Global, Identity, Mishegas, Religion

Jews on the Land(scape)

Last week the Pew Forum of Religion and Public Life released its “US Religious Landscape Survey.”  It’s quite awesome, as it maps out the myriad religious communities in the United States — by region, by income, education, marriage and reproductive patterns, age, gender, ethnicity, and, well, just about everything short of sock color.  So, if you want to know how Jews measure up next to other Americans, I recommend checking it out.  For those of you who prefer bullet points:
1.  28% of Americans now identify with a faith tradition that they were not born into.
2.  16.1% of Americans do not identify with any faith tradition (Easily the group with the largest growth). 
3.  The percentage of Jews converting out of Judaism exceeds the percentage of people becoming Jews by choice.

This isn’t about bean-counting, but it does tell an important part of the story for American Jews — Jews may be different, but Jews are not exceptional.  At least no more exceptional than any of the other religious communities in America.  

14 thoughts on “Jews on the Land(scape)

  1. Jews are not exceptional? I guess that’s the ultimate goal of Jew denying assimilationists, to make us the same as everyone else – then our moral principals, our beliefs, our goals, are no better than those of Christians, Muslims, Buddhist – hey, monotheism is fine, but then so is polytheism – yeah Jews have a relationship to Jerusalem(maybe), but then so do the Muslims – it’s fine we treat women as equals, but if women are subject to honour killings and FGM in other cultures/religions, that’s fine too. Why can’t we all just be friends? Love you, Ben Laden.

  2. Actually, I do find it objectionable that monotheists think their belief system is synonymous with ethics. Bin Laden is a monotheist, after all, and Amma, a Hindu religious teacher who has built hospitals all over India, uses statues to pray. Maybe having some humility around matters of faith is a good idea.
    We shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge our common humanity with other folks. Being different is not the same as being a separate species.

  3. Yeilah, perhaps you didn’t read my post, or perhaps you are so use to fighting other wars (perhaps to deny the value of Judaism), that you just didn’t understand the point. No one I know who is a montheist believes their value system is synonymous with ethics, or that Hindus are a different species or have no morals and can’t do good – it is the Jewish moral code, founded in monotheism (and if you believe in G-d, founded by G-d), that provides a unique (and superior) moral system.
    And Bin Laden is not a monotheist, he is a Muslim, they have elevated a paedophile war monger to the status of a god, that’s where the evil of their religion is derived from.
    And yes, we are all of the same humanity, that’s the point of Adam and Eve (perhaps you should attend a good Torah study class, amazing what you can learn).

  4. Incorrect, you need to deal with your anger problem and your bigotry. Managers of this website, at what point does angry or argumentative speech become hate speech on this site or is it “anything goes”? I am OK with arguing about whose religion is better or whose is “wrong” but “evil religion” qualifies as hate speech in my book.
    Jews should know better and do better.

  5. Fiftysomething, I’m sorry to have upset your pc sensibilities. If one can’t describe a religion whose practitioners promote IN THE NAME OF THEIR FAITH suicide murders of children, FGM, the murder of homosexuals, the beating of women who are raped for the crime of being raped, and the burning to death of poor little female school children by prohibiting them from leaving a burning building because they weren’t wearing their burkas, then nothing is evil, everything is the same, and we should just give it up.
    If the above were the aberrant views of a few Muslim nutcases, then we shouldn’t take notice. But when the religious authorities of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two most important Muslim countries whose Muslim religious leaders believe, condone, or promulgate what I describe above, then I’m sorry, but that is a religion of evil (which is not to say that all, or even a majority, of Muslims are evil – the less religious they are the more likely they are to be reasonable human beings).
    And Mohammed marrying a 9 year old constitutes paedophile even by the standards of the 6th century – and what he did to the Jewish tribes of the Saudi Peninsula – murdering the men, raping the women, etc. constitutes warmongering in any era.
    So instead of following the fascist response of book burning and cries for censorship, why don’t you tell me where I am wrong – that’s the appropriate intellectual, academic response (other of course, then on the pc colleges such as Colombia and UofCalifornia, where opposing views are indeed censored).

  6. And am I angry? Nope, I’m sad; describing reality should elicit either agreement or arguments that reality is other than what I’ve said – not calls for bannings. Do you really not see that your ways lies fascism?

  7. Incorrect, I think this is the last time you’ve crossed the line with ad hominum attacks on other posters and conduct unbecoming of a blogger.
    I don’t like the crazy stuff you say, attacking especially an entire religion as evil, but you’ve got a right to say it. The level of vitriol you pour onto Arabs and left-wingers is embarassing, but I guess you’ve got a right to say that also.
    But again and again you attack individuals specifically. It is predictable. You’ve been warned several times that it’s not your opinions but your conduct which will get you banned from here.
    I’m recommending to the editorial board that you be banned from this site. All your free-speech excuses aside, I think our conversations will be more free without you.

  8. Kung Fu, you can disappear me if you wish, you have that power. But don’t use the excuse that I’ve attacked other posters, my criticism/comments about them is most mild when compared what is said about me. At least explicitly ban me for the real reason – you don’t like my views on the Muslim religion (and please note that I distinguish between the religion and Muslims as individuals).
    If you wish to extinguish my views from Jewschool, again, you have that power. But if you think the elimination of my viewpoint will stop the missiles pouring down on Israel today, that with my views eliminated from the world we can all sit down, hold hands and be friends with the Gazians, and war no more – will then, if that theory had any resemblance to reality, I would share it. But unfortunately (and it is unfortunate), I’m describing reality, you’re wishing for utopia. Sorry, but evil lives.

  9. There is a silver lining to Incorrect’s hate filled rants. By contrast his right wing diatribes make it clear how reasoned and thoughtful the progressive posters are.

  10. I’m describe as engaging in “hate filled rants”, “right wing diatribes”, “bigotry”, and then threatened with being dissappeared because I’ve “crossed the line with ad hominum attacks on other posters and conduct unbecoming of a blogger”!
    Instead of disposing of my point of view by disappearing me, how about showing me where I’m factually incorrect or wrong in my analysis. Intellectually that takes some work (and I think is impossible, but I’m certainly willing to be shown wrong), and it’s a lot less effort just to get rid of my viewpoint, but are you really serving the readers of this site to do so?

  11. Wow… comparing Islam to Satanism. And from someone who probably knows jack about Crowleyan Satanism, too.
    And saying that Islam elevates Mohammed to godhood is just like saying Jews claim Moses is divine – i.e. it’s completely bullshit.
    Incorrect, for someone who’s proud of our faith and traditions, you seem quite ready to throw them aside at moment’s notice.

  12. B.BarNavi:
    Look again please. I did not compare Islam to Satanism. I was making the point that if you call a spade a spade then you you get accused of hate speech. If you remind people about what the kind and just Mohammed did to the Jewish tribes of the Arabia then you risk getting banned. By the way, thank God that Mohammed didn’t have the technology of Hitler.

  13. Yes, the work it would take to correct all Incorrect’s mistakes is herculean. I am personally not engaging in a fisking of his/her points because they are not direct falsifiable claims, they are broad generalizations which have little relation to the topic at hand. That is actually what I find most frustrating about Incorrect. Dialogue and debate are important, but it seems like he/she has a posting reflex, which fires up when ever possible without a careful reading of the article.
    Lets take his/her first post in this thread. The original post was drawing our attention to the recent Pew survey on religion in American life. The original poster noticed that there are a lot of folks who are switching religions over the course of their lives, and that the fasted growing religious identification is “none”. He then remarked that the Jews are not exceptional, meaning that the demographic trends of declining Jewish identity match broader American trends in declining religious identity. Somehow Incorrect hijacked the conversation by making the bizzar claim that this sociological observation about demographic trends in America is a form of pernicious relativism, and that we all should see that Jews are in fact better than everyone else. He/she then free associates on this thread of relativism to bring up honor killing and FGM. No part of that first comment address the substance of the original post. Please, go ahead, scroll up and read them again in sequence.
    Things in the thread only get worse when another poster takes the bait and argues that it is false to equate ethics with monotheism, which is implied, if not states in Incorrect’s first largely non-sequitor post about how Jews are superior. Incorrect then makes gross characterization of Islam by reference to the prophet’s wife, and the blatantly false claim that Islam is not montheistic. He/she then goes on to attack the previous poster by being condescending and rude. I quote, “perhaps you should attend a good Torah study class, amazing what you can learn.”
    And now, rather than exploring the Pew study and its implications for the debate around assimilation in the American Jewish community, we are discussing outrageous claims of whether or not suicide bombing is normative to Islam.
    On the internet we call Incorrect’s behavior trolling and it is a legitimate reason to ban someone.
    Now, I would love to talk about the Pew survey. What does it mean that the Jewish pattern of disaffiliation is part of a national trend? Are the rates the same? Does it matter?
    The American Jewish community is neither American nor Jewish, talk amongst yourselves.

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