Open Season

Check out BeliefNet’s full-fledged feature on Douglas Rushkoff and the theories he posits in his new book, Nothing Sacred.

Under the heading “Where Rushkoff Is Wrong,” the site also links to Gary Rosenblatt’s piece in the Jewish Week, which lightly criticizes Rushkoff’s perspective and touts Frank Luntz’s report as “required reading for every Jewish communal professional.” He, too, mistakenly labels Rushkoff as an atheist, as Lisa Anuradha Singh recently did in the Jerusalem Report.

Apparently, non-Jews who don’t support Zionism are antisemites, and Jews who don’t support Zionism are atheists. Ugh.

12 thoughts on “Open Season

  1. If Rushkoff and company protest at Rushkoff being labeled an atheist, he has only himself to blame. I tried to ask him about this and he tried to slip away. I had to define some elementary terms like theist – belief in a personal God. After much work, we finally agreed that Rushkoff was no theist.
    Rushkoff does not believe in the God of Judaism, he consequently can not believe in the divinity of the sacred texts of Judaism. He has as much to say about Judaism as porn star Jenna Jameson. No, he has less to say, because she believes in a personal God.

  2. Damn..that’s a pretty vicious personal attack. The sodomite a better Jew than the scholar? Don’t be so dramatic. Perhaps he didn’t want to answer your question because you’re a nasty person looking for fodder to lambaste him with.
    I just don’t think Douglas believes in the G*d that we project as being the G*d of the bible. Believing in Spinoza G*d or an impersonal infinite everything doesn’t mean you’re an atheist…It means you don’t believe the mythology that G*d is sitting there tallying up brownie points, or interfering in your life.
    If you believe you are one with the infinite everything, you might come to recognize that you are the master of your own destiny–that you are G*d, and that, so long as you’re conscious, you can affect change according to your will. This isn’t entirely incompatible with Judaism, and is more like a Chasidus approach than anything else.
    Likewise, not beliving in the “sacred divinity” of all texts doesn’t mean that you can’t derive great value from them. I just spent five weeks in a class at HUC in which our professor aimed to show us that, archeologically speaking, the Torah is like Reader’s Digest of the ancient Middle East, and that more hands have touched it than Jenna’s privates.
    I called Douglas upset by what I was learning. It’s not that I hadn’t studied this argument before. But this time, the professor was arguing that we had never even been in Egypt at all–that there’s no archeological data to prove otherwise–and that therefore, the revelation at Sinai never occurred. And it’s like–whoa, the central defining moment of our faith, shattered there in an instant. And Douglas was the one who showed me, no–it’s irrelevant, the myth still counts, regardless of whether or not your recognize it as myth. It’s still an ethical template, and a useful symbol set for the exploration of spirituality.
    Is this the argument of an atheist? Hell no. Maybe he’s a non-theist in that, our G*d, Hashem, is a formless G*d, and all too often Jews who think they know it all seek to impose a form on G*d–they seek to define G*d and tell others who or what G*d is. But by being a non-theist, as you deem him, Douglas avoids confining G*d to a box–he avoids imposing form. And thus he masters the 1st Commandment.
    Israel means “to struggle with G*d.” If you’re not struggling, you’re not doing your job. I for one know that Douglas is entrenched in the struggle.

  3. “…the Torah is like Reader’s Digest of the ancient Middle East, and that more hands have touched it than Jenna’s privates.”
    I don’ t know mo, I saw this one video…

  4. Excuse me mr ford. Do I know you? Did I call you names? What is the Torah about? Is it about calling people names like moron and idiot? Have we ever talked? Do you know what I do with my life and where I come from? Do you have a clue about the frum community I was a part of while I was growing up? A frum community you seem to fit right into, with the hate that emanates from your post.
    Well, Mr. Ford, whoever you are, I suggest you get yourself a solid Torah education and stop playing word games. Check out a fella by the name of Hillel. He reduced it to a soundbite. So don’t do anything to me you don’t want me to do to you.
    Just because God made you different from me, doesn’t give you the right to call me names.
    Furthermore, since I am a woman, let’s go according to your rules. I don’t need to be tied to a clock or go running to shul every five minutes because I am directly connected to Hashem. Men aren’t.
    Furthermore, the bris with Avraham is very, very clear. The reason for it is that men need to be reminded, everytime they go to the bathroom, that they have to be menschlech. Obviously you need a more serious reminder.
    jeanette friedman

  5. I call you on your complainging about Rushkoff’s critics calling him an atheist. What is so vicious about that? I simply pointed out the shortcomings of your post but I guess you are so unused to people who don’t think like you and kowtow to whatever your feeling is, therefore it is a Jewishly valid position, that you freak out.

  6. I never said Jenna Jameson was a better Jew than Rushkoff. Nor have I ever said you or your Mom or Rushkoff are bad people. I said Jenna has more grounds to pronounce on Judaism because at least she subscribes to one of its foundations – belief in a personal God – while Rushkoff does not.

  7. apparently you don’t think like me, because you think that a person who sucks cock for a living has a higher moral authority than someone who doesn’t believe in the same version of god as you. i guess i’m unused to people who are that provincial and arrogant.
    your comment smacks of pretentiousness and smugness. you called my mother a moron–and your logical response is, “that’s ok, there are good morons.”
    contrary to your outsider understanding, belief in a personal god is not a prerequisite of jewish faith. understanding of god as the 1 infinite formless faceless indescribable everything is.

  8. I want to apologize for my harsh language. The real reason I persecute heretics is that down deep I am a Jew-hating gay man.
    But I am on lithium and I’m in reparative therapy, so I hope one day to be a proud yet tolerant Orthodox Jew with wife and kids.

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