Orange Is the New Black nails the atheism of Judaism

OITNB perfectly depicts the value Judaism offers a theistic world


Cindy, in season 3:

I think I found my people
I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray
and if I was bad I’d go to hell, if I was good I’d go to heaven
and if I aksed Jesus he’d forgive me and that was that
and here y’all sayin ain’t no hell, ain’t sure about heaven
and if you do somethin wrong, you got to figure it out yourself
and as far as god is concerned it’s your job to keep aksin questions
and to keep learnin and to keep arguin
it’s like a verb
it’s like you do god


The punchline:


The Jewish “god” isn’t something to believe in.


Judaism is something to do – it’s about grappling with life, with reality, with the nature of existence*.


It’s about this world, and it refutes silly ideas about heaven and hell.
Judaism is all about questioning, skepticism, and debate.
It comes along and pokes holes in claims about magic, anthropomorphic superpowers, and life after death.

*”Reality” and “existence” are common translations of the Hebrew word havaya, a kabbalistic pronunciation of yhvh popular among renewal Jews. This definition of “god” fits nicely with my atheist Jewish philosophy – as an atheist, what I seek (i.e., my “god”) is reality. I seek to know reality and the true nature of my existence as best I can.

I love thinking of “god” as “that which we seek” – elohaynoo – the object of our seeking. Whatever we seek, that is our god. If we seek material wealth, we are idolizing material wealth. If we seek power or fame, we are idolizing them. God is simply the object of our seeking, whatever we seek, and I seek to know reality (even though that’s not totally possible… a girl can try!)

Traditional concepts of god take me further from understanding the reality of this world and the nature of our circumstances here, but if I seek the truth and am loyal to it even when it’s not what I want it to be, I am practicing a Judaism that’s aligned with original Judaism.

Judaism began with Avram rejecting the gods of his father.

Every generation that questions the gods of its parents fulfills that legacy.


Got something to add, a question, or constructive  criticism? Leave it in the comments below. Love notes allowed too 🙂 

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