12 users responded " And what’s up with Judaism? "

"And what’s up with Judaism?" was posted by and 12 users commented
egoistpaul said,         
September 7 2010

According to Talmud, there is a concept of original sin, but there are objections to it. So, it is safe to say that there is 50% chance that Judaism has the concept of original sin.

There is an explicit statement about sin in Judaism: “Virtue is conformity to the Torah; sin is its disregard.” It means a man is supposed to obey the Torah and an act of disregarding it is a sin.

But then, there is a contradiction. The Torah prohibits idolatry. idolatry is considered a sin, but to obey the Torah blindly is the same as worshiping idols. Therefore, all the religious Jews according to my interpretation of Talmud are sinners for worshiping the Torah and G-d as an idol, and those Jews (particularly atheist Jews) who don’t conform to the Torah and do not disregard it are surprisingly virtuous Jews. lol.

Burning the bible is not the same as disregarding the bible, so it is not a sin, either. As a matter of fact, it is an act of destroying an idol because the bible becomes an idol if there are too many people conforming to it. Such an act, in this context, should be considered a virtue.

JewishAtheist said,         
September 8 2010

1) It’s not true and it’s an enemy of intellectual honesty.
2) It teaches that homosexuality is an abomination before the Lord.
3) Women aren’t equal to men, no matter how they try to rationalize it.
4) It encourages Jews to keep separate from non-Jews.
5) Weird sexual hang-ups.

Sarah said,         
September 9 2010

@Jewish Atheist,
With the possible exception of “keeping separate,” all of those apply to Western religion as a whole. Besides, I think Judaism isn’t as keen on, or at least enforces less, the entire homophobia/sexual hang-up realm.
@Egoist, I think there are “idols” in many parts of Western religion. Nativity scenes, for example, or images of Jesus on the cross, despite our “no idols” commandment.
Commandments. They just ain’t what they try to be.

Sarah said,         
September 9 2010

Clarification: What I really mean in this post is not about Judaism itself, as in a philosophy/body of thought, but as in the impositions it creates or otherwise does to alienate its (would-be?) members. For example, what does it do to annoy kids, and perhaps turn them into atheists, that you don’t see in other religions? I’m talking about the more personal aspect here.

Mike said,         
September 9 2010

Just off the top of my head …

Don’t eat meat and cheese. or ham. or sausage. I was by no means raised kosher but I remember not being allowed to eat certain things because we were Jewish. Only during passover and High Holy Days – but it still annoyed me.

I also don’t remember ever eating shrimp growing up. But that may be because my mom was lousy cooking seafood. She would always order lobster at restaurants. We also had bacon at home. I guess there are as many “luke-warm” Jews as christians.

My grandmothers were always keen on me finding a “nice Jewish girl” to marry. Technically, I *could* date anyone I wanted, but I was encouraged to find Jews. And I was told that it was somehow “better” to marry a Jew. I never got a real explanation for why it was “better”. I did end up marrying a Catholic. It was 21 years on 9-3-2010, so I’m doubtful that religion has had much to do with it.

Last thing I have is the whole “graven images” thing which was graven into my head. Like most of religion, It was something I followed, but did not understand. Once again many, if not all religions expect blind obedience.

Sarah said,         
September 13 2010

@ Mike– all very true, but I have yet to hear any Jew get steered to atheism on account of a cheeseburger.
My mom was “luke-warm” the same way about kashrut. Also a lot of pressure to marry someone Jewish, from her and from other Jews.
Happy 21st Anniversary!

K.R. said,         
September 16 2010

This isn’t exactly getting steered to atheism because of a bad childhood experience with Judaism…

When I was in school, it was very isolating being the only Jewish kid. Teased, threatened, bullied, proselytized to… You are different and not in a “cool/good” way.
My family wasn’t religious – Hippy, liberal, vegetarians, no Hebrew school, no holidays.

For myself and other atheist Jews I know (most also grew up in non-religious households) we just don’t fit into the Jewish community. For those who sought it, the religious community wasn’t welcoming or inclusive.

It was natural to seek out rationality and like-minded people. Atheists.

(I saw the review you did on Amazon for The Religion Virus, was impressed and found your website.)

Sarah said,         
September 16 2010

@K.R.– I know what you mean! Christmas can be a pretty hard time for me, as an adult or a kid.
It can be pretty lonely. I still think that in contemporary America, though, it’s more “outsiding” to be an atheist than a Jew, by a longshot.

Grant said,         
October 18 2010

Hi, I was intriqued by the title “Not My God” so I stopped in to glance through the postings. I was not expecting a site for Atheists. Being a former Atheist myself I am asking if you would mind me commenting on your page.

Sarah said,         
November 3 2010

@Grant: thanks for your kind comment.

Luciana said,         
March 31 2011

“ethnically Jewish”

I always hear this – especially from European Jews – and it sounds so wierd. I mean, you’re maybe culturally Jewish, but ethnically? No way. Unless you’re a Middle Eastern Jew – the closest people you can find to actual Hebrews these days – you’re in no way ethnically Jewish.

I know some DNA testings say European Jews are closer to Middle Eastern Jews than to other Europeans, but.. I find it Hard to believe. And as far as I know Lebanese [Phoenicians] are ethnically closer to Mid East Jews than European Jews are. They could be considered “ethnically Jewish”…

Sarah said,         
April 13 2011

I realize it’s very hard to define, but what is Jew? I am not religiously Jewish (well, obviously), but I identify very strongly as Jewish. Besides, how else would you explain things like the ad I saw in Brookline for Jewish bone marrow donors, for genetic reasons? (As opposed to social reasons.)

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