Judaism lends itself to questioning in general, and thereby to questioning God. In college, I directed anger against God, stepped away from Judaism, and went to talk with a reform rabbi who'd taught part of the comparative religions course at my college. Mind you, I was raised conservative, leaned traditional, and so felt more at home than many non-orthodox in an orthodox setting. Reform is in the other direction.
I asked, how can God be all powerful, all knowing, AND all merciful, when reality shows otherwise? He answered two ways: The wise old man with a long white beard sitting on a huge throne up in the sky is the picture of God given to children whose minds are too young for abstract thought. The threesome I mentioned is a Christian concept, not a Jewish one, because God isn't always merciful. Finally, he added that I didn't have to believe in God; there are other Jews who don't, either. In other words, I was still a welcome member of the cultural group.
Recently, I came out, again, this time as an atheist, and so emailed my orthodox rabbi. Honesty is important, to me, and I'd been trying to believe in God because life (or, rather, individuals whose lives crossed mine, and not in a decent way) had been so unfair. Call it desperate, but without family to fall back on, cultural roots were about all I had. To his credit, this rabbi, too, responded kindly. When next I mentioned that I would still like to come to services, even though I can never, again, believe, he welcomed me.
Being Jewish is more than a religious experience. There are many, many facets to it, from food to music to dance to rites of passage and -- on the negative side -- a shared history of acts of semitism, some individually directed (as I've experienced) and some broadcast at all who have any publicly known connection to Jewish roots.
Realizing how much antisemitism was deliberately intertwined with Christianity and Islam from nearly the same early century, I'd hoped atheists, walking away from those religions, might also turn away from unsubstantiated beliefs about Jews. Sadly, I've seen comments here on A/N that indicate otherwise. Anything that smacks of, "Well, everyone knows the Jews are responsible for this or always do that..." here on this social network saddens me. Similar statements regarding Israel, as though it suddenly came into being in 1967, or even in 1948, as though no Jew lived in the middle east before then, sound frighteningly like other religion-based historical revisions at work in the world (and worse, in the USA), today.
So, I ask anyone and everyone reading this: Please, question what you think you know about Jews and about Israel. Don't look for sites that merely support your view. Look to find other views, and then, seek further to see where the truth lies. Otherwise, you are still dealing in superstition.
Hi Angie, remember me? Good topic. I know why Jews have such a high percentage of non-believers. They're better educated than other nationalities, races, religions, whatever. I could never understand how the scriptures got to be so important in the first place. I mean, like, the Jews wrote the Holy Scriptures and just happen to be the "chosen" people of God.
To me, the greatest mystery of the church is how the heck people can be so stupid as to believe it in the first place.
When I saw this I wondered if there were any Christian Atheists. And there are???
My guess is that regardless of religion or country, the percentages of atheists within those religions and countries will be about the same, anywhere in the world. The main difference between churches and countries are the consequences of admitting to atheism or another belief system. In Islam you might be killed, depending on the country, in Catholicism you are excommunicated, no more free wine or free bread, in Judaism you are invited to come along to the local synagogue and have a nice time anyway. My guess here is that a whole lot of Rabbi's got together and discussed the increase in people coming out as atheists and figured, let them be atheists during their youth because they might change their minds as death approaches. If we kick them out now, they won't come back to us when the time comes. If I was a religious leader I would do what the Rabbi's are doing.
I do have one question, for any Jewish atheists or Christian atheists or Muslim atheists, is following the traditions of the church/masjid/synagogue important to do or important to know?
Your post reminds me of F M Esfandiary.