Alternative Perspective?

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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby rivka » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:01 am

I still don't see where anyone has invited a discussion of comparative religion.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Poster » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:39 am

I'm sorry, I did not mean to offend.

When I was a Christian, I used to cringe whenever I heard the word, 'Jesus', even though I prayed to the guy. I don't know why. Perhaps on some level I was embarrassed that I worshiped a man. Perhaps it was just me, I don't know. I'm sorry I implied you might be a Christian, I can remember how embarrassing that status used to be for me, please forgive me, I did not mean to offend.

I just wanted to help.


One motivation to critique Judaism is to prove that Jesus (or 'Yeshua') is the only way to G-d. If that is the case, the type of answers (rebuttals) can be biblical because Christians (or 'Messianics') believe in the bible. If that is the motivation, bible verses are common ground.

However, another motivation to critique Judaism is from Jews (or non-Jews) who reject Jesus, but also reject Torah Judaism. In such a case, quoting bible verses may be pointless, a waste of time, and even counter-productive.

It might not be fair to attack Torah Judaism from another theology without that theology itself being examined. The historical disputations forbade an examination of Christianity. I believe that if that prohibition had been lifted, Judaism would be seen as far superior. The first disputation did not have this restriction. Because of the lop-sided result in favor of Judaism, rules were set in place by Christians to forbid examining Christianity. This resulted in an unfair critique of Judaism without seeing the problems of the suggested alternative.

A purely skeptical examination of a religion, without examining the suggested alternative, might not be the ideal balance for making a choice between the two.

Nevertheless, let's look at Judaism.


If you believe in the Jewish bible:


A common complaint I had as a former non-Jew against Judaism is that Judaism was all about the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

As a former non-Jew, I just assumed that was true because I heard it over and over again.

That, however, was simply false.

If the bible is true, then Judaism is a religion where one G-d commanded the Jewish people to follow a set of laws.

Included in those laws is a requirement to serve G-d sincerely, with the heart, love, all of one's life and property.

2. This requirement is followed sincerely.

You can't be around the Jewish people and beat them over the head as much as I have done and come to any other conclusion.

Just go to the former forum and read every other one of my threads.

So let's be absolutely clear:

3.
Judaism requires following the laws. Easily proven by the Krias Shma and Psalm 119, and by just observing the Jewish people.

4.
The laws are not set up just so the Jews could fail doing those laws and discover that it's impossible to get to heaven through 'works'.

5. Orthodox Jews do a great job of following those laws with love and heart and their property. You can see it in their faces, their love, actions, hugs, time, dedication, etc etc.

6. Before I discovered Judaism, I was taught by non-Jews that it was impossible to get to heaven through 'works', I was taught it was wrong to try.

Psalm 119 (and many other places) proves that the bible teaches the opposite of that, a Jew is obligated to try to get to heaven through 'works' and that includes doing it sincerely with love and heart and possession = that's a 'work', too.

Frankly, now that I have an open mind about it, this makes more logical sense.

As a father, I wouldn't want my children to say, 'Well, since Abba gave us a rule we can not do, therefore we shouldn't do anything he asks, and instead, what he really wants is for us to torture him to death.' I must say, torturing me to death is the last thing I have in mind, it would distance my children from me, not bring us closer together. What I have in mind with my children is that they try, even if they have done wrong in the past, if they try, take one step back to following what I commanded, just trying is good enough, all is forgiven, again and again, all is forgiven. Imagine the great warmth a father has when his rebellious son takes one sincere step back. (Jeremiah 7 proves that it's not about the details, it's about trying. Being perfect in the details are not the point of the bible.)

5. Sin is forgivable by the Almighty G-d 'freely' See Isaiah 55, Ezekiel 18:21:

NIV:
21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Note the word, 'Because'. We are forgiven because we do works, G-d will not remember any of the offenses. Not because I kidnap and murder G-d by torturing Him to death. Frankly, I would expect torturing G-d to make matters worse.

The truth is I used to believe that the bible taught that G-d came as a man because human beings were required to torture Him to death to be forgiven.

However, the Jewish bible and my former bible both taught that this was incorrect.

My area of expertise is how my former bible (which is sometimes added to the back of the Jewish bible) also taught that G-d did not come as a man to be tortured to death, and if anyone is interested in reading my former bible correctly, I'd be happy to help via PM.


If you don't believe in the bible
:


As a former non-Jew, I've discovered that Jews are the best people on earth, for whatever reason. They excel at the standards of their host countries.

If the value of the local is not to be a drunk, Jews excel at that, better than the non-Jews.

If the value of the local is to help the sick, Jews excel at that, better than the non-Jews.

Care about divorce rates? Be an Orthodox Jew.

Care about literacy? Be an Orthodox Jew.

Etc etc.


Jews serve G-d and their fellow human beings with all their hearts and love and possessions.

Here's one in the corner that doesn't?

There's a good chance we just don't him and how he loves and serves. Follow him around enough, and we'll discover that he has love in his heart, service at his hands, sincerity in his soul.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Kira » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:45 pm

While we're not here to discuss other religions, there are assumptions that people raised outside of Judaism make about Judaism, that may make it difficult to communicate in a limited medium such as a forum.

Windborne, I think that you have a lot to bring to the table here, but your posts have implied certain biases that might make this communication frustrating for all involved.

If you're able to address Poster's points, I believe we might be able to move forward.

-Kira
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:51 am

rivka wrote:I still don't see where anyone has invited a discussion of comparative religion.

You must be joking. Have you read Poster's last message on this thread? :roll:

kira wrote:While we're not here to discuss other religions, there are assumptions that people raised outside of Judaism make about Judaism, that may make it difficult to communicate in a limited medium such as a forum.

Windborne, I think that you have a lot to bring to the table here, but your posts have implied certain biases that might make this communication frustrating for all involved.

From my point of view, the biases are all on the other side of the table. I read through Poster's message, but I just don't get the point. I'm not critiquing or attacking Judaism, and I'm certainly not advocating for another religion. I'm sure Poster's essay is meaningful to him, but to me it's jabberwocky - completely irrelevant to the alternate perspective of Torah I offered.

I decided today to tell a bit of my story after all, and I'll put it in another thread. Perhaps at some point the three of you will quit tilting windmills.
Soul-challenged.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby rivka » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:12 am

Windborne wrote:You must be joking. Have you read Poster's last message on this thread?

No. And yes.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby just-me » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:24 am

A common complaint I had as a former non-Jew against Judaism is that Judaism was all about the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

As a former non-Jew, I just assumed that was true because I heard it over and over again.

That, however, was simply false.

If the bible is true, then Judaism is a religion where one G-d commanded the Jewish people to follow a set of laws.


Poster, I saw it exactly the same way. But then, what changed my mind about not only Judaism but even more the five books of Moses, which I thought, well, I don't have to explain I think ... was when I finally read part of it, for its own sake and not to interpret some NT-theology ... When do Christians actually read these parts.

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest.
And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather the fallen fruit of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am HaShem your G-d.
Vayikra 19,9-10 but actually several chapters from there on.

It totally changed my mind. How can people say this is legalistic? It's so good that G-d cares for people and makes laws for justice. Especially caring for the poor.
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

(Christian Morgenstern - The Impossible Fact)
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby just-me » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:30 am

From my point of view, the biases are all on the other side of the table. I read through Poster's message, but I just don't get the point. I'm not critiquing or attacking Judaism, and I'm certainly not advocating for another religion. I'm sure Poster's essay is meaningful to him, but to me it's jabberwocky - completely irrelevant to the alternate perspective of Torah I offered.

I don't think it would be a problem if you said "I am a Christian" or whatever other religion for discussions here. (I tried :-) - but I'm no longer a Christian now)
Perhaps Poster just has an eye for such things, but I'm sure he doesn't mean any bad! Why don't you pm?
And sometimes it's good for discussion to know people's background.

just-me
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

(Christian Morgenstern - The Impossible Fact)
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Enora » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:56 am

I'm sure Poster's essay is meaningful to him, but to me it's jabberwocky - completely irrelevant

Oh that!?? All his posts are like that. You'll get used to it. The man is special but he doesn't bite or get violent.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Poster » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:36 pm

I have addressed the original points at issue, defending Traditional Judaism. Judaism is about the letter of the law with love and the heart of sincere spirituality, including devotion and sacrifice of property and money and all possessions.

I did so from both a perspective that the bible is correct and from the perspective that it is not, and even from a the non-Jewish religion which claims that Judaism doesn't understand the bible properly. I did so with arguments on point, from all perspectives, as well as clear, simple, blatant bible verses in context, with an offer for many more, also in context.


While I may be attacked personally (even by myself) the arguments defending Judaism stand correct.


Outline:

1. Judaism is the correct religion to follow if the bible is true.

2. It is followed sincerely in all dimensions, technically, spiritually, lovingly, financially, with heart body soul and property and every other way possible. The bible itself says that the Jewish people, alone, correctly follow the bible and that only they, alone, will ever know how to do so, for ever and ever, and that they will not be replaced.

3. If the bible is not true, once again, the Jewish people are at the top of the moral mountain, leading the world by example in moral values, education, health, etc etc etc.


If anyone still cares or is worried in any way about those points, once again, please feel free to state clearly on point what the concern is, if any.

If it is important to you, this is the chance.

If I'm wrong, spell it out. If there's a worry, express that worry. If anyone has heard an idea to the contrary, state it, regardless of the source.


For the record, I like Christians. They are full of love, compassion, charity, and if I'm lucky, they'll have a go at me on religious topics. I can't think of anything more delightful.

OK, I can think of some things, but you get my drift.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Kira » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:28 pm

Windborne, thank you for sharing your experience and background. The reason it's important to us is that in a limited medium such as this - a forum entry is only a few lines of text - one has no choice but to read the intentions into the post. If we know who you are, we have a much better chance of understanding what you're trying to say.

So - first of all: being that you are not Jewish, you are not obligated in the commandments in the Torah, and you are totally within your rights to set them aside as not being applicable and relevant - to you. As you have found, what is applicable and relevant are the life examples of people who served G-d with their hearts, their souls, and their might.

While Poster is correct in saying that if one believes in the Bible, the only "religion" that represents it accurately and lives it is Judaism. However, he neglected to mention, that Judaism itself expects non-Jews to serve G-d as well - with their hearts, their souls, and their might. It's just not a "religion".

While I, as a Jew, am obligated in the commandments that apply to me, you are obligated in the commandments that apply to you - the 7 commandments given to Noach. (See the Children of Noah forum for links and suggested reading.) We are both obligated to serve G-d and come close to Him in truth, kindness, and justice.

Hope this helps in getting us onto the same page, because I think we actually have a lot to learn from each other.

Best,

-Kira
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