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Books & Studies


Losing our religion: Your guide to a godless future (New Scientist, April 2014)

Joseph Agassi: Liberal nationalism for Israel - Joseph Agassi, Liberal nationalism for Israel, Jerusalem and N.Y., Gefen, 1999.This book was written in the shadow of the air of distress and despair which is spreading throughout Israel, a country which many of its residents think is progressively deteriorating. The book was written in 1984 and is even more relevant today, in 2007. Identifying the spreading distress and despair is important for understanding the proper ways to heal and repair it. Israel is now in an extremely abnormal and difficult situation -- Israeli governments have refused to recognize the existence of an Israeli nation and so cannot see the existence of the state as an instrument of political initiative and as a tool in the service of the nation and citizens who reside within its borders.

The Struggle for Hegemony in Jerusalem: Secular and Ultra-Orthodox Urban Politics - An excerpt from a pamphlet written by Shlomo Hasson, The Floersheimer Institute For Policy Studies (2001), Jerusalem, in which the author describes how Jerusalem became a Haredi city while democracy was being lessened in the city. The main causes were secular and Haredi (combined) -- the secular by power of authority and the Haredi for ideological and economic reasons. Jerusalem, just like the entire country, serves as an example of the gradual degeneration of democracy (in the widest sense) which should make all those who love freedom and liberty quake.

A State of Mind: How political Zionism was defeated by the Jewish religion - By Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, Nimrod Publishing House, 2004, 315 pp., www.eretzbrith.com. This book examines the basic failure of Zionism whose root is -- in the opinion of the author -- the definition of the State of Israel as a state based on the Jewish religion.

Response to Rabbi Segal - This essay offers criticism of the response written by Rabbi Ya'akov Segal to the publications of Daat Emet. The essay shows that Segal's arguments cannot be sustained and that beside vituperation, his essay offers nothing in response to the cases of matter-of-fact errors in the Pentateuch and in Rabbinic sources pointed out by Daat Emet.

Letter to Rabbi - A long, fascinating, and alluring letter from a yeshiva student to his rabbi, in which he discusses the dilemmas, difficulties, contradictions, and refutations of faith. He reveals the doubts and soul-searching of the educated believer, he who does not turn reason into the handmaiden of his faith. This is a contemporary document which open a window to doubts about Man's place in relationship to G-d throughout the history of all monotheistic religions.

How to measure time; what are the ages of rocks and geological sites? - By Prof. Oded Navon, Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Earth Sciences, and Dr. Mordechai Stein, a researcher at the Geological Survey of Israel in Jerusalem. This essay explains how time is measured and the age of rocks and geological sites. It clarifies, even to a person not expert in the field, upon what researchers rely when they determine the age of the planet Earth and utterly negates the religious tradition of a universe formed only 5766 years ago, when 'in the beginning, G-d created.'

The Age of Lights - By Michael Harsagur, The Broadcast University (second edition, 1989), Ministry of Defense, Tel Aviv. This book emphasizes the current import of the revolution of enlightenment against the forces of darkness, the fight of reason against religion. In Israeli society there are religious-political forces which seek to cut off at the root the saplings of rationality and reason, which have grown after hard physical and intellectual labor.

Jewish Theocracy - By Gershon Weiler. Afekim Library - Am Oved (1976), Tel Aviv. The central thesis of this book is that the Jewish religion and the existence of this state are diametrically opposed, and so a Jewish religious state is an oxymoron.

Ashmedai's nails - By Uzzi Ornan, Einam Publishing (1999) Kiryat Tivon. This book presents the secular Israeli world view. This world view is not given support -- financial or organizational -- from any public institution, and therefore there is a special need to express it, for otherwise it would not be brought, and the public -- the press, government offices, schools, radio, and television -- would continue to preach non-secular viewpoints. Therefore every voice trumpeting in public on behalf of secularism, freedom of expression, and against coercion should be supported and heeded.

The four elements in Jewish literature - By Prof. Yossi Rivlin. This article shows the imagination of religious people, how they use the science of their times to interpret the Holy Writ. Science, which is constantly being scrutinized, changes based on new findings while the Holy Writ, which claims to be eternal, becomes a source of scorn and of mockery.

Introduction

The power of an ideology, a world view, or a social policy greatly depends on the number of people who support it, both from the enlightened and from the broader public. Therefore we bring here excerpts from important books, articles, and studies which use critical, theoretical, and academic stances to support and strengthen views on the relevant topics -- religion, reason, the Jewish nation and the State of Israel -- while emphasizing the contrast between the problematic religious outlook and the enlightened outlook.
Anyone who wishes to publish an article or who has access to a book which he feels appropriate to bring to the attention of Daat Emet readers is invited to send the material to us.