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Subject: In which once again I just confuse the hell out of everybody... rss

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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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...or why I contend that an atheist (like Chad, for example) could be said to believe more in the G-d of Torah than some religious people. (I was tempted to pick a vocal Christian like Jythier or Meerkat as an example but won't put them in the hot-seat without their permission.)

Let me be clear here: I do not believe in the Christian god. That should be fine; after all, I'm not a Christian. My concept of a deity is markedly different from the Christian concept, as I attempted to explain here for instance. A difficulty faced in making myself clear is that the question, "Do you believe in G-d?" inevitably connotes "Do you believe that there exists some entity termed G-d with the following properties...[whatever those might be]?" Yet as Torah approaches belief in G-d, the belief in the existence of such an entity is merely one aspect of belief in G-d and by far the least important aspect of that belief. To believe in G-d in Torah terms is not a binary yes or no status but a degree of acceptance of the attributes associated with the existence of One G-d.

First, it is appropriate the day after Purim (at lest here in Jerusalem) to mention one of the principal lessons of Megillat Esther. This sefer is the only book in TN"K in which no Name or G-d is ever used. (At least some Christian versions add pieces not in the original and so this is only definitely true of the Jewish version.) All the events in the account of the crisis for the Jewish people (who were potentially facing annihilation since virtually all Jews at the time lived within the Persian empire) can be explained and understood without referring to G-d in any way. As Jews,we believe this is true of the world entirely but we choose not to look at the world that way.

So what is the point of believing in G-d then? Such a question can only be answered if one clarifies what belief in G-d entails. Torah contrasts the G-d of Torah with pagan concepts. Two concepts are seen as particularly abominable. The practical reality of ancient paganism was that it was a group of religions which rejected human equality and human dignity. The concept of semi-divine human leaders, heroes, is utterly anathema to Torah. (Christianity IMO took over and adapted Greek, Roman and to a much lesser extent Germanic pagan traditions, using tropes borrowed only very roughly from Judaism through an overtly hostile and Hellenistic filter applied to the Septuagint.) One Torah applies to both the humblest Jew and the king or greatest Torah Sage. G-d deals with both on the level of friends, not of abject servants.

Torah Law never rules on intangibles like belief, only on the manifestation of those beliefs via actions. So what actions are associated with belief in G-d for Jews and non-Jews alike in Torah terms?

1. Fundamental equality: All people are basically equal in the sense that no person is better or worse than any other except in terms of actual deeds done by that individual.

2. Human dignity and worth: All human beings are capable of both good and bad according to a person's actions, and the given person can always choose to change, to turn away from doing things which are not good in order to do things that are good.

3. We human are mutually responsible for one another.


That's not all there is to it, but the point is that belief in G-d is demonstrated by actions, not expressions of belief. To believe in G-d is to actively respect human dignity and human equality, to accept that all people have the same potential for both good and evil. Actually believing that an entity designated "G-d" exists involves no actions which have standing under law.
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The question is: how can someone be agile enough to put one's nose into one's navel. And when the nose in there, how the navel can be gazed at.
Tough ones.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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No, belief in values are expressed by actions. This is especially true when those actions carry no censure beyond a social one.
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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slatersteven wrote:
No, belief in values are expressed by actions.

Isn't that what I said?
Quote:
This is especially true when those actions carry no censure beyond a social one.
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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HavocIsHere wrote:
The question is: how can someone be agile enough to put one's nose into one's navel. And when the nose in there, how the navel can it be gazed at.
Tough ones.

snore
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whac3 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
No, belief in values are expressed by actions.

Isn't that what I said?
Quote:
This is especially true when those actions carry no censure beyond a social one.
NO, becasue god and values are not the same thing. God is not an abstract concept of social forces, it is (as I understand it even in the Jewish faith) a physical entity that has informed, it is claimed, (certain) values.

However an atheist is likely to dismiss a number of those "rules", the ones relating to the deity. So whilst an atheist accepts many of the basic concepts certain religions expound, he rejects the (alleged) sources of those concepts.

He may well reject a far greater amount of Christian doctrine (which has far more mysticism in in then many religions) but he is no less likely to reject the mysticism of Judaism.
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whac3 wrote:
Actually believing that an entity designated "G-d" exists involves no actions which have standing under law.


So you don't have to follow the 10 commandments then? It does include laws of interactions with other humans. But there is an action required based on belief in said God.

I don't know, maybe Judaism doesn't follow the Commandments.
 
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What is the traditional Jewish view on the (under today's moral standard) horrible deeds God enacts/endorses in the Old Testament? Are these stories badly translated in the Christian bible?

I know that some Christians reject these stories outright, while for others they evoke the image of a personal, emotional God, who can intervene in human life and who should not be messed with.

Is the description of the creation of the world/mankind intepreted more literally or more allegorically in Judaism?
 
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MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Actually believing that an entity designated "G-d" exists involves no actions which have standing under law.


So you don't have to follow the 10 commandments then? It does include laws of interactions with other humans. But there is an action required based on belief in said God.

I don't know, maybe Judaism doesn't follow the Commandments.


Don't get him started on commandments we will be here all day - 10 is nowhere near enough.
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andyl wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Actually believing that an entity designated "G-d" exists involves no actions which have standing under law.


So you don't have to follow the 10 commandments then? It does include laws of interactions with other humans. But there is an action required based on belief in said God.

I don't know, maybe Judaism doesn't follow the Commandments.


Don't get him started on commandments we will be here all day - 10 is nowhere near enough.
I think the thread has already gone spinning of th rails, we will now have 100 posts in which Moshe refuses to actually say what teh Jewish "bible" says, but how all Christians are wrong (satire).
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I'm a vocal and devout Christian and I don't really disagree with anything you have said.

I've never read a version of the book of Esther that mentioned God. I've always been taught that as one of its distinctives.

I believe God deals with all of his people not as abject servants but as friends. The primary disagreement we have is on who "his people" are.
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I don't think the 10 commandments are even in the Jewish bible. It's just a mistranslation. It was really 8 1/2 commandments and a suggestion, in the original wording, and having been interpreted through the traditional Christian lens it just ended up being 10 commandments, none of which say anything close to what the original commandments were.
 
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I believe in rain but not snow.
 
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It took thousands of years but now we finally know that "Do not walk in the ways of the Egyptians" was actually a condemnation of the 80's dance craze, and had nothing to do with their worship of multiple Gods, etc.
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MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Actually believing that an entity designated "G-d" exists involves no actions which have standing under law.


So you don't have to follow the 10 commandments then? It does include laws of interactions with other humans. But there is an action required based on belief in said God.

I don't know, maybe Judaism doesn't follow the Commandments.

1. We count them differently.
2, We understand them differently.
3. They only apply to Jews, and I wasn't talking only about Jews.
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Jythier wrote:
I don't think the 10 commandments are even in the Jewish bible. It's just a mistranslation. It was really 8 1/2 commandments and a suggestion, in the original wording, and having been interpreted through the traditional Christian lens it just ended up being 10 commandments, none of which say anything close to what the original commandments were.


Of course it's a mistranslation, no god worth it's salt would give Moses two tablets that only had enough memory to store 5 commandments each. We're talking about omnipotence here! Jeez, even a crappy iPad can hold more than that.
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whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.
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whac3 wrote:
1. We count them differently.


Five is right out?
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Moshe Callen
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Simon Mueller wrote:
What is the traditional Jewish view on the (under today's moral standard) horrible deeds God enacts/endorses in the Old Testament? Are these stories badly translated in the Christian bible?

I know that some Christians reject these stories outright, while for others they evoke the image of a personal, emotional God, who can intervene in human life and who should not be messed with.

Is the description of the creation of the world/mankind intepreted more literally or more allegorically in Judaism?

I answered that in detail on another thread.
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MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.

This chart compares the two listings.

EDIT:
I'm talking about the practical meaning of belief in G-d and so trying to throw things referring to belief in G-d at me is kind of silly.
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whac3 wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.

This chart compares the two listings.


Exactly.

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Pretty basic. And one that requires "action" on your part in the worship of said god.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.

This chart compares the two listings.


Exactly.

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Pretty basic. And one that requires "action" on your part in the worship of said god.

Except that actually the word G-d here is Eloqim which means a Lawgiver. H` is One. So how can there be other gods? It's because here it's using the sense of Lawgiver, and the Law o the Jewish people is only Torah.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.


I'm only an atheist but to be fair even different Christians understand them slightly differently. Catholics split them up differently to Protestants. Also many Christians seem to believe that the 10 commandments are far more important than other commandments in the Bible.

Moshe, I think that Judaism believes that the Noahide laws are appropriate for gentiles. I have problems with the blasphemy and idolatry parts of those laws, also maybe with the sexual immorality too.
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andyl wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
whac3 wrote:

2, We understand them differently.


Differently than what? They are each one line, and fairly easy to universally understand.

Sometimes I think we need more than one Jewish opinion on these questions, because I think Moshe is making stuff up sometimes.


I'm only an atheist but to be fair even different Christians understand them slightly differently. Catholics split them up differently to Protestants. Also many Christians seem to believe that the 10 commandments are far more important than other commandments in the Bible.

Moshe, I think that Judaism believes that the Noahide laws are appropriate for gentiles. I have problems with the blasphemy and idolatry parts of those laws, also maybe with the sexual immorality too.


What about coveting your neighbor's wife's ass?

(Possible translation error on that...)
 
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Empathy is a very useful trait to evolve among bands of hominid apes who depend on each other for survival in a hostile world. All morality worth following can be derived from that.
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