Prayer of an Atheist
Prayer of an Atheist
I enjoy being Jewish, but I have trouble connecting with God. I just don't see Him in my life, and I am suspecting that He does not exist. I don't really have a question for the rabbi, just wanted to share my thoughts.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
A basic tenet of Judaism is that since it is impossible to prove that God does "not" exist, therefore atheism is built on blind faith.
I would like to share with you a true story about an atheist:
Many people who visit Jerusalem are tourists who come to get a sense of Jewish culture and history. One day, a young tourist named Jeff was brought in to meet Rabbi Noah Weinberg at Aish HaTorah.
"What are you doing?" Rabbi Weinberg asked him.
"I'm working for my MBA at Harvard University. And I'm an atheist."
"Fantastic! A real atheist! Whoever was able to convince an atheist like you to speak to a rabbi like me deserves a medal."
"Nah," Jeff says, "he doesn't deserve anything. I'll tell you how I came..."
Jeff had been in Norway, visiting his Norwegian fiancée. And he decided it was now or never: either he is going to come to Israel or he'll never make it.
So he headed for Jerusalem and the Western Wall. He figured he would stop by the Wall to see some old stones. Yet upon his arrival he was amazed. He felt something heavy. He was moved.
Jeff stood before the Wall, and made up an atheist's prayer. He looked at the stones and said:
"God, I don't believe in You. As far as I know, You don't exist. But I do feel something. So if I'm making a mistake, I want You to know, God, I have no quarrel against You. It's just that I don't know that You exist. But God, just in case You're really there and I'm making a mistake, get me an introduction."
Jeff finished his prayer, and one of the yeshiva students who happened to be at the Wall, saw Jeff and thought, "Perhaps he'd be interested in learning some Torah."
He tapped Jeff on the shoulder, startling him so much that he jumped three feet in the air. Jeff whirled around and shouted,
"What in the blankety-blank-dash-bang do you want?!"
"I'm sorry. I just want to know if you'd like to learn about God."
That question hit Jeff like a 2-by-4 right between the eyes. He had just finished asking God for an introduction, and immediately someone was offering to introduce him to God.
Jeff learned at Aish HaTorah for the next six weeks. He was a very serious student, and went back to the States with a commitment to continue learning. A year later, Jeff came back to Israel and told Rabbi Weinberg the end of his story.
During that previous summer he had been meandering through the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City when he saw a pretty, sweet, religious girl walk by. He said to himself, "Look at the charm of this Jewish woman. May the Almighty help me meet someone like this."
One Shabbos morning during the next year, Jeff entered a synagogue in Boston for prayer services. Standing there was the same young woman he had seen in the Old City. He made his way over to her and said:
"Excuse me, but I believe I saw you last summer in Jerusalem."
She answered, "You're right. I saw you, too."
They are now married and living in New Jersey.
Remember Jeff's prayer. Because when you are sincere with God, your prayers are answered.
To learn more about the Jewish concept of prayer, go to: www.aish.com/sp/pr/