Why are the Virtues not enough?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Pilgram, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    judaism says that there is no way of knowing which commandment G!D cares more about. this is epitomised by a talmudic principle which says that you shouldn't break off one commandment to do another. in other words, finish what you're doing first. it is also to be seen in the context of hillel's comment that the "golden rule" is the basis of Torah and that "all else is commentary". however, the *implications* of this are stated to be "now go and study". in other words, broad principles like ethics are all very well, but where we slip up is in the detailed application to the real world. religious law and principles are but one version of this. and, from my experience, the main benefit of religion (or at least judaism) is that people have looked at the scenarios in advance, so you are more likely to find something applicable. however, the main difference between the religious and ethical responses is that the first is focused on finding the most appropriate response to "make G!D happy", where as the second is based on individual or group considerations. it is not certain which of these is the "best" - this can only really be a matter of opinion.

    achnai, this is really not the case. ritual is a part of it, but "the world stands on three things, Torah, 'Avodah and Gemilut Hassidim". this statement allows for both observance (avodah) and righteous deeds (gemilut hassidim) to take place in the absence of "formal" law (Torah) - in other words, people have the capacity to behave properly even in the absence of the Law. the difference about judaism is that it postulates the Law itself as a theoretical ideal and only then "is centered around the observance of the law". this:

    is, therefore, not the case either. if virtue can occur without Torah present (say, in the case of a hypothetical tribe in the amazon jungle) then it *can* "stand by itself". this is the explanation of the noachide covenant.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  2. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    achnai says:
    There are hundreds of millions of atheists who care about virtue very much. Thank God they are not aware that the virtues have no place to stand by themselves.

    When I was a Christian I figured out pretty quickly that religionists like to believe that without religion no one would be good, honest and have any virtue. Since I have become an apostate my experience is more the opposite. I find many religious people who care very little for doing the right thing and more for doing what their religion tells them is the right thing. They are quick to judge otheres even though thier religion tells them not to. They are quick to kill in "preemptive strikes" even though their religions tells them not to. In fact it tells them to turn the other cheek even when attacked.

    If any Christian were to dare to study the WHOLE bible she would be hard pressed to say that it was even consistent (which it is not) let alone half as good and moral as an atheist who follows a consistent set of virtues.

    So it is clear to me that virtue (doing the right thing) is not the primary goal of most Christians. They need only obey their leaders (where obedience doesn't conflict witht their personal beliefs, hypocrisy) and support the breaddown of church and state, by calling for statues of the 10 commandments in court buildings, prayer in schools, vouchers, etc., and support war when little evidence is shown for it being even a war of self-defence. (Even though Jesus does not give Christians the right of self-defence! There is no where in the Bible where Jesus tells his followers that it is right to kill in self-defence.)

    Virtue is so far more moral then religion that I blush to type them in the same sentence.

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  3. achnai

    achnai New Member

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    Shalom bananabrain,

    Since you based your opinion on what the Talmud says, I must agree.
    The differences between Judaism and Christianity are clearly diverse.
    However I must say that the attitude of the religious jews here in Israel to any one who does not live a life dedicated to the observance all the Mitzvot (and this is clearly recognized through him not having his head coverd with the black yarmulke) is either heart-felt pity, or contempt and hatred alltogether.
    According to the traditional ultra-orthodox (Haredi) view, a jew who did not or does not study in a Yeshiva or Collel, and does dedicate his life to God by studying and behaving according to ritual is not entitled to being called a jew.
    The view that there are two more things which enable a jew to be called a Jew and yet live in this world has seemingly escaped the ultra-orthodox mind.
    In reality it seems that orthodox jews do not share the concept that the Torah is much more then ritual. There is a tendency that I think is inherent in they way jewish interpretation of the Torah evolved, which emphasizes strict adherence to the Law as it is clearly observed through the neglect of commentaries and lack of codexes which are based also on the philosophical, prosaic and lyrical aspects of the Bible.
    You know as well as I know that the study of the Bible as a whole is not practiced in the ultra-orthodox Yeshivot. Allthough In the zionist-religious Yeshivot the Rabbis do encourage people to think more on subjects such as faith and Moreshet (inheritance) and study the Bible, but unfortunatly without any practical assimilation of the Bible into ritual.
     
  4. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    look, your answer contains within it the seeds of the problem and that, i'm afraid, is the sabra tendency to see things in terms of black and white and no middle ground. you use the label "religious" - i'm aware of the context you're using it in. however, you are lumping everyone who wears a kippa into it, from the melchiors to the kahanes - and that is simply not helpful. i consider myself "religious". that's an english word. it doesn't mean the same thing as "da'ati" does in the context of da'ati and khiloni. not everyone who keeps shabbat and kashrut votes NRP, wears a kippa, lives off benefits, refuses to work, spits at shabbat-violators and wants to keep hebron. similarly, people who don't wear kippot don't necessarily refuse to do their milu'im in gaza or vote for shinu'i and meretz. there are a lot of shades of grey. not everyone falls into the two categories you suggest. i don't and most of the people i know don't. i don't judge people less "frum" than me and i know a lot of people who are more frum than me and don't judge me.

    again, you're talking about a haredi PoV which is monolithic. even within the yeshiva world there are shades of opinion. and not all "religious" jews are haredim. by treating them all as a bunch of scrounging, lazy "penguins" you only confirm their supposed opinion of you. likewise by them treating you as a bunch of barely tolerable heretics and apostates they only confirm your opinion of them. this has to change. the best thing you can do is start with yourself, i'm afraid. mutual misunderstanding creates stereotyping, fear and intolerance.

    er, you won't find a single one of them agreeing with you about that. there is simply a total lack of ability to see the other person's PoV.

    i know what you mean, but why does that mean you have to cede the territory to them? it's no good complaining about them and then letting them "own" religion. you have to take it back and own it yourself!

    again, this is a massive generalisation. and, to be perfectly honest, the "practical" application of the bible is what the settlers think they're doing. again, they're "owning" the entire culture and nobody is challenging them.

    are you familiar with yakar? they might be able to restore your faith in an idea of a reasonable judaism. try http://www.yakar.org

    b'shalom
     
  5. achnai

    achnai New Member

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    bananabrain,

    Thank you.
     

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