I first want to thank Rabbi Michael Skobac for directing me to this.
This presentation, as one watching it will clearly see, is most informative and enlightening and it is for that reason I have chosen to blog it. Please see
I, though, want to point to one subtle statement which she makes, almost in passing, as it is most significant in relating to the challenge of religious dogmatism which we are facing today. This is doubly important because the argument she is challenging has also seeped into some segments of the Jewish world and this is something we must also confront from within.
Towards the end of her talk, she mentions that as she was questioning her faith in the final months with her family, her mother instructed her that she must be careful to still be humble The implication was that it was her arrogance that was driving her to question and that if she just accepted, with humility, the fact that she was simply a human being, she would recognize that she is not all-wise and accept the proper morality of her faith and the instruction of her deity. Faith is humble; Questioning and reason reflect arrogance. Is there, though, no greater arrogance than this acceptance of such a faith based solely on a perception that 'I believe' and what I believe MUST be right. Where was her mother's humility? Is it not strange, though, how those who advocate for such dogmatic faith through a call for humility are, perhaps, the most arrogant?
As I have expressed on numerous occasions, questioning of the nature that Megan Phelps-Roper undertook is ultimately a challenge of self. Am I correct in accepting this faith simply because I believe or should I question my perception and the teachings to which I was subjected as I, and they, may be wrong? The greatest arrogance is to say that I am right because I am right. What you see in the mother's challenge to her daughter is how people are so fast to turn it around. The arrogance and lack of humility was actually with the mother -- but she tried to attack her daughter for challenging the deity and thus not being humble. The daughter's attack, though, was not really, objectively, on the deity -- as the deity never really spoke directly to Mrs. Phelps-Roper -- but on what people were saying in the name of the deity. How arrogant to proudly not question whether you're getting this right. What she is really not questioning is her self.