Cultural Jewish Conversion: A New Old Idea

Steven Cohen and Kerry Olitzky are two great advocates of Jewish inclusion. Now they have come up with an incredibly innovative idea that they’ve written about in the Forward. After noting that many, many people are already affiliating with Jewish communities and even calling themselves Jews without undergoing any kind of religious conversion, they offer this:For those who would prefer not (yet?) to acquire a Jewish religious identity but still want a Jewish social/cultural identity, they c … [Read more...]

De Botton’s Religion For Atheists – A Review

Most humanists and other non-theists share a world view in most respects.  Overblown as it is, the main bone of contention in this community seems to be about how much respect - if any - should be shown for religion’s role in history and society.Alain de Botton is one of those atheists who holds religious culture in high regard.  He has just written a book called Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion in which he suggests that non-believers have most of the same … [Read more...]

How Could God Have Allowed The Holocaust And Other Meaningless Questions

Back in September I wrote a response to Rabbi Alan Lurie’s HuffPost blog about how God is only hiding because we don’t know what to look for.  Lurie is a liberal “non-denominational” rabbi who is actually a very successful businessman and architect.  I am certain he applies sounder thinking to his business interests than to his teaching about God.Last week he took up the topic of “How Could God Have Allowed the Holocaust?”  He began in the expected way: … [Read more...]

Why “Atheist Rabbi”?

In the wake of the attack on my blog, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about how and why I apply the term atheist to my blog and myself.  Atheism is a word that evokes so much emotion, yet carries only the kernel of one idea.  Since I have a few new readers, and no doubt some who are not atheists, I will do my best to explain myself and the reasons I started this blog. … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins Interviews Humanistic Rabbi Tamara Kolton

Once again, thank you to all of you who sent me words of encouragement.  I’m happy that this blog is of interest to so many people.Now back to business!One of the things that I really benefit from as a member of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis is the collegiality of wonderful colleagues like Tamara Kolton, rabbi of the Birmingham Temple in suburban Detroit.  When Prof. Richard Dawkins was on his most recent book tour, he stopped there and, in addition to delivering his lecture, he fo … [Read more...]

The Clergy Project

For a few months now I have been a member of an online group called The Clergy Project.This group was founded by leaders of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.  Its originators included Daniel Dennett, Linda LaScola, Richard Dawkins, Robin Cornwell and Dan Barker.The Clergy Project is a private forum with about 100 members who are either active or former clergy and who have lost any belief in the supernatural.  Many of them come … [Read more...]

Blessed Art Thou, Mr. Deity

I am a long-time fan of the Mr. Deity YouTube series.  If you aren’t familiar with this hysterical creation, here’s a great episode to start with.  It’s called Mr. Deity and the Philosopher. … [Read more...]

Warning! This Religion Will Require A God Upgrade!

Here’s a book review I’ve been working on.  The post is a little longer than usual....Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold has written a book called “The God Upgrade: Finding Your 21st-Century Spirituality in Judaism’s 5,000-Year-Old Tradition.”  Korngold, who is also known as  “The Adventure Rabbi,” puts forth a theology of a non-interventionist God who is basically just an experience, and certainly not a being of any kind.  In this she is typical of many of the liberal rabbis whom I know.  They do not b … [Read more...]

Angry, Angry Atheists

I don’t care if it is on HuffPost, I’m not going to ignore the latest piece by David Wolpe in which he asks the question, “Why are atheists so angry?”  He's prompted to this query because he’s been the object of a considerable amount of derision in the responses to his HuffPost pieces.  (Anyone looking for love on the internet is definitely in the wrong place!)I guess there are a lot of angry atheists out there.  I can certainly be one of them.  My anger is almost always limited to what peopl … [Read more...]

The Afterlife

There’s a new religion debate online featuring Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Bradley Shavit-Artson.  It's framed as a discussion of the afterlife.  I have watched a lot of debates about religion, but this is really one of the best.  This is because what we actually have here are two atheists, Hitchens and Harris, debating two men who don’t have the slightest idea what they really believe in or don’t believe in.In fact, as far as I can tell, the rabbis actually … [Read more...]