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"When you pray, move your feet"

Oh dear.

I've committed myself to participating in therealljidol and already I want to bail. See, the very first topic is "When you pray, move your feet." Now, I understand that this is a proverb and that it shouldn't necessarily be taken literally, but ... ugh. I've been single for a little more than two weeks now and one of the great things about no longer dating a religious person is that I can shovel all of that God-type-stuff right out the door. This morning (as an example) I realized that I no longer had to keep my iTunes crammed full of Matisyahu. I am now free to admit that when I hear him say "the eventual building up of the third temple that we're waiting for," my gut reaction is "are you SERIOUS?!? You really take that crap LITERALLY?!?"

So when I pray ... well, I don't. And when I hear other people talk about praying I think that they're mentally ill. It's mythology, people. It's not real. And when you indoctrinate your children to believe that it is real (like I'm sure all those wig-wearing, baby-bearing, Orthodox ladies that I see at Target are busy doing), in my opinion it's a form of child abuse. You're teaching your children to waste their lives by focusing on a bunch of arbitrary and ridiculous rules designed to keep some invisible boogeyman in the sky happy. The fact that otherwise intelligent (I'm looking at you, Dr. Sharon Moalem) people fall prey to this superstition just boggles my mind.

So move your feet, sure. But pray? Thanks, but no thanks.


Oct. 18th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of wonderful people in the world who are religious, just as there are a lot of wonderful people in the world who are areligious, and calling people mentally ill or child abusers because your lens is different from theirs seems to be going a bit far. It also seems a bit dismissive of real mental illness, which is something a number of people participating in LJ Idol confront or have confronted on a daily basis.

Remember that there are many people from many walks of life participating in this competition, and that you have just called some of them mentally ill child abusers to their faces. Is that really the way you want to start out?
Oct. 18th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
This. Yes.
Oct. 18th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Oh yay we can expect you to be offended at... everything. How unsurprising.
Oct. 18th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Um. What?
Oct. 18th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Not for nothing, but I read the comment as less about taking offense and more about strategy: after all, in a game where votes come from audience perception, one really must think about potentially alienating parts of that audience.
Oct. 19th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:00 am (UTC)
I dated an Orthodox man for the last three years. Among other things, I noticed that there is a very fine line between Kashrut and OCD.

How different is it to view food as "unclean" because it has not been Rabbinically certified, versus to view food as "unclean" because it isn't, for example, all white? How different is it to have to wear a certain garment every day which has a certain number of strings hanging from its corners, which are tied in a certain number of knots, versus, say, having to touch the doorknob sixteen times before you open the door?

I'll tell you what's different: One is a societally sanctioned religious observance, and the other is a recognized psychological disorder.

And I'll take it one further: How is it different for a father to pass his paranoid, delusional, irrational neuroses down to his children, versus a father teaching his children to have to repeat certain phrases before they eat certain foods, or wear certain, specific clothes, or not mix certain fabrics? They both focus on fears of punishment -- it's just that one is more specific about where the punishment will come from (God), while the other is a more nebulous fear of bad things happening (yes, also sometimes believed to be from God).

If I didn't change my beliefs for a man I dated for several years, I doubt I'll be changing them for this competition.
Oct. 19th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
I think it's less about changing your views (which you don't need to do) but perhaps more about developing them in such a way as to give the context you give here.

There are large swaths of religious people who do not act in the way the man you used to date did and who are able to bring up children who thrive in the world when they are removed from their Orthodox surroundings without big issues.

More, your entry seems to say that all persons who follow a religion follow the most extreme or hard-line version of that faith and while I've got more issues with religions and the privilege religion has in the society in which I was raised, I still know that there is a difference between a parent who terrorizes their child with threats of God's/gods' wrath and a parent who pitches their God/gods as a form of supernatural support group (which seems more akin to building up a child's self-esteem and assuring them that they are loved as opposed to abuse).

More, the difference between someone who does a bad thing and excuses it because they found a way to read their holy book of choice (be it the Bible, the Torah or Superman #357) in such a way as to support that bad thing and a person who does a good thing and cites that same holy book as an inspiration for it is massive.

The fact that there are so many versions of even the largest religions does suggest that there are many people who want to use the tools at their disposal (faith, holy books, etc.) in different ways and to different ends.

I don't want to tell you to change your view. Goodness knows I haven't any way to back up such an order and wouldn't even if I could. I'm not telling you that you can't use this entry for the competition; you are pretty clearly free to do so as you wish.

I do, however, think that the views stated above do not take into account the range of human experience and perspectives surrounding the concept of religious faith and, perhaps more pertinent, is quite alienating to the people in this competition and may make them not want to vote for you, which would be a shame because you're clearly a person with a lot to say.

However, as it stands, your entry opens with a dismissive condemnation of the game you're taking part in, followed by a series of broad generalizations which do not reflect my own overall experience with religious people as a gleeful agnostic/nonbeliever.

Your feelings here do not feel, to me, as if they were that deeply explored in the entry; indeed, they seem much more so in your comment here, which is something of a problem because it is the rare person who will view comments as a mitigating factor for their votes.

You may well not care at all about how people perceive you or how it is they vote for you in the game, which is very well.

I get the feeling that you are a more complex person than the entry you've presented suggests and would love to see more of that person come out.

(edited for grammar and some bad word choice)

Edited at 2011-10-19 08:47 am (UTC)
Oct. 20th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
-smile- I need a like button I can mash.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
This ^Nth degree.

As a side note, it is also perfectly acceptable to edit your entry at any time before the polls go up, so if you wanted to explain your viewpoint or your perception of the orthodox religion/OCD connection more clearly, you could certainly do so.
Oct. 21st, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh, no, definitely don't change your views. Opinions are what makes the world a rich and unique place.

What I am saying is to remember that as part of LJ Idol, you are writing for a very wide audience where people are hailing from many walks of life. Your explanations here: the story "I intimately knew someone for whom religion took an unhealthy precedent in his life" is really interesting and valuable in your perspective. Generalizing about all people who share only the barest traces of similarity with that story might mean you will lose readers and potential friends who might take your wording to heart, which is the biggest reason to participate in a community like LJ Idol. Casting a wide net, especially early in the game, can be more beneficial in the long run.

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