Discussion in 'Religion' started by joepistole, Jan 14, 2009.
Thanks Athelwulf, that is a high price for conversion.
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Uh no, he's not. He's very fine. I spoke to him a couple months ago :bugeye:
Well of course. You don't have to explain that to me, the Elder of the SciForums Atheists.
But the reason I phrased it that way is that, if you're sincere about wanting to be a Jew, you have to believe it. It's a package deal. Even Christians who delve more than superficially into the theology of their faith (which I guess isn't most of them) have some understanding of the Covenant and why the Jews consider themselves the Chosen People. That's one of several reasons that American Christians in particular are such knee-jerk supporters of the State of Israel, the Promised Land.
Yeah yeah, Judaism is a religion of laws, not a religion of faith. (In stark opposition to Christianity, where you can be forgiven for just about any transgression so long as you apologize for it and believe in Jesus in the proper way.) As long as you obey all the laws you're making God happy--or at least not pestilence-spewing angry, which is as happy as the Jewish God ever gets--and it doesn't matter what you believe. (Assuming that doesn't conflict with one of those Commandment-thingies, which are the most important of all the laws. I've never been quite sure how that's supposed to work.) There are plenty of people who are accepted without controversy as Jewish, both by other Jews and by themselves, who are more than a little lax in their belief in the supernatural. But those are people who were born Jewish so the benefit of the doubt is in their favor. If an outsider wants to become a Jew, he has to live up to a higher standard.
Jews are expected to raise their children to be Jewish because, given that evangelism and conversion are not enthusiastically advocated as they are in Christianity and Islam, passing it down to your children is the only way to ensure the survival of the tribe. So everyone needs to be, well, "as Jewish as possible" to prevent attrition and assimilation from shrinking their ranks. They don't want to invite a newcomer into the tribe who already disagrees with some of the fundamental characteristics of Jewishness, and watch him proselytize that seductive heresy to their own children who are already being seduced by Gentile culture, Gentile hotties, and the increasing disappearance of Gentile hatred, which is ironically the greatest threat to the survival of a distinct Jewish people.
If you were born into a Jewish family you can become an atheist and although your family probably won't like it you'll still be counted as a Jew. But if you're already an atheist and have no plans to change, you won't find very many Jewish communities excited to take you in.
Fraggle speaks the truth. My best friend's mother was disappointed every time I introduced her to a gentile girlfriend of mine. That's not even my mother! And my parents, myself, my friend and his parents are all atheists!!
But still... The fear of the culture dying in the next generation is so strong that my buddy's mom felt she needed to remind me that I could make "a good Jewish father."
It sounds like there is a conflict with Juadism. Is it a religion or is it a race or culture? It seems to be very racially diverse. So I would be pained to say that there is such a thing as a Jewish race...a culture certianly. But there seems to be a wide variance even in culture. Is Israel a desperate attempt to preserve Juadism as a race, culture, or religion?
Lets ask the atheist Jews.
I think that there is a fair sized Jewish community in China Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!))
Are you going to shock them all ??
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Yes, Israel was a desperate attempt to save Judaism as a race, culture and religion. No where on earth would take them, they had been persecuted for years largely on the basis that they were a people without a homeland. Watch half of your people be slaughtered worse than cattle and then tell me you wouldn't have an urge to set up a fort.
But the other question - what is a Jew - is much more interesting. The short answer is that it is all three. To some people (the orthodox) the religion is the most important aspect. To the majority of these people, a convert will be in no way less of a Jew than a born orthodox. In fact, it is an offense punishable by death (according to old-testament insanity) to assert a convert (who has done all the proper conversions and studied the Torah) is anything less than 100% Jewish. To others, usually members of the reform branch, a Jew is simply anyone who takes Jewish blood through the mother's line. In that sense, there is no such thing as leaving Judaism once born into it. (Except, perhaps, by marrying a goy and raising children as un-Jewish.) You're a Jew whether you like it or not. Then there are those who are, eh, kind of reform, but more likely sort-of atheist and just attend service on high-holidays for the sake of religion. These people will view Jewishness as an attribute of blood (or conversion) and participation in the culture - whatever that might be wherever they are.
Finally, there is the goyim version of Jew. To a large extent, this is now defined today by Nazi and Soviet practices. If you have one grandparent who is a Jew, then you are a Jew. It is this last method of categorization that still today largely defines the way Jews - and some goyim - view Jewishness. Again, this may seem laughable to the outsider, but that's unimportant. If the Nazis were to return, I may laugh and tell them I've been an atheist since I was 8, like my parents before me, but I would still be slaughtered.
This is the rational behind Israel's immigration policy. If that sort of violence returns, I would be a victim. Israel makes their passport available to ensure I have a place to run to.
If the natural reaction to all this is "there hasn't been anything like the Nazis in 65+ years! Do you really think that's coming back?"
Well, no. Most of the time I don't. But I lived in a very liberal, very westernized city (Montreal), and twice was witness to Jewish schools being bombed. I've been threatened with violence because my friends and I "look like Jews". Every year in Europe there are Jews killed simply for being Jews. Americans and Europeans walk in the streets proclaiming they are all members of a group (Hamas) that's founding charter calls for the annihilation of all Jews, begging for the day that the very trees and rocks themselves scream the location of Jews in aid of their execution.
The days of the Nazis are over. Yet an extreme rightist party still holds large popularity in France (where it is also largely anti-Moslem), Germany, Austria, etc. Moreover, like the Chinese, Jews have a long view of history. It may be that to you 200 or 300 years between anti-Jew hysteria periods seems like a long time. To many, though, it just means that the next wave is inevitable. So you might as well prepare.
Very good post Tyler...thank you.
You're being sarcastic right ?
That's only possible if you consider Jews a race. Which you do not right?
So by your definition there should be none ?
Y would someone convert to Judaism? what kind of benifits would you get ... if someone converts say from islam or christianity to judaism then you are still following the same god but diffrent religion, teachings, cultrue, etc?
Well you would get citizenship rights to Israel and all the special protections that go with that status. I believe Israel does not have extradition treaties with other countries. So if you have a criminal bent, it could be a safe haven...as long as you didn't break any of the laws of Israel.
Plus you get the benefits of the social network (Bernie Madhoff, etc).
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