I’m guessing my inflammatory subject line will garner quite a few hits, but there’s a reason for it. My story is a bit complicated, but I’ll try to simplify this as much as possible because I am looking for some specific information.
I am Jewish, but am much more interested in scientific findings (i.e. theory of evolution, etc.) than in what the Old Testament has to say about things. My mother has always been a bit on the religious side, and we attended an Orthodox synagogue when I was a kid, but we were never especially observant (didn’t keep kosher, not drive on the Sabbath, etc.) A few years ago, my sister married in to an extremely observant family, and my parents became very close with his parents. They’re nice people, but they’re constantly talking about all the ‘proof’ that shows how accurate the Torah is. My mother pretty much takes their word at face value, and her Rabbi certainly agrees with their statements, helping to solidify my mother’s belief in all of this.
The problem I’m having is that I’m getting married soon to a woman who is converting to Judaism. It’s very important for my mother that the kids be borne to a Jewish woman, and I don’t really have any problem with this. However, my girlfriend’s found a Conservative cantor who was certified (not sure by whom) to do conversions. I don’t care if this guy or some other rabbi does the conversion, but I don’t agree with some Orthodox views, and don’t want to point my girlfriend toward an Orthodox Rabbi. I’m not interested in shattering anyone’s faith, and am fine to let people believe whatever they want, but my mother has said that if I can show her concrete proof that what she’s being taught is not scientifically proven, than she’d possibly be ok w/ a conservative.
I understand that people have their different faiths, but my sister’s family insists that Judaism is NOT built strictly on faith, and that their claims can be PROVEN. They’ve even suggested that I attend some seminar that will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they say is true. I’m not talking about a burning bush that talks, I’m talking about the various different accounts in the Torah that may or may not have some historical basis, including the Great Flood, etc. I’m certain that the proof given at these seminars would not quite be the smoking gun that they claim it is.
What I’m looking for are some of the most outrageous beliefs of Orthodox Judaism. I need a preponderance of evidence that I can overwhelm my mother with, that she can take back to her rabbi, and that he will be forced to give some explanation that can be dismissed with even another windfall of evidence. It needs to be as clear and easy to understand as possible, and as indisputable as possible. Not only that, but I’m looking for the unethical parts that we ignore (slavery, stonings…things that are taught in the Torah possibly, but rabbis would have a hard time explaining)
As a side note, I’m really not looking to start a flame war, nor am I really interested in people’s opinions as to whether or not I SHOULD try to convince my mother, etc. I respect people’s different beliefs, and I have no interest in trying to argue with people about religious tolerance, etc, but I’d have to go on another 10 pages to explain the entire story. I assure you that I love the fact that people have different beliefs and faiths. This really isn’t about that. I’m not trying to prove there’s no G-d or anything, just that some of the claims are so bizarre that you can’t just accept people who I consider fanatics’ statements without question.