I was dressed in the typical Jewsh 'Ulta-Orthodox' uniform: white shirt, dark pants, tassles on my side and a velvet skull-cap on my head. I had a sefer in my hand and silly ideas in my head. I had been in yeshiva all of three days.
"You're the same as the Muslims!" someone on the left said in a voice only I could hear. "What?" I said, naturally puzzled by such a statement "me?" I turned to see who said such a thing, and saw a dark haired boy with glasses looking at me. "Yes" he said "you agree with such things as murdering babies and children, as the Muslim fanatics do. Innocent people. You're every bit as bad as they."
I assured him I didn't lead a double life of religious Jew and fanatic Muslim, just as I assure you now. What entailed though, was a pseudo-theological discussion, where he related to me that religious Jews are just as bad because they believe they must commit genocide against certain (biblical) nations - and even if they didn't do so themselves, they were required to believe it was a good idea. Problem.
At the time, I pretty much agreed with him, but argued against it anyway, primarily because I didn't like the way in which it was expressed.
So why aren't religious Jews as bad as the Muslim fanatics?
In my circles, frankly, some of them are. Some of them are as bad as regular racists, and will freely admit to it (unless, I imagine, you slap them with a court order, in which case they'll just laugh and say they were joking). In fact, one of my high school rebbeim opined that all Jews are racists by definition. I didn't agree with this at the time, and still don't.
But so far, all I've done is compound the problem. Why aren't Jews racists?
1) Jews tend not to do things beca--
Ok wait. Who am I kidding? Judaism is replete with references to "stay away from the non-Jews, because they're not Jewish" - if they were Jewish, you wouldn't need to stay away from them. Can you imagine someone saying "stay away from Jews because they're Jewish" - they would be thrown to the lions, and rightly so.
Whether or not fanatic Jews are on a par with fanatic Muslims, at the end of the day, is self evident. Even fanatic Jews aren't intent on punishing the west with death and violence, because of their philosophy. They leave such judgement to God.
But still, it is exactly this Muslim over-zealousness that Jews professed when they came out of Egypt. The Canaanites had to die because they were sinful. They were sexually promiscuous. They served other gods. These are pretty much the same reasons Bin Laden acted and is now a wanted man by the western-world today. But still. Jews just don't do that today, so I think some credit is due to them.
Simply put, religious Muslims are more religious than religious Jews, but the Jews aren't that far behind.
Next post: proof that the Israelites really crossed the reed sea. This is scary for me and is one of the single most things which makes me doubt my doubts, for reasons I will explain.