From the comments:
“@ AW - Jewbashing is ugly. please stop. It does not make you a better person. In fact belittleing (sic) any culture that you obviously don't understand only reflects bad upon yourself. Sit with a rabbi someday and ask him some of your questions. I think you'll be very suprised (sic) to know what he will respond.”
I have been called many things in my life, being called a Jewbasher is an absolute first. I am, in fact, an ex-Jew! I still value a culture that can produce both Einstein and Jack Black and respect the culture. I just don’t dig Yahweh and find the religion absolutely repulsive. Almost every Jew I’ve ever met has not read the OT and have been spoon fed the nice parts of the story while skipping past the ugly. However, I feel like I’m starting in the middle of a story, so let’s step back a little.
In the beginning… Two Brooklyn Jews married and had two children. The youngest they named Wager. They looked upon their creation and said that it was good. They moved to Arizona when Wager was four years old. Being Brooklyn Jews, they spent most of their lives around other Jews. Occasionally in NYC, they may have been the minority, but it was rare. The schools on the East Coast actually shut down for Yom Kippur and other Jewish Holy Days. In Arizona… not so much.
The Brooklynites did not do much to bring Wager into the Jewish religion. Wager was circumcised in a hospital on his third day, not be a Moyle on the tenth as tradition dictates. Hanukkah was celebrated but Sabbath candles were never lit. The female Brooklynite would occasionally say stuff that started with “Jews believe…” but she never had a Bat Mitzvah and is very ignorant of the actually Torah. The male Brooklynite was very wise in the ways of the Jewish religion and did not think it was worth passing on to his descendents. To this day, he classifies himself as “agnostic”.
Wager has never, ever admitted this to anyone before (not even his wife), but when he was four and a half, he actually believed he was speaking to God and Jesus on a regular basis. Shortly after a memorable airplane ride, little Wager learned that he could open up tubes inside his head to relieve the pressure on his ears. Whenever, Wager did this, a deep bass humming sound was heard within his head. At first, it seemed like a neat little trick but soon he was doing it frequently. Somehow, Wager was convinced that when he heard that deep noise inside his head, he was talking to God and Jesus.
One day, Wager told a friend that he talked to Jesus. His friend responded with a simple, “Jews don’t believe in Jesus.”
Wager was very puzzled so he asked the Brooklynites. The male Brooklynite stated that Jews believe that Jesus was a man who may have said some very interesting things, but was still just a man like the rest of us. From that day forward, Wager never talked to God again and acknowledged that the noises he was hearing was a direct result of him opening the tubes that connected his throat to his ears.
Years passed and there was no religious indoctrination. Wager’s sister passed her thirteenth birthday without a Bat Mitzvah. Then, one day, Wager was about ten years old and was at a street fair when he passed a person preaching. It was real fire and brimstone type stuff and the man was very passionate about the notion of salvation and avoiding hell. Wager had no idea what the man was talking about, but he was scared because he knew that he was not saved. Wager went unto the Brooklynites and declared that he needed to learn about God. The Brooklynites were overjoyed and enrolled him in the nearest temple.
At this point, Wager was a year behind in the process to become a Bar Mitzvah (son of the commandment). However, he was determined. Wager spent the entire first year learning how to read Hebrew and by the end of the year, he was able to read and write. Wager didn’t think the first year about what any of it meant, he merely went to temple as instructed and learned as he was told. Learning to read a new language was hard enough so there was no time to challenge the status quo.
By the second year, Wager was comfortable with the ritual of being a Jew and could read the Hebrew language but was unsatisfied when it came to what it MEANT to be a Jew. None of this was taught at his temple. Wager started to refer to it as a “Bar Mitzvah factory” and believed that he was acting like a trained monkey. He found it ironic that so much emphasis was being placed on learning how to read Hebrew so he could have a Bar Mitzvah in front of his friends and family who DIDN’T SPEAK A WORD OF HEBREW. It all seemed so pointless. By the end of year two, he felt that he was no closer to God.
As his Bar Mitzvah approached, Wager sincerely believed that there was no God. However, by now it was too late. Plans had been made, airfare had been purchased, a photographer hired, etc. Wager and the Brooklynites came to an agreement that he would have his Bar Mitzvah and then he would be free not to go to temple again. So Wager dutifully performed in front of his friends and family, made $2k, and never set foot in a temple again.
By the time Wager was sixteen, he was out of the closet and open about being an atheist. Numerous students tried to save him by taking him to a Bible study or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or whatever. All to no avail. One of Wager’s most respected friends at one point even invoked a form of Pascal’s Wager on him where he said unto Wager, “Wager – thou dost not partake in any activity that would be offensive to thine God. Thou dost not drink nor act in a promiscuous fashion. Since thou wouldst not need to change thine behavior in any way, why dost thou not start believing in God, you know – just in case?”
Wager stood fast in his beliefs and received the nickname “the benevolent atheist”. Since Wager liked the name “benevolent atheist” much more than his previous handle, “the six foot Jew” (Wager is 6’4”), he made sure that it stuck.
More time passed and Wager had met Mrs. Wager. They knew each other (chuckle) and a Baby Wager came along. Wager started thinking very long and very hard about how he would raise his infant son so as to avoid all the confusion that he had to go through. He thought long and hard about it.
One day, Wager got bored and put together a little essay. He looked it and said that it was decidedly mediocre but posted it on a blog anyway. A few weeks passed by and Paul accused him of being an anti-Semite and Wager found this hilarious.
Anyway, that’s my – I mean Wager’s story. I just wanted to clear up that I’m not anti-Jew specifically. I am anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-Muslim as I find all such Abrahamic faiths equally worthless.