Religion & Beliefs
What about Jews for Jesus???
The comments from Acidkore and Joey are really interesting to me, and I want to talk about Spinoza at some point soon, but not until I've read Rebecca Goldstein's new book about the man. I don't know enough to get into … Read More
The comments from Acidkore and Joey are really interesting to me, and I want to talk about Spinoza at some point soon, but not until I've read Rebecca Goldstein's new book about the man. I don't know enough to get into a discussion on him right now myself…
But this idea that it is meaningful to observe/participate in the rituals of a faith we do not actually believe is fascinating. I think in some ways we all (by which I mean all us contemporary secular types) do this all the time, with the trappings our own culture… and with other cultures as well.
My question: Does this process devalue the faith itself? Is our skeptical reasoning a judgement on the simpler faith of the "true believers"?
In some sense, it feels like that idea turns our religious culture into a plain old ethnic identity, like Italian Americans, or Irish Americans… based in food and music, or something… because while Acidkore may be rooting his non-spiritual religious identity in the practice of faith, for most people with a non-faith-based Jewish identity, there's a lot less content and work involved. Seinfeld Judaism. A slippery slope.
And what about converts, Jews by Choice? While I'm generally willing to accept that atheistic-Jews are Jewish, I feel pretty fucking strongly that people shouldn't convert to Judaism for reasons other than faith (and I say this as one who is often confronted with the debate over "encouraging" conversion in non-Jewish spouses). Is the desire to participate in the Jewish culture enough to make you a Jew? If so, shouldn't we allow all the latke-loving, Streisand-listening, Potak-reading gentiles into the fold? All the people who enjoyed a semester abroad in Israel and are now doing a PhD in Jewish Studies?
And to take it a step further, if we allow for a range of definitions of "Jewish faith" how can we say that Jews for Jesus are NOT Jews?
It gets sticky…