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However this shift in the experience of the world is something that most prefer not to articulate. All that we can offer is our reverent and attentive silence before the Divine. His position, he argues, is not that of the atheist, but rather that of one who lives after the Holocaust, in a world where we know of the death of God. Eventually, however, Rubenstein developed a conception of God that he felt more comfortable with.

God and Modernity | A New and Better Way To Do Theology | Taylor & Francis Group

In place of the traditional conceptions of God, Rubenstein suggested that we turn to a concept of God as Holy Nothingness. This God—not far off from certain mystical conceptions of God—is entirely without definition, yet is the source of all creation. This God can be found in nature. In fact, God is the order found in nature, which no power can transcend.

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. Influenced by the realities of modern science and the experience of the Holocaust, thinkers such as Mordecai Kaplan and Richard Rubenstein b.

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At the center of his thinking is the notion that Judaism is more about culture and peoplehood than it is about religion and faith. Kaplan rejected many traditional principles of Jewish law and faith and sought to redefine them in ways that would be intellectually, spiritually, and ethically compelling for American Jewry. He embraced modern science and its natural explanations, which—according to Kaplan—necessitated the rejection of belief in supernatural forces, including a supernatural God. Instead of seeing God as supernatural, Kaplan saw God as a force within nature that allows for order and goodness: the power that makes salvation possible.

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Kaplan altered traditional approaches to Jewish life to make them cohere with this theology. Kaplan stressed the aspects of Judaism and of Jewish ritual that give meaning and unity to the human experience.


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Richard Rubenstein—also an ordained Conservative rabbi—also argues that one cannot sustain a belief in a supernatural God, not because of the truths of modernity, but because of the events of the Nazi era. Rubenstein recognized that traditional Judaism asserts that Jewish suffering is the result of Jewish sin.

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However this shift in the experience of the world is something that most prefer not to articulate. All that we can offer is our reverent and attentive silence before the Divine.

His position, he argues, is not that of the atheist, but rather that of one who lives after the Holocaust, in a world where we know of the death of God. Eventually, however, Rubenstein developed a conception of God that he felt more comfortable with.

Apophatic theology

In place of the traditional conceptions of God, Rubenstein suggested that we turn to a concept of God as Holy Nothingness. This God—not far off from certain mystical conceptions of God—is entirely without definition, yet is the source of all creation. This God can be found in nature.

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In fact, God is the order found in nature, which no power can transcend. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you.