Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Better Know a Kofer - Little Foxling

One of the more popular skeptic bloggers some time ago was a fellow by the name of Little Foxling. In November 2007 he posted a five-part series on his blog that traced the progression of the breakdown of his faith. Instead of completely interviewing Little Foxling, I've asked him permission to reprise those old blog posts for the series. Although I prefer that the profiles I share tell a larger story than just the part of "why I left OJ", I'm choosing to publish this as part of my series because I think LF's tale will appeal to many of the readers here who have been clamoring for a more intellectually rigorous story to be told. Also, it's freaking long, so adding even more detail to it would be overkill.

Here is his entire essay, reprinted verbatim, aside from a few minor grammatical changes. I've also added some links to help people out with some of the ideas and figures he mentions that may be a bit unfamiliar.

-----
Part I

I frequently receive e-mails with questions of a personal nature. How did it happen? What made you go OTD? I usually respond to each question and end up writing the same story again and again. XGH’s recent post, which I thoroughly enjoyed, has inspired me to put down my own story, to the best I can recollect it. I’ve written it out in great detail and so the story is quite long. It’s too long for a post and so it will be a miniseries. This will be part I.

So, how did it happen? How did a nice eirchlich temimisdick kid become an evil atheist rushu kofer?

To me, the journey off always began back in September 2003 with my friend Moshe. Back then. I was Modern Orthodox and proud of it. I took pride in the fact that I was open minded, but frum and successfully fused the worlds of Torah and madah, of tradition and modernity.

Part of my great pride was in my ability to deal with the issue of evolution. The world was divided into 3 categories on this issue. Those who stuck their head in the sand and didn’t care to learn about science, those who were intellectually weak, and couldn’t see that evolution didn’t refute the Torah, and me. I knew that there were three resolutions to the evolution problem:

1. Evolution is a conspiracy made by scientists and isn’t true.
2. Gosse theory
3. Genesis 1 is a mushul.

One day, Moshe mentioned to me that he had attended a shiur by a certain YU rosh yeshiva. The topic was the historicity of the mabul. The rosh yeshiva had said that there was scientific evidence against the mabul. It’s obvious to everyone that answers 1 & 2 above don’t help you with the mabul. And, so, this rosh yeshiva had gone with approach 3. He said it was muttur to say the mabul was a mushul. I, however, was uncomfortable with this approach. The mabul doesn’t seem like a mushul. The issue began to grow and we would talk about it often and I also began to speak about it to other friends. Moshe also introduced me to blogs and I discovered that this issue was one that actually troubled many people.

Anyway, in August of 2004 I met a girl named Sorah. Sorah was also interested in this issue and so she and I got to talking about it. In addition to all the scientific arguments, Sorah also introduced me to parallel ancient mythologies like Enuma Elish. This only added to my aggravation.

One day, Sorah brought up the issue of the Documentary Hypothesis. I had heard of DH before in chumash class. I knew all about it. DH was when you went through the Torah and you took every passuk with YHWH and said "This is J" and every passuk with Elohim and said "This is E" and then when you were done you looked back and said "Poof! All the YHWH’s are in J." my chumash teachers had made fun of it incessantly. Also, it was humanities, not sciences. And, I knew from college that the humanities were crap. I was very glad to have the discussion switch to an area I was on firmer ground in and so I started to make fun of the DH.

As the conversation continued though, I realized that whether DH was true or not, I knew pathetically little about what it actually said and was really not in a position to talk about it. This bothered me and so I went to the library and got a few books out on DH.

The first one I read was Richard Elliot Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible?. It confirmed everything my rebbeim had said about DH. The book was basically a migdal poreach baavir. He had maybe 5 or 6 good contradictions and this YHWH/Elohim thing and from that he concocted this complex conspiracy theory of how the Torah was written. It was complete crap and I knew better. I got a few other books out of the library and they were all the same.

So, what happened next? How did I go from being a mini RJM to a mini mis-nagid? Tune in next time when Littlefoxling faces some problems he wasn’t prepared for.

Part II

I continued along this path. I took book after book out of the library but found each one to be worst than the last. Each just asserted DH was true but none actually proved it.

One day, a thought occurred to me. REF and all the other authors I was reading generally had some kind of line about how the DH was already established and they weren’t going to spend time proving it since it was already unanimously accepted. I wondered if perhaps the problem was that these books just took it for granted and didn’t bother to present the evidence.

I had this idea. Maybe if I looked at some older books I would get more of the evidence. I stumbled upon S. R. Driver’s "Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament," which was published in 1913.

I was mortified. The book was absolutely chock full of completely irrefutable proof for the DH. For weeks and weeks I struggled with him, Driver and I locked in epic battle. But I could not defeat him. Everything I threw at him, my best apologetics and sevorahs were no match for him.

I saw that I could not overcome him, but I was unwilling to concede defeat. The kofrim couldn’t be right. Anyway, I wasn’t scared. I knew from chumash class and from reading frum blogs that now the DH was debunked. No one actually believed in it anymore. Driver was outdated. Although I personally didn’t know what the answers to his questions were, I knew that if I looked hard enough, I’d find it – since nobody actually believed in the DH anymore.

I began to read the apologists. Cassuto, Hoffman, David Gottlieb, Breuer. I was mortified once again. They were all complete crap. Me, a freakin finance guy who was doing this all on the subway to and from work could see how stupid everything they wrote was.

But, it didn’t phase me. I knew from frum blogs and chumash class that today even the modern secular scholars didn’t hold of DH. So, I reasoned that sometime between 1913 and today there must have been someone who wrote a book showing that DH wasn’t true. So, I started reading more modern secular books. From what I had read, there were two camps of modern scholars that had both succeeded in undermining the DH.

The first was a camp of scholars that had underminded it not by directly refuting its arguments, but instead by focusing on other aspects of analysis which had underminded the DH. This included the literary school, the archaeological school, Noth’s school, and many others.

So, I began to read books from these various schools. I found pretty soon that there was actually very little in any of these schools that was even remotely relevant to DH. Yeah, maybe DH had fallen out of favor in terms of if people were interested in studying it. But, that had nothing to do with if it was true. That just meant people weren’t interested in it. And, I found that many of the members of these schools, such as Noth and his talmidim or Robert Alter, actually held of DH. They just weren’t interested in studying it but they still thought it was true.

The other camp was the camp that dealt with DH directly. I started reading books from this camp. Most of the books I read seemed to actually support the DH and hold of it. And, as I went through this camp I stumbled on some arguments that were even more compelling than those I had read by Driver. In fact, I reread many of the more modern books that I had read originally on DH (like REF's "Who Wrote the Bible?") and realized that they weren’t crap after all. They were actually quite good. It was just that when I had read them the first time I didn’t have the background to understand all of their arguments. Now that I had read Driver, I saw their arguments in a whole new light.

I did find some books that didn’t agree with the DH. But, they were in the minority. Also, none of them actually responded to the DH’s arguments. They just said the DH wasn’t true. But, no one had any real responses to the arguments. Also, none of them held the Torah was from Moshe, they just held of a different way to break it up and that didn’t do me much good as an OJ.

But, I knew the proof against the DH had to be out there. My rebbeim and the frum blogs had all said so. I started to ask my rebbeim where all this proof against the DH was. They told me to read Hoffman and Cassuto. I was mortified yet again. Cassuto and Hoffman were crap. Not my knight in shining armour.

So, I began to look at the frum blogs to try to find where all this evidence against the DH was. Most of the time they would either point you to some apologist like Breuer or to some guy’s unpublished dissertation that you could only get by going to his university’s archives or something. I started to get very annoyed. I knew the answers were out there. Everyone had told me that nobody believed in the DH. But, why couldn’t I just find one guy who wrote a book with all the answers. Why was this information that was so important to my life kept so secret in a hidden locked away university vault?

So, how did the search end? Did I find my knight in shining armour that refuted the DH? Tune in next time to hear the surprising twist I had never expected.

Part III

And, so I was waging a battle on two fronts. On the one hand, I was getting barraged daily by the blogs. GH was now in full force and I was reading him regularly and it was seeming less and less likely that the mabul had happened. On the other hand, the DH was seeming harder to answer.

Those were dark times. The one ray of light, ironically, was that I was so busy at work that I didn’t have that much time to think about it. I was doing most of my readings on the subway to and from work and didn’t really have time to reflect on it.

And then came sukkos of 2005. I was off from work and so I had the time to really think. I spent a lot of time reading thinking, and looking up verses. Driver udeimei were killing me. So, I started to think about what my options were. Of course, I was holding out to find the scholars that underminded DH. But, what if I couldn’t find them? What did that mean? I started to wonder if maybe I could reconcile DH with Yahadus. DH wasn’t too far off from Halivni’s continual revelation. Maybe I could believe in DH and still be a frum yid.

I had a number of options I was considering. This Halivni option was one. Breur's methodology seemed to be to adopt the DH but argue that it was one author writing from two point of views. Cassuto basically said that the whole DH was deceptive and faulty reasoning. And then there was Hoffman. Hoffman argued that one could use the DH's reasoning and come up with authors and divisions even the DH didn't hold of which showed even scholars didn't hold of the reasoning really.

But then something occured to me. On my list of possibilities, the possibility of "The Torah is not divine" didn't even appear. But that seemed strange given that that possibility was winning soundly in my research.

And, then, it hit me. It hit me like a bag of bricks. The moment that would forever change my life. There was a realization. It wasn’t about it the DH, the mabul, or the Kuzari proof. It was about me. I looked in the mirror and said to myself "What am I doing?" I realized that I was not trying to find the truth. I wasn’t looking for the answers. I was looking to prove that OJ was true. I realized that in all my inquires, if it was DH, KP, mabul, Enuma Elish, I was always trying to figure out how to answer for OJ, not how to find the truth.

Since I was a boy I have always been troubled by one theological question: OJ clearly views OJ’s as being on a higher spiritual plain than non OJ’s. YHWH cares about them more. Their life has more meaning. YHWH looks after them both in this world and the next. But, it seemed unfair to me. Why were all the saintly OJ’s coincidently born into the same tribe? Why were three of the saintliest people ever coincidently Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, father, son, and grandson? I had struggled with this question since my youth. But, in that moment the question took on new meaning. I realized that it wasn’t that all the saintly people who realized that YHWH existed were all coincidently born into OJ. It was the other way around. Everyone who was born into OJ was brainwashed to believe in YHWH. I realized that 99% of the religious people in any religion were religious for the same reason: they were brainwashed. And, I realized that not only was I an OJ because I was brainwashed, but that I was a Zionist MO with a chareidi tinge and that I could totally account for that ideology based on sociological factors and that reason and intellect had nothing to do with it.

I was devastated; my soul blackened to the core. I sat there despondent, devoid of all energy. I’ve always cared about honesty a lot. If there is one word I could use to describe myself it would be honest. And, so, this realization horrified me. I started to look at things in a whole new light. I realized that the mabul issue pretty much disproved OJ. And, so did the DH. And, so did 1,000 other things. Once I started to look at it honestly, there was no question anymore. It wasn’t just about any one particular thing. But, the totality of the evidence, once you looked at it fairly, was so conclusive that there was absolutely no other way to go about it.

But I didn’t know what else to do. OJ couldn’t be wrong. If it was, it would mean that I had spent 20 years of my life on total crap. It would mean that I would either have to continue with that crap and pass it down to the next generation or else anger my family and friends. It would mean that the minutia of my life would no longer have cosmic significance, that I was no longer immortal. And, besides, if I became a kofer I would go to Hell. And, worst of all was the loneliness. I had spent every waking moment of my life believing someone was with me. Feeling now for the first time in my life alone chilled me to the bone. I couldn’t leave OJ. But, what to do? It was so obviously crap! I couldn’t bear to lie to myself. I am a very honest person.

Luckily, I’m also a clever person, so I found myself an out. I told myself the following. I said that OJ could not be proven rationally and that I recognized that a fair analysis of the facts led one away from OJ but that I was choosing to ignore that fair and rational analysis of the facts and believe anyway. A leap of faith if you will.

This resolution restored my sanity. I was being honest, since I admitted that OJ wasn’t rational, but I was still being OJ.

Sadly, it was only a temporary solution. I felt uncomfortable with it and my religiosity gradually began to slip. I stopped davening with kavanah. Stopped going to minyan etc.

A few months later I went out with a girl. We only dated for a few months and I came clean with her about my religiosity. She was very troubled by it and it was a huge strain on the relationship. The relationship was probably doomed to failure anyway, but, the religious issue certainly didn’t help. It made me realize that the compromise I had struck might not have been the most feasible. But I didn’t know what else to do. I was really stumped and confused.

So, how did I leave this hazy and dark confused state and enter into the clarity and light of atheism? More on that in the next post.

Part IV

And, so, I was very confused. I started getting very desperate to find a solution but none presented itself. I despaired.

Luckily, with time the emotional issues dissipated. Even with the death of a loved one, time heals all wounds. And, the realization that I was mortal and that no one cared about the minutia of my day to day life, while painful at first, eventually stopped bothering me.

But, the practical issues were still of a great concern. What was I going to do?

Over the past few years I had generally kept all this stuff to myself. But, I had a few friends that I spoke to about it. Sorah from above, some rabbis, the blogger lamedzayin (who, of all the believers I have ever debated, I find to consistently be the most intelligent, open minded, articulate, and most successful at convincing me) and a few others. I was also reading blogs now, especially XGH. I found all this to be very helpful. Not for what I necessarily got out of them but just because I wasn’t alone. I was unwilling to come out of the closet and so couldn’t discuss the matter with my friends, but I wanted a chance to expand my circle of anonymous friends. And so the blog was born.

I had been reading blogs for years but I had never commented and never had my own blog. This was a whole new experience. I started to post my own stuff and comment on Dovbear, XGH, and Baal Habos. But, basically, I was totally ignored. No one ever came to my blog. When I commented on Baal Habos, nobody would ever respond except for Baal Habos and when I commented on XGH nobody responded except for Rabban Gamliel. (I didn’t understand why at the time, though in retrospect it’s kind of obvious). I was going to cancel the blog, but that gradually began to change. Mis-nagid, baalhabos, happywithhislot, Spinoza, rjm, and josh Waxman all started to comment on my blog occasionally. People stopped ignoring my comments on other blogs as well. And, in December of 2006, I got into a huge fight with Dovbear about the DH in which I met a large number of bloggers. So, I decided not to cancel the blog.

The blog helped clarify a lot of things for me. The first thing it did, almost immediately was make me realize how stupid my "leap of faith" sevorah was. That works when you are thinking about things yourself, but try explaining that to someone else and you realize how dumb it is. In the very first few posts, I tried convincing people that I really believed in YHWH despite the fact that I was arguing vehemently for the anti OJ position. This confused all my commentors and I realised how dumb it was.

The blog also helped me move away from OJ because:

1. I became exposed to even more evidence against OJ. I found out about archaeology, about Hume, Spinoza, about comparative religion, about the DNA evidence against YHWH, about scientism, about other national revelations.

2. Seeing the way the frum people responded to our questions on the blogs, and engaging them in debate, confirmed that there were no answers. Before I did all this blogging I always thought - maybe there are answers out there. But once I saw the best the frum crowd could put up was Rav Elchanen Wasserman, telling the skeptics they hadn’t read enough medieval philosophy, and saying that skeptics think with their penises, I realized there were none.

3. People are always affected by their peers. Before I was blogging, my peers were all OJ’s so I couldn’t go against that. Seeing likeminded people reinforced my views.

But the biggest thing the blogs did was something totally different. It rephrased the question. When I started my blog, I was asking the question: Is OJ true? Go back to the earlier posts and see how I obsessed with this question. The blogs exposed me to the general atheist chevra: Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, Harris v’siyatam. I realized that the question isn’t "Is OJ true?", but “Which, if any, of the religions are true?" That makes a world of difference.

Before the blog, I had my doubts. Are we really just a bunch of random particles? Why does the universe exist? Is there no purpose to our life? But, when I heard Christian apologists make the very same arguments, I realized that even if these concerns were valid, they had nothing to do with OJ.

When I started, the argument “But it just can’t be wrong," worked. How could so many people believe it if it’s crap held a lot of water. But, when I heard Christian apologists make the very same arguments, I realized that even if these concerns were valid, they had nothing to do with OJ.

When I started, Pascal’s wager meant a lot to me. But, when I heard Christian apologists make the very same arguments, I realized that even if these concerns were valid, they had nothing to do with OJ.

And so, I became a committed skeptic. But, what about the issue of practice? How did that play out? And, what is my current status and what will happen in the future? Tune in next time for the thrilling conclusion of this series.

Part V

So, where we last left off our hero had just discovered that YHWH doesn't actually exist. This was an emotional strife of course, dealing with the loss of my BFF. But, it also raised some questions. What was I going to do about practice? On the one hand, keeping orthodox Judaism, or any Judaism for that matter, seemed nonsensible for an atheist. On the other hand, how could I go OTD? What would it do to my family and friends? What would it do to me? What would it do to my shidduch chances? I had spent my whole life in this world. Could I survive outside of it? Would life be empty, devoid of meaning?

This question was very troubling. When I found the blogs, and started connecting with people in similar circumstances, it helped me feel better as I knew I wasn't alone. But, it didn't really help resolve anything.

I really didn't have a solution. But, I realized that my approach of putting up a pious exterior but being secretly a kofer was unhealthy and unlikely to yield any results. So, I began to allow my exterior to slip.

Of course, I wasn't about to start being mechalel shabbos bifarhesya. But, I started becoming publicly lax in some of the more public displays of Judaism. Also, I started sharing my views with some very close friends. Of course, I didn't make a public speech about it. But, I had some conversations sharing various degrees of information with different friends.

I was actually quite surprised by the reaction I got. A very small number of friends were shocked and horrified. But, the vast majority expressed approval, jealousy, admiration, agreement, respect, and empathy. Many said they too were in the closet atheists. Some said they were not atheists but they had very nonconventional views about Judaism. Others admitted that they too had some very serious questions about emunah and wished that they had the courage to make the leap towards atheism but were afraid to do so. Others said they were not atheists but admitted they were simply biased and admired my honesty.

This warm reception was welcome, but it also got me thinking. If so many orthodox Jews are actually kofrim, what does that mean?

I came to realize that religious life isn't just about YHWH. It's so much more than that. It's also an ethos, a culture, a heritage, a community, and family. Just because I don't think it's true doesn't mean I don't value all of these aspects. I don't want to go into the whole theory of it here as this isn't the place. But see my post on dovbear if you are interested.

To put it this way: Spinoza recently asked me, "Isn’t your state a sad one? You are frum even though you don’t believe in YHWH just for these social/cultural reasons?" I replied, "Could you not ask the question on all frum Jews?" It's clear that OJ's believe in YHWH in a two stage process:

First: they want the Jewish heritage, community, culture and ethos, so they stay part of the frum community.

Second: Since they are part of the community anyway, being part of the community and not believing in YHWH is for them a hard thing. So, they believe in YHWH as well.

That this is the direction, and not the other way around can plainly seen by statistics. If people really picked their communities based on their beliefs and not the other way around, you wouldn’t see 99% of Jews being born Jewish and the 1% who aren’t being complete whack jobs like Jacob Stein.

So what if stage 2, the cognitive dissonance stage, where one starts believing in YHWH has broken down for me? The first stage, of family/community is still in force for me.

I’ve been experimenting with some different forms of Judaism. Specifically, I’ve been looking into the egalitarian wing of the Orthodox community. Though, honestly, it doesn’t do much for me. Just because we are now pretending that halacha thinks women are not inferior to men doesn’t make it anymore meaningful, at least not for me anyway.

What about the future? That’s the question everyone always wants to know about. Unfortunately, I myself don’t have the answer so I have nothing to report. I haven't thought about it much. Right now I'm orthoprax. I don't see it as such a profound decision in either direction. It's not that hard and it's not that important. I don't see any reason I need to leave. But, who knows?

So, that’s where I am now. It was a long, hard, but also meaningful and enlightening journey. If we didn’t have these challenges, life wouldn’t be worth living.

Where will I go from here? That, only YHWH knows.

78 comments:

fakewood inc. said...

i dont comment much but this was the most honest and rational one of the series. maybe i am just biased because i identify with him completely. we cant get away from tribalism no matter where you run. so does secular society really offer that much more.

B. Spinoza said...

>Spinoza recently asked me, "Isn’t your state a sad one? You are frum even though you don’t believe in YHWH just for these social/cultural reasons?"

I do think it's sad if it's holding you back from doing something else with life that you really want to do or have trouble just going with the flow. But if you are enjoying yourself living the lifestyle, it's not sad

alex said...

>"DNA evidence against YHWH">

That's a bizarre one. What did you have in mind?

A Rube Goldberg device, like DNA, looks like it was designed. Is the device efficient? No way. Does it fail sometimes? Yes, sometimes. Fail drastically sometimes? Yes. Does this provide any evidence whatsoever against the belief that this device was designed? Heck no. DNA is millions of times more complex than a Rube Goldberg device, and deserves to be considered as a likely product of design.

(Note: I'm assuming you meant a generic designer-deity when you wrote YHVH, since, after all, you're an atheist.)

XGH said...

> GH was now in full force and I was reading him regularly and it was seeming less and less likely that the mabul had happened.

For some reason I love that line. We all go through that stage but looking back how funny is that.

Brian said...

-- But see my post on dovbear if you are interested.

Is there a link to this post?

littlefoxling said...

That's a bizarre one. What did you have in mind?I was referring to DNA evidence against the mabul.

alex said...

Thanks for clarifying, but my statement still applies.

littlefoxling said...

Thanks for clarifying, but my statement still applies. huh? I don't follow you. what does a Rube Goldberg device have to do with DNA evidence against the mabul?

alex said...

I meant it applies w.r.t. design, not about the mabul. I also meant to say that if you don't want to discuss this topic, feel free not to; it'll break the flow of this thread.

Sam said...

Great post. The amount I identify with this story, from starting state to the process of change to the current state, is somewhat reassuring.

EN said...

"OJ clearly views OJ’s as being on a higher spiritual plain than non OJ’s. YHWH cares about them more. Their life has more meaning. YHWH looks after them both in this world and the next."

Unfortunately you have the wrong facts about Judaism. Your entire theological connundrum is based upon false assumptions. YHWH cares about everyone equally; the Jewish nation has made a concrete effort to come close to YHWh so therefore we find instances of our forefathers who have been fortunate to be close to him and pass the oportunity to their children, but that opportunity is available to everyone.

Jewish Atheist said...

Great interview. Your story about coming to the DH is interesting and somewhat familiar. I was already a non-believer when I came across it seriously for the first time, but I think it would have been similar for me if that were the door I took out.

DH said...

"I was mortified. The book was absolutely chock full of completely irrefutable proof for the DH. For weeks and weeks I struggled with him, Driver and I locked in epic battle. But I could not defeat him. Everything I threw at him, my best apologetics and sevorahs were no match for him."

Name two irrefutable ones. Don't gloss over them; I want to hear.Show me some logic.

alex said...

> “Before the blog, I had my doubts. Are we really just a bunch of random particles? Why does the universe exist? Is there no purpose to our life? But, when I heard Christian apologists make the very same arguments, I realized that even if these concerns were valid, they had nothing to do with OJ.

When I started, Pascal’s wager meant a lot to me. But, when I heard Christian apologists make the very same arguments, I realized that even if these concerns were valid, they had nothing to do with OJ.” >

Just wondering if you /also/ realized “that even though they had nothing to do with OJ, these concerns were valid.”?

> “Just because we are now pretending that halacha thinks women are not inferior to men doesn’t make it anymore meaningful, at least not for me anyway.”>

I think the question should be, “did Hillel, Akiva, Rava, Abaye, etc think – or even pretend – that women were not inferior to men?” If /they/ thought women were inferior, then your comment has merit. First one to get a response from them wins.

skeptik said...

"I was referring to DNA evidence against the mabul."

What evidence is that?

littlefoxling said...

In humans:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam

Similar arguments hold for animals.

littlefoxling said...

hmm, that first link didn't work. let me try again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitoch
ondrial_Eve

Bruce said...

I think the problem that LF encountered --- Orthodoxy failing to address the DH --- will grow in seriousness, especially with the widespread availability of information on the internet. (I just blogged about this - link below). Orthodoxy needs a better response to the DH or a better theory of revelation.

defenestration said...

Time will tell if the mitochondrial_eve theory will still be solid in a few years:

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2004/514/1

“Mitochondrial Eve,” the hypothetical mother of all modern humans who lived about 150,000 years ago, might be lying about her age. A key assumption in determining how long ago she lived—that molecules of mitochondrial DNA do not swap segments with one another—is false, researchers now say. Their findings call into question a multitude of findings in evolution, early human migration, and even the relations between languages."

NewScientist, from Oct 2000:
“an extensive analysis of men’s Y chromosomes suggests that the “father” of humankind is tens of thousands of years younger than our mother.”

Sorry for the diversion...

e said...

Is the little foxling blog still active?

The Hedyot said...

> Is the little foxling blog still active?

e -
This should help you figure that out.

sara m said...

Without trying to insult anyone, but I never had patience for those who found the DH to be such a life changing revelation. To me, they seemed to be nitpicking over the most trivial details.

The revelation for me, was simply to read the Torah itself, with my own two eyes, without any commentators, frum or secular, intermediating between me and the text. And it was so obvious that it was written by just another human. (and not even always such a good human). Did it really matter whether it was one human or four?

Growing up frum I learned to analyze and counter analyze. But never to simply see, hear, and understand.

fakewood inc. said...

how do you get invited do you have to be part of the priestly class blogger or some such.

sara m said...

upon re-reading your post is seems that seeing with your own eyes was the clincher for you as well... though you took a different path to get there

"I’ve always cared about honesty a lot. If there is one word I could use to describe myself it would be honest. And, so, this realization horrified me. I started to look at things in a whole new light.

Once I started to look at it honestly, there was no question anymore. It wasn’t just about any one particular thing. "

The Hedyot said...

> how do you get invited do you have to be part of the priestly class blogger or some such.

No idea. I'm not actually a member myself.

E-Man said...

I don't get the DH thing. I quickly glanced at the ideas. However, I do know that the accepted opinion in OJ is that Moshe wrote the Torah over 40 years, not all at once. So if it seems like several people writing it can't it just be that it was Moshe, but he wrote it down several years apart?

littlefoxling said...

The revelation for me, was simply to read the Torah itself, with my own two eyes, without any commentators, frum or secular, intermediating between me and the text. And it was so obvious that it was written by just another human. (and not even always such a good human). Did it really matter whether it was one human or four?

Growing up frum I learned to analyze and counter analyze. But never to simply see, hear, and understand.
br>
Agreed 100%. Even today, my confidence that the Torah was written by a man (or women) is greater than my confidence that it was written by multiple authors. I didn't mean to say that I find the DH to be the most compelling argument out there against TMS.

This was just the path to skepticism that I happened to take. The DH was what got me thinking about things but one thing I tried to underscore in the post was that what finally pushed me over the edge wasn't any particular argument but rather coming to the maturity to be intellectually honest. DH was what got me thinking. If you didn't need DH to get you there, more power to you.

littlefoxling said...

how do you get invited do you have to be part of the priestly class blogger or some such.

The blog is closed now. I just put it like that so I didn't have to delete all the posts

Baal Habos said...

Beautiful summary.

Reminds me of a rebbi who after delivering a beautiful pshat would kiss the Gemara. That's what I feel like after reading this post.

This was crystal clear! (And no spelling mistakes! - vehamavin yavin)

Rabbi David S. Gruber said...

Fascinating! Indeed, I use "epiphany moment" when I describe my journey. The order of things for me is a little different, but the realization moment strikingly the same.

It goes back to your post a while back about single loop vs. double loop learning.

You spend years patiently hammering hundreds and thousands of square pegs into round holes. Then you step back, and say wait a minute, what if I just got some square pegs? What if rather than assuming that TMS is true, and plain menschlichkeit of western values is the way to go, and they must fit, you opened up to the idea that the former is not true?!

This goes to the minutae of the apologists work too. They lamely explain away (or at least try to explain away) some minor points of the DH/archeology/evolution/take your pick, and address each point individually, working up a real sweat, and not doing a very good job at it. At the same time honest study of any of the above explains everything, more or less, in one fell swoop, across hundreds, sometimes thousands of points of data.

Rabbi David S. Gruber said...

Oops!

I am sorry. I posted this over at JA, and forgot to modify, when I thought it belonged here. I was obviously referring to his "Loop" post.

Also, kind of like the poster who read the Torah without parshanim, and understood it was written by a person, so too this applied to me. The DH gave chizuk to this, and at the end of the day shows the Torah to be much more aesthetically beautiful I think, than the single author "theory".

Pierre-Franz said...

I'm finding from reading stories similar to these that many formerly religious people of recent times had suffered from [19th-20th cent] Orthodoxy's carefully-crafted alienation from other worldviews. Universities are peopled with a great number of DH-believing, Spinoza-reading, God-believing faculty - in the sciences, liberal arts, philosophy departments, etc, etc...while the betei Midrash and pulpit rabbis seem to be the main ones responsible for limiting Jews vision - which they then take with them into their secular lives. Maybe this could be traced even in the various Communist parties, ever-pilpuling and factionalizing over history!!! Does everyone really see this phenomena as simply being "intellectually rigorous" while all these countless other believing-people who are even-more thoroughly steeped in the academic scholarship then any talmid can be, are merely muddle-minded? I'd also like to see "better know a kofer"'s from some of the Hozrei b'sheilah (sheilot?..) respondants to Farank Margolese survey (I was among them), the majority of whom essentially believed in HKBH, some notion of revelation, etc.

Pierre-Franz

e said...

Sorry everybody for posting this over here, but I have no other option.

Fakewood: I want to talk to you. Please e-mail TRS so that he can give you my e-mail address or so that you can give him yours. You can see TRS' e-mail address on his blogger profile page, or maybe on his blog.

Thanks!

Moshe said...

One cannot help but be moved by the sincerity of Little Foxling. But I wonder how things might have turned out had he been brought up with a more honest open minded approach to issues such as the DH. What if he had been taught that the essential truth of the Torah is that it represents God's will made manifest in man, even if not all of it was written by Moshe [a position espoused by some Rishonim, but rarely taught today]? What if he was taught that faith in God is just that--faith, a metaphysical concept, not something that can be proved or disproved like a geometry theorum? What if he had been taught that belief in God means most importantly that one believes that there is a meaning to this life beyond the apparent absurdity, and that each deed we perform has ultimate meaning? What if he had been taught about how the essential "chidush" of the Torah, from all literature before it, was that man could, and indeed had the responsibility of, partnering with the divine to improve the world by his actions, and that the mitzvot were one of the means of doing so--but that performing mitzvot alone was not sufficient, without molding one's conduct to be worthy of representing the divine image, as "God desires the heart"?

I wonder how things might then have turned out for LF, and those like him.

One more observation. Respecting the comment about reading the Torah, and coming to the conclusion thereby that it must be human--There are those who can hear Beethovan's Ninth Symphony and hear the voice of God emanating from the music. Then there are those who fall asleep at the concert. I guess it depends on how good an ear one has for music.:)

e said...

Moshe: People who thoroughly and agonizingly analyze their religious beliefs generally aren't the type to find satisfaction in the non-fundamentalist flavors of religion.

Acher said...

Aha, finally XGH is satisfied.

>I realized that 99% of the religious people in any religion were religious for the same reason: they were brainwashed.ברוך שכוונתי
I have been saying just this for years. I actually find this statement the most convenient thing to say, when I'm speaking to someone with whom not willing to delve into the whole Apikorsus business. On the other hand I'm not going to let them off thinking I've got nothing to say, so I say this. It's quick and easy, and there is nothing they can respond with, and people always get the point and usually shut up.

Bruce said...

Moshe has a great point. The problem is that when Orthodox people start talking about these things, someone cites Maimonides and claims that they are not Orthodox anymore.

I think the place where that stuff is discussed with seriousness in the JTS and the Ziegler school.

Wandera said...

I thought this series was about people that left the frum world.

lf is still frum!

Baal Habos said...

>One cannot help but be moved by the sincerity of Little Foxling. But I wonder how things might have turned out had he been brought up with a more honest open minded approach to issues such as the DH. What if he had been taught that the essential truth of the Torah is that it represents God's will made manifest in man, even if not all of it was written by Moshe [a position espoused by some Rishonim, but rarely taught today]?

One cannot help but be moved by Moshe's sincerity. But I wonder how things might have turned out had he been born a (Your religion here). WHat if he would have been taught the essential truth of the (Your sacred text here) and that it represents the will of (Your God here).

T said...

hey, i would be interested to see an interview with david ingber

frumheretic said...

What if he had been taught that the essential truth of the Torah is that it represents God's will made manifest in man, even if not all of it was written by Moshe [a position espoused by some Rishonim, but rarely taught today]?There are only a very small number of passages for which such claims have been made by rishonim. Yes, these are never taught, but when they are they are explained away, such as R. Moshe Feinstein claiming "heresy" and "forgery" related to offensive Yehudah haChasid passages. A perfect example of an unsatisfying, apologetic response that LF reacted so negatively to.

littlefoxling said...

BHB,

And no spelling mistakes

Har har

Rabbi David S. Gruber,

Hey - long time no see!

You spend years patiently hammering hundreds and thousands of square pegs into round holes.

I always loved that line

Moshe,

What if he had been taught that belief in God means most importantly that one believes that there is a meaning to this life beyond the apparent absurdity, and that each deed we perform has ultimate meaning? What if he had been taught about how the essential "chidush" of the Torah, from all literature before it, was that man could, and indeed had the responsibility of, partnering with the divine to improve the world by his actions, and that the mitzvot were one of the means of doing so--but that performing mitzvot alone was not sufficient, without molding one's conduct to be worthy of representing the divine image, as "God desires the heart"?

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Even after my journey, I do still identify with many of those ideals. I do still believe in the Torah in the sense of trying to improve the world. The whole point is that that is not the concept of Torah I grew up with and so it took me some time and effort to leave the mindset I was indoctrinated in and to see things differently. The way I grew up, the mabul wasn't a fable with a moral lesson, it was a geology course.

Are you simply saying, "What if in the first place I had been born into a skeptic family? - then I wouldn't have had to go through the whole journey" I suppose that's true. Assuming in that case I wouldn't have been a BT or something.

littlefoxling said...

Acher,

It's quick and easy, and there is nothing they can respond with, and people always get the point and usually shut up.

Agree 100%. In all my years of debating, I have only once met a believer who even tried to defend against that argument. Most just either shrug or admit they are biased. The one exception of course was RJM

Bruce,

I think the place where that stuff is discussed with seriousness in the JTS and the Ziegler school.

I think you are right. OTOH, as we have discussed, I think JTS and CJ have some serious challenges of their own. They have failed to inspire their youth and they are losing people fast. I think the predominant majority of serious Jews are orthodox. How many people are studying now at JTS? A few dozen? How many orthodox people are learning full time in yeshiva this year? Over ten thousand?


And it makes sense. If your Judaism is essentially the same thing as being a registered democrat, why be Jewish? Why not just register democrat?

Moshe said...

"One cannot help but be moved by Moshe's sincerity. But I wonder how things might have turned out had he been born a (Your religion here). WHat if he would have been taught the essential truth of the (Your sacred text here) and that it represents the will of (Your God here)."

No question, I likely would have been a member of "(Your religion here)". But that is besides the point, for a religion such as Judaism, which does not claim that all people must practice it. Judaism is the correct religion for Jews only. Other peoples' are judged on their morality. You will note that in Tanakh, other nations are almost never condemned for practicing another religion--but only for their immoral practices. And I hope that I would have been moral, which would be all that would have been required of me.

jewish philosopher said...

"skeptics think with their penises"

That's exactly correct.

Moshe said...

"I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Even after my journey, I do still identify with many of those ideals.... The way I grew up, the mabul wasn't a fable with a moral lesson, it was a geology course.

Are you simply saying, "What if in the first place I had been born into a skeptic family? - then I wouldn't have had to go through the whole journey" I suppose that's true. Assuming in that case I wouldn't have been a BT or something."

LF,
Let's say there is a wonderful car. It gets 40 mpg, looks great, accelerates form 0-60 in 8 seconds, is reliable, etc. A person walks into a car dealership. The salesman tells him he has a wonderful car, and describes the above car in an exaggerated fashion, saying it gets 60 mpg, accelerates form 0-60 in 3 seconds, is infallibly reliable , etc. The buyer goes for a test drive, and sees that the acceleration is not as claimed. He then reads Consumer Reports, which debunks some of the other claims. He is upset at having been lied to, and does not buy the car. Now imagine the same buyer, with an honest salesman who just tells him the true facts about the car. Indeed, it is a great car, the buyer likes the way it drives, Consumer Reports shows that it is basically reliable. So the buyer purchases it. Same car, two different results, depending on how the car is presented. Get it?

E-Man said...

"about other national revelations."

LF- to which are you referring?

Moshe said...

Frumheretic,

"There are only a very small number of passages for which such claims have been made by rishonim. Yes, these are never taught, but when they are they are explained away, such as R. Moshe Feinstein claiming "heresy" and "forgery" related to offensive Yehudah haChasid passages. A perfect example of an unsatisfying, apologetic response that LF reacted so negatively to."

1. The very existence of such views [e.g. Yehudah Hechosid, Ibn Ezra, possibly Rashi] refutes the commonly held view that one must accept the position that every verse is Mosaic [except perhaps for the last few psukim] in order to be a frum Jew. It is not all or nothing. Had LF been taught that, I wonder what the outcome might have been.

2. Such views provide a basis for constructing a Judaism that is true to our historical conception of HKBH and the mitzvot, yet at the same time is not obscurantist. It appears today that, sadly, much of Orthodoxy falls on the obscurantist side, while the Conservative/Reform side has de facto abandoned the mitzvot [and in some case, faith itself]. I still believe that there can be a synthesis of rationality, faith and mitzvot. Faith does not replace rational thinking, rather it starts were reason ends. The mitzvot are the concretized means for expressing that faith.

littlefoxling said...

JS,

That's exactly correct.

Yes. I was actually quoting you there, I think more or less verbatim

Moshe,

Let's say there is a wonderful car. It gets 40 mpg, looks great, accelerates form 0-60 in 8 seconds, is reliable, etc. A person walks into a car dealership. The salesman tells him he has a wonderful car, and describes the above car in an exaggerated fashion, saying it gets 60 mpg, accelerates form 0-60 in 3 seconds, is infallibly reliable , etc. The buyer goes for a test drive, and sees that the acceleration is not as claimed. He then reads Consumer Reports, which debunks some of the other claims. He is upset at having been lied to, and does not buy the car. Now imagine the same buyer, with an honest salesman who just tells him the true facts about the car. Indeed, it is a great car, the buyer likes the way it drives, Consumer Reports shows that it is basically reliable. So the buyer purchases it. Same car, two different results, depending on how the car is presented. Get it?

I see your point. But, you are assuming I'm more likely to reject liberal religion because of my fundamentalist upbringing and I'm not sure that that's the case. From what I've seen, most kids my age who grew up with liberal religion are completely secular and disinterested and think the whole thing is a waste of time. In contrast, people like myself who grew up fundamentalist tend to still feel a strong connection to religion even if they are now skeptical. To use me as a case in point, I am still deeply invested in religion despite my skepticism. To use your mushul, the salesman may need to lie to get the customer in the door. If he doesn’t' lie, he may not get a chance to talk to the customer. Once he and the customer are chatting, there's a chance the customer will still buy the car even after the deceit has been revealed.

littlefoxling said...

LF- to which are you referring?

I'm really not an expert on this - just saying I saw about it on blogs. I don't really recall all the details nor did I ever spend the time to become proficient in this area. By the time I was exposed to this I was already firmly a skeptic regardless and didn't care much. One post I do remember:

http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/search?q=aztec

Moshe said...

LF,

"From what I've seen, most kids my age who grew up with liberal religion are completely secular and disinterested and think the whole thing is a waste of time."

You raise a profound point. In Judaism, recently, non-obscurantist approaches, such as Conservative Judaism, don't seem to have much staying power. However, I would argue that the reasons for that were 1) lack of faith in a coherent theology as to why Jews should perform mitzvot as expressing the will of God, and 2)theology aside, failure to make normative the performance of ritual mitzvot, especially shabbat and kashrut.

My personal hope and belief is that a non-obscurantist version of traditional Judaism will evolve out of Orthodoxy. One that will have all the faith and fervor lacking in "liberal" religion, but without the fanaticism and ethical blindness that one too often sees today among the "frum". I'm not sure that I will live to see it, though.

littlefoxling said...

My personal hope and belief is that a non-obscurantist version of traditional Judaism will evolve out of Orthodoxy. One that will have all the faith and fervor lacking in "liberal" religion, but without the fanaticism and ethical blindness that one too often sees today among the "frum". I'm not sure that I will live to see it, though.

Haskalah, Reform, CJ, recon, Jewish renewal, XGH all tried this. All failed. As beautiful as your ideas are, they are unlikely to motivate people to get out of the bed on a Sunday morning for shachris. That's just the reality of the matter. That's human nature. The closer Judaism is to Humanism, the harder it is to justify its unique rituals.

jewish philosopher said...

By the way, I refuted DH.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

jewish philosopher said...

By the way, I agree being an atheist has nothing to do with sex. It's like the erotic classified ads in Craig's List. They have nothing to do with prostitution. Why would anyone think that?

Moshe said...

LF,
"Haskalah, Reform, CJ, recon, Jewish renewal, XGH all tried this. All failed."

Can't speak for XGH or Jewish renewal [not sure what that that is], but I believe that the philosophies of the other groups you mentioned were different then the approach I described. E.g., recons deny the existence of a deity as traditionally thought of, Haskala was mainly about adding secular studies to Jewish education, reform doesn't believe in mitzvos. CJ I dealt with in my last post.

So I do still hold out hope.

jewish philosopher said...

There's Christianity and Islam.

Bruce said...

LF: I think you are right. OTOH, as we have discussed, I think JTS and CJ have some serious challenges of their own. They have failed to inspire their youth and they are losing people fast.I think that's right. Solving that is the challenge facing CJ. Resolving all the problems you noted is the challenge facing Orthodoxy. Both are hard. But if you assume that (1) some version of Judaism is worth preserving, and (2) you need to be on the side of the truth, you are left with CJ and RJ. So I'd rather be in the right place and try to solve the problems.

E-Man said...

Why are CJ and RJ the side of truth?

superchick said...

who says they all failed? not in new york city they didn't, the shuls are bursting at the seams

Gene said...

Both my memoir and my blog are now at the point of describing and discussing how my fascination (infatuation?) with OJ crumbled. I know that blog readers, even yeshivish types, generally have little patience for book-length electronic confessions. Little Foxling had his say in four installments, but my explanation will continue twice a week for another two years. Like a Wagner opera that never ends until everything sinks back into the Rhine where it began. I refuse to believe anybody who says his trip was all intellectual, or all emotional. We are complex beings, as much as we have been told we are not.

Take another look.

jewish philosopher said...

See, no one even notices my total refutation of DH. Because atheism has nothing to do with DH. It's penis based.

Pen Tivokeish said...

>See, no one even notices my total refutation of DH. Because atheism has nothing to do with DH. It's penis based.

It is precisely this kind of flawed logic, which makes me feel that I do not need to read it to disregard it.

TikunOlam said...

Jewish Philosopher,
Am I missing something "Atheism is penis based"??

I have no penis. I am a monogomous married woman. How does my atheism have anything to do with penises??

Tuvia S said...

thanks LF for letting me click "anon" and I will add a name at the end.

I am not orthodox, but have orthodox family.

I think it is for sure common for people to walk away from orthodoxy, and judaism -- as it is "not true."

I am sometimes surprised that the same people -- especially the avowed athiests -- seek to have marriages and children; in short, seek to fulfill cultural imperatives which are also provably "false."

I think also interesting is the phenomenon of say a James Kugel, the biblical scholar, who is orthodox and believes DH makes perfect sense.

I think Prof Neusner at Bard is also observant, though I might be wrong on him.

Finally-- I don't really understand such an all or nothing approach. Did you really believe that after careful consideration there would be no alternative but to consider OJ ultimately "true"?

I am NOT OJ, but I find the big bang -- a ball of light exploding outside of a time that could not exist before the ball of light came in to being and exploded -- although firmly scientific, also kind of amazing beyond words.

I'm not saying this proves a creator -- but we are all just lightbeams. Isn't that telling? Is modern scientific logic the ONLY kind that satisfies these jarring truths? Just try to put your arms around a 15 billion year old universe. Eesh, what a marvel it all is.

so is oj true? I just don't think you are really interested at this time in asking the questions that would lead you back to a very confining religion.

but i would be interested: if you think oj is flimsy, aren't monogamous marriages even MORE ridiculous? why do we care so much about having children? if it is just evolutionary biology --- hell, we're smart enough to sneer at that too? aren't we?

superchick said...

Slightly OT:

In my experience (which is just that: my experience, not a scientific study) the more strict a person's background, the less likely he is to retain a positive connection to religion once he goes off. And the more likely he is too attribute his antipathy to "rationalism."

DZ said...

Tuvia you are confusing between belief and practice. Foxling himself distinguishes between the two. He still practices.

Tuviah said...

i think practice and belief are separate too -- I think belief can wax and wane and mutate. Who we are changes as we age -- it is pretty amazing to even watch myself change as I get older...

I Googled the book LF said changed his view -- An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament -- and have downloaded it (it's free as a pdf).

I look forward to reading it. One thing I have already noticed is the author states without qualification that he (seems) to see divine inspiration in the Old Testament (he actually is looking at the "Hexateuch" so he seems interested in studying more than the first five books).

But isn't that weird? He makes it clear that behind it is divine inspiration. LF came away shaken to his core. I wonder sometimes if any of us read the same thing the same way, or use words (like "belief") to mean the same thing.

Shabbos,

Tuviah

defenestration said...

"Am I missing something "Atheism is penis based??...I am a monogomous married woman. How does my atheism have anything to do with penises??"

Perhaps he means it was BASED (i.e. historically) on "penises," so to speak, not that it PERPETUATES for that reason. (Well, maybe some of the time it does.)

smoo said...

Tuviah-
Can you provide the link for the free? PDF for the Driver book?

LF- My story parallels yours. Well written, painfully experienced.

Anonymous said...

this is the link to the Driver book -- i still think what really gauls people about Judaism is how hard it is...this book is fine, but no more or less helpful than other critical pieces on the Torah.

http://books.google.com/books?id=CwUXAAAAYAAJ&dq=introduction+to+the+literature+of+the+old+testament&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=05FrDb7clc&sig=7fHgvmF0-7A4zwfGCdtK9pnqPKw&hl=en&ei=_igPSsDbAaPFtgf7oJClDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2

on the upper right there should be a link to click to download it.

tuviah s

Baal Habos said...

>i still think what really gauls people about Judaism is how hard it is...this book is fine, but no more or less helpful than other critical pieces on the Torah.

Tuvia, check this out - http://baalhabos.blogspot.com/2007/10/golden-handcuffs.html

Anonymous said...

ok I read it.

Look, BH, I am in many ways on your side. I can't figure out the Torah. I can't square the circle.

I do think it is interesting that you have chosen to (probably) have a family and all that.

I personally find the idea of having children more scary once I find it seems that life may have no purpose.

That is off topic however.

What I really have to say is: you're being very logical. I am totally myself confused and embarrassed by Torah stories. I want to run whenever I hear about people living to be 900 years old, or that Noah and his kids repopulated the whole world during the Bronze Age.

Weirdly, sometimes I accept a Torah view -- or maybe the best way to describe it is I sometimes have trouble with one thing, and stop worrying about another thing. That is pretty weird.

But clearly it does not sit well with me. I used to think Jews were not like Catholics or other moronic story tellers. Little did I know we have our own stories that make a "modern" person feel like a jerk for being asked to believe.

On the other hand, my Torah worries definitely "move around" which I think is interesting. It's like a neurotic fixation that travels from one bodily imperfection to another...

Also, I have had good times with orthodox jews. certainly the conversation is more interesting, warmer at times, on topics that are real issues for people.

Also, I do think Breishis is weirdly close to evolution, and that the creation of the universe is there -- just like science says and has said for only about fifty years.

I have always been intrigued with Isaiah -- full of prophecy that describes Jewish history.

And I thought that whole Purim tale about the ten hangings and the hangings of the Nazis after Nuremberg was interesting.

I think Megillah Esther and Isaiah were the only complete manuscripts in the Qumran Caves (the Dead Sea Scrolls). Roll scary music....

Otherwise I am creeped out sometimes....like you I believe in Hashem though.

What do you make of a James Kugel -- OJ and a DH writer?
Or, there is a guy at Cal Tech -- Barry Simon -- the IBM professor of Math there (pretty smart guy I bet) who is a serious b'al t'chuvah?

I don't have answers obviously. I don't like what the Torah asks of me. I still sometimes think there is "something" to it.

More than that -- I just can't be glib about it all. I keep searching.

keep challenging them BH -- find a way.

Tuviah S

Anonymous said...

wait...esther scroll not at Qumran...

tuviah

kisarita said...

tuviah

myth... legend.... what's there to make you sick? it's just that you are going into it expecting history.

there are a lot worse things in the Torah to make you sick, some of them which are actually practiced.

So there are some parts of the Torah that speak to you? Isaiah? Genesis 1? Nothing wrong with that. What's wrong with sticking with those and discarding the rest?

YB said...

LF -
You wrote, "I began to read the apologists. Cassuto, Hoffman, David Gottlieb, Breuer. I was mortified once again. They were all complete crap."

Could you please amplify on Cassuto's deficiencies?

Many thanks

littlefoxling said...

http://holyhyrax.blogspot.com/2009/05/cassuto-question.html

and my response:

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/holyhyrax/2823830204580552342/#44985

Anonymous said...

> See, no one even notices my total refutation of DH. Because atheism has nothing to do with DH. It's penis based.

It's penitheism!

vashty said...

Hey, I enjoyed your post but there's just one thing I would like to point out. You call the humanities "crap." I can't tell if you intend for the reader to understand that you continue to believe this, or if this is one of the beliefs that you left behind. But the humanities changed your life! The documentary hypothesis probably would not have been possible without the development of modern literary analysis ("literature" was not a university subject until the 19th/20th centuries, when the DH took shape), plus archaeology and the entire field of religious studies which have shaken our world fall under this category of "crap." Your story is just one example of how they actually matter! The humanities today (this includes religious studies but not theology) incorporate some of the core methodologies of the sciences in order to help us wade through bullshit and better understand what is put in front of us.