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    Jean-Paul Sartre

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    June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980

    Is it possible to be an atheist Jew? Absolutely. There are countless examples of people who are Jewish ethnically but do not believe in G-d. We put ourselves sometimes in that category... especially when our favorite sports teams continue to lose.

    But is it possible to be a Jewish atheist? That seems a contradiction. For one cannot acquire Jewish ethnicity, and if one converts to Judaism, doesn't that stop them from being an atheist?

    A bit confusing, we know. But not much more confusing than the supposed Jewish conversion of French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre, who wasn't Jewish ethnically, was an atheist to the core.

    Supposedly, a month before his death, Sartre showed an interest in Judaism. But, from what we can gather, an interest is all that was; Sartre did not consider himself a Jew... he was just Jew-curious.

    Absurd? Confusing? Well, that's existentialism for you.

    Verdict: Sadly, Not a Jew.

    March 22, 2009

    See Also

    Jacques Derrida

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Boris Pasternak

    Marcel Proust

    Baruch Spinoza
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