Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Revised Take on the "Jewish Philosopher"

In a previous post, I mentioned that I though the Jewish Philosopher was someone who, well, let's just say that I thought he lived in a different reality than the rest of us. However, after conversing with him further (yeah, I know... I'm a glutton for punishment), I'm starting to become convinced that he is quite sane and doesn't actually believe a word of what he publishes. IOW, he is simply "poisoning the well" for the ultra-fundamentalists.

Why do I think this? Based on our last exchange.

Another poster: read Rav kook's essays on atheism before sounding off anymore on atheism.

JP: Sorry, but this blog doesn't follow Rav Kook.

Me: Okay, so which Rav does it follow? Who is the Rav who would advocate what you are advocating?


JP: If you only read blogs which are written under rabbinical supervision, I'm sorry, this blog is not. I do not have a rabbinical supervisor.

Me: You mean that you're advocating breaking up thousands of families, throwing thousands of people into permanent homelessness, forcing them to undergo lie-detector, STD and drug tests, and you haven't even discussed this with a Rav at all??!

JP: Yup.

I find it hard to believe that any ultra-fundamentalist would want to set up the program that he does without actually consulting a Rav at all. As such, I am forced to conclude that he doesn't really believe any of the stuff he spouts. He's simply putting on an act.

The Wolf


mother in israel said...

I think you may have nailed him. But he posts with his name and location-does anyone actually know him? It shouldn't be too hard to find out.

Rich said...

Wolf, I have read his blog as well as had some e-mail discussiong with him and I have to disagree with you there. While he may take it a little too far just to get us angry and riled up. I believe he believes the basics of what he says.

mother - I would also love to meet someone who knows him in every day life. i know the area he lives in and have asked several people I know from there about him. Unfortunately, none of them know him.

Jewish Atheist said...

I used to email with him back and forth quite a bit. I'm convinced that he does essentially believe what he writes, although he may be exaggerating for the added drama.

It's hard to believe that people can be so vicious, but it happens. There was a blogger named Heshy a while back who was pretty similar.

I'm just glad that I turned down his repeated invitations to meet for lunch and that he doesn't know my real identity.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought at first reading some of his writing, but there's soooo much he has about himself and his background/beliefs up there, it's hard to believe anyone would go to all that trouble without really meaning it... Would love to hear answers to the above questions, though...

Kylopod said...

I've long wondered about this. Many people have said similar things about Ann Coulter. There are just some individuals who seem to revel in being walking caricatures, and they are especially common on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Looks like hamercaz.com is the place to go for up-to-the-minute elections coverage.

They have live video coverage of both McCain and Obama post-election rallies (from C-SPAN) where you can hear the candidates' victory and concession speeches.

Plus there's a real-time electoral college map that is updated state by state as the votes come in.

And then there's also the usual election-related news and multimedia, of course.

Anonymous said...

You used to have e-mail discussions with JP? Wow. Never would have thunk it. If you're not violating privacy expectations, can you tell us what they were about?

I remember Heshy, sort of, but I don't think he was quite like JP.

Anyway I can't figure JP out and am not sure it's worth trying. He's said he wants to raise emotions to get people to do teshuva, but you'd figure he'd realize by now how that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Ichabod Chrain

jewish philosopher said...

I am exactly what I claim to be. Read my profile. As difficult as it may be for the delusional, addiction ridden, pleasure seeking, selfish masses to imagine, yes, there people who really believe in the Torah. Really. That may be the main point of my blog - to prove that yes, we do exist, even though our blogging presence seems to be small.

About this rabbinical supervision thing, do I need to ask a rabbi if I should eat a cheeseburger or not? It's a silly question. By the same token, if I suspect a member of my family is using the home computer for inappropriate purposes, do I need to ask a rabbi whether or not to install monitoring software? And in last week's article I made it clear that "Each individual case should be subject of course to the guidance of senior rabbis." Obviously the action taken against a 15 year old who is experimenting with porn and pot is different than a 45 year old who eats pork on Yom Kippur and blogs under the name of "Atheist Hassid Jewish Rebel".

Jeff Eyges said...

Wolf, I wish I could I agree with you, but I also think he believes what he's saying. What I don't understand is why the entire Jewish blogosphere puts up with him. He's worse than the Lakewood posters who harass Harry Maryles; he may very well be psychotic.

Over the past few years, Jacob Stein has been infiltrating the Jewish blogosphere like some sort of hideous infection - yet nearly everyone has taken a laissez faire attitude toward him. I find this staggering. There are blogs I stay away from for months at a time, or have stopped visiting altogether, because they tolerate his presence. I've only come across one blog on which he was told to get lost, then banned: http://offthed.blogspot.com/2008/10/bye-bye-jp.html. Quite frankly, this young man, brand new to blogging, puts all the rest of you to shame.

I'm sure someone will tell me it's an issue of censorship, to which I'd reply, "So?" You all maintain blogs on which you and your commenters are working out psychological and theological issues of tremendous importance to you, issues that stem from the foundations on which you have constructed your lives. You have the right to engage in this process without being told, at every turn, that you're willful, inveterate sinners who secretly know the truth, but lie to yourselves so that you can indulge in promiscuous sex.

To point to an example close at hand - Rich, I discovered your blog at the same time that I discovered Off the Derech. I participated a bit, but I simply couldn't deal with Stein, and your tolerance of and willingness to engage him, so I left. I went back yesterday to take a look, and I came across the following:

You: When i started to move away from OJ, it was because I just didn't like it. It didn't speak to me at all and I did not get any spiritual uplifted from it. The minutia of halacha was incredibly annoying to me. And, unlike JP would like everyone to believe, it had NOTHING to do with wanting sex, drugs, or the like.

JP: Baloney.

And that's mild. Why on earth would you subject yourself to this - and on a regular basis, yet?

I would like to urge all of you, very strongly, to ban him from your blogs. You wouldn't even be depriving him of a platform - he has his own blog; he can rant and pontificate from there. If you won't, based upon some ill-conceived notion of Orthodox unity, then you continue to risk alienating those who could contribute to your threads and benefit from your experience, but who are frightened off by his insanity. In addition, in allowing frei Jews (like myself) to see his hateful pronouncements go generally unchallenged, you validate by implication our view of Orthodoxy as regressive, anachronistic and a haven for the unstable.

Anonymous said...

JP is like the crazy old aunt in the attic. You can't throw her out because she's family!

Anonymous said...

I too have had personal discussions with JP (yes, I am a glutton for punishment just like Wolf) and I KNOW this man is full of it. I dare say that he's a troll - i think he's made up a completely false profile, spouting things just to make people angry - not because he believes what he's saying. He certainly isn't who he tries to come across as. Trust me.