Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Consumed By Work

I know, I know, I haven't posted in a while.
There's a few reasons.  One is that it's Elul.  I have lots of ideas but it seems this is just the wrong time of year to whinge and complain about things.  I wanted to write a piece on how metzizah b'peh is driving me crazy what with the hysterical response by the Agudah community to a minor suggestion by the city of New York to require signed consent before performing it.  I had some ideas for a piece on how the appointment of Rabbi Asher Lopatin to run Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is just another step in that community's eventual exit from Orthodoxy and into right-wing Conservatism.  And there's always stuff to comment on about what's going in Israel and the Middle East.
But it just doesn't seem to be the right time for it.
Maybe I've been overwhelmed with work and home responsiblities.  Maybe I'm just tired.  Maybe I'm just more worried about the next few days what with my neshamah about to be judged by the King of the Universe at all.  It's just that blogging doesn't seem to be a huge priority for me right now.
So keep checking once in a while and I will be back.


Shira Salamone said...

I thought the whole point of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah was to help left-wing Orthodox Jews stay Orthodox. I hope they succeed. My own experience as a life-long Conservative Jew is that the Conservative Jewish community generally doesn't practice the level of observance that the YCT crowd wants to maintain.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah--May you be sealed in the Book of Life.

SJ said... I actually defended the orthodox this time.

JoeWondering said...

Garnel -

I have really enjoyed reading your blog.
I wanted to make a general comment and hope its OK to post it here:

You argue at various points, in both your original posts, and in responses to comments, that although normative orthodox Judaism has been and is blinkered in its response to modernity, there is, nevertheless, a legitimate rationale defence possible of orthodoxy, based on the tools of reason. In other words, proofs for the Torah and the mesorah are substantial and possible, if not in the simplistic versions presented by Aish HaTorah etc..

I regard your overall premise and project as commendable. However, I would ask if you do truly believe that such a legitimate rationale defence is really possible? Surely it is the case that if one was to take an impartial rational person and present to them the evidence for the veracity of Torah, and the counter-evidence, then the counter-evidence from linguistics, comparative religion, archaeology, science, astronomy, is in the end overwhelming.
Of course, it is still possible, as theorists such as Gottlieb maintain, to maintain that divine actions cannot a priori be evaluated and that we cannot say, for example, that an ex-nihilo tree is any more unlikely on an a priori basis than an ex-nihilo atom. Certainly, from a Humian/Kantian perspective, one cannot disprove this. However, also from perspective we cannot prove that the sun will rise tomorrow, but most people live their lives on the basis that it will, as Kant markedly points out.
One could argue that all the scientists, archaeologists, linguists, are in some way inherently biased to a rationalist materialist view of the world. But really so many of them? Isn't it in the end a bit like the moon landing conspiracy theory - possible, but no right thinking person would believe it. In the end dont you have, if you are being truthful, have to accept that no right thinking person would be persuaded by orthodoxy, unless they had other non-rationale reasons for adopting it? And I don't dismiss these non-rationale reasons - faith, as nothing, they are potentially something very important. But to suggest as you do that there is a true rationale argument is, I think, to delude yourself and others.

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Hi JoeWondering,

I've written before that faith plays an important part but where it fits in is what matters.
It can be logically proved that there is a God. In fact, it's quite easy. So no faith required there.
Even the idea of that God then remaining involved and interested in the universe He created isn't that hard to fathom.
Where faith comes in is where God personally intervenes in history. Did He speak to my ancestors at Sinai? I have faith he did and freely admit there are no non-biased facts that support my position. Of course there are no such facts that contradict it either.
Further, the fight between science and religion is overplayed. Science is not an antagonist of religion. Scientism, the religion of many scientists, is because it's a competing religion. Science does not make moral claims, it answers questions of fact. Scientism claims to answer fact and faith which is where it goes wrong.