Sunday, December 14, 2008

Judaism versus the other guy...

Judaism and Xtianity: The Differences by Trude Weiss-Rosmarin dissects the differences between the two religions. Some aspects of this include: the G-d idea, miracles, sin, earthly pleasures, faith vs. law and J. I intend to mix book summary with personal experience to discuss this topic. Therefore some may find things in this discussion that are not in the book.

The Jewish G-d idea is monotheistic. The Xtian G-d is the trinity. If you talk to a Xtian, they will tell you they are monotheistic, however this is not accurate. Their argument is that G-d takes three different forms but, that it’s still one G-d. However, one of these forms is supposed to be a human form. If you take that away, there can be no “father” and thus you just get one G-d. A kindergarten math lesson would tell you that if you take away two so that you get one, you did not start with one, but three. Not too mention, if G-d is Omnipotent and Eternal how can He allow Himself to take a form that is power-restricted and transitory?

In Judaism, miracles are a foot note. In Xtianity, especially Catholicism, they are central to the religion. Weiss-Rosmarin points out that many have been duplicated by “black magic.” Thus, they do not seem to be that great of a litmus test upon which someone would base their faith in which version of G-d is our Creator. Another point to be made is that if faith is more important than works in Xtianity, why then, do they need their god to prove himself to them? What happened to the importance of faith?

In Judaism, sin is the result of choices made against G-d’s will. You atone for it by changing your behavior or asking for forgiveness and meaning it. In Xtianity, sin is something with which you are born in your soul. You atone for it by belief in J who was god’s son and also god, according to them. This god was then crucified for everyone’s sins. How can G-d be Eternal and yet die? How can G-d hate the sacrifice of one’s children and yet do what he hates? Does it make sense for an Omnipotent being to do what he hates?

In Judaism, earthly pleasures are something G-d gave us to enjoy while we are here, in moderation. In Xtianity, the ideal is the monk living in the mountains having given everything up. He does not get married and have kids. He has no money. He does not wear nice clothes. He does not eat steak or hot fudge sundaes. He does not drive a convertible on a sunny day with the wind in his hair. The only thing he gets that the Jewish guy does not get is a ham and cheese sandwich. Is this a sensible trade off?

In Judaism, the law rules over faith. In Xtianity, faith rules over law. At least that’s how it seems on the surface. The author of this paper sees it another way. In Judaism, you follow the law that the Creator laid down for you because you have faith. If you didn’t have faith, you would not think that He gave the Torah, so you would just do what you want, no? In Xtianity, they work on faith. They are on step one. The Jews are on step two.

In Judaism, views of J vary. Some hold that he is a false prophet. Some say that he was a rabbi. Most certainly, he was a mortal. The author of this paper has nicknamed him
”the hustler,” because those who believe in him have obviously been hustled. In Xtianity, he is the cornerstone of the religion. He is god-incarnate. He was both god and a mortal. Again, how can a mortal also be god?

In conclusion, Judaism is obviously a more advanced religion. Jews can do math and grasp that one god minus two gods equals negative one for the religion. Jews do not need miracles to prove their faith. The Jewish G-d does not call His People “sinner” until the sin has happened. The Jews are encouraged to enjoy life (with proper moderation.) The Jews follow the law since faith is already there. Additionally, J was not our Eternal G-d, since he was not eternal, he was a mortal.

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