Jewish Atheist

An agnostic atheist perspective
from a once orthodox Jew.

Anonymous asked: So then I guess you fit the stereotype of a depressed Atheist

I’ve actually suffered from depression since I was 13 years old - and religious. And even at the height of my religiosity, at around the age of 19, I was still very depressed. It happens to be that now I’m doing a lot better - and yes, I happen to be an atheist now - but still suffer from the occasional bouts of depression.

But thanks for being an insensitive, stereotyping asshole.

I never understood antisemitism in the US. The stereotypes associated with Jews are all things we value in America.

From this Reddit thread (via 360degreesasthecrowflies)

Jealousy over things people assume we have: Power, Money, Evil Intentions.

Anonymous asked: In America, Jews and Judaism influenced a lot of the secular culture - many comic book heroes were penned by Jewish creators. Superman in particular reflects Judaism quite a bit: his Kryptonian name, Kal-el, obviously draws on Hebrew, his origin is similar to Moses, and he's emblematic of the immigrant experience. Lots of Jews on Broadway, on television... heck, The Princess Bride is written, directed, and performed primarily by Jews. Jewish culture was key in creating many unique stories.

This is interesting, but is the influence of judaism on the world really that it helped create some interesting characters and stories? For those trying to argue that Judaism has really improved the world, I think even they’d agree that that’s kind of a weak contribution. (even though I do love me some comic books and movies.)

Anonymous asked: Do you think theres something to be said for the fact that chabadniks are generally a lot happier and kinder and litvish misnaged yeshiva types

I assume you mean “than litvish…”

Well, I suppose one could point out that chassidus focuses more on happiness than the litvish approach. Or I could ask for some data to support your claim.

Either way, I’m really not impressed. Mormons I’ve met were very friendly, and seem rather happy, but it doesn’t for an instance make me think that their fucked up religion has any truth to it.

mayisgrey asked: In response to your question about Jewish contribution--first of all, Jewish culture founded monotheism, so you can thank the Jews for the origins of pretty much all of Western advancement by Muslims and Christians. The reason Judaism has no golden age comparable to those of other religions and cultures is because Jews, unlike Muslims and Christians, were never allowed in a position of power from which to convey their aptitudes.

Hey May,

Thanks for the suggestions. Here’s my thoughts on them:

1) Just worth mentioning that israelite judaism began as a monolatrous religion, not a monotheistic one. Also, that other cultures nearby had similar notions.

2) Not sure why monotheism is important for the development of christianity and islam; were judaism not monotheistic, christianity and islam could theoretically have evolved from it just as easily, just without that precise detail.

3) But more importantly, if we’re going to say that judaism gets credit for what other religions did, then we might as well give that credit to even earlier religions and cultures which helped shape judaism. e.g. hammurabi’s code. Also, I’m interested in this entire question bc of religious claims that Judaism has contributed to the world; I think there’s something ironic by claiming that Judaism’s major contributions to the world - were non-judaic religions!

4) Maybe Judaism didn’t contribute more bc they didn’t have power and autonomy - though what of the early periods in Israelite history when they seemingly did? - but even if this excuse is acceptable, the fact remains that it’s just an excuse for something not done. (And by the same token - and I think very much just as reasonably - one can also explain why other cultures contributed more or less to the world. That is, using secular, reasonable explanations, with no need to argue about whose religion is actually more valid or divine.)

Thanks for writing =]

Conservatives vs Progressives

Heard this quote the other day. What do you guys think?

Conservatives know what works bc it’s whatever is right; Progressives know what’s right bc it’s whatever works.

logic-and-art asked: I'm not quite so sure. At least in the reform movements (which are tangential to "assimilated"/secular movements), there is a great deal of emphasis on intellectualism and tikkun olam. It does a great disservice to Judaism as a whole to erase its impact on a person. Someone being secular does not mean that they don't have a connection with Judaism in a way that can inspire them. Although it may vary from individual to individual, (cont)

disregarding Judaism carte blanche is harmful and disrespectful to those that it truly does impact and inspire

L&A,

But I’m not interested so much in individuals as much as the societal effects and culture of the religious world - and, in particular, the orthodox world.

Put another way, I’m trying to figure out what - if anything - Judaism has contributed to the progress of mankind.

Anonymous asked: Is Open Orthodoxy heretical to you?

I think all the religions are ridiculous. But when I was an orthodox frummie I considered any sect that wasn’t orthodox to be heretical - which is pretty standard.