The very notion of atheist Jews might seem like an oxymoron: It is not. Even Orthodox Jews believe that Jews (in their view, people born of Jewish mothers) can be atheists and still be considered Jewish. Another phenomenon that might leave people scratching their heads: Some Jews who no longer believe in God or the divine nature of the Torah, the Talmud, and so forth, continue to follow Jewish customs and practice Jewish rituals. Why? Possible answers are offered in the two articles linked below.
Quote: “For some, this might sound like Humanistic Judaism, a movement with a small but devoted following. But Humanist Jews eschew deism in favor of ‘human reason and human power.’ The key to fictionalism, however, is that God stays very much in the picture, as the ‘useful fiction” Goff describes or as a sort of organizing principle that sets the boundaries of the community. Hershovitz happily calls it ‘pretending,’ which ‘breathes life into stories, letting them shape the world we live in.’ ”
— Andrew Silow-Carroll
Quote: “Nevertheless, we return and sing. That is because Judaism is bigger than dogma, more fundamental than metaphysicsl, and more soaring than any articulation of faith. In the Jerusalem Talmud, God says to one of the rabbis, ‘Would that the Jews abandon me but keep my Torah, its light would bring them back.’ If God has to choose between our loving Torah or our believing, God prefers that we engage with the Torah. God is not an egotist. Mitzvot and community matter.”
— Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Learn more about Jewish atheism from Wikipedia. ►
Read “Opinion: Religion for non-believers: It’s a Jewish thing” ►
Read “Judaism Is for Nonbelievers, Too” ►
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