So one can be ethnically or culturally Jewish and not believe in the religion.1) Judaism is a religion, but being Jewish isnt necessarily.
Jewish people have at various times considered ourselves and been considered by others a faith, a nationality, an ethnicity, a race, and a culture. While the distinctions between some of these categories are blurryand some of them are recognized mainly by anti-semitesthat doesnt mean they dont exist.
Even when other participants find out that she is an atheist, she does not get into much trouble over that, and some of the other participants sometimes reveal that they also are atheists.2) Belief in god isnt particularly central in most Jewish communities and practices.
If youre not Jewish, you may not believe me if I told you that in my many years of attending Jewish services, celebrations, and events in a variety of different traditions and communities, the subject of any individuals belief (or lack thereof) in god hasnt ever really come up. But its true.
It seems absurd because of what many people are most familiar with -- there does not seem to be a good way of being a Christian atheist.3) Because I fucking said so.
Here I have to admit that I find it irritating as all heck when random people (usually on OkCupid, usually with a skeptical tone) ask me how I can be both Jewish and an atheist. First of all, its eminently googleable. Try it.
Spinoza believed in a "God", but what he called "God" was so grossly heretical that he was excommunicated and called an atheist for a long time. It was sort of like a ground of being or the laws of nature, something that everything else is inside of in some way, a pantheist "God".Heres a fact: polls and studies consistently find that about half of Jewish people are agnostics, atheists, or otherwise doubters of gods existence. Less than half of Jewish people consider themselves religious.
Jews who openly question god or deny gods existence are hardly unknown and include Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Niels Bohr, Richard Feynman, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Franz Kafka, Isaac Asimov, Howard Zinn, Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, Stanley Kubrick, Baruch Spinoza, Peter Singer, Noam Chomsky, Saul Alinsky, Hannah Arendt, Elie Wiesel, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, and Albert Einstein.
Einstein had similar beliefs.