BBC Online recently put up an article about the Hasidic Jewish community in Stamford Hill, London, to publicise an upcoming programme on BBC2, A Hasidic Guide to Love, Marriage and Finding a Bride.
Religion being what it is, never wanting to disappoint non-believers with its skewed and tormented vision of what life is about, was laid bare in an Orthodox Jewish context, right down to the fact that television is known as “the Yetzer Hara Box” which roughly translated means the “evil temptation machine”. Owning one can be likened to “having an open sewer in the lounge” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13417502. This had me falling about laughing as did the Halakha (Code of Jewish Law) interdiction not “to sell a captive woman”. For many years now have I likened organised religion to something similar to an ‘evil temptation machine’ but I hadn’t quite seen a TV set as possessing the same attributes. Now, were I to own a television receiver that was able to receive satellite or terrestrial broadcasts then my observation would be understandable, but I don’t. I feel that religious belief has a disproportionate access to our lives through digital media and, furthermore, religion and the effects of religion rank among the most sinister of material transmitted digitally or otherwise into our homes.
It is time that religion was ‘unplugged’ from the establishment as such links provide an air of respectability to what seem to be dangerous, often violent, iron-age beliefs.