Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Humanistic Judaism: Balancing Continuity with Integrity

I just came across a speech by the late Sherwin Wine, founder of the first Humanistic Jewish Congregation in 1963.

One of his arguments is that many people who belong to theistic religious communities are in fact "secularized" internally, and that this is particularly true of (non-Orthodox) Jews. Humanistic Judaism, then, is an attempt to maintain that secular Jewish culture without having to resort to misdirection, like redefining "God" as "love" or as "nature" or as "the universe." He also points out that a lot of secular people are turned off by the antipathy towards religion that they sense in the humanistic community, which is a result of the large number of people in that community who are there because they were wounded by theistic upbringings.

Anyway, it's worth a watch:

Parts One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

2 comments:

tikkunger said...

You wrote:

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Humanistic Judaism, then, is an attempt to maintain that secular Jewish culture without having to resort to misdirection, like redefining "God" as "love" or as "nature" or as "the universe."
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I for one, do not see it as having anything to do with misdirection.

We evolve individually and collectively and as a result our understanding of Hashem also evolves. It's natural, organic growth!

Comrade Kevin said...

Somewhere in between spiritual certainty and ultimate rationality there is a happy medium, but it's up to the individual to receive.