Where do my beliefs end?

wil

UNeyeR1
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You know I have heard it said that my rights end where your rights begin.

Could that, should that be the same with our beliefs?
 
I have the right, the freedom to swing my arms...until they come into contact with your face...

I have the right the freedom to live where I want...just not on your property

I have the right the freedom to piss outside...until the odor affects my neighbors or the sight of which is obnoxious to others...


Now these are just examples...bad examples... But my point being if you believe that bathing in peanut butter and vinegar leads to enlightenment, fine and dandy, just don't put it in my tub.
 
Well I can understand why you'd turn your nose at bathing in peanut butter and vinegar. For it to have any real spiritual value you have to shower in a 3 parts vinegar 1 part peanut butter solution.


I don't think one's beliefs need necessarily end where another person's begin so long as they don't manifest in reality in a way that infringes on another person's rights. For example it's fine with me if someone believes that I'm going to hell because I've got no interest in Jesus but if they harass me regularly to remind me and try to save me from my fate as they perceive it then it's an issue for me. Or to put it in a Jewish context, if someone believes that I'm practicing an incorrect form of Judaism and should at the very least be fully Orthopractic that's fine with me. But if they harass me regularly to try and get me to practice my religion in the ways that they approve of it's just as bad as the outwardly evangelical Christian who won't take no for an answer. That's not to say I don't approve of offering help to other people as we observe them needing it. It's about aggressively doing so.

Actually, I think it's probably important that our beliefs don't end with us. I think there's a certain pull toward olam haba (the world to come) in many traditions that demands we don't only turn inward but also try to make the world a better place and improve conditions for all of humanity to whatever degree we are capable.

Dauer
 
Peanut butter showers? Eeeeeew. Now Marmite baths, they definitely have spiritual value. Plus, if you die in there, the salt will preserve your body and you'll be mummified.

Anyway...there was a real thought in my brain somewhere before I started on that.... um....

Oh that was it....

I believe in reincarnation. Even if you believe in heaven and hell I still believe that when you die you will go to some kind of inbetweeny place (might be hellish or heavenly, who knows?) but in the end you'll be reincarnated. My problem with this is I'd like to take the Terry Pratchett line and say that what happens when you die is decided by what you believe.... that would be nice and fair and politically correct. But that's not what I believe. I believe anyone who doesn't believe in reincarnation of some sort is wrong. However I also understand that I might be wrong. And everyone has every right to believe what they believe.

I suppose the point I'm struggling to make is that the fact of having different beliefs means we think that others are wrong, and that we are right. That doesn't mean we have to be nasty about it. Places like CR help us to see other people's perspective and how their beliefs are right from their perspective (something I'm still learning).

(Marmite FTW!)
 
...what happens when you die is decided by what you believe....
ah the ultimate placebo effect...and I believe our beliefs are powerful enough for that... only if that is the case then our doubts would enter into the picture as well....

note: Impqueen quote above taken out of context...
 
Tao,

I'm not sure if beliefs are certainties or not. What about agnostic theists who believe in G!d but don't know if G!d exists?

Agnostic theism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It would seem their position rests in an uncertainty regarding their own convictions. Maybe it's not really belief at that point. I think there's a difference though between believing something and claiming that one's beliefs are true about the world. Some hold beliefs while regarding them as emotional comforts or pragmatic motivations.

Dauer
 
Beliefs are subjective certainties. Sort of equivalent to illusions, opinions, prejudices... That's what they taught me in philosophy class anyway :D Which raises the problem of religion in an über-rationalist world...

I don't know if my beliefs end where the other's beliefs begin. This is not a problem when your beliefs don't involve the "I have the true path and all the others are wrong/evil/going-to-burn-in-hell" factor. If your personal beliefs/religion are inclusive (correct term or not?), there's no problem. If on the other hand, you're part of a religion that strives to become universal and that claims to hold the one and only truth there's a problem : because in this case, aren't you morally under an obligation to proselytize? By NOT trying to get people to believe in what you believe, you're indirectly sending them straight to hell or damnation or eternal despair, aren't you?
If you hold your beliefs to be true and you're not trying to convince others that they are in fact true, then you're just being cruel. You're leaving them in darkness and you're condemning them to despair until they find the right path, which, obviously, is your path.
I don't know. This goes mainly for Abrahamic religions, I guess : Muslims and Christians are under a sort of obligation to bring their religion to those who don't believe. Judaism is different, although I would like to know : why isn't Judaism a proselytizing religion? I mean if the only true God is the God of the Jews, why aren't they trying - like the Christians or the Muslims - to spread the belief in Him to other peoples? It's something I never quite understood, and none of my Jewish friends seem to have an answer.
 
Karim,

there was a time a couple thousand years ago when Judaism did proselytize more. But then Jewish proselytization became punishable by death. I think at the time there was more active proselytization there were also probably more politics involved what with the persecution and resistance and the lack of dividing lines in Judaism between peoplehood and religion. Then if you go back earlier we're talking about becoming Jewish as assimilating into Israelite society rather than a formal process of study culminating in review by a court and rite/s of initiation into the contractual agreement between the Jewish people and G!d. Although I think it's probably likely an uncircumcised male who wanted to assimilate would have to circumcise in those days.

The gemara holds that the rightous of all nations have a place in the world-to-come, not only Jews, and Judaism is seen more as additional obligations than special priveledge, a nation of priests, as it were. Just as kohanim have additional ethical and ritual obligations, so too the Jewish people. It teaches in the gemara that just as some Jews are born Israelites and some kohanim and G!d doesn't show special favor for either because of their inheritance, the same is true for Jews and gentiles, that what G!d cares about is actions.

There are also 7 noachide laws which are traditionally held to apply to all people. Most of them are pretty universal, and like the 613 mitzvot for Jews slipping up on some doesn't make an individual as a bad person. We tend to describe G!d's justice as always tempered by His mercy.

I think that what happened is Islam and Christianity took a particularist text of a tribal religion and tried to apply it to the whole world world. The claim made then is that Islam or Christianity is more universal. But Judaism accepts converts and doesn't condemn those who have no interest in Judaism, doesn't even try to convert them. There's even a traditional custom, based on the book of Ruth, to turn a potential convert away three times to test their sincerity. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. Who's to say G!d didn't create other religions for other people?

Dauer
 
Thanks dauer.

But then, there's something I don't get. Does Judaism accept, for instance, a polytheistic religion as a suitable alternative? I mean, you say that Judaism accepts other religions because being Jewish is an "additional obligation" (I like the expression :D) ... yet at the same time, God gets mad at people who worship other Gods and idols and such.

Although I do remember that part of Exodus ... I don't know exactly how it went, but I think that when the sea swallowed up the Pharaoh and his men, the angels made fun of them and God told them : "Why do you make fun of them? They are also my people"... Correct me if I'm totally wrong on that one.

I'd really appreciate it if you could explain how exactly this is understood in Jewish tradition. I know NO holy book is ever clear on ANYthing :)P), but I think it's a pretty important issue.

Edit : Now that I think about it, I may be completely wrong. Maybe I have a hard time understanding this because having been raised as a catholic, I just have this tendency to think that beliefs and the inner life are MORE important than actions ... Something that is pretty much non-existent in Judaism where actions are more important. Am I right?
Ah, that's all Saint Paul's fault. :p
 
A Mantram I know runs as follows:
May the Power of the One Life pour through the group of all true Servers;
May the Love of the One Soul characterize the lives of all who seek to aid the Great Ones;
May I fulfil my part through self-forgetfulness, harmlessness and Right Speech.
I could have quoted the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, but in my own life, day to day, I try to keep the Five O'clock Mantram ... said at this time as a reminder (and Invocation) for how we all might wish to live, in order to have a better world.

The religion of Jainism, as Buddhism, emphasizes harmlessness, and I believe the following Wisdom of Christ also to be pertinent here:
And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:20-23)
 
But then, there's something I don't get. Does Judaism accept, for instance, a polytheistic religion as a suitable alternative?

For a Jew or a non-Jew? I think it would really depend on who you ask. From a purely literalist level the Trinity becomes problematic but medieval and later theologians found ways to address that. Even if there were a perceived issue with polytheism, you're still talking at most about a minority of the noahide laws ( Seven Laws of Noah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .) and actually passing conclusive judgement on anyone, particularly a non-Jew, is generally avoided and left for G!d who as I mentioned is always tempered in His justice by His mercy. Judaism has been and remains a religion of interpretation united more by action than adherence to a dogmatic creed so the theology remains pretty flexible.

I mean, you say that Judaism accepts other religions because being Jewish is an "additional obligation" (I like the expression ) ... yet at the same time, God gets mad at people who worship other Gods and idols and such.

Well, mad, as it were, at Jews, and then for Judaism you could very validly ask what made the idolatry wrong. Was it the charicaturic example of claiming that the idol is G!d above all else? Was it the ethical behavior that accompanied idol worship? From an historical standpoint I'd be more quick to say it was probably a part of attempts by the monarchy to wipe out unsactioned forms of worship and centralize power, but more relevant to the sphere of modern Judaism I'd be looking to some of the answers I gave previously which are far from new. For Judaism I don't think creating idols is such a great thing. We have a lot of interfaces for connecting to the Ineffable that can get quite graphic just the same. But I've spoken to Hindus before and as they incorporate physical visual representations of G!d it sounds very beautiful and affirming, at least for the people I've spoken to. I'm sure sometimes it turns to superstition but that is true in all religions. There are Jews who blame calamities in the home on a mezuzah that's in need of some touching-up.

don't know exactly how it went, but I think that when the sea swallowed up the Pharaoh and his men, the angels made fun of them and God told them : "Why do you make fun of them? They are also my people"... Correct me if I'm totally wrong on that one.

Yes. I think it may be midrash though. Don't quite remember. The song of the sea after all gets a bit gruesome.

I know NO holy book is ever clear on ANYthing :)P), but I think it's a pretty important issue.

I think it gets harder with Judaism where you have a growing extra-biblical not-quite-canon that frequently disagrees with itself and values even the minority opinions. lol. The short answer is that Judaism has primarily been concerned with Jews since its inception and writings about other religions tend to be more common during ecumenical periods like the relatively friendly time in al-Andalus under Muslim rule. There's usually a vested interest by the interpreters not to consider their host countries idolators because the laws regarding interaction with actual biblical idolators are so complicated as to make daily living outside of the Jewish community pretty impossible. In addition to that I think it was Rambam (Maimonides) made a ruling that the type of idolatry that existed in biblical times doesn't exist today and most people concerned with that seem to follow along with that even if they're the type to get snarky about what they see as modern forms of idolatry.

Maybe I have a hard time understanding this because having been raised as a catholic, I just have this tendency to think that beliefs and the inner life are MORE important than actions ... Something that is pretty much non-existent in Judaism where actions are more important. Am I right?

Well, there's more than one answer to that too. :D Exoterically Judaism always values action over belief. I think part of the reason for this is action is more measurable (which is a little important when creating a legal system that may have Divine origins but is implemented by man) and also that we're talking about a religion, rabbinic judaism, that came at a time when the Jewish people were very divided and sectarian so incorporating other beliefs was a must. I think that problem also probably came up to some degree for the biblical authors. It does value inner life highly but not really as a matter of what is sinful. Sin gets less emphasis in general, the emphasis being on mitzvah, divine commandment, right-action. But for example if one prays without kavanah (intention or intentionality), if it's just rote recitation or he's distracted he's fulfilled the rabbinic obligation to pray but not the biblical obligation, both of which are traditionally obligatory.

Esoterically it sometimes places huge emphasis on maintaining the proper thoughts or mental constructions in each moment such that it effects the cosmos and leads to the unification of G!d transcendant with his exiled queen, as it were, the shechinah or indwelling presence.

Dauer
 
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