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 Michael Pianko on August 17, 2014 at 11:22am
My parents are Jewish. After I realized that there is no god but before I came out as an atheist, I had a time where I had a mental disorder which made me think that there were all these ethnic groups in the world, and if your ancestors used to do a certain religion, you have to do that religion, and if your ancestors spoke a certain language, you have to speak that language too, and I thought that all the ethnic groups had to be kept separate and everybody had to carry on the traditions their ancestors did.

Not I know that these ides are all a bunch of crap! 80 billion Google years from now, notions of which nationality, ethnicity, religion, or language, you are part of or think you have to be part of will not make one damn bit of difference. So many people in the world keep killing each other due to this crap. You need to find a life and find fun hobbies and activities that have nothing to do with Judaism or religion. If you are with a non-jewish woman, you will not get struck by lightening and you will not feel despondent with guilt and if your family has that much of a problem with which woman you like or with your non-participation in Judaism, you politely distance yourself from your family until your relationship with them is at the distance you can tolerate based on how much effort they put into trying to keep rebrainwashing you back into Judaism.

And, as I said, you cannot just have somebody cut part of your son's body off just because your culture taught you to get your son circumcised! This is cruel and unusual punishment for just being born and it will be made illegal, without the possibility of Jewish people being allowed to do it and cry anti-semitism, poor me, we are being persecuted because we can't hurt our sons anymore!
Comment by Michael Penn on August 17, 2014 at 11:21am

Freethinker 31, I have said this before and I'll say it again. Why do we think it is our job to bring democracy to the world? Why would Iraqis give a shit about George Washington? Who in the hell do we think we are?

And yet, I know a human resources tech in the factory where I worked for 18 years that believes this is the job god gave to Americans. Talk about brainwashed. How dumb can you get?

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 17, 2014 at 11:14am

@ Pat......Your reasoning is why  we are in this  mess with  the Arabs  as we speak......You and I   were brought  up in Western culture . We are so fortunate  to live in a place  of free speech and many other freedoms....Your mistake, as was George W  Bush, was the desire  to make  the entire  world  in our image......This is exactly  what angers  the people  of Islam.....They  feel as strongly  about   their way of life  as we  do of ours....Who are we  to tell them  how to live?  The West  has  to allow  other  cultures  to live  the way  they want as long  as they do  not  try  to impose  their  lifestyle  on the West.......Yet   we  see no problem of  imposing  our  ways  on them....Thus  th stalemate.......With your  thinking, if shared  by Western Leaders,  there will always  be  War....Lets  just agree to disagree  and  let  the various  cultures  evolve  on their own terms..     P.S.   I normally like your threads  but  debating  is   cathartic  isn't  it?      :=D

Comment by Loren Miller on August 17, 2014 at 11:04am

stated the following (with a slight amendment) elsewhere on A|N, but it bears repeating:

A burqa erases a woman.  She ceases to have a face, a personality or any meaningful public identity.  She becomes reduced to a non-descript presence in a cloth bag.  This, indeed, may be the intention of those who superimpose the requirement of a burqa on women in the first place.  A burqa is, above and beyond any other quality, Dehumanizing ... which is why it should in no ways be tolerated in modern society.

Comment by Loren Miller on August 17, 2014 at 10:58am

Michael, culture and religion have, for the better portion of human history, been very nearly inseparable parts of each other.  I suspect it was only with the advent of the US Constitution that some attempt was made to segregate religion from governmental culture, at least, though we both have seen the multiple attempts by certain persons and groups to reinject it.  I wonder if it would require either the elimination of religion altogether to remove it from its deleterious influence on our culture, or at minimum, its relegation to irrelevance, if that is indeed possible.

As for the issue of the driver's license, the following I think is rather instructive:

Comment by Luara on August 17, 2014 at 10:55am

FT, Have you felt that your Jewish culture wasn't respected on A/N or elsewhere? 

What do you mean by disrespected?

As for burqas, I don't agree that it's OK to wear a totally disguising covering.  People in our society need to see each other's faces for the sake of crime prevention and crime solving.  Although I do enjoy people wearing full-body costumes like gorilla suits on Halloween.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 17, 2014 at 9:38am

Everyone keep in mind that when I said your culture and ethnicity should be preserved I was not meaning anything that is a part of your religion. On second thought, it might be hard to separate the two.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 17, 2014 at 9:32am

What I like about the burqa is when they want a drivers license picture while wearing one. That cracks me up. Imagine the cop looking at your license and he says, "yeah, that's you alright" and he hands it back to you.

Imagine a military base where someone drives up to the gate wearing a burqa, shows ID with a picture of the same, and is told to go on in. This is all laughable and these people want to fight for their right to wear this in court.

Why doesn't everybody just wear a very large Mickey Mouse head instead?

Comment by Loren Miller on August 17, 2014 at 8:06am

I agree entirely with Pat's statement and his position on this matter.  When a practice or tradition of a given culture empowers one person or group to manipulate another person or group in a negative fashion, an infringement of rights has occurred.  In this country at least, such a violation should not and must not be tolerated. 

As with beliefs, the right to wave one's cultural traditions about Ends At The Nose of the Next Person.  Individual rights must be respected for EVERYONE, or they mean exactly NOTHING.

Comment by Pat on August 17, 2014 at 7:25am

FT31, allow me to quote that part of your original post where I vehemently disagree. Some traditions of a certain culture, many  may not agree with,  but it is important  to respect  them none the less... Actually, I find it important not to respect certain traditions.

First, there's the beekeeper suit many Islamic women are forced to wear. If not, they're beaten within an inch of the life - or worse. 

Then there's that glorious tradition of honor killing if a female chooses to have a romantic relation not approved of by the males of her family. And yes, it does occur here in the good 'ole US of A.

How about that grand tradition of infant or childhood genital mutilation? For both males and females.

Or, the sub-Sahran African cultural tradition of women being seen as property. Or the tradition in both parts of Africa and Asia of slavery still existing?

I suppose I could go on, and on, and on, like with the tradition in Papua New Guinea of sanguma, or the practice of killing human albinos to use their body parts in withcraft in Africa.

Some cultural traditions are worthy of respect, or at a minimum, are fascinating for a perspective they give on the human condition. But, when "tradition" represses freedom, security, safety, and life, it's not worthy of respect. It only deserves enmity, derision, antipathy,

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