Thursday, August 14, 2008

Self-evident Belief vs. Reasonable Belief

LazerA's comment to "Chabad - With defenders like these...?
Garnel Ironheart said...
"One of the problems with Chabad and much of Chareidi philosophy nowadays is that at the core their view is the "right" view and must be defended with passion and aggressiveness."
While I also agree that the problem exists in the Chareidi world as well (though not as pervasively), I do not think the essence of the problem is that they consider their view "right" (which is really to be expected) but that they believe their view is obviously and self-evidently correct. Thus, those who disagree are not simply wrong or misguided, but hateful and arrogant (as we see from the accusations that have been made).

Interestingly, a similar phenomon existed during the Middle Ages when Christians accused the Jews of ritual murder, host desecration, and of being of a demonic/Satanic nature. This was premised on the Christian belief that Jesus' status as Moshiach/prophet/Divine was clearly self-evident to all who knew him. As the Jews knew Jesus best, their denial of his status as Moshiach/prophet/Divine could only be explained by their wilfully evil/demonic nature.

As I noted this tendency also exists in some circles of the Chareidi world, and can cause a good bit of trouble.

Firstly, those who have such an attitude are less likely to consider the impression their actions make on outsiders. (After all, in their hearts, the secular Jews know we're right!)

Secondly, this is one of the reasons kiruv workers sometimes get in trouble. Although they (usually) believe exactly the same things, they are sometimes seen as weaker in their beliefs because they will acknoweldge that these beliefs are not obvious.

This attitude appears to be far more common in Israeli chareidi circles than in American.

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