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ATHEISM AMONG THE JEWS
(Deadly Depictions of God)
By Robert Wurtz II
I was recently troubled by an article that brought to my attention the high overall percentage of atheism among the Jews. As a result, I did some digging and found that the statistics are quite alarming. Based upon 2001 statistics compiled in the AJIS REPORT (see footnotes) 17% of the core Jewish Adult population holds beliefs that would be deemed as either atheist or agnostic. Even among those who considered themselves Jewish by Religion the statistics were 14%. According to the AJIS report this is 14 to 17 times the number found among the American non-Jewish adults. Though other statistical sources agree with these numbers- the more liberal estimates for the total percentage of atheists and agnostics compiled by the Barna Group for America places the total number at 8%. Either way we are looking conservatively at a difference of at least double the national average.
Is Jewish History a Testimony to the Absence of God?
In doing research into this matter I found a most disturbing question coming from certain Jews, Can I be a Jew and an atheist at the same time? One particular Jewish writer placed himself in two separate categories of atheism (Marxist and Rationalist). The Marxist portion for me was a bit tough to swallow, but the rationalist element came as no surprise simply because of the extreme amount of secular education that the average Jew is exposed to. But this begs the question, Is Jewish history a testimony to the absence of God? This for me is impossible due to the survivability of the Jews in terms of their existence, culture, and identity. A host of other reasons could be named also. But for this young man, he could not see Gods providence due to the overwhelming amounts of suffering that the Jews have suffered over the centuries.
Can Atheism Be Borne from Adversity?
Some atheists are known as neurotic atheists. That is, something has happened in their life to cause them to think it is impossible that there could be a God. This can happen when someone in the Church who is supposed to be emulating God, for example, abuses a child, and the child is not of an age of understanding. The child grows up having a stigmatized reality of God. This is why Jesus said that it would be better for a millstone to be put around the neck of the offender and they were drown in the depth of the sea than to offend the least of these. Children at a young age are having their ideas of God shaped into whom they believe Him to be- and that conception is often far from the reality.
Rabbis of the Synagogues and Priests of the Universal Church
If there is one thing that men lust for it is POWER and AUTHORITY. More than goods or money, more than anything. This lust for power is rooted in pride. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. This is the opposite of meekness and is the quality of the Devil himself. The Rabbis struggled in the years just beyond the Academy at Yavneh to seize all authority over the Jewish sects and eliminate them one by one until all were under their supreme authority. They used the Roman government to accomplish this. Having seized all authority, including that with which to interpret dreams, give prophesies, or even overrule a bath kol (audible voice from Heaven); the Rabbis were in the drivers seat of all that the Jews would learn and believe about the One True God all the days of the peoples lives.
The priests of the Universal Church and the higher leadership also utilized this tactic- only in a much more merciless and forceful fashion. The Iron Fist of the Papal authority left the Word of God locked up in the dead language of Latin until darkness spread over the earth like a plague. Their pride and arrogance eclipsed the Glory of God until multiplied millions died without any real knowledge of God. They had all but made the swords drunk on the blood of their opponents. And the fires that would burn the reformers are a testament to the madness of mens lust to retain their control over people.
Modern Leaders in the Kingdom of God
In our generation we are heading for a similar plight of those who have gone before us. A generation that is hungry for money and praise has all but locked God out of His own house. Christ is standing at the door and knocking in this generation that is manufacturing atheists like never before.
This apostasy is not new. God dealt with it in Jeremiahs day. Here we read, My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, to hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13) Daniel Gruber in his article, Whatever happened to the Kingdom of God describes this condition. Here we read, The fountain of living water is an inexhaustible, fresh supply of life. It cannot be contained in the forms men make. It will not submit to the authority of the keepers of the cisterns. It will not reside in their broken cisterns. God is the fountain of living water, not a finite, captured supply. He wants people to drink directly from Him, not from the residue in man-made forms. The man-made forms enable people to live a religious life without God. That is their great evil. The Scriptures establish, for the individual, family, community, and world proper values and standards, permitted and prohibited behavior, justice and injustice, individual and community welfare, the proper and improper use of authority and power, the rights and responsibilities of wealth and property, and the proper training of future generations. In sum, they teach the correct purpose and course of human existence. What can men pretend to add? (End of quote)
Provoking The Jews To Jealousy
My heart is torn for the nation to who are the covenants, promises, and the word of God. That nation that God the GOD IF ISRAEL planted and kept for Himself as a witness to all nations in the earth has for the most part forgotten Him and we as the Gentiles have failed to provoke them to return to their God. The Rabbis may shut down a bath kol, they may reserve the right to interpret dreams, they may even put to silence the words of a modern day prophet, but how could they vail the glory in the lives of the true Church? Would to God that we once again would walk in that glory- and perchance enlighten the conscience of many. Who will walk in that Divine favor? Who will walk in the fullness of Christ? Art Katz expands on these thoughts in his article Some Thoughts on Romans 10; here we read, Israel unbeknownst to themselves waits upon such "sent" ones; but what do the sent ones themselves wait? Nothing less than that which constitutes apostolic sending, namely an expression of the body constitutive of that reality as typified by Antioch in the first instance of such a sending in Acts 13. Here again, in the mystery of God, the issue of Israel's restoration is the issue of the Church, but Church of an ultimate kind. Until such preaching comes, until such preachers can be sent, how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard and how shall they call except they believe? And what are the eschatological implications if they don't?
About 14 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Jewish by Religion could be classified as atheists or agnostics. Among those who indicated Jewish parentage and/or upbringing, but who profess no religion, about 26 percent can be characterized as atheist or agnostic. In other words, about 623,000 adults out of a total of the approximately 4 million who comprise what has been called the core Jewish adult population (about 17 percent) hold beliefs that can be described as atheist or agnostic- those who might be described as the hard-core seculars. Such a state of non-belief is found in about 1 percent of all American non-Jewish adults.
It is further instructive to note that a substantial minority of those who profess a belief in
God nevertheless do not believe that God performs miracles or that God helps them. About 30 percent of those who identify their religion as Judaism and profess a belief in God disagree somewhat or strongly with the proposition that God helps me. Among those who are of Jewish parentage or upbringing but say they have no religion - though they profess a belief in God - about 47 percent disagree somewhat or strongly with the proposition
AJIS REPORT (Egon Mayer, Barry Kosmin, Ariela Keysar. Center For Jewish Studies 2001 American Jewish Identity Survey P. 38)
Rabbi Akibas Messiah (The Origins of Rabbinic Authority) Daniel Gruber. Elijah Publishers 1999