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).
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.
"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
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!
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.