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  #11  
Old 08-11-2010, 08:10 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Many people do still follow Biblical law, some with better ability and some with less, but their intent is to follow it.
The Mosaic law of the Bible can't be understood out of the context of Jewish Oral Law which is in the Talmud. Essentially, as a Jewish Court of Law is always required to entertain doubt in the case of some one liable for death penalty or otherwise heavy physical or spiritual penalty, the death penalty is close to never carried out.
One recorded case of death penalty being carried out is on the son of Judah ha Nasi (the head of the Jewish Sanhedrin and a Cohen,jewish priest, who lead the Jewish people after the Roman destruction of the second Temple and the sack of Jerusalem) and later it was indeed learned that there had been false witnesses who testified he had comitted heretical acts to the Sanhedrin. The act of false witness was discovered too late, only after he was hung, when one false witness repented and gave testimony against himself. This is a midrash (tradition of the law sometimes allegorical, in this case one of case law), which illustrates why a Jewish court never carries out the death penalty even in the case of a transgression (such as adultery or failure to keep the Sabbath (actually the charge for death is defiling the Sabbath in public, rather than mere failure to keep Sabbath).
Adultery is carrying out a sex act (whether you are a man or a woman) with a married man or woman who is presumed to be unavailable (that is you do not have permission from the court, the other spouses or spouse etc). to have relations with that person, and there is no Jewish court that will carry out the death penalty, except in the sense that being embarrassed publicly in the Talmud (the Jewish Oral Law) is considered a type of death.
Christians frequently lay claim to Jesus telling all that they may not change one jot or tittle of the law, yet apparently have excused themselves of at least attempting to carry out much of it (when it comes to the laws of purity such as kosher etc.) but do try to carry out proper behavior towards other human beings (and in Jewish thought the sins you carry out against God through lack of purity are between you and God are between you and God and asking God to forgive you and then make an honest attempt to carry out those laws that you can does get you forgiveness), while sins against human beings who are frail and easily harmed must be forgiven by the person you have sinned against after you have made an honest attempt at making amends and righting the wrong done as best you can, before they can be forgiven by God. Thus the Christians who truly practice the teachings as they know them, are at least avoiding the more grevious class of sin - that against humans.
The only other known case of a Jewish court carrying out a death penalty was against Eichmann and there were hundreds plus of witnesses against him and his crimes were among the most heinous type known to humanity (genocide). (And this is not saying he and Hitler carried out the only genocide, the Pol Pot regime carried out genocide, the Turks killed one million Armenians, look at Sudan, Congo, the European conquest of the Americas etc.)
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  #12  
Old 08-11-2010, 10:57 PM
Edward Edward is offline
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In "The Year of Living Biblically" (an excellent book I recommend to everyone, religious or not) the author is told early on in his year that what he's attempting is admirable, but impossible. The speaker (a respected Talmudic scholar and Rabbi) states that the meaning of certain words used in the oldest version of the Old Testament is no longer known. So, when kosher laws say "Thou shalt eat no owl"...well, the scholars think the word means owl...but they're not sure.

As for the New Testament... It's a series of quotations that may have been spoken by Jesus, remembered by the Apostles, and written down long after the fact.

So, the Bible may be, for some people, a guide to how to live morally in life; but taking it literally leads to contradiction, unless you select which passages to live by. Which, of course, you're not supposed to do as an evangelical; but you have to if you're going to survive in the modern world. Many of the strident evangelicals (as opposed to what C.E.S. Wood referred to as Christ-ians; people who genuinely tried to live by Christ's teachings) are arrogant hypocrites.

There are a lot of good people who are Christians; it's a shame they're drowned out by all the people claiming to be christians.
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  #13  
Old 08-12-2010, 12:34 AM
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There are a lot of good people who are Christians...
But Jews are cooler!
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:22 AM
Quath Quath is offline
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Christians frequently lay claim to Jesus telling all that they may not change one jot or tittle of the law, yet apparently have excused themselves of at least attempting to carry out much of it (when it comes to the laws of purity such as kosher etc.)
I have asked a few Christians about this. Answers vary a lot. One person said that you are suppose to try to follow the old laws, but there is no more punishment behind them. Another said that Christians were excused from the old laws because they have new ones. So Jews still have to follow the old laws. Another said that Jesus summarized all the old laws into the laws of love. They claim that all the old laws are just expressions of love (though I see that as a far stretch).

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(and in Jewish thought the sins you carry out against God through lack of purity are between you and God are between you and God and asking God to forgive you and then make an honest attempt to carry out those laws that you can does get you forgiveness), while sins against human beings who are frail and easily harmed must be forgiven by the person you have sinned against after you have made an honest attempt at making amends and righting the wrong done as best you can, before they can be forgiven by God. Thus the Christians who truly practice the teachings as they know them, are at least avoiding the more grevious class of sin - that against humans.
The idea that it is morally good for an innocent to be punished for the sins of others appears to be a very fundamental part of Christianity. I don't think that is a good lesson, but it does have a few roots in the Old Testament. For example, when the theif at Jerico is caught, he is killed along with his children before God will bless his people again. God kills children in the flood, even though the evilness was done by others. God punishes all people for the sins of Adam and Eve. God kills Egyptian children as a plague even though he forced the Pharoah to keep the Israelites as slaves.

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The only other known case of a Jewish court carrying out a death penalty was against Eichmann and there were hundreds plus of witnesses against him and his crimes were among the most heinous type known to humanity (genocide). (And this is not saying he and Hitler carried out the only genocide, the Pol Pot regime carried out genocide, the Turks killed one million Armenians, look at Sudan, Congo, the European conquest of the Americas etc.)
The tough issue in this is the Joshua campaign in the Old Testament in which God commanded Joshua to commit genocide against many cities. This gave credit for the idea that God can command genocide. Some of the Nazi propaganda used this idea along with the "blood debt" in the New testament to justify some of the stuff they did.

It appears to me that Judiasm seems to have moved past using the Old Testament (ok.. really the Tanakh) dogmatically. I know there are some Jews who do follow it to an extreme level (like refuse to turn on light switches on Sunday). But on the whole, the Jews I met have not been too dogmatic. Maybe that is a sign of age of a religion?
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2010, 01:59 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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It appears to me that Judiasm seems to have moved past using the Old Testament (ok.. really the Tanakh) dogmatically. I know there are some Jews who do follow it to an extreme level (like refuse to turn on light switches on Sunday). But on the whole, the Jews I met have not been too dogmatic. Maybe that is a sign of age of a religion?
I'd like to respond to this. There are probably several factors. I have heard Orthodox ("Torah Observant") Jews express mild amusement that any Christians try to follow any of the laws of the Tanakh (besides the 7 I list below). They say their god established those laws/mitzvot (blessings) for Jews, and for no one else! There are a few laws just for goyim, the Noachide Laws.

# Idolatry is forbidden.

# Incestuous and adulterous relations are forbidden.

# Murder is forbidden.

# Cursing the name of G-d is forbidden.

# Theft is forbidden.

# Eating the flesh of a living animal is forbidden.

# Mankind is commanded to establish courts of justice and a just social order to enforce the first six laws and enact any other useful laws or customs.

That's it. Nothing about mixing fibres, eating pork, keeping the Sabbath or holy days, eating unleavened bread, circumcizing, etc etc.

It is actually forbidden by the Talmud for non-Jews to elevate their observance to the Torah's mitzvot as the Jews do.

There is controversy about when Judaism actually started. Did it start in the Gan Eden? When Abraham was given his marching orders? When Moses got the Laws on Mt Sinai (note that the Orthodox believe God gave Moses an oral law at this time as well)? When the prophets began questioning whether it was more pleasing to God to love each other than to make sacrifices at the Temple? When the Judaean elite came back from Babylon? When the Temple was destroyed and the rabbis began their commentary, the Talmud?

Jews have been so persecuted by the culture that stole their holy book and distorted its meaning for a new religion... of course they keep their heads low and usually don't openly presume to judge other religions or their adherents.

In Acts of the Apostles 15, it is shown that James had a big issue with "Judaizers" who claimed Christians had to follow all the Jewish mitzvot.

Quote:
Verses 19, 20
Wherefore my judgment is that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God; but that we write unto them that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.
Yet many Christians ignore this, and continue to emphasize following certain Jewish laws not meant for them. They just don't know their Bible well enough. Most Christians don't read the Bible.
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Last edited by Magdlyn; 08-12-2010 at 02:12 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2010, 05:44 PM
Edward Edward is offline
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
... They just don't know their Bible well enough. Most Christians don't read the Bible.
Sad but true. Many of the strident ones causing trouble are simply following the edicts of their minister/pastor. And to think the Protestant Revolution came about because Martin Luther and others thought to be good Christians, one HAD to read the Bible, not just accept what the priest told you.

Of course, given the problems literacy has caused for the Powers That Be over the ages since Gutenberg, perhaps the Catholic Church was more far-sighted than is generally believed.
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2010, 03:22 AM
Quath Quath is offline
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There are a few laws just for goyim, the Noachide Laws.
What does goyim mean?

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Jews have been so persecuted by the culture that stole their holy book and distorted its meaning for a new religion... of course they keep their heads low and usually don't openly presume to judge other religions or their adherents.
I was once talking to some Christians about this. I said that Islam took Christianity and modified it to make it a new religion. I said it was equivalent to how Christianity took Judiasm and modified it. But they could not see that. Their basic answer was something like "but we got it right."

Then again Judiasm went through many changes. For example, it was polytheistic before it was monotheistic. And even earlier, most gods were family style gods that were eventually merged to become Yahweh.

Quote:
Yet many Christians ignore this, and continue to emphasize following certain Jewish laws not meant for them. They just don't know their Bible well enough. Most Christians don't read the Bible.
I remember hearing a professor ask his class how many people read all the Harry Potter books. Most of them had. Then he asked how many of them thought that the Bible was the literal revation of God about how the universe, life and morality. Most of them agreed. Then he asked how many had read the Bible. Most had not. So he asks how a book that should answer life's mysteries could be so ignored?

Personally, I think most people don't want to think too much about it because it becomes hard to reconcile. For example, my mother left a church because the preacher told her that the Bible said a woman should obey her husband, even of the husband said she had to kill someone. Also, the preacher said that Africans who never heard of Jesus went to hell. She didn't want to believe that and she left. But she didn't turn to the Bible to see if she agreed.
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  #18  
Old 08-13-2010, 03:58 AM
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Goyim is commonly translated w the Greek word Gentile. Literally it means nation, but was used to mean non-Jew at the of the Roman Empire.
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  #19  
Old 08-13-2010, 12:31 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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It is indeed true that all any non-Jew is only required to follow the Laws of Noach as listed by Magdlyn. The trick to this question is that Christians state they are inheritors of the Jewish Covenant (if one makes claim to this, one is essentially making claim to being a Jew in a certain sense, so they may nonetheless be liable for all of Jewish law including the Oral Law in the Talmud, and later Jewish case law and rabinnical edicts.)
Islam itself also states that it has corrected the revelation as given to Moses and Jesus, but much of what they follow is Jewish Biblical law, and their additional rules are essentially as those upon people who take Nazirite vows (like the mother of the prophet Samson, and Samson himself).
Again, without study of the Oral Law, the books of the Bible are useless. Basically, what they tell us is, if you do such and such it is so severe a sin that in God's justice you should have received one type of death penalty or another, but the Oral Law demonstrates that God then showed Moses that God has mercy on his followers (God's followers) and that God never wants such severe sentences to be carried out.
The Canaanites whom Israel was commanded to destroy under the leadership of Joshua were human sacrificers and that is why God's edict against them was so severe. There is ample archeological evidence for this in excavations of the Canaanite Empire of Carthage, and indeed the Romans, while still pagan warred and succeeded against the Carthaginians for this evil of the Canaanites, not just because it was a trade war where the Romans were "cleverer".
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  #20  
Old 08-13-2010, 04:09 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Oh, It seems like the post I just put up got lost somehow, anyway - the tradition I heard is that all the Jews have to be able to behave in an ethical, lovingkind and united way to merit the Redemption of the world for everyone. This actually is a much harder feat to do, then to just have one person keep all the law perfectly for one day (because I am sure that one person keeping the law perfectly for one day has already happened at least every day for at least one Jew).
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