Remain silent? Nah, it's a blog! You have every right to comment. In fact, I really, truly, deeply, Jewish star my heart and hope to fly you do!
You have every right to think. In fact, I hope you're using at least 12% of that gray matter.
More than that, you have every right to read and learn and search for information.
This past shabbat was a study in culture shock and in information. I
went to shalosh seudot in a Satmar community. The
point, though, is that family and myself wound up talking with this
nice Satmar family about the Internet Asifa. Yep, we wound up on opposite sides of the argument. I think we managed to connect with the analogy of clothes.
If a store is selling some clothes that are objectionable, do you
completely avoid it? No, you have to be able to tell which clothes are
to be worn and which are not. Similar to the internet. You have to be your own filter. If you rely
on the filter of others, you will just lose out on some really good
information that the filter screens out by mistake.
Even more than this, books. "Where they have burned books, they ultimately will also burn people." (Heinrich Heine). Forget the burning.
Where they have banned books, they ultimately will also ban people. And it's a short step and a slippery slope from the banning to the burning. Look at the Rambam.
Now, it's fine if you want to say: this book is no good, and it has things no good person should be reading about and I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole!
But once you start to say: this book is no good, and no good person should read it, so how dare you read it!
You can get: This book is evil and we should completely prevent others from reading it!
For those who say, "well, what about in school? Should kids in school be reading books like this?" I have to say, maaaaybe. It depends on the mission statement of the school. It depends on the background of the kids. It depends on the parents of the kids. ZP recently brought home to me that teachers aren't usually able to teach what they'd like.
Now, ZP mentioned the other week in a comment, " The important thing is if a
topic is being introduced, it needs to be presented and addressed
properly. I am all about encouraging questioning and critical thinking,
but answers need to be provided for."
Here's the problem, though. It really is only a short step from banning books to banning people. Some of the brightest apikorsim I've met are the ones who got kicked out of the yeshiva for asking questions. Now, as far as I know, those minds are lost to Halacha. And that's a crying shame.
If you're a teacher please, please, please don't shut down the kids asking questions you don't like. Ask to talk to them about it after class if you don't want it in the classroom, but don't shut them down. You may be shutting them down from being religious.
Another problem? When you try to say something doesn't exist because you find the content offensive, it just keeps popping up more and more strongly. The forbidden fruit tastes sweetest. Not only that, but blocking others from access just leads to rebellion.
So what happens if the answers reached aren't the ones you were trying to teach? What do you do then?
What do you do if your child is reading something very inappropriate? What if your child is trying to take that book out of the library? What if they're on an inappropriate website? What if they're saying something on a blog?
What do you do? Why?