Making a return.
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23-06-2013, 08:57 AM (This post was last modified: 23-06-2013 09:05 AM by jkshrout.)
Making a return.
Last night was my first time here since January of 2012, and since I see so many new faces I've never met before, I thought I'd introduce myself once more.

My name is Jackson, but I prefer to go by Jack. I'm eighteen and just finished high school. This fall I will be attending the State University of New York at Binghamton where I will most likely be studying political science.

I love movies. I have a collection of over three hundred films, plus I'm subscribed to just about every movie service there is. My two favorite films are Martin Scorsese's 1976 Taxi Driver and Ingmar Bergman's 1957 The Seventh Seal.

I also enjoy video games. I have a PlayStation 3 (Steel_Fascist) and an Xbox 360 (teh j00theist). I don't game much on Steam but you can find me at sirlolzalot131 if you want to shoot me a message or whatever. Don't question my naming decisions.

I'm a music lover, too. Never had the patience to learn an instrument but I listen to a ton of music from various genres. My favorite three albums are Bob Dylan's folky and poetic Highway 61 Revisited, Pink Floyd's spacey progressive rock album The Dark Side of the Moon, and Stan Getz and João Gilberto's jazz/bossa nova fusion Getz/Gilberto.

I was formerly Jewish, sorta. Since a young age I was brought up to follow the religion but I never really felt in my heart that I truly believed it. When I was thirteen, after becoming a bar mitzvah, I decided to leave the religion and pursue the questions of the universe in my own way, at my own leisure. I take interest in astronomy and theoretical physics, because finding out what's out there in the beyond is something I'd very much like to experience.

I previously mentioned I was studying political science. I'm socially liberal (pro-LGBT marriage, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, etc.), and for economics I have a blend of libertarian and populist ideas; for foreign policy I'm mostly a non-interventionist. I like debating politics in a civil and friendly manner.

Overall I try to be a chill and friendly person. There are so many things in this world to get really angry about, and dissenting opinions are not one of them. My Skype is thecinemajack, my Twitter is @thecinemajack, and my AIM is jkshrout131, so feel free to hit me up if you wanna chat. I also write film reviews infrequently at http://www.magjournal.net and will have one or two columns (and possibly a podcast) at http://www.cinemasauce.com, plus I do a gaming podcast called This Side Up at http://www.stealthybox.com.

I think that's about it. Let's see, I covered my hobbies, my politics, my (lack of) religion, and what I do to keep busy. I'll add anything else it it comes to mind. Anywho, I'm glad to be back here to start discussing things like I used to.

[Image: 4hs9p5.png]

"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
-Stephen Colbert
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23-06-2013, 04:05 PM
RE: Making a return.
I liked your introduction because there are many details.
Welcome in the community.
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24-06-2013, 07:27 AM
RE: Making a return.
Welcome back!

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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24-06-2013, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 24-06-2013 01:54 PM by cufflink.)
RE: Making a return.
Welcome back, Jack. For such a young guy, you're impressively articulate. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what you have to say.

Your comment about being "formerly Jewish" made me think of my own relationship to Judaism. So let me offer some observations, which may or may not be helpful to you.

I was raised in an Orthodox environment in New York, and as a just-bar mitzvahed teen, I tried to practice the religion scrupulously, praying six mornings a week with tallis and tefillin, going to shul every Shabbes with my father, scrutinizing every bit of food that entered the house to make sure nothing non-kosher had crept in. But around the age of 15 I began to question things, and after some independent reading and thinking I realized I no longer believed in the religion--or in any religion. It seemed clearer and clearer to me that there was no God to believe in. (And that realization has only gotten stronger as I've aged.)

But there was the question of identity. What was I? Sure, I was an atheist--I had no problem saying that. But did that mean I was no longer Jewish?

Later in life, I went through a period where I denied my Jewishness. I would say things like "I was raised in a Jewish environment" and "I come from a Jewish background" while explaining that I was no longer a Jew. Since I didn't believe in the tenets of Judaism, that seemed the most honest way of characterizing myself.

And doing that made me feel like shit.

For one thing, I was more than aware of the two-thousand-year history of Christian attempts to convert the Jews. I knew how Jews throughout the ages had clung tenaciously to their way of life, sometimes having to practice it in secret. By saying I was no longer Jewish, it felt as if I were capitulating to the enemy, letting them win, even though I knew I wasn't going over to their side.

More significantly, however, by denying being Jewish I felt as if I were rejecting much more than a religion. Because for better or worse, "Jewish" is more than a religious identity. It's also ethnic, cultural, linguistic, . . . There's such a thing as Jewish music. Jewish languages. Jewish cooking. Jewish humor. Substitute "Catholic" for "Jewish" in any of those and you get nonsense. Catholicism is strictly a system of belief. Judaism goes way beyond that.

So my experiment with denying my Jewishness was short-lived. Today I call myself a Secular Jew, or a Jewish Atheist, or both. It acknowledges my ties to my background and heritage, which I'm proud of, while getting across the idea that I'm no longer tied to the religion. I'm comfortable with that.

But as they say, your mileage may vary. Wink

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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24-06-2013, 11:40 PM
RE: Making a return.
Well my Gamertag reflects that I used to call myself a "Jewtheist," but it was too tedious to explain what that meant to people every time they asked.

I'm not really culturally Jewish either. I don't celebrate the holidays. I'm there when my family celebrates it because I have familial obligations and I love my family, but I personally hold no interest in these celebrations beyond seeing people I don't get to see often. I believe assimilating oneself into a culture is his or her own choice; just because I was born to a family of Jews doesn't mean I cannot leave the culture behind me. The Jewish culture really is nothing more than traditions sprung from the religion; the same goes for Christian culture, Muslim culture, Hindu culture, etc.

And as for feeling guilty about somehow giving into the opponents of Judaism, don't. You've no obligation to sustain a religion. If Judaism dies out in a certain number of centuries, so be it. No religion NEEDS or has a RIGHT to exist.

I enjoy the days off but I don't ever think about Judaism at any point during the day, nor do I identify myself as Jewish any longer. It's just out of my life completely.

[Image: 4hs9p5.png]

"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
-Stephen Colbert
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