Why Insist on Non-theism?

Atheists in general get a lot of flack for vocally, or sometimes even just publicly, denying the existence of the god of Islam, Judaism, and/or Christianity. (It should be noted however, despite protestations to the contrary, Christians aren’t monotheists.) This criticism of atheists is somewhat hypocritical for monotheists to make since monotheism is similarly predicated on the denial of the existence of gods other than YHVH/Allah/Jesus. For example, the prophets in the Tanakh rail against the worship of other gods, calling them “false” (non-existent and literally man-made) and impotent. Muhammed made similar claims in the Quran. They even went so far as to mock the people who worship other gods as deluded. (See for example Isaiah 44:9-20)

Humanistic Judaism embraces this Jewish tradition of rejecting idols, false gods, and gods “who do not save” (as Isaiah 45:20 and the Aleinu say). We just go one step further in acknowledging that the god of Jewish tradition is similarly an idol/false god that does not save. In fact, God’s inability (or unwillingness) to save the Jewish people, his alleged chosen people, is our primary reason for rejecting the worship of God and the concept of God altogether. Our central belief is that the lesson of Jewish history and experience is Humanism: i.e. the only power that can “save” humanity is humanity by using reason, experience, science, compassion, empathy, and solidarity.

2 thoughts on “Why Insist on Non-theism?

  1. Christian’s claim to monotheism is one of their biggest hypocrisies. In Catholicism, they have 3 gods in the top job and thousands of demi-gods called saints. In practice, a Catholic saint would be a god in other religions. Presumably, other religions have equivalent inconsistencies. It all seems rather silly to me.


  2. Some biblical scholars believe the old testament was written by polytheists, and that Judaism was not originally monotheistic. I don’t know very much about this but could be an interesting rabbit hole.


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