An atheist is inspired by the Jewish philosophy and approach to religion, how it’s built around questioning and responding with more and deeper questions. He’s not sold on the God stuff, but decides he can look past that if it means getting to engage with a thoughtful, inquisitive community.
So, he goes to see the local rabbi and ask about joining. The rabbi explains it’s not so easy. There’s a process, and it’s a long one, and maybe easier to go back in time and be born to a Jewish mother, if truth be told.
But, the atheist says those rules are outdated, and a religious community should be based only on shared beliefs.
The rabbi responds that part of those shared beliefs is a shared respect for the tradition.
But the atheist points out that the tradition is one of questioning the rules.
They go back and forth, on and on, neither giving an inch in the argument until finally the atheist is just exhausted and gives up saying, “Fine, I guess if you won’t let me join there’s nothing I can do about that.”
“Not let you join?” the rabbi says, “What do you think we’ve been doing this whole time?”