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Archive for the 'Judaism' Category

Well, if all the questions are answered, how do you find out anything? You don’t. You remain primitive shepherds, or whoever founded your religion. And indeed, Jews who have long since stopped being primitive shepherds dress up and go to synagoigue, there to read from a scroll and pretend they believe all those primitive-shepherd stories. Weird.

I maintain that it’s hard work to repress our contempt for and anger at the way religion grabs people at childhood and molds their minds with fantasies. For a committed skeptic/humanist, there can be no productive dialog between religious believers and atheists. Believers’ brains simply partake of a different subjective reality, one that includes murderous deities, golden calves, and manna from heaven.

To a Jewish humanist, Easter is when Christians engage in some of their creepiest, ghastliest, most gruesome beliefs and practices. It’s when they get in touch with their inner Mel Gibson. The color of this Easter is red, as in blood. . .
The worst thing that Christians have done with Christmas is to commercialize it. That’s nothing compared with the dark underbelly of Easter: centuries of blood, barbarism, and death.

Happy Hanukkah – sort of

Hanukkah celebrates, in part, the rededication of the temple in the second century CE by a bunch of Jewish Taliban. It was the restoration of the old time religion. Once again, the relatively primitive, tribal Jews were in (temporarily victorious) conflict with a secular, rational, cosmopolitan culture. (We caught up quickly once the Enlightenment opened up secular opportunities.)

Our language is the product of our history, so it’s no surprise that there’s so much God-talk. Each atheist has to adapt his/her own strategy, and this has been a fruitful topic at A/N. Along with other substitutions, I advise not shouting God’s name at the moment of orgasm, but rather the name of the person who is giving you said orgasm.

We asked him what a nutjob God would want with so many foreskins. And why he was so obsessed with penises. Why not mandate the amputation of a little toe? Because God wants to show you who’s really in charge of procreative power around here. And it’s not you. (On several occasions, God punishes women with infertility – closes their wombs, as the text puts it.)

what believers call “blasphemy” is for atheists nothing more than “telling the truth”:

– Torah God is vengeful, punitive, and sadistic, not worthy of respect, much less worship.
– Neither he nor any other gods exist.
– Holy books don’t deserve reverence: they prescribe death for any offense; advocate slavery and ethnic murder (Deuteronomy contains explicit instructions for ethnic cleansing).
– Torah morality is juvenile.
– There is no independent verification for anything that happens in the Torah.

Dear Matthew,

My best wishes for a happy birthday and for many years of health and happiness. My wife and I (I am your grandmother Brenda’s first cousin) must regretfully decline your invitation, because as a matter of deeply held principle, we do not participate in religious rituals based on lies, fantasy, and the humiliation of human beings in front of nonexistent deities. Your bar mitzvah falls into that category.

If religion were unfailingly to deliver a better class of people, a more moral and humane individual, and if in fact it made for the gradual and palpable improvement in the human race and the human condition, then I might see some justification for all the fantasy and ritual. But when people cling to that fantasy and ritual and use it as a cover for immoral, inhumane behavior, then there is no excusing religion; there is only wishing for its disappearance and demise.

Every atheist has to deal with the consequences of unbelief, which depend on one’s religious environment and the age at which freedom from religion is first realized. In my case, the environment was Judaism lite, secular and forgiving enough that I could simply walk away unscathed.

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