During my years of blogging, I have been asked several times: How can I criticize Orthodox Jews who have become atheists? After all, didn’t I reject my own atheistic upbringing and become an Orthodox Jew? So therefore, since I am also a traitor to my people, how can I criticize others?

That is an interesting point, and I would like to illustrate this with a similar example.

During the Second World War, there were some Germans who protested against the Nazi government. One of the most famous was Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old student who was arrested on February 18, 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets at the University of Munich. Four days later she was executed by guillotine for treason.

On the other hand, take for example William Joyce. He was an American who supported Germany during the Second World War and made hundreds of pro-Nazi radio broadcasts from Berlin. He was arrested by the British after the war and hanged for treason at age 40 on January 3, 1946.

Joyce and Scholl – both traitors, both executed. Were they both the same? Or was one good and one evil? I guess it depends on your point of view. If you are a Nazi, of course Scholl was evil and Joyce was good. If you are anti-Nazi, the opposite is true.

In regards to myself compared to someone like let’s say “Yeshivish Atheist”, I think the same could be said. We are both traitors. If you are pro-Jewish, I am good and he is evil. If you are pro-atheist then I am evil and he is good.

However in any case, could Scholl for example have fairly criticized Joyce for his treason? I don't see why not. I don't think she viewed herself as a traitor.

56 comments:

Child Ish Behavior said...

Why don't you recognize the possibility that the act of being a traitor is morally wrong no matter how just you believe the cause to be?

Your post is based on the fact that the ends justify the means, and if the ends are worthy enough in your own eyes, anything is justified after the fact.

jewish philosopher said...

Perhaps loyalty to a higher truth supersedes loyalty to my people.

BlackEyedP said...

That's what everyone says who decides it's ok to murder people in the name of their god. You certainly could make any sort of behavior seem acceptable with this view. Good for you! Now, I think you're ready to strap on an Uzi and start the cleansing.

jewish philosopher said...

Except for one small detail: God said "Don't murder".

Child Ish Behavior said...

This just in...

Amalek has been discovered in the foothills of Silesia. It seems after all these years the eternal enemy of the Jewish people has been rediscovered.

What do you do now? The higher power says that no Amalek should be left to live. Yet...

jewish philosopher said...

This is the stupidity every atheist resorts to. "You think we're a bunch of scum bags! Well, just open the Bible. Look at killing Amalek. Genocide, right there in black and white."

The killing of Amalek has nothing to do with contemporary Judaism, as everyone is well aware. Amalek is a nationality in fact unknown outside the Hebrew Bible.

Child Ish Behavior said...

A. I'm not an atheist
B. I am just pointing out that the Torah doesn't see the world in that same black and white picture that you seem to see things in. Contemporary Judaism is based on the Torah. Your loyalty to a higher truth demands that you accept what the higher truth commands, not just what your own sensibilities tell you the higher truth demands.

"If you are pro-Jewish, I am good and he is evil. If you are pro-atheist then I am evil and he is good."

Only God has the right to say who is good and who is evil. Don't presume to know what Hashem is thinking.

jewish philosopher said...

"I'm not an atheist"

I didn't say you are.

"Only God has the right to say who is good and who is evil."

Which He does in the Torah.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

So basically because I lost emunah in Hashem, I'm like William Joyce who supported Nazi Germany and betrayed America.

Great analogy.

But wait a second, what if it's the other way around: Maybe your William Joyce, and I'm Sophie Scholl...

jewish philosopher said...

"Great analogy."

Thank you.

"But wait a second, what if it's the other way around"

Well, OK, but as far as I know Scholl was the more religious.

BlackEyedP said...

Well its not really MURDER if you feel you have god on your side and that you are doing his will, right?

jewish philosopher said...

Orthodox Jews don't murder, period.

Now atheists, that's a somewhat different story...

Yeshivish Atheist said...

So, if God hypothetically told you to murder someone, you wouldn't listen to him?

If the Torah hypothetically told you to rape and murder a little boy, would you disobey that commandment?

Off the Derech said...

>Orthodox Jews don't murder, period.

You've clearly said on your blog before that you'd kill Arabs if you had the opportunity, or your son if he were gay.

jewish philosopher said...

YA, of course, I would kill a little boy with the greatest joy and love if God asked me to do so, just like Abraham was prepared to do at the Binding of Isaac.

OTD, killing a criminal is not murder. Murder means killing an innocent person.

However, all this is hypothetical. I think what you’re really asking is “Couldn’t there be some situation where an Orthodox Jew would kill a person however an atheist would not? And if that is the case, in what sense are Orthodox Jews morally superior to atheists?”

My answer to that is that those situations occur in practice rarely or never. In practice, atheists kill far more people than Orthodox Jews do. This is because atheists are generally psychopaths.

BlackEyedP said...

Ok, JP...please point me to the areas in your blog that contain this information...
You've clearly said on your blog before that you'd kill Arabs if you had the opportunity, or your son if he were gay....
I have to see where you said you'd kill your gay son.

jewish philosopher said...

I actually said that I would support a constitutional amendment making male to male anal intercourse a capital crime.

Off the Derech said...

So next time don't say "Orthodox Jews don't murder, period." Say "Orthodox Jews don't murder--in practice. In theory, they're cold-blooded killers."

jewish philosopher said...

Say "Atheists don't murder--in theory. In practice, they're cold-blooded killers."

Who would most people rather have living next door?

Off the Derech said...

BlackEyedP:
See his post on 9/11 of this year, and the comments on his 9/17 post.

He clearly discusses how he'd kill Arabs if he had the chance. I wish I could find where he said he'd kill his son if he were gay, but I'm having a hard time finding it. I have little doubt that in theory, at least, he would.

It's not that unusual when you subscribe to ancient, archaic value systems. See the Muslim world for examples of how society is governed when ancient law rules.

jewish philosopher said...

My main post about Muslims is here. My main post about gays is here.

“See the Muslim world for examples of how society is governed when ancient law rules.”

So I’m bad because I’m too Islamic. Or I’m bad because I’m too anti-Islamic. Or something. Whatever.

Child Ish Behavior said...

All you atheists in the party missed his point. He flat out admitted that he is a traitor. It is just that by virtue of the fact that he joined people who don't seem to think so he is justified. By his own reasoning, all you atheists have to do is join supportive people who agree with your values and you too are justifies in your actions. By his own actions he has no right to criticize yours.

jewish philosopher said...

"He flat out admitted that he is a traitor."

Sophie Scholl was also convicted of treason.

"By his own actions he has no right to criticize yours."

Sure I do. Just like Nazis were first of all wrong and second of all psychopaths, so are atheists.

Child Ish Behavior said...

According to you they are only wrong because they were on the loosing side. They are only psychopaths because people with a different value system than them were the ones doing the judging.

"I guess it depends on your point of view. If you are a Nazi, of course Scholl was evil and Joyce was good. If you are anti-Nazi, the opposite is true."

By your own admission You are judging people based on your own subjective view of the world and not based on any Objective truths.

How can you judge anyone just based on your subjective view of the world?

jewish philosopher said...

"How can you judge anyone just based on your subjective view of the world?"

My views are not proceeding from or taking place in a my mind rather than the external world. They proceed from the Torah.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"He flat out admitted that he is a traitor."

Sophie Scholl was also convicted of treason."

I'M Sophie Scholl!

YOU'RE William Joyce.

I'm the good traitor here.

jewish philosopher said...

Were any Righteous Gentiles atheists? Maybe there were but I don't know of any.

Child Ish Behavior said...

Perhaps you are both Bad. Perhaps you are both Good. If you are not going to take the Moral realist view that there are some objective truths, there is no way to prove one way or another.

JP: If the only reason you believe that you are not a traitor is because you chose the side that agrees that you are not a traitor, then you are saying that objectively you are a traitor. However, in your case you would like to be excused. Why can't you accept that everyone else wants that same thing?

If on the other hand you argue that you are not a traitor, I have not seen you prove that.

The same argument would go to the atheists, unless you believe in only subjective morals, how can you have been a traitor?

jewish philosopher said...

Child Ish, may I ask what you are smoking, because you don't make sense.

Child Ish Behavior said...

I am saying that you have no right to judge people. You are smugly comparing people you disagree with Nazis. Yet your only basis for doing so is the fact that you have accepted the Torah to be true, while they have not. You have no moral superiority over anyone. Everyone will be judged one day, and the judge will not be you. Until that time comes all you can do is act as you are supposed to.

You chose to be part of the Jewish people. You chose the Torah. By doing so you were a traitor to the people you were originally part of. You chose it because you believed that "loyalty to a higher truth supersedes loyalty to my people." You felt you had found your higher truth. You are now judging people based on a truth that you have found to be right for you.

And so I ask, as an admitted traitor what right do you have to put down others who have made the opposite decision?

jewish philosopher said...

"I am saying that you have no right to judge people."

The Torah permits and even obligates judgment (as do most societies).

Deuteronomy 16:18 "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates"

Yes, I know that in the United States today it is not polite or politically correct to state that one religion is superior to another, however I disagree.

David said...

"If you are pro-Jewish, I am good and he is evil. If you are pro-atheist then I am evil and he is good."

Hardly. I'm not sure what "pro-Jewish" means (or "pro-atheist," for that matter). But I would say you're giving yourself too much credit when you use the term "evil."

I disagree with you (although there was a time when I'd have been closer to your camp). I don't consider you "evil." You're just a buffoon.

jewish philosopher said...

"I'm not sure what "pro-Jewish" means"

Well, just drop the "pro-"; that might make it clearer.

"You're just a buffoon."

Very amusing, coming from a cowardly anonymous troll.

James F. Elliott said...

You just said "Orthodox Jews don't murder, period."

However, in your post "Hunting Atheists - A Beginner's Guide" you stated:

"In addition to these practical efforts to track down and ostracize atheists, we must also fervently pray for the immediate destruction of Jewish heretics."

How is the prayer for death removed from the actual act of killing? Does a firing squad wherein one rifle is loaded with a blank but no one knows which then not commit murder? To put it another way, is it the system that institutes the death penalty or the individual who throws the switch that bears responsibility for the death of the condemned?

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

In regards to myself compared to someone like let’s say “Yeshivish Atheist”, I think the same could be said. We are both traitors. If you are pro-Jewish, I am good and he is evil. If you are pro-atheist then I am evil and he is good.

I don't understand the connection between "making an informed and personal decision to practice/believe something other than what you were taught as a child" and "evil." I don't see either of you as having done anything which could be identified as evil.

I think your propensity to use moral language to talk about things which don't have moral dimensions to them is the mark of a bonehead, but that's still a far cry from evil.

jewish philosopher said...

“How is the prayer for death removed from the actual act of killing?”

Mr. Elliot, this may shock you, however I don’t think I’ve heard of a court convicting anyone of murder because he recited Birkas haMinim. If that bothers you, then I recommend that you call your local district attorney.

“I don't see either of you as having done anything which could be identified as evil.”

Well, others do. Regarding the Jewish attitude to apostates, see my link to Birkas haMinim above. Regarding the atheist attitude to Jews, Richard Dawkins has said “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).” Ultra-orthodox Jews do not believe in evolution.

BlackEyedP said...

blah, blah, blah...just more hot air and angry speculation from JP. I find you stiff and unyielding, sir. Oooh! JP! Doesn't that make you want to make a sexual comment? Something like, "I've got your stiff right here?" Because THAT would be very pious of you. And we ALL know that you are the most pious man and would never have such thoughts because Jews don't think that sort of thing unless they're secret atheists who need to be killed.

jewish philosopher said...

P, I think it's obvious who YOU have a crush on. Well, I'm much too old for any of that, young lady.

BlackEyedP said...

there you go again, you flirty, married, orthodox man. get your wife on this blog! i'd love to talk to her!

jewish philosopher said...

So if you're sober sometime, give her a call. We're listed.

BlackEyedP said...

Seriously, though...I am concerned for your family. For you to be so antagonistic to other communities outside your own and to advertise your family details on your blog, may lead to unwanted consequences for them. I hope that you have really good security out there on Sherri Lane.

jewish philosopher said...

I feed psychopaths, terrorists, serial killers and pedophiles to my German shepherd. He gobbles them up, and do I save big time on dog food!

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"Ultra-orthodox Jews do not believe in evolution."

Hah! Tell that to my parents.

jewish philosopher said...

I would be happy to. Or just point them to my blog.

However, the fact is that people who believe they are descended from monkeys, who encourage their son to go to medical school and who are not very upset about him converting to atheism are not ultra-Orthodox. Maybe modern Orthodox.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"However, the fact is that people who believe they are descended from monkeys, who encourage their son to go to medical school and who are not very upset about him converting to atheism are not ultra-Orthodox. Maybe modern Orthodox."

Evolution they don't care either way what I believe, med school yes they are happy. Atheism no they are not happy.

And yes, they are ultra orthadox.

jewish philosopher said...

"And yes, they are ultra orthadox."

Based on what? Keeping a kosher home or something is not called "ultra" or "Haredi".

Yeshivish Atheist said...

I'm talking about the type that can make a parnasa but still sits and learns the Talmud for many hours every day. I'm talking about the type that wears a black hat & suit as his attire. I'm talking about the type of parents that deliberately avoid sending their kids to yeshivas that chas vesholom would have even the slightest hint or being "modern"

My parent's are Ultra-Orthodox in every sense of the word. The only difference is they are Doctors, so they had to get educated in various disciplines on Science.

"I would be happy to. Or just point them to my blog."

Knowing my father, he would probably tell you 2 things.

1) Evolution and the Torah are compatible. Just because we don't understand how doesn't mean they aren't. Creating a dichotomy between the two is doing a disservice to Judaism.

2) You should spend less time on the internet and more time learning גמרא.

As for my mother, well... She doesn't even know what a blog is.

jewish philosopher said...

No ultra-Orthodox rabbi told them that Torah and evolution are compatible. Who told them that?

And who told them that it's a good thing for their son to go to med school?

Did your father ever learn in a yeshiva?

I think none of you actually know what ultra-Orthodox is.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"No ultra-Orthodox rabbi told them that Torah and evolution are compatible. Who told them that?"

The Rabbis didn't explain evolution to them, THEY explained evolution to the Rabbis. Basically, Although the Rabbis still personally don't believe in it, they agreed that if Hashem was behind the evolution and guided the process, than it doesn't go against the Torah because it's not technically evolution, It's Theistic Evolution.

"And who told them that it's a good thing for their son to go to med school?"

I personally have spoken to Rabbis about this back when I still believed. I explained to them it was my dream. They told me they can't tell me in good faith not to go, But they did say that I should still devote my time to learning during my free hours.

"Did your father ever learn in a yeshiva?"

To this day he still devotes alot of his time learning in a Yeshiva. The yeshiva is mainly for Kolel guys, but there are others. (no more personal info in that issue please)

"I think none of you actually know what ultra-Orthodox is."

Hah. I spent my whole life being Ultra Orthodox. My parents qualify being Ultra-Orthodox in all their beliefs except for evolution.

jewish philosopher said...

Regarding evolution, you should get ahold of the 5/2006 edition of the Jewish Observer. The only Orthodox rabbis who have ever supported evolution are modern Orthodox.

Also, if the rabbis were not happy about med school, why were your parents? Again, this is a modern Orthodox attitude.

About yeshiva, I mean whether your father ever learned full time in yeshiva. It doesn't sound like it, frankly.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"Regarding evolution, you should get ahold of the 5/2006 edition of the Jewish Observer. The only Orthodox rabbis who have ever supported evolution are modern Orthodox."

1) Supporting evolution and not viewing it as a contradiction to the Torah is not the same thing. For example some UO rabbis dont believe in evolution because "It's not scientific" and not because it goes against the torah.

2) Theistic Evolution and Evolution is not the same thing

"Also, if the rabbis were not happy about med school, why were your parents? Again, this is a modern Orthodox attitude."

Actually, at first when my parents heard about it they were not so happy because they wanted me to learn more. But they also didn't want to ruin my dream. Additionally if the Rabbis didn't order me to not go, then on what basis would they? Eventually, they came to accept the fact that I wanted to become a Doctor and did what every parent should: Realize that children eventually grow up and live their lives the way they want it.

"About yeshiva, I mean whether your father ever learned full time in yeshiva."

Yes.

jewish philosopher said...

The belief that we are descended from monkeys instead of Adam and Eve is not acceptable in Orthodox circles other than modern Orthodox.

And how long was your father's yeshiva experience? A year?

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"The belief that we are descended from monkeys instead of Adam and Eve is not acceptable in Orthodox circles other than modern Orthodox."

1) A belief accepted in Orthodox Jewish circles is not the same thing as a belief accepted by individual Orthodox Jews

For example, even though Evolution is accepted in Modern Orthodox circles, there are some MO individuals who don't believe in evolution.

The reverse is tro for UO. Even though UO circles reject evolution, there are some UO individuals that accept evolution.

"And how long was your father's yeshiva experience? A year?"

Well he was a BT along time ago, so he decided to spend several years full time in a yeshiva learning about Judaism after he became BT. He has also been disabled for the past ~5 years so he learns full time since then. In between those times he still learned for many hours each day, just not full time.

jewish philosopher said...

In that case please direct your father to my blog. He can only benefit from my morsels of wisdom, particularly regarding evolution.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

1) Ever since he no longer works My father spends his time learning yamim v'layla. He doesn't even read a newspaper the way it is now, what makes you think he will read a blog?

2) Knowing my father your blog will most probably be a turn off to Judaism for him (which might be a good reason for me to direct him to it now that I think about it) One of the things he really hates is the dichotomy people but between evolution and the Torah.

3) Another turn off for him is when Jewish people make poor arguments against evolution(your blog). It makes Judaism look stupid. I guess you could say he is biased against it because stupid arguments against evolution is what got me to question my Jewish beliefs and eventually lead me OTD.

jewish philosopher said...

He and your mother NEED MY BLOG desperately. Do want your brothers and sisters to end up like you God forbid! Please forward this message. Thank you. Guten Shabbos.