• gilhcan

    Of course you could be an atheist and Jewish. Even a rabbi and an atheist. You would be shocked to know how many Christian ministers, including Catholic priests, are really atheists. They don’t announce it publicly. Their boss bishops, including the atheist bishops, don’t know it. And it’s none of their business.

    Belief is such a personal matter that the biggest mistake is to presume that all members of any formal religion really believe everything what is pronounced and presumed to be required by any particular religious group or church.

  • gilhcan

    Consider the practice of contraception by the vast majority of Catholics in spite of the formal declaration by their church that it is wrong and forbidden. Consider the “good” Catholic politician Paul Ryan. Ryan has been married for thirteen years and only has three kids. He vehemently opposes the contraceptive portion of the Affordable Care Act, but only three kids in thirteen years?

    You see, not all “believers” believe everything their churches claim is required of members. Some people can easily afford contraceptives with their lucrative public incomes while others are ripped off and their lives are made extremely difficult by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies–to say nothing of hypocrite politicians. You know, rape pregnancies naturally abort!

  • Larry

    Well in all fairness the anti-Semites don’t really care if someone is a devout Jew or an atheist of Jewish descent. Anyone of Jewish “blood” or ancestry is a target to them.

    The Nazis didn’t ask people if were “true believers” before they were murdered en masse. Conversion or disavowal didn’t save anyone from a bullet or the gas chamber during the Holocaust.

  • john

    Evidently you’re not aware of what being a “rabbi” actually means.

  • Charles Miller

    This exchange in the 1947 film “A Gentleman’s Agreement” might explain why some hang on to the label.

    Professor Fred Lieberman: Millions of people nowadays are religious only in the vaguest sense. I’ve often wondered why the Jews among them still go on calling themselves Jews. Do you know, Mr. Green?
    Phil Green: No, but I’d like to.
    Professor Fred Lieberman: Because the world still makes it an advantage not to be one. Thus it becomes a matter of pride to go on calling ourselves Jews.

    But today it is a far greater disadvantage to be an atheist so, perhaps, atheists that continue to call themselves Jews are short changing those of us who are bold enough to call ourselves atheists and deal with the consequences.

  • Mel Scult

    My book, just out, is a comprehensive study of the philosophy of Mordecai Kaplan. It is entitled ” The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan ” and is published by Indiana University Press.

    Mel Scult

  • Konrad Yona Riggenmann

    Can you be a Jewish theist? Even conservative Rabbi Irving Greenberg, facing the “weight of six million dead” and stating that “the holocaust has destroyed the meaning of the categories ‘secular’ and ‘religious'”, admits that “in a time when one is ashamed of speaking about G’d in view of burning children, the G’d image which beyond itself points to transcendency is the only one predicate that can be made about G’d”. (T.D.Wabbel, ed.: Das Heilige Nichts. Düsseldorf 2007, pp.45-62).
    On the other hand (and even if Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Jacques Derrida assigned to this label) – how can you be a Jewish atheist? Isn’t an atheist someone who tells the believer: “Boy, you believe in something you call G’d but you cannot define what he or she or it is. No one can define it. Even I cannot define it, but I’m telling you it doesn’t exist!”?
    Already in antiquity, Jews have been called “atheoi” because they did not worship divine images and even bewared of giving the unnamable a name. Atheism in my view is mainly a problem of idolatrous cultures, especially where people are forced to believe in what Jeremiah (10:3-5) ridicularizes this way: “The customs of the peoples are delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot walk. Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”
    Anyhow, being Jewish is not a question of what heavenly beings you believe in but what you do to make the world a better place and be a mentsh.

  • Dudley Jones

    If Unitarian Universalist atheist clergy can be called “pastor”, and have successful ministries in hundreds of churches, why can’t this person be called “rabbi”? Give him a chance, see how it works out.

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  • Dr. H. J. Shapiro

    One most certainly can be a Jew culturally and at the same time be a secular humanist. The only conflict between the two is in the minds of those who can not accept reality.

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  • nt

    1) “Humanistic Judaism embraces Jewish culture”

    Jewish culture is learning Torah and emulating G-d’s ways.
    What you are referring to is “Israeli”-culture, which is a completely separate discussion altogether.

    2)”You were once a Reform Rabbi…..
    JF: Although I explored many ways of being Jewish—from traditional to liberal religious observance—each of them left me flat.”

    Of course it did! when you take the heart out of a body, you won’t have any blood pumping, only a dead figure of a body.
    So it is when you take the Torah written and oral, out of religion.

  • Sydney Ross Singer

    It’s not clear what will keep secular humanistic Jews from complete assimilation. Over time Jewish identity will become an irrelevant appendage to this philosophy. It seems the distinction will be between theists and humanists.

  • As a Messianic believer it just makes me sad to see such discussions. Having received Yeshua as my Savior and Messiah I have peace that I never had before. The restlessness and emptiness are gone, replace by joy and peace. I wish this peace for others especially my Jewish friends and family. As far as being Jewish and atheist, man can call himself whatever he wants, and who’s to say he cannot? “Jew” of course comes to us from the tribe of Judah, who was in fact a son of Jacob that is ISRAEL! All of this comes to us from God and His making a nation from Abraham and Sarah, which of course has been recorded in Torah. God brought it all about, man can say what he wants, but it will not change history, that is His Story. Shalom

  • Jeffery G Dishong

    I think Jews stating, regardless of whether or not a person believes in God or not, we as Jewish community are interested. That idea is beautiful. People have value whether people come in a perfect physical or mental package, people have value. That is the true antithesis of Nazi teaching.

  • Jeffery, indeed people have value. We are of great value to God. That is why He sent His own Son Yeshua to pay the penalty for our sin. Messiah suffered and died horribly as foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 53-54) to atone for our sin, so that we could again have peace with God as it was in the beginning before sin entered the human race. Yeshua is the second Adam. He was called both the Son of God and the son of man. As Adam brought sin and death to mankind, Yeshua, the second Adam, brought forgiveness and life. Indeed, we are of great value to God. Shalom

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  • coneyro

    Being a Jew is so much more than believing in a higher power. It is a heritage and way of life inherited through birth or choice. It’s a feeling inside of a communal link to a group of people whom you seen inside yourself. Jewish mannerisms and ways of thought are inherently different than goyim. This is a part of our DNA. No matter how much one wishes to assimulate, certain traits of Judaism will always remain. You may not be aware of it, but it is there. We come from a colorful past, rich in determination and survival. These traits have helped us defeat those who have wished us gone. So let’s not allow anyone to tell us which belief system is right. Judaism is alive and well in all aspects of its configuration. SHALOM!

  • supper… man