I am starting a series of articles for Jbooks.com on the subject of Jewish Atheism. Each article will profile a great figure in the tradition of Jewish atheism. Below is an excerpt from the first essay exploring the godless thoughts of Ernestine Rose. Hope you like it.
Godless Jews – The Original Atheists With Attitude (Part I)
By Roi Ben-Yehuda
Before the intellectual trinity of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins set the theological world ablaze with their atheistic best-selling books, there was the unique phenomenon of the Godless Jew.
For almost two centuries Jews have contributed a disproportionate creative role to the discourse of doubt, skepticism, and atheism. Jewish intellectuals, the likes of Emma Goldman, Ernestine Rose, Sigmund Freud, Woody Allen, and Ayn Rand have all brought to bear their considerable talents on the question of God’s non-existence.
It should come as no surprise that the same people that gave the world monotheism also played a significant role in its negation.At the heart of Judaism there is a profound respect for questioning, dissent, and doubt—a tradition of theological chutzpah.
Moreover, the experience of Jews as outsiders, with its consequence of “otherness,” has created a culture that is tragically familiar with the absurd and unjust.
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