I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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Just as everyone here knows. You cannot criticize Jews, because it is not politically correct. Especially in the US. Why? No clue. But, all Presidents are suppose to nurture our relationship with Israel. Seemingly because they are our only friends in the Middle East. But, to me, they are not really allies, they use us as backup without really caring for us to begin with. ON top of that, don't Jews believe that Jesus was not the savior? To me that is in direct conflict to what the Christians here believe...so, why do they not see the Jews as being just as "wrong" as the Muslims? And, why are any of us letting the bible dictate who owns what? What if the Muslims decicde that their Quran says that North America is THEIR land..are we okay with them taking over? Apparently we are since we make sure not to offend them in any way..we handle them with baby mittens so they don't get mad and call us racists or whatever. Sad will be the day when we turn around to our surprise and find we have given them the country, because we didn't want to seem insensitive..bet they won't make the same mistake.


A. Noni Moose wrote, "Just as everyone here knows."  Not a strong statement of critical reasoning, there.  Conflating Jews and Israel, as the author of this discussion does, is similarly weak evidence of anything rational.

Funny, your comment, "Waht if the Muslims decicde [sic] that their Quran says that North America is THEIR land...", considering that this is exactly the history of how Muslims laid claim to Jerusalem.

Why do Christians not give Jews the bums' rush?  Because, much as they are indoctrinated by the church, since the time of Emperor Constantine, to believe that "the Jews killed Christ", the creators of that lie were afraid that wiping out the Jews, the "chosen people", might anger God, since he supposedly chose them.  Instead, the intent was to make life on earth as miserable as possible for Jews.

What astonishes me is how this deeply indoctrinated antisemitism persists in the minds of atheists who have broken free of Christianity.  If you truly don't believe in god, why single out Jews for anything?  Worse, why equate Jews with Christians and Muslims, as so many do, saying all are equally bad?  Were Jews as bad, they'd have to be as numerous, and both Christianity and Islam, in their jealous attempts to wipe out the religions from which they sprung, made sure that isn't the case.  Jews are barely 0.2 percent of the entire world's population!  Israel is only about 8,000 square miles, about the size of New Jersey or Massachusetts.  Comparing that with the Arab states is like comparing NJ or MA with the rest of the USA.  No exaggeration.

Meanwhile, Iraq is 20 times larger, has petroleum reserves, plus an amazingly strategic location.  Just look at a map and see what surrounds it!  Look at all that space available for building military posts!  And think how the subconsciously jealously antisemitic Dominionists (the Christian version of the Taliban) of America would see Israel, if America had Iraq in its back pocket.  More than a few of those Dominionists believe it is their calling from God to force the Second Coming of Christ by igniting Armageddon.  That means, nuking Israel.  What better jumping off spot than Iraq?

Jews get a pass?  Give me a break!  Stop listening to the propaganda and start reading what the main stream media is not spoon feeding us all.  The details are out there.  At the very least, google "Seven Mountains" and watch some of those video presentations.  Then, read, "The Family", by Jeff Sharlot.

IMO, Jews get a pass for two basic reasons:

1.  they don't recruit - they are the chosen people, so they don't want or need anyone else to join.

2.  most Jews aren't particularly religious - they don't believe in much if any of the supernatural in their holy scriptures.  they don't believe in heaven or hell.  many Jews are Agnostic or Atheists.  they simply love their culture.  they don't persecute gays, and they aren't typically zealots through politics. 

Matthew, your first reason echoes what many who are raised Christian claim:  that Jews think their special or big shots for being "chosen."  When I was young, growing up Jewish and attending a conservative synagogue (the middle ground between reform and orthodox), we were taught that being chosen meant carrying greater responsibility, like being the older sibling.  We were held to a higher standard, because we were supposed to set a good example, and where younger siblings (to continue the analogy) might be allowed more leniency, they were not required to teach others by their own behavior, as we were.

So, when it came to the idea of someone converting to Judaism, it wasn't that they weren't welcome.  It was more like, "Why?  Why would they want to take on so much more responsibility when they didn't have to?  All they had to do was be decent human beings to get into heaven.  They didn't have 613 mitzvot (commandments) to follow, directly or as reinterpreted by rabbis to suit our current civilization.  What, are they nuts?"

As for being religious or not, I think you'll find the orthodox more believing, the reform more skeptical, and the conservatives floating somewhere around the middle, as a general rule.  Then, you'll find exceptions at both extremes, because there's always a bell curve.

The one cultural difference I see most, comparing Jews to both Christians and Muslims, is intellectual freedom.  Jews, from early childhood, are encouraged to ask questions.  I call it the game of Stump the Rabbi.  The better one's questions, the more proud one's rabbi and parents are!  Imagine anything like that in the two other religions?  This, IMO, is why there are so many Jews among Nobel Prize winners, scientists, developers, etc.

Hope this helps.

awesome, thanks for the clarification. 

i am aware of the highly religious (Orthodox) Jews, as i work with them often in my field.  they are some of the hardest working, smartest, and polite people i ever come across.  still, i know their beliefs are far different than mine, and that of most traditionalist Jews. 

oh, and i love the part about questioning.  that explains a lot!

Glad you appreciated it.  That questioning is a downside, in cultures for which questioning authority is considered rude, impudent, and even suspicious.  It took decades for me to understand that this was why I didn't get along with some public school teachers, university professors, and those along the way in my medical training.  They took offense.  Worse, the more they rejected me (even in front of other students, deliberately humiliating), the more I sometimes tried to get on their good side by asking even better questions.  Oy!  To say the very least!  LOL.

I am still not convinced that circumcision is the answer to unfaithfulness and that the best answer is surgery without the consent of the person being circumcised.  My option is to let the child grow up naturally and give the surgery only after the consent of the adult.  I am sure there are enough reasons why the surgery can be successful.  My mind simply cannot accept surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.  Say the young man wants to get married and the wife wants him cut, then by all means do the surgery.  The child should be totally aware of the dangers of sexual contact.  Education is a much more powerful tool.  I simply cannot accept that most men are so stupid they cannot understand and appreciate their sexuality.  I say the biggest problem is lack of comprehensive sexual education.  I believe that the money would be well spent for prevention rather than promiscuity.  Look at the half-hearted efforts to promote prevention and the avalanche of cash to promote promiscuity.  Unfortunately promiscuity brings in a lot more income than faithfulness.  Ultimately, promiscuity will bring down the culture. 

I agree with you completely, regarding education, sanitation, and faithfulness -- that is, I agree in theory.  Those with ideal lives, well, even if they do get an infection, they can afford treatment.  It's all the others I worry about.  Places like Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, etc., where religion infiltrates government and school, have kids learning to distrust science, experts, and anything that doesn't "come from the bible."  Their hormonal drives, instincts, and lack of scientific understanding are downright scary.  As long as their minds are controlled by their religious indoctrination, and college becomes further and further out of reach, financially, their lot in life almost has to go downhill.  Almost...  I leave room for hope.

Tradition is wonderful...we need to know the history that shaped our present world so that we can make a better plan for the future...honesty is so important...i. e. "his story" should be free from distortion.  As far as I can conclude, we have the potential to build a culture based upon a firm foundation of good information.  I cannot help but conclude that our culture is being "shaped" as we speak...the more truthful we speak, the greater chance we have of surviving destruction.  We seek truth, we love truth, we adore truth, we need truth, we are seeking truth like plants seek the sun.  For whatever selfish reason one seeks to enslave, overpower, dominate the truth, they cannot be a truth-seeker nor do they have the ability to fulfill their intrinsic purpose and achieve fulfillment.  The problem I see is when we are at cross-purposes to our destiny, we fail to achieve completion.  For that reason, I believe that the universe is on a course of destiny to achieve completion and rebirth.  If we do not achieve completion, we are left unfulfilled and desolate.  Roundness, if you will, seems to be universal.  Imagine a universe of squares, it is laughable.  A round truth is complete, it is the shortest distance from point to point, a square truth is false.  A square truth is a device, inorganic, contrived and false.  We can achieve truth by removing all selfish desires.

I think we as atheists should be very concerned about the meddling of the right-wing pro-religious Israeli government in our elections. Netanyahu and his administration are doing great damage to secular-leaning candidates who tend to be liberal and progressive by materially helping conservative pro-Israel fundamentalists stay in power in our country and threaten our secular Constitution.  This is not just some kind of abstract or theoretical issue  - this is a real  action of our ally Israel against a cherished freedom of our country - the freedom from theocracy.  The Israeli government couldn't care less about what happens to the secular liberties freedoms of Americans - they are placing their own welfare way above ours.   We atheists should not be hesitant at all to call them out on this and to do so in strong language.  They have absolutely no grounds to call our criticism bigoted.  This is a direct violation of what our country stands for and should not be tolerated by any of us.

I think "we as atheists" should question the roots of antisemitism in Christian society and main stream propaganda; start rationally comparing, for example, the direct but well hidden influence of the Saudi king and his royal family on various American presidents (most notably but not exclusively the two Presidents Bush); and then, if inclined to question Netanyahu's political leanings, gain serious understanding of the political structure and pressures in Israeli democracy, molded, as it is, from British political structure, and therefore closer to Canadian style than American.

From what I've seen over many decades, the American born and raised Netanyahu is not a very religious man, but more of a pragmatist.

And, from news reports over the past several years, it's clear the Arab world is NOT against Israel militarily or technologically taking out Iran's nuclear weapons potential.  In fact, it is they, not so much Israel, pushing for this, because it they who are at risk of attack, as well as Israel.

Once, again, Israel is only the canary in the miner's shaft, the first to go, if nuclear warfare breaks out.  Israel was the laboratory, test tube, and specimen source for terrorist violence.  Such things are ignored when Jews and/or the Jewish state of Israel is targeted, but once the research is done, and the attackers have finished making Jews or Israel their primary (low profile, low cost, almost under the radar) target, expansion targets the rest of the world.  It's not the first time.

Why?  Because Christianity teaches that the Jews, having been God's chosen people. rebelled, were ungrateful, fell from grace, and were replaced by the followers of Jesus, whom the Jews, those "damned Christ-killers", killed.  Jews and money?  Jews and the entertainment industry?  Jewish doctors and lawyers?  Look back to the middle ages, when Jews were forced into these professions, having been legally barred from virtually everything else.

We, as rational atheists, should neither give Jews a pass nor blame them for every evil.  Neither should we conflate Jews and Israel, nor condemn all Jews everytime an individual or several individuals with Jewish names or Jewish background turns out to be a bad person.  Judaism should not be compared as an equal to Christianity and Islam without thoughtful and well researched proof, which proof would show Jews closer to Janes, if anyone bothered to look.

And, religion should not be conflated with politics.  It is, indeed, used to manage the ignorant masses.  For that very reason, we as atheists should be wary of succumbing to such division, diversion, and disgusting behavior.

Here is a Palestinian speaking on behalf of all Palestinians on Egyptian TV.  Be sure to watch to the end.

youtube.com/watch?v=r1l5mRP_fzw .  I would be grateful if someone who is fluent in Arabic would be kind enough to double check the translation.  Thank you.




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