Thursday, January 05, 2006

Trench Warfare

I've been frequenting the "Heresy Blogs" - Gadol Hador, Da'as Hedyot, Hirhurim. I don't mean that the blogs are heresy, just that there are a lot of discussions of topics controversial to Orthodox Judaism.

The field is split into 3 groups: the traditionalists/fundamentalists, the OTD/rationalists/secularists, and the in-betweens. What is amazing to me is that no matter what the departure point of the blogger's post, the discussion always winds up in the same place, i.e. relentless sniping between the fundamentalists and the secularists, with the in-betweens poking their heads up once in a while.

I am almost to the point where I've had enough of reading these exchanges. They remind me of the fields of war on the Western Front of WWI, with the guys shooting at each other across the No Man's Land. Rat-tat-tat, bang, bang. Silence. Bang, bang, bang. Ratatatat.

What is amazing to me is that for all the intelligence on both sides, they fail to realize that they will never come to seeing each other points of view.


Blogger Chana said...

"What is amazing to me is that for all the intelligence on both sides, they fail to realize that they will never come to seeing each other points of view."

I see it a couple ways-

1. (Optimistic) They truly believe they're right, and wish their fellow man/ human being could open his eyes and see the light alongside them

2. (Pessimistic) They think insults and public humiliation is going to help impress upon each other the fact that the other one is stupid

3. (Optimistic) They enjoy the back-and-forth ranting/ shouting/ screaming in somewhat playful fashion, each one trying to top the other with more ridiculous insults...think 'Monty Python-esque'

4. They like to hear themselves talk


January 05, 2006 10:53 PM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

I like this blog MUCH better than your other one. And I think the battle online between the orthodox and secular jews in a no end battle. Try going into a chat room and seeing what's said. No such things as live and let live these days.

January 06, 2006 6:34 AM  
Blogger FrumSingleGuy said...

I agree with your post. In fact, I had a blog once that was on the forefront of these "heresy blogs" until I realized that I was getting nowhere, had my own beliefs and dropped out of the discussion!

January 06, 2006 8:24 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

What you aren't taking into account is that people on both the fundamentalist and the secular side have in fact changed our minds radically in past. Therefore, we know it's possible.

When I was frum but questioning, I used to debate on web forums all the time. On some forums, I took the frum side and on others, I took the skeptic's. The skeptic won.

So, yeah, part of it is that I'm optomistic that I can change some minds. But there's another part as well, which is that I simply don't have the freedom to argue with frum Jews in real life, since in real life it's basically just rude to criticise someone's religion. Yet I have a strong desire to argue my case. Therefore, I blog. :)

January 13, 2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

It's not unusual if you come from a talmudic background. For us who do, it's like coming home to the Beit Midrash. Everyone argues and screams at each other while trying to figure out the truth (or just to show that they're right)

February 19, 2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


Do they at least listen to one another in the Beis Medrash? Here each person just seems to speak.

February 19, 2006 12:12 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...


sure, sometimes. If you're lucky. I usually don't talk to people who don't listen. But sometimes it's useful to justto talk because it allows you to clarify your own position.

February 19, 2006 12:30 PM  

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