SECULAR & HUMANISTIC JUDAISM
Peter Bishop, Ph.D.
Dr. Bishop's field is computer science, but he has also
been a humanist activist for over 30 years writing newsletter articles and a few articles for humanist magazines in North
America. He has published a book of humanist songs, and is author of a humanist creed published in the Humanist Magazine
in 1980. He also assisted in the original incorporation of Rational Recovery and followed its transformation into SMART Recovery.
Recently he has been teaching Humanist philosophy to late elementary school and junior high school age children attending
the Sunday School of the Humanist Community in Silicon Valley, CA. He is working on a textbook for such a philosophy class.
He is currently a staff philosopher for the IFSHJ.
Dr. Bishop has started writing papers for the IFSHJ, with three
short essays on the impact of Albert Einstein on 20th and 21st century thought:
On Einstein and 21st Century Philosophy
On Einstein and His God
Does God Play Dice with the Universe?
My Answer to Descartes.
For many years, Descartes' quote: "I think, therefore I am" bothered me. On the one hand it was wonderfully
short and easy to understand, but on the other hand, it was not quite right. For one thing, it was at odds with the
major discovery of Existentialism: that Existence precedes Essence. One day in 1990, I was inspired to write my
answer to Descartes:
I think, so I know that I am.
understand, so I know what I am.
I feel, so I care what I am.
I dream, so I know what I might become.
act, so I become myself.
When my wife, Catherine, and I started our family, we realized that we wanted to teach our
children what we believed. We spent two years writing this creed, when I published it in the Humanist magazine. I have never
wanted to change a single word of it. To me, the ideal of a creed is that it expresses the true beliefs of the speaker. In
the Humanist tradition, then, the ideal is for each humanist to write his or her own creed, not to use it as a litmus test
of group membership. Marvin Rosenblum asked me to add the word "Judaic" to its original title. I was happy to agree.
I believe in the real world and in people. I believe in separating myth from reality. I
believe that people can solve their problems by using imagination and common sense applied with courage and following basic
All my life I want to learn and develop and
enrich the lives of other people. I want to feel the joy of life. I want to make peace, democracy, and well-being in the world
while respecting the freedom of people everywhere.
in beauty and in the beauty of truth. Beauty can be loved even when it is not understood, but truth can only found through
understanding. Truth becomes clearer and more beautiful the more it is investigated.