Editor's note: Laurel Snyder is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a poet and author of many books for children. Follow her on Twitter at @laurelsnyder.
By Laurel Snyder, Special to CNN
(CNN) – A few years ago I was invited to my local Jewish Community Center to do a reading of my picture book “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was going to be a child-friendly event, so I took my kids along.
Now, “Baxter” isn’t really a book about being kosher. It’s about wanting to be accepted into a community. But I always like to make sure my listeners know what the word kosher means before I read it, since the joke at the center of the book depends on that. So as usual I asked the Jewish Community Center crowd if they could define the word.
Before anyone else could answer, my own son Mose, who was 5 at the time, jumped up and shouted out, “I know! I know! Kosher is us! We’re kosher!” Then he sat back down again, beaming proudly.
And I might have been proud too. Only, you see, we’re not kosher.
On the drive home I tried to figure out what to say to Mose about his mix-up. I wanted him to know what it means to be kosher, to live by a rigid religious dietary code, day in and day out. But I also needed him to understand that we’re not.
How could I show respect for this part of our Jewish tradition while also suggesting that it doesn’t seem relevant in our own household? Should I just blame it on my own parents, who didn’t raise me that way?
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
It’s not easy to explain something to a kid when you haven’t yet figured it out for yourself. One of the most helpful/terrible things about having children is that they require us to think things out explicitly. That often means they make us face the very things we’ve been avoiding.
Sometimes, as a result, kids challenge us to become more mindful or observant. I hadn’t been a member of a synagogue for years when I became a mom. I hadn’t hosted a Passover Seder or found the time to light Shabbat candles.
Even though I worked for a Jewish agency and wrote about religion professionally, when it came to my home life I was almost completely unobservant. Judaism was something I thought about more intellectually than personally. Religion was an interesting idea more than a belief system.
Now I light candles each week and say the blessings. I belong to a havurah – a cohort of local Jewish friends who get together for monthly potluck dinners – and also a synagogue.
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Because there’s something about having kids that makes me want to be a better version of my Jewish self. I want something special to pass on to them. Something more than “You’re Jewish because I’m Jewish.”
But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes my kids help me recognize the limits of my faith.
In truth, I do not keep kosher and I don’t really want to. My husband is not Jewish, though we’re raising our family to be. So, yeah, we eat tacos for Shabbat dinner most weeks and usually skip Friday night services.
This is the truth and I have to own it. I can only shift my life around so much without feeling inauthentic. Lying to my kids about my religious life is no way to model the value of faith.
So when, after the “Baxter”/kosher fiasco, I set out to write my new picture book, “Good night, laila tov” (laila tov means “good night” in Hebrew), I wanted to paint an honest portrait of my largely secular household.
I wanted my kids to recognize the family in my story as Jewish, but also as, well, like us. Which is to say, not exactly kosher.
On some level I was reacting to the fact that most of the Jewish picture books in my home feel like they’re about someone else. They’re usually set in a Polish village a century ago, or on the Lower East Side of New York City, where mothers cook and fathers pray.
I wanted “Good night, laila tov” to be a sort of lowest common denominator. Contemporary and universal. It’s not about Jewish history, and it doesn’t have a single rabbi in it. It won’t teach you new Hebrew words or show you how to say a certain prayer.
It’s just a story about a Jewish American family going camping, experiencing nature, love, work and rest. In writing it I hoped to capture something typical, something natural, something simple.
And it does present, to my mind, Jewish values: Nature is spiritual, and takes us beyond ourselves. Time spent with family is sacred.
The family in the book plants trees and picks up their campsite, because caring for the earth is part of Judaism, I think. Along with caring for each other.
But as I wrote, I found myself a little afraid that, in attempting to write a picture book for everyone, I was letting the Jewish particularity go. Aren’t family nature, and environmentalism tenets of faith beyond the Jewish world, in every religion?
What did it say about me, my choices, my household, that the Jewish life I was choosing to depict looked like it could be any household at all?
Then I come back around to that moment with Mose, that moment of realizing I’d somehow misled him. Because whatever I’m unsure of, whatever I don’t know about faith, I do know this: if it isn’t honest, it doesn’t count.
The purpose of faith, as I understand it, is to infuse life with greater meaning. To make it more real. Not to dress it up. Not to pretend.
My kids and I are on a journey together. We’re setting out for parts unknown.
And while we may find ourselves changing as we trek along, there is a sacred quality in simply being who we are today. Of stopping on the trail and taking a deep breath. It’s enough, I think, to be exactly who we are, kosher or not.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laurel Snyder.
It is a shame that you don't try something like Aish HaTorah, Discovery or Arachim, even a 1 or 2 day seminar that they give to help you learn about real Judaism. The information they provide might help you decide whether to raise your kids not too religiously or more than that.
I am sure the author thinks she is being responsible and thoughtful about her faith and what she wants to impart to her children. But when it comes to bronze age dogma, there really is no 'compromise' level. Its like wanting to raise your kids 'delusional' but not 'too delusional'. Once you start teaching a belief system and worldview that has no more evidence for its validity than there is for alien abduction, or magic unicorns you are in real trouble. Inevitably you are confronted with the fact that the scriptures are full of violence, internal contradictions, and completely fail the test for historical plausibility. Yet this is what you are going to teach your children. You just hope they learn to ignore all of the stuff that you do. But that is what you are hoping for. That they only take it seriously when it makes them feel special and ignore the large amount of it that tells you it is ok to treat 'out groups' with complete hostility. Perhaps you should teach them about the Enlightenment, humanism and characters like Thomas Jefferson rather than Joshua.
Well expressed. I'm all for passing on the cultural aspects of one's religious ancestry if it's important to the individual. But the "make-believe" should be left to the history books.
What exactly do you think the dogma is that the author is teaching her child? I think you are confusing Judaism for some other religion because most types of Judaism don't have dogma. I'm Jewish and we are not teaching my child a single shred of dogma. And he and I are agnostic. But we are very much Jews. Don't believe the bible was literal truth and find parts of it really disturbing. Still Jewish. Sounds as though you do not know much about Judaism and are talking about Christianity perhaps.
I so appreciate what you're doing. I'm an atheist myself, but I know there's a more then reasonable chance if/when I settle down with someone, they will likely be religious. And if/when we have kids, I will not squash any attempt to teach faith by my partner, unless it is dishonest. I think there's a very easy-to-find line between faith and reason, where one can take the community interaction, positive messages and good moral lessons of religion and mix them with a non-theistic tradition of self-improvement, free thought and ever-striving. Much to the chagrin of both extreme atheists and extreme religious (ok, usually extreme Christians here) there IS a middle ground where there's faith and reason. And it's not that hard if you just get past the extremes.
No saintstryfe, there isn't and 'easy to find line' where faith and reason meet. Faith is believing in something for no reason or even in the face of reason and evidence to the contrary. Reason is based on this world, logic and evidence. You do not need faith to believe that love is better than hate, generosity better than avarice. You do need faith to think that you have an eternal soul and that its salvation depends on your ability to believe miracle stories from 2000 yrs ago when we did not know enough about the world not to defecate near our drinking water. All of the 'good things' about faith do not come from faith at all. They come from our common humanity.
@ saintstryfe: I applaud the centrism of your view, but I wonder–if you appreciate facts and reason, isn't the "faith" aspect of religion inherently dishonest?
"Faith" plays a role in all our lives, whether religious, atheist, or agnostic. One has faith in government, faith in the general goodness of man, faith in the safety of foods and medicines... there is much in the world that we do not understand, and much that's too complex for us all to grasp. Science and math are founded on faith ("postulates"). Every once in a while these things turn out not to be true (Copernican revolutions, or in more minor ways), but yet we cannot operate without having faith in some world view. Every scientist has to take a lot on faith because of the specialized nature of science these days... no one can know, test, or even review proofs of everything. And all "reason" is based on postulates which are, at some level, based on faith. So... be careful of how you distinguish religion from reason; "faith" is not a distinction if you look at it in a scientific way.
Sweeping generalizations about religion really do help. Never mind that science was propagated by religion.......i mean, science just didn't advance at all between Jesus' crucifixion (start of Christianity) and the time of Galileo.
Science was actually stifled by the religious people. They believed that the fairy tale of a God was all that was necessary in order to advance as a civilization. Any poor soul (well, I can't say that, because that suggests religious messages) or person who tried to advance science was just killed off.
If you were inflicted with disease then god gave it to you.
For being an evil sinner. Sounds logical.
Hmmm, wait a minute...
For being an evil sinner. Sounds logical.
They are evil because you don't agree with them?
Not exactly what I was thinking. I was finishing VoR's thought.
I don't believe in evil or sinning, so I think I'm being misunderstood. I was concatenating Voice of Reason and my posts to suggest that people in medieval times believed that one might catch disease because they were out of God's favor (sarcastically). I find that antiquated perspective to be ill-informed.
Nobody is evil because I disagree with their views. I can think of many other adjectives, but evil is not one of them...
As a card carrying, capital-A Atheist, I'm in agreement that religion has run its course and should just go away. But I must say that I find the comments by Voice of Reason and Tom Tom Whatever It Is to be quite distasteful. I believe that the non-religious can live virtuous, moral lives and that the moral compass is self-regulated and does not require the framework of religion to function. However, these two posters are not evidence of this.
To Voice of Reason and Tom, etc: if you would like these misguided theists to consider our points of view, you must treat them with respect, however hard that may be. That they are religious does not mean that they are bad people. Would you ever conduct yourself the way you have on this board if you were debating these strangers in person?! I should hope not. I'm glad I surround myself with fellow Atheists whom I can be proud of as good people.
Considering how crass I can (and love to) be, I can't believe I have to admonish some fellow non-believers in a public forum. Please consider how much harm you are doing to our cause.
I have been admonished by a card carrying "capital-A Atheist". I guess I should stop. I'm so sorry. Your virtue has enabled me to see what I am supposed to do. Please forgive me for I know not what I do. Atheists please give me another chance. I will change my ways, I promise!
Who the f*uck do you think you are?
Amen to mature, respectful conversations.
Amen is not a card carrying capital-A Atheist word.
VoR – Guess what "Amen" means? "So be it".
I accept your invitation to have an intelligent conversation below. Looking forward to your replies.
Voice of Reason,
You missed the intentional irony.
VoR – You should do what you wish. I'm only suggesting that IF you're aim is to further our cause, then you might consider your approach. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm nobody special, that's for sure. Just offering some friendly advise to a giant Douch.
You are exactly correct, so be it. You have reared your ugly head of intolerance.
I switched to speaking your language so that you'd understand me. I'm only suggesting you speak their language if you'd like them to understand you.
@I'm only suggesting you speak their language if you'd like them to understand you.
I refuse to speak their language and yours.
Voice of Reason – the irony is that you're the most intolerant one here.
You get what you give!
Touche. I'll give you that one (against religion in general).
Again, I accept your invitation to have an intelligent conversation below. Looking forward to your replies.
PJ – sorry for the distraction! Just trying to do my part to keep things civil.
Prove to me there is a god, it will be then and only then we will be able to have an intelligent conversation.
One last thing for the evening. F*UCK YOU!
Thanks, VoR! Have a great night!
Listen yourself, VoR. I don't have to prove anything to you. Prove to me God *doesn't* exist!
Science flies people to the moon.
Religion flies people into buildings.
God will slaughter your descendents unto the sixth generation for your impudence.
Remember, before he was the warm, fuzzy, pot-smoking guru, he was the tribal war god of nomadic Hebrew psychopaths.
He kicks A$$, and you just made his list. Lightning bolt sold separately.
Godfrey, can clarify which god you are talking about here? Christian god, Jewish god, one many Hindu gods, a Greek god, or one of the innumerable unnamed and named gods from many, many cultures in the history?
Ah, I must not have read clearly before my previous response!!
Oh, I couldn't agree with you more that religion is abused. And, I'm sure there are religionists out there, whose intentions are meant to be good. But, faith is not a virtue. Like I said, it has inflicted attrocities on innocents, and humanity would probably be best served in its absence.
Nail on the head! Thank you!
You know you're really Jewish if your grandchildren are Jewish... if that's important to you, then raise your kids to know it's important they raise their kids Jewish too.
God said his covenant with the Jews is eternal and will never be replaced. The Messiah will do certain things like end all wars and build the third Temple. Jesus did none of the things the Jewish Messiah will do. Claiming God invented a new covenant when he didn't, and humans mistranslating the Torah, won't change that. (Virgin is besulah in Hebrew, but the word in Isaiah is almanah, which means young woman. There goes the whole virgin birth concept.)
Judaism also doesn't demand that you be Jewish to have a place in the World to Come, only that you abide by the seven Noachide laws (they are reasonable – Google it). If you're not born Jewish, don't sweat it. We don't proselytize, and we don't hate you. If you hate us, take a number.
I'm sorry you don't know JESUS very well, or the book of Isaiah: Don't you ever claim someone has slammed Judaism when YOU just did the same thing to CHRISTianity. I have never insulted your faith ...why do you insult mine??? Seems that not all bigots are anti-semitic princess!
Fight, Fight, Fight!
opinionguru, you are choosing to take it as an insult something that is fact. Almanah is young woman in Hebrew. You did pick an apt username, though.
P.S. google Jewish Isaiah. Isaiah (esp. 53) was mistranslated from the original Hebrew to justify the "new covenant". It's not an insult – it's just fact.
I was once told by a rabbi that he was confused as to why and gentile would want to become a jew. He said we have only 7 simple laws to follow, why would we ever want to sign up for over 600 mitzvah. It was such a simple answer and how could one really argue the point.
Alamah actually means widow
Whoops... thanks... almanah is widow... alma is young woman... alma is the word used, as in "a young woman shall conceive, and bear a son..." etc. If it was supposed to mean virgin, the word would be been besula.
as a small correction Almanah means widow an Almah is a young woman.
Well, humberto, it's not as simple as you seem to suggest. First, which "Ten Commandments"? Catholics, Protestants, and Jews all organize the commandments into different lists of ten. (See for yourself.). Secondly, some rabbinic commentators maintain that "the ten" are not commandments alone, but categories of commandments which would thereby incorporate others of the 613. For example, the commandment to observe the Sabbath would include the commandment not to work on the Sabbath. See what I mean?
"The purpose of faith, as I understand it, is to infuse life with greater meaning. To make it more real. Not to dress it up. Not to pretend."
So why would you ever pretend to know things about the the creation of the universe, or pretend to know that there's a particular version of a god that favors your own random heritage and/or geography? I fail to see how having faith in something like that gives life more meaning.
I personally prefer to teach my children to do the right thing so they may live a happy and fulfilling life. I do not want fear or reward to be their moral guide.
What does that have to do with this article? This woman is Jewish and we don't have a fear reward type religion like some Christians do.
But how do you decide what "the right thing" is?
You do realize it's not about doing works, right? It's about recognizing your Creator and wanting to do His will. When you know that God exists, you only want to do that. May you find Him soon.
If you don't know, you are sadly lacking in intelligence, empathy, and common sense.
Beth...the point is, religion is not necessary to raise moral children. And all religion is fear/reward based.
Beth (a reformed Jew) and I (an orthodox jew) can agree on this: Judaism does not have a reward/punishment system. In fact, heaven and hell do not appear even once in the entire five books of moses. Even for orthodox Jews, the Torah is not a "how to get into heaven guide" but a "living on earth for dummies."
Really, what the heck is wrong with you? Are you really that bad-off that you cannot distinguish between right and wrong?
Proud Jewess...if you need a religious text to know the difference between right & wrong, I feel sorry for you.
Atheism has absolutely no coherent, overarching moral base, so for an atheist to act as if they know what "good" or "bad" even mean is to show ultimate arrogance and false superiority. Atheism is basically anarchy, and anarchy can never work. That is why atheists who call themselves "good" are, in truth, merely cherry-picking their values/morals from the values/morals considered by the vast, religious majority of society to be "good".
@Freedom – All babies are born athiests. To teach a child that they will burn forever, if they don't submit, is child abuse. Anarchy may never work, but if you love Theocracy, perhaps the middle east would be a better place for you and your ilk.
The almighty has spoken! By the way, where did we say we were good? We just can tell the difference!
Voice of Reason, how do YOU decide what is right and what is wrong? Do you think stealing is wrong? Do you believe murder is wrong? Why? Do you just "know" they are wrong? If so, how do you know? Does it upset you that God said those things are wrong? Are you going to out and do those things just because God said not to? I'd guess not, but just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean you aren't following His laws for all mankind (not just Jews – google the Noachide laws).
If you would get your head out of god's a.s.s. and understand evolution you would entertain the thought that humankind established a morality long before any of the god BS. Religion robbed what evolution delivered through natural selection and duped the masses into believing a bunch of nonsense.
No child is born atheist, agnostic perhaps, but not atheist. Children are also born not knowing how to take care of themselves, generally, they are born without much knowledge at all. Is that how you define atheism? When I grew up, I put away childish things.
“A little philosophy makes a man an Atheist: a great deal converts him to religion”
― David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
You absolutely must believe that morality came from evolution. Atheism does not allow the freedom to believe otherwise.
Babies are born:
1. Without knowledge of a god(s) = agnostic
2. Without belief in a god(s) = atheistic
They are two different things.
VoR – don't you think it's possible that God created evolution?? You can throw out all the insults you want, but none of us were there – how do you know for sure that evolution *doesn't* describe how God created the world??
"No child is born atheist, agnostic perhaps, but not atheist."
And you know this how?
You claim there is a god? Prove it, then we'll have an intelligent conversation.
Atheist means "godless" or "without God", not "without a -belief- in God". Regardless of how the underlying Greek is to be understood, we use the term differently today (as we do with many such words), and it is most often defined as "a person who denies the existence of God(s)". A child is not born that way. I'm not sure young atheists quite understand the implications of comparing their beliefs to those of an infant.
You are out of your freaking mind!
VoR – you haven't answered my questions. You're just out to insult people. I don't call that intelligent conversation.
No, Voice, that's just the fuse that blew in your own mind because you're beginning to understand the problems inherent in atheism and the reasons that many highly intelligent people have found their way back to religion after unfulfilling philosophical forays into the morass that is atheism.
Freedom: "Atheist means "godless" or "without God", not "without a -belief- in God". Regardless of how the underlying Greek is to be understood, we use the term differently today..."
By "we", you mean Christians (and other god-believers).
Commenter, I pulled that definition from a secular online dictionary, so you're quite wrong. I do, however, know that modern atheists don't like to be put into a box and that they constantly like to redefine what it means to be an atheist. That is due to the anarchy inherent to atheism. They can't even agree on what they mean by the word.
Freedom: "That is due to the anarchy inherent to atheism."
A similar statement could be made for Christians (and other theists) - they are anarchists in relation to reality and they need to reconstruct it to suit their need to live forever.
"VoR – don't you think it's possible that God created evolution?? You can throw out all the insults you want, but none of us were there – how do you know for sure that evolution *doesn't* describe how God created the world??"
Can't speak for VoR, but I'm pretty sure that evolution *does* describe life in the universe. And it's become increasingly clear that science describes how the universe created itself (yes, out of nothing). Evolution is not a rule, or law of the universe. It is simply statistics put into practice. Nothing magical about that.
every time we have an article we are hit with a plethora of ignorance on both sides. and why exactly do people mock these characatures of god that man created, as if god created them? example. many athiests laugh at the concept of god being a "huge bearded white man sitting on a throne in the clouds".. when thats got nothing to do with god. yet theyll use that as a means to not believe in anything remotely close to the concept of god. it boggles my mind. instead of meeting in the middle and investigating with a healthy spirit, its taken to polar extremes and then mocked for being in the extremes. it doesnt make sense to me
Well guess what there Chrissy? god doesn't not make any sense to me.
how can god not make sense to you when you dont know what god is? im not trying to be a jerk but isnt that where you are at?
Because sanity can't meet insanity in the middle. This isn't difficult. It's like trying to convince a teenage girl, she's "kinda pregnant", but not real pregnant.
and im just chris. im a guy
eduardo. its really about semantics. thats all religion is. if someone believes in god but doesnt go to church or preach to other people is he just as religious as the guy who dances with snakes?
how can god not make sense to you when you dont know what god is?
Tell me chris, what is god?
It makes no sense to me that there would be a omniscient, all-powerful being watching every move I make and judging all my actions, yet this supposedly loving being will consign me to eternal hell if I don't believe in him, regardless of the fact he's shown me no evidence he exists or cares about me or the millions of people he supposedly put here, many of whom are starving and dying. I see no reason to worship a merciless tyrant. I see even less reason to believe there is one.
well, in simplest terms god is love. have you ever deeply loved anyone? then you have experienced god
"well, in simplest terms god is love. have you ever deeply loved anyone? then you have experienced god"
Actually chris, that's a chemical reaction.
Yeah, dearie, I have and do. And I don't condemn them to the lake of fire if they aren't begging me for forgiveness for being human and imperfect. Unlike your 'god'. Who apparently cares nothing for the millions of children who starve to death.
chris...non-believers are typically former believers and very familiar with text of that belief. Many non-believers are former pastors or even current pastors. It is in trying to understand or know god and the texts that lead to non-belief.
tom, you are all over the board. do you believe in god? because if you dont then none of what you said is true. god doesnt send anyone to hell because he isnt real. if you WANT to be angry and call god out for these things then you need to step up and believe in god first, then deal with the problems. but regardless, everything you said was made up by some man on planet earth, and you are using it to be angry and shove god away. its illogical. you cant have it both ways. are you a believer or not?
Chris, religion is not just symantics. It has cost many innocent people and animals, their lives. The crusades, witch hunts, etc. are just examples of the horrors it has inflicted on humanity.
voice of reason. a chemical reaction is a byproduct of love. and even in the deepest of scientific circles theyre still not sure. your absolute staunch position on the matter is dogmatic in its approach. science is the art of exploration. we arent 100 percent sure of anything, yet you seem absolutely sure that love doesnt exist. and with the line of thought you are going down, you are reaching into very philosophical extremes. and why are you being condescending and calling me dearie and stuff? im not trying to fight with you. why arent we able to have a normal conversation about this? neither one of us are "all knowing and wise".. it cant be your way or the highway
eduardo, thats just human beings being cowards and evil. they use religion as a backbone to serve their greedy and reckless desires. the same things would go down without religion. and besides, religion has nothing to do with god. in fact, god has nothing in common with religion. if we get into a barfight over two football teams and someone gets stabbed that doesnt mean football is bad.
Chris – god is not love. Loving fathers do not punish their children throughout eternity, for the victimless offense of not believing something. The Xtian god has drowned innocent people in great floods, and killed children, if there wasn't blood on their doorstep. God is not love.
You can shove it up your behind, chris. I don't have any obligation to be polite to you at all, nor do I have any reason to tell you what I believe, and your demands that I do so are disgusting. If you can't figure out my posts, that's YOUR problem. I am not here to lead you around by the hand and explain anything to you.
by the way, why would you say god doesnt care about starving children? if you dont believe in god how could he not care? and if you did believe in god then you would know we are talking about something bigger when it comes to matters of massive suffering and death of innocence. how would you suggest god do something? what would be your suggestion? come down to earth and magically heal and cure all diseases and problems that we caused? force belief upon us like a tyrant?
Right on Chris. I'm a Christian but don't consider myself "religious." Faith and religion are not the same thing. So many "religious" Christians focus too much on things they're supposed to do – which basically means they're just going through the motions. I have a faith in Christ and consider Him my Savior, but I try not to get too tied up in all the religious customs.
Oh, I couldn't agree with you more that religion is abused. And, I'm sure there are religionists out there, whose intentions are meant to be good. But, faith is not a virtue. Like I said, it has inflicted attrocities on innocents, and humanity would probably be best served in its absence.
shove it up my behind? whos asking you to be polite? im only asking you for conversation, but you are regressing further and further into the corner, barking like a scared dog, being defensive and telling me you dont have to be anything for me. such a shame my man. really. how could you ever learn about god when you wont even talk about it to another human being. you arent even a fraction closer to wanting the truth. you are comfortable in your slop as long as you can get away with being however you want to be, and not accountable to anyone or anything. good luck with life. ill think about you from time to time and hope youre doing well..
YES, chris, I would suggest he do EXACTLY that. If your loving, omniscient God cares for the children the likes of you claim he 'sends' here, he'd get his azz here and not allow them to starve to death or die of diseases. If he isn't loving, why should I love him? If he's not omnipotent, why should I worship him?
"voice of reason. a chemical reaction is a byproduct of love"
chris, you cannot "feel" love without the chemical reaction.
eduardo. in order to make a statement like that you would first have to posess a STRONG understanding of the terms punishment and love and death. we throw these terms around and talk about love and punishment and what god does. there are parts in the bible where people ask jesus about the miracle of raising people from the dead. and he basically says thats nothing, the real "meat" of miracles is learning how to love. can you imagine? if someone stepped forward these days and raised someone from the dead the world would pray to him like a god. yet god says thats a magic trick. that the real power is learning about love. something we have all around us yet its as perverse and misunderstood as one could possibly imagine.
Oh, and now you're showing your true self: condescending and not in the slightest caring. You don't want to talk about God, you want to proselytize. You imagine that my lack of slack-jawed awe and belief means I'm not a moral, giving, loving person who contributes to my community, loves my family, makes a difference through my work.
tom. so youd want a god that forces himself upon everyone and removes all freewill from human existence? youd like a god that gives you zero choice about who you pray to, or dont pray to, and steps upon earth to enslave you into praying to him and him only? because thats what you are saying. if god came to earth and did these things, and saved all these people then we would have NO choice but to believe in him as a god. we would have no freewill at all at that point. we could not choose to love him. we would have to. i for one would not want that. its not how things work. children arent suffering because of god. god did not cause any of this. we did.
tom, what set you off? why are you flipping out and calling me a christtard? thats totally giving up. youre calling me names and telling me i dont care about you and dont want to discuss God? where are you getting this from. whats the problem man, what happened? i dont understand where you are coming from or why you are so bitter and destructively angry with me to the point, where if we were standing together id actually be afraid for my life. whats going on there?
I love it when so-called "Christians" like chris assume that those who don't believe are not 'accountable' to anyone and therefore live lives of sloth and debauchery. What utter nonsense! I am happily married, faithful to my spouse, I work hard, I give to charity, I am kind to others. I have never committed any crime or the slightest infraction of the law; I have never injured anyone emotionally on purpose, and when I have given offense, I've apologized and made the situation right. I don't cheat, I don't steal, I've never inflicted an injury on man or beast.
You Christians sicken me with you assumption that I need some celestial babysitter to threaten me into being moral.
You can suck it.
@Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
You go brother! Let's kick some christian a.s.s.!
Yes, chris, that's EXACTLY what I want. If there's some special fairy up there who is all-powerful, let him get himself down here and create the perfect world. Why shouldn't he? Why shouldn't I expect him to? He's the one who made this place. He's the one demanding worship. Why should I have any faith in some absentee landlord who demands I worship him yet shows NO evidence he gives a crap about this earth?
There is no god. It's a myth.
who said you lived like a sloth in a life of debauchery? all i said was you were regressing back into the slop. i meant with the way you were arguing with me. how could i be saying that about your life, i dont even know you. why are you jumping to all these conclusions and then telling me to stick it and stuff? i dont understand why you are so defensive man. did something happen to you along the way to make you so bitter and angry toward people? and by the way, thanks for assuming im a christians and railing me across the board for it. you have totally painted me out to be something and you have no clue who i am or why i talk this way. you really need to reconsider your point of view on a great many things. just realx man, and try to have a good rest of the night. bye
Chris – I don't need a STRONG understanding that the lake of fire fable is meant to punish anyone who doesn't follow this ridicuouls religion. I know all about the "good" book. The way it depicts slavery as acceptable. Jesus also told a woman who was impregnated by a rapist, that she should marry him, and he should pay a fine to her father. This is the Jesus you think is so miraculous? When was the last time you saw someone raised from the dead, or a mountain moved? When was the last time you saw an amputee healed?
I'm not "flipping out", chris. I'm simply fed up with the people like you who get on here and can't accept the fact that their beliefs aren't facts and that there is NO evidence that those who don't see eye to eye with them are going to be cast into the outer darkness. I'm sick and tired of the extremism of the fundamentalists and I have no time for those who think I can't possibly be a good, moral person unless I believe exactly as they do.
I'd rather be 'delusional' and 'stupid' than be a rude, arrogant jerk like the lot of you that comment on articles here.
So go ahead. No one's stopping you.
Do you have anything intelligent to add? If you do then the rudeness would all go away.
Why should I believe that it will go away?
Because you are easily led.
Why do you say that?
Because you said "I'd rather be 'delusional' and 'stupid' than be a rude"
And? I stated a personal preference. How does that logically necessitate that I am easily led by anyone or anything?
If your personal preference is being delusional and stupid instead of being rude, I really think you should take a hammer and hit yourself in the head.
Gee Drock.. get a hold of yourself. Calm down a bit. It's just a message board, where people like to vent, and state their opinion. If it's too hostile for you, don't participate.
Good for you, I guess.
I am calm. Why would you believe otherwise? I made an observation and stated a personal preference. Another observation I have made as a result of the discussion that would ensue is that those who herald themselves as 'reasonable' and 'logical' tend to draw many unwarranted conclusions.
Well, your comment was full of adjectives. It felt like you were really peeved because people are venting.
Love thy neighbor. That's all you need to live by. You don't NEED faith. You don't NEED religion. Having religion can be helpful to those who are spiritually lost and may not be living their life by this simple rule. Bringing kids up to be religious can be helpful to those parents who don't have the time or inclination to teach their kids this simple rule themselves. People can and should use the crutch of religion until they can take ahold of their own spiritual life and become the person they KNOW they should be. You don't need god to exist to know deep down inside the difference between good and evil.
Personally, I was brought up Catholic, but no longer practice it. I teach my son many good lessons from the bible, but we don't attend church. I do not think I have lived a good enough life to get to go to heaven, and I'm running out of time to make up for it. However, I no longer care what happens to my soul... I only care about teaching my son to be the best person he can be.
Adam, I'm sure you believe I will go to hell. But do you think my son will... not being religious?
Your son will go to hell if he doesn't bow down to god.
According to which religion(s)?
Hell does not exist, so no. Even if god was real, I can't imagine the amount of selfishness and hate that "he" would need to send 5 billion of us to hell for not beLIEving. Not a very "loving" father.
voice. so instead of investigating and spending a lifetime learning and seeeking truths, you find the path of least resistance and mock it. "god will send you to hell for not bowing down".. thats not how it works buddy. but if it lets you off the hook just keep blindly following your path
I have spent nearly 3/4 of a century seeking and learning and you know what? There is no god, there will never be a god, it is all a bunch of BS. You are born (not your choice), you live (that's your choice) and then you die (not your choice). That's it brother, nothing more. By the way, this planet and universe is incredible, it's the people that kill the buzz.
religion != morality, good news – you don't need to live a "good enough" life to go to Heaven, so don't worry about not having time left. The idea of Jesus dying on the cross was that he was taking our place. He was our sacrifice to God, and by paying the debt for all of our sins (past, present, and future), acknowledging this gift is all that you need. Sure, "being good" is great and what Jesus tells us. Theoretically, we should be smart enough to follow the advice of the only One good enough to take our place, but that is not what gets you into Heaven. Accept God's gift to us in Jesus and you and your son will be just fine. :)
Ah, but there is absolutely no reason for an atheist to "love his/her neighbor" and nothing to compel them to do so, either. Atheism lacks a coherent moral base and could never stand on its own without religion.
To the author: So we got a whole article from someone who doesn't believe or practice what they want their children to follow? – And this is a good thing? What about the instructions (to the Jews in Dueteronomy) to talk about God with their children, to impress on them God's truth, to bind His words on your forehead and wrists...Either you believe this and do it – or don't. Halfway 'it's nice for the children' is a dangerous copout and does nothing for your children or those of us reading your ramblings.
Sorry, either God is who He says he is, or practicing Jewish traditions is equated with attending your local Sons of Norway lodge..
Isn't raising "not too religious" kids the same thing as raising "not too pregnant" daughters? When it comes to religion, either you're delusional (and therefore one of the faithful) or reality-based (and therefore atheist); there is no in-between.
The religious are a confused lot.
That's the understatement of the year, VoR.
Not really. Judaism doesn't require the belief in god so you can be atheist and Jewish. And there are various types of Judaism. They don't all have the same practices. Many Jews belong to types of Judaism that would say the writer of this article is being very Jewish just because she questions why she does things. There is no requirement in some forms of Judaism to be Kosher. I'm Jewish and I don't keep Kosher. Not important to me. you seem to be taking your ideas of Christianity and putting it on all religions. There is Taoism and Buddhism, no gods in those religions. Things are much more complex than the simple picture you show in your post.
It is a slow process. Ms. Snyder cannot bring herself to let go of a people that have lasted through time, pogroms, Holocausts and even atheists making fun of them on talkbacks. So she does this in between thing. In a generation or two, her offspring will have no connection whatsoever to Judaism. Meanwhile, Judaism will move on. The Jews will continue with their belief system all through eternity while those that choose to leave the fold do so slowly over the course of two or three generations.
...maybe seeking truth – which is no longer a common practice from the looks of things here...
I don't think it is so simplistic as you seem to think, Bisalel, either! My Great, great grandparents were Russian Jews who were not religious and who knows how many generations before them were also not religious. I knew my Great grandfather personally and know he didn't know almost anything about Judaism. But he was a Jew and treated like cr ap by non-Jewish Russians because of it. My parents were not religious. My son goes to Hebrew school but not the type that I feel brainwashes children. Our temple is almost entirely made up of mixed families. I think WE are the future of Judaism. If Judaism is going to survive it is temples like ours and movements like Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism that will continue into the future while Orthodox Judaism will continue to shrink. You can say we are not Jewish and we do not really care. I think the author is displaying the best of being Jewish–critical thinking, questioning why she does things rather than just accepting everything with no questioning (which is very anti-Jewish in my opinion and seems to be what you suggest.)
No, level-headed people are open to a higher power. Atheists and zealots are both nut-jobs past the point of rationale.
Not according to the evidence on this board, dude.
I agree with the first sentence but only if you leave out the second. If she is attempting to raise "good" children who don't actually believe the underlying reasons for their being "good," then it is more along the lines of "not too popular."
beth, i guess we're just going to have to wait two or three generations and see who is right ;)
but seriously, i congratulate you for beating the trend. in truth, you will find that Jews like you are the exception. Most Jews today came from religious grandparents and most from that generation that were not religious are today not Jewish. There are exceptions, of course. I assure you, a much larger percentage of orthodox jewish children will choose to remain jewish than children of the reform/recontructionist. but i wish you good luck trying to keep them in the fold. i hope i am wrong but you think Sir Craig makes a rational point? What do you have to offer? Very little i am afraid.
i think in simplest terms it means not being fanatical. its very very possible to be "not too religious".. praying to god and not dancing with snakes and drinking poison is "not being too religious"
Besalel, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I imagine Jews will continue to survive but be a smaller and smaller % of the population as time goes by. I know I can't be something I am not. I am not ever gong to be Orthodox. That wouldn't be me. I can't believe something I don't. My husband, while not Christian, is not going to be Jewish. My son and I most certainly are. Best wishes to you.
One day, all you atheists and sat.anists will bow before God and His son. May it come sooner for your own soul. God is real, just ask Him with an honest heart.
Go screw yourself with your pen.is
Blah, blah y blah. Prove it's ever happened to ANYONE. Go ahead.
Sure sure. Your own father will be sitting on his death-bed pleading for Jesus to visit this world. You'll see his death (if not already) and you'll be just as stupid in saying that there will be a day when "the Lord" will come again.
You'll teach this fallacy to your kids and so on and on. All of you twits will say the same thing. Guessing 'if' that what you speak and preach will ever come. Funny.
You'll die hating people who reject your stupidity. Because it is stupid.
V o R, I'd agree, but I doubt it has one.
I asked. I got no answer. Absolutely nothing. Now if YOU are getting an answer, see a doctor, you should NOT be hearing voices that aren't there
I too do whole heartedly agree and soulfully agree with you Truth7
Of course you do. You're nuts.
The fact that you want death sooner for those who disagree with you just demonstrates the hypocritical nature of so many Christians. Well done.
I too do whole heartedly agree and soulfully agree with you Truth7"
Hey, maybe you two can share the same pen.is?
Answer – you can't even fathom God and Jesus. I can, because I have the Light within me. I don't hate people, but your comment reveals the extent of darkness and hatred within your soul. God is 100% real and I know that for a FACT. Why do you think I'm telling you to ask Him with an honest heart? Because I DID. HE ANSWERS.
I failed to mention,,, My Mind is made clear and does also agree that God is real!
Aren't you just SPECIAL, Truth7?!
Truth7 and Pipe-Dreamer
I think you two are a match made in heaven for crying out loud!
As in "Special Ed".
Like all quacks that hear the quacking of their quackery! You want those voices in your head to be real – that's your problem.
Observer nailed it squarely.
Observer usually does.
Voice of Reason,,,,,, ,,, ,,, ,.
God loves you He does! He hates what your doing and writing in your posts to those who know Him to be real! From your words comes hatred to those who do believe in God! Let Go Let God!
Truth, do you have any wishes left with your magic genie you found? Maybe Pipe-dreamer does? Please one of yall use a wish to have all of your fellow believers taken to your "heaven" now, and leave the rest of us in peace.
Pipe, pray to God for a brain that's not clouded by weed. Maybe you'll be able to write something that is meaningful.
think for yourself
You come to these boards for peace? No wonder atheists hope for nothing upon death. If these boards without Christians represent peace in your mind you need a sabath rest from God for sure.
Anyone who believes in blaspheming others or making vain attempts to humiliate the Believers in God are as soulless and are mindless creatures of habitualized tendencies
Pray tell, PD, what are "habitualized tendencies"?
I can hardly wait for the answer from PD, especially since "habitualized" isn't a word. Of course, that's true about most of the non-words PD uses in all his posts, so no surprises there.
It's no surprise, either, that PD professes a belief in God, as he appears to be quite insane.
Tom, Tom PD is whacked!
We don't hope that there is nothing after death, we just have the understanding that there is nothing.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
Don't you have anything better to do with your hands? Perhaps wash them? Your filthiness in vain-nesss and highly evolved vanities will most likely follow you to the grave! Let Go Let God!
My hands are immaculate, PD. Why don't you use some bleach on that brain of yours and then attempt to learn to use words that are actually real, instead of pretending you are some sort of idiot-savant?
Yeah, VoR, I know PD is completely crazy. The goofy language, the silly syntax, the ridiculous lack of reason are all part and parcel of somebody who belongs in protective custody.
Think about it
You have an understanding that has no proof whatsoever. This is what you harp on Christians about all day long. No wonder you have no peace, the atheist has no cloths. Christians cover themselves in the blood of Christ while you choose to stand na-ked before God. Your pride is poking through for all to see. You are the one exposing yourself for who you are upon death. We know who we are and we need to be covered up big time because our life has been far from what it should have been! We do not fear death because Jesus covered our sin and we go before a mighty God in Christ. We will not stand before God with our proud peaco-ck feathers in full bloom.
To believe you deserve the same justice as Hitler or a frog based on your show of color is senseless. To base you life on nothing short of pride speaks for itself. How did you miss the voice of the serpent? It was loud and clear. It was a warning from the beginning. Why would you deserve a fairy tale ending where your soul rests peacefully with Mother Teresa?
It's "CLOTHES", fred. Not "cloths".
Sorry, but I have no time for explanations of anything from people like you. Why are you all so ignorant?
Let's hope PD doesn't have any WMD's!
A small thread would sufficient covering for your feathers.
"A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn"
Perhaps I was suggesting think about it is a man of the cloth. Without his cloths he is naked indeed (i.e. what he does)
NO one could be this stupid and remember to breathe, fred. "Cloths" are not "clothes". Get it through your skull.
I don't suffer fools gladly, and I certainly don't rely on them to tell me how to interpret the Bible.
So, you tell me what you heard the serpent say to you when you read the Bible.
Fred, Tom Tom has it right, now go put your clothes on and wait for the serpent to speak.
Did god also say "This is Sunday.. god I'm so tired, I need a rest!"
Let me know what else god said. Your kind are just fascinating at the level of drivel you can dream up.
In God's law, the land must rest during the seventh year. We've just crossed over into the seventh year since Adam and Eve. And to head off your reply, when God arrived on the first day, our world existed, it was in utter darkness and desolation. How long had it been here that way? No idea. Since the land must rest during the seventh year, His return is soon. Look around at the chaos and evil being spread, look at the attack on the western God believing countries..you're participating in the destruction. All foretold.
BWahhhhahhhahaahahha! Sure thing, muttonhead.
Correction..I said seventh day since Adam, I meant since the first day God added His light.
Oh, WELL, then. THAT makes ALL the difference!
case closed, game over?
You must be joking. You supplied nothing that proved anything.
To all the Atheists who think there is no God, all I have to say to you is "The Jewish People"
There, that's your answer, case closed, game over. Learn the history of the Jewish people, that is all the evidence you need, if you reject this evidence then you reject Life, you are living in Denial, you are lying to yourself stop bothering us faithful believers cause you will be cursed by the God of Israel, The ten commandments says all Jews must believe in the God of Abraham so stop trying to make us sin against our God. simple as that.
Here I made it easy for you, everything you need to know is in the video below, there is no coincident and the Jews are Gods Chosen People weather they like it or not, its no longer a choice, it's part of the eternal contract.
What makes this fairy tale any better than the myriad of other fairy tales?
Nothing. It isn't. The only folks who believe otherwise are delusional, stupid, or both.
Nothing that has ever happened can prove something that is, by definition, unable to be proven.
You'd think that these folks are "the original" humans. Pretty funny stuff, actually.
Jews WERE "chosen"... by HITLER... to be gassed... And "god" didn't do ANYTHING to help his "chosen" people. Your "god" if there is one, is a peeping Tom, just likes to watch. A real sicko. He has all that power yet does NOTHING... EVER. What a jerk you pray to
Isn't believing in Jesus and accepting him as your lord and savior the "way" to be saved and given eternal life? If thats the case, Jews will not be getting into Heaven as they do not view him as such. So much for being the "chosen people" when god changes the rules half way through the game
"Isn't believing in Jesus and accepting him as your lord and savior the "way" to be saved and given eternal life? If thats the case, Jews will not be getting into Heaven as they do not view him as such. So much for being the "chosen people" when god changes the rules half way through the game"
Let us not forget that only 144,000 are allowed in heaven.
Voice of unreason – the 144,000 are the elect. They go first and do not face Judgment. Then later, everyone faces judgment.
Well, then! THAT makes PERFECT sense! NOW I see what it's all about! Gosh, my eyes have been opened to the reason for it all!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.