Check out this xclnt article from the Net News magazine AEON entitled:
The Double Life of Hasidic Atheists.
Yes, you read that right Hasidic Atheists
Even within the insular confines of the Ultra-Conservative Hasidic Orthodox Jewish community, where modern knowledge and interaction with outsiders is severely limited, even within that level of near brainwashing containment, people catch on there probably is no god. It is nearly impossible in today’s world to keep people away from information that undermines religious absurdities.
“His life, like the life of any Orthodox Jew, is punctuated a hundred times a day by the small demands the religion makes on its adherents’ lifestyle, demands on what they can eat, what they can wear, where they can go, what they can read, whom they can speak to, what they can touch, when they can touch it, and how often.”
That’s the key. All religions rely on it. Keep you in a cocoon, smother you with like-thinking and no other possible viewpoint. Bury you, occupy your mind and time with endless rituals and affirmations of faith. Then once you are intertwined with family, community, and economic sustenance, even if you do break free from the mental cage and see the absurdity, the mind control, the primitive thought, the cruel and repressive practices, the utterly useless rituals…you still can’t escape.
“He experienced for the first time what religion looked like from the outside, a series of often ridiculous and always questionable ideas shattering its absolute hold on his psyche.”
All religions to varying degrees rely on constant indoctrination and exclusion, even demonizing of alternative viewpoints. Ultra-Conservative Hasidic Judaism is as extreme as it gets.
The author of the article chronicles her discussions with 3 Atheists, 2 men and one woman, living completely within the almost-impossible-to-fathom smothering religious community of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. The article is well worth the read. It is painful to listen to these people who have all but jettisoned their faith and belief in any god, but are hopelessly trapped within a community which would completely reject them, forcing them to risk all family, community ties, possibly their jobs, even their children.
“‘Every fundamentalist group demonises the other – they tend to be very dualist; you’re either with us or without us.’ In the case of the ultra-Orthodox, ‘We’re talking about a ghetto that’s locked from the inside,’ Heilman said. You have to create a threat from the outside to keep those doors locked.”
And the realization that there probably is no god, most likely not yours nor anybody else’s can eventually be liberating, exhilirating to some, but not without a lot of pain to many first.
“‘It was very upsetting,’ he said, talking quickly. ‘I remember laying in bed and feeling like the world had come to an end. It wasn’t a relief. It was very painful.’”
Hard to believe in this day and age something like this could occur, but it is more common than one might imagine in Conservative faiths, be they Xian, Muslim or Jewish:
“Fruma’s husband doesn’t know she has lost her faith. If he found out, he would certainly divorce her and take away her children. The last time she showed signs of non-conformist behaviour, her husband consulted the community leaders. They sent her to see a mental health specialist, who medicated her. ‘The mental illness card has been used often in cases like mine,’ she wrote. She has since seen another mental health specialist; he gave her a clean bill of health.”
If you like the article and would like an in-depth look at life in the Hasidic community and the struggle of one woman to break free and live as a secularist out in the wider world, having left the confines of an ultra-conservative religion, I highly recommend:
Her story is gripping and inspiring, and gives you an inside view into the utter medieval thinking yet maintained inside ultra-conservative religious cocoons.
‘Religious fundamentalists want to have a monopoly on truth, a monopoly on morality, but the internet undermines those facades’
Many Xians may deny it, but as echoed in the quote from the AEON article above, the Internet thru immediate access to information, and especially thru anonymous contact with others outside your belief cocoon…is killing religions…all of them, even the Ultra-Conservative ones.
Information Kills Religion.
Don’t Doubt It.