Introduction (with assorted musings)

*A repost from my other blog. Nobody ever visits it lol.*

My name is unimportant, but I would like to give some background information about myself so as to allow a more intimate transfer of information.

I was born in summer of 1986 to my father, Bob, and mother, Jennifer (not real names). Needless to say, they were overjoyed with the newest and first addition to their family. Let's just go with the name Raphael, which was bestowed upon their screaming and slimy child, shortly after birth.

The joy of my parents was mitigated over time by exasperation interspersed with periods of anger and helplessness as they realized they had a difficult child on their hands. In the Israeli nursery school that I was entrusted to, it was necessary to lock me in a separate room during naptime, as I had the unfortunate habit of jumping from mat to mat, and consequently the sleeping children on those mats, and biting or kicking them. This rambunctious behavior continued throughout my childhood.

I was kicked out of many schools (interestingly only the religious schools that I was put in), and I attribute this to my constant clowning and defiant behavior. I recieved diagnoses of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). Ritalin was administered, and this helped to calm me significantly, if at the expense of some of my natural personality. I cannot blame my parents or the professionals involved, considering my behavior.

When I was around the age of 8, my parents, always having been somewhat traditional Jews, decided to continue down the path of supposed self awakening and soulseeking, known in Jewish circles as "Teshuva" (translates roughly to repentance). In fact, I played a role in this, as my best friend at the time was attending the Orthodox synagogue on Saturdays, and I wanted to play with him, rather than sit at the Conservative Temple with no playmates.

Thus started a period of time that I do not remember fondly. One reason was that I was not allowed to watch Saturday morning cartoons (opening and closing electric circuits is forbidden during Sabbath), and being woken at extremely early hours to pray with my father before school.

I was a child and I trusted my parents, and believed in the things that they did. I was placed in Orthodox Jewish schools, where the curriculum consists halfway of (poorly taught) secular subjects, and mind numbingly boring Talmudic study.

For instance, one topic of interest in the Talmud is the laws governing the treatment of an animal that attacks someone's neighbor, all variables are considered, from placement of the fence, to strength of the gate, and past history of the animal, everything is agonized over, and obscure references are made from the Old Testament to reach conclusions. For some reason, these laws are considered holy, and worthy of study, regardless of practical relevance to modern day life (good logic exercises though, regardless of faulty premise). In fact, the reverence for learning these laws is practically orgiastic.

I was a troublesome child in the classroom, often asking questions, such as, "If god loves the Jews so much, then why did he allow the Holocaust?" With the intuitively unsatisfying response sure to follow, "His ways are mysterious.", or "Testing the Jews.", and other such rationalization for a being that is supposedly benevolent AND all powerful.

I was taught that something does not need to be detectable in any way, to be real. I rebelled against this on a very instinctual level. Additionally, the artificial restraints placed on me by the strict laws of Judaism did not exactly help me to want to continue in my practice of Orthodox Jewry (by no means was this my driving rationale behind my lack of faith).

It is interesting to note, that in religious circles, faith is considered a virtue. While anywhere else, it is seen as gullibility and stupidity. For instance, if I told you to turn a nob, for hours and hours everyday, without telling you what it does, or why you are turning it, would you do it? What if I offered you $1,000,000? A tempting proposition is it not? But wouldn't you want to at least see the money?!

Anyways, back on topic. By the age of 13, I was agnostic, yet still in Orthodox Jewish schools, due to my parents' fervent religiosity. There were often heated discussions at the Sabbath table, consisting of my point, lack of evidence for creationism, and my parents' (and their guests') response that you need faith. Faith is not something that I ever held in esteem (at least not from an age where I could think).

Tension between me and my father escalated in a very bad way, and while distance allows us to remain fond of one another now (and my ability to behave respectfully towards his views), I'm sure that he will never have the same feelings for me as he does of his other children. It is difficult to be the black sheep, but I feel like I have reintegrated with the family, and that they have come to terms with my dissenting worldview.

I bear no ill will to religious people, but I do have a certain level of disrespect for faith, and other non logic mediated internal processes. I am averse to it in much the same way as I am averse to any other form of dishonesty.

I look forward to posting again in the future. Take care.

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Comment by Matt A on March 29, 2010 at 12:23am
Thanks for the feedback guys! I will be sure to post some more in the future.
Comment by Secular Sue on March 28, 2010 at 4:37am
Hooray for black sheep!



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