Atheist and Jewish - Antitheist

We asked our Jewish Atheist members to clear up any apparent dichotomy with being Jewish and atheist.

John Answers:

 The problem with your query is that it's very complex. Your dealing with more than how most American Jews feel. First, we'll deal with the race issue. Most Jews think of themselves racially as Jewish. The reason for this is that this is what they have been taught. But it is also the way they have been treated (i.e. WWII) And in essence it is accurate. Most Jews in America and Europe are descended from a small group from the Rhine valley. Since Judaism has, for most of history, been a religion that kept to themselves. You couldn't convert to Judaism, so all Jews were only Jewish. As they moved to other areas, they continue this way of life. So without the influx of bloodlines outside of the faith, they would continue to genetically be from the Rhine valley region. Even if they now live in say England.

This brings us to part 2. Jews from Israel. Their genetics are of the middle east. But since WWII that has started to change. The truth is, they are probably more of a "race" than any other group. For example; Not all Blacks are from Africa and not all Africans are black. But all Jews are Jewish. I hope this helps with the race issue. Now this is where it gets complicated, Israel. The reason it's complicated is because, according to the Bible, it is their God given home. And even as an atheist you'll have to admit, if there were a God and he said this is your home, that's a pretty powerful thing. So you'll find that Jews that are more religious tend to defend Israel more.

Where it really starts to get confusing (and a little scary) is that you also have Christians that will do the same thing. That's because the second coming of Christ can't happen unless Israel exists. So you'll actually have more people who are not Jewish getting offended if you say anything bad about Israel. Now they'll use the "race" card on this and claim anti-semitism. When in fact these Christians are the racist ones. They don't in fact care about Jews at all, just Israel. And that Israel doesn't include Palestine. Hence the reason so many non Jews get pissed off whenever there is talk of peace. Hell, look what happened to Jimmy Carter when he wrote that book. So you'll find that most people that are offended by the anti-Semitic or perceived anti-semitism are in fact not even Jewish. But again, as I wrote before, it's a pretty powerful thing when God himself says that your people own that land. You are right, it's confusing. Because when something like the Israeli flag/nazi flag is shown, you can't be sure who it will offend. Or even why. Are they offended because they're Jewish, Christian, Catholics that feel guilty because of the churches acceptance of the holocaust. I don't think many even realize what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinians. Kind of like when someone defends the Pope. They don't really know (or care) that he was a NAZI. They just know that you're attacking THEIR Pope. I hope some of this helps.

Guy Answers:

Before the advent of atheism Jewishness indicated both an ethnic group AND a religion exclusive to it. When atheism became more prevalent many Jews retained their ethnic identity but rejected the accompanying faith. I have Jewish ancestors. I appreciate and relate to the history of my ancestors (and without looking at any other nationality as lesser), but I have no sympathy for the Jewish religion. I celebrate our contributions to humanity, our rich culture and self effacing humor. I identify as an Atheist Jew

Graeme Answers

Unfortunately many people don't understand that attacking the jewish faith is not about attacking jewish people. This is still mostly down to the guilt felt in western europe and the US about doing (more or less), sod all to help them against the nazi regime. Of course it also didn't help that many in the US and Europe agreed with the Nazis that the Jewish were communists, (due to the disproportionate number of Jews holding power under the pre-war stalinist USSR).

If you say anything against the Jewish religion you're a racist, say anything against islam and its felt that you're right because all muslims are terrorists! freedom of speech, democracy and racism are all relative and arbitrary concepts in the west depending on who is in power and how much guilt is felt.

As part of human nature the people in power always need somebody else to blame for their own failings and far too many people are happy to believe whatever bullshit is fed to them by their leaders. This applies both to politics and religion of course.

Asher Answers:

I regard my self as of the Jewish people, that is I would like to pass down some aspects of the culture. And I'd regard myself as a Kiwi first, and an atheist Jew second.

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