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← [Update YouTube Part 2 added]-Richard Dawkins Interviews Rabbi Tamara Kolton

[Update YouTube Part 2 added]-Richard Dawkins Interviews Rabbi Tamara Kolton - Comments

Fouad Boussetta's Avatar Comment 1 by Fouad Boussetta

Ha ha ha! Cute...

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 00:55:19 UTC | #906110

green and dying's Avatar Comment 2 by green and dying

She explains it in a really annoying way ("knowing yourself") but I understand what she means about community and tradition and I think I might be the same way if I had been brought up Jewish. I feel the same way about Christianity a little bit, not that I'd do something every week relating to it but as a child I liked hearing Bible stories at school just because they were very old stories (I knew they were just stories) and I do quite like the Jesus part of Christmas because of the carols and memories of it from primary school. I would want some of that to be passed onto my children, though I would obviously tell them that most people don't believe the stories are literally true.

One reason why it would be important for Jews to actually congregate to observe their traditions and to do it more strictly is that in most countries they are a minority. If you weren't serious about keeping traditions and passing them onto the next generation they would be forgotten.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 01:02:24 UTC | #906111

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 3 by wolfhoundGrowl

Comment 2 ... I think u cover the whole ground well.

However, as a former Christian preacher turned Humanist I can understand the attraction of a weekly celebration of Christian [Jewish] culture.

But ... ... .. i also experience that desire and fight to "just let it go"

I feel that this is Humanity's place for a while (???)

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 01:36:14 UTC | #906115

PrivatizeEducaton's Avatar Comment 4 by PrivatizeEducaton

The loading cant get any slower

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 01:39:35 UTC | #906117

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 5 by Cook@Tahiti

Tradition: Tyranny by the dead.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 01:52:21 UTC | #906119

invisible's Avatar Comment 6 by invisible

Granted that in recent decades, if we had expectations of hints of agnosticism from followers of abrahamic religions, they would come from Jews. In most debates they are the first to recognize that sacred texts are nothing but mythology.

But rabbi Tamara Kolton is obviously borderline case. She has so watered down her religion with cherry-pickings, hints of new-age and personal intuitions that her version is a bit distasteful even to atheists.

Religious traditions are still imposed from majority of society. Children don't like or even understand the religious background as much as they like spending time with their family playing any board game, drinking cocoa and telling/hearing stories. If they had it every week, religious holidays wouldn't make sense, but thanks to busy lives of parents, children particularly like only those days of the year when parents make extra effort around them (or at least cop out and buy them expensive gift).

And the argument of community from religiously inclined is always so shallow. Most of them don't have anything in common. It's like having a community of people who "wear blue jeans". You'd probably have equally (un)pleasant time with any random person, why lie to yourself and pretend you have more in common with fellow jew/christian/muslim/hindu/whatever?

And for the person who posted it, the video is of too high quality. ~765MB for 16 minutes is just wasteful. Rather put it on YouTube first which will give lower, but still satisfying, video quality choices for many viewers.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 01:58:28 UTC | #906120

Labyrinthos's Avatar Comment 7 by Labyrinthos

For those experiencing slow downloads, you can use a download manager to get the file on your computer and then play it locally. I used FlashGet - it's free, but I imagine there are many that do the job just as well.

One hears about atheistic jews from time to time but I've never heard this worldview articulated. It's a strange mix of love of tradition and rationality. I imagine if advanced aliens asked us why we love our own children more than other people's equally innocent children, we'd have to give the same type of reasoning as the interviewee (leaving aside purely biological explanations that do not factor in ethical reasoning). They are a part of who we are and we cannot help but love them more. Loving your own child is not incompatible with a goal for a truly global community, it's actually a catalyst for the best efforts to achieve it.

I can see how one might feel the same way about a shared tradition. So the heartfelt offer at the end of the interview should not come as a surprise. And yet it does, at least for me. Why?

Is the moral circle that is created by the atheistic jewish community ultimately a bad idea, since it automatically excludes other people on the basis of things they cannot control or is it a triumph of the enlightenment to tame a religion to the point of making it indistinguishable from humanistic ethical reasoning?

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 02:06:11 UTC | #906122

helena!'s Avatar Comment 8 by helena!

It's not streaming for me - too bad. I think I will wait until a faster video is posted thanks.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 02:39:58 UTC | #906126

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 9 by InYourFaceNewYorker

As an atheist Jew I really appreciate this video. :)

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 02:40:54 UTC | #906127

Grayhame's Avatar Comment 10 by Grayhame

The need to belong to a group is innate in humans and all primates. Some people find it in a religion, or in academia, or in a Star Trek fan club. Belonging to a group provides a lot of emotional comfort, especially the more ritualistic the group's activities -- repetition creates familiarity, which creates more a sense of comfort. Most people don't spend much time thinking about whether or not the group's creeds or dogma are true, or if the rituals are morally beneficial -- most people except for athiests and academics, anyway.

I can sympathize with Rabbi Kolton's need to belong. I prefer her watered-down faith over most other peoples inconsistent beliefs. She has the courage to say that the sacred texts of Judaism are myth, so she isn't being hypocritical when she cherrypicks the parts of jewish texts that are in-line with modern secular morality, keeps the rituals that provide a sense of continuity and social cohesion, and discards the rest as archaic rubbish. I wish more religious people were as open-minded and sincere as Rabbi Kolton! She has obviously deeply considered the truth of the tenets of her faith and reached a fair compromise.

Richard should have asked her whether or not she felt that more orthodox or literal religious belief should be confronted and opposed. Does she think that her expression of her jewishness is superior to more traditional ones?

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 05:25:28 UTC | #906144

Metamag's Avatar Comment 11 by Metamag

Comment 2 by green and dying :

She explains it in a really annoying way ("knowing yourself") but I understand what she means about community and tradition and I think I might be the same way if I had been brought up Jewish. I feel the same way about Christianity a little bit, not that I'd do something every week relating to it but as a child I liked hearing Bible stories at school just because they were very old stories (I knew they were just stories) and I do quite like the Jesus part of Christmas because of the carols and memories of it from primary school. I would want some of that to be passed onto my children, though I would obviously tell them that most people don't believe the stories are literally true.

One reason why it would be important for Jews to actually congregate to observe their traditions and to do it more strictly is that in most countries they are a minority. If you weren't serious about keeping traditions and passing them onto the next generation they would be forgotten.

People should just learn to play PC games, specifically RPG and RTS genre, it is far more engaging and enriching than this kind of nonsense(or watching any kind of sport), especially the co-op modes.

If these people knew what can PC games do the thought of indulging in useless traditions would just evaporate.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 07:35:38 UTC | #906157

mmurray's Avatar Comment 12 by mmurray

Comment 2 by green and dying :

If you weren't serious about keeping traditions and passing them onto the next generation they would be forgotten.

I won't speak for people who have been raised Jewish but for me I don't care if traditions are forgotten. Why would I want to pass on to my children the guilt about sex and the ridiculous I ideas I inherited from my Catholic Irish forbears. Should I tell them not to use condoms or any contraception because that's a fun old cultural tradition we have in our family? As fas as possible I'm trying to make sure the madness stops with me.

Michael

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 07:43:17 UTC | #906159

Metamag's Avatar Comment 13 by Metamag

I won't speak for people who have been raised Jewish but for me I don't care if traditions are forgotten.

Exactly, I never understood why is that important to people, it's just a mindless collective habit.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 08:03:05 UTC | #906162

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 14 by the great teapot

We need to keep traditions alive even if we don't believe in them anymore. How else could we pick different people out for persecution?

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 08:38:03 UTC | #906164

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 15 by justinesaracen

I can't download the video, so I can only comment on the general idea of a (nearly) atheist Jew. What bothers me is that this woman's identification with a religion whose tenets she doesn't believe in, STILL enables her to claim land (read settlement) in Israel, simply on the basis of her asserted religion.

I have two acquaintances who decided that it was cool to be Jewish and converted, while still calling themselves agnostic, and then immediately espoused a belief in a "homeland for the Jews" (i.e. themselves). It seemed a ridiculous sort of mental game to me.

Of course people should be allowed to practice any rituals they want with other consenting adults, but in the case of religion, it brings social and political baggage, and espousing a religion you don't believe in is a little bit like saying you don't like any of the principles of the Republican party but you still vote Republican for reasons of family tradition. You give credence to an institution that needs to be discredited.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 08:43:24 UTC | #906165

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 16 by huzonfurst

I hate these glacial downloads - there is no indication of how big the file is or how much progress is being made, similar to that other annoying piece of crap laughingly called 'Quick'time.

Why is this technique, whatever it's called because that information is also not given, still used anywhere?

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 09:03:53 UTC | #906167

PERSON's Avatar Comment 17 by PERSON

I'm reminded of this effort. I think, though it's not entirely clear, that it's by this guy. I think the idea of atheism in the Christian tradition is an interesting one. Atheism is a very small system of thought. It needs to be accompanied by something else, perhaps humanism, certainly scepticism and/or rationalism. But beyond that, I think there are other aspects of the lives of humans that are not yet as well dealt with as by religious traditions or other irrational systems such as new ageism or consumerism (both compatible with atheism, though inimical to it, and both harmful, to the hustlers as much as the marks).

Comment 5 by Rtambree

It can be that, but it can also be a resource we draw from that gives us a view beyond the prevalent ideas of the day.

Comment 12 by mmurray

I think there are two problems with that: 1) you're only looking at the negative parts 2) you're seeing it as an inviolate whole, which is one of the principal lies of religion. It's as in 1984 "Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs — all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere." Doctrine changes constantly, but it is always the same as it ever was.

Comment 10 by Grayhame

I agree with you on active confrontation of radicalism.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 10:20:36 UTC | #906173

PERSON's Avatar Comment 18 by PERSON

certainly scepticism and/or rationalism.

Though these are not for everyone. I think almost everyone is capable of taking these on to some extent, but only a limited number of people can make all other aspects of themselves subsidiary to them. That is the essence of the persistence of religion.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 10:39:06 UTC | #906180

mmurray's Avatar Comment 19 by mmurray

Comment 17 by PERSON :

Comment 12 by mmurray

I think there are two problems with that: 1) you're only looking at the negative parts

So fill me in on the positive ones. Just be clear we are talking RCC here.

2) you're seeing it as an inviolate whole, which is one of the principal lies of religion.

I see it as a inviolate whole because the RCC see it as an inviolate whole.

But go ahead and remind me of the good bits of the RCC I should pass onto my children. It has been nearly 40 years since I went to mass so maybe I have forgotten the good bits.

Michael

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 10:47:10 UTC | #906183

Jasonjay's Avatar Comment 20 by Jasonjay

What a load of nonsense. She knows that science has completely disproved her religion and she cant quite bring herself to accept it. She whats to keep it as a confort blanket, but its not true.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 12:31:51 UTC | #906204

isisdron's Avatar Comment 21 by isisdron

wow I am so not surprised. People go to any lengths to make themselves feel better, even if it means make believing all the way to the grave. I would say for some people that loneliness is worse than death, so that religion does provide them with a comfort. I get that. What I dont get is that people will then use this device to suddenly impose on others political concepts, which only makes other people seek their own comfort blankets even more. Suddenly it's a war between who loves their comfort blanket more than who, and everyone else is just caught in the crossfire. It's not like we have another planet to go to yet to escape. So we're stuck with nonsense, because we're stuck with other humans.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 14:02:26 UTC | #906223

lwgreen1's Avatar Comment 22 by lwgreen1

People have the right to live their lives any way they want as long as they don't cause harm to others, and if they don't bother me with it. I don't think any of her group will ever knock on my door on Saturday morning. If you must have religious people around (and in most places, you certainly do), she is quite harmless and will do nicely. I would not object to having her as a friend.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 15:54:32 UTC | #906255

green and dying's Avatar Comment 23 by green and dying

Comment 12 by mmurray :

I won't speak for people who have been raised Jewish but for me I don't care if traditions are forgotten. Why would I want to pass on to my children the guilt about sex and the ridiculous I ideas I inherited from my Catholic Irish forbears. Should I tell them not to use condoms or any contraception because that's a fun old cultural tradition we have in our family? As fas as possible I'm trying to make sure the madness stops with me.

Michael

Why do people think saying you like traditions means you think "tradition" is an excuse for anything? The Rabbi said there are criteria she follows in deciding which traditions she thinks are worth carrying on.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 16:15:22 UTC | #906262

yanquetino's Avatar Comment 24 by yanquetino

I can appreciate Tamara Kolton's position, and what she is trying to do as a "rabbi" for her congregation by underscoring the "heritage" rather than the "religion" of Judaism. Nonetheless, it strikes me as a bit illusory to continue to underscore that heritage in today's world.

For example, my surname is Danish, and thus I have always had an interest in, even a fascination with, the Vikings. I suppose I could call them my "people." Yet I also know that, in reality, I have DNA from many other cultures (English, French, Spanish, Swedish, Italian). And even if my genes all came from Scandinavia, I most certainly would not call myself a "Viking," let alone gather with other "Vikings" regularly to give "meaning" to life.

My guess is that Kolton's DNA is similar, especially since her physical characteristics do not strike me as exclusively from the Middle East. So why continue to exaggerate the contribution of a mere twig among all the branches in her family tree to establish her "self-identity"?

I also wonder if she would call her daughter or son a "Jewish child"...? My guess is that she would, but claim that it is a mere genetic label rather than religious. Yet I do not call any of my children a "Viking child"!

Personally, I purport that it is about time that such "peoples" let go of their "in-group" identity and simply concede that we are all "mongrels" in today's day and age.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 18:35:18 UTC | #906290

6thsense's Avatar Comment 25 by 6thsense

Comment 22 by lwgreen1 People have the right to live their lives any way they want as long as they don't cause harm to others, and if they don't bother me with it. I don't think any of her group will ever knock on my door on Saturday morning. If you must have religious people around (and in most places, you certainly do), she is quite harmless and will do nicely. I would not object to having her as a friend

I don't care much for stamp collecting, don't see any purpose to it and don't see the attraction in meeting other people in groups to swap stamps. But unless somebody knocks at my door intent on converting me into a stamp collector they can do as they please. This type of religion seems much the same so I agree with Iwgreen1. Live and let live.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 18:54:56 UTC | #906296

green and dying's Avatar Comment 26 by green and dying

Comment 24 by yanquetino :

Personally, I purport that it is about time that such "peoples" let go of their "in-group" identity and simply concede that we are all "mongrels" in today's day and age.

I agree for "genetic"/ancestral identities but I don't see how it matters what proportion of your ancestry is Jewish if you were brought up Jewish. If you grew up in Denmark would it matter that your ancestors were mostly not Danish?

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 19:08:30 UTC | #906300

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 27 by wolfhoundGrowl

I enjoyed the interview but god that was a cringe-inuducing hyper-american ending.

Having been a 'professional Christian' before I became I Humanist I completely understand the position of Humanistic Jews. (And I consider Rabbi Sherwin T Wine a personal hero (small 'h') .. my Hero (big 'H') is the Saviour of Minds: Hitchens)

I for one often find myself wanting to go the local Quaker Meeting House as the place were I can can be humanistically religious ... my wife needs no religion whatsoever. I guess it just depends on your personal background, or maybe it's in a person's make up, I'm not yet sure.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 19:13:55 UTC | #906301

PERSON's Avatar Comment 28 by PERSON

Comment 19 by mmurray

Some of them're listed fairly well in the video. They're far from unique in the RCC, but don't necessarily exist in Atheist communities, in part because people repeatedly assert they're not needed. I don't think that's an evidence-based opinion. There are others... more detail later, a bit busy now.

If you grew up in Denmark would it matter that your ancestors were mostly not Danish?

Yes, if they raised you (parents) or otherwise influenced you (uncles, aunts, grandparents, multi-generational family friendships, etc). They would pass on non-Danish memes.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 20:10:16 UTC | #906314

green and dying's Avatar Comment 29 by green and dying

Comment 28 by PERSON :

If you grew up in Denmark would it matter that your ancestors were mostly not Danish?

Yes, if they raised you (parents) or otherwise influenced you (uncles, aunts, grandparents, multi-generational family friendships, etc). They would pass on non-Danish memes.

But it wouldn't make you less Danish, and I don't think having non-Jewish ancestors would make you less Jewish if you were brought up with all the cultural traditions of Judiasm. Religions are cultures within cultures anyway, especially when they are minority religions, so there will always be influences from other cultures.

It seems like there are three parts of Jewishness - being ancestrally Jewish, culturally Jewish and religiously Jewish and a Jew could be any combination of those. I don't think it would be a bad thing if the ancestral and religious classifications stopped existing, but cultural Jewishness doesn't have to be related to either and if continuing it makes people happy then it's a good thing.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 20:50:05 UTC | #906323

/Mike's Avatar Comment 30 by /Mike

Please see the note at the top of the page. The file is being reformatted and will be uploaded to YouTube later today.

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 21:21:22 UTC | #906329