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Is Judaism a Religion of Peace?

Winston Smith

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Inspired by Republic_Of_Public's thread about Islam: http://www.debatepolitics.com/gener...n-away-damning-government-research-paper.html

Is Judaism a religion of peace? If so, how do you explain this? How is it different from the Islamist philosophy of jihad?

As soon as it was published late last year,Torat Ha'Melech sparked a national uproar. The controversy began when an Israeli tabloid panned the book's contents as "230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew." According to the book's author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, "Non-Jews are "uncompassionate by nature" and should be killed in order to "curb their evil inclinations." "If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder," Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: "There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults."

How to Kill Goyim and Influence People: Israeli Rabbis Defend Book's Shocking Religious Defense of Killing Non-Jews (with Video) | World | AlterNet
 

Deuce

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If we're going to take religious texts at face value and as evidence for the actual behavior and beliefs of their followers, then Jews must be some awful, awful people! I mean, have you read the old testament?
 

Demon of Light

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There is really a big difference between Judaism and Islam. Breaking it down to the simplest terms Islam is a cosmopolitan expansionist religion while Judaism is an ethnocentric isolationist religion. That really ties into the circumstances out of which these two faiths emerged. At some level these are both very similar religions in that they are formulaic, rule-oriented, and have an oppressive system of religious law. If Mosaic law were applied faithfully in Israel today it would be essentially indistinguishable from the various states that impose strict shariah law.

However, Judaism was essentially a religion of nationalist fervor. While it is disputable how Judaism came about it is reasonable to conclude its principles were first laid down in an organized manner following the formation of the united Kingdom of Israel by the House of David, naturally the existence of such a person is disputed though I would favor him being a historical figure, which was probably one of the major powers of its time. Like any country it retained strong nationalist tendencies and while its formation may have been violent, thus providing the basis for this Rabbi's book, it was like any other nation ultimately. Large portions of the scripture involve liberation from captivity and return to the homeland. The first one is obviously the Exodus where God is said to have inflicted such horrors on Egypt that the Pharoah willingly causes them to live then changes his mind and some of his army killed when attempting to cross the parting Red Sea. All of this is God punishing the enemy himself in order to provide for the liberation and safe passage of the Jewish people.

The Babylonian Captivity is another major event in Jewish history, but is ultimately resolved by a change in power to a leadership that is magnanimous and allows the people of Israel to return to their land. Both of these acts of liberation were peaceful.

Another act of liberation was the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. While this was an armed revolt it was ultimately due to extreme repression at the hand of a foreign power and I do not believe it was any more brutal than was typical of war in that region at that time, perhaps even somewhat less brutal.

Really, the conquests of Joshua are the strongest basis for any talk of forcible expulsion or killing non-Jews. However, there seem to be quite a few cues in the book of Joshua that, though supposedly ordered by God to slaughter all they encountered, they in fact did not engage in any wholesale massacre at all.

When talking about Islam, however the circumstances are very different. For Judaism the formative periods were in war and peace, wealth and poverty, captivity and liberation while Islam was largely created solely in the context of a war of conquest. Muhammad was a conqueror who is said on his death bed to have ordered the heads of his armies to wage war and expand beyond the Arabian peninsula to the territories of the Byzantines and other Christian nations.

Look at the dominantly Muslim countries today and you will see they tend to correspond to the territories that past Muslim leaders seized by force. If you look at the demographic makeup for Muslims outside these countries they consist almost entirely of immigrants from those countries.

I would not call either a religion of peace, but as Judaism has a largely nationalist and isolationist orientation it is the more peaceful of the two. This Rabbi is not entirely mistaken in his idea of what would be considered acceptable under Judaism, but ultimately it is all within the context of securing their nation for their people. Judaism does not really proselytize and as such war is not a central theme but a means to an end.
 

Catz Part Deux

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I think it is impossible to draw conclusions about a belief system on the basis of crazy extremists. But hey, that's just me.
 

Catz Part Deux

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From the link:
In January, Shapira was briefly detained by the Israeli police, while two leading rabbis who endorsed the book, Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, were summoned to interrogations by the Shabak. However, the rabbis refused to appear at the interrogations, essentially thumbing their noses at the state and its laws. And the government did nothing. The episode raised grave questions about the willingness of the Israeli government to confront the ferociously racist swathe of the country's rabbinate. "Something like this has never happened before, even though it seems as if everything possible has already happened," Israeli commentator Yossi Sarid remarked with astonishment. "Two rabbis [were] summoned to a police investigation, and announc[ed] that they will not go. Even settlers are kind enough to turn up."

What exactly is Israel supposed to do about a book that is the equivalent of the Turner Diaries?
 

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Is Judaism a religion of peace? If so, how do you explain this?

Yes, Judaism is peaceful.

The same cannot be said for the creatures whose fiaxtion upon Jews is such that it drives them to demonize them so relentlessly, however.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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The premise of this thread is just as absurd as a thread attacking Islam in the same manner. Religion's don't cause problems. Those who are extremists and behave in extreme ways because of their religion cause problems. Why most people can't grasp this simple concept is beyond me.
 

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Inspired by Republic_Of_Public's thread about Islam: http://www.debatepolitics.com/gener...n-away-damning-government-research-paper.html

Is Judaism a religion of peace? If so, how do you explain this? How is it different from the Islamist philosophy of jihad?

Throughout history the three Abrahamic Religions have managed to define very distinct differences between them and similarites among them. If one focuses on scriptures or the behvaiors of later followers alone than one is doomed to miss the boat on what has created this Middle Eastern and Western world. The source of Islam is not just the Quran, but it is Muhammad's behaviors and recorded actions. The source of Christianity is the Bible's New Testament and Jesus' recorded behaviors and actions. I'm pretty sure Jesus (the source of Christianity) never led armies or avenged anybody, therefore, no Crusader or any other Christian extremist has a leg to stand on. But, since Muhammad was an activist, a religious prophet, a politician, a judge, a military general, and then his own Constantine, Muslims in all walks of life have a hard time defining "What Would Muhammad Do?". Extremists and pascifists alike have a solid argument of what it means to be a "good" Muslim.

But back to Judaism, they are very distinct in their identity as being "peaceful" because they are chosen. Unlike Christianity and Islam, they aren't prescribed a duty to spread the word or perfom missionary work or absorb souls. For this very reason, the knock at your door will never be a Jew nor will history produce wars of aggression in the name of "Yahwey." Considering the historical victimhood of Jews, are you really seeking to allow his frustrations to pretend differently?

I'm not sure what your thread is really about, but learning about these religions and their histories would go a long way to understanding the world you breathe air in. Sitting back and just criticizing them for their exceptions or for rough periods won't get you anywhere.
 
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MSgt

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The premise of this thread is just as absurd as a thread attacking Islam in the same manner. Religion's don't cause problems. Those who are extremists and behave in extreme ways because of their religion cause problems. Why most people can't grasp this simple concept is beyond me.

1. "What Would Jesus Do?"

2. "What Would Muhammad Do?"

3. "What would Moses Do?"

Number 2 isn't so clear cut and unproblematic is it? Perhaps its not such a simple concept after all.
 

Demon of Light

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Yes, Judaism is peaceful.

Judaism is unconcerned with expansion but it is not peaceful. From Joshua to the Maccabees the idea of violence as a solution has been strongly endorsed in the Jewish faith. Calling that a peaceful religion is just factually wrong.

Religion's don't cause problems.

That is just a ridiculous notion. A religion's tenets inevitably impact the behavior of its adherents. Sure, the people ultimately decide but when their decision is informed by their religion suggesting the religion is not in some way a cause of that behavior is just choosing a lie because it is more comforting.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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That is just a ridiculous notion. A religion's tenets inevitably impact the behavior of its adherents. Sure, the people ultimately decide but when their decision is informed by their religion suggesting the religion is not in some way a cause of that behavior is just choosing a lie because it is more comforting.

Wrong again. You do not seem to understand the difference between an idea and behavior. A religion presents an idea. The fact that not all people respond to that idea in the same way demonstrates that the religion is not the issue, but how the individual interprets that religion is the issue.
 

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Judaism is unconcerned with expansion but it is not peaceful. From Joshua to the Maccabees the idea of violence as a solution has been strongly endorsed in the Jewish faith. Calling that a peaceful religion is just factually wrong.


I don't think it's necessary to pretend that the religious violence of Christianity and Islam are equally shared in Judaism. It is not. Judaism can be considered a "peaceful" religion. Did you know that even Buddhist Monks in Tibet have clashed in violence against police? Certainly isolated events in history won't turn Buddhism into a religion of blood. The vast majority of Judaism's history has been defensive. Wars of aggression in the name of God just isn't in the prescription. If you are willing to invoke Old Testament fables to prove otherwise, then you may as well insist on the valifity and accuracy of Adam & Eve, Noah's Arc, and Jonah's whale. Throughout the Crusades it was merely trying to defend empire. During the later centuries it was not a part opf the European religiouswars, rather scapegoats. During the 20th century it was not the aggressor in Europe still. No African nation saw Jewish missionaries seeking conversions. And the Maccabees came much later in Jewish history and it was very isolated to a patch of earth (where Judaism had been evicted as a state by aggressors). It was not and is not interested in expansion or the consumption of "infidel" or "heathen" souls.

Merely pointing out some violence doesn't make the religion one of violence. It's just not in the prescription. You may as well label the Boy Scouts a violent organization because some Boy Scouts got in a scuffle.
 

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Wrong again. You do not seem to understand the difference between an idea and behavior. A religion presents an idea. The fact that not all people respond to that idea in the same way demonstrates that the religion is not the issue, but how the individual interprets that religion is the issue.

A religion presents a belief. Beliefs are harder to change than ideas.
 

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A religion presents a belief. Beliefs are harder to change than ideas.

Very true, but how shady is that line between idea and belief? How many corpses are buried between Berlin and Cambodia thanks to Stalin and Mao's beliefs, which were facilitated by Marx' idea? Or were Stalin and Mao still running off the idea? Analysts have described communism as a godless religion. Marx's idea was highly impractical and will never be a reality in anything bigger than a small community. Islam may be the same thing in this world because it too is impractical as government in a world where civilizations clash constantly. Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism doesn't have this potential to clash (unless as the object of scapegoating), which places it into that "peaceful" category more so than the other two.
 

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Very true, but how shady is that line between idea and belief? How many corpses are buried between Berlin and Cambodia thanks to Stalin and Mao's beliefs, which were facilitated by Marx' idea? Or were Stalin and Mao still running off the idea? Analysts have described communism as a godless religion. Marx's idea was highly impractical and will never be a reality in anything bigger than a small community. Islam may be the same thing in this world because it too is impractical as government in a world where civilizations clash constantly. Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism doesn't have this potential to clash (unless as the object of scapegoating), which places it into that "peaceful" category more so than the other two.

I wouldn't put economic/political beliefs on the same par with religion. They don't really offer the same reward/punishment in the afterlife. In fact, Stalin and Mao didn't really offer reward, but only punishment for non-compliance. They held their citizens hostage.

There are Jewish beliefs that will cause major violence eventually. If and when they rebuild the Temple on the Mount, it will be as a result of major violence or will be the direct cause of major violence. When I say major violence, I mean it will probably be violence of the like we have never seen before. Communism can't touch that. They don't have the belief that this one little parcel of land will bring them their Messiah and eternal salvation.
 

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There are Jewish beliefs that will cause major violence eventually. If and when they rebuild the Temple on the Mount, it will be as a result of major violence or will be the direct cause of major violence. When I say major violence, I mean it will probably be violence of the like we have never seen before. Communism can't touch that. They don't have the belief that this one little parcel of land will bring them their Messiah and eternal salvation.

Quite obviously, the erecting of a building is not a violent act. The only violence in such a case would come from those whose hatreds drive them to such, so you have effectively transferred the responsibility for the violence away from the perpetrators of such and on to the targets.
 

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Quite obviously, the erecting of a building is not a violent act. The only violence in such a case would come from those whose hatreds drive them to such, so you have effectively transferred the responsibility for the violence away from the perpetrators of such and on to the targets.

This is assuming that they didn't obtain the land violently. Most likely, they will.

If I make the decision to sleep with someone's wife, I do so understanding that her husband may commit violence against me. Even though I made no commitment to him, he will attack me. I have to take responsibility knowing that my non-violent actions provoked violent actions. The difference is you probably understand the motivation behind the husband's action a little better. This doesn't absolve the party committing violence. But I can't exactly plead innocence either.
 
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MSgt

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There are Jewish beliefs that will cause major violence eventually. If and when they rebuild the Temple on the Mount, it will be as a result of major violence or will be the direct cause of major violence. When I say major violence, I mean it will probably be violence of the like we have never seen before. Communism can't touch that. They don't have the belief that this one little parcel of land will bring them their Messiah and eternal salvation.

Rebuilding a building is not a violent action. However, violence will be directed towards them and they will defend. It's the same historical story.
 

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This is assuming that they didn't obtain the land violently. Most likely, they will.

If I make the decision to sleep with someone's wife, I do so understanding that her husband may commit violence against me. Even though I made no commitment to him, he will attack me. I have to take responsibility knowing that my non-violent actions provoked violent actions. The difference is you probably understand the motivation behind the husband's action a little better. This doesn't absolve the party committing violence. But I can't exactly plead innocence either.

You are forecasting and defining in accordance to what hasn't happened (yet).

Buddhist Monks have been a part of violent clashes against police in Tibet recently. Is Buddhism a violent religion? The goal here is not paint Judaism as violent free, but to portray it for what it is. It is and always has been a non-violent movement who's entire focus is inward (if you'll allow the brief period leading up to the creation of Israel in the early 20th century as an exception to the historical rule). That's the beauty of being "chosen."
 
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Gardener

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This is assuming that they didn't obtain the land violently. Most likely, they will.

If I make the decision to sleep with someone's wife, I do so understanding that her husband may commit violence against me. Even though I made no commitment to him, he will attack me. I have to take responsibility knowing that my non-violent actions provoked violent actions. The difference is you probably understand the motivation behind the husband's action a little better. This doesn't absolve the party committing violence. But I can't exactly plead innocence either.

Such sophistry.You must not understand that the Dome of The Rock was not only built upon the site of the Jewish temple, but chosen specifically for that reason.

I find it odd that in your Arabized view of the world that you blame only the Jews for the violence Arabs wage against them, when the entire pattern of aggressive Arab conquest exhibits so very clearly the actions you decry.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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A religion presents a belief. Beliefs are harder to change than ideas.

Beliefs and ideas are very similar and I was actually using them in an analogous way. And both are very different than behaviors. A belief does not always lead to the same behavior. One's individual interpretation of that belief leads to behavior.
 

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This is assuming that they didn't obtain the land violently. Most likely, they will.

If I make the decision to sleep with someone's wife, I do so understanding that her husband may commit violence against me. Even though I made no commitment to him, he will attack me. I have to take responsibility knowing that my non-violent actions provoked violent actions. The difference is you probably understand the motivation behind the husband's action a little better. This doesn't absolve the party committing violence. But I can't exactly plead innocence either.

This is not logical, IT. Sleeping with someone's wife was not what caused the violence. The husband's interpretation of that event and what it meant to him is what caused the violence. You would be guilty for sleeping with his wife, but innocent in respect to the violence that occured after.
 
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Such sophistry.You must not understand that the Dome of The Rock was not only built upon the site of the Jewish temple, but chosen specifically for that reason.

It is the third most Holy site in Islam behind Mecca and Medina. They believe that Mohammed ascended into Heaven with Gabriel from the rock at it's center. It's also the oldest existing Islamic building in the world.

I hope this helps: Sophistry - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary


I find it odd that in your Arabized view of the world that you blame only the Jews for the violence Arabs wage against them, when the entire pattern of aggressive Arab conquest exhibits so very clearly the actions you decry.

Such sophistry. I said that this doesn't absolve the party committing the violence.
 
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