Hi friends!

So in becoming the ultimate debater and polemicist I'm always looking for new material I can use when defending and explaining my stances and ideas. With Christianity and Islam there is so much good material to use and examples to refer to, my five year old could debate someone as to the ills of those religions. But I've found that when it comes to Judaism it's not so cut and dry. I have material but it's not as solid as what I have for the other two monotheisms. For example we all know that:

- the god of the Old Testament is a violent, angry, jealous, psychopathic murderer. He demands obedience and then commands his generals or angels to kill those who reject him. His commandments tell us essentially not to "think" about things. So to want to follow such a person, to me, is immoral.

- Judaism subjugates women (although this happens much more within the orthodox sects of the religion)

- like the other two, indoctrination of children begins immediately.

- the claims about and the violence in Israel are because of these mythical claims of land promised to them. People, children, have and will die because they fight over this claim.

And that's pretty much all I got! We can't really go with the circumcision argument anymore because many recent studies have shown there are more and more health benefits to having one. We can't point to any post-old testament massacres by the Jewish people and unlike the crusades and wars of conquest of the other two, Jews for the most part, aside from the conquest of Israel, have been a fairly peaceful people.

Insofar as their opinions, if you watch a debate with some of the more liberal Rabbis, you will see that they view the religion as a very much opened minded one. They have no hell, and many of the original scholars left much of the "word" open to interpretation. There is a great debate with Hitch, Harris and two Rabbis where, for much of the time, the Rabbis agree with everything Hitch and Harris say. Now there still are the more hard-core Rabbis like Boteach that are just as ignorant on their stances as are the fundelementalist Christian theologians.

I don't know if I'm sounding like a Jewish apologist here. It might be because my family is Jewish and that was the original religion I was indoctrinated into when I was young. Regardless of the other reasons it's still the belief in the unbelievable and takes away our ability to think for ourselves. After all, I do not need 10 commandments to tell me how to live. Nevertheless I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Should I just KISS (keep is simple stupid) or do you all have some more persuading ideas?

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Robert,

You're certainly not the only one to have run into this sort of odd dilemma. I left Judaism as well and during my transition, SO many questions stood out in my head about where the religion fits into Dawkin's arguments in God Delusion and Hitchen's ideas.

My father who is still an orthodox jew put me in touch with many of his respected rabbis so that they could talk sense into me. An important realization that I had during these conversations which pushed me away from the religion even more is that the difference with jews is that they're good talkers! They're so "malleable and accepting" of everything and yet maintain their faith on top of all logic... this makes them feel like their faith is THAT MUCH STRONGER.

The Jewish religion is really NOT so different from the other monotheistic ones! I don't care how many times I hear a rabbi say "no... I'm not blindly trusting the bible... I don't think god exists, I KNOW god exists." Jews, just like people in every other religion, are taking a leap of faith. While christians call it a leap of faith, jews can avoid argument by not having a name for it.

It seems that many of your arguments involve showing why the specific religion is bad through studying the specific religion. For me, I went the scientific route and decided that it all had to be wrong because it was contradictory to logic. From there, the only thing a rabbi will tell you is "but what started it all? that must have been god!!" What's sad about this is that if this is the perspective that jews take on god, then the rest of their religion still makes no sense. 99% of biblical stories that jews base their lives on involve an interaction with god that not just uses him as a "first cause" but as a reoccurring master-type figure who is more jealous than all of my ex girlfriends combined. Maybe god was a first cause, we don't know.... but that's not a reason to starve yourself on yom kippur or to spend every day praying towards the direction of the western wall.

 

And you can use the circumcision argument! Ultra-orthodox Jews see it as a custom for the mohel (guy who cuts the penis) to use his mouth to suck a drop of the baby's blood from the penis after the cut is made. I vomited when I heard this and immediately called my father to ask if that happened to me. He told me it was beautiful custom and while he doesn't remember, I should not worry because it's part of our culture. Gross. My mom told me not to worry though, she would not let any old man's mouth near my penis (love her).

You know, this is where I see a huge flaw in ever engaging theistic mythology at all. Whether you are talking about Islam, Christianity, or Judaism, it all boils down to a branch of the cult of Yahweh. The angle I stick to religiously (pun intended) is how anyone ever came to the conclusion that some mythological being actually existed. This works for Xenu as well, just in case you run across a Scientologist.

I've recently made a commitment to stop giving them quarter in arguing the abstract concept of 'god'. All of these cults are based on the premise that a particular being exists, and none of them as any more proof than the other. The nature of their deities as narrated in their mythology is irrelevant - they are all just mythological/fictional characters that do not actually exist.

The very nature of the unfalsifiable definitions of their deities precludes any rational assertion that one of these beings actually exists and the others do not. Until any one of them can rectify that by providing proof, they are all equally fictitious.

Try to have them reconcile predestination with free will. When they have botched that, move on to how predestination negates the concept of risk, by asking them if they drove there with their eyes closed.

And it's OK to be a Jewish apologists. If nothing else, they are the ethnic group which has by far contributed the most to science and understanding. As atheists, we should thank them for that.

I think people don't speak of Judaism because of fear of sounding antisemitic, but if we criticise abrahamistic religions as a whole we can get away with it.

"like the other two, indoctrination of children begins immediately."

That's excellent Robert. Get 'em processed asap in case they start thinking for themselves. Just keep churning them out. I read it with the "Austrian Professor" accent. lol.

I would not have enough info to contribute here other than saying that all 3 are basically variations of the Abrahamic faith. Maybe 3 shades of the same color. I just dismiss them all equally.
 THe Hitchen debate is very good. He wins. (as usual).

understanding Judaism is very very important.

Before I became an atheist I was a very lost skeptic.. I read about Shimon bar Yochai :) I was crazy to reading and compareing the prophecies of all the three terrible delusions,Judaism Christianity and Islam..Then I relieved after knewing that Judaism a pagan concept, ot to mention Christianity and Islam..were pagan concepts as well.

 

I have to say, that understanding the Old Testament helped me to become atheist..really!

I was happy to find out that the Lord Yahweh,Allah :-) had a wife named Asherah!

I thought it was Asherah

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asherah#Biblical_sources

 

Although there were a lot of variations in the names of the ancient Semitic pantheon.

Sorry, Asherah yeah.

yeah, you're right.. a lot of variations in the names!

WOW didn't know that, amazing
Clearly your research was one sided...
Well, it's difficult to do any research into the early history of the cult of Yahweh without finding the connections to the Semitic pantheon so I can only assume your research was never started.

Historians have done a great job by researching on this issue..

If there were no Judaism, then it will be no  Christianity and no Islam, they are all related to each other by prophecies.

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