Thursday, December 20, 2007

Based on Trust

Many people have disputed my analysis in the previous post where I assert that trust is the key underlying factor for many frum people's belief in the truth of frumkeit. Here's another way of making my point:

Consider two scenarios: First one, you go over to a frum woman and tell her that her son, who she has raised all her life, is not her son. How would she react? "You're crazy! Of course he's my son."

"Well," you reply, "what about if all the roshei yeshiva and gedolim came over to you and told you that he wasn't your son. Would that change your mind at all?"

"Of course not!" she'd laugh. "I know my son is my son, and no one can change my mind about that!"

Now consider the second scenario:

Go over to a frum person and tell them that frumkeit is not true. The reaction? "You're nuts! Of course it's true!"

Now follow up with the same remark: "Well, what about if all the roshei yeshiva and gedolim came over to you and told you that it's not. That actually they don't believe in it themselves. Would that change your mind?"

The parent doesn't doubt what they know about their child, because it's solidly based on their own firm belief, and no one else's uncertainty about that idea has any bearing on that conviction.

Does anyone honestly think that a frum person would remain convinced of their belief if faced with the same challenge?

My point here is not to say that frumkeit is true or false, but rather to point out that most people's belief in its truth is based more on a trust of others than a solid recognition of its own inherent trueness.

14 comments:

Baal Habos said...

Excellent point. All it would take is one famous Gadol to declare skepticism (barring some emotional distress that it could be blamed on, such as great personal loss) for a wave of skepticism to cascade through OJ.

Lubab No More said...

I don't think gedolim going OTD would change change everyones mind. People may initially believe in religion because of trust (trust in a parent, teacher, Rabbi) but once a person commits to the religion their belief may no longer based on that trust. When a kiruv worker goes OTD some of their BTs might question Judaism but many stick with the program. In my opinion, Lubavitch Mishichistim are an example of people who's minds can not be changed, no matter the evidence. See blog entry:Mishichistim: Can They Be Changed?

The Hedyot said...

I wasn't really thinking of BT's so much, although I think the model still does apply. Regarding Mishichistim it's probably a whole other set of issues coming to play.

> When a kiruv worker goes OTD some of their BTs might question Judaism but many stick with the program.

Yeah, because at that point the trust has expanded and its not just based on one persons claim of truth, but so many other people's too.

Lubab No More said...

BTW, I liked the previous post a lot. I thought it was an apt analogy.

mnuez said...

I like your point but my 'back of the envelope' feeling is to be skeptical of the analogy and of the reactions. I mean, if doctors and scientists of every form, including her own OBGYN, were to tell a woman that they know for a fact based on a litany of experiments that "her son" is not her biological son, I think that your average woman (at the conclusion of the 5 stages of grief) would come to recognize that they are obviously right and that...Eric is not her biological son! It would be a shock and a tragedy, etc, etc. but she would come to realize that the DNA tests and all the rest, repeated a MULTITUDE of times (for otherwise the world's medical community would never have the utter confidence in the matter such that they would tell her this devastating news) are accurate and that Eric was a child accidentally (or otherwise) switched with hers at birth.

I mean of course I can come up with a svarah farkhert, but my initial reaction to the analogy that you presented is that this may be more likely.

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com


P.S. There would be a great difference though between trusting the world's doctors and trusting the world's gdoilim: The world's scientific-community's expertise can be seen by our very eyes and requires no more than common-sense to be recognized whereas the gdoilim's "expertise" in metaphysical realities requires faith and a host of standard human-biases in order to be accepted as authoritative.

Or in English: One group of people are quite obviously worthy of being listened to on the matters regarding which they're considered to be authoritative while the other seems far less worthy of being accepted as authoritative on the subjects wherein they claim authority.

Fuck, I tried English. Chalk it up to the wine. Kol Tuv ~ m

Shahid72 said...

That is the difference between Judaism and Islam. Muslims have no doubt that Islam is true and have complete faith in Allah and Mohammad his prophet.

Orthoprax said...

"That is the difference between Judaism and Islam. Muslims have no doubt that Islam is true and have complete faith in Allah and Mohammad his prophet."

LOL!

DH,

Good analogy.

Anonymous said...

Of course this is true. Everything we know (EVERYTHING!!) about Torah is based upon what we read or about what a rabbi read and told us. It's ALL book knowledge and we trust those books. Every single thing about the Hashem, Avos, Moshe Rabbainu, The Beis HaMikdash, .... is all based upon what we read and believe. Unless someone has personal first hand knowledge of it, we believe it based upon what we are told. That's a scary thought that everything that we know about Hashem and Torah is because we trust what was written by people we don't know but were told are reliable.

Anonymous said...

youre nuts. we believe in yiddishkeit not becuase we trust other people, but because there is a Torah!!! we believe that our children are our children not because of a belief, there is no belief trust issue about that. the comparison is outrageous and only serves to further underscore that you are making a mockery out of yourself.

Lubab No More said...

10:35 Anon,

Why do you believe in the Torah?

The Hedyot said...

> youre nuts. we believe in yiddishkeit not becuase we trust other people, but because there is a Torah!!!

And why is that you believe the torah is true? Because you trust those who told you so.

Baal Habos said...

>youre nuts. we believe in yiddishkeit not becuase we trust other people, but because there is a Torah!!!

Really? why don't Christians believe in Yiddishket then? Or Athiests? Or secular Jews? They also know there's a Torah. So Obviously you don't believe in Yiddishkeit because there's a Torah. You believe in Yiddishkeit because of what people you trust told you about the Torah

Don said...

Let us be clear here. We believe in our Torah and we believe in our Rabbeim because our Rabbeim have taught us to believe in Torah, not by brainwashing us, but by showing us to find Hashem throughout the world and by showing us and proving to us that the Torah was authored and handed down by Hashem and the many proofs in it that show it. Now that our Rabbeim have given us that ability to see this on our own, they can only refute their hand in it, but to go further, they must not only ignore the proofs but do actually disprove them. Even if one of our dear Rabbeim would go 'otd' we should derive that he is under some duresss, for our other Rabbeim have not gone 'otd'. Logically, all our Rabbeim collectively should go 'otd' and sufficiently proove that all our proofs have always been wrong, and then once they show us Moshe Rabbeinu's grave is, then we can talk about it... until then learn Torah, for it is the greatest!

Joshua Skootsky said...

I have been wondering, "What is the essential difference between my faith and the attitudes I myself mock? Is it daat torah? How can that be it?"

Now you give me my answer. Daat Torah is symptomatic of faith placed in humans. Now, perhaps humans that are really good are okay to believe in, my imaginary friend says - well, as Nassim Taleb points out in The Black Swan, what if they aren't really good? What if you've staked everything on something being true? What if, despite everything you know, that one thing isn't?

Well, then you are screwed. And thus, Da'as Hedyot, you have given me my answer, and, if I may say so, strengthened my faith.

For it is not in humans that I place my trust, but in G-d,