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Thought for the Day: My Relationship With Reality and the Good and Evil that Exist Within It

I am both surprised and not surprised when others take offence to some things I have said.  Not everything, of course, I sometimes have the emotional maturity of a 10 year old brat.  I am talking about when I am speaking (or writing) as a mature, thinking human being/scientist who has studied subject and drawn conclusions based on the data.  I am surprised because, heck... how can anyone take offense to data and reasoned conclusions based on that data.  I am not surprised because I am sure that I have not expressed it that way.  I am therefore setting out a sort of mission statement for my life that I believe explains things.

Point #1: When I am asked, "But what about your feelings?  How can you put the Torah before your own feelings (and the feelings of others)?!"  I hear that the same was as if were asked, "How can you put Newton's Laws of Motion before your own feelings (and the feelings of others)?!"  The question just doesn't make sense to me.  I endeavour to always have empathy and respect for feelings of others.  But feelings don't change reality.

Point #2: I don't follow the Torah because it's the Torah any more than I follow Newton's Laws because they are Newton's Laws.  Rather, "Newton's Laws" is a a shorthand way of saying, "The most efficient and accurate way of expressing the working of physical reality."  More or less analogously, the Torah is the most efficient and accurate way of expressing the entire workings of Reality; a Reality that is a creation ex nihilo by the Creator.

Point #3: The Creator, of course, is the only One who gets to define good and evil; as, of course, good and evil are themselves His creation.  I have no right to personal feelings about that, any more than I have a right to personal feelings about how gears work.  I do, of course, have feelings that do not always align with the Torah.  (For example, I don't really get how it was ok for a 40 year old Yitzchak to marry a 3 year old Rivka.)  I look at those feelings as adjustments that I still need to make to my perception of Reality; not a problem with Reality.

You can call me evil or simple or idealistic; but you can't call me hypocritical.  Moreover, if I am wrong about any of the three points above, I would change my views to align with that understanding and not obstinately cling to my old beliefs.  I would likely whine (a lot) and it would take time (a lot), but I would understand that there is no choice.  Reality is Reality.  Of course, I have put literally decades of ardent research into my current worldview.  I do not mean from becoming frum, by the way, as I see becoming frum as a result of decades of ardent research into what Reality really is.  In fact, from my earliest memories, that has been my goal.

So please argue with me and show me where I have erred.  But please never take offence nor get frustrated with my obstinacy.  It is not the obstinacy of wanting to be right; it is rather stubborn adherence to honesty.


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