Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Walking a Thin Line

Up until this point, I have blogged purely about secular topics. However, since Judaism is in integral part of my life, it is something I spend a lot of time thinking about.

There were two reasons I previously chose not to deal with Jewish topics. The first reason stemmed from my belief of universal accessibility. I believed that by delving into Jewish topics, non-Jewish readers of my blog would feel alienated. However, upon reflection, I feel that there are many Jewish topics which have much in common with topics from other religions and therefore accessible for any religious person to reflect upon.

This brings me to my second reason for why my blog previously did not discuss Jewish religious topics; that there is a taboo against talking about religion in our post-modern society. In an era where individualism often conflicts with religious identity, the social discourse on religion becomes taboo. However, I feel that once one can look past the religious component of a concept, there is still much to learn about life and how humans experience it. 

With this preface in mind, I hope to talk about the first religious concept in my blog while proving the points I have made above. This topic is that there should be a thin line between what you think and how you act. 

As I was praying one day, I realized that it is not enough to just say the words and believe the words, but one must do those words. For example,  if we are praying about a world of peace, that means that we must seek peace (between ourselves and others, and peace within ourselves), and we must seek this peace now; not tomorrow, not later, but now. This does not only apply to Jewish religious practice, but to all religious practice. 

While this concept came to me through religious practice, it has implications for non religious practice as well. Most noticeably in my life, this concept was applied to my choice to become a vegetarian. As I realized that my reasons for eating meat diminished and that the reasons not to eat meat grew, I successfully minimized the line between thought and action and began to change my eating practices. Therefore, while this concept came through a religious medium, a secular practical implication of this concept can also be discerned if one can successfully look past this outer religious shell.

The questions to think about are as follows: (1) In what ways is religion a taboo topic? And more importantly: (2) How can one diminish the density/width of the line between thought and action?


Rabbi R,. Konigsburg said...

why should religion be a taboo topic. We can talk about sex and violence but not Religion? Why can't we talk about topics that are important to us. Just because some people get offended if you don't share the same religious beliefs seems to me to be a form of censorship. As long as religion is not coercive, it is a big part in the lives of many people and we would all benefit if we shared our beliefs and how it motivates/guides our lives.

Hillel Konigsburg said...

I agree. Religion should not be a taboo topic. We should be able to talk about religion, and we would benefit from such a conversation.

But that doesn't change the fact that it is.

It is much cooler to talk about sex and violence than to talk about God. Why do you think that is?