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Comment: Equal marriage is a test for my Jewish Orthodox faith

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  1. Do you believe in ‘god’?

    Surely common sense (not to mention science) dictates that the ‘god’ thing is simply a fictional construct, which was designed to give meaning to the lives of people thousands of years ago.

    ‘God’ is an anachronism in the 21st century.

    Why not be simply culturally jewish and reject the theology parts?

    I mean I’m a cultural catholic in the sense that I enjoy christmas and like getting together with friends and family for a meal on that day.

    I’m still an atheist though.

    1. Get a life david. Why is it that you can’t resist commenting on every religious piece on PN? The debate is not about whether people should be religious, it’s about civil rights, that includes religious freedom. Whilst not being religious, most of us in civilised society believe that religious freedom should exist and is a good thing, unlike you – you seem to want religious thought and expression banned, is that correct?. You are a bigot and a bully and your arguments are trite and uninsightful. Accept that not everyone views the world as you do.

      1. Religious freedom is indeed a civil right (in the sense that you should be free to believe whatever you like).

        However freedom of religion should never be allowed to suppress other people’s civil rights.

        Whenever the pope or chief rabbi or imam discusses homosexuality they do NOT simply say ‘We don’t approve’. They also try to suppress LGBT civil rights through the legal system.

        That is incredibly sinister

        That’s why I often comment on religious articles.

        Just as you have a right to defend your faith, I have the right to point out that I find it utterly absurd, and to ask these religious people to STOP trying to interfere with the state.

        1. Firstly, I have no religious faith – unlike you, however, I do care about the well-being of people of faith, rather than simply trying to mock them.

          Secondly, this article has nothing to do with religious leaders suppressing civil rights: it’s about a personal struggle, which will be familiar to many people. Your attempts at belittling the author show your bigotry right up.

          Thirdly, religious freedom is not merely about belief, but about freedom of religious expression, which you seem to be totally against. At the very least you don’t seem to be able to let other people express religious views with mounting an unsolicited attack. Nasty, intolerant.

          1. Christopher in Canada 5 Oct 2012, 9:38pm

            You both are conveniently ignoring the fact that all religions are proselytizers, inferring that those who do not subscribe to their belief systems are “less than”, damned, goyim, infidels, worthy of death, etc. If religion were TRULY personal, this conversation would be moot.

          2. @Christopher in Canada (below)

            All religions are not proselytizers — just Abrahamic ones (Christianity, Islam, and Judiaism). Eastern relgions, including Hinduism, Shinto-ism (?), Buddhism do not proselytize at all. Indeed, growing up as a Hindu, I was always taught at (a rather conservative) temple that it wasn’t important whether I believed in God or not — what is important to achieve heaven/emancipation of the soul/ however you want to describe nirvana is that we be honest and good

          3. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:18am

            Mike…
            …”I’m still an atheist though.” Did you miss where dAVID wrote this line. Or are you like most Abrahamic cultists, wilfully ignoring that which you cannot argue with. As most undeluded by the Abrahamic cults people would say religion is a freedom too far when it uses that freedom to demand that some people should not enjoy the equalities the rest of society does…

      2. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:35am

        @Mike….
        ….”you seem to want religious thought and expression banned, is that correct” …. I don’t think anyone on these threads would advocate restricting freedom of religion. However, I for one think it should be confined to churches, temples, synagogues and peoples own homes and not imposed on the rest of society, especially those of us who regard such superstition as that, superstition.
        That the religiously deluded also seek to impose such superstition on the laws of the land is doubly concerning to any democratic society is another reason to ban all mention of religion outside those places designated. That religion also seeks to deny full equality to some sections of human society is yet another reason for censure of such superstition. Politicians who let their religious delusion colour their policies should not be in politics but in the pulpit where such delusion belongs.

        1. You’re just contradicting yourself there… you don’t think anyone here wants to restrict religious freedom but you think all mention of it should be banned outside of designated places?

          1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 11:56am

            @Mike…
            ….I just noticed that.
            “freedom of religion” should read “freedom of religious thought”. . Thank you I prob wouldn’t have noticed that but for your kind flag…

    2. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:25am

      @dAVID…
      … I also was raised in the Roman catholic cult and like you i enjoy the midwinter festival xtians call Christmas. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia at this time of year and the xtians hijacked it for their own ends, even though the fictional character called Jesus Christ was supposedly not born until February or March. They also hijacked Estrus the old pagan festival of Spring and renewal, and called it Easter for some reason. So when i celebrate the Mid winter festival I make no reference to “christmas” but simply refer to The Holidays.

      1. How DARE you dis-respect Santa Claus, Paddyswurds?

        He’s the QUEEN of christmas!

        1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 2:16am

          LOL….
          I twigged on about the same time I realised Santa was fiction, that religion was also fiction….

      2. No, they didn’t hijack the festival of Saturn, nor Estrus, as you rather laughably call it. That is a discredited theory which was put about by our puritan ancestors in an attempt to discredit both festivals – and, indeed, anything joyful. In fact, the various calendars in use at the time that Christianity was organising itself were so contradictory that the emergence of the various dates of the various Christian festivals was a pretty hit and miss affair and until the standardisation of the Western calendar just under sixteen hundred years later the dates that Christians used simply didn’t match up with any pagan festivals – the dates and the celebrations of which we are mostly guessing at, anyway, since the so-called ancient pagan festivals are actually modern constructs guessed at and invented over the last couple of hundred years. Actually the birthdate of Jesus was well known to early Christians and was certainly in our late December and not at any other time.

        1. Furthermore, there are independent mentions of Jesus in works by non-Christian Roman authors such as Flavius Josephus – the great chronicler of Jewish history – and Tacitus, so we know that the central character of Christianity actually existed. However, whether or not he was divine in the Christian sense is, of course, a matter of faith.

          Now, you are always saying that you don’t believe in God because there is no proof of His existence other than faith (which you claim is silly and misplaced).. That’s OK, but you deride those of us who do so believe. Therefore, let me ask you to do one thing: prove, objectively, that God does NOT exist. Appeals to so-called reason or common sense won’t do – I want OBJECTIVE proof that God does NOT exist that will stand up against all objections. I freely admit that I cannot provide such objective proof of His existence, just faith based proof, a fact you exploit mercilessly, but can you provide proof of His non-existence that will stand up?

          1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 12:09pm

            @JMJ…
            ….”just faith based proof” Lol.. The onus is on you rather to prove that “god” exists. Who, would you like to venture, created “god” and who created the entity that created the entity that created “god” and so on ad infinitum… Man created “god” when he was unable to explain where the sun went at night and so on. Re; Jesus, Why one wonders , did he not put man right on some of the glaring mistakes that man had made about the earth being a globe, the Solar system, where the Sun is at the centre, Dinosaurs etc when he was here?
            I won’t get into a discussion with you about your delusion because to do so lends your delusion credence it simply does not deserve….

          2. The evidence for a historical Jesus figure is incredibly meagre and unsound. Two or three vague references, none of them contemporary, all of which are highly problematic in provenance and interpretation. But that doesn’t matter, because even if there was a historical figure, or several of them, of that name at that time, he clearly wasn’t anything other than a regular human being.

            Also, in order to provide evidence for a proposition, one must first come up with a clear and concrete definition of that concept. “God” is such a vague, ill-defined, nebulous and unspecific idea that it is essentially meaningless. When your lot has come up with a testable scientific definition of what a god is, we’ll talk.

            And, actually, the absence of evidence IS evidence of absence in situations where we would EXPECT evidence to accrue. There is no evidence that I have a third leg for instance, and that’s evidence that I don’t. It’s the same for your “gods”. Whatever they are…

        2. ...Paddyswurds 7 Oct 2012, 3:07pm

          The Romans left pretty good records and Saturnalia was definitely co-opted as Xmas by the early christians, Roman emperor Constantine to be exact. Easter is a christian hijack of the spring festival of Eostré, widely celebrated throughout pagan Europe. Excuse my earlier spelling (which you would have recognised, had you known what you are talking about) . The Romans who, as I said left pretty good records, have made no mention whatever of any such person as Jesus in Palestine which they ruled at that time, neither does Jewish records make any mention of the event or person you claim was a “god”. Your ignorant and intellectually bereft claim that “so-called ancient pagan festivals are actually modern constructs” is doubly telling of where you come and to argue with you or your ilk is an exercise in futility as your education seems to be woefully wanting and based entirely on your “holy book”……..

    3. The Chief Rabbi took an oath of office to uphold the traditions of Judaism. Why criticise him for upholding his faith?. David and Jonathan were thought to be having a homosexual relationsip-see 1 samuel 20 v30. This did’nt stop David from being kng.and from him Christ is supposed to descend so can we lose the idea that judaism is a source of religious homphobia? Iam also an orthodox Jew and wonder what book. Mr Kasim used becazuse my yom kippur book makes no reference to homsexuality. Judaism is not a culture, it is a religion. Givie up yourJewisih
      practice and belief because you will only suffer is the offer the Inquisition made. The Inquisition, the ancient eegyptians and other oppressors have gone but the Jews survive because of our faith. Being gay is imoportant but keeping judaism as a living religionis even more so

      1. “The Chief Rabbi took an oath of office to uphold the traditions of Judaism. Why criticise him for upholding his faith?”

        Because the hateful bigot is campaigning to deny our community our civil rights.

        he deserves condemnation for his stupidity and bigotry.

  2. People can be gay and be Jewish. I remember a Jewish guy who ate bacon every so often and had a Christmas tree too. Nothing wrong with that in my view. He’s not hurting anyone.

    1. Well the jewish and muslim prohibition on eating pork should be regarded as a cultural thing.

      Seeing as there is no ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ or ‘god’, if a jew or a muslim eats pork it is simply a choice that they reject that cultural aspect of their religion.

      It’s not like they’ll go to ‘hell’ for it.

      1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:41am

        “it’s not like they’ll go to ‘hell’ for it.” … a fictional place invented by the Persians about 3500 years ago an co opted by the Abrahamic cults in the last 300 years. …

    2. ...Paddyswurds 7 Oct 2012, 3:22pm

      @jim..
      …”People can be gay and be Jewish.”… if they e fools that is.
      The “Jewish” guy you knew simply wasn’t Jewish in the religious sense and only maybe was culturally Jewish although I do agree he was probably hurting no one.
      I still say anyone who is a member of any organisation that vilifies a section of humanity because of how they were born is despicable and is definitely doing harm. Would you say for instance that Jews who worked with the Naz1s weren’t doing harm or the detestable Vichy in France weren’t doing harm? Of course they were and same goes for any Gay person who claims to belong to the vile Abrahamic cults, who daily seek to deny Gay people their rights, equal with the rest of civil society.. and please don’t give me the shyte that not all religious hate Gay people or that they hate the “sin” not the “sinner” No man is an island and any right thinking person would stand up to those who vilify us and say No and seek to change their cults but they don’t…….

  3. Incidentally why is equal marriage a test for your faith.

    Equal civil marriage has nothing to do with religion after all.

    Simply because the chief rabbi or pope or whoever is opposed to equal civil rights for LGBT people in no way justifies denial of those civil rights (which is what marriage is) to a law abiding, taxpaying minority group.

    1. Not all religions are cruelly bigoted. Although im defiantly not a fan of the conservative religions.

      Some progressive religons actually try and provide proof that a higher state of existence exists.

      1. There is no higher state Charlie.

        Your life on earth, right now, is the sum of your existence.

        Sorry if that offends,

        But it’s the truth.

        Ruth.

        1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:44am

          …Agreed
          Man is simply the universe made sentient, nothing more or less…

      2. Charlie

        The dogmatic Abrahamic religions have given spirituality a bad name. It’s important to recognise the difference between the two, as you do in your post.

        I’ve written a couple of posts below about this. The problem is that people can only find out in their own experience (e.g. by meditating) whether higher states of consciousness exist. I like modern Buddhism as it is non-dogmatic, non-theistic, and non-homophobic; and it encourages people to experiment in their own lives with meditation and the teachings, and test them in the fires of their experience, rather than telling them what they have to believe and do. For me, it accesses areas that science has not reached (yet).

        But as far as higher states of consciousness are concerned, I am aware that people will only explore this in their own time, if and when the time becomes right for them to do so. In this life, for many, it never will.

        1. I agree with you completely Gazza. i to admire many of the principles of Modern Buddhism to :). It shows many principles of love and respect for different diverse sections of society and tries to privde that proof and knowledge of a higher existence while admitting that Science cant explain everything.

          Probably part of the reason why i am a Spiritualist aside from the fact that myself my mother ,grandmother and greatgrandfather are or (were in the case of my greatgrandfather who passed on) psychically aware.

        2. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 12:14pm

          Amazingly agree with you, Gazza for once….

          1. Thank you, Paddyswurds!

  4. He’s cute.

    1. I agree. :D

      But the points made are quite interesting and I’m sure they resonate with many readers. I personally rejected faith before accepting being gay, but the two things remained in opposition for some years.

      “I cannot simply ignore the fact that contained within its teachings are elements that not only disagree with my ‘lifestyle’, but also seek for me to apologise and feel guilty for who I am.” – this is the crux of the issue for me; when religions seek to act in this way, they lose any claim to being moral belief systems.

      The article itself could do with further editorial review as there are a couple of typos still in it.

      1. hear hear, the intellectual aspect of his article adds to the cuteness immensely.

        1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 2:01am

          @Ben…
          ….I find it very difficult to equate religious delusion with intellectualism. Constant references to an imaginary deity, “god” can hardly be considered intellectual or even sensible. It indicates a life beleaguered and sullied by an anguish from brainwashing begun at the very start of this young man’s life, including the horrendous mutilation of his body by a self appointed man of “god”. Something he cannot ever escape from no matter how hard he tries. He will live his life constantly reminded of his “uncleanliness and sinfulness” and will die, unrequited. It is unfortunate that his life should be blighted by such anguish…. i have great pity for one so deluded.

    2. Very cute :) Brown hair, brown eyes, slim, hot . My type. :)

  5. Do the Orthodox Jews still refuse to eat with Egyptians? Execute women who fail to report their own rapes? Stone blasphemers to death?
    They appeal to selective supernatural beliefs to give respectability to their prejudices. In this they are no different to evangelical or fundamentalist Christians.

  6. Judaism is over 5000 years old.
    Christianity is over 2000 years old.
    Islam is over 1500 years old.

    This was at a time when the vast majority of people were illiterate and ignorant about science; mathematics; and they did not know the earth was round.

    Why on earth should the bible or torah or qu’ran be regarded as an authority on anything.

    These books should be regarded purely as historical documents, which have justified endless wars down through the millenia.

    (Although I suppose the message ‘Treat other people as you would like to be treated’ is a good message – no reference to ‘god’ there!)

    1. Actually islam is only about 1350 years old. Well, the bits that weren’t plagiarized from christianity, judaism and native arabian polytheistic traditions, which is most of it.

  7. Mumbo Jumbo 5 Oct 2012, 6:24pm

    “My Judaism is still as integral to who I am as my homosexuality.”

    No, it really isn’t.

    You can wake up tomorrow and decide to be a Hindu or whatever. You cannot wake up tomorrow and decide to be straight.

    One is innate, the other is taught.

    Born somewhere else and you could have been a Muslim.

    1. Indeed.

      Your age, race, sex, sexual orientation, height are innate.

      Your religion (and indeed your cultural identity) can always be changed.

    2. Of course religion is a choice. But those who have been successfully brainwashed do not see it that way. Therefore it is very hard for some people to reconcile their homosexuality with information that has been hard-wired into them since birth. Though born into a devout Catholic family, I never believed a word of it. I was lucky. Many are more susceptible.

    3. de Villiers 7 Oct 2012, 2:56pm

      It is not for you to tell people what is or is not a part of their identity. Religion for many people is no more of a choice than is ones desire for a particular food or music – one finds ones religion and/or is driven to it. One cannot choose on a particular day of the week not to believe. It is not susceptible to choice.

      The rupture from people and their religion can be traumatic – as with any part of one’s identité. Many people in this board so classic signs of denial that they are not merely atheist as angry with their original religion and that they have never got over splitting from it.

      1. But you can rupture people from their religion.

        It may be hurtful but it is possible.

        If you are black (or white) then genetically you always will be.

        Surely you can see the difference.

        Religion is a choice (a very foolish choice)

        1. de Villiers 11 Oct 2012, 9:36pm

          No more a choice than the music one likes or the food one likes.

  8. He seems like a good guy. Thoughtfully evaluating his community. Whatever you think of religion (not a lot, in my case), one has to admire the stand Oliver is taking. Probably not many in his position are making such courageous choices.

    1. Absolutely!

      Despite being (technically) Jewish myself, I have as little time for religion as you, Cal. However, this young man cares about his heritage and traditions, and seems to be making sensible, well-considered efforts to balance his beliefs with his sexuality.

      Now, if only he could persuade his (OK, our) fellow Jews to see sense…

      1. Oh, I just noticed the photo. A bit of a cutie, as well! :)

    2. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 2:07am

      @Cal….
      ….. “not many in his position are making such courageous choices.” Hardly a courageous choice. The decision to dump the religious delusion he suffers would be courageous. One has to wonder at the calibre of his education and if it was also coloured by the brainwashing inflicted in schools attached to the other Abrahamic cults…

      1. Well of course there is brainwashing involved, Paddy. That’s how the religions do things, as well you know. Whether he dumps his beliefs is a matter of faith. It is also courageous to be part of his community and speak out.

        1. ...Paddyswurds 8 Oct 2012, 12:12pm

          Yes he is speaking out to us, his peers, but is he trying to make a difference in the cult he belongs to That is wher the real speaking needs to be to try and get the Religious cults to recognise the harm they are doing with their delusions and lies….

  9. A well-written and reflective piece, Oliver. Sounds as though you are casting off those shackles, and that you are on an important journey.

    1. Indeed. Keep going, young man! It really does get better!

  10. Thats sad that he has had to leave his faith because of others bigotry.

    1. Religion is a choice,

      No-one is making him do anything.

      Being jewish (or christian, muslim, hindu, scientologist, buddhist…) is a choice.

    2. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 2:10am

      Rather it is sad that his life and innate sexuality has been blighted by the bigotry and homophobia of the religion he was taught….

      1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 2:11am

        Reply to James…

    3. Michael Barnett 7 Oct 2012, 12:34pm

      Oliver has done himself a favour.

  11. Oliver, so sexy.

  12. Anyone can follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Candomblé, etc. No one is born with a religion, and everyone must be free to choose their own.

    1. And everyone must also be free to reject the concept of ‘god’.

      ‘God’ is fake.

      People need to learn this.

      1. I agree. The case of this attractive young man can be described as classic. He must have been born in a family with a strong religious ethos, and brought up with religious rules, but he must learn he is free to choose his own set of beliefs.

    2. one.second 8 Oct 2012, 2:28pm

      or none.

  13. Please don’t judge me for this, but I have to tell.

    I’ve had jewish, muslim, christian, and atheist cock.

    The atheists have the least issues..

    Always/

    1. But I’m not a slut.

      (Actually, I’m a London-living, atheist, Irish boy who enjoys the religions of London very much – especially up close.)

      1. de Villiers 7 Oct 2012, 3:00pm

        David, that really explains much.

    2. dAVID

      I’m all for casting aside inhibitions in the right contexts ;) but am wondering whether it jars a little bit on a discussion thread like this to read exactly how you have expressed your point; it’s perhaps not up to your usual standards of eloquence!

      Perhaps a Friday night glass of wine played a part; or perhaps the unwritten “rules” about avoiding sexual references in formal, public contexts are part of our religious cultural conditioning. Who knows.

      There is a point in your post. Religious indoctrination can screw people up sexually. But there is also a difference between someone simply being born into a certain religious culture, and someone who buys into the said belief system. It is the latter group that is far more harmed.

  14. Paddyswurds/ No, they didn’t hijack the festival of Saturn, nor Estrus, as you rather laughably call it. That is a discredited theory which was put about by our puritan ancestors in an attempt to discredit both festivals – and, indeed, anything joyful. In fact, the various calendars in use at the time that Christianity was organising itself were so contradictory that the emergence of the various dates of the various Christian festivals was a pretty hit and miss affair and until the standardisation of the Western calendar just under sixteen hundred years later the dates that Christians used simply didn’t match up with any pagan festivals – the dates and the celebrations of which we are mostly guessing at, anyway, since the so-called ancient pagan festivals are actually modern constructs guessed at and invented over the last couple of hundred years. Actually the birthdate of Jesus was well known to early Christians and was certainly in our late December and not at any other time.

    1. Furthermore, there are independent mentions of Jesus in works by non-Christian Roman authors such as Flavius Josephus – the great chronicler of Jewish history – and Tacitus, so we know that the central character of Christianity actually existed. However, whether or not he was divine in the Christian sense is, of course, a matter of faith.

      Now, you are always saying that you don’t believe in God because there is no proof of His existence other than faith (which you claim is silly and misplaced).. That’s OK, but you deride those of us who do so believe. Therefore, let me ask you to do one thing: prove, objectively, that God does NOT exist. Appeals to so-called reason or common sense won’t do – I want OBJECTIVE proof that God does NOT exist that will stand up against all objections. I freely admit that I cannot provide such objective proof of His existence, just faith based proof, a fact you exploit mercilessly, but can you provide proof of His non-existence that will stand up?

      1. F*** off JMJ.

        Until your religion stops trying to deny LGBT people their equal civil rights, you have no right to comment.

        You are welcome in this conversation, if you reject religion in public life.

        Otherwise please f*** off.

        1. My religion does not deny LGBT people our equal civil rights. This site (PinkNews) just a few months ago pointed out to you that more than sixty-three percent of all Christians in the UK support equal rights. You seem very unwilling to accept that and, indeed, to accept the fact that there will always be people who actually disagree with you and that they have a right to do so and to see the world in a way that is different from your perception of it – it’s called freedom and is obviously something you don’t want anyone who disagrees with you, even in the slightest, to have. So, in conclusion, I think you you should f*** off and take your dictatorial fascism elsewhere.

          1. de Villiers 7 Oct 2012, 3:03pm

            JMJ, you are following the wrong points in asking for proof of non-existence. One cannot prove negatives. And one does not believe in default of proof of non existence of god.

          2. Rubbish, of course one can prove a negative – there are numerous ways both philosophicaland mathematical, and in propositional logic. I didn’t expect to find that hoary old myth trotted out yet again. Euclid points the way and modern mathematicians like Turing, Godel and von Lindeman have refined the methods.

            However, even the slightest acquaintance with logic would have sufficed for you to realise that what you write is mathematical and philosophical nonsense which was put to bed aeons ago by brains far more agile and informed than your’s..

          3. Midnighter 10 Oct 2012, 1:32pm

            Equally JMJ those who believe in a god are making an assertion which puts the obligation on them to prove it.

            As a non believer all one is not making an assertion, but rejecting an unproven one.

            By asking a non believer to prove their non belief you are yourself being illogical and disingenuous.

          4. I replied to you further down this thread by saying: “I have no proof that God either exists or does not exist – that is my point, the point I have been trying to make for years. Either way, it’s a matter of belief, faith if you like, but there is no proof that can stand up to scrutiny one way or the other – there is just belief or faith, that’s all.”

            Atheism IS a position is based on an assertion, given that humankind has largely believed in God for a long time and, what is more, many believe that the various ancient texts are proofs of such a God’s existence and use them as such, as well as having what they describe as objective first-hand experience of God. Simply because one disapproves of the evidence and doubts the ‘eyewitnesses’ (so to speak) and then states that a belief in God is only faith, doesn’t give one the right to argue that disbelief, also unsupported by any evidence and also a personal choice, is anything other than an assertion of a contrary belief.

          5. Midnighter 11 Oct 2012, 9:40pm

            “Atheism IS a position is based on an assertion, ”
            I consider myself an agnostic to make that distinction. I make no claims either way, I’m merely unconvinced by your nonsense.

            “given that humankind has largely believed in God for a long time”
            An old misconception is not a valid one merely by dint of that age, and the history of your religion hasn’t been accompanied by unmitigated agreement. How arrogant of you to suggest otherwise.

            “and, what is more, many believe” the veracity of a thing is not improved merely by the number who believe it to be so.

            “Simply because one disapproves of the evidence” PRECISELY because there is no ‘evidence that is remotely compelling in the existence of a supernatural entity I am unconvinced. Any disapproval is reserved for your gullability in its absence.

            “disbelief, also unsupported by any evidence” oh don’t be silly. Disbelief exists as a result of the absence of evidence.

          6. de Villiers 11 Oct 2012, 9:41pm

            JMJ, you are very rude for some reason. Those to whom you have referred do not assist in you in your argument in stating that one belief in a proposition unless it is disproved.

            Euclid’s theorem’s are of no proper relevance. Similarly, Godel’s incompleteness theorems relating to true but unproveable statements of the natural numbers operate within other stated axioms. They do not assist you in your assertions for God.

            You are looking in the wrong place for proof of god, which comes from art and not from mathematics.

      2. X = { Set of all observable things in the world }
        O(Z) = function OccumsRazor() –> returns the number of indirect observations that come from the passed observation.

        If the number of indirectly observables is greater than X, we can conclude it fails the Occum Razor test and is false. Similarly, if X’ is the set of all unknown things, then O’(Z) would have the same rule apply.

        O(God) < X = false, therefore the emphasis is on proof of god, not disproof.

        People should live their lives however they feel fit though. If god makes you happy, then good for you!

        1. Your reasoning is totally spurious and false. Clarksian presuppositional apologetics disproves the way you used Occam’s razor which, in itself, is only a philosophical theory that is just as often wrong in the deductions drawn by using it as it is correct – William of Ockham’s theory is merely philosophy, not fact, and that seems to have escaped you. Even if one uses occam in conjunction with Bayesian models then the occam facor simply becomes intractable and one has to use a variety of approximations such as Akaike’s Information Criterion approach to get so-called best fits. So, your use of Occam does not, and cannot, disprove the existence of God.

          1. Midnighter 10 Oct 2012, 1:38pm

            “William of Ockham’s theory is merely philosophy, not fac”
            And the existence of god is merely philosophy, not fact. If you are so keen on proof, lets see yours.

          2. I have no proof that God either exists or does not exist – that is my point, the point I have been trying to make for years. Either way, it’s a matter of belief, faith if you like, but there is no proof that can stand up to scrutiny one way or the other – there is just belief or faith, that’s all.

      3. so we know that the central character of Christianity actually existed

        Neither Josephus nor Tacitus were even born within the supposed lifetime of Jesus, and their glancing references to a past individual around whom a cult had formed hardly constitute proof.

        1. Quite correct, but they were recording a strong oral tradition in a largely illiterate society wherein the handing on of knowledge and memories by using traditional oral storytelling techniques was extremely widely practised. The writers, a few more than four if recension experts are correct, of the Gospels relied heavily on several different oral traditions which is why the Bible incorporated all four and refuses to say that one is definitive. Amongst ancient writers in the years after Christ’s death, including the writers of the Gospels, one can discern the usual heavy reliance on oral tradition when reporting history. There is no doubt about the existence of Christ as detailed in Josephus, Tacitus, the Mara letter (in ca. AD73), Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Lucian and Celsus, to name but a few, and the Talmud, a central text of mainstream Judaism second only to the Torah, mentions Jesus the Nazarene several times.

          1. What is more, all modern reputable scholars such as Robert E. van Voorst, Grahm Stanton, Louis H. Feldman, Bart D. Ehrman, Christopher Tuckett and Andreas Kostenberger, to name just a few of the most prominent of them, clearly state that the idea of the non-historicity of Christ is just a nonsense. Graham Stanton goes even further and states that “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed” (from ‘The Gospels and Jesus’ by Graham Stanton, 1989, ISBN 0192132415, Oxford University Press, page 145). As I said previously, Jesus Christ existed – that’s fact. Whether of not he was divine as Christians believe – that’s faith.

            Faith and History are two different things so do try not to mix them up. You obviously badly want Jesus not to have existed because you hate Christianity, but really you don’t need to challenge historical facts in order to hate Christianity and Christians – even gay Christians – hatred on this site, and your’s, never needs reasons.

          2. I don’t “hate” Christians, you’re becoming hysterical and sound rather silly. You need to tighten up your definition of the words historical fact.

          3. You certainly come across as hating Christians and as willing to pervert facts to further such hatred, but then it might just be your writing style. I don’t suppose that mine is any better, either.

          4. No, I don’t need to tighten MY definition of historical fact – you need to examine YOUR definition. You could start by borrowing the books written by the mainly secular and non-believing history scholars I’ve named above from your local public library and then reading them. You might actually find that historical facts are completely different from your strange beliefs about history – but then again, you don’t strike me as the sort of person susceptible to rational argument. You’re more the type that would never let the facts stand in the way of thoroughgoing prejudice.

          5. My my, what a load of assumptions. They speak volumes for your capacity for jumping to conclusions based upon scant evidence. I am therefore unconvinced, in turn, of your susceptibility to rational argument.

    2. and was certainly in our late December and not at any other time

      So likely, with shepherds watching their flocks by night in mid-winter.

      …Why are we even mentioning Christian mythology in a discussion about orthodox Judaism?

      1. Shepherds watched over their flocks all through the year in the ancient world and in some more primitive societies do so even today. It is only the introduction of modern farming methods in this country over the last two hundred years that has seen the practice die out here. It was always essential to protect valuable flocks from human raiders and wild carnivores.

        Also, mid-winter in the Holy Land is unlikely, in an average winter, to be as cold as mid-winter in more northery countries such as ours. In any event, gathering flocks together, building fires and taking it in turns to patrol at night were, and still are in some places, necessary to protect the sheep from marauders and wild animals.

        1. I’m sure your knowledge of animal husbandry in western Asia 2 millennia ago is greater than mine, indeed no doubt you are an expert, but if what you say is true why does anyone question it?

          1. Because there are people who simply can’t stand the idea that any aspect of Christianity (or any religious belief, come to that) might have a grain of fact about it. A low-level campaign of distortion and vilification has been waged against religious beliefs (in this country, against Christianity in particular) for some years now. I can see why numbers of we gay people might feel badly about Christianity but as to why it seems necessary to destroy the faith of many people by slanders, lies and distortions of the truth I just don’t know. One of the more knowleadgeable commenters on this thread pointed out that religions, just like everything else, change over time and there is certainly copious evidence that Christians in this country have changed in large numbers over recent years. As I pointed out earlier, some 63% of all Christians in the UK support equal gay marriage as reported by this site (PinkNews). Questioning Christianity is a good thing – lieing about it is not.

          2. it seems necessary to destroy the faith of many people by slanders, lies and distortions of the truth

            Pish. Can’t be much to this ‘faith’ if it’s so easily destroyed then, can there? Faith and Reason are antonyms – believe what you will, just don’t try and justify it by arguing that any inconvenient historical research is flawed.

            And may I ask once again, why exactly are you harping on about Christianity on a thread attached to an article on Orthodox Judaism?

    3. roderious 6 Oct 2012, 4:50pm

      About the only thing we can be absolutely certain of is that the birthdate of Jesus was not in December, the Bible clearly states thata there were shepherds tending their flocks in the hills at the time, which certainly would not have been the case in mid winter. The most likely time woulf be the spring when the sheep are lambing.

      The Bible is also clear that Herod was king at the time, yet he is believed to have died in the year 4 BC.

      1. Utter rubbish – see my reply to Rehan (above).

      2. Which Jesus are you talking about?

        There was more than 1

        1. Almost all reputable historians agree about the historicity of Jesus (not necessarily the divinity – that’s faith, not history). The various conspiracy theories, weird beliefs and anti-religious confabulations that you choose to believe in are your own affair and you have a right to express them, but you must be aware that some of them run counter to accepted historical fact and that some of them have been invented in the last couple of centuries or so and don’t have any basis in historical fact. There is an entire school of conspiracy theorists who base their ideas about a surfeit of Jesuses on their inability to correctly read Hebrew and New Testament Greek and on wilful and meaningless misinterpretations of well-known texts, They have been comprehensively refuted by the established and accepted experts and some of those expert historians (most of them secular non-believers) I named earlier on this thread and their books can be borrowed from your local library.

    4. If we are talking about Anglo-Saxons (the culture which now dominates the UK), then it’s most likely that Christmas is a Christian version of Yule- a generic midwinter festival. Germanic pagan traditions also existed around Yule which are similar to modern ‘Christmas’ ones (e.g. Odin’s night-hunt in the sky)

      1. Pure guesswork. No records exist of exactly what the ancient Germano-Celtic cum Anglo-Saxon festivals and beliefs were. Most of what people think they know is fictional tosh invented by the late Georgian and Victorian so-called scholars desparately trying to find something in pre-history to support their supremacist pro-european racial views. The American scholar M. Lee Hollander is on very shaky ground indeed when he tries to deduce the existence of Yule from the supposed names of the months and his passage about how it was celebrated is pure fiction and nothing else. The fact remains that such, so-called ancient, ceremonies and festivals have no historic reality and many, if not all, cannot be traced further back in time than two to three hundred years ago. Hollander’s (and many other’s) ghastly attempts at translating old Norse to suit their own peculiar beliefs have done nothing to set the record straight, either.

        1. Oh really? How fascinating. So even the Oxford English Dictionary is incorrect in saying Yule has its origins in Old English and is related to the Old Norse celebration?

          1. Not necessarily. What I am attempting to explain is just how much we think we know about our ancient past is little more than unsubstantiated guesswork. The OED know a great deal about Old English, which came into being well after the Romans left Britain and Christianity arrived, and tracing words to Old Norse is also valid. However, Old Norse persisted and changed well into the Christian era and the philological difficulties about what precisely words meant and how they were used as one goes further and further back in that language are almost insurmountable. The existence of a word doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that we know its meaning – meanings drift overtime, just look at English today and English five hundred years ago – and regrettably we have little or no evidence about ‘Yule’ other than guesswork and our very modern application, based on nothing more than what we would like it to have meant, of the word, which seems to have begun about 400 years ago.

  15. I solved the conflict by becoming an Atheist jew. Atheist by belief, Jewish by blood (yeah yeah, Jew “isn’t a race”)

  16. One of Nietzsche’s greatest insights is expressed in his quotation, “Christianity gave Eros poison to drink.”

    I think that analysis applies to all the Abrahamic religions. So many people have become guilty, anxious and screwed-up as a result of what religion has done to the way they perceive their own perfectly natural sexual feelings, thoughts and fantasies. And even non-believers are affected as a result of indirect programming mediated by their religiously-influenced culture.

    Dogmatic Catholicism, fundamentalist Judaism, fundamentalist Islam, and evangelical Christianity, are particularly harmful. Imagine a world without the curse of life-denying, bullying superstitions.

  17. I’ve posted just above about the harmful effects of the Abrahamic religions on sexuality.

    There are a couple of posts on this thread about the development of a higher consciousness.

    There have been non-theistic forms of dogmatic religion as well. Communism and Fascism come to mind, where heresy can mean incarceration or death.

    There is also a kind of scientific religious orthodoxy that tries to reduce the whole of experience to mechanistic and reductionistic phenomena, where there is no place for free will, and we are just automata.

    In a few hundred years, this may be viewed in the same way as we now view the flat earth theory. And in a few thousand years, there will probably be insights that would astound us now.

    Let’s not pour out the baby with the bathwater. The potential for higher states of consciousness, and psychic phenomena, may be woven into the fabric of the universe and our being, transcending and complementing our current scientific understanding.

    1. Yes, there are things science doesn’t currently know. If there weren’t, it would stop.

      But we’re only going to learn those things through science (broadly defined) – through the application of reason to evidence. Humanity has discovered no other valid way of finding stuff out about our universe – emotional appeals and wishful thinking just don’t produce knowledge, they produce flawed and worthless opinion. Unless there is evidence for it, which stands up to rigorous scrutiny and test, then it’s not knowledge. Nobody else has a valid epistemology apart from rational, empirically-based thinkers. Nobody else has a way to check their hypotheses against reality. We simply don’t have any other ways to produce reliable insights about the world aside from looking at the evidence through scientific eyes.

      This “scientific religious orthodoxy” crap is just so much tosh. Science is the least dogmatic intellectual process we have – it goes where the evidence goes, and changes to accommodate that.

  18. Shame that Oliver feels he has to jettison his Orthodoxy. Wouldn’t it be a better example for others if he were to combine his faith and sexuality and show it can be done?

    1. jamesh

      The problem is that orthodox dogmatic religious systems are like houses of cards. There are at least six impossible things to believe before breakfast. Well, more like 6,000. Once you cast doubt on one of the tenets, then the basis of dogmatic faith on which the rest are believed is undermined, and the whole house of cards falls down.

      It is much more beneficial to attack ignorant and bullying forms of religion, than to stay in them and just opt out of a tenet or two. Otherwise they will continue brainwashing successive generations of children, including LGBT children.

      Oliver will have plenty of opportunities to explore personal and spiritual development outside any dogmatic religious system.

    2. Why a shame, any more than giving up, say stamp collecting?

      The best cure for religious ‘orthodoxy’ of any kind (a euphemism for fundamentalism, which in turn is a euphemism for ignoring evidence that stares you in the face) is a tour of Charles Darwin’s House in Bromley.

    3. Umm, that’s kind of what “orthodox” means – following the traditional way of doing things. By definition, if one deviates from orthodoxy then one is no longer orthodox.

      Of course, what is considered orthodox can and does change over time. “Orthodox” judaic culture and observances today bear little resemblance to those of a thousand or two thousand years ago. Religions are simply cultures, and behave in exactly the same way.

      Which is kind of the point. There is a conservative, traditionalistic old guard who would put about the myth that religions are somehow outside the normal flow of cultural change and the normal pressures of history – somehow delivered from on high, eternal and unchanging. That’s just self-serving nonsense, and the real barrier to the spread of progressive, tolerant attitudes among religious communities.

  19. Michael Barnett 6 Oct 2012, 4:48pm

    I used to attend an Orthodox synagogue here in Australia many years ago. It was the synagogue I had my bar mitzvah at.

    When I came out, at the age of 26, I continued attending that synagogue for a few years. However, increasingly I found Yom Kippur harder and harder to tolerate for exactly the same reason you gave here.

    Eventually I stopped renewing my membership and I stopped attending synagogue. I could not be part of something that told me I was unacceptable.

    Now at the age of 43 I have since completely removed religious observance from my life and am entirely the better for it. I also don’t identify with a religion aside from saying I have a Jewish background, because I don’t consider myself any different to anyone else.

    It took many years to disentangle myself from religion and see it for the mind-numbing control mechanism that it is. Free thought is so much more empowering.

    Thanks.

    Michael.

    1. de Villiers 7 Oct 2012, 3:06pm

      That is very vain – to assume that only those who are irreligious have thought of their positions. One could easily say that you did not choose to leave your religion but felt driven away from it. You have now embraced a secular gay identity and have merely swapped one orthodoxy for another.

  20. John Lennon put it down nicely in “Imagine” Do we dare to?

  21. How many of us have been expelled from our faith? I’m Spanish and raised as Catholic, and I’ve followed exactly the same path as you, Oliver.

    I’ve read comments of militant (?) atheists like dAVID here insisting upon his atheist point of view. I see no difference between an islamist and a militant atheist. Both are dogmatic, believing to be in possession of the absolute truth, and try to impose their views on others. That violates freedom of conscience and religion, which are basic human rights. I really regret that.

    Oliver, there’s still place for the Divinity without the (wrong) ideological frame or the political agenda of Orthodox Judaism (or Catholicism in my case). You know you’re right and they’re wrong, and science backs you up.

    Testimonies like yours help change (sensible) minds ;)

    1. I am not trying to impose my opinions on anyone.
      Nor am I trying to adjust the law to suit my beliefs.

      It is not ‘militant’ to point out the wilful stupidity and ignorance of people for choosing to believe in a fictitious ‘god’.

      1. Midnighter 10 Oct 2012, 2:03pm

        Quite right. I am agnostic – it doesn’t make me ‘militant’ simply because major religions have failed to prove their case or brainwash me. It still seems to offend them, though.

  22. Rich Dweck/ www.Jewishpinkelephant.com 14 Oct 2012, 3:08am

    Thank you so much for speaking up. I related to much of your experience. Hopefully this will make it to the Rabbi and allow him to see beyond the letters in a book. Judaism is about people and once it moves away from that, it looses the essence of all of us being created in the “Image of God.” It violates “Tikkun Olam”, “Love thy neighbor” and more. I reposted this on my website http://www.JewishPinkElephant.com

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