I’m attending a bris today. (If you don’t know what it is, don’t look it up. If you insist on looking it up, don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Assuming I’m well enough… I’m feeling kind of under the weather. The kid’s parents are very close friends of mine, and now of the ex-Girlfriend as well. They’re not at all religious.
When they got married, they had a recognizably Jewish ceremony. So did the ex-Girlfriend and I, though we’re not religious either. This phenomenon is not limited to Jews. I have close friends that are Catholic and various shades of Protestant that are not religious, and those that have been married have done so in ceremonies that are recognizably of the faith they are, um, nominally members of. One friend of mine who is Catholic goes to mass almost every Sunday, but its fairly obvious he doesn’t believe in God at all.
So why do people participate in these ceremonies in which they don’t believe?
I can think of several reasons for this:
1. Family pressures.
2. Social networking.
3. Bet hedging. (Pascal’s wager)
4. All of us really do believe.
5. We place some value on tradition or history.
I personally would answer #5. What else is there? What am I missing?