Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Random Rant

Religion - at it's best- is an answer to a question, that's already been answered. It has outlived it's usefulness, it no longer serves any purpose, it does more harm than good. Statistically the less Religious a society is, the more successful, advanced, and developed it tends to be, not to even mention all the violence and killing in God's name. Science has filled in the void that Religion used to, and does a better job at it! The more we learn about the universe, the more we see how wrong Religion is, the vast majority of scientists, doctors, physicists etc. are atheists.

Religion was born out of pure ignorance, and has evolved into a monster, it's costed thousands of years of wasted focus, eight-year olds today know more about nature, the universe, and science than the biggest scholars knew just a few hundred years ago. Just imagine if all the effort that went into writing books over the last few thousand years bisecting and dissecting every aspect of religious belief, was instead spent on understanding our beautiful universe, how different would our world be today?

The Bible is packed with inaccuracies, contradictions, inconsistencies, and fallacies, not to mention racism, homophobia, sexism, and violence. As an historical document, it doesn't match any other records, nor is there any evidence to back up it's claims. Today we pick and choose what we want to take literally and what not, and we explain away anything that doesn't fit our agenda.

It wasn't that long ago that Religion was the only way to explain all the things that science does so wonderfully today, yet millions of people still stubbornly cling to Religion, mostly out of sheer ignorance. Ask any five-year old, what do you do when you get a head-ache? You pop an aspirin. Well let's think about this for a minute, aspirin (or any other medicine) was discovered by doctors, and we accept it without doubt, yet when those same doctors tell us that we share between 97-99% of the same DNA with mice we laugh at them (I won't even mention the chimps). At what point do we choose not to believe what the doctors say? When I was a kid and we would to to go to the Museum of Natural History in NY, we would skip the areas covering human evolution, and dinosaurs, and instead go to the astronomy exhibits, and all the other animal galleries, or we would be told something silly like, "all the dinosaurs were killed in the Mabul". We trust the scientists, and biologists when they teach us about birds and fish, so why do we stop trusting them when they are talking about us?

I myself was once a firm believer in God, I would laugh at the notion that we share a common ancestor with modern apes. The earth is 4.5 billion years old? Ha! What a joke. I was ignorant, I had no frame of reference, I had never been to a science class, I had never read a book about evolution or the big bang, yet I mocked them. It's easy to laugh at these notions, if all you know is what you've been taught in Cheider and Yeshiva, but as I started to educate myself they became less and less laughable. It's too easy today to get information, through the web, books, documentaries and so on.

Believe me - once you have an understanding of nature, evolution and the universe, the silly fairy tales we were taught as a kid will seem like the joke they are.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Confessions of a Koifer

I'd like to welcome you into the office for my first session, let me get comfortable on the couch, collect my thoughts, and decide where to begin. Get yourself situated too - after all, I'm not paying you hundreds of dollars an hour to listen to me complain, so I might go on for a while. I'll start with what authors call "the hook", which is supposed to grab the reader so they don't put the book down till it's done, here goes.

I was born a little while ago in the west coast to a newlywed Orthodox Jewish couple. Four years and three more kids later, my parents decided that Washington state wasn't conducive to the ever more strict Orthodox life they where leading. So we moved to a quiet little Jewish culdesac in New Jersey. Jersey brought us two more kids, and an even more rigid lifestyle, but when that proved insufficient, we moved about an hour north, to the second largest Orthodox Jewish community in North America: Rockland County, New York. In the eighteen years that followed my parents had five more kids, (that's a grand total of 11 for those of you keeping track) married off six of us, and joined a group who - ironically - very closely resemble the Taliban - minus the homicidal and/or suicidal tendencies. In the meantime I got married, had a child of my own, was hired and fired from a couple jobs, opened and closed a couple businesses, tried but failed to go to college, moved twice, but in all that time I was a good Frum Jew.

And then all hell broke loose... In the few years since then, I have cut off my beard, cut of my payes, took off my yarmulka, and I am currently enlisted in the U.S. Army. I went from being a ma'amin to a koifer b'ikor, from a true believer to an atheist, from a hard-right conservative to a libertarian, from listening to Lipa Schmeltzer to listening to Linkin Park.

What happened? What changed? Was it an early mid-life crisis? Did I lose My Mind? Was I upset at my Rebbe's for hitting me? Am I doing all this just to piss off my parents? Am I sad inside, and just running away from myself? Maybe I'm just rebelling the way many kids do as young teenagers, and if so why did it take me this long do it? How could I go from sitting in Kollel, and representing the OK, to joining the Army. Rachmunah Litzlan! (All these are questions and suggestions that people have raised about me).

These and other topics is what I hope to sort out here with your help, you'll just have to excuse my grammar, this is a learn as we go operation. (Praise Xenu for spellcheck)

I have discovered that telling my story, is at once very relieving and emotionally draining. In addition to that, it's hard to relate all the details in one sitting, I'm hoping that this setting will help overcome these issues.