Pew survey finds 22 percent of Jews now claim no religion; Jewish identity cast in more cultural terms.
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American Jews are losing faith — in religion, that is. More than one in five Jews, 22 percent, now say they have no religion. And as U.S. Jews overall pull away from formal expressions of Judaism, they are upending traditional notions of Jewish identity and what it means to be a Jew today.
Ever since the old AmericaOnline, people have used the Internet as a way to learn more about religion and to engage with likeminded co-religionists. The Senior Religion Editor of Huffington Post, Paul Raushenbush, published an interesting article about the search for religion on the Web. He writes that "Religion is one of the hottest areas of the Internet because religion is one of the most intense and contested arenas of human relations and ideas." He's right.
An atheist organization says it will unveil a Hebrew-language billboard calling God a “myth” near a Brooklyn Chasidic enclave.
The group American Atheists says it will unveil a billboard Monday in Chasidic-dominated South Williamsburg. The billboard writes out the name of God in Hebrew -- the Tetragrammaton that observant Jews are proscribed from saying aloud -- and then features in English and Hebrew translation the phrase “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice.”
As promised, my interview with intermarried, up-and-coming Knesset member Einat Wilf is now online, so please check it out.
In case you just want to read the in-the-mix-related highlights, I excerpt them below. Interestingly, she insists that her marriage is not interfaith, because she and her German husband share the same faith: atheism. Although I'm not atheist myself, as a very liberal agnostic, I wish American politicians could get away with this kind of unapologetic, completely un-closeted atheism.
Over these past few weeks, I have delivered a series of both sermons and Torah study sessions that have put our ancestral patriarchs and matriarchs under a high-powered microscope. The goal of the presentations was to teach how the later rabbinic overlay of interpretive (creative?) commentary tended to glorify them and their attributes significantly beyond what the texts themselves would imply.
Remember that Pew survey a few weeks back with the surprising conclusion that Americans, while claiming to be oh-so-religious, don't know very much about religion, and that the folks who seem to know the most are atheists?
Yes. That's the answer given by Damon Linker in a fascinating essay at TNR.com. To play a bit of catch up first: last week, writings by (and more important, images of) Christopher Hitchens ripped through the Internet relating to his recent diagnosis of cancer. The discovery earlier this summer forced the author to abruptly cancel the book tour of his new memoir in order to undergo treatment.
But he emerged last week, first posting an essay about his bout with the cancer and radiation treatment at VanityFair.com; then later in a video-blog interview with The Atlantic Monthly's Jeffrey Goldberg.
Much of the media chat since then has turned to the question of whether Hitchens, an outspoken atheist, would show a little mercy and perhaps accept God. His answer has been an emphatic "No." And even if he did at some point in the future pray to God, it could only be taken as bestial ravings of a man who's clearly lost his mind; a man whose central feature distinguishing him from all other beasts--his intellect--had left him.
There are no atheists in foxholes but there are more than a million in the American Jewish community, according to surveys, and the proudly godless are now angling to be seen as a Jewish ìreligiousî movementóHumanistic Judaismóalongside the traditional denominations.