Monday, June 29, 2009

How does Olam Haba give purpose to life?

One of the common arguments I often hear in support of OJ is that, without God and the Torah, there is no purpose to life. Through the Torah's commandments, God has given us purpose and a way to attain a place in Olam Haba, the World to Come.

I have two problems with this "reason" for going along with OJ:

1. If, as many OJ adherents claim, Olam Haba is sitting in the presence of God and enjoying the Torah with Him, then I am not really interested. They make it as if the reward is basically hearing a Torah shiur (class) from the Man himself. Sorry, but that just doesn't do it for me.

2. Ok, so the goal is to get to Olam Haba. Then what? Do we sit around God and hang out with other do gooders? What is the purpose of that? So Olam Haba really just gives you a goal for this world, but then the problem arises again since there is no purpose to Olam Haba itself.

Sure, if you are into OJ, then living OJ with the addition of a closer connection to God would sound great. But in itself, that is a lame carrot to dangle as a reason to be OJ.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let's say we get 100% proof . . .

I was talking this past shabbat with my wife about the fact that it bothers me that moshiach & olam haba are not mentioned outright in the torah. As the discussion ensued, she basically told me that she thinks I am looking for excuses to get out of OJ and am therefore nitpicking all the things that seem to annoy me. While she isn't completely on target, she isn't necessarily that far off.

This got me thinking, what if I was presented with 100% proof that gets rid of all the issues I have with Judaism. What that proof is, I don't know, but suffice to say it was rock solid. Maybe God himself comes and has a one on one chat with me. Maybe Moshe Rabeinu pops in with a video of him getting the torah. Maybe I am provided with a time machine and see things myself. Maybe I fly on Alladin's carpet up to God's castle in the heavens.

You get the point: ROCK SOLID proof is provided to satisfy me and any skeptic out there of the following:
- God created the world
- God chose the Jews and personally gave the torah to them, which is all fact
- God wants us to follow the torah and cares about our daily lives
- God generally rules the world
- God rewards us in the life to come after we are dead

So then what? Does OJ all of a sudden interest me? As I once responded to my wife when she asked me if I was interested in a shiur she read about, "Just as you never attended my engineering classes because they do not interest you, I am not attending the shiur because I am just not interested".

So, in the end, it really doesn't matter how "right" OJ is. It just matters that I am not one who is spiritual and believes in the mitvot and supposed reward that OJ offers. Couldn't I just opt out and not be bound to things I don't believe in or care in? I would gladly give up the "olam Haba" that OJ think I have coming to me. Just like there are people who prefer to not to be managers because with the additional money comes additional rules and responsibilities, i want to choose to be a plain old person.

If all jews were really given a choice, I wonder how many would choose OJ? And I am not taling about the "choice" they say we have now, but then look down upon anyone who isn't a practicing OJ.