Monday, October 1, 2007

Of Atheists and forskins

Man and God (and God’s Sick Punch Lines)

Shalam Auslander's new book "Forskin's Lament" details his flight from orthodox religion:

“...The people who raised me will say I am not religious,” he writes. “They are mistaken.” He adds: “I am painfully, cripplingly, incurably, miserably religious, and I have watched lately, dumbfounded and distraught, as around the world, more and more people seem to be finding Gods, each more hateful and bloody than the next, as I’m doing my best to lose Him. I’m failing miserably...”

In the above article, he revisits the orthodox Jewish community he grew up in, noting the disapproving stares of people who pass him by:

"I try sometimes to see myself through their eyes — as someone who has made a huge mistake. On the other hand, what if the big joke is that God has nothing to do with any of this, and doesn’t care about it at all?...It all feels very ‘Twilight Zone’ to me,” he said. “It seems more and more odd and more and more familiar at the same time.”

From the first chapter of his book:

...The people of Monsey were terrified of God, and they taught me to be terrified of Him, too—they taught me about a woman named Sarah who would giggle, so He made her barren; about a man named Job who was sad and asked, —Why?, so God came down to the Earth, grabbed Job by the collar, and howled, —Who the fuck do you think you are?; about a man named Moses, who escaped from Egypt, and who roamed through the desert for forty years in search of a Promised Land, and whom God killed just before he reached it—face-plant on the one-yard line—because Moses had sinned, once, forty years earlier. His crime? Hitting a rock. And so, in early autumn, when the leaves choked, turned colors, and fell to their deaths, the people of Monsey gathered together in synagogues across the town and wondered, aloud and in unison, how God was going to kill them: —Who will live and who will die, they prayed, —who at his predestined time and who before his time, who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning...


Anonymous said...

This book sounds very interesting! Thank you so much for an intro to it ... I must add it to my "must read" list. Just a little jaunt to the local library ...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.