Author Topic: bzzzzt!  (Read 700 times)

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Offline zvuv

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bzzzzt!
« on: November 10, 2013, 10:13:51 PM »
Hi,

I'm in my 60s,  I live in Los Alamos NM.  I worked on the Dept of Energy Nuclear Weapons Project for 22 years  doing engineering and math stuff.  These days I'm a software developer.

At about 18 I found myself in Jerusalem and got deeply involved in orthodox Judaism.  I spent 10 years studying Talmud in a Yeshiva ( a theological seminary ).  I got married there and had three kids.  Near the end of this period I was reluctantly ordained to the rabbinate but by this time I knew it wasn't working for me.   I needed the qualification to get a job. We moved to the US,  I taught in a private Hebrew Day School for a couple of years,  hating it all the time.  I wanted out.  I find it hard to convey how restricted and isolated that life was.  In retrospect, this chapter of my life seems like a psychotic episode.  Finally I got myself into a master's engineering program, got a degree and found a real job and moved to Los Alamos.
It was the usual story, as soon as I showed my cards,  I lost all my friends and  community. 

The transition from  fundamentalist or  religious fanatic was a slow process taking about 15 years to  move across the spectrum  and end up as an atheist. 

I had all the usual dissatisfactions,  people didn't abide by the principles they espoused,  the rules seemed very elastic and could be bent to any purpose.  I felt very limited, shut out from things that I wanted to do,   go to college, talk to all sorts of people , smoke weed ....   but the primary issue for me was that I never formed an emotional connection with God.  It never worked for me, though God knows I tried  :).  Someone else in this section has expressed a very similar experience.  Without that to to sustain me,  I had no motive to ignore all the other problems.  I think that , with variations, mine is a common story.

College was a life changing experience,  not only did it give me the means to slip my leash but I met all sorts of intelligent good people, people that I really liked and admired who    were not jewish or even religious in any sense.  This really cracked open my shell and I began to look around.  More importantly,  I started to ask questions that I previously had not allowed myself to even consider.

I got another major smack upside the head when I encountered the Skeptical Inquirer.  Reading the Inquirer, I learned how to think lucidly about ideas  like the supernatural and most importantly, how to think skepticaly.  I suddenly saw clearly how much bullshit I had taken on board  with out the slightest scrutiny or question.  Phrases like  "Of course", "Makes sense",   "Obviously" became red flags in my mind.

I am a big believer in taking human beings as they are  and working with that rather than trying to impose some kind of idealized image on humanity.    We are just animals with an inflated sense of self importance.  We should accept our nature in its entirety.  It is neither good nor bad,  it was forged in the harsh fire of evolution and it cannot be fundamentally reshaped. 

 I used to be an implacable enemy of religion blaming it for much of the worlds ills, but now I think,  we would do those things anyway and invent some kind of unfounded dogma to justify our actions.    It's not in our nature to be objective, skeptical, rational.  These things take hard work and the best of us do it poorly.  Hoping for a day time  when humanity wakes up and decides to think lucidly is almost as  unrealistic as expecting the Second Coming. It's hard enough to persuade people just to get out and do a bit of regular exercise.   Social constructs work best when they rely on those things we do naturally,  things we want to do rather than things we feel we ought to do,  like capitalism which is motivated by greed.

I do however accuse religion, primarily Chrisitanity, Judaism and Islam,  for distorting and perverting our ideas of who we are and saddling us with standards we can never meet  and goals we can never reach,  for teaching us that we are born deformed, unfinished, sent before our time into this breathing world scarce half made up...  that the ideal man is some kind of emasculated creature without  anger, lust,  greed or aggression, an anatomically correct Ken or Barbie doll .

"Zvuv"  is Hebrew for "fly".    "Baalzvuv"  is "Lord of the Flies"    - Baalzebub
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the Creation so that I may be known.  hadith qudsi

Offline shnozzola

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2013, 10:29:20 PM »
Welcome zvuv
   The lines ..............." the best of us do it poorly" and "It's hard enough to persuade people just to get out and do a bit of regular exercise " are so true and made me laugh.  Hope you enjoy the debate here.
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2013, 10:29:36 PM »
Hello there.

Just one comment.  It's true that expecting us to turn into Vulcans is silly.  But people can be trained to be more rational in their outlook, especially if it happens as children.  The habits we start with tend to be with us for most of our lives.  So it isn't a waste to push for greater rationality and so on.

Offline William

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2013, 10:32:20 PM »
Nice intro zvuv - welcome to the buzzzz  ;D
Git mit uns

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2013, 11:14:28 PM »
That was such a good introduction that I'm tempted to ask you to write another one each day. Lots of insight in this one, folks.

I've already welcomed you in another thread, zvuv, but I'm happy to do it again. You and I are about the same age, but I couldn't engineer my way out of a wet paper bag. My Uncle worked at Los Alamos during and after the war, though. Also Oakridge and a few other places. Though he was a chemist. Regardless, you're on my good guy list because of where you've been working.



I do hope you hang around and stick it to a few theists from time to time. Methinks you'll be good at it. Like so many who come here (not me, I never was very religious), you are overqualified to lambast the ornery ones. Which I will relish watching.
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Nick

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 09:58:35 AM »
Welcome Bzzzzt,  As PP said, it sounds like you have had a wealth of experience in this mean cruel world.  Very glad to have you here and sharing your escape from delusion.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline neopagan

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 10:09:23 AM »
Welcome aboard, z.

Great intro and I look forward to your input, especially insights you might have from the jewish perspective on what we hear around here.
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline zvuv

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 11:39:08 AM »
Well thank you all for the warm welcome.  I'm very impressed with the quality of the discussions here. I hope to make this forum my home.  I've wasted a lot of time arguing with idiots who's idea of a debate is  a series of bald assertions supported by insults.

ParkingPlace,  if you find yourself in northern NM,  stop by.

Just one comment.  It's true that expecting us to turn into Vulcans is silly.  But people can be trained to be more rational in their outlook, especially if it happens as children.  The habits we start with tend to be with us for most of our lives.  So it isn't a waste to push for greater rationality and so on.
 

Jaime, I think we are pretty much on the same page.  I am all for doing the best we can in that regard and we definitely could do a lot better.  I am saying that our expectations should be realistic and irrational ideas will always be a major player especially at a political level.  Politicians,  advertisers  and people who need to manipulate public opinion understand that well and exploit it.   We should accept this as a reality and try to work with it.   I don't really have any idea how to do this but clearly, the first step is to know the horse you are riding.

"Vulcans"  lol.
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the Creation so that I may be known.  hadith qudsi

Offline Boots

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 12:07:06 PM »
I am a big believer in taking human beings as they are  and working with that rather than trying to impose some kind of idealized image on humanity.    We are just animals with an inflated sense of self importance. 

Dude, this is exactly what I say repeatedly, but in a slightly different way: that the only thing that really differentiates us from animals (apart from opposable thumbs) is language.  Once one has language, one can make abstract thought, and that's all we have that's different from other animals.  No soul, no greater purpose, just the ability to question the existence of said soul and purpose.

welcome flyguy.  :-)
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
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Online One Above All

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 12:21:22 PM »
Welcome to the forum. Z is one of my favorite letters.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 12:51:14 PM »
Shalom, it is a good thing that you do not expect everyone to be logical at all times, you will find that a religious person will stop being logical whenever he or she is cornered on this site. It is not easy to discuss scientific topics to prove anything because religious people often don't know enough to know that they are wrong. They usually just deny everything. I hope that you will not get too frustrated with the discussions.
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Offline Shaffy

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 08:23:14 PM »
Welcome Zvuv! Very interesting past, and great post!  :o

-Shaffy
We humans may never figure out the truth, but I prefer trying to find it over pretending we know it.

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Offline wright

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 08:48:20 PM »
Thanks for sharing your journey to atheism; fascinating stuff. Welcome to the forum.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 01:32:14 PM »
Welcome Zvuv.
As others have said, thank you for sharing your story.
look forward to reading your inputs in the threads.
"Do I look like someone who cares what god thinks" - pinhead

Offline zvuv

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 07:42:52 PM »
Again, thank you for your welcomes.

It is not easy to discuss scientific topics to prove anything because religious people often don't know enough to know that they are wrong. They usually just deny everything.

Stupidity is its own reward!   :)

Foxy, sad to say I've done too much of that and it goes just as you say or worse.   Not only is it frustrating but not being seriously challenged has made me a bit lazy.  I hope to talk to the skeptics and be held to a higher standard.
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the Creation so that I may be known.  hadith qudsi

Offline viocjit

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2013, 08:26:09 PM »
Welcome to the forum ! I'm nice to meet a former orthodox jew here. I think that you're the first.

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: bzzzzt!
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2013, 02:56:39 AM »
Welcome zvuv.

Thanks for your intro, I really enjoyed reading it.
If you keep on living your life as though your purpose is to be saved and go to heaven, you are missing the heaven that you are living in right now.