If these “Jewish” atheists (“Beyond Belief,” June 9) do not want to believe in God, that is their business. I maintain, however, that they should forfeit their right to call themselves Jews. Just because Mr. Levine is at home with Jewish culture does not make him a Jew.
What makes a Jew a Jew is that he honor the covenant that Abraham made with God at the start of Jewish history. If a Jew does not believe there is a God his end of the contract is null and void, and so is his right to be called a Jew.
If I have a franchise with McDonalds and sell sushi instead of hamburgers, they would pull their name and their logo immediately, and no court would say otherwise. These atheistic “Jews” should drop the name Jew from their so-called movement. It is misrepresentation.
The problem is that they are proselytizing their atheistic “movement” and that makes them dangerous and destructive to Judaism. They seek to weaken it. They lend credence to the old Christian canard about “godless Jews.” Worst of all, they poison the minds of our young people with doubt. “Jews for atheism” is as much a dichotomy as “Jews for Jesus.” The two ideas are incompatible.
Having said all of the above, I will say that there are times when everyone’s faith falters; times when we question, times when we are angry. Those are the times when Rabbi Nathan Lam’s words rise up with their layered meanings “…even if you don’t believe in God, act as if you do.”