the arrogance of commitment

arrogant? me??well, there you go. i knew it would happen eventually. i tried to tell myself that she’s different, that she’s not one of those “crazy religious people.” but she may very well be one of those. recently we had a long discussion which i ended abruptly because i was really taken aback by what she had said and simply couldn’t continue on with the chat. why is it that religious people – especially newly religious people – instinctively look down on everyone else who doesn’t share their exact views and re-commitments? i had a religious upbringing but respect everyone and everything. i had a religious upbringing but have become less religious. as i said, i don’t mind returning more to the religion when i settle down. that’s not the point. why am i less of a person, why am i something to be pitied over because of my *slightly* straying from my religious upbringing and education?!

people make decisions in life. those that recommit to religion aren’t better people. i hate using the term “better” to describe people. we are not gods. we do not know the “calculations” made by the big cheese. how dare we say someone or something is more or less holy than someone or something else. the arrogance of religious people, especially newly religious people, is what turns me and many others away from becoming truly observant. i don’t want to be like that. religion is about YOU, the individual, and your relationship with G-d. don’t tell me how to live. don’t pity me for doing something you wouldn’t have done. how about a little acceptance and tolerance of others?

7 Comments

  1. Stenis le Menace

    8/12/2004 at 9:33 am

    Jeez, JimmyD, the way you speak you would think that the real problems of religious intolerances these days (i.e. Americans becoming suspicious of anyone looking arab in any respect, radical islam devoting itself to the destruction of non-muslim states, etc.) was real overshadowed by the fact that you neurotically date girls who, in order to bolster their new found commitment, don’t see you as a potential life partner. Of course people with a more religious bent are going to look down a bit on the rest of us: if you felt like you had truly grasped a moral truth and felt that it was a universal requirement on a type of people to obey it, wouldn’t you look down on those that you thought were obliged but ignored it? Aren’t you generally inclined to think that people who shirk moral duties you think they have are, well, worse off than people who don’t? That’s not to say that it is wise of you, or even very understanding to go around expressing that. However, if it’s someone you are dating, isn’t taht the kind of thing you should be allowed to express?

  2. Janice

    8/12/2004 at 7:24 pm

    Saying “I don’t mind returning more to the religion when I settle down” ignores the reality that people who are religious, see it as a focal point in their lives. It is not optional. And so it would make sense that the girl you are/had been dating would want to know whether or not you share her interest in practicing religion NOW. It’s naive to think that couples figure out how much religion to practice AFTER they get married. Singles need to have a pretty clear picture of who they are and where they’re going in life in order to find a partner to go on the journey with them.

    The rest of your post is just blaming the girl for knowing who she is and what she wants. No wonder you felt she looked down on you.

  3. ck

    8/12/2004 at 10:20 pm

    Geez y’all – the dude’s hurting. A little sympathy please! JimmyD clearly needs to determine what his life’s priorities are going to be. So what? Who amongst us hasn’t been there? In fact, who amongst us doesn’t undergo a constant process of self evaluation? We are humans and are in constant flux, said flux occasioned by the curve balls life throws at you. JimmyD is experiencing one of these curve balls. I for one would like to see how he deals with it.

    Cuz I’m just morbid that way. Heh ….

  4. Stenis le Menace

    8/13/2004 at 12:16 pm

    Yah, but jeez, aren’t people supposed to do this kind of thing privately or perhaps with a paid friend (psychologist?) Not that I mind, or anything. I hope JimmyD has better luck. I just reckoned maybe a tough love approach would do the trick.

  5. Janice

    8/13/2004 at 2:50 pm

    I am a psychologist. So if someone posts things on a public website that warrants my professional opinion, they are not immune from getting advice. So it’s actually solicited advice, not unsolicited advice.

    You can get more advice, for free, by visiting my website.

    ck approves 🙂

  6. ck

    8/13/2004 at 3:53 pm

    I do! While Janice’s gig is mostly about relationship and professional coaching, she has helped me take control over my geffilte fish phobia. I feel I am now almost ready to actually sit and eat with ashkenazic Jews, which in turn will increase my chances of getting an invite to Utah to hang with the Bronfmans and cool Jews at the swanky Reboot retreat.

  7. Stenis le Menace

    8/13/2004 at 4:44 pm

    My lord, janice, that is one bizzare view of solicitation that you havec. If someone rants on a website, that counts as solicitation?

    Anyhow, as a self proclaimed expert on detecting wussy posts, I guess I have just as much right to give a solicited opinion on who is being a wus when they post. When you put a post out there, it’s as though you are down right soliciting my opinion. (do you see the parody argument shining through or does it need more spelling out…?)

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