Religion: Education vs Ideology (S1E13)

Sarah returns as a special guest! We discuss our favorite books in the bible (SPOILER ALERT: IT IS NOT CHRONICLES), and segue into a conversation about education within religion. 

We start by comparing notes on our educational experiences, and how they colored our religious beliefs and adult life. It begins with understanding the difference between Orthodox (“of proper beliefs”) and Orthoprax (“of proper actions”). From here, we can begin to tease apart ideology and what Torah calls “chinuch” – “dedication/initiation.”

We compare belief and ideology, talk about the effects of religious education on faith, and end with a discussion on the shortcomings of modern “classical liberal” ideology in giving a society a “why” to their lives, as well as something that connects everyone. Classical liberalism tries to fill a god shaped hole for its adherents by providing some kind of cosmological or theological substitute, but it just falls short. There is no sacred to the classical liberal, nor to the postmodernist. And because of that, there is nothing that binds any group together – the social contract doesn’t actually create a group, it only governs it. When this happens, the most education can accomplish is the furtherance of an ideology.

religious education

Education is ultimately what is left when what was learned has been forgotten. The Jewish ideal of education, honed over a thousand years or more, is not about information – it’s about placing yourself in a context. The context is the whole of the Jewish people; you can retain your individual reality because you are part of a community, not in spite of it! There is a shared life that this educational model creates, and it is within that shared life that an individual identity is possible – and flourishes. There is no need for ideology when true individuality exists.

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