An interesting Anecdote

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cnorman18

An interesting Anecdote

Post #1

Post by cnorman18 »

Night before last, my wife and I had our annual Celebration of Friendship party -- I call it "The Attack of the Giant Party" -- with 100-150 of our friends in and out during the evening for snacks, drinks, and conversation. It takes a lot of preparation -- my wife makes all the food from scratch, while I mostly fetch and carry -- but it's always great fun. Before we were married, I was a bit of a hermit; now I have more friends at once than I have ever had, all put together, over the course of my whole life.

I'd estimate that half of the people who came were Jewish. One was a young woman (well, younger than us; 30 or so) who sits with us every Friday night at services. My wife calls her our "Shabbat daughter," and she's become a dear friend. Afterward, the three of us, plus another friend who rarely attends shul, and occasionally another couple or two, all go out to dinner for conversation and good food.

During the course of the evening (at the party), in the context of another religious/ethical discussion, this young woman casually remarked, "I'm not sure if there's a God or not. I don't think about it very much." That surprised me, though perhaps it shouldn't have. Even though we have attended services together for more than a year, the subject had never come up. Another Jewish person there, a man, said, with a dismissive wave of the hand, "Yes, neither do I. That's not the point..." And the discussion moved on to other subjects with no further concern with the existence of God. No one seemed particularly interested in pursuing the subject.

I thought that was interesting. I was reminded of an informal survey I took among my friends during the years I was going through the conversion process: I asked my Christian and Jewish friends, "What does it mean to you to be a Christian?" or "...Jewish?" It wasn't long before I was able to predict, with 100% accuracy, not the specific answers, but the KIND of answers I would receive. The Christians, every single time, would begin speaking of what they believed; the Jews would begin speaking of who they were.

Like I keep saying; in the Jewish religion, belief just isn't much of an issue, and God isn't at the center of concern -- where He is an object of concern at all. I can't imagine a remark like my friend's being so casually glossed over in Christian circles. Or perhaps in atheist circles, either.

Just an experience that I thought might be of interest. See, I'm not the only one.

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Jayhawker Soule
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Post #2

Post by Jayhawker Soule »

One can view godliness as the inferred attributes of G-d. Conversely, one can view G-d as the reification of godliness. The effective difference between the two strikes me as irrelevant. "You shall be holy" is a call to a covent with godliness.

cnorman18

Post #3

Post by cnorman18 »

Jayhawker Soule wrote:One can view godliness as the inferred attributes of G-d. Conversely, one can view G-d as the reification of godliness. The effective difference between the two strikes me as irrelevant. "You shall be holy" is a call to a covent with godliness.


I like that. In fact, I like that very much.

I was reflecting the other day, on another forum, about the Jewish view of life after death -- that we have no view on that subject. We say of our dead, "They will live on in our hearts and our memories," with no mention (though no denial) of their living on in any other way. We just don't claim to know.

It occurred to me that perhaps we think of God in the same way, if you see what I mean; He lives in our hearts, and in our (collective) memory -- of His deeds in the past, in our tradition. That's not to say that God no longer exists; we don't say that of our human dead, either. Again -- we don't claim to know. I'll be thinking on that a good deal over Passover, I suspect.

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