Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
This document was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1948, and eventually (by 1976) it was included in two larger “Covenants” which were ratified by a sufficient number of member states to take on the force of international law.
The writer Ron Rosenbaum—who is working on his own biography of Bob Dylan—was interviewed by JWeekly.com. He had recently given a lecture at Stanford University called “Bob Dylan’s God Problem—and Ours.” He’s asked in the article whether he thinks Bob Dylan is an observant Jew or not.
“It’s a difficult question to answer,” Rosenbaum said. “If you read the Internet, there are all sorts of sightings of Dylan at Chabad-Lubavitcher services. Does that mean he’s become one of them? I don’t know. Does that mean any of [the sightings] are verifiable? There are enough of them to make you think there’s something to it. But who knows? He could be exploring, experimenting, whatever. He’s certainly no longer the scolding Christian that he was for a few years.”
Dylan’s departure from Christianity “was sort of gradual,” he said. “It’s not like he formally abjured it. It just seemed to slip into the past.” In fact, Rosenbaum sees a profoundly Jewish thread woven throughout Dylan’s life, including the ’60s years.
It’s kind of amazing, when you think about it, that it even needs to be said that there is a “profoundly Jewish thread woven throughout Dylan’s life.” Isn’t that pretty hard to miss? But then the Jewish experience in America includes the phenomenon of those who try to run away from their Jewishness, in a variety of senses, and Dylan has given some reason to believe that he might be doing this at different times. This article also includes a quote from an interview Dylan gave to Rosenbaum in 1977, where he said, “I’ve never felt Jewish. I don’t really consider myself Jewish or non-Jewish.” That sounds like a flat-out rejection, but I would suggest that (aside from Dylan’s knee-jerk hatred of labels) it was more an expression of frustration at that particular time with his failure up to that date to find answers in Judaism as he then knew it, based on his upbringing and life experiences. The whole subject of faith in Dylan’s life was to undergo an earthquake not long thereafter, and comments from him that touch on his Jewishness post-1979 are quite different. Continue reading Ron Rosenbaum on Bob Dylan, Judaism, Christianity etc→
It is something which adds bitter insult to grievous injury, when a brutal killer is rewarded after the fact of his crimes by having his twisted personal manifesto widely publicized and analyzed, before the eulogies for the victims have even been heard. Often when it happens the killer himself is dead, but not so in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, who will apparently have the opportunity to enjoy his notoriety for many years to come, since Norway does not practice capital punishment (and in theory he may be released after 21 years in prison). Inevitably his 1518 pages of writing, titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” will be pored over in an attempt to explain his demonic acts.
Since I already wrote something two days ago regarding the common description of Breivik in the media as a “fundamentalist Christian,” a follow-up on that point based on his writings seems called for, at least in my own mind. There’s no possibility of my reading his entire opus, but I thought a quick probe of his “Christianity” might be possible by simply doing a word search for the name Jesus. Unsurprisingly, the references I found this way betrayed no particular faith and even less any sensitivity to Christian teaching. He seems to stitch in cold references to Christianity merely as part of his process of documenting whatever it is he thinks he is documenting. On page 1307, he explicitly states that he has no “personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God” but instead believes in Christianity “as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform.” I speculate that he may find that this position leaves something to be desired when he meets his Maker. But I know of no kind of “fundamentalist Christian” (a term which in itself is poorly used far more than it is ever accurately used) who would say such a soulless thing. Continue reading Breivik: Neither Jesus nor Robert Spencer inspired his bloodlust→