Can You Go To Shul If You Don’t Believe In God?

I had an online conversation with a young Jewess:

If I told a rabbi that I don’t really believe in the Torah but I just want to live a good traditional wholesome lifestyle, are they going to send me packing?

Some would not but why would you join a group and tell them you don’t agree with their most sacred beliefs, you only want to join for utilitarian reasons? You should keep your disagreements to yourself and to the few people you can discuss them with.

OK. I want to be open though. I don’t like dishonesty. I can’t be fake.

Oh god, do you tell potential BFs about every lover you’ve had and how you had them?


It would be in bad taste, so much more so with 3000 year old Orthodox Judaism.

What if I just told a friend though?

Use your common sense, if it will distance you from the friend, what’s the point?

I see what you’re saying

You can never change anyone’s mind with arguing

I don’t want to change anyone’s mind.

There’s plenty I don’t agree with in OJ but I keep that to the people who are fine with discussing it. It never does any good to let people around you know that you think they’re wrong and stupid. The more you let people around you know that you are different, the more you give them reason to shun and exclude you. I am speaking from bitter experience.

I don’t think they’re wrong and stupid! That’s not it at all.

That’s how it will come across whatever you intention.

It’s just hard for me to convince myself a lot of things.

You will never see the truth in a religion unless you participate and put yourself in that sacred space regularly. Put yourself on a porn set and making porn seems like the most natural and healthy thing in the world. Put yourself in Church and Christianity makes sense. Put yourself in a shul you like, Judaism makes sense. Etc. I should open up a seminary for wayward Jewesses.

There’s a whole thriving subculture of orthodox jews who don’t believe.
I’ve known orthodox rabbis who dont believe in God.

Do you believe in objective good and evil?

I think so, but I don’t find it useful tool for analyzing the world. I prefer to see competing group interests.

My grandmother goes to minyan at synagogue every day and she doesn’t believe in god.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in God, Synagogue. Bookmark the permalink.