Sunday, April 1, 2012

Atheodox Judaism: A "Book-Blog"

Having lived in the Orthodox world for many years, practicing as a religious Jew, learning Torah, and generally enjoying religious life - yet doing so without a belief God or the supernatural, I have often thought about whether we might simply go ahead and "remove" the God concept, like one might take away a set of training wheels, and simply let Judaism ride free, on its own. Would it cease to be Judaism? Would we lose the "glue" that holds Torah and the Jewish people together? Or would we in fact be all the better and stronger for it? Conventional wisdom, at least in the religious community, would argue the former, that it can't be done - and more to the point, it shouldn't be done. Not only is it heresy, not only would it shake people from their observance and cause the Jewish people to erode out of existence, but it would undermine the most central, sacred goal of Judaism - namely, to forge a relationship and connection with God. While I certainly grasp the gravity of this argument, I will attempt here to make a case to the contrary. Whether that case is compelling, readers can be the judge.

My initial idea was to write a book on the subject. However, when I got to thinking about what stores might (or might not) carry a book on "Atheodox Judaism," and what I might do, given my desire for anonymity, in such case as the book caused a stir and there might be a call for me to speak on the subject, and knowing the ill-effects that would have on my state of well-being and enjoyment of life, I decided to "publish" this book in blog-form. Mind you, I have several reservations about the blog medium. I find the "culture" of blogs (and in particular their comments) to all too often be very much wanting in the area of civility, respect and dignity - basic derech eretz. However, I do recognize that comments do much to give "life" to a blog, generating a mechanism for all-important feedback and discussion. For this reason I do plan to moderate comments, and in order to maintain a friendly and open atmosphere, will not post comments which I deem to be mean-spirited or otherwise meant to shame or demean people. Lastly, whereas with a book I can spend a week writing, then put it on the back burner for a month or two and come back to it later, with a successful blog the expectation is that one come out with new material regularly. I wish I could promise to do so, but I can't. So if you wish to follow this book-blog, you may want to subscribe to the blog and be notified at such time as I roll out a new post.

Of course a distinct advantage of a blog over a book is the fact that it is a "live" document, meaning I can go back, correct errors, add or take out material, and even change my mind - based on my own ruminations (which I hope will gain refinement over time) and also on discussion and feedback. The truth is I don't know exactly how this story will end. But I appreciate being able to undertake the journey together.

With that, a hearty welcome to all!

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