January 19, 2005

Is Belief in G-d Required

In the previous post I mentioned my unaffiliated friend and his questions about Judaism. One of the more difficult questions he has asked me is this:

Do you have to believe in G-d to be Jewish?

He is not the first person to ask the question, but I still find it to be interesting.

What do you think?


Stx said...


A Jew is a Jew. If you're born Jewish, you ARE Jewish.

Kinda like, do you have been in touch your dad to be his kid? Na. It's kind of a shame, because being his "kid" should be a good enough reason to keep in touch with him.

But either way, he's still your dad.

Koftu said...

As far as I know, you have cited the orthodox perspective on who is Jewish and who is not. As someone who is of patrilineal descent and was consecrated/bar mitzvahed under Reform auspices, I also consider myself Jewish. Unless HaShem, if he/she/it exists, personally contacts me on a line of communication that is faultless, or I have an unlikely change of heart, I don't think I will ever undergo an Orthodox conversion rite. As far as the g-d issue goes. I don't know if you picked it up in the last sentence or not, but I entertain serious doubts about the existence of a god, at least in the traditional form as described in Tanakh. Should I turn atheist, I will still consider myself Jewish. As of right now, I plan on considering myself Jewish until the day I die, despite the above.

Stacey said...

There are some "humanistic" branches of Judaism that believe more in a messianic era than an actual "messiah." I wouldn't presume to say that they are not Jewish because they do not believe in G-d.

Stacey said...

I identified w/your post, Koftu. I could have written it. I was raised Conservative and both of my parents are Jewish, but the stuff you wrote about G-d and your Jewish identity resonates with me.

Jack's Shack said...

If you pull G-d out of Judaism, is there a reason to be Jewish.

Koftu said...

your question is better posed to one of those humanistic congregations, but I definitely think that there is. Even without g-d, the jewish people have plenty to offer civilization and remain a "nation" apart and simultaneously among, as if we haven't already given enough.

Jack's Shack said...


You may be right, I just like asking questions, trying to drill down a little deeper to see what lies beneath.

Stx said...

Yeah, I'm with Jack on this one. What exactly would Judaism be, if G-d was pulled out of the picture? A culture? Sorry, but I thought Judaism was more than just Israeli flags, overachieving moms, and bagels and lox. Stereotypes doth not a Jew make, in my opinion. So then what IS a Jew? I'm not trying to be antagonistic; I'm really trying to understand. What is a Jew?