You can get along without Java. You can still use the internet. You can delete it through your control panel. You can always download it back from it's site after they fix the loophole. Better to be safe than cracked.
Is JAVA even needed on the typical computer?
I constantly get invitations to update JAVA. Always have since buying the computer. Why? Why is JAVA on my computer in the first place?
Java is a programming language and runtime environment that is standardized across every platform it runs on. It can run in nearly every browser, on Windows computers, on Apple computers, on Linux computers, on Android phones, and on other platforms I can't think of off the top of my head. Every platform runs the EXACT same source code and runs it pretty much the EXACT same way. Thus programmers can write a program once and not have to change it to run on each different platform. This is a major advantage.
It can do things that cannot be done in a regular browser, like graphics, action buttons, and direct access to the computer operating system, which is why it is used for these sorts of exploits.
As Schultzz said, better safe than sorry, and you can always reinstall it later. The vast vast vast majority of the time, you're not using it for anything. Remove it. If you run across something you're trying to do that explicitly says it requires Java, you can install it later.