Category talk:Jewish atheists

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This category is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Judaism (Rated Category-class)
WikiProject icon This category is within the scope of WikiProject Judaism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Judaism-related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Category page Category  This category does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 
WikiProject Jewish history (Rated Category-class)
WikiProject icon This category is within the scope of WikiProject Jewish history, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Jewish history on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Category page Category  This category does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 
WikiProject Atheism (Rated Category-class)
WikiProject icon Jewish atheists is part of WikiProject Atheism, which aims to organize, expand, clean up and guide Wikipedia articles relating to atheism. If you would like to participate, you can edit this article and visit the project page.
Category page Category  This category does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 

atheist?[edit]

i don't have anything against this category, i'm just puzzeld on how are we supposed to peg people down as religious or not. JaakobouChalk Talk 15:58, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Jaakobou - I agree w/ your sentiments Jaakobou. I find this category very dubious. NickCT (talk) 23:51, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
However, that's a problem with all atheism categories, not this one specifically... AnonMoos (talk) 03:25, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Can you point to what you are talking about AnonMoos? There isn't for instance any Category:Christian Atheists. NickCT (talk) 14:50, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
What Jaaccobou said seems to apply to "Category:Atheists" just as much as "Category:Jewish atheists", as far as I can see. As for the reason why there's a Jewish atheist category, as was already briefly explained below, within a number of countries, both historically and currently (including the United States of America and the Soviet Union), the Jewish identity has functioned as an ethnic or national-origin identity similar to other ethnic or national-origin identities, so one encounters such phenomena as militant atheists who are nevertheless proud ethnic Jews, and who would never think of denying their Jewish ethnicity while at the same time they advocate for atheism. For example, the majority of American Jews have ancestors who came from areas now in Germany, Poland, or Ukraine, but they rarely call themselves "German-Americans", "Polish-Americans", or "Ukrainian-Americans" (or are considered to be such by those who identify themselves as German-Americans, Polish Americans, or Ukrainian-Americans), except in the special case of quite recent immigrants. Instead "Jewish American" is perceived to be an ethnic/national identity comparable to "Irish-American" or whatever. By contrast, since there is no Christian ethnicity, "Christian atheist" isn't factually descriptive in the same way... AnonMoos (talk) 04:16, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Hey AnonMoos - Yeah. I appreciate your point. What gets confusing here is that the term "Jewish" is be bandied about to mean both "an adherent of Judiasm" and "someone who is ethnically Jewish". As far as I'm concerned, the primal meaning of the word Jewish is "an adherent of Judiasm" (I believe most dictionaries would back me up on this). Therefore I'd suggest categories like "Jewish atheist" be made disambiguous, by renaming to something like "Atheists of Jewish descent" or "Atheists of Jewish ethnicity" or "Ethnically Jewish Atheists". NickCT (talk) 15:12, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
No, the people in reference are not, "of Jewish descent." They are currently Jewish. Nor are they necessarily, "of Jewish ethnicity." Their religious identity happens to be Jewish, unless a source says otherwise. They may very well be nonobservant Jews, but the religion of Judaism makes no distinction based on whether a person is observant or not. Ditto concerning, "Ethnically Jewish Atheists." This category is not only for "ethnically Jewish atheists," whatever that would be. That is an undefined term. I think you would find few sources describing individuals in precisely that way. I believe this is a category for Jews who don't believe in God, to put it simply. You are suggesting a narrowing down of that scope. Bus stop (talk) 15:54, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
@Bus stop - You are clearly of the opinion that Judiac law determines who is Jewish. Unfortunately on WP that is not the case. NickCT (talk) 17:10, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
NickCT—you say, "You are clearly of the opinion that Judiac law determines who is Jewish. Unfortunately on WP that is not the case." Can you please show me where I have said or implied anything of the sort? We go by reliable sources. Isn't that standard operating procedure? A source says someone is of a certain religious identity—we report that. Whatever the source says, we dutifully report. As long as the source is reliable, we have the green light to include information derived from that source. This is all simple and straightforward as regards article space. The thing with Lists and Categories is we are often trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But still, I think our reliance on sources is paramount. I think the solutions you've suggested above ("Therefore I'd suggest categories like "Jewish atheist" be made disambiguous, by renaming to something like "Atheists of Jewish descent" or "Atheists of Jewish ethnicity" or "Ethnically Jewish Atheists".) would serve to exacerbate the problem of placing people on Lists and into Categories. I think the only proper way of implementing your suggestion would be to create more Lists and more Categories in order to accommodate additional circumstances that apply to individuals. By the way—all individuals can be thought of as unique. These Lists and Categories are, in essence, making generalizations. Only article space is really capable of fleshing out exactly what sort of person we are talking about. Bus stop (talk) 17:58, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Re: "where I have said or implied anything of the sort?" You said: "the religion of Judaism makes no distinction based on whether a person is observant or not", which implies what the religion of Judaism thinks matters.

Re: "We go by reliable sources. " Actually, we don't. Per WP:BLPCAT "Categories regarding religious beliefs and sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question;"

Best, NickCT (talk) 18:51, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

I am only responding to your suggestions, NickCT. You are suggesting renaming Category:Jewish atheists to Category:Atheists of Jewish descent, or Category:Atheists of Jewish ethnicity, or Category:Ethnically Jewish Atheists. Can you explain why these changes are recommended? I am trying to understand that. I am making the assumption, perhaps the misassumption, that you believe incorrectly that someone who is an atheist is no longer a Jew. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Judaism is unlike Christianity in this regard. In Christianity, if you do not believe Jesus is the Savior—you are not a Christian. Beliefs are central to Christianity. Not so in Judaism. Judaism does not require a Jew to believe in God in order to be a Jew. Why you are making up these categories is something I don't understand. It is not impossible that people couldn't fit into these categories. But do we really need more categories in this general area? Were you thinking of simply discarding the category "Jewish atheists"? What if sources precisely said that someone was a "Jewish atheist?" If we didn't have such a category what would we do—put the individual into one of your suggested categories? I think you have to articulate a better argument for the changes you would like to make. You said above that, "As far as I'm concerned, the primal meaning of the word Jewish is "an adherent of Judiasm" (I believe most dictionaries would back me up on this)." I'm not really sure what you mean. Can you explain what an "adherent of Judiasm" would be? In Christianity, an adherent of Christianity would endorse the idea that Jesus is the Messiah and through Jesus we can attain Salvation. But what would be the counterpart of that in Judaism? That is why I am asking you what an adherent of Judaism would be. If you are going to say "belief in God" that would be incorrect. That is because Judaism never articulates that a person must believe in God in order to be a Jew. I am assuming that you are thinking that Judaism has to have counterparts of all aspects of Christianity. But this is clearly not the case. Bottom line: I think we should just go by what sources say, and I think we should keep the number of categories to a minimum. They are never going to be very precise, anyway. They are generalizations and I think their basic purpose is as indications for where a reader may want to go to do further research. But only in article space is it possible to describe precisely what type of individual this is. Bus stop (talk) 20:09, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Dude - Re "Judaism does not require a Jew to believe in God in order to be a Jew" - Apparently you're not getting the point, so let me say this again multiple times and in all caps. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT JUDAISM DOES OR DOES NOT REQUIRE. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT JUDAISM DOES OR DOES NOT REQUIRE. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT JUDAISM DOES OR DOES NOT REQUIRE. All WP is concerned with is self-identification.
Re - "Can you explain what an "adherent of Judiasm" would be?" - Someone who self-identifies as following or practicing what they believe to be the Jewish faith regardless of thier ethnicity.
Re - "Were you thinking of simply discarding the category "Jewish atheists"? " - Yes delete. It's oxymoronic. NickCT (talk) 21:31, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
You say, "All WP is concerned with is self-identification." From where do you derive this? Bus stop (talk) 21:41, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
For the second time - Per WP:BLPCAT "Categories regarding religious beliefs and sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question;". (bolding added) NickCT (talk) 22:50, 22 September 2010 (UTC)


Which is why being a "Jew" does not limit itself to the criteria of a Religion. It's Primal Meaning is a member of the Tribe of Judah [1] Originally, the term Yehudi referred specifically to members of the tribe of Judah. After Israel Split, the term came to refer to citizens of the Kingdom of Judah - Today it means descendants of the citizens of the Kingdom of Judah. It's why I referred to it as an ethnicity but you don't like that definition either. As a Brit could you consider it closer to the concept of a Hereditary Peerage - a status that is bestowed onto you by descent even if you choose not to take up the responsibilities or benefits of the role - comparably being a peer does not prevent you changing nationality just as having the status of Jew does not prevent you from following a religion such as Christianity or even a philosophical position such as Atheism. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 23:19, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
And once again Stuart, the primary meaning of Jewish is "adherent to the Jewish faith". Grab a dictionary, look it up.
Yes it can also mean an ethnicity, but that is a secondary definition. Therefore calling someone Jewish primarily infers they are adherent to Judiasm. If you mean to say someone is only "ethnically Jewish" you really ought to clarify. NickCT (talk) 03:09, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I've been reading this discussion—I don't have a preferred view in this debate, as it were, I mainly just find the different views interesting. But I thought I would take NickCT's suggestion to look up the meaning of "Jewish" in a dictionary. My desk dictionary is a 2006 Oxford paperback. "Jewish" says "adj. of Jews or Judaism." So I looked up "Jew" and it had two definitions. The first was "a person of Hebrew descent". The second was "one whose religion is Judaism". Using only this isolated reference, I would not be able to say which of these is the primary meaning, but it does put the religious one second, not first. Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:01, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Good Ol’factory. Interestingly in another discussion, NickCT previously produced this cite [2] and claimed it backed his position; like your Oxford Paperback it's definition is "of or relating to Jews or their culture or religion" this one would put a religious one third after culture and their definition of Jew is "a person belonging to the worldwide group claiming descent from Jacob (or converted to it) and connected by cultural or religious ties" which they put first. My Hardback Chambers dictionary similarly puts Jewish as relating to the Jews first and defines Jew as someone of Hebrew descent first. I note that Nick is not alone in taking the Religious perspective of "Jewish" as it's primary definition despite the wealth of evidence of it being a much larger and complex categorisation to pin down. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 09:45, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Re Good Ol’factory & Stuart.Jamieson - Ok, perhaps I got that wrong. Perhaps the term "Jewish" is primarily an ethnic desciptor. One way or another, we have to come to somekind of consensus about whether "Jewish" primarily infers ethnicity or infers religious belief. Otherwise the debate we're having will be sunk in semantics. NickCT (talk) 18:59, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Why can't it be both, or either? As far as categories go, that seems to be the approach that is taken, and it seems to be supported by these dictionary definitions. Sure, "Jewish atheist" makes no sense if "Jewish" is interpreted in the religious sense, but if it's interpreted in an ethnic sense, it's entirely plausible. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:47, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Good Ol’factory I agree; there are some cases where NickCT's case for Semantics being an issue is true but they are very rare. There was one specific case where I questioned the reliability of a source because the semantics in a quote were unclear that led to a question on The Village Pump (Policy) about how in general we deal with cases where a person self-identifies as something that we know by secondary sourcing that they are i.e; Jewish. Ideally for a Living person we need reliable secondary sourcing identifying the individual as Jewish per WP:BLP (Taking Jewishness as not religiousness) followed by a Self-identification that they are Atheist per WP:BLPCAT . However it may be better to open a discussion at Talk: Biography of Living Persons about a bold edit to WP:BLPCAT in relation to someone being Jewish (ethnically, culturally or by other means) which requires reliable secondary sourcing as opposed to someone being a member of a Jewish religious movement ( Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc) which requires a self-identification. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 12:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm having a hard time following the details of the above discussion, but an attempt to eliminate this category probably won't succeed unless someone comes up with significant reasons for eliminating it which were overlooked during the last three attempts at elimination visible at the top of this page... AnonMoos (talk) 19:07, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


I've started a debate about "Jewish" Categorisation at WT:BLP please have a look and weigh in on either side of the fence. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 20:21, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

John McCarthy was Jewish by birth?[edit]

I don't think so!

Paul Abrahams (talk) 16:21, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


This category[edit]

This category contains many people who do not have a source for being atheist --69.153.67.164 (talk) 05:52, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, some of these people are not atheists. Walter Kaufmann said in his book The Faith of a Heretic that he is an agnostic. Noam Chomsky is a practicing Jew from what I have gathered from his books. But many names are given but are not referenced. Teetotaler 22 July, 2008
Oh, whether or not Chomsky practices Judaism, a reference is needed to list him as an atheist. Seeing none I will remove Chomsky from this list (if I can figure out how to). Teetotaler —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.67.81.197 (talk) 06:13, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Atheists or what?[edit]

Is this category mean that all other Jews are follow judaism?--Vojvodaeist 19:06, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

It means that in some countries (such as the U.S. and the former Soviet Union), Jews are an ethnic group, so that you can be ethnically Jewish, but religiously atheist... AnonMoos (talk) 19:35, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Karl Marx was Lutheran and his father was a minster. He was very religious and certainly not an atheist. His grandfather was jewish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.31.242.154 (talk) 00:08, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Karl Heinrich Marx was born in Trier, in the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine. His father, Heinrich Marx, was born a Jew but converted to Lutheranism prior to Karl's birth, in part to advance his career as a lawyer. Karl's mother, born Henrietta Pressburg, was from the Netherlands, and Jewish at the time of Karl's birth, although she converted upon the death of her parents. Karl was baptized when he was six years old —Preceding unsigned comment added by יניבפור (talkcontribs) 17:40, 11 July 2010 (UTC)


Marx being Lutheran for whole life? Sources, please. It's not uncommon people adopt or throw away a religion.

As far I know, he was Atheist [lacks sources, however - if one likes, I can search them.]


Einstein should be put in the category, too - he was Atheist: [Writing to Eric Gutkind] "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." Source - http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/12/peopleinscience.religion

Einstein also said this, which means he wasn't an atheist:
"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth."
This category "Jewish Atheists" looks like a ridiculous invention of just the "professional atheists" Einstein was talking about - as if someone, for whatever reason, has some kind of agenda to demonstrate how many Jews are atheist. In order to protect against this obvious agenda, the only Jews placed in this category should be those who expressly state that they are "atheists" (unlike Einstein, and most of the others, I imagine).Jimhoward72 (talk) 20:21, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

a list of possible additions[edit]

(you are welcome to check it out and confirm)

confirmed atheists, taken from hebrew wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Avnery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toma_Sik

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yigal_Tumarkin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Miller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Silverman

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcelo_Gleiser

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosef_Haim_Brenner

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shulamit_Aloni

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaron_London

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Lapid


not sure if agnostic\atheist\skeptics\anti-religious, need sorting:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Ben-Gurion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendele_Mocher_Sforim

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholom_Aleichem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze%27ev_Jabotinsky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Weizmann

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Eshkol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Nordau

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Arlosoroff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayyim_Nahman_Bialik

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba_Hushi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menahem_Ussishkin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahum_Sokolow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Be%27er

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Segal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golda_Meir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Shamir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Sharett

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yigal_Allon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Netanyahu

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Baruch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Weizmann

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_Sharon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimon_Peres

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Rabin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Ben-Zvi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephraim_Katzir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Navon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yigael_Yadin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosef_Paritzky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Oron

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitzan_Horowitz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avraham_Poraz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai_Kaplan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahad_Ha%27am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micha_Josef_Berdyczewski

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Baruch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Cohen

for more, look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Judaic_studies_in_academia

if anyone can sort the list out, it whould help to organize the list a lot better.

~02:28, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Theo Herzl[edit]

the father of zionism and israel - atheist plz add to list —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mizanthrop (talkcontribs) 02:48, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

What next?[edit]

This is one of the most absurd categories I have ever seen. What's next: Jewish atheists who wear blue socks? Sunray (talk) 22:46, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Please look at the comment of "19:35, 17 August 2008" above. Whether you think it's funny or not, there are actually a number of people who are proud to identify themselves as "Jewish atheists"... AnonMoos (talk) 23:14, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Not funny, ridiculous. What difference does it make whether someone is proud of being a Jewish atheist? Should we narrow the list to only those who are proud of being in the category? If you read the comments of some of these folks, they are probably more accurately termed agnostics. Carl Reiner (who does call himself an atheist) also says: "I once wrote that there are 15 things I know about God, and one is that he is allergic to shellfish. There are far too many commandments and you really only need one: Do not hurt anybody." Reiner's humourous take on God reveals some fairly sophisticated thinking that is almost beyond categorization. Sunray (talk) 23:35, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

i agree. this category is too stupid (with anti-Semitic smell) and should be removed יניבפור (talk) 18:04, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

You may think that it's "stupid", but in actual real life there are a number of people who are atheists in religious belief, yet also Jewish by ethnic background, and who would never dream of denying their Jewish background. AnonMoos (talk) 22:13, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Quoting Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) from blogs.discovermagazine.com: "Having a religious affiliation is not the same as being theistic. I’m sure a lot of the 14 percent of scientists who identify as Jewish are atheist or agnostic — they’re Jewish by culture, tradition, belonging, etc. This is especially true of Judaism but is probably also true of other religions to lesser extents." I don't agree this categorization is in any way anti-Semitic; on the other hand it is informative and enlightening as to the nature of both Judaism and atheism. Dan 23:25, 11 July 2010 (UTC)


I do not think this category is absurd at all. Many Jews would see Judaism as a social movement, not a religion - just read the writings of Sigmund Freud, who obviously felt strong solidarity with the Jewish people. Also, this category helps one to appreciate the wide range of names that could go here - from Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud to Stephen Fry. So please keep this category - it is serving a useful and invaluable purpose. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 00:45, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Lisa Jardine[edit]

Should Lisa Jardine be included here? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:27, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Would probably be better to discuss the question at Talk:Lisa_Jardine... AnonMoos (talk) 23:41, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


I am pretty sure she should be listed here and I have added her to the category. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:30, 20 September 2011 (UTC)