Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Remember Us Not As Lost, Violent Souls, But Only As The Hollow Men

Ba'al Tshuvas Anonymous joins the j-blogosphere. For a brief history see here.

BTA seeks to address the issues confronting ba'alei tshuvas (tshuvot?) who find themselves dissatisfied with their adopted religiosity and right back at square one. I am not sure whether or not ba'alei tshuvas who find themselves in this uncomfortable position face challenges substantially different than a frum-from-birth Jew who similiarly finds him/herself in the same situation.

Excerpted from my comments on BTA's initial post:
I think we face a very similar dilemna as to where you go from here. Orthodox Judaism is not something you can easily walk away from if you are a rational, stable person.

One more point that addresses the difference between a FFB and a BT going off the derech, and I guess you can tell me if this happened to you. The absolutely worse part about losing your faith is that you suddenly assume the identity of the "other." Like through out my Yeshiva years, we would hear about the "other." The secular scientist hellbent on disproving religion, the rebellious teenager who falls into drugs and promiscuous sex, and the middle-aged man who suddenly divorced his wife, left his kids and the derech. And upon hearing each horror story, you pat yourself on the back, smile at your buddies and think, "Gee, thank God I am not like them. I'll never be so evil. Suns may rise and also set, but at least I will never do that."

And after the turning point in the crisis of faith (when you realize that using religion to search for the answer is of no use, since the answer is right in front of you, but you don't want to accept it) you realize that you came to the same conclusions "they" did, and while some may have had problems, and perhaps they used faulty reasoning to get where they did, ultimately you and "they" are now in the same boat, or in what I like to dramatically refer to as the Wasteland.
The most frustrating part, for me at least, is the desire to have the "answers" given to you by some philosopher/rabbi/scientist. The answers are in front of us, but our reluctance to accept them is what drives the human condition.