Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Jewish Number Line

[Moved to the top so those not interested in HAFTR don't have to scroll down]

Who would you rather go out with? A girl who wears pants but plans on covering her hair, or a girl who only wears skirts, but won't cover her hair?

The above is one of the hypothetical scenarios that my friends and I like to throw around (the learning/minyan question is another). Most people equate the two, thinking that skirts and hair covering stem from the same source, both are obviously required, and a "good" girl must do both. But the real answer is much more complicated.

Take secular education. Stereotypically, MO types approve of it while UO types do not. But the connection isn't causal, you can be MO and not care about secular education, or UO and a strong proponent.

There are dozens of examples and questions which fit this mold. What's my point?

Everyone talks about religious observance and philosophy as if its a number line. One dimensional. Either the right, the left, or the middle. But they couldn't be more wrong.

Religious observance is more like a 3D (or if you're really feeling adventurous, a 4D) image. You can be on the left for some issues, the right on others, and still the center on more. For each dimension. The possibile combinations are infinite. If more people understood that, we'd all be able to understand each other a little better.