You often hear from atheists who left Christianity and occasionally from atheists who left Islam. You rarely hear about atheists who leave ultra-orthodox Judaism.
But apparently, there are many non-believers in their ranks and they’re starting to tell their stories:
Matan (a pseudonym like all names in this article) was an ultra-Orthodox Jew who stopped believing several years ago. “I don’t believe there is a God, but I also don’t really rule it out,” he said. “It can’t have an unequivocal answer. Our understanding as humans ends somewhere…Religion tells you exactly how to understand things, how to interpret them. This is exactly the problem.”
Matan was not alone. He was part of a growing phenomenon found deep within ultra-Orthodox society, part of a large group of haredim of all streams and divisions who call themselves the “Marranos,” secret Jews – haredim against their will, who have stopped believing, but are forced to live a lie and hide it from the people around them. But contrary to haredim who openly leave behid the faith to live a secular lifestyle, these “Marranos” look ultra-Orthodox on the outside, but their inner world is the exact opposite.
What these people need more than anything is a safe place to land, a secular community where they can be their true selves without fear of reprisal. They need, too, to be made aware that they have kindred spirits out in the world, that there’s a life outside ultra-Orthodox Judaism. If the worldwide atheist community continues to grow, we may soon be able to offer that to them.
I agree with Adam. If anyone wanting to leave any faith knew there was a place they could go where they would be welcomed and accepted, who knows how many people would leave the fold.