by Herb Silverman
I’m not accustomed to being part of the majority in most things, especially religion. One notable exception comes from a recent Harris survey that shows the majority of American Jews do not believe in God. While I’m mildly surprised by such a high percentage, I’m not totally shocked. Throughout my academic career, hardly any Jews I have known believed in God. This, of course, is not a random sample because the percentage of atheists in academe is higher than in the general population, rising to about 93 percent in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.
Gentiles are often surprised to learn that there is no religious belief requirement to be a Jew. Jewish law says I’m a Jew because I was born of a Jewish mother, just like I’m an American because I was born in America. These definitions have nothing to do with beliefs.
While there is considerable diversity within Christianity, most Christians believe there was something very special about Jesus. Some even believe that Jesus is God as the second person in a Holy Trinity. We all can name many well-known Christians like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Mother Teresa, and the Pope. But most well known Jews are atheists: Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Groucho Marx, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman (no relation, unfortunately), and many more. I’m hard-pressed to name even one pious Jew, dead or alive, who is a household name worldwide — except maybe Jesus. And I have my doubts about him.
Continue reading by clicking on the name of the source below.