Dennis Prager continues his series on Explaining Jews with Part Two today: Why are Most Jews Secular?

Why most contemporary Jews are irreligious, given that the Jews gave the world the Bible and introduced humanity to the God of monotheism, is a fascinating subject. It is also a vital subject given the role that secular Jews -- such as Marx, Freud and Einstein -- have played in forming the modern world.

Mr. Prager discusses the split from Orthodox Judaism to found Reform Judaism, but goes on to address the reasons why that hasn't actually kept the Jewish faith alive and well in the believer. He then explains the reasons why so many Jews leave the Orthodox faith in the first place.

And why did most Jews reject Orthodoxy? Over the course of thousands of years, a combination of anti-Semitism and Orthodox Jewish law -- one of whose primary purposes was to keep Jews separated from the non-Jewish world -- kept Jews in isolation. And when any group has little or no interaction with other groups, its intellectual life begins to atrophy. This was not only true in Orthodox shtetls; it is a problem in much of the Islamic world today as well as in the secular liberal university.

Therefore, once Orthodoxy was exposed to the light of freedom, it had few rational or convincing responses to the modern world's challenges. Faced with the choice between science, Mozart, personal liberty and great literature on the one hand, and Orthodox isolation on the other, the choice for nearly all Jews was obvious.

As always, Dennis is a must read. Thank God for this man, who is not a Messianic Jew, but still believes that Christians are the Jew's best friend. At the conference I attended, many of the Jewish speakers explained that they felt as though Christianity was one of their greatest enemies, given the fact that they've historically suffered tremendous tribulations in the name of Christ. I cannot blame them, but I thank God for men like Dennis Prager and Michael Medved and other prominent, conservative Jews who realize that it's not the same Christianity it used to be, and that, we're really their only ally now.

There's no telling what could happen if the schism between the Jews and Christians could be mended. Christians would so gain from the re-introduction of our Jewish roots, and Jews would find some powerfully loyal friends, at the very least.

Posted by Portia at January 24, 2006 08:46 AM | TrackBack