“I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

True story:

A Jewish American young man, baby boomer generation, grows up and gets married in the New York area. His wife is a nice Jewish girl. They live on Long Island.  They apparently believed themselves unable to have children, because they adopted a child, sort of through a gray market, but they got a Caucasian child, a daughter, whom they proceeded to raise Jewish.

This might have worked out, except for two things: the daughter was headstrong, articulate, thoughtful, and rebellious, none of which was consonant with the second factor,  the father’s increasing orthodoxy and observance of traditional Judaism. Dad’s increasing rigidity about the Sabbath prohibited his daughter from having a normal teenage life, constantly confining her to quarters at times when kids want to congregate and have fun.

Three miracles, three obedient Jews!

Miraculously, the couple then had three daughters, whom they proceeded to raise — and who agreed to be raised — Jewish to the max. Two of them married rabbis. They teach in yeshivas and live in a closed, pious, Jewish world, in which the toilet paper is pre-torn on Friday night (not making that up), lest one of the 39 varieties of prohibited work be committed on the Sabbath (prescribed Torah penalty: death).

The adopted daughter was forever estranged from her family because of her father’s increasing orthodoxy. His wife, tragically, died a horrible death from cancer at age 58, and he quickly remarried and moved to Israel, leaving his daughters in a state of shock as they undertook the cruel task of disposing of their mother’s possessions and effects.

Trying to get with the program

Meanwhile, the adopted daughter had been having a very rough time of it, even though she got with the parents’ Jewish program to the extent possible, played along for as long as she could, all the while clashing with her (increasingly orthodox) father.

Dad actually left the congregation of which he was president, simply because of the issue of a female rabbi.

Now, in Israel, he lives a Jewish wet dream, immerses himself in Jew stuff day and night, celebrating every single holiday, standing on a rooftop at sunrise with thousands of other Jews to commemorate the day on which the Sun was supposedly created, the whole nine yards, surrounded with people just like himself, indoctrinated daily with the specialness of the Jewish people, the inferiority of everyone else.

Torah ABCs

I say, more power to him. Everybody has the freedom to live out his few days as he likes. I would just like to point out one hypocrisy. This man who immerses himself in Torah and the Torah lore, in midrash and spinning, in Biblical disputations and all manner of nonsense and cockamamie bullshit, this man does not know his Torah ABCs.

This is a man who relentlessly punished his daughter because she was different. Leviticus 19:15 – “judge your kinsman fairly.” That doesn’t apply to Judaism itself, apparently.  The man’s religion allowed no room for question, much less resistance.

This is a man who (I’m not making this up) incarcerated his unmanageable daughter  in a mental institution under false pretenses — told her they were going to a new school — then paid for it when the insurance wouldn’t — with her bat mitzvah money. You shall not steal (Leviticus 19:13).   You shall not bear false witness (Deuteronomy 5:11).

This is a wealthy man (owner of several properties in the New York area and Israel), with a six-figure pension (from his accounting firm employer, because he wasn’t allowed to invest in the stock market) — but he won’t offer any but the most meager and niggardly help to his non-conforming atheist daughter.

This is a man who has lavished houses, educations, and much more on the obedient Jewish siblings but won’t respect the commitment he made to his adopted daughter (Numbers 30:3 — honor your commitments).

Morality is optional

This is a pious Jewish prick. There are pious Christian pricks (child-molesting priests), pious Muslim pricks (hate-preaching imams), pious pricks in every faith, simply because religious observance does not insure, does not consistently motivate ethical behavior.  Oh, sure, they make a big deal out of morality – but if you’re pious, morality is OPTIONAL!

Thus it is possible for a man, a very intelligent professional man, to consider himself thoroughly Jewish, to immerse himself in all things Jewish, but not to heed the primitive morality of the Torah that he is supposed to revere.

If religion were unfailingly to deliver a better class of people, a more moral and humane individual, and if in fact it made for the gradual and palpable improvement in the human race and the human condition, then I might see some justification for all the fantasy and ritual.

But when people cling to that fantasy and ritual and use it as a cover for immoral, inhumane behavior, then there is no excusing religion; there is only wishing for its disappearance and demise.


UPDATE: PJP (Pious Jewish Prick) is in the US so his new wife can have surgery.  For unexplained reasons he has a narrow window in which he can see his daughter and grandkids.  He's having stomach pains, so no one can know until the last moment whether they will both feel ok. 

This suspense is not necessary, but for the fact that the intervening day, during which no information can be relayed, is their damned Sabbath.  Once again his inflexibility inflicts inconvenience on others.  I mentioned above how for years it raised hell with his daughter's social life.

Sundown today is at 5:56, but for some reason he can't call till 8:00.  Gotta say prayers after Sabbath?  I think they have to be sure it's dark.  Gimme a break. 

Even worse, daughter and kids cannot even VISIT him on Sabbath, no work required on his part. They're willing to drive 2 1/2 hours each way.  I have no idea why no visitation.  Because the visitees are condoning driving?  

It would have been much better to see them on Saturday, so that the 7-year-old would not have been subjected to a tough travel day before school the next day.  But the fucking Sabbath is more imporant that a young kid's comfort, rest, and stamina.  Couldn't you, just once, bend the f'ing rules?   Who's gonna know? And more importantly...


Don't get me started on the the Jews' anal attchment to their Sabbath.  All manner of devices (e.g., non-dialing telephone; elevator that automatically stops at every floor), have been invented to fool God, who is supposed to have to put all the loopholes there so we can find them.  Oy, vey. If there's any other religion so tailored to the obsessive and compulsive, I'd like to know about it.

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Comment by Grinning Cat on July 12, 2012 at 10:27am

Victor Stenger points out in God: The Failed Hypothesis that if there were a god (with a special interest in humans, one that answers prayers, and that doesn't hide from seekers), we'd reasonably expect that god to help religious people, or religious leaders, or at least followers of "one true religion" to be more moral than the rest of us.

Needless to say, it ain't so.

Agreed about memeplexes: the successful ones replicate, with no connection to the well-being of their hosts.

Comment by Rich Goss on July 12, 2012 at 10:09am

I dig the Nietzsche quote.  The guy was way ahead of his time.

Concerning your pious Jewish story, over the years I’ve become more and more convinced of the truth of Richard Dawkin’s memetics theory.  People infected by a runaway computer virus (memeplex) seems the only reasonable answer to such peculiar behavior.  All their behavior has the singular purpose of replication of the memeplex. 


Comment by Steph S. on July 11, 2012 at 9:01pm
That was an interesting blog to read. I enjoy all your posts. I agree that there is no excusing religion for immoral and inhumane behavior.
Comment by Pat on July 11, 2012 at 8:52pm

One thing I have to take issue with in your otherwise compelling narrative is this. but if you’re pious, morality is OPTIONAL! No, it is not optional. Piety takes precedence over morality for the true devotees. Morality takes a back seat to the incantations, rituals, and outward observances of the religious zealot. To quote a line from one my favorite movies, The Man From Earth, "Piety is not what the lessons bring to people. It's the mistake people bring to the lessons." In your example above, repeated countless times in countless cults every day, it is the rules of the cult that take precedence over love, decency, dignity, humanity and honor. To paraphrase the American author H.L Mencken, "Religion is the haunting fear that somewhere, someone, might be happy."



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