Towards Godless Judaism: Humanistic Judaism and Its Basic Values
Muhammed Ali BAĞIR
The Humanistic Judaism movement, which emerged from Reformist Judaism, was founded by Rabbi Sherwin Theodore Wine (1928–2007) in 1963 in Detroit, USA. Particularly among American Jews, it was recognized as the fifth sect in the face of Orthodox, Reformist, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. The most striking aspect of Humanistic Judaism, which is the newest of the contemporary Jewish sects, is that it advocates a godless understanding of Judaism based on universal values by opening the theological doctrines of Judaism to debate. Because of this feature, it is mostly accepted among the secular Jews who adopt agnostic or atheistic views. It exhibits the most radical stance against traditional Judaism. It regards Judaism as a historical and cultural experience of the Jewish people; religion is only a part of this experience. It believes that human beings are independent of a supernatural authority and are responsible for themselves and their behavior against them, and have the ability to shape their own lives without such power. It thinks that the history of the Jews, just like the history of other nations, consists solely of human and natural phenomena. It argues that the Torah and other religious texts are written by human beings and scientific researches clearly demonstrate that fact. The aim of this research is to emphasize the foundation of Humanistic Judaism by Rabbi Sherwin Theodore Wine and its place in today’s Jewish world by giving information about its basic teachings and practices. Information about Humanistic Jews will be taken as much as possible from the publications made by the members of the movement. These will be presented in comparison with specifically traditional Judaism.