Is Reconstructionist Judaism essentially atheistic? It seems that they treat Judaism as mere "culture" that they should cherish.

In fact, that's what atheism's view is on most religions: that there isn't really God but people believe in him anyway as a strategy to get along with others. Things like making better society, upholding morality, uniting people against common enemies, properly aligning ones' interests to common goals etc.

Am I missing something?

Some quote from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstructionist_Judaism

Not all of Kaplan's writings on the subject were consistent; his position evolved somewhat over the years, and two distinct theologies can be discerned with a careful reading. The view more popularly associated with Kaplan is strict naturalism, à la Dewey, which has been criticized as using religious terminology to mask a nontheistic, if not outright atheistic, position.

  • Atheism doesn't have a view on most things. – TRiG Sep 29 '12 at 15:46
  • I mean atheism view on most religions. Sorry :) – user4951 Sep 29 '12 at 16:37
  • 2
    That's far from the entirity of Reconstructionist thought and is worded rather offensively (that Reconstructionists think others use the concept of G-d exclusively to manipulate people is ridiculous). I really think this question will not get a decent answer here as it's largely an Orthodox crowd, but I suggest reading keddem.org/foot/99-06.html – Charles Koppelman Sep 30 '12 at 0:43
  • for further reference judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18790/… – rosends Sep 30 '12 at 4:14
  • I changed the word "manipulate others" to "get along with others". It's the same thing essentially, but it does have different connotation, which is something I often forget. Obviously people often honestly think that their morality is positive while it's often just positive for them and not necessarily for others. – user4951 Sep 30 '12 at 11:30

There is nothing in reconstructionist Judaism which explicitly claims that god does not exist as a function of its theological underpinings. While, according to this wiki entry, some of the movement's founder's ideas seem to lead to his holding a position in line with atheism, some do not. I would surmise that there are individuals who subscribe to the ideas of RJ and are also atheists, and there are those who subscribe to it and are not. It isn't part of the platform of the movement and adopting the tenets of the movement don't require taking the atheist position.

  • 1
    there are plenty of atheist Orthodox Jews, too. – Charles Koppelman Sep 30 '12 at 0:47
  • 7
    @CharlesKoppelman That depends how you define Orthodox – Double AA Sep 30 '12 at 1:02
  • I have been to some Reconstructionist Shabbat services and examined their siddur. God is very much a part of what I saw. Chosenness, on the other hand, has been largely eliminated (e.g. they don't say "asher bachar banu..." in the torah blessing, but I don't remember what they replaced it with). – Monica Cellio Sep 30 '12 at 1:08
  • @MonicaCellio I've heard "asher bachar banu im kol ha'amim" – Michoel Sep 30 '12 at 1:15
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio I've heard (and now seen (pdf)) "asher kervanu laavodah v'natan lanu et Torato" – Charles Koppelman Dec 18 '12 at 1:11

Reconstructionist Judaism is pretty atheistic, yeah. Its founder, Mordecai Kaplan, rejected the idea of a supernatural God or a supernatural anything. He defines God as the force within us to effect our own salvation.

  • 5
    Hello Jordana, and welcome to Mi Yodeya. You could make this answer more valuable by adding a source for Mordecai Kaplan's opinions. I hope to see you around the site! – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 7 '13 at 5:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .