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A rabbi who asks the right questions

April 12, 2011

One of my amazing former students, the incomparable Jessi Propst, sent me this piece that appeared in the Huffington Post’s religion section. In it, Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman argues that, when trying to size up a person’s world view, “Do you believe in God?” is the wrong question to ask. He writes:

Either God exists, or God doesn’t. And we have absolutely no control over that fact. And so because there’s nothing we can do about whether there is a God, I’ve never found that question to be a particularly interesting one to ask.

Religion reporters, take note. Questions matter. If you want a meaningful, illuminating answer, Mitelman says, ask a question like  “How can we bring more justice and kindness into this world?” and  “When have we felt moments of deep connection?”

These two questions, I have found, resonate with people much more deeply and create much more interesting, much more respectful and much more valuable conversations than asking “Do you believe in God?” These questions prompt people to ask together, “How should I be treating myself and those around me?” “How can we be more open to the varied experiences of life?” Rather than thinking that those who believe in God are “better” than those who don’t, each of us can examine how we can be more just and kind, and how we can create a deeper connection with ourselves, with others and with our world.


This is what I love about Judaism.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessi Propst permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:45 pm

    You are too sweet! I’m glad you shared this article with your world. I love it.

  2. David Parker permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:02 am

    Here’s another interesting question: Do you think it is possible to know that God exists?

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