Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Aish Hakefirah

As we have established, Orthodox Judaism requires a great deal of faith to believe in it. One could make quite cogent arguments for Reconstructionist Judaism, or even a secular lifestyle, as opposed to Orthodox Judaism. For example, Sam Harris, in his book ‘The End of Faith’ argues that all fundamentalist (and even many liberal) religions are evil. You don’t necessarily have to agree with that, but clearly there are people who do.

This being the case, in as much as the Orthodox world conducts ‘kiruv’ to try and persuade non-Orthodox people to become Orthodox, it would seem to be equally fair and appropriate for those in the non-Orthodox world to conduct ‘kiruv’ to try and persuade Orthodox people to become non-Orthodox. In fact, if Sam Harris is right, it would even be a mitzvah to do so. Yet few such organizations exist, and those that do, tend to provide after-the-fact ‘support’ for those who have strayed, rather than engaging in active ‘outreach’.

It seems that society accepts ‘kiruv’ (whether Jewish, Christian or otherwise), as long as you are trying to persuade secular or non-affiliated people to become more affiliated. However trying to persuade religious people to be less religious, or trying to get affiliated people to switch religions (e.g. Jews for Jesus proselytizing) is not accepted. I wonder why?

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