I am proud to be an Atheist and I enjoy  discussing various  topics  on A/N......I may  not believe in God  or all the  fables  in the  Old or New testament, but some of us do believe in traditions from our culture  unrelated  to any Theistic  belief.....Maybe  being  Jewish  is unique, because it is a rich culture with  a very long history as well as being a religious faith......I may  have  rejected the religious  part but  certain traditions are important to me  because  they define  who I am and  where  I came from....People  who have  roots in various  countries  of the world may  no longer  believe in their ancestral  religion  but  still are proud  of the culture  from which  they came......It defines  us.......Some traditions of a certain culture, many  may not agree with,  but it is important  to respect  them none the less....

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Comment by Alan Perlman on August 17, 2014 at 12:25pm

Oy, vey, it's as if the imperative to respect other people's cultures unconditionally cannot be opposed, ever, in any way.  Instead, I would prefer to proceed from the standpoint of the individual, as any secular humanist would.  Thus I am free to disregard or condemn practices that are irrational (wear skullcap in synagogue; stand when Ark is opened - it's only a box!) or inhumane (burkas, beheadings), and indulge in those that appeal to me (bagel piled high with lox and cream cheese)..  I throw in a little mockery, too: when I bury the mice our cat kills, I chant the Kaddish (Hebrew prayer for the dead).

And I, as an individual, will decide what Judaism means to me (not much) and how much I will participate (zero).  

Humanistic Judaism is an attempt to bring the ancient shepherd culture into some kind of relevance to modern times.  It's a stretch and one I ultimately couldn't make (even after reading the whole Torah and writing a book about it).  Why have a Passover seder (ritual dinner) in commemoration of something that didn't happen.  The same for all the Jewish holidays that celebrate non-deliverance by a non-existent deity.  It started to feel like a cowardly sham, a pathetic appeal for inclusiveness -- "hey, we may not believe in God, but we're Jewish too."

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 17, 2014 at 12:21pm

@k.h...Yeah.. we finally  agree..,Religion  is outdated....There is no god.. period...

Comment by k.h. ky on August 17, 2014 at 12:12pm
Traditions l respect. Religion l despise.
Comment by Freethinker31 on August 17, 2014 at 12:04pm

@Loren.....Like I said.....As long  as they do not impose their  beliefs  on the West. they have a right to live the way they want...The Islamists living  in the West  will probably  be the first  to assimilate....After all they left their  home countries  to escape  that lifestyle..I was referring to the Islamist people  in the Middle East...We should be on guard  and  I believe  we are.  The Western powers have to protect its  people  from  any Culture War.... 

Comment by Loren Miller on August 17, 2014 at 11:50am

FT, the problem is that those espousing islam are NOT entirely "on their own," nor do they appear to be willing to live and let live.  There is desire aplenty for a United Caliphate of America among islamists, and if not the US, then Denmark or France or some other locale where they can overrun the government by shear force of numbers, something which, while it hasn't happened yet, has plenty of potential for realization.

If they could be relied upon to leave others alone, I might be persuaded to give them the same consideration.  At this moment, I do not see any respect on their part for our way of living, and thus I am forced to be on my guard at the very least.

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 17, 2014 at 11:41am

@ Loren......I will say it again......Let the  Islamic  people  evolve  on their own  time  table....In time  the majority may see  that  their beliefs  are  outdated  and need  to change...Education is the only way  for this to happen..The internet will eventually  prevail....However it needs  to happen at a pace that is right for the followers of Islam...Look how long it took  for civilization  to evolve. It just takes  time...

Comment by Luara on August 17, 2014 at 11:40am

Why do we think it is our job to bring democracy to the world?

I read that after 9/11 the USA gov't decided that our support of nondemocratic regimes had encouraged terrorism.

There's been analysis of the underlying causes of terrorism.  I read some books on the subject, and one thing they said was that when people have a voice in their government and they have some power, they're less likely to become involved in terrorism. 

So the USA does indeed have a national security interest in promoting democracy. 

Comment by Luara on August 17, 2014 at 11:36am

it wasn't  until some of the culture of Judaism  was attacked that I felt  attacked

Where was the culture of Judaism attacked?

Comment by Loren Miller on August 17, 2014 at 11:30am

George W. Bush was likely mistaken in his attempt to superimpose democracy on a nation and peoples who were ill-equipped or prepared to accept it or understand its principles and implications.  That said, I still maintain that individual integrity, possessed and maintained by that individual, holds primacy as a human right, and the degree to which that right is respected or disrespected is the degree to which any tradition, culture, or government deserves either regard or lack of such in return.  Islam as a culture and governing postulate is by its very nature a violation of the principle of individual integrity, never mind multiple others.  It may be tolerated (barely!) in the short term, but it must be opposed in the long term, especially as among its goals is the deprivation of ALL people of their individual integrity in favor of submission to the questionable authority of the quran.

And I find the following comes to mind:

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.  This expresses my idea of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.
-- Abraham Lincoln

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 17, 2014 at 11:30am

Wow..It looks like I have  opened  pandoras  box......Everyone is free to believe what they want  in this country....I thought I was going  to  turn my back on Judaism completely  because I no longer believe in god or the fables  in the bible...However  it wasn't  until some of the culture of Judaism  was attacked that I felt  attacked.....I may not believe in god or the outdated  bible, but being Jewish is more than that...I still believe , I can  be an Atheist and  agree on some Jewish tradition...After all  there is a group of Secular Jewish Humanists/Atheists....So  you can have  both......You can  separate  the religious part with the cultural  part  of Judaism...   

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