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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q18.4.5 TOC Q18.4.7 >

Question 18.4.6:
Fallacy: Reform Judaism has Rabbis and congregations that don't believe in G-d


Individual beliefs of Rabbis and congregations are personal, and not subject to scrutiny by the movement. However, there has been a case where a congregation was refused membership in UAHC because they removed all references to G-d from their liturgy, and refused to allow prayers mentioning G-d to be said in their santuary.

Note that there are rabbis and laypeople in all of the Jewish denominations who go through a crisis of faith, have uncertainties about the nature of G-d, or who are agnostic or atheist. Faith can not be forced. An atheist or agnostic is not someone who thinks "There really is a G-d, but I shall not admit it". Rather an atheist or agnostic is someone who thinks "I see no evidence for G-d's existence, and am certain (or fairly sure) that G-d does not exist." By definition, one can never force someone to change their beliefs; that can only come about from something internal to that person.

Does Judaism demand that such a person be considered as if they are in contempt of Judaism? No. They are only held accountable for their actions, for while beliefs are not a matter of choice, actions are. The Talmud of the Land of Israel (Talmud Yerushalmi) posits that G-d says about them "Would they were to forsake Me, providing that they keep My law, for as a result of occupying themselves with it, its light will bring them back to the right path" (Tractate Hagigah 1:7, 76c).

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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