Why do theists come to this forum?
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02-04-2016, 06:48 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:37 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:24 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  If you are an atheist, then why do you care? I don't understand. If I found out today that I was considered jewish due to one of my ancestors down the line I would be pissed off. It is not that I hate jews, it is that I hate religion and what it does to people. I am an atheist and proud to be one. I am not Lutheran which is the branch of Christianity I was baptized against my will into. It was indeed against my will, because it was done to me when I was too little to comprehend more than a couple words or even be able to speak any words. If I found out I was on some kind of list of religious people, I would start with sending certified letters to have myself removed. If that failed, I would bring a lawsuit against whomever I had to in order to have myself removed.

There is no list. No records. No secret registeries. If you have a qualifying Jewish ancestor, and you found out that you were Jewish, no one would know unless you told them. If you told them, they won't tell anyone else.

No one is ferreting Jews out of the woodwork. No one is reaching out to lost Jews. No one is even looking.

I did not say they were looking. I do know that if I joined, yes my name would be on a list. If you ask google how many jews, muslims, christians, catholics, etc there are in U.S. or even the world you would get a very specific answer. If there were no lists, that would be impossible. Just like if you asked google to define the nature of the universe, it cannot give you an answer that it does not have.
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02-04-2016, 06:53 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:48 AM)carol Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:24 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  If you are an atheist, then why do you care? I don't understand. If I found out today that I was considered Jewish due to one of my ancestors down the line I would be pissed off. It is not that I hate jews, it is that I hate religion and what it does to people. I am an atheist and proud to be one. I am not Lutheran which is the branch of Christianity I was baptized against my will into. It was indeed against my will, because it was done to me when I was too little to comprehend more than a couple words or even be able to speak any words. If I found out I was on some kind of list of religious people, I would start with sending certified letters to have myself removed. If that failed, I would bring a lawsuit against whomever I had to in order to have myself removed.

The Ashkenazi culture is close-knit- and the difference is having many relatives, neighbors, and friends who would help with life and be our friends too. My relatives who are Jewish had help with getting jobs, babysitting, taking their kids places, just an entire community of people who were willing to help them. I would have had to convert- even though I am related to those people as well.
Think of it this way- my cousin had most of her college tuition paid for through extended family members, an apartment secured, jobs helped with, moving helped with, people offering support and help all of the time while I did not have that unless I converted, even though I was related to them too. My own grandparents who seemed to love me wouldn't visit me because my mother was not Jewish, and spent their time with the grandchildren who were. They seemed to love me, but they rejected my mother. The distant relatives did not even acknowledge me at all...I did not exist as a family member because I did not convert- some of them have never even met me.
That is a lot of family rejection due to religion. The same thing happened by Christian relatives- my grandmother absolutely hated Jewish people. I am an atheist- I do not care about religion, but I do care about family. I have a very small extended family because most of them do not acknowledge members who are of a different religion.

All of us atheists can be a close knit bunch as well. Most of us will help others far more than any group of religious people will and without strings attached.
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02-04-2016, 06:59 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:48 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:37 AM)Aliza Wrote:  There is no list. No records. No secret registeries. If you have a qualifying Jewish ancestor, and you found out that you were Jewish, no one would know unless you told them. If you told them, they won't tell anyone else.

No one is ferreting Jews out of the woodwork. No one is reaching out to lost Jews. No one is even looking.

I did not say they were looking. I do know that if I joined, yes my name would be on a list. If you ask google how many jews, muslims, christians, catholics, etc there are in U.S. or even the world you would get a very specific answer. If there were no lists, that would be impossible. Just like if you asked google to define the nature of the universe, it cannot give you an answer that it does not have.

I understand what you're saying. I don't know how accurate Google is on these estimates, but my parents are Jewish and haven't belonged to a synagogue in years. How are they going to be counted? Additionally, someone could attend the synagogue and not be Jewish.

It's against Jewish law for us number our own people. I had always assumed that those numbers from Google were estimates based on people willing to self-identify.

To your point, I do believe that in Israel, people are identified on government levels as being Jewish or non-Jewish. I don't have a say in that government, but I can easily avoid being identified by not moving to Israel.
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02-04-2016, 06:59 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:53 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:48 AM)carol Wrote:  The Ashkenazi culture is close-knit- and the difference is having many relatives, neighbors, and friends who would help with life and be our friends too. My relatives who are Jewish had help with getting jobs, babysitting, taking their kids places, just an entire community of people who were willing to help them. I would have had to convert- even though I am related to those people as well.
Think of it this way- my cousin had most of her college tuition paid for through extended family members, an apartment secured, jobs helped with, moving helped with, people offering support and help all of the time while I did not have that unless I converted, even though I was related to them too. My own grandparents who seemed to love me wouldn't visit me because my mother was not Jewish, and spent their time with the grandchildren who were. They seemed to love me, but they rejected my mother. The distant relatives did not even acknowledge me at all...I did not exist as a family member because I did not convert- some of them have never even met me.
That is a lot of family rejection due to religion. The same thing happened by Christian relatives- my grandmother absolutely hated Jewish people. I am an atheist- I do not care about religion, but I do care about family. I have a very small extended family because most of them do not acknowledge members who are of a different religion.

All of us atheists can be a close knit bunch as well. Most of us will help others far more than any group of religious people will and without strings attached.

That is great to me- I really would appreciate more friends. That is why I am here- to make some good friends. Big Grin

The biology of mind bridges the sciences - concerned with the natural world - and the humanities - concerned with the meaning of human experience. Eric Kandel
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02-04-2016, 07:08 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:59 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:48 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  I did not say they were looking. I do know that if I joined, yes my name would be on a list. If you ask google how many jews, muslims, christians, catholics, etc there are in U.S. or even the world you would get a very specific answer. If there were no lists, that would be impossible. Just like if you asked google to define the nature of the universe, it cannot give you an answer that it does not have.

I understand what you're saying. I don't know how accurate Google is on these estimates, but my parents are Jewish and haven't belonged to a synagogue in years. How are they going to be counted? Additionally, someone could attend the synagogue and not be Jewish.

It's against Jewish law for us number our own people. I had always assumed that those numbers from Google were estimates based on people willing to self-identify.

To your point, I do believe that in Israel, people are identified on government levels as being Jewish or non-Jewish. I don't have a say in that government, but I can easily avoid being identified by not moving to Israel.

If they belonged at all at any point, they are probably on a list somewhere and don't know it. For most, if not all religions you must have yourself removed as a member.
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02-04-2016, 07:14 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:48 AM)carol Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:24 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  If you are an atheist, then why do you care? I don't understand. If I found out today that I was considered Jewish due to one of my ancestors down the line I would be pissed off. It is not that I hate jews, it is that I hate religion and what it does to people. I am an atheist and proud to be one. I am not Lutheran which is the branch of Christianity I was baptized against my will into. It was indeed against my will, because it was done to me when I was too little to comprehend more than a couple words or even be able to speak any words. If I found out I was on some kind of list of religious people, I would start with sending certified letters to have myself removed. If that failed, I would bring a lawsuit against whomever I had to in order to have myself removed.

The Ashkenazi culture is close-knit- and the difference is having many relatives, neighbors, and friends who would help with life and be our friends too. My relatives who are Jewish had help with getting jobs, babysitting, taking their kids places, just an entire community of people who were willing to help them. I would have had to convert- even though I am related to those people as well.

Think of it this way- my cousin had most of her college tuition paid for through extended family members, an apartment secured, jobs helped with, moving helped with, people offering support and help all of the time while I did not have that unless I converted, even though I was related to them too. My own grandparents who seemed to love me wouldn't visit me because my mother was not Jewish, and spent their time with the grandchildren who were. They seemed to love me, but they rejected my mother. The distant relatives did not even acknowledge me at all...I did not exist as a family member because I did not convert- some of them have never even met me.

That is a lot of family rejection due to religion. The same thing happened by Christian relatives- my grandmother absolutely hated Jewish people. I am an atheist- I do not care about religion, but I do care about family. I have a very small extended family because most of them do not acknowledge members who are of a different religion. The strangest thing about it, wad that they were not religious at all- I think it was a kneejerk reaction to intermarriage, not religion. Even though my extended family were not religious, and some even converted- they always, always married other Ashkenazis.

I'm so sorry you experienced that!

Yes, I agree, this is probably a knee-jerk reaction to intermarriage. It's deeply ingrained in our culture. There is a fear of outsiders that has come about over centuries of Christian hostility. But things are starting to change.

I can't really defend the current practice of conversion, especially when I so deeply disagree with how it's being conducted now. I can say that today, so many people are intermarried that half-and-half kids are such common occurrence that the issue has had to be dealt with.

When I discuss religion here, I try to present a more orthodox position, but you might be interested to know that Reform Judaism has amended their policy and now recognizes Jewishness from the father's line. I believe Conservative Judaism is still matriarchal, but they have eased up tremendously on the conversion process in the hopes that non-Jewish spouses and children can take their place in the community.

The Jewish law is the Jewish law, but we can definitely choose not to be dicks about it and bring "half-Jews" into the fold as easily and readily as possible when they express an interest to be recognized.

And for whatever it's worth, I'd totally share my gefilte fish with you. Heart
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02-04-2016, 07:26 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:16 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(31-03-2016 01:54 PM)Aliza Wrote:  If you're born Jewish, the Jewish people consider you to be Jewish for life. If you convert to Judaism, and then later return to secularism, then you're still Jewish for life.

emphasis added

There is confusion because Jewish is an ethnic identity as well as a religion. It makes sense to me to say that somebody like David Silverman is Jewish when talking about his cultural heritage. When the context isn't clear then it is disingenuous to simply say he is Jewish and let the equivocation imply something that is not true.

In the case where somebody converted to Judaism and then later recanted, as in the bolded part above, it is just pure arrogance to still count them as Jewish.

Well... Okay, but converts go into it with their eyes wide open. They know full and well that we're going to think they're Jewish for the rest of their lives. They've taken on our customs and our culture. They've studied and prepared for conversion over a period of several years. They're not going into this blindly. They know exactly what they're taking on.
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02-04-2016, 07:32 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:35 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  In the same vein, you shouldn't count the victims of the Holocaust as Mormons, even if the Church of Mormon has spent decades baptizing the dead into their church. Yes, they really did get a hold of partial records of the Nazi's 'final solution' and had been using them to this end.

I agree that the Mormons are more presumptuous than the Jews in this area. For what it is worth, the explanation I've heard about the baptizing is that it if somebody hasn't been baptized then they can't accept the religion and get the rewards but if they have been baptized then they have that option. Performing the baptisms for the dead doesn't force them to be Mormon, it just opens the door for them to accept it in the afterlife. Within the theology it can be interpreted as a positive thing. From an outside perspective I call it arrogant but mostly I find it just childish.

(02-04-2016 06:36 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  The only reason the religions keep lists of members is to make themselves seem like a larger voting block, so they can get what they want out of government.

I agree it is a reason; I'm not so satisfied that it is the only reason. Bragging rights enters into it, as does confirmation bias.

Quote:Also, jew is not an ethnic indentity.

Calling it an ethnicity may not have been the best choice of words, but it is a cultural heritage. Whether Jewish is a nationality, a culture, or a religion depends on the context. I've known many people who claim to be Jewish "by blood" and who enjoy many aspects of Jewish culture but who utterly reject Judaism as a religion.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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02-04-2016, 07:34 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 06:53 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  All of us atheists can be a close knit bunch as well. Most of us will help others far more than any group of religious people will and without strings attached.

I think that your view of atheists is to rosy to be real. Neither empathy nor kindness is required to be one, only lack of belief.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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02-04-2016, 08:39 AM
RE: Why do theists come to this forum?
(02-04-2016 07:34 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(02-04-2016 06:53 AM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  All of us atheists can be a close knit bunch as well. Most of us will help others far more than any group of religious people will and without strings attached.

I think that your view of atheists is to rosy to be real. Neither empathy nor kindness is required to be one, only lack of belief.

While it is true that only a lack of belief is required, it is also true that we share and help out of our own sense of morality. We have only ourselves we must answer to and live with. It seems that anytime a Christian does something shitty (Josh Dugger), all he needs to do is ask their imaginary friend to forgive them and they go on doing more crap. I do something shitty and I have to make it right instead of pretending I made it right.
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