PDA

View Full Version : Risky Jewish Question


Striver
05-31-2005, 09:31 PM
I'm going to take a risk and ask a question related to the way I see Judaism practiced. I call this a risky question because I see Jews as even more sensitive about their religion than American Christians are. That said, the question is about religious practice, and only someone with a truly skewed viewpoint to being with would see what I'm about to ask as being anti-semitic.

I figure I may as well ask the question now, while I have a low post-rate, instead of later when I have some sort of "reputation" or whatnot to uphold.

The question is: There are people who are Jewish who become atheists and still retain their Jewish ties. They even go to synagogue and various cultural functions. Isn't this cheating? When I became an atheist, I quit dealing with all of my Christian friends, never went to church again, (unless you count marriages and funerals), and went on with the difficult process of defining my own life apart from religious doctrine. Isn't someone who says they're Jewish, but doesn't believe in a god trying to stand on both sides of the fence?

WITHTEETH
05-31-2005, 09:36 PM
Maybe that person is just a socialite. or perhaps he is unsure, maybe even pressure from someone else, or that that the person is hiding it. many reasons, anyone else?

abortionman
05-31-2005, 11:05 PM
well, i AM a jewish atheist
specifically, i don't believe in god

but really, the only reason i consider myself jewish is that when i go home, i celebrate Hanukkah (no one knows how to spell it anymore...neither do i) or yom kippur or whatever else.

there is also the whole alternate "jew as a race thing", but i won't even bother with that because i don't care too much.

Tulkas
06-01-2005, 12:08 AM
My grandpa and his family are orthodox jews, and much of my family is. Take it from them, and from me, you CANNOT be a jew and be an atheist at the same time. However, you can be an atheist and still practice jewish traditions because you enjoy them, they bring back memories, they unite family, they teach good morals, ect.

Judiasm and Atheism do not mix at a key level, please do not use the term, "jewish atheist"

abortionman
06-01-2005, 02:32 AM
fine, i'm an atheist with strong cultural ties to judaism (the reform one...not the orthodox one)

and...for the sake of a link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_Jew

and my point...an atheist who celebrates christmas isn't automatically christian, but you don't see too many people randomly celebrating hanukkah.

Philboid Studge
06-01-2005, 05:39 AM
When I became an atheist, I quit dealing with all of my Christian friends, never went to church again, (unless you count marriages and funerals), and went on with the difficult process of defining my own life apart from religious doctrine.
This sounds more like an indictment of your Christian "friends" than anything else. Are they incapable of having atheist friends? (Or you of having Xian friends?)

Tenspace
06-01-2005, 08:54 AM
Judiasm is not a proselytizing religion; on the contrary, they make it hard for a convert to become a Jew. It is a much more private and personal belief system than Christianity.

I think "Atheist Jew" is a transitional phase. I went through the same thing a few years ago. You lose your belief in God while confirming your indoctrinated lack of belief in Jesus, leaving you with rituals and traditions. At some point, you question the teaching of your parents, and end up giving up belief in a supreme being while maintaining the traditions. Now, though, even the traditions are nothing more than control techniques... to me, anyway.

Tenspace

Lurker
06-01-2005, 09:54 AM
This seems to be the place to ask this question....

What is the jewish view of the messiah as it pertains to the OT? In particular I'm talking about Daniel 9 where it talks about when the messiah will come ('seventy sevens' and all that). How do jews interpret this? I already know they deny jesus so don't bother going there. Thanks.

Striver
06-01-2005, 07:02 PM
The discussion is going okay, people aren't getting too worked up...

Tenspace's "transitional phase" comment seemed to make the most sense to me. I was never an agnostic, which would be akin to a "Christian Atheist", though. I went cold-turkey since it all fell apart in my eyes at once--although it took some courage to question it.

There's probably some assimilation pressure; I imagine a middle-eastern atheist would have to hide it for their own protection.

Little Earth Stamper
06-01-2005, 07:25 PM
Maybe being in a ritual setting with your friends and loved ones is enjoyable to you.

It's not a big deal, I think.

Another brick in the wall
06-01-2005, 07:32 PM
I think holidays are fun, so I have no problem attending a religious celebration of any type if I know I'll have a good time. In the battle between my principles and my stomach, my stomach always wins.

abortionman
06-01-2005, 09:49 PM
tenspace has a pretty insightful view of it. exept i follow no traditions (kosher, lazy saturdays, etc...) minus the holidays. and as for family acceptance, they don't care, if anything lots of jews are atheists. i think i met more jewish atheists than i have christian atheists in my life (though this happened in college...science quad so i guess saying that makes me a bigot?). it might just be that i was raised in a reform jewish family.

and no, i don't go to temple (but i never have...so nothing's changed)

Tenspace
06-01-2005, 10:01 PM
This seems to be the place to ask this question....

What is the jewish view of the messiah as it pertains to the OT? In particular I'm talking about Daniel 9 where it talks about when the messiah will come ('seventy sevens' and all that). How do jews interpret this? I already know they deny jesus so don't bother going there. Thanks.
Actually, it isn't discussed much; I don't remember any specific times that we discussed a messiah. Other than the supplication surrounding Yom Kippur, I don't remember much about the Book of Daniel.

Ten

HMS Beagle
06-09-2005, 07:10 PM
My grandpa and his family are orthodox jews, and much of my family is. Take it from them, and from me, you CANNOT be a jew and be an atheist at the same time.
Same with Roman Catholics, though that's a cult, not a culture. If baptized members become atheists, they nevertheless remain Catholic unless they're excommunicated-- which takes time. You have to not only act on your atheism (posting on this forum would be a start), but persistently, unwaveringly renounce Catholocism over a long period of time.

http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/excommunication.htm has a primer on getting excommunicated, followed by a bold reminder: "Remember: Blasphemy is a victimless crime."

Philboid Studge
06-10-2005, 05:40 AM
You have to not only act on your atheism (posting on this forum would be a start), but persistently, unwaveringly renounce Catholocism over a long period of time.
Chant three times:
"The power of Christ repels you!" [/Max von Sydow]

Spurius Furius
06-10-2005, 06:40 AM
Judiasm is not a proselytizing religion; on the contrary, they make it hard for a convert to become a Jew. It is a much more private and personal belief system than Christianity.

I think "Atheist Jew" is a transitional phase. I went through the same thing a few years ago. You lose your belief in God while confirming your indoctrinated lack of belief in Jesus, leaving you with rituals and traditions. At some point, you question the teaching of your parents, and end up giving up belief in a supreme being while maintaining the traditions. Now, though, even the traditions are nothing more than control techniques... to me, anyway.

Tenspace
I am also an "Atheist Jew". I have always thought that Judaism is as much a cultrure as a religion and this is why many atheist jews still practice the traditions, use Yiddish words, and hoard money (just kidding). I definitely agree with your point Ten, I would add that it is much easier for a jew to become an atheist than a Christian because your already start out not believing in Jesus when most people around you do. If so many people can be wrong about Jesus, who is to say they are not wrong about the whole shooting match! Thie helped in my leap.

Rhinoqulous
06-10-2005, 07:49 AM
You have to not only act on your atheism (posting on this forum would be a start), but persistently, unwaveringly renounce Catholocism over a long period of time.
Chant three times:
"The power of Christ repels you!" [/Max von Sydow]
"Let the Power of Ponch Compel You! LET THE POWER OF PONCH COMPEL YOU!! LET THE POW..., wait, what?

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 10:40 AM
I was brought up as a reformed jew. It took me till I was about 12 to get really pissed. My folks made me go to Saturday school (while all my friends were out playing). I stopped going the next year.

It took me till my 20s to realize I really didn't believe in anything. I still went home for holidays (Chanuka--that's how we spelled it--yom kippur, rosh hashona) until my parents moved out of state. That was the end of that.

As with most religions judaism is very sexist. Women are definately 2-class members. That's another reason why I dropped out.

The one thing that made me sad, though, was when my mother found out and started to cry because there wouldn't be anyone to light the annual memorial candle. Some of the rituals really suck. When somone dies, you have to sit around for a week and mourn (and eat yourself into a coma), wait a year and then put up a head stone, and spend the rest of your life lighting a candle every year. There never seems to be any closure.

When my husband died (a lapst babtist) I had him cremated and went back to work in 3 days. I miss him dearly, but I'm not forced to dwell on it year after year.

Today I'm a happy ritual free atheist, who by the way, doesn't light candles.

HMS Beagle
06-11-2005, 11:02 AM
The one thing that made me sad, though, was when my mother found out and started to cry because there wouldn't be anyone to light the annual memorial candle. Some of the rituals really suck. ... When my husband died (a lapst babtist) I had him cremated and went back to work in 3 days. I miss him dearly, but I'm not forced to dwell on it year after year.
To each his own, but if there's anything I miss about organized religion, it's the small rituals that honor deceased family, friends, and ancestors. I like being reminded of people who are gone, remembering them. Focussing on someone's absolute absence is a blunt reminder that we're all temporary. It doesn't affect "closure," which comes naturally over time.

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 11:10 AM
The one thing that made me sad, though, was when my mother found out and started to cry because there wouldn't be anyone to light the annual memorial candle. Some of the rituals really suck. ... When my husband died (a lapst babtist) I had him cremated and went back to work in 3 days. I miss him dearly, but I'm not forced to dwell on it year after year.
To each his own, but if there's anything I miss about organized religion, it's the small rituals that honor deceased family, friends, and ancestors. I like being reminded of people who are gone, remembering them. Focussing on someone's absolute absence is a blunt reminder that we're all temporary. It doesn't affect "closure," which comes naturally over time.
I'm not saying that rituals are bad. For some people, they give solace. I have my husband's picture AND his ashes in my living room. I walk by them dozens of times a day to get to and from my office. That's comforting to me because I can think about him whenever I want.

But if I had had to go back to a cemetery a year later to put up a head stone, I probably would have had a nervous breakdown.

Metman07
06-11-2005, 02:17 PM
This seems to be the place to ask this question....

What is the jewish view of the messiah as it pertains to the OT? In particular I'm talking about Daniel 9 where it talks about when the messiah will come ('seventy sevens' and all that). How do jews interpret this? I already know they deny jesus so don't bother going there. Thanks.
Actually, it isn't discussed much; I don't remember any specific times that we discussed a messiah. Other than the supplication surrounding Yom Kippur, I don't remember much about the Book of Daniel.

Ten
Some time ago, I remember watching Larry King and he had a fundamentalist Protestant pastor, a Catholic priest, a Rabbi and Deepak Chopra. They were all discussing Jesus. Anyway the Jew was of course very versed in scriptures etc. He had spent a whole lot of time a Yeshiva university. He said in his whole time there, they had discussed the coming of the messiah for tops 5-10 minutes. Basically, he said that for Jews, the coming of the Messiah is not as important to them as it is to Christians. They don't make preparations or spend time anticipating the event's coming. They just live their lives and they believe that when it comes it will come.

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-11-2005, 02:52 PM
This seems to be the place to ask this question....

What is the jewish view of the messiah as it pertains to the OT? In particular I'm talking about Daniel 9 where it talks about when the messiah will come ('seventy sevens' and all that). How do jews interpret this? I already know they deny jesus so don't bother going there. Thanks.
Actually, it isn't discussed much; I don't remember any specific times that we discussed a messiah. Other than the supplication surrounding Yom Kippur, I don't remember much about the Book of Daniel.

Ten
Some time ago, I remember watching Larry King and he had a fundamentalist Protestant pastor, a Catholic priest, a Rabbi and Deepak Chopra. They were all discussing Jesus. Anyway the Jew was of course very versed in scriptures etc. He had spent a whole lot of time a Yeshiva university. He said in his whole time there, they had discussed the coming of the messiah for tops 5-10 minutes. Basically, he said that for Jews, the coming of the Messiah is not as important to them as it is to Christians. They don't make preparations or spend time anticipating the event's coming. They just live their lives and they believe that when it comes it will come.
How would they recognize him when he comes, though? Is he supposed to be a supernatural Messiah (in which case miracles and such would make it obvious), or simply a great human?

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 03:06 PM
Actually, it isn't discussed much; I don't remember any specific times that we discussed a messiah. Other than the supplication surrounding Yom Kippur, I don't remember much about the Book of Daniel.

Ten
Some time ago, I remember watching Larry King and he had a fundamentalist Protestant pastor, a Catholic priest, a Rabbi and Deepak Chopra. They were all discussing Jesus. Anyway the Jew was of course very versed in scriptures etc. He had spent a whole lot of time a Yeshiva university. He said in his whole time there, they had discussed the coming of the messiah for tops 5-10 minutes. Basically, he said that for Jews, the coming of the Messiah is not as important to them as it is to Christians. They don't make preparations or spend time anticipating the event's coming. They just live their lives and they believe that when it comes it will come.
How would they recognize him when he comes, though? Is he supposed to be a supernatural Messiah (in which case miracles and such would make it obvious), or simply a great human?
See if this helps.

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/general-messiah-criteria.html

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-11-2005, 03:16 PM
Some time ago, I remember watching Larry King and he had a fundamentalist Protestant pastor, a Catholic priest, a Rabbi and Deepak Chopra. They were all discussing Jesus. Anyway the Jew was of course very versed in scriptures etc. He had spent a whole lot of time a Yeshiva university. He said in his whole time there, they had discussed the coming of the messiah for tops 5-10 minutes. Basically, he said that for Jews, the coming of the Messiah is not as important to them as it is to Christians. They don't make preparations or spend time anticipating the event's coming. They just live their lives and they believe that when it comes it will come.
How would they recognize him when he comes, though? Is he supposed to be a supernatural Messiah (in which case miracles and such would make it obvious), or simply a great human?
See if this helps.

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/general-messiah-criteria.html
Thanks! A couple of questions, though:

1 ) Do Jews still keep track of who is from what tribe or who is a decendant of David?

2 ) How come Jews always write "G-d" instead of "God"?

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 06:37 PM
How would they recognize him when he comes, though? Is he supposed to be a supernatural Messiah (in which case miracles and such would make it obvious), or simply a great human?
See if this helps.

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/general-messiah-criteria.html
Thanks! A couple of questions, though:

1 ) Do Jews still keep track of who is from what tribe or who is a decendant of David?

2 ) How come Jews always write "G-d" instead of "God"?
1) The very orthodox may keep track, or those in/from Israel, but, no, Jews don't generally keep track as far as I know. However, Jews have a Jewish name along with a secular name, which might be linked to a tribe.

2) Where did you hear that? :lol:

Mog
06-11-2005, 06:51 PM
2. The conservative and Orthodox jews write god as "g-d" because they interpret writing the whole name to be taking the name of god in vain and therefore violating the 3rd commandment. (Its OK with reform tradition.)

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 06:58 PM
2. The conservative and Orthodox jews write god as "g-d" because they interpret writing the whole name to be taking the name of god in vain and therefore violating the 3rd commandment. (Its OK with reform tradition.)
I didn't know that. Thank you. Now I'm sorry I laughed. :(

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-11-2005, 07:13 PM
2. The conservative and Orthodox jews write god as "g-d" because they interpret writing the whole name to be taking the name of god in vain and therefore violating the 3rd commandment. (Its OK with reform tradition.)
I didn't know that. Thank you. Now I'm sorry I laughed. :(
That's okay. I thought it was funny when I first saw it, too. Well, not funny so much as strange.

SLINKY
06-11-2005, 07:20 PM
2. The conservative and Orthodox jews write god as "g-d" because they interpret writing the whole name to be taking the name of god in vain and therefore violating the 3rd commandment. (Its OK with reform tradition.)
I didn't know that. Thank you. Now I'm sorry I laughed. :(
That's okay. I thought it was funny when I first saw it, too. Well, not funny so much as strange.
I've seen xions write it that way, too. See how religion ruins your spelling? :lol:

Tenspace
06-11-2005, 07:25 PM
Keep in mind that we're only eight generations from the time of Jefferson, Adams, et al. Only the last few generations did Jews formalize their split into three disciplines. Even many reform Jews have Orthodox grandfathers. Mine was, and he made sure to tell me that the Levi tribe's lineage must never die out. Good thing I have a son. ;)

Also, regarding the g-d spelling, it's considered idolatry to carve God's name, so I guess that includes using modern-day writing utensils as well.

Tenspace

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-11-2005, 07:27 PM
I didn't know that. Thank you. Now I'm sorry I laughed. :(
That's okay. I thought it was funny when I first saw it, too. Well, not funny so much as strange.
I've seen xions write it that way, too. See how religion ruins your spelling? :lol:
I always thought they'd have a big revelation later on and say that they *really* worship "Gad" or "Gud". I wonder how Christians would react?

Paradox
06-13-2005, 05:55 AM
All hail the all-mighty GUD!!!

StillSurviving
06-14-2005, 07:07 AM
No, it's "Gid" as in "If you don't Gid it, Gid outa here!"
"Here" being heaven or paradise or whatever.

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-14-2005, 01:47 PM
This could very well cause a schism within the Jewish community...........WAIT! I'm having a prophecy! In the future............Israel will be divided into Giddites, Gaddites, and Guddites!

SLINKY
06-14-2005, 02:00 PM
This could very well cause a schism within the Jewish community...........WAIT! I'm having a prophecy! In the future............Israel will be divided into Giddites, Gaddites, and Guddites!
Now the jews have 10 tribes? :lol:

Dan Bukszpan
06-14-2005, 02:25 PM
Judiasm and Atheism do not mix at a key level, please do not use the term, "jewish atheist"
I agree with this and I don't. On the one hand, I don't practice Judaism, so it's kind of hard for me to say I'm Jewish. By the same token, the Nazis would have stuffed me into an oven just the same. So I guess it depends who you ask.

Amazonis
06-14-2005, 09:44 PM
Isn't someone who says they're Jewish, but doesn't believe in a god trying to stand on both sides of the fence?
If someone were to say that, they would probably be talking about the cultural side of being jewish, not the religious side.

Philboid Studge
06-15-2005, 05:05 AM
Isn't someone who says they're Jewish, but doesn't believe in a god trying to stand on both sides of the fence?
If someone were to say that, they would probably be talking about the cultural side of being jewish, not the religious side.
Not to mention 'Jews for Jesus.' Talk about hedging your bets!

Evil_Mage_Ra
06-15-2005, 03:24 PM
Isn't someone who says they're Jewish, but doesn't believe in a god trying to stand on both sides of the fence?
If someone were to say that, they would probably be talking about the cultural side of being jewish, not the religious side.
Not to mention 'Jews for Jesus.' Talk about hedging your bets!
Maybe we should start "Atheists for Jesus".