- Denial: This is the first reaction and it shows. Pretty much any Orthodox Jew who learns about evidence that contradicts the Orthodox worldview begins with this stage and many stay in this stage, I would argue for a large part of their lives. When the evidence that denies the validity of the Torah presents itself to an Orthodox Jew the reaction is to deny that the evidence is really credible or that it can be applied to refute the Torah. These sort of rationalizations are all too common. I was in this stage from the moment I became Orthodox and would constantly fall back to this first stage until recently.
- Anger: When I began to argue with the non Orthodox world in favor of the Lubavitch worldview, I would present our "beautiful" Torah and it's "perfect" message. I thought this surely would bring those Jews who were not connected with Yiddishkeit into the fold, how could it not. The only reason they didn't already accept it is because they never heard of it before, I reasoned. When my views were challenged I fell into stage one, denial, where I brought my rather "weak" rationalizations of the apparent problems but presented them as strong evidence (although it was nothing of the sort). This may have gone on for a while back and forth until my rationalizations and denials ran dry, at which point I became angry. "Why are they being so stubborn?!" I would think to myself "They are just trying to be jerks/trolling/are in denial/etc!" I would honestly get very frustrated and very angry and occasionally it would come out in my posts as insults, but I would try to hold off on that and was usually pretty successful in being polite, with my pent up emotions still inside. Later I would often scream my frustration out in the car when I was driving home alone. Usually cursing and then feeling guilty about it later. It seems really silly now that I think about it, it was so childish like a baby who didn't get his way. Is that really what having the truth feels like? Usually over time I would ignore the issue and then start all the way back at square one, denial. Other times I would move forward just a bit.
- Bargaining: Sometimes if the anger stage didn't revert me back to denial I would try a bit of bargaining in my approach. Sometimes I would bargain with G-d. I would ask G-d to give me the insight to show these lost Jews the beauty of Torah, the simcha of frumkeit, in return I would go out and help more Yidden become frum. Other times I would tell G-d I would learn more Chassidus, daven more, say tehillim, etc in order for Him to help me in my arguments. When this clearly failed to work I began bargaining in my arguments themselves. Well if only I became more open to their view points or if I said nice things about them or their posts in other more pareve topics I could win them over. I would compliment them, concede more often and go around and search for posts that I didn't disagree with and would praise their opinions. Maybe later they would do the same for me when I would argue a point as well. This also failed miserably and it was really stupid of me to think it would work. So what if someone was nice to you or whatever, non frum people being nice to me never moved my opinion about their views an iota so why should it do so for their opinions about my views. So when this failed I would either move backwards to anger or even denial. Rarely I moved forward.
- Depression: When all of my efforts of rationalizing would fail, and venting my anger didn't work the final form of bargaining I tried led me to become really depressed. This was because I bargained that if I were to view this problem from the atheistic perspective, perhaps I would find the flaw in their thinking, but lo and behold I would find no flaw. How could this denial of the "truth" have no flaws? What am I doing wrong? Why is G-d not helping me? Why would G-d let the atheists win? At some points I would give up all hope and maybe over time forget about it all. Three times I moved forward.
- Acceptance: What do I mean when I reached acceptance three times? Wouldn't the first acceptance be when I stopped believing? When I would reach this stage it was with different issues each time. First with the idea of Homosexuality. After much struggle I came to accept the fact that there was nothing wrong with Homosexuality. I accepted that people are just born differently and that there really is nothing wrong with being gay, and that to oppose it really is evil. How did this not break my faith in that the Torah which explicitly rejected this attitude, who knows. I mostly just put it out of my mind and didn't think about it. Later I came to accept that the creation story and the flood story were nonsense and totally incorrect. In a sort of Slifkinesque way I argued that this didn't affect the basic truth of the Torah and then went back to stage one. Finally I accepted that TMS didn't happen and that what I had been sold about the Torah was indeed false. Belief in TMS was always my foundation for believing in the truth of Yiddishkeit. Once that fell it all really fell. I have accepted that there is nothing divine about Yiddishkeit and that it was all man made.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Five stages of Mourning Orthodoxy
I read a few things here and there about how there is some sort of grieving or mourning process when going OTD. Looking at the five stages of grief identified by the Kübler-Ross model: