Genuine Question To Theists Part 2 :)

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by enlightenment, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Enlightenment,

    When I refer to Jewish texts, I'm not speaking of some infallible canon. I'm talking about many many volumes that have been written and continue to be written. Certainly there have been a few xenophobic writings but no Jew is under an obligation to accept everything those texts say as the absolute word of G!d (the Torah is a separate issue and that varies from individual-to-individual, denomination to denomination, and similar though not quite the same thing could be said for the Talmud which is a little different because it presents so much conversation and difference of opinion.) Some Jews choose to hold some of those documents in high esteem because of the way they view the authors of those texts. That's the case with hasidism.

    For myself, I don't see any writings as independently sacred, only sanctified through the perspective of the people that consider the text holy. The perspective of the community invests deeper meaning into a text that in another situation might be seen as mundane. I do look for deeper meanings in Torah for example, but I also think it's important to acknowledge the ways in which the text is limited. Jewish interpretation, following Rambam's understanding of a statement by R Akiva in tractate berachot, understands that "The torah speaks in the language of man." As I understand it, this is because the whole thing was penned by man like any other human document.

    I want to include this link which might be helpful in explaining the context (and lack of existence) of some of the things you might have read about gentiles in Jewish writings :

    The Real Truth About The Talmud
     
  2. enlightenment

    enlightenment New Member

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    Thanks.

    It will take me some time to trawl all of that, properly, fella.

    See, I have read less lines from the Jewish holy books, than those in either the Koran or bible. But there is no doubt that in the latter mentioned, there is great violence threatened within the pages, against people who will not succumb to the same thinking.

    I just don't see what is too different about those examples, way back then, and the partial religous war we have going on today.

    I say partial, since there are other factors in there too.

    Money, power, the usual suspects.

    Overall, I do have to wonder if religion has brought more to mankind than it has taken?

    It is an interesting concept.

    Where would be be today, how would we have evolved mentally, had the mere idea of religion been an unknown..?

    There seems to be much confusion, not over whether or not god exists, in the religous use of the word, but between the religions themselves.

    We have had Protestant and Catholics at it, Arabs and Jews, etc, etc, all believing that their way is THE way, and often killing and dying for it, that is how fervent they get that they are doing the 'right' thing.

    If I created a bunch of kids, and they were to grow up and be confused, and argue as to whether or not I was their father, among other things, I would feel a total sense of duty, since they were my creation, to go in, and at least put everyone straight.

    There have been lots of biblical refs to god apparently speaking (albeit, he does seem rather shy?), but when was the last time?

    It seems to me that god has not really spoken as reported for about 2000 years or more.

    We live in times of turmoil.

    There is fightign among those who are faith based.

    The least the 'creator' can do is show face, and speak to ALL religous, tell them the truth, and then they can go forward as one religion, in the know.

    Heck, they would likely even get the sceptics in as well.

    :)
     
  3. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Religion is no more a plague than epidermis. You will always have faith, and you will necessarily suffer religious myopia -- atheist or not. Its a biological fact that when you say 'religious people' you are talking about earth's entire population of humans. You can be an atheist, but you are still human, so you will always have to believe in order to do anything, and you will always be wrong about many things and not know it. Biologically, you are bound by the powers of language and thought to be a creature of faith and myth. Sorry.

    Language and Myth: à Propos Des Noms ... - Google Book Search
     
  4. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    ... the assumption being that your thought is indeed open and independent.
     
  5. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    The assumption is that I am willing to be open. You feel obligated to defend something and by doing so, deny yourself its depth.
     
  6. enlightenment

    enlightenment New Member

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    LOL.

    Same old Code.

    Only with someone new tonight.

    PMSL.
     
  7. Amica

    Amica Member

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    Peace--

    God is believed by a monotheist to be eternal, never dying and with you always. In the Holy Qur'an it states that God Almighty is closer to a human more so than his own main artery. He is Omnipresent and can make anything alive or dead, existant or non existant. A person loving God more than anything or anyone else is a form of true monotheistic faith recognized by Islaam, because loving anyone/anything more than God is blasphemy, idolatry. As with all three great religions, idolatry is worship forbidden by God Almighty.
    Most famous prophets pbut, starting with Abraham pbuh, loved God The Merciful more thant his relatives. For instance, Abraham pbuh denounced his father for worshiping idols. Some of Jesus' pbuh followers denounced their family members who tried to make them leave the path of God. This is not to say that all these good people hated their family, they rather sacrificed their relationships for the relationship with God. But God the Creator is not forcing people to do this, because He is not dependent on anyone. People, out of their own free will, chose/choose so.
     
  8. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    @ Nick

    Again, the assumption being that you are actually willing to be open...
    any more so then others...


    @ Enlightenment

    Same old "enlightenment"... has nothing important to say,
    but has to say something anyway..
     
  9. Abdullah

    Abdullah Member

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    peace enlightement; inshAllah [God-willing] Allah will indeed enlighten you :)

    God is our creator; He is our source of life and litterally everything we have; it is for Him we live and die and love our fellow humans, thus for Him has to be the ultimate love, for everything 'revolves' around Him and [every good act] is for Him, and with the most love for Him, will we then not let anything get in our way of His obedience

    :)
     
  10. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    no, i simply do not agree. that is because i do not find your arguments remotely coherent or convincing. my mum says the same thing when i don't agree with her, because it's blatantly obvious to her that she must be right and she can't see how anyone could possibly disagree if they understood it. well, she's wrong - and you're wrong too. your "eye for an eye" straw man is the oldest chestnut in the book and it's based on a complete lack of knowledge of how the text in question is used. not only that, but i utterly fail to see how your definition of "secularism" matches the definition you cite! i mean look:

    now, unless you are saying that my religious beliefs are "irrespective of religious beliefs" and my system of morals has no religious element, the language here doesn't support your position. and, if you don't even have an elementary understanding of judaism as a spiritual system, (which you don't, because all you ever do is refer back to false dichotomies between judaism and christianity) you are not in a position to say that my religious beliefs are non-religious, nor that my morals lack religious input.

    being "willing to be open" is not the same as actually *being* open. but then again, i guess interpretation is not exactly your métier.

    now why don't you stop wasting everyone's time with these irrelevant, dogmatic interruptions and let the grown-ups talk, please? i'm trying to have a dialogue with enlightenment, no pun intended.

    yes. you become jewish one of two ways - by being born into it, or by converting into it. if you're born into it, then when you grow up, regardless of what you do or think, you're still jewish. now what i'm describing here is the basic position of jewish religious law, or "halakhah" - there are other bases on which various *other groups* decide someone is jewish or not. for example, people concerned with ethnicity; this group includes everything from governments to jew-haters. thus, the nazis considered anyone with one jewish grandparent to be jewish and therefore subhuman and slated for extermination. (for this reason, it is also the criterion used by the israeli law of return - NB, israel has its own civil law system, which is *not* halakhah, although halakhah is in certain respects "established" just as shari'a is in some muslim countries, as well as in israel, that's a hangover from ottoman law). by contrast, the british government would accept someone to be jewish who considered themself jewish, especially if there was litigation involved. by this light, someone could consider themselves "ethnically" jewish without being "halakhically" jewish, regardless of what they themselves believed or practised. confusing, eh?

    yes, it's one of the things i dislike about hasidism. remember, just because someone is really good on one aspect of religion, it doesn't mean they're equally good on everything. i am a huge admirer of maimonides, for example, but i also consider him to have been a bit clueless when it came to christianity, mostly because he didn't know any christians apart from the hairy ones a couple of hundred miles away who were busy slaughtering anyone who wasn't christian. his opinion on christianity, therefore, is not the final word on the subject. judaism is quite complicated like that.

    exactly. and what you said in #181 about the talmud. except, obviously about the Torah being a human document.

    i am gratified to see this discussion become less adversarial and more productive.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  11. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Saying that it is "complicated" can very well be viewed as an escape clause. Old established and widespread religions are invariably changed and adopt different focal voices from a shared body of knowledge. We tend to talk of religion as wholes but they never are, they differentiate right down to the individual believer. This can be viewed as a primary flaw in theism and a careful look at those that become particularly attached to a particular sub-doctrine, all religions being a collection of such sub-doctrines, and the environmental qualities of their base reveals so much. Evidence that religion is only an ancient form of politics.

    Even I dare not get into a discussion about Jewishness and race. To criticise this aspect within the Jewish diaspora results only in foundless accusations of anti-Semitism as a fascism. A position Jews now have no moral case to use given the support they bestow on Israel in light of the vicious and hateful attack on a largely civilian population in Gaza. I do not care about the political nor the religious issues but the humanitarian ones. If neither religion nor politics can do anything to bring an end to such terrible suffering what use are they anyway?
     
  12. enlightenment

    enlightenment New Member

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    As it goes, I too have noticed this, esp on the internet.

    Any criticism of Israel, and either you are tagged as a supporter of Hamas, or a 'Nazi'.

    Sometimes the holocaust will be cynically trotted out, and used.

    I think that insults the memory of those European Jews who did die, at that time.

    What Sir Gerlald Kaufman said? True that was.
     
  13. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    That's what I was saying in the parentheses in the first paragraph, that Torah is a separate matter that's dealt with differently by different people and different denominations. The second paragraph then is the way I view Torah. I may not have been terribly clear.

    Why do you see diversity in religion as a flaw and how is that diversity evidence that all religion is exclusively an ancient form of politics and never anything else?

    Firstly I don't see at all what Judaism not being a race has to do with morality. It's a matter of definition. We don't call the Japanese a race and the Jewish gene pool is more diverse. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Nation or people works. We use that language ourselves. Though nation, obviously, implies that we trace ourselves back to an old nation that no longer exists and have been scattered across the globe.

    Secondly, why do you assume that all Jews support the actions of the Israeli gov't in Gaza? Or are you saying that any Jew who does not support the Israeli gov'ts actions in Gaza does have a moral case? Do all of the zionist Christians (who may well number greater than all of world Jewry) get the same types of criticism from you or do you mainly make sweeping generalizations about the Jewish community which is quite divided in its perspectives on Gaza?

    edited to add:

    Diverse Jewish perspectives on the events in Gaza:

    http://files.tikkun.org/current/index.php?topic=israel

    More diverse Jewish perspectives on the events in Gaza:

    http://www.jewcy.com/node/3685?as_q...00884:iadtey5a0e8&cof=FORID:11&sa=Search#1018
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  14. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    bb


    Again missing the point. Dauer put it nicely:


    Instead of trying to collectively raise its ability to understand, modern Judaism seems open to interpret the Torah and Talmud for personal and societal pragmatic concerns. Instead of raising our ability to experience and preserve our objective connection with a higher reality, secularism brings God down to its level. This IS secularism. You just want to put a bow on it but all these man made interpretations as a whole create man made secularism. welcome to the real world.
     
  15. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    not if the question asked was extremely broad. it is often easier, however to say what judaism isn't or doesn't than what it is or does. is easier to if you have a specific question, i will do my best to answer it. however, you seem to be in a rush to pass judgement and all i can really say is that i try to speak in good faith.

    a generalism but it's not untrue in the case of judaism.

    and that's a bad thing why?

    not at all. complicated data sets can be interpreted in multifarious ways, as i'm sure you're aware, although the normative view will become established over time. the codification process in judaism has done this over the last 1500 years; there are some good things about this but others not so good.

    except that judaism was never built up of doctrines, but around a corpus of law. and that is a very different kettle of fish. judaism does not have a systematic theology and the idea that it should have is a quite modern one and somewhat controversial.

    depends on how you define politics. there is certainly politics involved, always has been. but you seem determined to see this as a bad thing.

    well, i can't see why you'd get into strife with people seeing as how you're taking such a carefully neutral position.

    i care about all three. and i hope your humanitarian values also extend to the civilian population of israel and the jewish communities of the diaspora, under attack as we are.

    that's true, perhaps, there is a Torah principle "justice, justice you shall pursue" to which i feel far more attention should be paid. sadly all types of ideology have always been of service to those who think that they are not obliged to take reponsibility for their actions and would rather blame "the other", whether this is in israel, palestine, iraq, lebanon, sri lanka, burma, tibet, sudan, somalia, congo, pakistan, afghanistan or any of the numerous other trouble spots around the world.

    by some, perhaps. personally, as i know something about the real effects of nazism and ikhwan ideology, i tend to avoid throwing labels around unless truly deserved. sadly, the discussion is more often dominated by those who are keen to identify who, from their perspective, the "goodies" are, so they can support them with all their might and denigrate the "baddies" equally energetically. real life is somewhat more complicated - escape clause noted!

    certainly both sides of I/P use the term fairly freely to suit their purposes in a way i personally find quite appalling.

    yes, it's amazing how his politics have altered since his constituency became muslim-majority. i think someone wants to make sure he gets re-elected.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    My perception is that Judaism has an extremely and comprehensively philosophical outlook about anything - if something is worth discussing, then all possible perceptions and opinions must therefore be discussed, until some general consensus or point of wisdom is underlined that may be of interest to anyone looking into the discussion.

    The Talmud - essentially, a written commentary on discussions about being Jewish - is absolutely huge. I tried to put it all on this site a while back, but even just pasting in the formatting was such a challenge that I passed on it.

    From my own limited perspective of Judaism, it does seem a far more introspective and intellectual religion - far more on a par with an "ancient philosophy" in that while the Divine is a necessary part of Judaism and Jewish identity, the extreme self-analysis is much more recognisably philosophical in nature. And, ultimately, far less concerned with converting other people, and instead more focused on the question "What am I?"

    Perhaps I'm completely wrong - it's just an opinion I've developed. :)
     
  17. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    Hi NewDawn. This too is an escape clause, I think: That, if God exists, why doesn't he come down here and fix things instead of allowing tragedy to happen to innocent people?

    Would your kids learn anything if you always fixed things for them when they screw up? Enlightenment, I'm looking your way. ;)

    I don't believe my religion will fix things. However, it gives me hope that the innocent ones are in God's hands, rather than just vapourized into electrical energy and nothingness.
     
  18. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    New Dawn

    Secular religion and politics are tools just like a knife is a tool. If a person doesn't know how to use or take care of a knife, it cannot function as intended. It is the same with politics and secular religion.

    The question for me then is how to fix US?
     
  19. enlightenment

    enlightenment New Member

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    It is huge, apparently.

    Mind you, neither the Koran or bible are light reading either!

    Sigh, these early creators of religions.

    Could they have not been satisfied with getting their message over on one sheet of A4 paper?

    :)
     
  20. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    You're assuming that Judaism is a message. My impression is that it's about a communal experience.

    As for getting it all on one A4 sheet of paper, religion can take a lifetime to appreciate and understand.

    Judaism is perhaps the most mature, open-minded and progressive of the three (and maybe it's because it's the oldest) and it seems many agree it's therefore the most intellectual.

    It's not that Christianity and Islam aren't communal, it's just that I think Jews have spent more time thinking about the communal experience and the social and political organisation, arrangement and alignment of its adherents. It also seems that Judaism is less of a "message" proportionately than Christianity and Islam.

    But I guess Christianity and Islam don't really belong in the same category as Judaism in terms of a "message" in the sense that Christianity was most likely supposed to be an early Noahide movement and Islam was a continuation of that movement as a means of bringing an "Abrahamic tradition" to non-Jews. Judaism itself didn't see a need to "spread" and was more interested in retaining its own identity.

    Sometimes I wonder if this was all part of an agenda by the Abrahamic God, that the Jews would retain their identity, meanwhile Christians and Muslims would spread their respective ideology, and somehow discover their place in Judaism as Noahides and finally be able to merge in with the Jewish collective.

    Of course, from the Christian point of view, Jews are supposed to convert to Christianity and become what one might call "Messianic Jews." From the Muslim point of view, Jews and Christians acknowledge Mohammed as a prophet, become dhimmis and accept the message of Islam.

    I guess this is the Jewish view, that all of us non-Jews become Noahides (and with the Seven Noahide Laws it isn't really that hard), become "Righteous Gentiles" (ie. we'd have Christian and Muslim Noahides) and acknowledge the Jewish traditions.

    If this were to happen, it all leads to a number of issues. I personally don't think it would be fair to say we all had to convert to one of the three traditions. It would be humiliation and a loss of dignity to adherents of the other two traditions. I actually think there's a way to agree with the other two traditions without losing one's dignity or religious identity.

    I don't think conversion is absolutely necessary for the three traditions to reach their full potential or fulfill their respective missions. Conversion has to do with changing one's collective or communal identity. Mission has to do with a social and political agenda. Part of the Abrahamic faiths has always been about both a mission and a communal identity. When a particular tradition is inward-looking, it is thinking about its communal identity. When it is outward-looking, it is thinking about its mission.

    The Big Three of the Abrahamic faiths could be thought of as the organs of a government. Modern Western political systems, for example, have as their main three branches the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Each are to a large extent independent of the other, through the principle of the separation of powers. I wonder if the Big Three of the Abrahamic faiths are supposed to be a bit like that?

    I'm not saying the Abrahamic God is necessarily trying to set up some kind of statecraft. It's just that maybe he has a distinct and separate purpose for each of the traditions.

    It sounds like the Abrahamic God is trying to say that (trying to express this as elegantly as possible) the dog is no better for being able to bark, the bird is no better for being able to fly and the fish is no better for being able to swim. I would commend anyone who can find a shorter way of saying that.:)
     

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