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Where is your God now?
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osiris
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:44 PM
 
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
The Final Dakar
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:45 PM
 
As someone on another forum put it: Zeus > Jesus
     
turtle777
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:46 PM
 
Ah, it's just the Father, having a little fun with his Son.

-t
     
dcmacdaddy
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
As someone on another forum put it: Zeus > Jesus
Yup.

One should never stop striving for clarity of thought and precision of expression.
I would prefer my humanity sullied with the tarnish of science rather than the gloss of religion.
     
osiris  (op)
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Jun 15, 2010, 02:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
As someone on another forum put it: Zeus > Jesus
Apparently!
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
ebuddy
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Jun 15, 2010, 06:37 PM
 
Zeus > than plastic foam and fiberglass
ebuddy
     
Oisín
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Jun 15, 2010, 06:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
As someone on another forum put it: Zeus > Jesus
And apparently Thor > Jesus, too.

(Which is quite odd, considering he doesn’t even know how to get through an airport check-in desk without blowing it up.)
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:16 PM
 
Pratchet, Gaiman, or other?
     
Oisín
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Pratchet, Gaiman, or other?
Adams.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Ah, it's just the Father, having a little fun with his Son.

-t
An event like this may make some think a bit more about the veracity of that alleged relationship.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 15, 2010 at 07:50 PM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
turtle777
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
An event like this may make some think about the veracity of that alleged relationship.
Nah, they cool

-t
     
Big Mac
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Jun 15, 2010, 07:55 PM
 
You really think so turtle? What are the odds of a strong lightning strike at that specific location, one strong enough to set a six foot structure ablaze and see it burn down before firefighters could respond? You're absolutely 100% sure it isn't a sign from above?

If I were a Christian, I'd be reading the Hebrew Scriptures right now with a special eye to what G-d thinks of idols, idol worship, foreign worship and polytheism. It's stated over and over again hundreds of times. As I've been saying, I think we're just about to see the most dramatic revelation of divine truth in the history of the world, and I think it's wise to prepare. I know I'm pushing myself to higher levels of worship and obedience, as hard as it can be at times to improve one's self. Just a suggestion though.

Start at Exodus 20:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 04:05 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Laminar
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Jun 15, 2010, 08:03 PM
 
Holy ****, really?
     
reader50
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Jun 15, 2010, 08:17 PM
 
It's obviously an objection to the worship of polystyrene - it's not an authentic material for the time. I'm pretty sure they didn't even *have* disposable coffee cups back then.
     
subego
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Jun 15, 2010, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
You really think so turtle? What are the odds of a strong lightning strike at that specific location, one strong enough to set a six foot structure ablaze and see it burn down before firefighters could respond?
Umm... It was a big steel structure, in a lightning storm, covered in the primary ingredient for homemade napalm.
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 15, 2010, 08:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Adams.
Obviously I have some rereading to do.
     
dcmacdaddy
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Jun 15, 2010, 08:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If I were a Christian, I'd be reading the Hebrew Scriptures right now with a special eye to what G-d thinks of idols, idol worship, foreign worship and polytheism. It's stated over and over again hundreds of times. As I've been saying, I think we're just about to see the most dramatic revelation of divine truth in the history of the world, and I think it's wise to prepare. I know I'm pushing myself to higher levels of worship and obedience, as hard as it can be at times to improve one's self. Just a suggestion though.
I hope you are right. I for one would like to see all the devout believers taken off to wherever it is they will go when their chosen prophet appears and/or returns. A whole lot less of them around to interfere with our everyday lives will make this earthly world a better place. So, in the words of the immortal George W. Bush, "Bring it on!"
One should never stop striving for clarity of thought and precision of expression.
I would prefer my humanity sullied with the tarnish of science rather than the gloss of religion.
     
CollinG3G4
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Jun 15, 2010, 09:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Y As I've been saying, I think we're just about to see the most dramatic revelation of divine truth in the history of the world, and I think it's wise to prepare.
Congratulations! You're the ten millionth person to foresee the imminent destruction of humanity. Your keen interpretation of current world events far surpasses all predictions that preceded your own. Again, congratulations.
     
BlueSky
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Jun 15, 2010, 11:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
Jesus is Crab People.
     
OldManMac
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Jun 15, 2010, 11:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If I were a Christian, I'd be reading the Hebrew Scriptures right now with a special eye to what G-d thinks of idols, idol worship, foreign worship and polytheism. It's stated over and over again hundreds of times. As I've been saying, I think we're just about to see the most dramatic revelation of divine truth in the history of the world, and I think it's wise to prepare. I know I'm pushing myself to higher levels of worship and obedience, as hard as it can be at times to improve one's self. Just a suggestion though.
I think mankind has heard this before, and is still waiting.
     
ort888
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Jun 16, 2010, 01:12 AM
 
If my Aunt had balls she would be my uncle.

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 02:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
I think mankind has heard this before, and is still waiting.
I know that, and I see you're not the only one in this thread to bring up that objection to my post. You're right to be skeptical, but if it turns out I'm right with these warnings don't say no one pointed this out.

I know people have been predicting what I'm predicting here since at least the 1st century if not earlier. I'm not a prophet, but I do study prophecy. And what I see is that prophecies have been fulfilled in modern history, open miracles have occurred on the world stage, and we're moving toward a fundamental change in the world order. Moreover, I have seen that specific prophetic details are being fleshed out in today's headlines to be fulfilled in dramatic ways. I'm looking at a confluence of these factors, and based on my intellect I can't explain how these prophesied details could be lining up purely by chance. When people predicted similar things in the past, until very recently the world wasn't yet prepared to fulfill the ancient prophecies. Today, my friends, everything is lined up and primed. Primed for the Messianic era. And I'll tell you that everything is lining up with Jewish expectations of the ultimate redemption and vindication of Jews and Judaism. In my opinion, the non-Jewish, non-Noahide world should be preparing because divine truth won't still well with the other religions as well as those of the non-religious persuasion.

I don't expect anyone here to believe me. I'm just going on the record. I'm telling my Christian friends who are willing to listen, and I will be telling them about the heavenly decreed fate of Touchdown Jesus, a beloved Christian idol destroyed in a spectacular fashion from above. Sure, it could be an extraordinary coincidence if that's what you want to believe, and I know that it's not a direct refutation of Christian theology. But I can't think of a much more direct sign from Heaven (until the Messianic era is actually here) that Christians aren't worshipping in the way that's prescribed for the followers of G-d.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 04:46 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
lpkmckenna
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Jun 16, 2010, 02:59 AM
 
The only thing more amusing than apocalyptic Christians is apocalyptic Jews.
     
olePigeon
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Jun 16, 2010, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
As someone on another forum put it: Zeus > Jesus
My personal favorite:

"My god has a hammer, your god was nailed to a tree. Do the math.
- Viking Pride."
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
lpkmckenna
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Jun 16, 2010, 03:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
...based on my intellect I can't explain how these prophesied details could be lining up purely by chance.
I think I found the problem.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 03:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I think I found the problem.
That wasn't even a good sardonic jab. You fail in so many ways.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
besson3c
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Jun 16, 2010, 04:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I know that, and I see you're not the only one in this thread to bring up that objection to my post. You're right to be skeptical, but if it turns out I'm right with these warnings don't say no one pointed this out.

I know people have been predicting what I'm predicting here since at least the 1st century if not earlier. I'm not a prophet, but I do study prophecy. And what I see is that prophecies have been fulfilled in modern history, open miracles have occurred on the world stage, and we're moving toward a fundamental change in the world order. Moreover, I have seen that specific prophetic details are being fleshed out in today's headlines to be fulfilled in dramatic ways. I'm looking at a confluence of these factors, and based on my intellect I can't explain how these prophesied details could be lining up purely by chance. When people predicted similar things in the past, until very recently the world wasn't yet prepared to fulfill the ancient prophecies. Today, my friends, everything is lined up and primed. Primed for the Messianic era.

I don't expect anyone here to believe me. I'm just going on the record. I'm telling my Christian friends who are willing to listen, and I will be telling them about the heavenly decreed fate of Touchdown Jesus, a beloved Christian idol destroyed in a spectacular fashion from above. Sure, it could be an extraordinary coincidence if that's what you want to believe, and I know that it's not a direct refutation of Christian theology. But I can't think of a much more direct sign from Heaven (until the Messianic era is actually here) that Christians aren't worshipping in the way that's prescribed for the followers of G-d.


How does "based on my intellect" and talk of mysticism such as this belong in the same paragraph?
     
Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 04:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How does "based on my intellect" and talk of mysticism such as this belong in the same paragraph?
And that, besson, is why you fail. The supernatural, mystical, whatever term you want to use for that which cannot be explained in materialistic terms, is not necessarily beyond human understanding and intellect. I don't have much respect for people who are blindly religious and don't justify their faith on any intellectual basis at all. As I've said a number of times around here, my religion commands me to use my intellect. In a very concrete way the Torah commands me to be intellectual in order to fully serve my Creator. I'm not saying all aspects of religion can be grounded in intellect - some aspects are taken purely on faith, at least while we don't have a direct, unquestioned connection to divine truth to satisfy the doubts of skeptical inquiries - but much of what I believe I justify intellectually. The ways in which I justify my religious beliefs probably don't meet your intellectual requirements, but that's your subjective call.

You can mock me for saying that religion and intellect go hand in hand rather than being mutually exclusive, but if that's what you believe you have a really weak argument and need to go back to the drawing board, with all due respect.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 04:53 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Paco500
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Jun 16, 2010, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
That wasn't even a good sardonic jab. You fail in so many ways.
I'm afraid you're incorrect there. That was plainly well played.
     
besson3c
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Jun 16, 2010, 04:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
And that, besson, is why you fail. The supernatural, mystical, whatever term you want to use for that which cannot be explained in materialistic terms, is not necessarily beyond human understanding and intellect. I don't have respect for people who are blindly religious and don't justify their faith on any intellectual basis at all. As I've said a number of times around here, my religion commands me to use my intellect. In a very concrete way the Torah commands me to be intellectual in order to fully serve my Creator. I'm not saying all aspects of religion can be grounded in intellect - some aspects are taken purely on faith, at least while we don't have a direct, unquestioned connection to divine truth to satisfy the doubts of skeptical inquiries - but much of what I believe I justify intellectually. The ways in which I justify my religious beliefs probably don't meet your intellectual requirements, but that's your subjective call.

You can mock me for saying that religion and intellect go hand in hand rather than being mutually exclusive, but if that's what you believe you have a really weak argument and need to go back to the drawing board, with all due respect.

I'm not trying to mock you, but how does a driven need to spell God as "G-d" in fear of defacing his name or sinning or the kosher dietary laws of the Torah associate with some sort of intellectual foundation?

I have not come across any religion that is based on intellectualism, they all, AFAIK, relate to the heart, observance of tradition just because, and stuff that frankly if you were to explain this away to a skeptic would seem pretty silly from an intellectual standpoint.

That isn't to say that religion or your religion doesn't work for you in some way, I'm sure it does, all the power to you. Mixing religious experience with rationalism just doesn't work though, and that's okay. The same applies to trying to explain complicated emotions such as love - this goes beyond what words can accomplish.
     
mattyb
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Jun 16, 2010, 05:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm not trying to mock you, but how does a driven need to spell God as "G-d" in fear of defacing his name or sinning or the kosher dietary laws of the Torah associate with some sort of intellectual foundation?

I have not come across any religion that is based on intellectualism, they all, AFAIK, relate to the heart, observance of tradition just because, and stuff that frankly if you were to explain this away to a skeptic would seem pretty silly from an intellectual standpoint.

That isn't to say that religion or your religion doesn't work for you in some way, I'm sure it does, all the power to you. Mixing religious experience with rationalism just doesn't work though, and that's okay. The same applies to trying to explain complicated emotions such as love - this goes beyond what words can accomplish.
QFT, and because I didn't believe that it was possible that besson could write something so intelligent without bringing up faeces.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 06:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm not trying to mock you, but how does a driven need to spell God as "G-d" in fear of defacing his name or sinning or the kosher dietary laws of the Torah associate with some sort of intellectual foundation?
To be absolutely clear, I never once said that my hyphenation of a divine appellation out of the desire not to desecrate the Holy Name is associated with an intellectual foundation of my belief. I never said following a kosher diet has anything to do with an intellectual foundation of my belief, either. If I gave you that impression I apologize, but it sounds like you're purposely being obtuse as a form of mockery toward me - forgive me if I'm misreading you. I can't completely figure out if you're sincerely obtuse or if you're just trolling me.

What I have said, and what is fairly clear if you read my posts with any intelligent eye at all, is that my reading of prophecies from a number of Jewish sources is lining up with Jewish Messianic beliefs in a way that's very compelling to me both on a purely religious level as well as on an intellectual level. To paraphrase my earlier comment (which was mocked in a retarded fashion), from an intellectual or rational standpoint the only way to explain this confluence of prophecy and world events is to say that the conditions for the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies are coming to pass, and further that there's no reasonable way, in my opinion, to claim that these are mere coincidences.

I want to point out something important to this debate I'm having with you, besson. Go to m-w.com and look up the dictionary definitions of intellect and rational. Intellect is "the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge b : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed." Rational is defined as "having reason or understanding b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable."

But wait, below you say that rationalism and religion cannot mix. I want you to go back to m-w.com and look up the definition of rationalism. Here is the first definition listed for rationalism: "reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth." Let me repeat that in case you're tuning me out: reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth. A philosophy professor of mine, a very wise man and dear friend who I get to see on occasion, once taught us that the first definition in a dictionary is the most favored denotation of the term according to the authors of the dictionary. In other words, according to him the first definition isn't listed by chance - it can be seen as the standard definition of the term. So the very term you use below and which you claim has nothing to do with religion, rationalism, is (unbeknown to you) inexplicably linked to religion! Wow! You can take the argument up with Merriam Webster if you still have a problem with that usage.

You can see that the intellectual realm is not confined to the material world only or just empirical study of it. To be rational or intellectual simply means to have intelligent thought about a given subject, and that can certainly include the supernatural or the divine. And rationalism is defined as the reliance of reason to establish religious truth! Now what I call intellectual or rational you may reject, but in light of the evidence I brought forth you are absolutely, unequivocally wrong to contend that my (or anyone else's) adherence to and study of religion, of scripture, of prophecy, cannot possibly have an intellectual or rational basis. You couldn't be more wrong, in fact. Note that I am not saying all forms of religion are rational or intellectually based, but I contend mine is in large part. See below.

I have not come across any religion that is based on intellectualism, they all, AFAIK, relate to the heart, observance of tradition just because, and stuff that frankly if you were to explain this away to a skeptic would seem pretty silly from an intellectual standpoint.
If you think that all religious observance is based on the heart, on emotion, on tradition and only on such factors then I have to tell you again that you're so very wrong. Perhaps because you've been much more exposed to Christianity (perhaps by the State growing up in Canada), that's the conclusion you've drawn. As I've said, Christianity is not theologically coherent, and much of it is based on faith alone - after all most of Paul's message to Christians was to reject the Torah and the rule-based faith that it imposes in favor of a religion of blind faith in Jesus, a supposed personage represented as an unemployed carpenter who taught the violation of the Torah, who was executed for claiming the Messianic title and who did not fulfill the alleged prophecies of his imminent return to establish the kingdom of his deity on earth. Judaism is a rule-based religion predicated on the ability to reason that is very different from Christianity, in spite of the fact that Christianity expropriated the Hebrew Scriptures and tacked it on to its canon in an attempt to help justify its existence.

Here's my requisite apology to my Christian friends. I sincerely don't mean to offend, but the topic came up again and I don't know how to mince words in trying to convey this point to besson. Additionally, I do respect the fact that Christians find their religion rational from their standpoint and understanding of divine truth. I as a religious Jew do not find it to be a fundamentally rational, theologically coherent religion in large part because it fundamentally contradicts in so many ways the Hebrew Scriptures, its supposed basis for existence. I have immense appreciation and respect for Christian defenders of Jews and Israel. The Christian right in America is for the most part a steadfast, true ally of ours, regardless of the anti-Jewish eschatology some portion of them subscribes to. And please note that I have far more in common with a decent Christian or Muslim than I do with a decent Hindu. In turn I have far more in common with a decent Hindu or Buddhist than I do with a decent agnostic or atheist. And even with those who have no belief at all, I regard all decent people as the children of the living G-d, and one of my goals in life is to help facilitate the betterment of all His children.

Look, I could write you a whole book trying to convince you of the intellectual basis of my faith, but I doubt nothing short of open divine revelation would shake your strongly held preconceived notion that there is no intellectual component in any religion. The following is one explanation I came up with pertaining to Judaism that I hope may be able to open your mind to a different view of religion than what you currently, obstinately cling to. I ask you to read the following paragraphs with an open mind:

Judaism is built upon the teaching that the nation of Israel was taken out of Egypt by the sole G-d of the universe and given books of instruction on how to live our lives in obedience to Him. Those books are referred to as the Torah and subsequently the Hebrew Scriptures, which includes the Torah, the Prophets and the Inspired Writings. (We also have the Talmud and other compendiums of history and once unwritten laws on how to carry out the Torah in detail.) We as Jews are commanded to follow G-d's teachings found in the Hebrew Scriptures and to reject that which conflicts with what G-d commanded to us. In following those teachings and rejecting to the contrary, Jews by necessity have to use reason in following our faith. We have the objective criteria of the Torah standard that we use to evaluate life. For example, we as Jews (and when I say "as Jews" in this paragraph I mean religiously observant Jews) cannot disbelieve in the existence of G-d as atheists or agnostics do (to varying degrees) because that conflicts with the most basic teaching we were taught by Him, which is to know there is a one true G-d who delivered us out of slavery to worship Him and to be a light to all the other nations. We cannot choose to believe in Christianity instead of Judaism because it conflicts with the Hebrew Scriptures in so many fundamental ways. For one, we are commanded never to worship any form that we can see or conceive of seeing with our eyes, for we are taught by the Torah that we saw no form at Mount Sinai and that mortals cannot see G-d and live. That prohibition against worshipping forms also applies to all other religions that worship forms or physical idols. We as Jews also cannot choose to believe in Islam because the Koran, for one, violates the Torah and also claims to supersede it, whereas we are taught by the Torah that no subsequent revelation is higher than the Torah and that any prophet who claims to change the Torah or discard for something better is a false prophet who merits the death penalty for falsely claiming to be a representative of the one true G-d.

Evaluating outside religious claims is just one major category of many in which Jews make rational decisions based on the teachings we received at Mount Sinai 3300+ years ago. I could give you many other examples. Now since we have the Torah and the rest of our scriptures that tells us what is true and what is false in the religious realm, what is right and is wrong from G-d's view, and what we should and should not do in this world in relation to G-d and to each other, we have a guide to follow. By following that guide we have to use our intellects to first learn what G-d wants from us, and then to make our daily choices in life accordingly, whether and to which extent to obey or transgress.

Now that's a taste of rational thought as far as Judaism relates to the non-Jewish world. Another aspect of rationality in religion is what I was referring to with my early post to this thread. Another way I justify Judaism is by studying its history. Judaism is the oldest existing organized religion. When it came on to the scene the rest of the world was steeped in polytheism and idolatry. Judaism rejected all of that in favor of a coherent system of "ethical monotheism," in which it was taught that a deity who could never be seen directly was the architect of all of creation and the deliverer of a chosen people, the nation of Israel, the Jewish people. A nation chosen to follow His directly articulated commands, to maintain itself as a holy people separate and distinct from the other nations of the world. Essentially all the other ancient nations, including the mighty empires that existed in the days of Judaism's founding either died out or assimilated into other nations such that they are no longer around in their original form. Their religions died out.

As for the nation of Israel, the sovereign Jewish state was conquered and its people dispersed to live within the other nations, as was prophesied would happen. But what was also foretold to happen was that the tiny nation of Israel would survive its long exile. The Jewish people, besieged for 2000 years by the Christian world and then (hundreds of years later) by the Muslim world as well, brought nearly to extinction in the Holocaust (also prophesied), somehow would reconstitute themselves and emerge from the ashes of Auschwitz. As was prophesied they began returning to the Land of Israel and miraculously regained a measure of sovereignty over their ancient homeland in 1948, in spite of immense odds against them. They've had to defend themselves and their way of life in a tiny strip of what is less than 1% of the Middle East against an implacable Arab/Islamic foe that has waged at least three major wars of pledged annihilation and an unremitting stream of low to high intensity terrorism. The children of Ishmael have fought wars with the children of Israel ever since they showed a tangible desire back in the 19th Century to reclaim a portion of the Jewish homeland, and the children of Ishmael have also made wars all over the globe during this period in history, as the Zohar, for one, prophesied they would. (The Zohar is one of the prophetic texts that is causing me to sound the prophecy alarm, if anyone was wondering.)

As Mark Twain so eloquently stated,

"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

The Jewish people have been returning home and rebuilding the homeland as a sovereign country for the last 62 years, while a portion of us have remained in exile to this day. Taken as a whole, we have contributed immensely in the areas of scientific/technological discovery and various forms of culture, far disproportionate to our percentage of the world population. We have excelled greatly in the financial realm, as is well known. All of which feeds the jealous fires of Jew-hatred. Most of us are typing on this forum thanks to the technology of Israeli scientists who saved Intel - even I, Mr. PPC. This tiny group of people with a unique religion, history and place in the world. Against all the odds somehow we've not only survived but thrived, in accordance with the expectations set forth by the ancient prophecies that we know for a fact were given to us by G-d. And you say that's all by chance?

And that brings us back to the original spark of this conversation, another way I rationally interact with my religion, which I've described in this thread previously. To reiterate, I study scripture and ancient prophecies from various Jewish sources, and right now I'm seeing that world events are lining up in ways that mirror in detailed fashion what is discussed in those prophecies. I see no way of explaining this confluence of world events and very specific features of Jewish prophecies except to say that we are seeing the will of G-d as He is establishing the details of the grand fulfillment of prophecies foretold long ago to be fulfilled in times in the then distant future. The way things are lining up, its both exciting and alarming to me because I still have a lot of work to do in improving my divine service before the veil of ignorance is removed from the world and G-dly truth shines through to the masses. I wish I could sit down with you and show you the prophecies and then show you the world events I see them corresponding to, but we'll most likely never get that opportunity. Perhaps I'll write a book on it, if I have the time before all is revealed.

Now assuming I'm wrong about the world knocking on the door of the Messianic Era, it could mean that I'm a bit off timing wise. Or perhaps I'm misread the prophecies or misread the world events I link them to. It could mean that the ultimate redemption had the potential to happen now but was delayed. It could mean many things. Based on your view, it's a possibility my beliefs are fundamentally untrue. But I don't think I'm wrong about this, and if I'm right what will you say to me then?

Aside from the point I'm trying to make to besson about religion and intellect, I'll give you all a way to objectively evaluate my claims about prophetic fulfillment. I think the most dramatic revelation of divine truth is imminent. But If we don't see a dramatic revelation of divine truth within the next two to five years, then I'll say that I was wrong about the timing yet unless conditions in the world have changed dramatically I'll continue to affirm that we're knocking on the door. If we subsequently don't see that dramatic revelation by a decade from now (which is a fitting marker since many of us are celebrating a decade of forum membership), then I'll admit I was quite incorrect about the time scale and that I'll have to reevaluate world conditions and how they relate to the prophecies I speak of. And if, G-d forbid, we don't see the prophecies fulfilled a number of decades by now, I'll apologize for sounding the alarm, recognize the egg on my face and explain how I have reassessed my religious outlook. If I'm right then, well, won't you guys who doubted and mocked me look foolish indeed. If I'm wrong, I'll admit it and take the ribbing I deserve. Let's see what happens, shall we?

That isn't to say that religion or your religion doesn't work for you in some way, I'm sure it does, all the power to you.
Thank you for that approbation. Clearly non-religion works for you. I accept you're a non-believer and you accept I'm a believer, but our mutual acceptance of one another, while nice, is beside the point.

Mixing religious experience with rationalism just doesn't work though, and that's okay.[/quote]
Please see above in case you missed it. Oh hell, here it is again: Here is the first definition of rationalism listed on m-w.com: "reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth." Let me repeat that in case you're tuning me out: reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth. The very term you used and which you claimed has nothing to do with religion is, in fact, inexplicably linked to religion!

The same applies to trying to explain complicated emotions such as love - this goes beyond what words can accomplish.
Not a valid analogy. Love is an emotion primarily. Religion has emotional aspects certainly, but it is not just found in the domain of emotion. To reiterate, I will agree with you that to the extent a religion establishes itself just on faith or just on emotion alone, such a religion does not have a rationalistic basis. I am not saying that description applies to Christianity, although it does to a significant extent. Now that you know more about the terms intellectual, rational and rationalism, you'll know that religion is not necessarily separate and distinct from those terms. And I think if you bother to sincerely read the point I'm trying to make to you above about Judaism, you'll see why I say my religion is rationally-based.
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
QFT, and because I didn't believe that it was possible that besson could write something so intelligent without bringing up faeces.
Please read this reply to the post you congratulate besson over. Read it with an open mind and open heart. At the very least you'll see that one of his central contentions in that post of his is just plain wrong, at least technically speaking regarding the dictionary meaning of words. In short, what he says is objectively not the truth. And since you know truth when it comes to other related subjects, I think you'll be able to see that.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM. )

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stupendousman
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Jun 16, 2010, 06:27 AM
 
I'm betting someone was trying to make a point about the 2nd Commandment.
     
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Jun 16, 2010, 07:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Umm... It was a big steel structure, in a lightning storm, covered in the primary ingredient for homemade napalm.


I'd be happy if Big Mac would help convince the folks he's been worshipping with that they are among the absolute least enlightened politically.
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lpkmckenna
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Jun 16, 2010, 07:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
As I've said, Christianity is not theologically coherent, and much of it is based on faith alone - after all most of Paul's message to Christians was to reject the Torah ...
That's wasn't Paul's message at all. He said non-Jews didn't need to become Jews to become "Christians." (Not a word he used.)
Taken as a whole, we have contributed immensely in the areas of scientific/technological discovery and various forms of culture, far disproportionate to our percentage of the world population.
Most of those contributors were secularized Jews, not "Torah-abiding" Jews. The Jewish Reformation plus the traditional Jewish emphasis on learning and study is the ultimate cause of Jewish contributions.
     
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Jun 16, 2010, 08:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by stupendousman View Post
I'm betting someone was trying to make a point about the 2nd Commandment.
Yeah, I agree, the 2nd Commandment for one among hundreds of commandments and warnings against polytheism, worship of foreign gods and idolatry. So we're in agreement on that point?

Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I'd be happy if Big Mac would help convince the folks he's been worshipping with that they are among the absolute least enlightened politically.
You're absolutely right regarding the political aspect, ebuddy. I never said my people are perfect. Trust me when I say that mainstream Jewish politics are maddening to me as a strong political conservative. Jews in Israel and in exile consistently vote against their own best interests, and so many of them are involved with very anti-Jewish political causes and associated belief systems. Some of our worst enemies come from within. We in the religious community have religious explanations for that phenomena, and some of us have been fighting for years to change the face of Jewish politics. It's a very tough slog, though, and ultimately I've realized I can try my best to help my fellow Jew if I see that Jew on the wrong path religiously or politically, but I have to balance that with my own personal priorities of making sure I'm doing the best I can in my own life. You can lead a horse to water. . .

Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
That's wasn't Paul's message at all. He said non-Jews didn't need to become Jews to become "Christians." (Not a word he used.)
Uh, no, I beg to differ. I think your understanding of Christian scripture is quite shallow if that's your view of Paul, or else you're purposely being disagreeable with me. I can pick up just about any chapter of any book written by or attributed to Paul and show you how vehemently anti-Torah it is. He didn't just say non-Jews didn't have to become Jews, he said essentially that the Torah was fulfilled by his new god and thereby nullified to all those who have faith in Jesus (including Jewish converts to the Christian movements), whereas Jews who were still under the Torah were just cursed by it in his opinion. Please don't tell me otherwise because I've read those wretched words recently and know what I speak of. You may be able to pull a verse here or there that is more sympathetic to Judaism (perhaps when he was lying to Jews about being a Jew when he really wasn't), but no amount of Christian revisionism can change the plain meaning of those texts - he hated Judaism and had a very vested interest in replacing it with his new religion. Unless, that is, you want to claim that Paul's texts were corrupted by the Church.

Some have even contended Paul was a failed convert to Judaism, not a born Jew as most assume, and that since his conversion was insincere he was never a Jew at all. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that according to his biography he lived in a very Hellenistically assimilated area of Roman-occupied Israel. He may have been of the tribe of Benjamin by lineage, but I think it's entirely possible that his family had left Judaism generations before his time. He could have technically been Jewish, but he lived in a hotbed of assimilated Israelites and was probably exposed to many strange Greek-Jewish cults as a youth and young adult. It's easy to see how a Hellenized Jew could find Christianity appealing because Christianity is very much a Greek religion with Jewish trappings. (Half-god half-man spawn of a consort between a deity and a human female? I hope I'm not the first one to point out the similarity between the Jesus tale and the Hercules tale. It's certainly a world away from Judaism) I also don't buy for a second that he studied under Rabbi Gamaliel not only because of Paul's hatred of Torah but also because Paul makes blatant mistakes regarding the Hebrew Scriptures that no student of a great rabbi could logically make. (You can also see marked inconsistency where Paul's supposed murderous rage against Christians before his "conversion" to Christianity does not correspond to Gamaliel's admonition that Jews should not harm Christians.)

Most of those contributors were secularized Jews, not "Torah-abiding" Jews. The Jewish Reformation plus the traditional Jewish emphasis on learning and study is the ultimate cause of Jewish contributions.
A fair point, if you believe in a purely secular explanation of Jewish achievement. I don't. My religion teaches that in spite of free will the life of every human being is guided by G-d and ultimately everything that happens to us - for good and for ill - is from Him. (For the record, though, Torah observant Jews have also been successful in secular spheres of life.)

Regardless, the Reformation and the Jewish Enlightenment periods still don't satisfactorily account for Jewish achievement in my opinion. Nor does the traditional importance placed on education by Jews. The rest of the world didn't suffer under oppression for centuries, and other cultures have valued learning. Yet Jews still have made a disproportionate contribution to the world. Your explanation doesn't account for our national survival after centuries of brutal treatment and from the nadir of the Holocaust. It doesn't account for the state of Israel's miraculous survival.

I truly feel sorry for the ignorant among us who don't see or refuse to acknowledge the clear divine imprint on Jewish history and thereby the history of mankind.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 08:43 AM. )

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OldManMac
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Jun 16, 2010, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
The supernatural, mystical, whatever term you want to use for that which cannot be explained in materialistic terms, is not necessarily beyond human understanding and intellect.
And therein lies the problem. People don't understand the what and why of their existence, so they create things to attempt to explain it. We may never know all the scientific reasons behind our existence, but that doesn't give us license to make up things.

I don't have much respect for people who are blindly religious and don't justify their faith on any intellectual basis at all. As I've said a number of times around here, my religion commands me to use my intellect.
As religions are made up, that is circular logic. One's religion, which was made up to suit someone's beliefs, can't command anything, as it doesn't have any foundation that has a solid basis.

In a very concrete way the Torah commands me to be intellectual in order to fully serve my Creator.
What is made up can't be made of concrete.

I'm not saying all aspects of religion can be grounded in intellect - some aspects are taken purely on faith, at least while we don't have a direct, unquestioned connection to divine truth to satisfy the doubts of skeptical inquiries - but much of what I believe I justify intellectually. The ways in which I justify my religious beliefs probably don't meet your intellectual requirements, but that's your subjective call.
They have to meet scientifically verifiable requirements, and that has never been done in the history of mankind.

You can mock me for saying that religion and intellect go hand in hand rather than being mutually exclusive, but if that's what you believe you have a really weak argument and need to go back to the drawing board, with all due respect.
Very few people are willing to admit that things they've believed their entire life have no basis in fact.

Stephen Hawking, among others, says it quite well. "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."
     
osiris  (op)
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Jun 16, 2010, 09:48 AM
 
But my God is better than your god.


Interesting thread development btw
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The Final Dakar
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Jun 16, 2010, 09:54 AM
 
Not wholly unpredictable, though.
     
osiris  (op)
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Jun 16, 2010, 09:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Not wholly unpredictable, though.
Maybe it was an act of dog? I mean God. god. whatever, you're right.
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The Final Dakar
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Jun 16, 2010, 09:57 AM
 
How many idols of Jesus does Zeus have to rend asunder before people will acknowledge him?
     
Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 10:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
And therein lies the problem. People don't understand the what and why of their existence, so they create things to attempt to explain it. We may never know all the scientific reasons behind our existence, but that doesn't give us license to make up things.
That's your opinion, and you're entitled to the very mistaken, sad belief that there is no higher power.

As religions are made up, that is circular logic. One's religion, which was made up to suit someone's beliefs, can't command anything, as it doesn't have any foundation that has a solid basis.
That is your ignorant and quite belligerent view. Will you commit to saying with 100% certainty that all religion is false and that there absolutely is not and could never be a higher power? I like to get these types of things in writing.

What is made up can't be made of concrete.
I told you the Torah commands me to do x and you say it's made up and therefore can't be concrete and is irrelevant? If I quote you a chapter and verse will you still say it's not concrete? Even if it's the code I live by you'll claim it's made up by man, a relic of ancient times and therefore worthless, right?

If that's your standard, Old Man, then I suppose every written work created by man is fabricated and thus not concrete. So, therefore, the Constitution is not concrete. The laws made pursuant to it are not concrete. The highest laws and the statues of all other countries are similarly made up and worthless, without any rational basis according to your viewpoint, am I right? Maybe some not as blind as this Old Man can see the fallacy in his argument. Even if one wishes to believe all forms of religion are figments of the imagination of humanity, even then religion could nonetheless contain truths. But to Old Man anything created by man is false, and only his god, science, is truth.

Old Man, I encourage you to put that theory into practice. Commit some "crimes" that are outlawed by the laws you apparently don't believe in because they're the products of man. When you go before the court, simply tell the judge and jury that anything made up by man isn't scientific, isn't rational, isn't concrete. A statute isn't part of nature, nor is it scientific, and therefore you don't have to obey it. Also, before you go on your crime spree, please post a video to youtube that lays out the explanation for why you're doing it - the argument that you've just given to me.

They have to meet scientifically verifiable requirements, and that has never been done in the history of mankind.
No, religion does not have to meet "scientifically verifiable requirements" in order to be approached or from an intellectual, rational or rationalist standpoint. Look again at the terms I defined out of the dictionary for besson.

Very few people are willing to admit that things they've believed their entire life have no basis in fact.
You will be able to say that about yourself from direct experience very soon, G-d willing. I have to attend to morning prayers soon so I'm going to pray for you to see that day before you pass away from this world and meet your Maker because of your advanced age.

Stephen Hawking, among others, says it quite well. "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."
Stephen Hawking is a genius and an expert in the scientific fields he specializes in. That does not, however, make him a genius in all areas. He is not an authoritative voice on religion, nor on linguistics, since he makes the same error you, besson and a lot of other arrogant secularists make in thinking that intellect and religion are mutually exclusive. I have already conclusively proven that religion can be studied and observed in conjunction with one's intellect. Look again at the dictionary definitions of intellect, rational and especially rationalism - it was not I who defined the term that way.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 10:18 AM. )

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Jun 16, 2010, 10:30 AM
 
The apocalyptic Christians are the most materialistic of all, always looking for salvation in outside events.
     
ort888
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Jun 16, 2010, 10:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I know that, and I see you're not the only one in this thread to bring up that objection to my post. You're right to be skeptical, but if it turns out I'm right with these warnings don't say no one pointed this out.

I know people have been predicting what I'm predicting here since at least the 1st century if not earlier. I'm not a prophet, but I do study prophecy. And what I see is that prophecies have been fulfilled in modern history, open miracles have occurred on the world stage, and we're moving toward a fundamental change in the world order. Moreover, I have seen that specific prophetic details are being fleshed out in today's headlines to be fulfilled in dramatic ways. I'm looking at a confluence of these factors, and based on my intellect I can't explain how these prophesied details could be lining up purely by chance. When people predicted similar things in the past, until very recently the world wasn't yet prepared to fulfill the ancient prophecies. Today, my friends, everything is lined up and primed. Primed for the Messianic era. And I'll tell you that everything is lining up with Jewish expectations of the ultimate redemption and vindication of Jews and Judaism. In my opinion, the non-Jewish, non-Noahide world should be preparing because divine truth won't still well with the other religions as well as those of the non-religious persuasion.

I don't expect anyone here to believe me. I'm just going on the record. I'm telling my Christian friends who are willing to listen, and I will be telling them about the heavenly decreed fate of Touchdown Jesus, a beloved Christian idol destroyed in a spectacular fashion from above. Sure, it could be an extraordinary coincidence if that's what you want to believe, and I know that it's not a direct refutation of Christian theology. But I can't think of a much more direct sign from Heaven (until the Messianic era is actually here) that Christians aren't worshipping in the way that's prescribed for the followers of G-d.
Well, when the world ends or whatever you can be right. But until then, every single day that it doesn't end, I'm going to consider myself right. Looks like the world is still here. You are wrong and I am right.

And before anyone gets all in a tizzy, I myself am Jewish... and the devout Orthodox members of my family piss me off. It's to the point where we don't even associate with them because they are dicks living 2,000 years in the past. We tried to make it work, we really did.

Their orthodox ways are seriously destroying their lives... I liken what they are doing now to cult like behavior. They are being taught hateful things and encouraged to shun the outside world. Screw that.

I think I'll go have a delicious hot ham and cheese sandwich and touch my wife's boobs. Yum.

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Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2010, 11:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Well, when the world ends or whatever you can be right. But until then, every single day that it doesn't end, I'm going to consider myself right. Looks like the world is still here. You are wrong and I am right.
That's funny, but I set out a clear timeline regarding my expectations in my long post. In short, I see things lining up potentially with the 2012 timeline or shortly thereafter. If not, I'll be shocked if the world is still generally in today's state ten years from today, but if it is I'll be compelled to admit I was wrong about the timeline. And if decades more roll by without these things coming to pass, I'll admit to those still listening to me that I was very wrong, and I'll explain how I've reassessed my outlook. But I don't think I'm wrong here.

Btw, what I'm talking about does not mean the end of the world. It would mean the end of this world order, but that seems to be coming quickly regardless of my religious expectations. Now if we don't merit a better outcome, what I'm talking about could mean a catastrophic war, perhaps a WWIII. If it is to happen I have a theory about how the events are falling into place for it to occur, but I won't get into that right now. Most of the prophecies are in line with the catastrophic war view, but it also depends on whether or not the world needs that level of judgment in order to correct its course. (I think more than likely it does need it, unfortunately, although the major Orthodox movements differ on that issue.) If so, it could well be the end of the line for a lot of the world's population, at least temporarily. But even in the worst case scenario, according to the Jewish prophecies, a portion of the world's population will survive to see the true King Messiah. The prophets tell us that the Messianic Era will give way to the Era of Ressurection, when the dead will live again and the world will return to the Garden of Eden state that was intended had Adam and Eve not sinned.

As you can see the Jewish expectations about this process are far brighter than the Christian or Islamic visions. When I talk about such things many people automatically assume I'm talking about a fundamentalist Christian "hell fire and brimstone" type of end of the world scenario, but that's not to be found within Jewish prophecy.

And before anyone gets all in a tizzy, I myself am Jewish... and the devout Orthodox members of my family piss me off. It's to the point where we don't even associate with them because they are dicks living 2,000 years in the past. We tried to make it work, we really did.
I'm very sorry to hear that, ort. Very sorry. Both of my parent's families weren't very religious to mostly secular, although my great-grand parents and before them were quite Orthodox. The Orthodox families I know personally are wonderful with very strong, functional families. They open their homes to complete strangers who need places to stay for Shabbos. Their kids are almost always well behaved, with the slightly older young ones raising the very young ones while the mother and father are busy doing other things. A rabbi's young son has a world of ritual knowledge by the age of 10 that I may never achieve given my more secular upbringing. They have a higher than average number of children and support them without government assistance even if they don't have high paying jobs. I aspire to be like them in most respects and raise an awesome religious family one day, G-d willing. I'm sorry your experience with Orthodoxy has been as negative as you describe it.

Their orthodox ways are seriously destroying their lives... I liken what they are doing now to cult like behavior. They are being taught hateful things and encouraged to shun the outside world. Screw that.
I'd be interested to know what branch of Orthodoxy those members of your family belong to. Either what you deem hateful is not in fact hateful, or they belong to an obscure stream of Orthodoxy that is not representative of mainstream religious Jews. Religious Jews do indeed shun the "outside world" to varying degrees, depending on what movement they're a part of, but that's natural because we're commanded not to follow after the non-Torah world anyway. Much of the secular world is sick and twisted - why run after that?

I think I'll go have a delicious hot ham and cheese sandwich and touch my wife's boobs. Yum.
I can't endorse the ham, but if it's any consolation, for you your wife's boobs are totally kosher. Most Orthodox Jews don't shun sex within marriage - quite the opposite, in fact. On second thought, I'd assume your wife isn't Jewish, in which case her boobs aren't as kosher in your hands as I otherwise described. . .
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 12:16 PM. )

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ort888
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Jun 16, 2010, 12:17 PM
 
I forget the name of their sect or whatever, but it is very conservative and devout. I think they are tied to the Heradi or something.

It's my dad's sister and her son. The trouble really started when they decided to shun my brother's child who was born out of wedlock. They announced to our family that they didn't consider him part of the family and that he was not welcome in their house. Since then I had made peace with my cousin, but have continued to shun his mother. He has been studying to be a rabbi for a while, and after getting kicked out of his old school, he transfered to a new place in Cleveland. My wife and I recently had our first child and he has yet to meet him. When he came back to town a few months ago he wouldn't return any of my calls. When I finally got a hold of him, I told him I really wanted to see him and have him meet my kid and blah blah blah and he told me he wouldn't be able to because he was busy "cleaning for passover". That was seriously his excuse. Cleaning for passover for the rest of the week.

We used to be close. I mean close. I was like a brother/father figure to this kid. (His own dad is a real POS) We used to hang out all the time. I did NOTHING to earn his scorn. 3 months prior we had been hanging out and happy. I was sending him letters and care packages.

Now he wants nothing to do with me. He won't return my calls. I know I may come off as a bit of a douche on these boards, but I am a super nice guy in real life. I am very open to other people's beliefs and have always encouraged his faith. I think (thought) it was a good thing for him.

Anyway, I'm rambling. And my wife is Catholic. So I technically can't touch her bewbs.

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Chongo
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Jun 16, 2010, 12:24 PM
 
It was ultimately the decision James, on the advice, of Simon-Peter not to require new believers to follow the laws of Moses, not Paul's. (Acts 15)

I have a question. Why do many Orthodox Jews think Rebbe Schneerson was/is/will be the Messiah?
("Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Melech haMoshiach l'olam vo'ed!" )
Does having a photo of him in your home/workplace constitute having a "graven image?" (My barber has this photo in the barbershop)

( Last edited by Chongo; Jun 16, 2010 at 12:31 PM. )
     
besson3c
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Jun 16, 2010, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
To be absolutely clear, I never once said that my hyphenation of a divine appellation out of the desire not to desecrate the Holy Name is associated with an intellectual foundation of my belief. I never said following a kosher diet has anything to do with an intellectual foundation of my belief, either. If I gave you that impression I apologize, but it sounds like you're purposely being obtuse as a form of mockery toward me - forgive me if I'm misreading you. I can't completely figure out if you're sincerely obtuse or if you're just trolling me.
I'm just speaking about your faith in generalities, assuming you do not cherry pick from it. I'm not asserting anything about you personally.

What I have said, and what is fairly clear if you read my posts with any intelligent eye at all, is that my reading of prophecies from a number of Jewish sources is lining up with Jewish Messianic beliefs in a way that's very compelling to me both on a purely religious level as well as on an intellectual level. To paraphrase my earlier comment (which was mocked in a retarded fashion), from an intellectual or rational standpoint the only way to explain this confluence of prophecy and world events is to say that the conditions for the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies are coming to pass, and further that there's no reasonable way, in my opinion, to claim that these are mere coincidences.
How can one support a religion that has some stuff that you can believe in and intellectualize, other things that you can't, and other stuff that borders on ridiculous?

I want to point out something important to this debate I'm having with you, besson. Go to m-w.com and look up the dictionary definitions of intellect and rational.
There you go again censoring letters in fear of sin! Just say maw.com for crying out loud!

Intellect is "the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge b : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed." Rational is defined as "having reason or understanding b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable."

But wait, below you say that rationalism and religion cannot mix. I want you to go back to m-w.com and look up the definition of rationalism. Here is the first definition listed for rationalism: "reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth." Let me repeat that in case you're tuning me out: reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth. A philosophy professor of mine, a very wise man and dear friend who I get to see on occasion, once taught us that the first definition in a dictionary is the most favored denotation of the term according to the authors of the dictionary. In other words, according to him the first definition isn't listed by chance - it can be seen as the standard definition of the term. So the very term you use below and which you claim has nothing to do with religion, rationalism, is (unbeknown to you) inexplicably linked to religion! Wow! You can take the argument up with Merriam Webster if you still have a problem with that usage.
I'm referring to, as I often do, rationalist philosophy - the philosophical school of thought that dominated for centuries that said that language is a vessel which can be used to convey meaning from one person to another. A post-modern philosopher would say that there is no "truth", only experience. Somebody into Buddhism (I believe) would say the same thing.

That being said, "reason" is still a subjective thing in the dictionary definition. Reason that is based on mysticism is not rational *to me*. If it is to you, then sure, everything you have said here is accurate according to how you wish to use this language. When I say something is irrational, right or wrong I imply that whatever is deemed as irrational cannot be explained and accepted to somebody else using language. You cannot talk and talk and talk to me no matter how open my mind is and at the end of this have me become a devout Jew. I might want to be, I might be ready to try some stuff, but until I experience stuff I'm nowhere near as committed as you are.

You can see that the intellectual realm is not confined to the material world only or just empirical study of it. To be rational or intellectual simply means to have intelligent thought about a given subject, and that can certainly include the supernatural or the divine.
What if you don't have any reason to believe that the supernatural or divine exists? I'm agnostic, I cannot say for certain that it doesn't, but no religion has given me reason to believe that it does. Without the experience that you have, the mysticism that is a part of religion seems silly. Can you see things from my perspective?

If you think that all religious observance is based on the heart, on emotion, on tradition and only on such factors then I have to tell you again that you're so very wrong. Perhaps because you've been much more exposed to Christianity (perhaps by the State growing up in Canada), that's the conclusion you've drawn. As I've said, Christianity is not theologically coherent, and much of it is based on faith alone - after all most of Paul's message to Christians was to reject the Torah and the rule-based faith that it imposes in favor of a religion of blind faith in Jesus, a supposed personage represented as an unemployed carpenter who taught the violation of the Torah, who was executed for claiming the Messianic title and who did not fulfill the alleged prophecies of his imminent return to establish the kingdom of his deity on earth. Judaism is a rule-based religion predicated on the ability to reason that is very different from Christianity, in spite of the fact that Christianity expropriated the Hebrew Scriptures and tacked it on to its canon in an attempt to help justify its existence.
As I have said before, I find much of Christianity very intellectually lazy. I appreciate the idea that you are interested in more, but that's probably as far as I can go.
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Jun 16, 2010, 01:07 PM
 
I have to run so I'll have to respond to these most recent posts out of order. Chongo first because his is most fun for me.
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
It was ultimately the decision of Simon-Peter not to require new believers to follow the laws of Moses, not Paul's.
Simon-Peter gets the credit for that? I thought it was the council at the Jerusalem Church headed by James that relented to Paul in an informal way and gave a list of restrictions to him that mirror to some degree the restrictions found in the Seven Laws of Noah (which Judaism teaches non-Jews are obligated to follow). You would probably know such details better than I because I haven't studied that subject in depth.

I have a question. Why do many Orthodox Jews think Rebbe Schneerson was/is/will be the Messiah?
Great question, Chongo. It's sort of a long story but I'll try to simplify. Orthodox Judaism breaks down more specifically into two broad categories: Haredi and Chassidic. The Chassidic movement started by the mystic Baal Shem Tov split after his passing into various sub-groups following their own rabbinic dynasties - their own rebbeim. Chabad is a Chassidic movement and is also the largest single branch of Orthodox Judaism. "The Rebbe," Rabbi Schneerson, was the 7th leader in the line of the Chabad rebbeim. The fact that he was the 7th in the line holds special significance in his teachings about his destiny as Leader of the Generation and his teaching regarding Moshiach - namely that he was and many believe is Moshiach.

At the very least Rabbi Schneerson was a Torah giant. Some other Orthodox leaders disagreed with him at times, but he was respected by most of the Orthodox world. The Rebbe was very beloved by his followers. They regarded him as the "Leader of the Generation," a title which he definitely assumed for himself. The complication is that The Rebbe often said and wrote things that strongly implied he was declaring himself as Moshiach. He was a literal descendant of King David, which is one of the most important qualifications of Moshiach. He was fastidious in his observance of all currently observable Torah laws. He had a great love for humanity and for fellow Jews particularly. He called himself the Leader of the Generation, and he also apparently said the Leader of the Generation is Moshiach in actuality. He said many other things to inspire belief that he was Moshiach. He never said "I am Moshiach," but he came 99% of the way to doing so. Another requisite feature is that his followers regarded him as a prophet, which he also essentially said he was - that prophecy had for a fact returned to Israel and that prophets were again with us, another feature of the impending Messianic era. He displayed to followers prophetic truths and other miraculous information that he otherwise could not know without at least divine inspiration or full prophecy. His followers believe that the positive declaration of a prophet is unbreakable truth, and since he all but screamed he was a prophet and Moshiach they believe he either will be or actually is already Moshiach, waiting to be revealed to the rest of the world. The other complication is that he purposely and quite explicitly left no successor as opposed to his predecessors who did, which builds even more the anticipation he will be revealed after being concealed from Jewry for a period of time.

Of course, the extra-extra but very important rub is that the usual opinion of Judaism has been that Moshiach will accomplish all that's prophesied and not die before doing so. To which messianic devotees of The Rebbe either say that a potential Moshiach who dies of natural causes can be resurrected to finish the job as the actual Moshiach. Or, alternatively they say that The Rebbe never died, that it may seem to us like he passed away but he is actually alive and concealed, waiting for G-d's appointed hour. They back up their belief by citing certain specific prophecies and certain specific teachings from sages of long ago that at least open the possibility of either a long concealment of Moshiach after his identity being revealed or the outright potential of Moshiach to come from the dead. Furthermore, there is a main teaching of the Rambam that is contested about the specific language of a law he set forth regarding the coming of Moshiach and how to judge true and false candidates. As I'm sure you're aware, Chongo all of this is very controversial in the Orthodox world. That's the main thrust as best as completely as I can describe it in limited space and time.

("Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Melech haMoshiach l'olam vo'ed!" )
Which translates to "Long life [to] Our Lord, Our Master, Our Rabbi, King Messiah." A shortened form about King David was said upon his coronation as king. Late in Rabbi Schneerson's life his closest followers began singing it about him and I believe added King Messiah to it. His followers declare(d) their belief that The Rebbe is in fact Moshiach. There have been large, complex discussions about whether or not he wanted them to sing that about him and whether or not he approved of it being sung in his presence. Since his ostensible passing the singing of "Yechi" has spread and become popular outside of Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, NY, and the song is part of the controversy over The Rebbe's status as Moshiach.

Does having a photo of him in your home/workplace constitute having a "graven image?" (My barber has this photo in the barbershop)
Now wait a second, you get to go to a Chassidic barber in Arizona? My barbers are Hispanic, not that there's anything wrong with that. I think I'm moving to your community, Chongo. Then I also get to have a vote that counts in national elections, too!

Now as to your actual question, no it's not considered a graven image for a few different reasons. There's no Orthodox Jewish sect that I know of that rejects photography as being impermissible according to the Torah; if any group were strict enough to ban photography it would be Chabad because many things permissible to other Orthodox Jews are not permissible to Chabad because they follow additional strictures to heighten their level of piety.

More importantly though, the ban on imagery in Judaism is recognized as a ban on divine images that aren't otherwise commanded explicitly by the Torah (like the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant). Because Moshiach isn't divine and would never be worshipped by Jews (aside possibly from a trollish tiny fringe in Israel that puts up signs referring to him with not just Messianic but also deified titles), pictures of a great rabbinical leader and even a potential or actual Moshiach are not forbidden.

For the record and in case anyone is wondering, I know a lot about the subject because it interests me and also because I have been heavily influenced by Chabad in my development as Torah observant Jew. They are very welcoming to Jews of lesser levels of observance primarily because The Rebbe made it his mission to reach out to as many non-observant Jews as possible to bring them closer to G-d and Torah. Huge numbers of repentant Jews have come to Torah by way of Chabad and have gone from little to no observance to full observance. I feel at home praying at Chabad synagogues, but I'm not exclusively part of Chabad.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 16, 2010 at 02:31 PM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
stupendousman
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Nov 2003
Status: Offline
Jun 16, 2010, 02:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Yeah, I agree, the 2nd Commandment for one among hundreds of commandments and warnings against polytheism, worship of foreign gods and idolatry. So we're in agreement on that point?
I'm not sure that's exactly my point. The 2nd commandment warns against creating "graven images" which I always take to mean not only those of some other God, but any image which is used to worship. I believe the Bible teaches it's followers to have a personal relationship with their God and not rely on some inanimate object as a point of worship.
     
 
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