Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Wny OTD's Hate Modern Orthodoxy

One of the interesting thing about people that go "off the derech" is that they go all the way off, slamming the door behind them as they leave. The living room sucked so they walk through it, the kitchen and the entrance hallway, muttering in the rage as they walk out the front door.
An obvious question is: why don't they consider Modern Orthodoxy? Why is it all-or-nothing for them?
Well, the answers you get are pretty repetitive but they're also interesting for the contradictory attitudes OTD's seem to have towards Torah observance.
The first is that the religion is all bovine excrement. Dig a little deeper though and specific complaints come out. The world isn't 5769 years old. The history of the universe contradicts a literal reading of Bereshis. There's no archeological evidence for almost anything in the Bible, especially Torah miSinai. There's no proof for the existence of God. The laws don't make sense. The texts are corrupted and changed over time. They're outdated. It's all about the chumros. There's a disdain for secular education. They hate women.
Then, having made their choice they mentally go one step further - from "I've got a problem with these things" they quickly move to "I've got a problem with these things and there's no solution".
This is perhaps why Modern Orthodoxy has never been appealing to the OTD crowd. For one thing, there's this strange dichotomy that gets set up in their minds. To wit: the only legitimate form of Judaism is Chareidi Judaism with all the problems they have with it. Anything else that differs is a fake form of Orthodox Judaism and therefore beneath their notice. Quote from Rav Eliashiv and you'll get a vitriolic emotional response. Quote from Rav Willig and you'll get "Oh, that's just Modern Orthodox crap".
It's like saying: I hate Coke, therefore I hate all colas and I'm not going to try Pepsi or Royal Crown because only Coke is the real thing.
Imagine the threat that Modern Orthodoxy poses. A legitimate attempt to reconcile Bereshis with natural history is permitted and encouraged. There is actually archeological evidence for the Bible. There are firm philosophical proofs for the existence of God. The laws do make sense when interpreted properly. There's no need to believe the Torah has not changed one single letter since Moshe Rabeinu, a"h, received it. The halacha is dynamic and addresses modern issues. You can go to university, in fact that's a plus. Women play an important role in the family and community life.
It's no wonder that the OTD/skeptic crowd puts as much effort into delegitimizing Modern Orthodoxy as the Chareidim do. The middle ground is always a threat to the two extremes.

20 comments:

SJ said...

Biblical archaeology is only good for providing a cultural context of the bible, but not proof of the bible.

To say that biblical archaeology can prove the bible is like an archaeologist from a thousand years later saying that the events in the movie Wedding Crashers happened because in the 20th century, people had weddings. The logical flaw is apparent.

The philosophical "proofs" of God are far from conclusive.

Also, the Modern Orthodox are as strict and as cultish as the haredim these days. That's just my experience with them.

Recreational Musings said...

Shalmo - I think Garnel was just trying to state why OTD's seem to stray from Judaism but not lean towards Modern Orthodoxy.

The approaches of Haredi and Modern Orthodox are very different, as he pointed out. MO is much more open to the "outside" world and embraces secular knowledge. Personally, I don't see a need for reconciliation between religion and archaology/science/evidence, but if people want to keep a religious lifestyle and also pursue secular subjects and think that is a very good thing. Modern Orthodoxy removes limitations that other Orthodox sects have on interactions outside of the Jewish community.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Umm Garnel, just curious, have you actually...you know, asked some actual OTDers why they hate modern orthodoxy? Or better yet, have you actually asked OTDers if they even hate modern orthodoxy at all?

Of course I don't hate modern orthodoxy. It may provide a more intellectually dishonest position, but let's face it, it's not as much of a batshit crazy position like the chareidim hold by. Overall I would take a modern orthodox life anyday over a chareidi life.

The reason more effort is spent on attacking modern orthodoxy on intellectual grounds is because attacking ultra orthodoxy on intellectual grounds really isn't such a big chiddush.

A: The chareidim are nuts.
B: No, really? You don't say!

Of course, from my perspective, pointing out that the modern orthodox hashkafa is not intellectually viable is really not such a big chiddush for me anymore either. So you are actually right, we shouldn't bash you guys.

I think it's about time OTDers got on with their lives, left this nonsense behind, and started talking about things more important things than how there was probably no 600k people that experienced magical events. (WOW, what a chiddush!)

Similarly, I think it's time you Modern Orthodox frummies got on with your lives, left this nonsense behind, and started talking about more important things than how there was probably no literal mabul, genesis, talking donkeys...etc (WOW, what a chiddush!)

Seriously, you people are waisting your time. Go do something productive. (Yes I know I have been guilty of this! And I plan to try and stop too!)

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Good questions YA

First of all, check out the post over at my biggest fan's blog, the one where he goes into depth about how he hates Modern Orthodoxy.

And yes, I've spoke with a few OTD's in israel who were very clear on why MO wasn't an option for them. It always came back to "Only Chareidi are genuinely religious so why would I go in for a fake version?"

As for your conclusions, yes I agree. That's why I posted my piece on how all this is wasting time. It's one thing to spout opinions but to be dragged into endless threads on them...

David said...

Garnel,
I don't think it's fair to suggest that your biggest fan is representative of all OTD people. I don't know how OTD I'd consider myself (I still wear a kippa, keep kosher and observe Sabbath), but I certainly despise the Hareidim more than the MO types.

Of course, the rejection of MO is something that OTD people share with the Hareidim... moreover, you never hesitate to delegitimize streams of Judaism with which you disagree. Why should you be so outraged when others do it?

In the end, however, I'll acknowledge that you do have something of a point. It's hard to escape the notion that the Haredi types are the "real deal," and that everything else is a compromise that falls on a continuum from MO to Reform...

And MO is, in fact, a compromise... it's made up of a bunch of people who have more or less realized that the stories in the Torah are simply not true. In the end, they cherry-pick with the same sort of dishonesty which offends you so much in the Conservatives... they all agree that there was no real person called Noah, and that the flood and creation narratives are metaphorica. And yet, they all agree that Abraham and Moses existed and that their narratives are generally literally true. The problem that they don't seem to confront is that the Torah gives explicit genealogies, and it's a physical impossibility for a metaphor to have human descendants.

An MO person is, I suspect, often (but not always) just an almost OTD person who is doing his best to cling at straws.

Jewish Atheist said...

I grew up MO. Now I am OTD. How do I fit in to your armchair psychological analysis?

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

The reasons MO's leave and the reasons Chareidim leave are totally different.

Now I don't know specifically what happened to you so I'm not going to judge you in particular but from my experience, MO's leave because the outside world and its influences overwhelm their religious sensibilities. Unlike Chareidim who are passionately religious, most MO's just are religious without it being this "I've gotta constantly do something to show I'm religious" feeling. As a result, they more drift away than walk out and slam the door.

Anonymous said...

>And MO is, in fact, a compromise... it's made up of a bunch of people who have more or less realized that the stories in the Torah are simply not true. In the end, they cherry-pick with the same sort of dishonesty which offends you so much in the Conservatives... they all agree that there was no real person called Noah, and that the flood and creation narratives are metaphorica. And yet, they all agree that Abraham and Moses existed and that their narratives are generally literally true. The problem that they don't seem to confront is that the Torah gives explicit genealogies, and it's a physical impossibility for a metaphor to have human descendants.<

Hmmm... I am MO and none of those thoughts ever occurred to me. Really!

Off the Derech said...

I never said I hate MO. Read the damn post.

Manya Shochet said...

"I never said I hate MO. Read the damn post.
-Off The Derech"

Sheesh, OTD, the hostility you broadcast! Have you considered SSRIs? How about getting a girlfriend, if you can find one who'll put up with all that humorless crabbiness.

Garnel--Good to see you back in full force.

Manya Shochet said...

"Fuck off bitch
--Off the Derech"

Your rapier wit is exceeded only by your brilliant insight.

Grow up, you superannuated adolescent sap.

Shalmo said...

Manya Garnel has been aggressively deleting comments he cannot rebuttal. He isn't back in full force at all, he is breaking at the seams.

The proof is in the pudding. Garnel still is advocating Torah MiSinai despite the endless discussions showing how the archaeological evidence, variant torah manuscripts, and even admissions from authorities all the way to the Rambam. All of which add to the Torah being corrupted beyond repair. The man's desperation has become intellectual dishonesty.

Manya Shochet said...

Shalmo, the word you want is "rebut". "Rebuttal" is a noun.

Garnel, get the Benzo, stat! Looks like OTD's having another seizure.

"Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well/Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell"
--Tom Lehrer

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

A reminder:

1) Calling me a Nazi gets your comments deleted until you figure out how offensive you were and make that recognition known.

2) In recognition of Elul coming up, I am trying to live by the maxim: Never argue with a fool. People won't be able to tell the difference between you and him.

Off the Derech said...

I think Manya wants to suck your cock.

Manya Shochet said...

"I think Manya wants to suck your cock.
--Off the Derech"

I've worked in the ER, Tateleh. You're going to have to be a little more creative than that if you want to shock me.

In fact, you might want to study Catholic literature if you want to impress or interest others with your Loss of Faith stories. Go read Stephen Dedalus, or even Karen Armstrong. They give the full monty in the dark night of the soul category.

With you, it's all just whine, whine, whine.

Off the Derech said...

I never wanted to impress or interest others, mammale. Garnel knows that. The only one desperate to impress (and swindle) others is the man whose blog we have the misfortune of visiting.

Recreational Musings said...

David, I think Modern Orthodox people would be very offended by your ignorance towards them (as am I!). They often have just as strong of education and belief in Judaism, but just aren't so crazy as to actually think that wearing black and white everyday, a black velvet yarmulke, and putting the right shoe on first, will get them a better spot in Heaven.

As for everyone else, is there really so little civility left in the world? And it seems the word Nazi gets thrown around these blogs a lot...could that please stop out of respect for everyone!?!

Lastly, I just wrote a somewhat related post here: http://recreationalmusings.blogspot.com/

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Lady-Light said...

Just discovered your blog (everyone refers to you; you think I would have known earlier), and it is giving me HOPE.
I wanted to print out the analysis on MO but realized just in time that I can't afford the ink.
Have to plan my Ivrit lesson now, so will have to get to it later.