Living on a Single Philosophy
A question that I've gotten a lot is: How can you be an atheist Jew? It seems totally impossible. It's really not impossible at all; here's the way I think about it.
If you tried to live your life by a single moral, would you be able to do it? Let's take the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would like done unto you. Suppose I lived my entire life just by following that moral until one day when a lie just slips out inadvertently. What do I do then? I don't want people to lie to me, but according to my one and only moral, it's their prerogative.
Basically, I don't feel that I can live my life without having a more than one basis in philosophy. Just as a good research paper needs many good sources and not just one source, philosophy in my mind, requires the same thing. Without having knowledge or a decent understanding of other philosophies, how can you accurately choose your own? The previous post does touch upon this topic slightly.
I don't feel like I can live without religion. And by religion, I mean a set of moral values that happen to come from religious doctrine. However dated the doctrine may be, there's some good lessons to be learned in there. Like during Rosh Hashana when we read the binding of Isaac, where Abraham is so zealous, he's ready to kill his son. I realized that it really is bad to believe blindly in something where there's no proof. Quite a different message from the one that the Rabbi wanted me to take away from that service.
That's the beauty of this whole thing. I've taken the best of both worlds. Or rather, accepted my history as a Jew and just left God out of it.
So my point is, philosophy is much stronger when it's drawn from multiple sources because you're getting a more objective view of the world and of other people's philosophies without necessarily compromising any of your own personal beliefs.