The four sons.
When I first started perusing skeptic blogs and Yahoo TFSG, I felt there was some sort of loose analogy between various skeptics and the Four sons of the Haggadah.
I felt, of course, that I was the Chochom, the wise one. I had come to my suspicions strictly from my intellect. I was not influenced at all by anyones derision of Torah or by reading other blogs. My transformation occurred by my exposure to and my acceptance of a more rational model of the world. I wasn't even aware of issues such as DH and only vaguely aware of the Kuzari Proof. I had never read anything directly critical of religion or TMS.
Yes, I was not aware of any mechanisms for the way Judaism came to be what it was. And I wasn't even actively searching for explanations. As I mentioned in prior posts, I thought I must be crazy.
But that was me, the wise one. Maven Davar Mtoch Davar. I was able to extrapolate.
Then there were others whom I felt were similar to Reshoim. Not that they were evil, just that their motivation for skepticism was because they were not happy with the religious restrictions, or had undergone some trauma and were angry at God. In short, this is like the classic case of Lo Uvdoo Avodah Zara.... Of course, I was indoctrinated to think of that as evil, so that's how I initially characterized them.
Naturally, I was a cut or two above these emotion driven skeptics. Feh.
Then there were those skeptics similar to the Tam, the simpleton. They rejected OJ because of a very simplistic attitude. That the miracles in the Torah just make no sense. To me these Skeptics were like a Tinnok Shenishba, similar to someone who was stolen at birth from a Jewish life. They rejected OJ because they did not have an adequate Jewish education. Had they had "Real Torah" education, they'd be believers. They had no science to teach them a better way, so Torah would have set them straight. Those fools. They just happened to be simplistic, so they fell into skepticism.
Of course, I was many steps above these skeptics, as well.
And then there was the "She'aino Yodeah Lishol", skeptics that simply believe what they're told. You know, the ones who were influenced by reading GH's blog or some book on DH. As Lakewood Yid once accused me, "because you read some Atheist book knocking Torah....... you think". Well, that wasn't me either.
I was on top of the skeptic food chain.
Anyhow, over time, I came to realize that I had it wrong. I was not much different and certainly no better than these others.
Firstly, I began to realize that these "fools" were actually quite "wise". Put simply, their street smarts about miracles, etc really gave them an advantage. After all, they came up with the answer way before I did! In a sense, they recognized the simple truth on the basis of the absurdities inherent in TMS. They did not require an alternate model before recognizing the faults of the current one. They are the true bright ones.
And then came another shock. I recently came across some skeptics who I would really categorize as Chachamim, wise. The rejected OJ not because of a "Tam" or simplistic approach. Rather they were exceedingly wise and by objectively studying the Torah they came to question it's truths. Not from external sciences, not from "simple" incredulity about miracles and and not through some Kefira books. But rather through the application of their common sense to what TMS taught them.
Now that is true wisdom.
That left me, somewhere in between a Sheaino Yodeah Lishol and a Chochom (no wisecracks, please!).
So, where do you fit in?
(In my next post, I'll discuss the so called reshoim and tie all this together!)