While I think we should be extremely careful re: the question of secular cultural Judaism, the reality of Israel, remarkably, shows that the category actually leads to something worse. The emergence of racist Israelis (in part manufactured as a cultural artifact to consolidate Zionist goals) should be a warning that ‘jewish identity’ is a religious category, willnilly. We should more or less be tolerant of something inevitable here, but hold ‘Jewish’ New Atheists to a higher standard. The example of Israel shows what will happen to the category of ‘cultural jew’ and the way this perpetuates religion in its more insidious from even as Gentiles exit religion into the cultural chaos of secular exploitation.
This problem will solve itself in the US, eventually, but in the transition we see the truly insidious domination of the American political system by variants of this confusion.
I agree with secular humanists, roughly speaking, and this is grounds for optimism: the old religious categories of the Axial Age, and that includes Jewish identity culture as a pseudo-secular form of archaic Judaism, are destined to fade away. The rearguard effort to exempt a ‘secular judaic’ category was probably inevitable and demands our tolerance, but at the same time we can see that only full assimilation will resolve the core demonic of Judaic, and, lest we forget, Xtian and Islamic monotheism.
According to all branches of Judaism, I’m Jewish because my mother was a Jew. I accept this criterion. I’ve met quite a few atheists with Jewish mothers who have tried to convince me that I’m not Jewish because they (the atheists, not their mothers) reject the traditional definition and assert that a real Jew must believe in God. These atheists are free to declare themselves not Jewish, but they have no right to tell me that I’m not.
Here is the crux of the transition: I think this writer will lose this argument in the near future, as the enigma exposes itself.
Meanwhile the definition of the judaic in terms of Jewish mothers has to be the most destructive religious principle of the whole Axial Age and its superficial success on one level betrays the cultural reality of cultural insanity somehow bequeathed from a strategy of religious inequality.
Over at The Gurdjieff Con we have explored the way the category ‘Jewish’ has made independent zones, like sufism, prey to predatory jewish domination tactics, and attempts to, explicably, make ‘sufism’ a jewish category that can subtely discriminate against Gentiles. That one is hard to figure. But the principle of exclusiveness should make that altogether surprising. You’d think we would get a break here on such issues: but Murphy’s Law seems to reign supreme, and watching this gone wrong in this way is unnerving.