God, Religion, Jews and Christians – what is common in all that from Jewish intellectual perspective? Part 3 – The world of Religion
Thus after about two and a half millennium of building a better world, God decided to enhance the process of defining the Good and the Evil in the course of building a better world. God decided to enhance this process by selecting a small group of humans and assign to them a special mission of being the Chosen with a sole task of the Chosen to help the others in learning the God’s guidance on building a better world for everybody.
And that was the beginning of the world of Religion – a human world with Judaism as religion for the Jewish people and Christianity as the religion for the Gentiles with all love-hate relationships. (Although there are many other religions in the world of Religion the topic of this article is the Judeo-Christian relationship only.)
Here is what happened after this God’s decision.
- In the course of about 400 years – From Abraham through the Egypt slavery and the Sinai desert to the Mount Sinai – God prepared one, selected by Him, human tribe for the mission of the Chosen. This tribe is known in the history as the Jewish people.
- On the Mount Sinai through Moses God delivered His instructions on how to build a better world for all His humans. Those instructions were codified in the Torah and were intended for all His humans – to be delivered to all the humans through the Jewish people. It didn’t mean only through the Jewish people. If somebody among the non-Jews is able to get the instructions directly from God, God would appreciate it. If somebody needs help in understanding the God’s instructions, the Jewish people have to provide the help.
- At this point in history the world of Religion had begun to shape – to shape by the humans, not by God. And the HUMAN world of Religion has to deal with the following fundamental challenge imposed on us the humans in the Torah:
We the humans think and speak not the God’s way – how to translate the guidance of the Torah into an understandable human language?
So, how we the humans can translate the guidance of the Torah into an understandable human language? We cannot get the knowledge of the 100% God’s absolute truth since God is above as in the governing hierarchy – we can just try to get to it as close as possible.
Two millenniums ago numerous rabbis composed the Talmud which was the best interpretation of the Torah-based God’s commandments. In composing the Talmud the rabbis considered and discussed numerous interpretations of various Torah’s commandments and put together one for each commandment which they believed was more applicable for the life conditions of those times.
And the rabbis of those biblical times send a spiritual massage to us: continue creating the Torah/Talmud interpretations for your times to make the Torah guidance better applicable for your life conditions constantly changing in the course of God-Human’s creative work. Unfortunately, this message was lost in some Jewish religious communities. Almost since then the Jewish people were split into fighting spiritual groups.
Some of them proclaim that the God’s world is stable and unchangeable, and therefore is easily understood completely. If it so, all Jews have to have the same interpretation of God’s commandments and therefore have to think alike, to behave alike and – in order to preserve the spiritual purity – to be isolated from the other peoples.
The others believe the God’s world is in the state of permanent creative change for the benefit of everybody and, to spiritually understand the change and act accordingly, the Jews are required to think and behave individually, and to work together with the fellow Jews and non-Jews on building a better world for everybody.
Nothing wrong with the existence of these two trends among the Jewish people unless some of the communities begin presenting themselves as the only true interpreter of the God’s absolute truth. And that’s what happened with many contemporary orthodox communities. And those communities are working against emerging Judeo-Christian understanding and unity that is a must in preserving the Western Judeo-Christian civilization in our troubled times.
Two millenniums ago some rabbis began implementing the Jewish mission as the Chosen by helping the local pagan non-Jewish tribes learning the Torah-based commandments in the interpretation tailored to the culture of the local tribes. In doing spiritual work the rabbis probably considered and discussed numerous approaches on how to tailor better various Torah’s commandments to existing life conditions and culture of the local non-Jewish pagan tribes.
That was the beginning of Christianity.
Posted on March 17, 2013, in English-language posts and tagged God and Religion, human tribe, Intellectual Torah, jewish identification, Judeo-Christian spirituality, religion, religion and politics, The Chosen, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.