Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
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16-08-2013, 02:17 AM
Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
I was raised in a moderate Jewish family. We were nowhere near orthodox (we didn't even keep kosher), but as a child I was forced to attend synagogue and "Hebrew school" regularly, in addition to observing the major holidays and even having a Bar-Mitzvah. At the time, I didn't see it as me being "forced" to do these things. I was taught from an early age to just go with the flow, accept what I was told, and not ask questions when it came to religious practice and Judaism. As a result, I believed in God and didn't think critically about Judaism...until about 3-4 years ago while still in college. Since then, the foundation of my worldview has slowly been unraveled and flipped upside down. I no longer believe in God. I don't believe in anything lacking empirical evidence (and how could I, after obtaining a degree in biomedical science?). I resent being raised Jewish (more generally, being raised religious). My parents do not know that I feel this way, and they would be heartbroken if (more like "when") they do find out.

As a child, I was so unaware of reality and completely indoctrinated into a very close-knit and often arrogant religious community. Almost all of my parent's friends were part of the Jewish community. While they were completely tolerant of 'gentiles' (non-jews), I always noticed a subtle, yet strong bias when it came to their opinions regarding jews. It's almost as if it was unintentional and they were not consciously aware of it, but they were (and still are) absolutely judgmental of non-jews. As a child, my parents expressed a strong, yet once again subtle, favoritism towards my Jewish friends.

This 'favoritism' that the Jewish community expresses towards other Jews is something that has really irritated me lately. Even today, in my mid-20s, my parents are very critical when I begin dating a non-Jewish girl. If I were to start dating a Jewish girl, she could be a terrible human being yet my parents would love her. On the contrary, they are instantly judgmental and concerned when I date a non-Jewish girl, no matter how beautiful and kind of a person she might be.


Anyways, I'm getting carried away and this is becoming too much of a free-flowing rant. Enough about me. What I'd really like to get out of this post is some discussion of the Jewish religion. Whether from first hand experience, or exposure via friends/family/whatever. I've scoured the internet for atheist insights during my process of de-converting, yet I hardly ever come across discussions of Judaism. I can strongly relate when I hear oppositions to Christianity, but I'd love to hear some perspectives on Judaism.

Jews may not believe in a fiery hell, but they still manipulate and brainwash children into basing their worldview on the same ridiculous creation stories and myths that Christians are subjected to.

They are arrogant when it comes to their own beliefs and are judgmental of others.

They make English speaking Jewish children waste hours and hours and hours of their lives listening to Hebrew chants and songs, of which they understand nothing.

They believe in the same (christian) ass-hole of a god that flooded the world and killed a bunch of innocent Egyptian children.

They force children to spend months of their lives learning to recite Hebrew passages (that they don't understand), so that they can become Bar-Mitzvah'd and recite these passages to the congregation (99.9% of whom also don't understand Hebrew and thus what the child spent months learning to recite...)

They make you fast for an entire day on Yom-Kippur to repent for your sins. (I guess that means you can stuff your palate with sins for another year until your day of fasting wipes your slate clean again Wink)

THEY DON'T LET THEIR CHILDREN EAT BACON!!!


The list goes on. I'd really like to hear some perspectives on Judaism from my fellow atheists' standpoint. Did any of you grow up Jewish and de-convert to atheism? Do you know someone that did?

I'd also be happy to answer any questions regarding my Jewish upbringing and de-conversion. Looking for any sort of discussion regarding my former faith. Have at it, I will not be offended.
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16-08-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
Do you eat bacon?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-08-2013, 07:10 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
Welcome Smile

We don't get a helluva lot of ex-Jewish atheists through here, but there are some. Even a couple of forum members who live in Israel if I recall correctly.
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16-08-2013, 08:11 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
(16-08-2013 02:17 AM)Recovery Wrote:  I was raised in a moderate Jewish family. We were nowhere near orthodox (we didn't even keep kosher), but as a child I was forced to attend synagogue and "Hebrew school" regularly, in addition to observing the major holidays and even having a Bar-Mitzvah. At the time, I didn't see it as me being "forced" to do these things. I was taught from an early age to just go with the flow, accept what I was told, and not ask questions when it came to religious practice and Judaism. As a result, I believed in God and didn't think critically about Judaism...until about 3-4 years ago while still in college. Since then, the foundation of my worldview has slowly been unraveled and flipped upside down. I no longer believe in God. I don't believe in anything lacking empirical evidence (and how could I, after obtaining a degree in biomedical science?). I resent being raised Jewish (more generally, being raised religious). My parents do not know that I feel this way, and they would be heartbroken if (more like "when") they do find out.

As a child, I was so unaware of reality and completely indoctrinated into a very close-knit and often arrogant religious community. Almost all of my parent's friends were part of the Jewish community. While they were completely tolerant of 'gentiles' (non-jews), I always noticed a subtle, yet strong bias when it came to their opinions regarding jews. It's almost as if it was unintentional and they were not consciously aware of it, but they were (and still are) absolutely judgmental of non-jews. As a child, my parents expressed a strong, yet once again subtle, favoritism towards my Jewish friends.

This 'favoritism' that the Jewish community expresses towards other Jews is something that has really irritated me lately. Even today, in my mid-20s, my parents are very critical when I begin dating a non-Jewish girl. If I were to start dating a Jewish girl, she could be a terrible human being yet my parents would love her. On the contrary, they are instantly judgmental and concerned when I date a non-Jewish girl, no matter how beautiful and kind of a person she might be.


Anyways, I'm getting carried away and this is becoming too much of a free-flowing rant. Enough about me. What I'd really like to get out of this post is some discussion of the Jewish religion. Whether from first hand experience, or exposure via friends/family/whatever. I've scoured the internet for atheist insights during my process of de-converting, yet I hardly ever come across discussions of Judaism. I can strongly relate when I hear oppositions to Christianity, but I'd love to hear some perspectives on Judaism.

Jews may not believe in a fiery hell, but they still manipulate and brainwash children into basing their worldview on the same ridiculous creation stories and myths that Christians are subjected to.

They are arrogant when it comes to their own beliefs and are judgmental of others.

They make English speaking Jewish children waste hours and hours and hours of their lives listening to Hebrew chants and songs, of which they understand nothing.

They believe in the same (christian) ass-hole of a god that flooded the world and killed a bunch of innocent Egyptian children.

They force children to spend months of their lives learning to recite Hebrew passages (that they don't understand), so that they can become Bar-Mitzvah'd and recite these passages to the congregation (99.9% of whom also don't understand Hebrew and thus what the child spent months learning to recite...)

They make you fast for an entire day on Yom-Kippur to repent for your sins. (I guess that means you can stuff your palate with sins for another year until your day of fasting wipes your slate clean again Wink)

THEY DON'T LET THEIR CHILDREN EAT BACON!!!


The list goes on. I'd really like to hear some perspectives on Judaism from my fellow atheists' standpoint. Did any of you grow up Jewish and de-convert to atheism? Do you know someone that did?

I'd also be happy to answer any questions regarding my Jewish upbringing and de-conversion. Looking for any sort of discussion regarding my former faith. Have at it, I will not be offended.

Hi, welcome!

I have a few opinions on Judaism. Here are some "cut and pastes" from some of my writing....

"When Jews weren’t fighting foreigners, they frequently fought each other. In this they were little different from many other smallish communities in the ancient world. Their squabbles were usually inspired by their religion, which was definitely “different.”

One idiosyncratic trait was their fanatical reverence for their gods. Yet their gods were nothing more than the fictitious creations of priests and prophets, used to control people’s allegiances.

Later in their history they developed an intense devotion to God’s law as inscribed in scripture. I don’t think there has ever been a people so obsessed with poring over parchments.

Another unusual feature was the power of priests. Priests had many centuries to perfect the art of indoctrinating people, and became very proficient at it. Their squabbling about authority and their readiness to fabricate scripture for their own benefit appears pathetic today, yet it helped them preserve power. When they were in control, they were wealthy, powerful men, and religion, the basis of their power, became an integral part of the running of the Jewish state.

Another was their insuppressible sense of self-righteousness. Most people readily abandon their religious beliefs if given enough compelling reasons to do so. Most of the ancient Jews, however, were fanatically faithful, I think because their priests had done such a professional job on them.

As the centuries rolled by, Christianity and Islam inherited belief in the same invented God, although Yahweh was renamed and his teachings reshaped to suit themselves. Thus Judaism has had a profound effect on the history of the world. The two newcomers adopted many of the Jews’ delusions such as their monotheism and sense of god given supremacy. They also, unfortunately, preserved their own versions of the priesthood, who continued to wield power, and who rehashed these ancient texts generation after generation. Given the history of religious wars and persecution over the ensuing two millennia, the existence of the three religions exerted a heavy toll on the happiness, health and progress of mankind. The ancient Jews, who were only a geographically and numerically smallish community with a limited religious focus, were the originators of a whole world of nonsense that would influence world history as much as any other empire that ever existed."
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16-08-2013, 08:18 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
What the hell, here's another about Jewish scripture...

“For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions”
(Albert Einstein)
The authorship of these books is largely unknown, but they’re obviously the output of many very imaginative men. These books are the products of a large “cut and paste” job. There was no celestial dictator bellowing instructions from the clouds, just Iron Age bullshitters bolstering their own authority. The passive/aggressive love affair between God and man is fictional, because there’s no god; he’s just a fictional bully used to frighten simple people.

An omniscient god would have ethical standards that were timeless and beyond question, but the ethics described are deplorable. These books contain primitive, superstitious, and barbaric beliefs. They’re rife with immorality, jingoistic warmongering, racism, genocide, infanticide, bigotry, cruelty, rape, pedophilia, homophobia, and sexism. They’re clearly only a reflection of primitive people’s prejudices.

Some Christians claim it’s unfair to criticize the bible out of context. Yet in what context is it ok to smash babies onto rocks, rape children, disembowel pregnant women, kill people for sexual indiscretions, or commit genocide? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27pDmWOO7...=related).

There’s nothing new in the Old Testament. No science. No unique knowledge. No advances in navigation, astronomy or medicine. The Hebrews lived no better or longer than Greeks or Romans. They weren’t known as great philosophers, or healers, or thinkers, or even as especially kind people. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4F5z8cVux0 ).

That being said, they shouldn’t be judged by today’s moral and ethical standards. They didn’t know any better. The people were from different cultural and religious backgrounds. God’s laws were created and enforced by priests and prophets, petty rulers who needed to use fear as a means to an end. They weren’t the most socially aware, and were focused on forming a powerful and pure Israel, as well as keeping authority in their own hands. To unite people under one God that all would obey would have required people skills, a heavy hand, and a fertile imagination.

Like all cultures of the time, they had different standards for the treatment of foreigners, women, and children compared to today. In twenty-five hundred years’ time, there’s no doubt some of our laws will appear primitive and barbaric.

My comments aren’t racist. These texts are over 2000 years old. Some other cultures in ancient times were just as superstitious, primitive, and barbaric as the ancient Jews. The Jews did have some positive and admirable traits, such as a strong sense of community and a satisfactory social security system. Some of them obeyed the laws of the Roman Empire, which nullified many of the Laws of Moses. In practice, the people probably often ignored scripture.

Jewish priests had several centuries to perfect the art of inculcating their teachings into the next generation, and the proto Christians took a leaf out of their book. Christianity launched Europe into the dark ages, and kept it there for hundreds of years, and thereby derailed the social, moral, and scientific progress of much of mankind. (http://www.evolutionary-metaphysics.net/...ity.html). Without Judaism, there would have been no Christianity, and we would be far more scientifically and ethically advanced than we are today.

To revere the nasty god of the Old Testament is a dangerous delusion. It’s tragic that churches have taught the Old Testament literally described what to do, and set examples of what to do, in real-life situations. Throughout history many Christians and Islamists have blatantly ignored basic human rights. Consider the millions of real people; men, women and children, who’ve been slaughtered, burned, raped, enslaved, or suppressed in the name of God, for instance in the crusades, the witch hunts, the Inquisition, the wars between Catholics and Protestants, and the holocaust. The Old Testament has been used to justify war, to support slavery and capital punishment, suppress women and deprive citizens of free choice. It’s true that wicked men do wicked deeds, but if Yahweh had been a tolerant, peace-loving, open-minded character, it’s probable that some of these atrocities wouldn’t have occurred.
“God” has been the greatest inspiration for evil the world has ever known. In terms of duration of influence, lives lost and ruined, Genghis Khan, Hitler and Stalin are minnows compared to old Yahweh.

The Old Testament still taints some peoples’ attitudes toward non-Christians, women, war, science, sexual abuse, and homosexuals. Fundamentalist Christians are morally wrong in claiming that some of it might be divinely inspired, and then reading it with reverence in churches, thereby giving it a credibility if definitely doesn’t deserve. The myths, injunctions and poetry in the Old Testament should be read for historical interest only, not with the bias of reverence.

It’s time Christianity’s spokespeople publically admit what many every-day Christians already know; that the Old Testament is largely immoral and that none of it should be read as truth. They won’t do that because they’re too rigid to consider new ideas. How pure, real, and sensible is science in comparison! Science invites questioning; churches usually suppress it. If a scientific theory is proven flawed, it’s discarded and a better one replaces it. Scientists learn from their mistakes, usually no one is offended, and progress continues. No excuses or reinterpretations are needed. Christianity, in comparison, is stuck with its ancient texts - and humanity has repeatedly suffered the consequences."
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16-08-2013, 08:34 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
(16-08-2013 02:17 AM)Recovery Wrote:  THEY DON'T LET THEIR CHILDREN EAT BACON!!!

It is this fact alone that pits me against judaism. At this very moment my son is enjoying a nice thick cut of maple bacon. And some cheesy hash browns!Drooling

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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16-08-2013, 08:57 AM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
Do Jews believe in the postmortem preservation of identity? Do they have a concept of an afterlife?

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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16-08-2013, 05:07 PM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
(16-08-2013 08:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It’s time Christianity’s spokespeople publically admit what many every-day Christians already know; that the Old Testament is largely immoral and that none of it should be read as truth. They won’t do that because they’re too rigid to consider new ideas. How pure, real, and sensible is science in comparison! Science invites questioning; churches usually suppress it. If a scientific theory is proven flawed, it’s discarded and a better one replaces it. Scientists learn from their mistakes, usually no one is offended, and progress continues. No excuses or reinterpretations are needed. Christianity, in comparison, is stuck with its ancient texts - and humanity has repeatedly suffered the consequences."

This is what blows my mind the most. It wasn't until I lost my faith that I actually began to analyze what is preached in the Old Testament. I still occasionally attend synagogue with my family (once or twice a year, my parents don't know I'm an atheist), and I am absolutely blown away with how immature, self-centered, harsh, and immoral this "god" of the Old Testament really is. I have to restrain myself from standing up in the middle of services and just screaming to everyone..."REALLY?!?! You actually believe and take this crap seriously?!" I think the problem is that most of these people never really read the scriptures that they live their lives by.
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16-08-2013, 05:09 PM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
(16-08-2013 07:06 AM)Chas Wrote:  Do you eat bacon?

Yes, I eat bacon. Luckily my family never kept Kosher but I had many friends whose families did.
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16-08-2013, 05:23 PM
RE: Discussions of Judaism, My Former Faith
(16-08-2013 05:07 PM)Recovery Wrote:  ... I think the problem is that most of these people never really read the scriptures that they live their lives by.

Understatement of the year.

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