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9/04/2018 4:21 am  #11

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

DanielCC wrote:

First of all the contents of those stories and the notion of a special revelation itself, especially one directed at a specific tribal group, appears incompatible with the nature of God.

What's your source on G-d's nature? The Cosmo & Neo-Platonic arguments take us to a necessary unity that causes everything other than itself. What do they tell us about the nature of the singularity? It exists and nothing forced it to cause the subsequent layers of reality, so we ascribe something not unlike free will. It's benevolent in the sense that it can't benefit from creation. It doesn't need anything. Can natural theology take us deeper than this? Meh. 

Why wouldn't G-d reveal Himself via one particular tribe over a period of time that culminates in world-wide recognition? There's nothing in natural theology that precludes this.

DanielCC wrote:

A lot of the moral claims are unjustified (cf the food taboos) and some the pronouncements verge on blasphemy - example 'I am a jealous God'.

What makes you think the food taboos are moral claims? Perhaps some are intended to instill a perpetual state of mindfulness about the necessary singularity. That's where all food comes from and it's easy to forget. "Jealous G-d" = "Idolatry is dumb and bad for you. Don't do it!"

DanielCC wrote:

As an additional factor these texts show an apparent dirth of material on the soul and the afterlife. I doubt that ancient Judaism was completely materialistic but it does appear to lack a set out transcendent eschatology.

How do you know you're going to survive your death? Supposing you are, must the details be posted at a crossroads? The afterlife in Judaism is esoteric but it's one of the 13 principles.  (I, too, wish there were more details, but there's no a priori standard we can derive from natural theology that requires it.) 

DanielCC wrote:

Finally the deeper conceptual issue is that the Fall (or Original Sin) plays a role in each of these religions. ... I suspect it’s also necessarily false as incompatible with God’s nature – why all of humanity be deprived a direct connection with the Deity on the basis of others misdeeds?

Where does Judaism say any such thing?! Any human can address his Creator at any time for any reason and his prayers will be heard -- no intermediaries necessary. Forgiveness is available to anyone via sincere repentance. You're reading pagan ideas into the Torah. 

Your blog is above all praise.


Relevant to the thread: What, Indeed, Is the Quran? 

Maimonides: Islam Good, Christianity Bad, Muslims Bad, Christians Good

Last edited by 119 (9/04/2018 12:34 pm)


9/04/2018 7:36 pm  #12

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

So when the Buddhist says there is no self, we can translate him as referring to our concepts of a permanent self, not that that there is truly no self. It some sense there is a self, but trying to grasp this conceptually is like trying to cup water with our hands, so better to say there is no self (though the Buddhist would never put it this way).

I have no idea what this means. Does the Buddhist believe in a permanent self? If he does and you mean what I think you mean by permanent self, then I have no truck with him. Does he just think that our concepts can't completely capture the way the world really is? Then, I suppose, that isn't so bad. (That's not to say I agree with him.)

     Thread Starter

9/04/2018 8:47 pm  #13

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

It must be lost in translation - Canadian/American to British - but what does having no truck mean ? I seem to vaguely remember it means not having a problem with something?

I would say that the Buddhist position is aimed at denying the permanent self so far as it we grasp that conceptually (and, obviously, expressed in language).      So we have to read between lines, as Buddhist authorities are unlikely to tell us in words they believe in a self (with one very important exception, see below). The Madhyamika would deny there is a self and also that there is not a self, or rather claim discursive reason affirms and denies both propositions). But, so far as Buddhism clearly isn't nihilistic (pace Shankara), and offers a thorough spiritual path aimed at enlightenment, it must affirm some kind of self. This becomes clear in encountering traditional Buddhism - this worldview is clearly not just pushing some kind of pessimistic, Humean-esque denial of the self. Buddhists take such joy in the revelation of no self they even sometimes name children after it! Interestingly, though, the Buddha at times seems to affirm a true self, though he also denies the self more frequently. I would say, that the Buddhist, or at least the Mahayana, identify the true self with absolute reality, in much the same way as the Advaita do (though no Buddhist would say this).

I think we should bear in the context here. It is a commonplace in Hinduism to identify the individual self with the cosmic Self or absolute, in various ways. This, combined with Buddhism's radical apophatic approach, led to the emphasis on no-self - to strongly differentiate Buddhism from its errant competitors.

Yes,the Buddhist certainly believes our concepts, though having some empirical, temporary utility, don't capture all of reality. But it is perhaps more than this, in that the Buddhist sees over-reliance of discursive, conceptual reasoning as one of the outstanding barriers to spiritual progress and enlightenment. Much Buddhist spiritual praxis is built on trying to break the hold of our conceptual reasoning, and awaken our capacity for direct unitive knowledge, or Bodhi (which is much like Western, Platonic and Aristotelian notions of Nous or Intellectus); for example, the famous Chan/Zen Koans.


9/04/2018 8:59 pm  #14

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

It must be lost in translation - Canadian/American to British - but what does having no truck mean ? I seem to vaguely remember it means not having a problem with something?

It means “to have no dealings with”. “truck” is from the French troque (an exchange, a barter) through the Middle English truke, and isn't especially American. (Though, sometimes we North Americans end up hanging on to expressions after they've disappeared from common use in Britain.)

Incidentally, Canadian English isn't the same as American English. We end up more or less learning both British and American English, and combining the two.

     Thread Starter

9/04/2018 9:08 pm  #15

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Interesting. I'd heard it before, of course. But never really paid attention. From the context I wasn't sure whether the meaning was expressing approbation or the opposite. It reminds me of the Aussie no fear. It takes a while to remember that, as a response to a suggestion, no fears means definitely not. I would have assumed the opposite!


9/06/2018 7:55 pm  #16

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

I expected more broadsides on Islam. You're all much too irenic!

(I'm writing this qua member, not administrator.)

     Thread Starter

9/12/2018 2:50 pm  #17

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Well, obviously I can't really answer the question of "Why not Judaism?" but I have noticed a common thread running through most of the religious rejections of Judaism. The most prominent reason given is Judaism's seeming provincialism - most commonly expressed in terms of the 'choseness' of the Jewish Nation. What's wrong with the rest of humanity, ask the critics.
The answer to that is that those who think Judaism is a religion solely for the progeny of Abraham are mistaken. 119 is the biggest refutation of that misconception I can present you with - a gentile who keeps the laws mandated for the gentiles. The 'choseness' of the Jewish Nation is simply that the Jews were chosen for the privilege of being God's ambassadors and the teachers of mankind. And anyone can join us, as long as they're sincere in their desire to be part of or our mission.
That's our duty. We may or may not be succeeding at our task as a nation, but I know a great deal of individuals who are paragons of good character, integrity, and holiness; and that is the calling of each and every Jew. We don't proselytise, but our task is to live our lives in communion with God. If enough Jews would do that we would impress upon the world the glory of God and the beauty of his ways.
In other words, all of humanity is called to serve God, the Jewish religion is merely the handbook for the nation who have been chosen by God to act as teachers. That doesn't seem very provincial to me. All men can attain eternal connection with God, so long as they connect with Him and love their fellow men. Love God and love men - that's all. Maimonides writes this explicitly:
"Why did the Levites not receive a portion in the inheritance of the Land of Israel and in the spoils of war like their brethren? Because they were set aside to serve God and minister unto Him and to instruct people at large in His just paths and righteous judgments, as (Deuteronomy 33:10) states: "They will teach Your judgments to Jacob and Your Torah to Israel." Therefore, they were set apart from the ways of the world. They do not wage war like the remainder of the Jewish people, nor do they receive an inheritance, nor do they acquire for themselves through their physical power. Instead, they are God's legion, as it states: "God has blessed His legion" and He provides for them, as (Numbers 18:20) states: "I am your portion and your inheritance."
Not only the tribe of Levi, but any one of the inhabitants of the world whose spirit generously motivates him and he understands with his wisdom to set himself aside and stand before God to serve Him and minister to Him and to know God, proceeding justly as God made him, removing from his neck the yoke of the many reckonings which people seek, he is sanctified as holy of holies. God will be His portion and heritage forever and will provide what is sufficient for him in this world like He provides for the priests and the Levites. And thus David declared (Psalms 16:5): "God is the lot of my portion; You are my cup, You support my lot."

There's a lot more to be said about why people reject Judaism and why they're wrong, but I'm going to leave it off here as I have very little time and I'm afraid of getting into a discussion that I don't have time to follow through.

Last edited by Etzelnik (9/12/2018 2:51 pm)

Noli turbare circulos meos.

9/13/2018 4:10 am  #18

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Maybe Noahides need edgier PR: We're The Alternative Alternative Right! or Reactionaries From The Start! or Secular Theocrats. It's not Judaism-Lite; it's the minimum standard that preceded the Revelation at Sinai. G-d gave homework to only some of the class. Yes, you've just discovered a "religion" that prohibits mandatory observances and has no obligatory Bible study or prayer. Jackpot! And it gets better. You can have more than one wife. (Do any chicks hang out here? PM me.)  

Levity aside, there's a tremendous sense of urgency. Christianity is on life-support and people are turning to crazy stuff.

Guide for the Noahide is recommended.

Yom Kippur starts Tuesday. What's the deal with the Book of Jonah? If you thought the fish was the weird part you're not even close.

Last edited by 119 (9/13/2018 5:07 am)


9/13/2018 6:41 am  #19

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Can Noahides go to the Synagogues and take part in worship and festivals? What of Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah? What scope is there for living this wisdom in a proper (non-Hollywood-esque) way? In my opinion, religion is about more than basic morality and belief. It's about ritual, devotion, communal worship, leading to a mystical path (though I don't pretend to have come close to living this path myself). I may be misinterpreting you, you almost seem to be celebrating that its undemanding.


9/13/2018 1:18 pm  #20

Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

The only purpose of a religion is to be objectively true. There's no a priori standards other than this. The fact that most incorporate ritual and communal worship doesn't entail that G-d desires this. That most of us can't conceive of "religion" in any other terms doesn't mean we're right. Think of Aaron's sons pursuit of extra credit.

"It's not a religion at all, nor does it require regular study."

B'nai Noah - The Religion, The Danger

This forum covers most of the options/details better than I can. I'm definitely celebrating the non-religious nature of this "religion," though I understand it's counter-intuitive and difficult for others. I think Synagogues prefer that you call first, but generally don't have problems with Noahide attendance. I honestly don't know. (On the other hand, intermarriage is called the second Holocaust and they want to prevent anything that might lead to it.)

I never dig deeper into Kabbalah than Rabbi Infinity. (Grab a towel. This might melt your face. A 3 minute cartoon explains the necessity of Divine hiddeness in terms of otherness.) If you can't read Hebrew it's not really possible to study Kabbalah. Like many things, it's prohibited except when it isn't. That said, some Rabbis don't exactly keep it under wraps.

For spititual-religious aspects, you might be more interested in this Noahide guide book. And this. The ones I linked to above focus on Noahide law. The statuatory nature of Judaism-Noahide observance (as opposed to spiritual or salvational) is hard to overstate. The shock lingers.

Last edited by 119 (9/13/2018 2:18 pm)


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