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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:05 pm
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What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:48 am
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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[Replying to post 1 by Willum]

First, I'll reiterate something I've said here many times: A question that cannot be verifiably answered is of no importance. "Is there a God?" is such a question. For roughly 4,000 years, no one has ever been able to answer that question, and prove their answer beyond doubt. In practical terms, it seems clear that it doesn't matter.

Second, in the Jewish religion, belief has never been the point. In the famous words of the great rabbi Hillel, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Now go and study." What one believes is up to the individual and is essentially trivial. What one DOES is the focus of the Jewish religion.

We have no specific teachings about an "afterlife"; we have no specific teachings about "the nature of God." Indeed, the rabbis of old regarded attempts to define God as idolatry of a sort; creating a mental image or mental construct of God, then worshipping that image as God -- well, no, that's NOT OK. We are to concern ourselves with OUR job, in THIS world, in THIS life. God can take care of Himself.

Personally, I feel free to "define" God in any way I choose, depending on my mood or need at the time -- always bearing in mind that those conceptions are provisional, without authority or objective "correctness." If I wish to speak to God as a personal, loving Heavenly Father, I'll do that, without apology; if I wish to conceive of God as "Intelligence Itself," or "that which makes the Universe make sense," then I will do that. If I need to define God as an "impersonal Force" of some kind, I'll feel free to do that too. I have no confidence that any of these ideas are "objectively true," whatever that means in this context, and I need none.

Most of our popular conceptions of God are mere myth and historical tradition anyway; nothing wrong with that -- we have those in every aspect of our lives and take them for granted ("Luck," "Fate," etc.). "God language" -- the stories in the Hebrew Bible -- are acknowledged by most modern Jews to be myth, metaphor, borrowings from other ancient traditions, or teaching stories, and that there's nothing wrong with any of that. The MEANING of the Torah is and always has been determined by HUMAN REASON and DEBATE, in every generation. One can see that in the Talmud if one knows where to look.

If it were DEFINITIVELY and OBJECTIVELY PROVEN tomorrow that there is no God -- and how that could be done, I can't imagine -- I'd remain a Jew. Part of a community, a tradition, with an heritage and a body of literature and thought that has been around for quite literally thousands of years and proven itself in many ways. Many nations, empires, and civilizations, all much larger and more powerful than we, have tried to exterminate us. They're gone. We're still here. How many Pharaonic Egyptians, Imperial Romans, Assyrians or Babylonians do you know? Whatever the fantasies of some rightwing bigoted nut jobs, the Third Reich is DEAD. It murdered a third of our people worldwide, along with millions more -- and now there are monuments to those dead in Germany while open allegiance to Naziism is ILLEGAL.

For the record, I regard it as impossible to prove that there IS a God, too. Any huge, worldwide miracle could be a mere prank pulled off by a superior alien civilization with a warped sense of humor. That question will NEVER be answered, and so it remains OF NO IMPORTANCE.

We have to figure out all this stuff for ourselves. That's why we evolved, or if you're of a religious persuasion, why God gave us, FUNCTIONING BRAINS.

Well, most of us, anyway.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:17 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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[Replying to post 2 by cnorman19]

That it can be proven there is no God, Yahweh, Zeus, Amaseteru, etc., is not part of the topic.

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Personally, I feel free to "define" God in any way I choose...

I can not escape the feeling that is what a child does with concepts like this, cowboys and indians, or playing with imaginary friends... simply an adult analogy to the phenomenon.

Certainly, as a gross over-simplification for clarity, if you define God as convenient you certainly should be able to discover if he [the concept] exists.

Judaism has changed quite a bit over the centuries - and there are Gaelics, Africans, Japanese, Babylonian roots easily tract to modern Turkey, despite Muslim influence, Indian or Chinese have the oldest culture period. In fact when you think about it, there are many cultures with longevity. Powerful nations have tried to exterminate all of us. The greatest tragedy is not their failure, as is the case of all we survivors, but success, as in the case of countless Native American peoples, and, now that I think of it, who can say how many Jewish cultures Stalin quenched like a match? along with all the other peoples and cultures, that, sadly, are not around to complain. Unlike the rest of us.

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For the record, I regard it as impossible to prove that there IS a God, too. Any huge, worldwide miracle could be a mere prank pulled off by a superior alien civilization with a warped sense of humor. That question will NEVER be answered, and so it remains OF NO IMPORTANCE.


That is simply defining yourself out of having to accept facts. But again, it is nothing to do with Gods non-existence, but what does it mean, politely, if he does not.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:42 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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Willum wrote:

What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

It loses any religious significance it has.
Regards

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:40 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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Willum wrote:

[Replying to post 2 by cnorman19]

That it can be proven there is no God, Yahweh, Zeus, Amaseteru, etc., is not part of the topic.


Of course it is, as shown in your own remarks, as we will see.

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Quote:
Personally, I feel free to "define" God in any way I choose...

I can not escape the feeling that is what a child does with concepts like this, cowboys and indians, or playing with imaginary friends... simply an adult analogy to the phenomenon.


I cannot escape the feeling that this is a gratuitous insult, calculated to avoid discussion of my actual post.

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Certainly, as a gross over-simplification for clarity, if you define God as convenient...


You will notice that I placed the word "define" in quotation marks. My intent, as was made clear and explicit later in that same sentence but not cherrypicked by you, was that I feel free to think about God in any of the ways I mentioned "while always bearing in mind that those conceptions are provisional, without authority or objective "correctness." You have also conveniently ignored and left unaddressed my PREVIOUS point, which was that "in the Jewish religion, belief has never been the point."

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...you certainly should be able to discover if he [the concept] exists.


There is no question that the concept exists. The concept of flying pigs exists, and so does the concept of pigs which do not fly. One of them is objectively real; the other is not. The point is that that question CANNOT be settled about God, as opposed to whether "the concept of" God exists.

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Judaism has changed quite a bit over the centuries - and there are Gaelics, Africans, Japanese, Babylonian roots easily tract to modern Turkey, despite Muslim influence, Indian or Chinese have the oldest culture period. In fact when you think about it, there are many cultures with longevity. Powerful nations have tried to exterminate all of us. The greatest tragedy is not their failure, as is the case of all we survivors, but success, as in the case of countless Native American peoples, and, now that I think of it, who can say how many Jewish cultures Stalin quenched like a match? along with all the other peoples and cultures, that, sadly, are not around to complain. Unlike the rest of us.


Okaaaay... But all that is a non sequitur, since I never said nor implied that Jewish culture was the oldest, the only one ever victimized by attempted genocide, nor that all varieties of Jewish community or heritage have survived (Polish Jewry, to cite the most obvious example, is virtually extinct today). My POINT was that the culture as a whole is resilient and "tough," so to speak, and WiTHOUT its emphasizing "belief in God" or any other conventionally "theological" concept. I never said nor implied that it was UNIQUELY so.

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Quote:
For the record, I regard it as impossible to prove that there IS a God, too. Any huge, worldwide miracle could be a mere prank pulled off by a superior alien civilization with a warped sense of humor. That question will NEVER be answered, and so it remains OF NO IMPORTANCE.


That is simply defining yourself out of having to accept facts...


And so, as I said, you yourself make it clear that proving God's existence is indeed a part of this topic. As soon as you talk about "having to accept facts," you are DEFINING the existence or nonexistence of God as a matter of FACT -- a definition which entails the necessity of PROOF.

If you can objectively disprove (or prove, for the matter of that) the existence of God or gods, let's see it. And good luck with that; no one has ever done it over the last four or five millennia.

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...But again, it is nothing to do with Gods non-existence, but what does it mean, politely, if he does not.


A curious way of phrasing your argument: How can the question "have nothing to do with God's non-existence" when you are asking "What does it mean if he [God] does not?"

In any case, I answered your question -- "What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?" -- at some length; since "belief in God" has never been the focus of the Jewish religion, God's nonexistence would mean, I say politely, NOTHING.

A salient FACT here is that a large, though indeterminate, percentage of practicing modern Jews are actually agnostics or atheists. I say "indeterminate" because when asked "Do you think there is a personal, supernatural God?" many will answer "I haven't thought about it much." That's on top of the enormous percentage of Jews like myself who say, with perfect rationality and logic, "I don't claim to know, and whether not I "believe" in such a God has no relevance to my life or my practice of Judaism" -- and on top of the 10-15% (or more) who will answer with an unequivocal "No." Source: "Atheist Jews: Judaism Without God" - Huffington Post, 9/23/2011

Edited to add:

This is a pretty good example of why I don't bother to post much here any more. I call it "fake debate" -- supposedly asking a serious question, then distorting and misrepresenting responses to fit with one's own preconceived notions and assumptions. In this case, the assumption that Judaism, since it's defined as a "religion," MUST BE all about "belief" in a supernatural Old Man in the Sky. That kind of belief is acceptable in the Jewish tradition and heritage (we DO believe in this odd concept called "Freedom of Thought," you see), but it has never been REQUIRED or even NORMATIVE. Jewish atheism isn't a new phenomenon by any means. Haven't you people ever heard of Baruch Spinoza?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:38 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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[Replying to post 5 by cnorman19]

Nah.

My reply holds.


Last edited by Willum on Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:41 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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paarsurrey1 wrote:

Willum wrote:

What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

It loses any religious significance it has.
Regards

That is a good observation.
One, obvious in hindsight, is quite profound.

I'll need to think about it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:24 am
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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[Replying to Willum]

So does mine, without a substantive response or counterargument of any kind.

I gather that nothing much has changed around here. Be well, everyone.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:14 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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cnorman19 wrote:

[Replying to Willum]

So does mine, without a substantive response or counterargument of any kind.

I gather that nothing much has changed around here. Be well, everyone.

If only because your counter arguments didn't actually mean anything, twice. If nothing has changed, look to the mirror.
P's statement is engaging, anyway.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:12 pm
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Re: What does it mean to be Jewish if there is no YHVH?

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Willum wrote:

cnorman19 wrote:

[Replying to Willum]

So does mine, without a substantive response or counterargument of any kind.

I gather that nothing much has changed around here. Be well, everyone.

If only because your counter arguments didn't actually mean anything, twice.

Easy to say that. Let's see you prove it.

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