Skip to comments.A Noachide's response to chr*stianity (Vanity)
Posted on 12/22/2008 2:27:13 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator
Please forgive the vanity, as well as an anti-chr*stian apologetic at this time of year. My purpose is not to hurt or antagonize but to answer this thread. May G-d help me to do so.
Most arguments between Jews and chr*stians don't really satisfy anyone on either side because they focus on details--the eternity of the Torah, the identity of Messiah, the prophecies--and ignore the big picture of which these things are but details. Be`ezrat HaShem I will call upon my own prior beliefs as a Fundamentalist Protestant to lay out this "big picture" so that, whether the reader agrees or disagrees, he will understand.
Fundamentalist Protestants have a strong antinomian streak as a heritage of the Reformation, when Paul's polemics against the Torah were applied by the Reformers to Catholic rituals, laws, observances, and traditions. Thus the Fundamentalist Protestant (hereinafter FP) pitch to Jews invariably begins by pointing out that everyone is a sinner; that no one has ever kept the Torah perfectly. Therefore, since no one is without sin, no one can be "saved." All must be damned, because G-d, being holy, cannot abide imperfection. The only alternative (other than 100% sinlessness) is for G-d to incarnate Himself (chas vechalilah!) and vicariously damn Himself in the place of every sinner. In fact (according to this view) the whole point of the Torah was to illustrate that, since no one can live a 100% sinless life, all human obedience to G-d is futile, since it's all-or-nothing. Therefore the entire Torah becomes an illustration of the need for the vicarious damnation of this divine scapegoat--a "prophecy" or "type" of this "messiah." Thus, all the FP "witness" has to do is to point out to the one being witnessed to that he isn't perfect. Voila! This "proves" the truth of antinomian "faith only" chr*stianity.
Now while apologists argue back and forth about whether J*sus fulfilled the messianic prophecies or whether the cessation of the offerings means that their validity has ceased they are, as I said, missing the big picture, which is that this entire worldview is incorrect from the Torah point of view. Once again, be`ezrat HaShem I will try to explain.
Perhaps the best place to begin is to point out that nowhere in the TaNa"KH (the Hebrew Bible or "old testament") is their a word about "soul salvation" in the chr*stian sense. No one goes door to door passing out tracts. In fact, "salvation" in the chr*stian sense is never mentioned. The only "salvation" in the TaNa"KH is rescue from a dangerous situation of some kind. It is this very literal concept of rescue that chr*stianity has de-literalized, spiritualized, and allegorized into "the salvation of the soul."
In FP thought G-d, being holy and perfect, cannot create anything less holy or perfect than Himself, else He would be implicated in imperfection, which is unthinkable. Sin and imperfection come from an outside force (Satan). G-d, being holy and righteous, cannot bear the existence of sin. His only option in dealing with the slightest sin is eternal damnation--else He would topple from His throne of Holiness. So each individual must either live an entire life of absolute sinlessness or else face this inevitable fate--unless G-d incarnates Himself as a divine scapegoat to take this punishment Himself on behalf of every single individual. This is what Fundamentalist Protestant chr*stianity is all about. This is also why FP's think that merely pointing out that no one is sinless "proves" that their religion is right and all others are insults to the Holiness of G-d.
The problem is that G-d's holiness and omnipotence do not mean that in creation He reproduces Himself. G-d is One and the idea of Him reproducing Himself is a non-sequitur, as is the notion that "everything is holy" (since the very definition of "holy" is "other"). By the very nature of things all things that are not G-d are imperfect. In another post I pointed out that there is a Jewish tradition that the first sin was not committed by man, but by the very ground before man had ever been created, when G-d commanded it to bring forth "trees of fruit bearing fruit" and in instead brought forth only "trees bearing fruit" (another tradition says that the sun and moon were created the same size but the moon was reduced as a punishment for its envy).
Also, it is an error to attribute man's evil inclination to the interference of Satan. The Torah alludes to the fact that G-d Himself created man's evil inclination when it uses two yods in the word vayiytzer ("and he formed") in Genesis 2:7. The two yods allude to man's two yetzarim (inclinations), good and evil--both created and given to him by G-d. In fact, Satan is not in rebellion against G-d or a "fallen angel" at all. Indeed, by tempting us to sin and accusing us before G-d he is only doing his job.
Let none of this lead the reader to misunderstand that the ravages wreaked by the First Sin on either mankind or the universe itself is being downplayed. In fact, it is Judaism--the Torah--that first taught us of the First Sin and preserves its memory down to this day. What is being said, however, is that G-d willed to create a universe that, even before the Sin, was not (and by the very nature of things could not have been) as perfect as He--that to create was to bring imperfection into existence--and by creating creatures with free will to whom a Law was given, G-d Himself made sin possible. And this was His Will.
Ultimately, we do not know why G-d created the universe (since His counsels are His Own). But we have been given partial answers. One of these is that G-d created the universe for the Torah. In Jewish understanding Torah is what chr*stians call the "logos"--the blueprint or DNA of the Creation. In fact, it was created first (974 generations before Creation according to tradition) and the universe only after. Much as the mechanism of a keyhole is useless without the key that fits into it and makes it work, so the Torah serves as the "key" to the universe. Another answer we have been given is that G-d created this world so it could be filled with and transformed by G-dliness. G-d could have stopped with the creation of the higher, spiritual worlds, but He did not. He chose to create the physical world--the lowest of all the worlds--so that it could be elevated by G-dliness and sanctity. This, more than sanctity in the higher spritual worlds, shows forth G-d's greatness. And how was this to be accomplished? Keyhole, meet key--by the observance of the Torah. In this the Jewish nation retains the fulness of the Adamic mission by observing the Torah in its fulness, which channels holiness from the higher worlds into this physical one. Non-Jews then spread this holiness throughout the world by observing the Seven Noachide Laws. G-d's mysterious ultimate purpose is tied to the sanctification of this lowest of worlds, not by sinless angels, but by men--creatures who struggle with their evil inclination all their lives and who fail more often than they succeed.
You will notice that I have said nothing whatsoever about the "salvation of the soul" for the simple reason that that is not what it's about. In fact, it is the opposite. The soul originates in Heaven, among the supernal realms. It descends down to this lowest of worlds and enters the human body in order to do its job. And its job is not to escape to Heaven but to bring Heaven down to earth. (Please do not confuse this, the true concept of tiqqun `olam, with G-dless imitations. This transformation is to be accomplished only by obeying G-d's instructions, not disobeying them or laying them aside, and the ultimate transformation will be supernatural and quite beyond the powers of any secularist philosophy.) In Judaism (and consequently Noachism) it is obedience to G-d's laws in this world that is what it is all about. Of course at death the soul reports to G-d for judgement and some sort of assessment is made, but this assessment will be based on our obedience to G-d's commandments (and our repentence for our sins). This is not an all-or-nothing judgement, for the factors of each individual soul, its trials and tribulations, are something only G-d could possibly judge or recompense. And we will not be cast aside because we were not 100% perfect in a way no created thing (not even the sun and the moon) can be (the First Sin was committed, after all, not by a fallen man but the perfect first-created man). As it is written in Pirqei-'Avot, Lo' `aleykha hamela'khah ligmor, 'aval lo' 'attah ben chorin lehibbatel mimennah ("it is not for you to finish the work, but neither are you free to withdraw from it"). It is also written that G-d will not ask us why we were not Moses, but why we were not ourselves. And that should be our focus: doing our task wherever we are, acknowledging our sins and failures, doing teshuvah (repentance) whenever needed, fearing G-d and obeying Him to the best of our ability, and most certainly not discarding His laws because we find them difficult.
I don't know how good a job I have done in this re-write (re-writes are always inferior to the original), but I hope I have succeeded in getting sincere chr*stians (especially antinomian FP's who do so much proselytizing and "witnessing") to see that in this worldview the notion that messiah has already come is ludicrous, and that such arguments as the current absence of blood sacrifices simply do not address the underlying issues at all. Neither do the often heard accusations "you must really have confidence in your sinlessness if you think you can make it to Heaven without J*sus" or "You're just trying to work your way to Heaven because you don't appreciate your own sinfulness and G-d's holiness" address the Jewish worldview, but only strawmen created to be taken down by those arguments. I don't think I'm "good enough." I'm not trying to "work my way to Heaven." I'm trying to do my job. And believe me, I have a greater appreciation than you ever could of the lousy job I'm doing at it!
The Torah foretells periods of destruction and exile when the sacrifices cannot be offered (these are always punishments for abandoning the Torah, not for "rejecting the messiah"). And when the real Mashiach comes it will not be subject to debate but a fact that no one on earth will be able to deny. So long as we're debating, then he hasn't come.
As I said, I fear this re-writing isn't as good as the one I was working on and then stupidly closed without saving. I certainly hope nothing I have written causes anyone to misunderstand. I have tried to explicate these things as I have come to understand them. I have certainly not intended to mislead anyone. And I certainly hope I haven't embarrassed anyone more learned in these matters than I. I hope Orthodox Jewish FReepers will feel free to correct me where I have made mistakes.
May G-d mercifully lead and guide us each and all!
Note carefully: my imperfection, and the imperfection of every human being, is not an original discovery of yourself, nor does it in and of itself vindicate your religious beliefs.
I hope I haven’t said anything too terribly stupid.
That is a tradition of many Jews. It comes from the ancient tradition that the name of God should never be destroyed, thus it is written to not actually have the name of God so it can never be defiled or destroyed. Its original purpose was physical writing but it has become commonplace in all forms of communication and media.
I was unaware that I had any emotional investment in your reading this post or not. I suppose I'm heartbroken, then?
because, quite frankly, I have much better things to do.
Go do them. I have absolutely no powers to compel disinterested parties to read posts which are not directed to them in the first place, nor do I want such powers.
“I will call upon my own prior beliefs as a Fundamentalist Protestant to lay out this “big picture” so that, whether the reader agrees or disagrees, he will understand”
Were you born a gentile?
Q: Why did God make me?
A: To know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
I am a gentile.
I know, you find it strange (as do I now), but I still find it beautifully consistent (as I still do not find the ancient churches).
Isn't this a little 'creating God in man's image?' With this, are we projecting man's emotional and ego needs onto God? Does God need to be loved? Does God need to be served? Does that need project a gap in God's being that needs to be filled? IMHO (with emphasis on the humble part)..
I never said He “needs” any of those things, nor did the BC. In fact, the idea of God “needing” anything (as in not having it but requiring it for completeness) is absurd.
OTOH, He can and does choose to do whatever it is that He chooses to do for whatever reasons, that are beyond our comprehension. The BC answer does not pretend to be complete. I’ll ad that describing eternity in the present tense is itself inadequate, but it’s the best English has to offer.
I don’t find FP theology strange ... I just disagree with it.
As for the inconsistency you see in the ancient Churches ... I guess I don’t see it.
Ping to read (again) later
:) 26 words that equal the whole truth about that pesky question and answer. I have one on my shelf as well. Used it in my kids homeschooling.
>I hope I havent said anything too terribly stupid.
Welcome to the club! ;)
Between your post, ROTB’s previous thread, and the various comments by other posters, I had to spend some time researching various terms and their definitions. LOL
I had no idea (and had never heard) what a Noachide was before your post.
Also, having read both threads and all of the comments fully, I was impressed that it had a bare minimum of flames.
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