Sun, 13 Jul 1997 11:06:24 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Torah-forum:

Please find below an E-Mail from a 15 year old relative of mine that both
parents are Jewish, however, has been raised "Reform". In a short
conversation I had with her I received this reply. I was hoping to solicit
the help of your forum to answer her without alienation. Thanks,

"Dear Uncle Covaay,

First of all, I am agnostic. I am open to the idea that there may be a god
or gods, but I don't believe that there is any way to actually know. You say
Judaism is based on historic facts. But what about evolution? What about
fossils? I suppose it says somewhere in the bible that God created fossils
or that God created many species before deciding which ones to keep. But
what is the bible? It's no more proven than a book about Joan of Arc. I
think there was probably a Joan of Arc, but maybe not everything about her
that is in books actually happened. Maybe the people writing the books got
some things messed up. I think it's possible that Joan of Arc never existed
and neither did Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein. But I think that the
important things in life aren't whether Adam and Eve created the entire human
population, but rather what we have now and what we know. I know that you
don't agree with me and maybe you think that things from the past tell us how
we should act in the present. But I believe that all that matters is that
you live life how you want to live your life and let others live their lives
how they want to live them. What I'm trying to say is that if God exists and
will punish me for not living according to the bible, I don't care because He
gave me the ability to act on my own and He can't deny me the right to live
as I please.
As for Spinoza, I think he had wonderful ideas. I think that everything
seems to make a bit more sense if you think that everything in the world is
connected and is part of one unit. It might not be true in every way, but
it's a nice thought and I don't hesitate to say that it is easier to agree
with than the idea of one man and his wife bringing every species of animal
on land onto a boat and taking them to start a new world.

If you reply, I'll read it, but I won't ever become an active Jew, so don't
try to convert me. Thank you for listening."

This is it. Thanks for your help.