For Jews, questioning is a good thing. We are taught not just to read the Torah, but to ask questions, to find our own explanations (to a certain extent). However, we are not told to branch out into a new sect whenever we disagree with something. As religion statistic expert George Barna said in a recent USA Today article, that would result in America having “310 million people with 310 million religions.” But Barna’s research shows that personalizing religion is catching on, the latest craze in a society set on customization.
While the bulk of Barna’s research is focused on Christianity, his recognition that people are simply “finding their own answers” applies to Judaism as well. There are those who, as Barna puts it, “accept Jesus as their savior” and those who don’t attend church at all. In Judaism, there is a similar spectrum. There are those who keep Kosher and observe the Sabbath, attending synagogue every weekend; those who simply don’t participate in organized religion at all yet still identify as Jewish; and those who live somewhere in between. Perhaps this speaks to the concept that Judaism is a culture, not just a religion; and when Jewish magazine Moment recently posed the question “Can there be Judaism without belief in God?” the answer was a resounding “yes.”