One of the common responses I get to posts about theopolitical conservatives is that I am advocating atheism or calling for the destruction of ‘religion.’* This is absurd, as I am one of the defenders of some religions (though not all of them obviously). This is often accompanied by complaints of ‘why don’t you criticize Dawkins for saying mean things about religion?’ First of all, there is a difference in kind in using harsh language when criticizing a particular theology or supernaturalism as a belief or idea system versus using eliminationist rhetoric against those who wish to use governmental power to force others to abide by their particular sectarian dogma. Also, I have a limited amount of time to blog, and other things interest me. But that’s not really why I don’t write about the ‘God controversy’ much. Here’s why:
It bores me.
ScienceBlogling Jason, in a funny post, explains why. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first I want to share a really funny part of the post:
I love knowing that the proper condiment for a sandwich is not mayonnaise, a vile concoction whose sole legitimate purpose is providing the mortar for holding together a tuna salad sandwich, but mustard. And not just any mustard. Not that neon yellow glow-in-the-dark soulless French’s crap or that vinegar with yellow food coloring put out by Heinz. I’m talking about a proper deli mustard. The kind with brown specks that comes in a small metal container whose lid flips up with gentle pressure from your thumb and has a small groove in it so that it rests flat even when there is a serving spoon stuck in the mustard. The kind that has a dish of sour pickles, pickled tomatoes, and cherry peppers next to it, so that the smell of salt, vinegar and spices mixes seductively with the big pile of fatty meat on the plate in front of you, and that also has a few half-sour pickles that you must never eat, unless you want everyone around you to know that you are a weak-willed gentile pussy. And I love the fact that every Jew reading this knows the emotions I am describing right now, while most of you non-Jews think that I’m off my meds.
Heh. Ok, back to the God stuff:
It’s not all good news, of course. Did God really make a covenant with us whereby we agreed to live by certain implausible laws in return for being given the land of Israel? Of course not. That idea is silly. But for all of the dubious claims of the Torah, the fact remains that Judaism is almost exclusively focused on this world and not the next. We don’t talk much about souls, or the afterlife, or our personal walk with God. Instead we talk about following the law, being part of the community, and getting non-Jews to leave us alone. I like that.
While I don’t agree with everything in Jason’s post–two Jews simply can’t agree on everything, this point is dead on. As I put it in one post:
My responses are why most atheist critiques don’t hit home for me. The majority of atheist objections really have little to do with how I live my life as a Jew.
And while you’re checking out that post, read the comments; there was a lot of good stuff in there and it was civil.
*Like secular ideologies, some religions (note the plural) are on the whole good, bad, or whatEVAH! If you’re bothered by supernaturalist explanations for material phenomena, well, so am I. So are quite a few religious people.
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