Friday, March 17, 2006

I Was Lost in the Cities, Alone in the Hills

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I want to thank those who encouraged me to continue to blog and I have an obscene gesture for those who gloated at my absence.

The truth is that this blog's purpose was to examine a particular question: Is normative Judaism compatible with reason? To this end, I have sought to limit my posts in an effort to refine this blog's focus. Therefore, I don't blog politics, personal musings, or my dream journal.

Unfortunately, while this made for a quality posts, it also means that there are times when I have nothing to say. Recently, in addition to dealing with real life, there has not been much to say. I came to the j-blogosphere looking to reconcile the religion of my youth with the information I current possess. At this present moment, the results are unsatisfactory.

There are certain facts I cannot shake and any attempt to reconcile these facts with reason smack of apologia and a wishful reading of history. For example, the idea that every culture got their religion wrong and only these misguided folk are subject to the forces of history is a kicker (see this post for what I mean). Orthodox and, indeed, most stains of Judaism insist that Torah, while it may not be literally true, contained a unique deposit of divine wisdom to be mined by future generations. That this idea can be held by men of reason boggles my mind. This is similar to the belief held by many that the Jewish people have out-survived other cultures. Bosh.

The ancient cultures live on in modernism. For example, Greek ideals died in the paralysis of an inefficient government, were revived by the Roman Empire, rediscovered by the Enlightenment and affirmed the Founding Fathers. Each host culture added and changed the original, leaving its own unique imprint on a conversation begun many millennia ago.

Orthodox Judaism takes a different view of their own history. They prefer to believe that their lifestyle was sanctioned by God Himself 5,000 years ago. Bosh again.

Judaism is essentially an insular religion which discreetly reinvents itself every so often to accommodate the latest devastating body blow to its dogma. Men can devote their lives to reconciling an archaic system with a brave new world, and some do.

Others choose to live in the era to which they were born.

This isn’t a retirement post or, worse yet, one of those contemptible non-retirement retirement posts for which certain bloggers are famous. I expect that posting will remain very light unless someone finally finds a rock with “Made by God” stamped on it.