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#121 of 188 Old 11-30-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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Now it feels like we're getting somewhere. Forgive me for the crazy quoting as I try to organize my thoughts and answer your questions.

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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
--There any many different types of Judaism, with different basic beliefs.
Most Judaism has the same basic beliefs in Torah, avodah (prayer), and g'milut chassadim (works). The way each of these things is interpreted, however, is different.

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--All of these are accepted as Judaism, including atheistic Judaism, Reform, Orthodox etc.
In a simplified way, yes. There is no "atheistic Judaism" but atheists are accepted in organized Judaism. There are many different ways of doing Judaism and many ways to define yourself within Judaism.

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--Those who call themselves 'Christian Jews' are not accepted as Jews in the religious context, because believing God is unary is fundamental to Judaism, as is believing it is blasphemous to worship a human (whether divine or otherwise)
Philosophically, yes. This is a huge reason why they're not accepted as Jewish - as well as because they're already something else - Christian - which is mutually exclusive (because of Christian theology).

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--So 'God is unary' and 'worshipping humans is blasphemous' are, you would say, necessary components of Judaism?
Yup. "Hear, Israel, G-d is the L-rd, G-d is One" is the central prayer of Jewish life. Worshiping a human violates the first commandment - "you shall have no gods before me."

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--Would you say there are any other necessary components of Judaism, without which a religion is not 'real', didactic Judaism? If so, what are they? Obeying the mitzvot? Believing the Tanakh to be... useful? Inspired? Ethically necessary?
What you're calling "didactic Judaism" (and we just call Judaism) needs a familiarity with Midrash, the rabbinic texts, Torah, Hebrew, the 613 mitzvot, and the Hebrew calendar and its rhythms. This is at the simplest level - the ability to recognize these things. And, of course, either Jewish parentage or a Jewish conversion.

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I can accept that different forms of Judaism may have different first principles. Different (self-defined) Christian groups do too. It doesn't seem fair to ask you to list or defend the first principles of Jewish groups to which you don't belong; but I'd be interested in discussing the first principle/s of your Jewish group, if you like. (I'm not sure how you identify within Judaism). I'm not sure why thousands of first principles is likely to be necessary, though; most worldviews are at heart pretty basic.
Welllllll........ I'm probably a bad example of my Jewish group. I work at and attend at a Reform synagogue, but my Jewish beliefs are much more Modern Orthodox. I attend at a Reform synagogue because my husband isn't Jewish and refuses to convert . That's the only reason, honestly. I'm a convert to Judaism (after marriage), and would need DH and I to both convert to Orthodoxy to get where I'd theologically like to be, but it doesn't seem like that is going to happen ANY time soon. I'd be happy to answer any questions, though, and talk through the differences between movements.

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Ah, okay. So, if one is born Jewish but neither believes nor practices the tenets of Judaism, what happens then? Is one considered a lapsed Jew, secular Jew, non-practicing Jew? Is there any way for such a person to officially 'resign' from the religious aspect of Judaism (without becoming a Christian or anything: just saying 'I want to be secular', essentially); or does it not work like that?
Then you're still Jewish, just a non-practicing, secular one. There's no need to resign from Judaism because it's your birthright and always there if you change your mind. You can leave and come back to it when you're older or in a different place without a conversion. Just walk back into Jewish life and you'll be welcome back. We call those people "Baalei Teshuva".

Hope this answered some of your questions.

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#122 of 188 Old 11-30-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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Smoke, I found this. It might help you understand why it's difficult for Jews to answer your questions about what Judaism is.

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#123 of 188 Old 11-30-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Thanks; the Wiki article was very helpful. I think Maimonides' 13 principles of faith could be considered a first principle of sorts; even the three core beliefs. I'm not sure how one would formulate the principle, but it seems closer than anything we've discussed so far. Certainly any first principle which includes the Torah contains a Torah-ful of information, which helps with completeness without being clunky. I can see that these wouldn't be an overarching Jewish first principle, but they could definitely function as individual first principles within Judaism.

So... fancy having a crack at defining your personal Modern-Orthodox-Reform-attending first principle?

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#124 of 188 Old 11-30-2008, 11:22 PM
 
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Thanks; the Wiki article was very helpful. I think Maimonides' 13 principles of faith could be considered a first principle of sorts; even the three core beliefs. I'm not sure how one would formulate the principle, but it seems closer than anything we've discussed so far. Certainly any first principle which includes the Torah contains a Torah-ful of information, which helps with completeness without being clunky. I can see that these wouldn't be an overarching Jewish first principle, but they could definitely function as individual first principles within Judaism.

So... fancy having a crack at defining your personal Modern-Orthodox-Reform-attending first principle?
Yeek.

I believe that the Torah is the word of G-d, revealed to all the Jews in group revelation at Mt. Sinai. I believe in the authority of the rabbinic tradition. I believe (and this is what makes me NOT Reform) that the halacha (Jewish law) is binding (though I'll be the first to admit that I don't keep half the mitzvot I should). I am a Zionist. I believe that moshiach will come (Reform Judaism rejects the concept of a literal moshiach). I believe that men and women are different because they were created differently and we should honor the differences (without favoritism of one sex over the other). I do not believe in cultural isolationism and think that there is a way to live the life G-d wants me to live and still function within society.

That was tough to do - codify your beliefs like that. I focused mainly on the things that differentiate me from OTHER Jews, not things that differentiate me from non-Jews.

I have no idea what my first principle would be, honestly.

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#125 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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I believe (and this is what makes me NOT Reform) that the halacha (Jewish law) is binding (though I'll be the first to admit that I don't keep half the mitzvot I should).
Somewhat off-topic (and very, if we're talking about the OP ): This is interesting to me, because I agree with you that the halacha is binding, though I choose to act differently in most cases. Aside from that mess with the gas prices over the summer, one of the reasons I had a hard time at Shaarai (and don't get me wrong, it's a *wonderful* congregation!) was that I felt like the kids in particular weren't learning what they'd be giving up by failing to appreciate (or even learn to consider) the notion of halacha as binding. That, and it really bothered me that most of the adults didn't know different brachos for different snacks, and we never said B'rai N'fashos afterwards. The year I taught kindergarten, the kids learned She'ha'kol and B'rai M'nei Mizonos.

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#126 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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Heh; sorry, it is a bit of a major ask! One good way to whittle it down into a first principle is to ask of each aspect, 'Why do I believe that?' Then ask yourself why you believe that, and so on, until you get down to something very fundamental--self-attesting or necessarily true. So, for example, you could take "I believe the messiah will come" and ask "Why?" If you derive that belief from the Torah, then you can leave it out, as it comes under the "I believe the Torah is the word of God" part. If the answer to "Why?" is "Because a pumpkin told me", you'll have to add "I believe pumpkins only tell the truth" into your first principle--or ask "Why?" to that and eventually work back to the principle "I believe vegetables are the mouthpieces of the Almighty". Or whatever.

The more basic it is, the less specific it is; but that's OK. A first principle isn't about spelling out every aspect of a belief system; it's about getting to the roots of a metaphysic which can. For example, I mentioned that the Christian first principle is "The Bible is the word of God". I'm sure a lot of Christians would claim that first principle and yet come to very different conclusions to myself--say, believing in free will, which I don't. But in a discussion between them and me on free will, sharing the same first principle means we know what our common ground is. It's very different to debating freewill with someone who believes the Bible is rubbish--I first need to convince him that the Bible is true, or that his own first principle is logically and philosophically inferior or contradictory. Or, to use my previous analogy, debating with a Roman Catholic quickly becomes frustrating for both parties because the presuppositions--that Sacred Tradition has infallibly interpreted certain doctrines--are not accepted by both parties.

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#127 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Somewhat off-topic (and very, if we're talking about the OP ): This is interesting to me, because I agree with you that the halacha is binding, though I choose to act differently in most cases. Aside from that mess with the gas prices over the summer, one of the reasons I had a hard time at Shaarai (and don't get me wrong, it's a *wonderful* congregation!) was that I felt like the kids in particular weren't learning what they'd be giving up by failing to appreciate (or even learn to consider) the notion of halacha as binding. That, and it really bothered me that most of the adults didn't know different brachos for different snacks, and we never said B'rai N'fashos afterwards. The year I taught kindergarten, the kids learned She'ha'kol and B'rai M'nei Mizonos.
I am timidly dipping my toe into this thread again... ()

This is way OT (and I hope I can be allowed as I am the original poster!) but I thought you were some type of pagan based on other posts you've made in this forum. So are you ethnically Jewish and now some other religion or are your beliefs compatible with Judaism? The reason I am asking is because as I've closely followed this thread, it seems that Judaism allows for a plethora of variations as long as the belief in the one Hebrew God remains.

ETA: Actually, now that I reread what I wrote, I am mistaken. You can be an atheist and still be a religious Jew, so following Jewish mitzvoh and halacha is what defines a religiously Jewish person? This is fascinating to me because as a Christian it is the opposite - faith is at the core and actions stem from the faith.

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#128 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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Somewhat off-topic (and very, if we're talking about the OP ): This is interesting to me, because I agree with you that the halacha is binding, though I choose to act differently in most cases. Aside from that mess with the gas prices over the summer, one of the reasons I had a hard time at Shaarai (and don't get me wrong, it's a *wonderful* congregation!) was that I felt like the kids in particular weren't learning what they'd be giving up by failing to appreciate (or even learn to consider) the notion of halacha as binding. That, and it really bothered me that most of the adults didn't know different brachos for different snacks, and we never said B'rai N'fashos afterwards. The year I taught kindergarten, the kids learned She'ha'kol and B'rai M'nei Mizonos.


I agree. Before our current rabbi came around, the teachers were still being allowed to say "borei p'ri hagafen" over apple juice.

I just taught our kindergarteners "ha-eitz" for their juice last Sunday.

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#129 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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We learned that you say Shehakol over non-grape juice.

And I think losely the first principle of Judaism is the Shma....but I'm not reading super closely here.....so I'm not sure that answers the question. :
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#130 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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IThis is way OT (and I hope I can be allowed as I am the original poster!) but I thought you were some type of pagan based on other posts you've made in this forum. So are you ethnically Jewish and now some other religion or are your beliefs compatible with Judaism? The reason I am asking is because as I've closely followed this thread, it seems that Judaism allows for a plethora of variations as long as the belief in the one Hebrew God remains.
I like to complicate things for people, most especially myself. I'm Jewish by birth. Right now, I practice Chaos Magick. The sort of beliefs to which I generally subscribe are not, by definition, incompatible with Judaism (nor are they, by definition, properly describable as "Pagan," though "pagan" certainly applies and "Pagan" occasionally applies). As my beliefs are not incompatible with Judaism, I have no problem thinking of myself as "Jewish," in any sense of the word. I tend to think of myself as a Jewish Chaos Mage... which a lot of people think of as contradictory, though they're not. I've actually met several others-- it's not an unpopular path. I know at least two people who have become more observant Jews through Chaos Magick.

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ETA: Actually, now that I reread what I wrote, I am mistaken. You can be an atheist and still be a religious Jew, so following Jewish mitzvoh and halacha is what defines a religiously Jewish person? This is fascinating to me because as a Christian it is the opposite - faith is at the core and actions stem from the faith.
Following halachos is not necessarily what defines a religious Jew (though it is what defines an *observant* Jew). I wouldn't say that it's precisely opposite, but you've got part of the idea. While faith is an absolute requirement for Christianity, it is not at all a requirement for Judaism. That said, it's not excluded as a path to Judaism, either (in other words, one's actions can stem from faith-- and for many, many observant Jews in particular that is in fact the case).

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I agree. Before our current rabbi came around, the teachers were still being allowed to say "borei p'ri hagafen" over apple juice.

I just taught our kindergarteners "ha-eitz" for their juice last Sunday.
Yeah, I quashed that one, too. My assistant was blown away by all the different brachos... on the up side, my kids recognized B'rai P'ri Ha'adama when we had the Channukah lunch (we'd had potato chips the week before ).

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#131 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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We learned that you say Shehakol over non-grape juice.
Really? I didn't know that.

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#132 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 02:02 AM
 
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Really? I didn't know that.
She'ha'kol instead of Ha'gafen, though, for sure. P'ri Ha'etz over actual fruit, but not the juice. I can't remember why that is... but it's the same reason that you say Ha'adama over potato chips, while you say Mi'zonos over most other snacky things.

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#133 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 02:05 AM
 
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She'ha'kol instead of Ha'gafen, though, for sure. P'ri Ha'etz over actual fruit, but not the juice. I can't remember why that is... but it's the same reason that you say Ha'adama over potato chips, while you say Mi'zonos over most other snacky things.


Just went to the OU site and found a honkin' list. Time to get my blrssings in order!

Thanks!

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#134 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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It's true, faith in Hashem isn't a *requirement* I suppose in Judaism. Everyone struggles with faith -- although we have two concepts for this: emunah (faith) and bitachon (trust).

That said, though, doing mitzvos without faith can be a real challenge I'd imagine. Intimate faith and trust in Hashem is an integral part of a Jewish life -- wherever one is on the mitzva observance scale -- and davening (prayer) three times a day, brachos (blessings over food; after using the bathroom to thank G-d for our functioning bodies; when awaking; etc.) are a way of maintaining that connection with HaKadosh BaruchHu (G-d) at all times.

This supposed 'difference' between Christianity and Judaism (that one requires faith, the other only deeds) always strikes me the wrong way and gives me an icky feeling. Because although in Judaism faith alone is not enough -- after all, the covenant with G-d goes both ways and requires mitzvot as a way of connecting to Hashem and bringing His holiness into the world -- faith is at the core of our connection to Hashem as a people (nation) and as individuals.

The Rambam's (Maimonides) 13 Statements of Faith are an expression of this idea.

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#135 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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I'd be interested to see what you believe Christianity's first principle is. Because according to your definition, all self-labeled Christians would have to agree with that one pervasive thing that is complete enough to form a worldview, and I don't think anything like that exists any more than it exists for Jews.

When saying "Man is mortal" and "I am a man" - both first principles to get to the logic of "I am mortal" - you don't need to define "mortality," "I" and "manhood." First principles are just that - the first accepted leaps of faith with which to base logic.
I wanted to chime in rally quickly. Yes I agree with this. There would be different defining "first principles" for various Christians... so I don't see why Jews should be held to another standard by us.

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First principles are not meant to be the answer to all questions following it. Otherwise they wouldn't exist, because no one statement is enough to solely answer any question. They are meant to be a guiding for the logic that follows. Re: death, you must add other principles to the "G-d is one" in order to make it work within a philosophical and theological framework.
yup, got that. Obviously if there was one answer the rest would not be needed, yes.

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Judaism, (IMNSHO) in its infinite wisdom, has accepted many different other first principles with which to base itself on. There are as many ways to be Jewish and think Jewish as there are Jews, and there are very few things which "disqualify" you from being Jewish. As merpk said, one of those things is messing with the Shema in any way (including but not limited to, a 3-in-one philosophy), and worshiping a man, and believing that a man is G-d (c'v's).

.
ok this part i had a question about... (NOT an assumption or interrogation... just a question! a little disclaimer! )

I've always wondered about this from a law-keeping Jewish point of view. (I say law-keeping meaning people who put concerted effort into keeping all commands regardless of their official title (orthodox/chassidic/reformed... etc etc) just so this is understood...

what do they think of Jewish people who don't keep the laws?

I realize there is a lot different between jeudism and christianity - but they are both religions so for a second I'm looking at it from a simple religious POV. it may or may not translate perfectly. In Christianity you will find many different types of followers. the orthodox (little o and big O, both), conervative, semi conservative, liberal ect... some that abide by the commands that pertain to them (and not just the commands given strictly to the jews) [again I realize this could be up for debate, but that's not my question so I'd appreciate not going there] some that put much effort to abide by the commands of modesty/headcovering ect ect and some that through out the entire culture and make a new kinda... neo-christianity.

there are difference between them clearly, and some do have a binding thread. some would say what makes them a christian is there belief, others would say what makes them a christians is the heritage and some would say what makes them a christian is their commitment to follow the fruits of their belief. (and many sub-categories) there is tension and aacceptance between them but seeing as how people will disagree on what makes one a Christian (to some degree) there is a level of disagreement on this if one is truly Christian or not. (I realize this isn't the same way with Jews)

but my question is, and i hope it is okay to ask this - is there any of that in Jewish culture? I mean I realize you all are saying all jews are jews. (and this will sound overly simplistic) but...

1.would command abiding jews look down on ones who choose not to adhere that closely to commands?

2. and what defines one as making them no longer jewish? is it that they say "I no longer want to be jewish!" or the act of disregard for the jewish relgion? (as in not paying any mind whatsoever to that side of it)

or is there a third option I'm not seeing? (quite possible!) I'm curious about this... I've been asked this about Christianity and few times and it's interesting to see how an outsider sees it and is confused by it. I can understand the confusion as it isn't cut and dry for us either.

ok gotta go make the kids some food... but I'll check back in a bit.

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#136 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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p.s. I read the artilce you linked to on Wiki... very informative. I'm attempting to read bits and peices while I'm mothering and cooking and so on

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#137 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This supposed 'difference' between Christianity and Judaism (that one requires faith, the other only deeds) always strikes me the wrong way and gives me an icky feeling.
Well, the idea of faith alone for salvation isn't true of all Christians. My point in what I wrote in that last post is that being an atheist and a Christian isn't a possibility. So Judaism does appear to me to be more focused on actions while Christianity starts with faith and the actions stem from that.

One other thing I am curious about that has been discussed in this thread is the concept of God being unary. Christians do believe in ONE God. Forgive my bad example here, but if you compare God to an apple, you have the apple skin, the flesh and the seeds. All together they make an apple, if you remove any part you do not have a whole apple, yet each part can be separated from the other. This is my understanding of the Trinity - God is one being but has a few parts that make up the whole. Sorry for the crude example, I am thinking on my feet here!

Actually, reading about Judaism in this thread, I can see some similarities in the function of the religion and Catholicism (stay with me here!). Unlike most Protestant groups, Catholics believe the sacraments are integral to the life of a Christian which on a very small scale remind me of your mitzvoh and halacha (I hope I am spelling these correctly). They also accept sacred Tradition which seems similar to your rabbinical teachings and interpretations. Reading this thread has actually given me a lot of insight into how Christianity developed which makes a lot of sense being that Christianity sprung from Judaism. Once again, I am NOT suggesting they are the same, just that I can spot the seeds that grew into the fruit of our doctrine and practices. I'm sure that someone a lot smarter than me has already researched precisely this and I just need to go find those resources now so I can learn more.

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#138 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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Well, the idea of faith alone for salvation isn't true of all Christians. My point in what I wrote in that last post is that being an atheist and a Christian isn't a possibility. So Judaism does appear to me to be more focused on actions while Christianity starts with faith and the actions stem from that.

One other thing I am curious about that has been discussed in this thread is the concept of God being unary. Christians do believe in ONE God. Forgive my bad example here, but if you compare God to an apple, you have the apple skin, the flesh and the seeds. All together they make an apple, if you remove any part you do not have a whole apple, yet each part can be separated from the other. This is my understanding of the Trinity - God is one being but has a few parts that make up the whole. Sorry for the crude example, I am thinking on my feet here!

Actually, reading about Judaism in this thread, I can see some similarities in the function of the religion and Catholicism (stay with me here!). Unlike most Protestant groups, Catholics believe the sacraments are integral to the life of a Christian which on a very small scale remind me of your mitzvoh and halacha (I hope I am spelling these correctly). They also accept sacred Tradition which seems similar to your rabbinical teachings and interpretations. Reading this thread has actually given me a lot of insight into how Christianity developed which makes a lot of sense being that Christianity sprung from Judaism. Once again, I am NOT suggesting they are the same, just that I can spot the seeds that grew into the fruit of our doctrine and practices. I'm sure that someone a lot smarter than me has already researched precisely this and I just need to go find those resources now so I can learn more.

I meant to say something about that whole "one god" thing but I never got around too it. it's semantics. Jews say we believe in 3 Gods and we call them one - Christians say we believe in ONE God with 3 main characteristics (not only 3, just 3 main) in which He reveals himself to us. which of course is totally and completely the opposite of 3 Gods. I dislike having people constantly say Christians believe in 3 Gods (one of which is human who we deify as God) because it's a very stretched misconception. very stretched. and far from the truth of what we actually believe. but generally people who hold this misconception don't care to be corrected on the issue, so it rarely goes anywhere. people believe what they want to after a certain point. if they prefer their misconceptions they will continue to keep them. that said you're apple analogy is simplistic, sure... but it is accurate besides, who knows best about their own religion? the people of that faith by and large. just like jewish people would argue - the reason people may not understand Christianity is that it isn't meant for them to understand. It keeps being brought up that the reason we can't understand Jewish culture faith and religion is b/c it isn't for us. it isn't meant to be understood by us. it goes both way. Christianity isn't going to be understood by people not of that faith. it just isn't, not matter how wll it is explained debated, or put through some kinda test or proecdjure... which is why I don't debate any longer. it's not that I don't know how to debate... it's that proving a point doesn't prove much of anything aside that you're good at debating. it doesn't change people's minds or convince them you know best. it's just an endless circle of contnuous debate. really though, religious beliefs aren't "logical". they aren't "fair". and they aren't something that can be proved. they are something that just is. does that mean everyone is right and nobody is wrong? of course not. but you aren't going to change anyone deeply held religious beliefs by either "proving them wrong" not by beating them over the head with your beliefs. any point I could make against Judaism they could make a counterpoint against Christianity. and on and on it will continue to go... nobody winning. nobody losing.

it's also getting twisted that the Christian God only exists on our heads. or that He only exists b/c we believe in Him. (what exactly does this mean anyhow?) one could throw that same rude line towards any religion. it's a hit below the belt, honestly. unfair, subjective and completely irrelevant to the discussion. it's just a way of putting off someone and trying to make them feel belittled but it proves no actual point. hence it never goes anywhere.

(FYI, just to throw it out there... I'm not protestant Christian. I have no issue with protestant christians, but I'm not one. (not that anyone was accusing me of this lol) but I'm Anabaptist Christian... so my views are slightly more of traditional or conservative nature than protestants in general... as reflected by many things I've said here.)

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#139 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
(FYI, just to throw it out there... I'm not protestant Christian. I have no issue with protestant christians, but I'm not one. (not that anyone was accusing me of this lol) but I'm Anabaptist Christian... so my views are slightly more of traditional or conservative nature than protestants in general... as reflected by many things I've said here.)
First, it depends on the Protestant as to how "conservative" they are. I believe there are something around 28,000 Protestant denominations and sub-denominations and you can find everything from snake handlers in Appalachia to UU's in San Francisco claiming to be Protestant Christians. From what I understand the anabaptists were considered heretical by the Protestants after the Reformation and the Protestants were considered heretical by the Catholics so clearly we have differences. Whew!

Well, this just made me smile. I realized as I read this that the three Christians who are currently participating in this thread are:

Smoke - Protestant/Baptist
Henny - Anabaptist
Char - converting to Roman Catholic, former Protestant

And the Jewish ladies are (I presume)

Mperk - Orthodox
Smeis - Reformed
Eiolywn- Chaos Mage

No wonder we are all talking in circles!!

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#140 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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Not all Jews were born Jews. Some of us were once very very well-educated C'ians.

eta: Another thing to remember is that if one is growing up in a C'ian culture, one absorbs a lot of things that one doesn't absorb of other religions who are not the dominate culture.
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#141 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not all Jews were born Jews. Some of us were once very very well-educated C'ians.

eta: Another thing to remember is that if one is growing up in a C'ian culture, one absorbs a lot of things that one doesn't absorb of other religions who are not the dominate culture.
I would absolutely agree with this. I was raised in a Protestant home and was presented with Christianity being the truth, period. I didn't give it a second thought until I met my husband, an agnostic whose mother is from Asia and a Buddhist. And I realized how unbelievably arrogant it was of me to assume that I was right and everyone else was wrong when for the most part I was ignorant of their beliefs. I became an agnostic myself for a long time, abandoned Christianity and studied the Baha'i Faith in depth and then Buddhism. Obviously, I've returned to Christianity (for many reasons, too numerous to get into in this thread) but not the version I was taught as a child (for also many reasons that don't pertain to this specific thread).

I do see a huge amount of value in understanding other religions, ESPECIALLY Judaism because Christianity sprang from Judaism. It is important for me as a Christian to know precisely why Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, having an ignorant faith is unacceptable to me. And that is why I think Henny, Smoke, me and other Christians are participating and reading this thread with so much interest. And which is why I checked out a few books on Judaism from the library yesterday.

ETA: I think this goes both ways, though. I'm sure there are a lot of Jewish people who were raised in their religion and have not considered the claims of other faiths, especially Christianity. I'm not saying that we all need BA's in Religion to make a faith decision but to suggest that only Christians or any other specific group is exclusive without thought is rather unfair.

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#142 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charbeau View Post
\
I do see a huge amount of value in understanding other religions, ESPECIALLY Judaism because Christianity sprang from Judaism. It is important for me as a Christian to know precisely why Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, having an ignorant faith is unacceptable to me. And that is why I think Henny, Smoke, me and other Christians are participating and reading this thread with so much interest. And which is why I checked out a few books on Judaism from the library yesterday.

ETA: I think this goes both ways, though. I'm sure there are a lot of Jewish people who were raised in their religion and have not considered the claims of other faiths, especially Christianity. I'm not saying that we all need BA's in Religion to make a faith decision but to suggest that only Christians or any other specific group is exclusive without thought is rather unfair.
:

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#143 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Henny, I do get what you're saying about the 3 in one. Most Jews also get it. That's why we were sticking to the points of "deifying a human" and "making G-d corporeal" as the parts of Christianity that are mutually exclusive to Judaism.

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Originally Posted by Charbeau View Post
Well, this just made me smile. I realized as I read this that the three Christians who are currently participating in this thread are:

Smoke - Protestant/Baptist
Henny - Anabaptist
Char - converting to Roman Catholic, former Protestant

And the Jewish ladies are (I presume)

Mperk - Orthodox
Smeis - Reformed
Eiolywn- Chaos Mage

No wonder we are all talking in circles!!
It's actually Reform, not Reformed. It is an ongoing process. Sorry - pet peeve.

And honestly, please don't take me as a typical Reform Jew. I'm soooooooo much more traditional than Reform that they're all wondering why I stick around.

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Not all Jews were born Jews. Some of us were once very very well-educated C'ians.


I grew up Roman Catholic, of the Orthodox variety. Covered hair during prayer, pre-Vatican I, never-had-a-bite-of-meat-on-a-Friday-until-college Catholic. My parents are lay Dominicans who teach at a Jesuit college and an Archdiocese school, respectively. I was also a religious studies student at a Brethren College, so I'm well-versed in Anabaptism and eastern religions.

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#144 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I grew up Roman Catholic, of the Orthodox variety. Covered hair during prayer, pre-Vatican I, never-had-a-bite-of-meat-on-a-Friday-until-college Catholic. My parents are lay Dominicans who teach at a Jesuit college and an Archdiocese school, respectively. I was also a religious studies student at a Brethren College, so I'm well-versed in Anabaptism and eastern religions.
Vatican I was in 1869 so I'm guessing you are talking about Vatican II, which was called in 1962 and closed in 1965 (if I remember correctly). And you could have been orthodox with a little "o" but not Orthodox and Roman Catholic. There is that whole schism thing! Though there have been reconciliation efforts and the RC does accept the EO's sacraments as valid.

Just a pet peeve of mine.

(I'm teasing you here, I understand that you meant you grew up in a conservative RC family, I just thought this was funny after your Reform/Reformed correction, which I do appreciate)

Actually, I am surprised you remember pre-Vatican II! You look very young in your linked picture. So what did your family think of your conversion? Too bad there isn't a "converts" tribe here at MDC. I think there have got to be commonalities even if the conversions to a new religion aren't all the same.

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#145 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Henny, I do get what you're saying about the 3 in one. Most Jews also get it. That's why we were sticking to the points of "deifying a human" and "making G-d corporeal" as the parts of Christianity that are mutually exclusive to Judaism.

hmmm well it seemed by the tone of a lot (not all) of the jewish representative on this thread that they were not getting that point, actually.

the "deifying a human", well I think most Christians would agree this isn't the case. God showing himself in human form isn't a human-God. isn't God-human. I realize you said you were once christian-belief so I respect that you have some background on this... but I still feel this interpretation of Christianity isn't accurate.

Charbeau -I didn't grow up anabaptist, btw. I found it after searching for a long time, so I completely understand what you said about looking into other things before making judgements on them (paraphrashing of course!)

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#146 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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Vatican I was in 1869 so I'm guessing you are talking about Vatican II, which was called in 1962 and closed in 1965 (if I remember correctly). And you could have been orthodox with a little "o" but not Orthodox and Roman Catholic. There is that whole schism thing! Though there have been reconciliation efforts and the RC does accept the EO's sacraments as valid.

Just a pet peeve of mine.

(I'm teasing you here, I understand that you meant you grew up in a conservative RC family, I just thought this was funny after your Reform/Reformed correction)

Actually, I am surprised you remember and participated in the Traditional Latin Mass, pre-Vatican II. You look very young in your linked picture. I think some parishes held out for a long time though and didn't start performing the N.O. Mass for several years after VII. So what did your family think of your conversion? Too bad there isn't a "converts" tribe here at MDC. I think there have got to be commonalities even if the conversions to a new religion aren't all the same.


Can you tell I was holding a screaming baby when I wrote that?

Sorry, pre-Vatican II. Yeah, I'm too young for it. I'm only 24. My parents are very hardcore Catholic and they'll go on and on about how Vatican II was the worst thing to happen to the Church, etc , and they preferred going to either the Dominican abbey for services or to the Latin Mass offered by a nearby church.

I think the Orthodox with a capital O thing was my parents' way of sticking it to the "vernacular Catholics." I should probably stop using the term, huh?

My parents don't speak about my "Jewish thing." They prefer to deny it exists and just make sure I know I'm going to hell as often as they can slip it into conversation.

My mother thinks I'm lucky they didn't just disown me. I wonder, though...

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#147 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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the "deifying a human", well I think most Christians would agree this isn't the case. God showing himself in human form isn't a human-God. isn't God-human. I realize you said you were once christian-belief so I respect that you have some background on this... but I still feel this interpretation of Christianity isn't accurate.
The Jewish point is that G-d CANNOT be human in any way, nor can He be represented by a human, or part of the identity of any human. Likewise, a human figure cannot be G-d or godlike. According to us. That's where the problem is. Christians say that Jesus is both, which makes him able to be revered as both. Jews say that it isn't possible to have that distinction. That the two are mutually exclusive.

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#148 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you tell I was holding a screaming baby when I wrote that?

Sorry, pre-Vatican II. Yeah, I'm too young for it. I'm only 24. My parents are very hardcore Catholic and they'll go on and on about how Vatican II was the worst thing to happen to the Church, etc , and they preferred going to either the Dominican abbey for services or to the Latin Mass offered by a nearby church.
My very liberal mother believes that my conversion to Catholicism is a phase too! We have just sort of agreed to not talk about it anymore. My husband is also a little freaked out. Friends and family make conversion so fun, don't they?

Actually, your parents have probably hung on long enough that the tradition that they love is going to be more accessible. Traditional Catholics are gaining momentum, religious order candidates are on the rise, many young girls want to be in a traditional order wearing the habit and having access to the Latin Mass. Actually Pope Benedict XVI recently (like a year ago?) wrote Summorum Pontificum which gives parish priests the OK to perform the EF Mass. Looks like the pendulum is swinging back the other way. There is a book by Patrick Madrid titled "More Catholic Than the Pope" (or something like that) which discusses the very conservative traditional Catholics and their refusal to accept Vatican II. What you said about your parents made me think of some of the Trads I've "met" online.

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#149 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Smoke - Protestant/Baptist
Henny - Anabaptist
Char - converting to Roman Catholic, former Protestant
Actually, if we're getting nit-picky I'm a Reformed Baptist. Meaning I have more in common with Reformed non-Baptists (ie. Presbyterians) than non-Reformed Baptists (ie. some--all?--Southern Baptists). If that makes sense.

Charbeau: Woot, someone who agrees with me on the Catholic-Jewish similarities! My DH's family is very very Catholic, and I've often been struck by how Jewish various bits of Catholicism are (in principle, not in 'flavour', if you know what I mean). For example, the use of priests, which are not a New Testament concept, the sacrifices (Mass), emphasis on decoration and symbols in the buildings and clothes, etc; plus of course a greater importance attached to works than Protestant Christianity.

Another question. Someone mentioned how in Jewish thought, God cannot be corporeal. What's your understanding of the OT 'appearances' of God such as the burning bush, God passing before Moses, the pillars of fire and cloud, the hand writing on the wall etc? Do you believe they were not really God, or alternatively not really corporeal? What about when God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden?
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My very liberal mother believes that my conversion to Catholicism is a phase too! We have just sort of agreed to not talk about it anymore. My husband is also a little freaked out. Friends and family make conversion so fun, don't they?
Heh. DH was brought up Catholic, went through New Ageism to hardcore atheism, and then converted to Reformed Christianity, for which his parents blame me. I'm not entirely convinced they think he's any 'better off' as a Protestant than an atheist... needless to say, they were somewhat... politely horrified? ...at the thought of us getting married. DH's mother has forbidden us all from discussing religion in the house because discussions make her nervous, so any conflict is fortunately limited to periodic emails from DH's father, casually mentioning what feast day it is and suggesting DH return to the fold. Mind you, they've stopped giving us Scott Hahn books for Christmas presents, and that is a blessing. (Nothing more embarrassing, incidentally, than getting 'Life-Giving Love' from your future FIL, who you barely know, for an engagement gift). But I'm digressing... Yes, I have in-law issues.

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#150 of 188 Old 12-01-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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it makes sense that Catholicism is similar to Judaism...crap ..baby woke up i'll finish this sentence in a bit lol
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