My wife and I went out for dinner tonight and spent much of our conversation mulling over the challenge to religious belief posed by…well, religious belief and religious believers. I’ve often said that no obstacle to faith, for me, compares to that posed by other Orthodox Jews, even by Orthodox Judaism itself. I’ve been let down and disillusioned many times by the whole structure. Yet I know of no better answers to life’s hardest questions.
We talked about my (I will leave Nika’s part of the conversation out, because it’s her business and not mine to relate) many doubts and questions about Judaism. For example, we discussed the possibility that any religiously traditional parent has to confront, that your children won’t grow up to follow your path. Some of our kids seem more instinctively “religious” than others. I said that while a kid’s going off the derech, the path, would give me pain, I think I would be able to live with it pretty well philosophically. Why?
Because I’m really not so sure that my path has all the answers to life’s questions all tied up in a neat little bundle. I encounter far too much improvisational malarkey in Judaism, from Jewish teachers, to think that. As we were driving home, Nika pointed out that that’s not exactly the image I portray when I write for public consumption. For example, on this blog.
But I had to disagree. I don’t always write here or anywhere everything I think about faith — God willing, I’ll do so in time, it’s not a simple matter — but I don’t write things that I don’t think. I try to confront you with the truth about what Judaism says, whether what it says is ultimately right or wrong.
There’s a fantastic amount of disinformation out there simply about the facts. A recent commenter here complained that I appeared to be pushing a Christian line of thought in advocating that we all keep our minds open to the possibility of there being scientific evidence friendly to a theistic viewpoint. The commenter, who identified herself as Jewish, seemed to think that openness to the idea of there being a creator in the world was not a Jewish way of thinking. Amazing!