Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Modern atheists are right all along

I’m most disturbed by the quiet agreement between many Jewish atheists and most Orthodox Rabbis as if they are having incomparable worldviews. I don’t believe that for a moment. I understand that Jewish Atheists don’t want to be pushed toward Judaism. I understand Rabbis being confident that whatever they do and believe, it’s not Atheism. But I’m just not sure.

Atheists, nowadays, have good reasons not to believe in God. And I don’t mean that they are right not trusting anything or Anything that cannot be proven. But I think that most of the time, Atheists are not so much put off by the concept of a God but rather by how many religious people behave. They see and say: no, not like that.

All the sexism, the homophobia, the rejection of science. And a refusal to stop thinking by oneself and just follow what others say.

Good for you!

I have no need for a God I never see or hear.

I don’t want to talk to Someone Who never answers.

Good for you!

I like a lot of what a religious upbringing teaches.

But I don’t want to suffer with little in return.

Good for you!

If there would exist this God that the Jewish Tradition talks about, God would be very proud of you.

God would not want you to be a sexist, a homophobe, to reject science and stop thinking for yourself and just follow what others say.

Don’t steal. It’ll make you less holy. And God, your Soul, will see, of course.

I case you don’t know what our Soul is, neither do I. I know it’s not part of the human body. Take all the parts apart and you won’t find a Soul part. But neither will you find a Life molecule or a Smart piece.

This is nothing mysterious. When you build a shelter from bricks and wood, there will be no shelter part. The building blocks created a safe space but safety is not a characteristic of the individual building materials.

We should never reject reality. Science tells us of its findings. To embrace them until they are replaced by something newer and better. Especially, if you learned science, it’s disgusting to see how religious leaders dispute Geology and Evolution Theory while they don’t know what they are talking about. Of course, you want no part in this!

God has no need for people with blind faith who never see or hear. But if you listen to your Intuition and your Soul, you’re listening to God.

Don’t be intimidated by these traditional Jews who parade around as if they talk to God face-to-face every day. They don’t.

At most, they, but anyone really, can talk to God all the time until they see God in everything. You do that for two years and you have that too.

Nor does God need our prayers. Prayer is for the one who prays.

And God doesn’t want you to be a hypocrite to just pretend to be religious.

And to have a sleepy religious routine with unchecked customs is dumb.

God doesn’t want you to suffer with little in return. The Sages say that God’s original plan was to give followers the best life — no less.

God — if God exists — made people independent agents. With Free Will. With a need for autonomy. With their own viewpoint and own mindset.

Each unique and priceless.

And God doesn’t need to be worshipped, praised, obeyed. He’s not an idol!

So what’s with all the praises for God that religions prescribe and all the bowing?

Let me suggest that all this began as a concession to human weakness, to help most people transition from idol worship to being close to God.

To say: Don’t bow to an idol; bow to God.

But we went up in rockets and walked on the Moon. There is no God up in the Heavens. Not even beyond the Universe. If God were so beyond, why take God into account at all? Beyond is beyond.

Let me suggest that snippets of God really live in all of us (Exodus 25:8, 28:46) as our Souls, our deepest Selves.

And that we’re all interconnected because our Souls are part of a larger Whole: God. Human conflicts are never between our Souls.

This would solve the problem of why God says that it’s not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He was with God — how alone could that be? Well, if God was Adam’s Soul, so indeed, on his own, he was alone.

I would not limit God to being the sum total of our Souls. There could be more to God and since God is unlimited, there probably is. But, I’ll be pleased if we could agree that God is at least all our Souls combined.

There is no difference between obeying God and obeying the Human Soul. That’s how the first Jews, our Matriarchs and Patriarchs, followed all the Commandments, by just being outstanding people.

You can hear God when you listen to your conscience. Just make sure it’s not the voice of a stern confusing message that was perpetrated upon you early in life.

There is no tension between serving Man and serving God.

You don’t need to believe in an external God to be holy, not to do Evil.

Evil is simply the perpetration of more overall hurt than the minimum.

Maybe an old wise religious tradition can help you figure out faster which are the ways to inflict as little as possible overall hurt, but never give up on your own checking if this works out.

People often are unwise about ‘believing’ in God as if that should be just a naive leap of faith. Naive people may live calmer but they are also in more danger. I believe that traditional Jewish belief in God is this: “You do all you can. Outside of that, you give it over to God.” That means that you take no shortcuts. But while you did your best within reason, you also don’t worry. Call it having Trust, call it being a realist. Nothing an Atheist can’t do.

You don’t need religious leaders to tell you to be friendly, humble, peace-loving, a proud (but humble) Jew, etc.

Atheism is the best religion there is because it refuses to do idol worship or anything that looks like that!

But, I’m too weak and confused for that.

I like the wisdom of ages and to check it for accuracy now. I don’t know how to bow to God without putting God above me. I don’t want to start from scratch. It could take me a lifetime to figure out that giving money to a heroin addict is murder, not charity. That just being fair to a parent is not enough awe and gratitude. I value the character traits the Jews cultivated.

But if you’re strong and sensitive enough, be religious without tradition.

You see, Atheism is incorporated in Judaism. No wonder, there are so many Buddhist Jews. Buddhism certainly doesn’t have all of Judaism (nobody has anything like the Talmud) but it certainly has the essence.

However, I’m not certain about any of the above. What do you think?

This post has been further expanded and edited for clarity on April 6.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is (partly) generated by AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
Related Topics
Related Posts