23 March 2007

The Baal Habuste

I must be the single worst blogger in the world.

I can not begin to tell you how often I post something and the feedback goes off in every direction except the way I originally intended. But the final straw came in this last post. You see, it was supposed to be my last post.

Don't you get it?

So, my brothers, if I'm not with you in mind, you're all still in my hearts.

And this ??

"M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E "

Where were you raised? Afghanistan?

And Balloons ???

Do I have to spell it out for you?
I guess so.
Ok, so how come I'm still here?
No, I did not change my mind. But the few people I mentioned this to reminded me I had a few things to wrap up. "Your Public Needs You", one also said.
It did make me feel good, but it's really past time for me to move on.
So one of the issues is - "What's doing with the Baal Habuste? How have we been doing since I spilled the beans?"
The answer in short is we're doing fine. In a way it's almost anti-climactic. Things are very normal and almost nothing really has changed.
Here's the scoop. We hardly discuss skepticism. We came to a working agreement where we do not discuss any issues. I don't want to introduce her to nuances of science and history that will get her started, and she doesn't want to go there. And it's not so easy to discuss skepticism when your hands are tied, when I'm holding back.
"Why don't you believe"?
"Do you really want to get into it?"
"No, but it doesn't say anywhere in the Torah that the world is only 6,000 years old".
That's as far as these conversations go. I don't want to get into Kuzari, history, DH, Evolution, etc. I'm sure she has never even heard of DH.
The truth is she doesn't even have a full grasp of how deep my skepticism runs. It's all a vague cloud that I'm a Koifer.
Yet, she doesn't want to lose faith.
She knows I'm not a wishy washy kind of guy who changes his mind yedden Muhntig un Dunershtig (Every Monday & Thursday). Come to think of it, all of my life I've been steady as a rock in everything. I'm not saying I don't change, but I'm as far from "flighty" as can be. So she realizes this is serious stuff and I'm not just being flippant about this .
In a recent discussion I came to the realization that we had very different motivations about religion. Maybe it wasn't very noble, but my carrot for religion has been - the carrot. In other words the reward. Both here and in the hereafter. And so, to me, the loss of my religious beliefs was really nothing short of devastating. I don't exactly know why that has become my motivation (known as Slavish devotion as opposed to Filial Devotion) but I think that's the message we get from our Rabbonim. At least I do. I hear talk of nitschious, Onesh, Yenneh Machle, Poverty, Tsunami, constant Tehillim to keep away the big bad wolf, etc. Daven for this, etc. Give To Hatsulah so they won't carry YOU away on a stretcher, give to Tomchei Shabbos, so they don't deliver packages to YOUR door. Gog and Magog is coming soon.
It's a very cause and affect message that I hear everyday. I am not saying this is the only message I get, but it is where the emphasis lies.
It was not like this back in yeshiva days, but that's what it's like now as a Baal Habos.
This has nothing to do with my skepticism and if someone brings this up, they will be banned. I do not want to discuss the psychology of skepticism/Atheism anymore.
But my wife has a different take on it. She does good simply because that's what she believes "Hashem Wants". She is not as hung up with Reward & Punishment as I was.
With that in mind, I really don't understand what's so bad about losing faith? I would have assumed she would take the attitude of "Really? Tell me exactly what you know, etc? I want to know too". But that's not what's happening and I don't want to push the issue.
Still, she is none too happy about my situation and every now and then reminds me so.
What we have here in our marriage now is a compromise. She knows how deeply involved I am in this, Blogs, speaking with others like me, etc. But she does not want to get involved - at all. She does not even view my blog unless I specifically show her something. (By the way, she is quite impressed with my writing. And, I might add, she would have definitely gotten the Mickey Mouse shtickkel, not like you people out there who have no imagination.)
So although I don't have to hide from her anymore, I don't have a partner in skepticism.
And that my friends, is the state of the union.
I have a few other things to wrap up and I'll try to get that out before Pesach so I can enjoy my vacation.

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