Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm beginning to realise that one of my main bones of contention with 'modern' orthodoxy and orthodoxy is the conviction of the individual as self-constitutive, as 'making oneself', the individual. I believe we are human only as a result of contact and conviviality with what is not human; our perception, our beliefs our theories. I believe there are other beings. I cringe at the words of The Rav about the 'dead matter' of the world, of the "making oneself" - that's awful lonely. and it explains a lot from someone who authored, reflecting on religion in the Now...the lonely man of faith. If faith is trust, and trust is established through relationship - how does that frame of mind make sense?

MUST WATCH...Bro. Guy on a SciFi Con panel
"Rise of Modern Science"

FAR too many coorespondences to discussions of Chazzal and science, Judaism and its views of Judaism, to list...and they're just so brilliantly...geeky! (Regretably, the other 6 parts of the video must be chased down, as the following vid isn't sequential in the links following each vid). Working my way through the vids, I'm realising how shallow and stupid so many of the science arguments on the "Off-the-Derech" blogs are...even for skeptics.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rambam's Necessary Beliefs in Modern Orthodoxy

The ever-popular "truth for the masses" and the "truth for the enlightened" really cuts both ways (especially when you're trying to create a new mass and enlightened Orthodoxy, a la R. Marc Angel...). There are respectable disputations between theists and non-theists in the academia, thoughtful, dialogues between religious/non-religious scientists who believe in the deliverances of reason and in revelation - but many of the philosophical settings for the DISCUSSION of principles of religious life and belief are rooted in *general*, shared, non-exclusive philosophy; i.e., the doctrine may be Jewish in origin, but the formulated *argument* for it is made in non-Jewish setting.

Much of Orthodoxy has cut itself off from both the give and take of the exchange, and when it has engaged in the exchange, it is often cut off and ends with a few thinkers in cloistered settings. Of the Jewish movements that fractaled out of the impact of modernism at different times, I primarily blame Orthodoxy for convincing Jews that things must be 'untouched' by humans and the facts of human life, must be 'unchanging' to be sacred or holy. Truth can be tainted or by falsehood, revelation soiled OR spoiled by thoughtless OR over zealous custodians.

As a result, any Jewish movement since the general Enlightenment speaking of "tradition and change", of evolution, is a comically embarrassing Frankenstein dabbling in genetic engineering, and anything claiming to be "timeless and uncompromising" shows itself to be dated and compromised by revisionism. Also as a result, a perspective can be true, may be Torah even (deducible from Torah sources), but that doesn't make it kosher...oh but we've dug ourselves a deep, deep galut.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Rav and JewishAtheist
JewishAtheist recently posted an addage from R. Soloveitchik on the hok nature of the core beliefs of judaism.

The religious Jew accepts the entire Torah as a hok, both in regard to its immutability and also its unintellegibility... To be a loyal Jew is to be heroic, and heroes commit themselves without intellectual reservations. Only one who lacks the courage of commitment will belabor the "why"...

I think that, like R. Soloveitchik, l'hvdl JewishAtheist is unaware of, or to unconsciously aware of, those certain unspoken Givens of ALL reasonable belief - whether true or false; what or Who is believed in, without recourse the proofs - that which itself is the basis for all ensuing belief, the basis for all ensuing proofs, etc. Again, R. Albo's Three Ikkarim are beyond repproach or approach; God is, He Gives, and He Judges. These are, I believe, are essential to that which I believe R. Soloveitchik considers hok - everyone else must 'hok' such "axiums". Maybe I'll expand on all this later.

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