Author Topic: Jews Are An Enigma  (Read 548 times)

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Offline Sketchiii

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Jews Are An Enigma
« on: July 19, 2013, 09:04:24 PM »
I recently saw this video.



While I understood the points and find that they must be reasonable due to the fact that there are Jews 2000 after Yeshua was supposed to be on earth doing his thing, I cannot fathom being an Orthodox Jew.

The OT is a horrible horrible thing, and unlike Christians their book doesn't eventually get all warm and fuzzy. I guess that's why I've barely heard of anyone converting to Judaism.

I don't remember any former Jew being on this forum but can anyone tell me why this religion still stands in this day and age?

Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 10:15:56 PM »
   When god tells you that you are his chosen people that might have an effect.
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 12:39:11 AM »
I recently saw this video.

While I understood the points and find that they must be reasonable due to the fact that there are Jews 2000 after Yeshua was supposed to be on earth doing his thing, I cannot fathom being an Orthodox Jew.

The OT is a horrible horrible thing, and unlike Christians their book doesn't eventually get all warm and fuzzy. I guess that's why I've barely heard of anyone converting to Judaism. 

Former, here.  I'm not aware of any jewish sect among the orthodox who stone or physically punish offenders within their community.

Not an expert, but they have a long history of commentary, which interprets god's laws for the community. (I'm only very vaguely acquainted with the haftorah.  There are other such sources, I believe)  This has a softening effect, even among the orthodox.

Quote
I don't remember any former Jew being on this forum but can anyone tell me why this religion still stands in this day and age?

As to your question, I believe the thing that keeps the religion alive is that, of all the things jews are commonly taught, survival of the religion in the face of ceaseless persecution is the main lesson.  For a jew to turn his/her back on the religion is an act of moral cowardice.   The implication is that for a single jew to choose his/her own personal survival over that for which so many before have given their lives (from the assyrians to hitler) is an unforgivable betrayal.

The more stress the community is under, the more important this becomes.  Jewish apostasy in the US is of constant concern to those who believe this.  Life for jews in the US is a like a comparative promised land, considering it was not so 50 years ago.  I would guess that apostasy in israel is far less frequent there, because of the stress that nation is under.

To this end, individual jewish families have always strongly opposed interfaith marriages for their children.  I was taught that 'it is just as easy to fall in love with a jewish girl as it is to fall in love with a shiksa.' (yeah... I never found that to be true).  If a jewish male falls in love with a gentile female, that's marginally ok (boys will be boys), but one must not marry and bear children, and IF one does sire, they must be raised as jews.  (again, yeah: Didn't do that either)

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 12:10:09 PM »
Isn't Judaism more than religion in that it is also an ethnicity?
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2013, 12:36:07 AM »
Isn't Judaism more than religion in that it is also an ethnicity?

I suppose that's a subject for discussion, but I would say 'more akin to a culture' but broadly,
yes'

Online xyzzy

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2013, 01:00:50 AM »
Product of an orthodox family checking in, here.

Yes, there is a huge aspect of cultural identity associated with Judaism, particularly, but not exclusively, in the orthodox adherents. Just like in Christianity, orthodox may look down on the reform movement as not true Jews - not sure how many are Scottish though. Actions like that seem to strengthen the "us and them" that persists from the Holocaust which, in turn, makes people want to hold on to their traditions even more.

Growing up, there was a lot of "being the chosen people" going around. All rather silly, but there you are.

I'm not sure, though, why the OP feels as he does. True the OT is barbaric but Christianity has as that as its background, thus it somewhat inherits some of the silliness of Judaism plus its own set of just as potty ideas.

It wasn't just the shiksa I was warned against (of course, that just makes them more attractive) pretty much anyone who was goyim was frowned upon by my "not-racist" parents. In fairness, I think they saw it more as preserving the tradition and finding "nice Jewish friends" then anything else. Perhaps too OT, but I remember the first interfaith marriage in the family and that caused huge rifts in the family despite her being a lovely person and adopting the faith. Even so, and I don't think it's definitely policy, but it still wasn't good enough and they were sent packing to the reform synagogue.

It was all rather childish but I'd given on up religion as horribly divisive, way before any of that had happened.

Disclosure. I didn't grow up in America, so this may not be the experience of many on this board.

Edited to fix some mistakes in the flow of the narrative.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 01:05:09 AM by xyzzy »
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool -- Richard Feynman
You are in a maze of twisty little religions, all alike -- xyzzy

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2013, 04:02:24 AM »
The 'nice' thing about being jewish is one can always be downgraded to a more liberal sect and still call themselves jewish.  I was a reformed jew (my family used to make fun of the liberal reformed temple in my town, saying that they were so non-jewish, that the rabbi performed mass rather than service).  The rabbi at my temple agreed to marry my wife and me provided she pledge to raise our children as jews.  Sweet deal!  :D

Growing up (NJ,USA) I had orthodox relatives who would treat our family like retarded step-children, but we largely accepted it, since we knew they were more jewish than we, and we just couldn't deal with the requirements of orthodoxy.  They came to my wedding, but wore surgical masks (kidding)

There's a judsism for just about any jew... but not the jews for jesus.  Those people were nuts :)

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 01:30:02 PM »
I find it interesting that the population of Israel, including many descendants of Holocaust survivors, is so secular. They are culturally Jewish, and will defend Israel to the death, quite literally, but don't practice the religion at all. They don't associate with the Orthodox Jewish minority, and think they are nutty.

Like the "Easter/Christmas" Christians in the US who think fundamentalists are crazy, but are suspicious of Muslims and would never vote for an atheist. &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2013, 11:47:22 PM »
I find it interesting that the population of Israel, including many descendants of Holocaust survivors, is so secular. They are culturally Jewish, and will defend Israel to the death, quite literally, but don't practice the religion at all. They don't associate with the Orthodox Jewish minority, and think they are nutty.

Like the "Easter/Christmas" Christians in the US who think fundamentalists are crazy, but are suspicious of Muslims and would never vote for an atheist. &)

And it's the right wingers there, like here in the US, that are pushing politics further right. 

I've long been of the opinion that most people in the US are only nominally xian (as you described) and believe in SoC&S.  It's the xian right wing that push for a xian nation that are the problem.  I think it's natural for us to want to ask secular jews to rein in their right wing nutbags, but why aren't we yanking the collars of our own christian fascists?  The answer may be the same for both israeli jews and non-nutcase americans.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2013, 11:52:33 PM »
Right wingers push politics right? Shocking...
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 01:35:12 AM »
Right wingers push politics right? Shocking...

Yeah.  That does sound really silly... WHEN you leave out the word 'further'.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 07:13:12 AM »
My paternal grandmother was Jewish, which makes my father Jewish by Jewish law, because the lineage is maternal.  My sweet father, who was a rabid atheist, strongly identified as an Ashkenazi Jew, and when I was 8 years old, we went to Dachau and he made it clear that under the Nazis, I too would be considered a Jew. 

My mom's working class, Sicilian/Irish parents were not thrilled that their daughter was marrying a Jew. 

So I grew up in a secular household with extended family who hosted Christmas dinners and family seders.  And as a New Yorker, I live among the largest concentrations of Jews in the world. 

I think it is really important to note that Judaism is just as diverse as Christianity.  Perhaps even more so.  While self-proclaimed Christians might have lifestyles as diverse as the Amish and the Mormons, and the followers of Joel Osteen and Jesse Jackson and Cardinal O'Conner and Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Haggard, Jews also represent a wide range of beliefs and lifestyles. 

But as others have pointed out, Judaism is as much a cultural identity as a religion.  My father was not unique, or even unusual, in his identity as a secular Jew.  In fact, probably a significant percentage of the world's most famous and influential jews embraced a complete or partial secular identity.  Think about Einstein, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Al Franken, Emma Goldman, George Soros, or on the other end of the political spectrum, Alan Greenspan and  Paul Wolfowitz. 

And with the exception of the Orthodox Jews, Judaism embraces the idea that humans transmitted the writings of the Torah - which is really just the OT.  So most Jews don't face the problems that Christians face when it comes to following the holy book.  A huge percentage of Christians claim to believe that the OT along with the NT are really the unerring word of God.  And that makes the "stone your disobedient children to death" kind of stuff a little difficult to reconcile.  Most observant Jews have no trouble distinguishing between the cultural influences of the folks who wrote this stuff down, and the moral lifestyle that they strive to embrace.   http://judaism.about.com/od/denominationsofjudaism/p/branches.htm

Offline Sketchiii

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Re: Jews Are An Enigma
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2013, 07:00:55 PM »
Ah, it seems that what's being said is that many Jews are either secular or not very strict because they view it as a culture. While that does answer how the religion survives today I am still amazed at, for example, Haredi Jews although they are rare.


I'm not sure, though, why the OP feels as he does. True the OT is barbaric but Christianity has as that as its background, thus it somewhat inherits some of the silliness of Judaism plus its own set of just as potty ideas.

I can understand how Christianity can survive in modern society because they seem to think that they are exempt from the OT's Laws which is reasonable if some New Testament passages are interpreted to fit this but I do not remember anywhere in the OT that says "Hey, in 2013 it's cool if you don't feel like stoning people anymore"  :P