, 16 tweets, 3 min read
Hey, formerly Christian atheists, you are so far out of your lane you're not even on the road when you're interrupting conversations to yell at Jews for talking about the Bible. (Using that term so you know what I'm talking about.) 1/x
Here's the thing: for Christians, the Bible is a religious book.

For Jews, it's a *library* of cultural texts. Most of them assume a common religion (although Esther never mentions a deity), but then again, so does Shakespeare.
But they contain history, a legal system, erotic poetry, hero tales, and more. Again: library of cultural texts.

Just because y'all took that library, declared that it must be a cohesive whole & a single book and 100% only religious doesn't change that it's *not* that for Jews.
So yes, non-religious Jews & Jews of varying degrees of religiosity reference it in a variety of contexts, bc it's the foundational library for Jewish culture.

I read once that it's hard to talk for more than 5 minutes in English without using something coined by Shakespeare.
It's like that.

Jacob isn't just a religious figure in Judaism, he's an ancestor and culture hero.

Y'all going around yelling at Greeks for mentioning Achilles?
So imagine that we had an actually *good* single-volume anthology of foundational and significant writing for Western culture. Plato and Einstein and the Magna Carta and Maya Angelou.

Not perfect, not all inclusive, some problematic texts, definitely...
...but a good collection of the texts that have shaped the way we conceive of ourselves, build societies, some in there for sheer beauty, some in there for historical significance.

Shakespeare, of course. Freud. Mary Shelley.
Some of the texts deal with spirituality, and a lot of them (like, hey, Shakespeare) assume we're all at least culturally religious.
And then along comes a superpower (of course the analogy breaks down a bit here because instead of a small, colonized culture the West has been full of colonizing superpowers, but run with me here).
And they declare that this anthology is a single unified book by a single divine author and start a religion around it.

And they pass laws saying that the rest of us can't put on Shakespeare productions, burn any books we write about law derived from the Magna Carta...
They kill people who have different takes on the anthology than they do, they torture people into professing their specific take on it, etc.
And after about 2000 years of this, after they've well and truly co-opted everything connected to this anthology and almost everyone in the world associates it with them.
And after about 2000 years of it, an increasing number of them are pissed off about the whole thing, they're sick of this text, and they're ROYALLY pissed at people who are still trying to use it as a bludgeon for their religion.
And so here you are, meanwhile, trying to talk about Shakespeare and the Lion King and West Side Story, and these people are screaming at you to stop it with the religious talk.
Because you're quoting Shakespeare, and that's A PURELY RELIGIOUS TEXT.

Because they said so.
And yes, the Tanakh is more focused on religion than this hypothetical anthology of Western foundational writings. I'm hyperbolizing to make a point.

But it's not a purely religious collection of writings. Again: it's a cultural library.
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