Monday, 24 March 2008

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.


a inger said...

Simply put, religious Muslims are more religious than religious Jews, but the Jews aren't that far behind.

If the rabbi's ever put together a Bes Din that will be recognized by all you will see how difficlt they can be. They are already showing how stupid and stubborn they can be with the issue of conversions. Only certain American rabbis are accepted.....Avi

FedUp said...

Great consciousness raiser! I love to see stuff like this. I think that if the average OJ would see something like this he would be shocked. The morals of mankind have changed yet they are still looking to ancient history to figure out what is right and wrong. Judaism, the ancient unchanging religion, is nothing like it used to be. The question is how did it get to this point. Since they don't propose that God gave us a new Torah then I would have to chuck it up to man. This leads to the obvious conclusion that Judaism is man made just like the rest of religion. Keep up the good work.

Baal Habos said...

Yes, JS. Along with the skeptic package comes the realization, that our beloved religion is inherently racist. No. that's not quite true. We always realized it, but felt this is what God wants because we truly are special.

Classic racism.

Jewish Sceptic said...

Thanks for commenting by the way, guys.

But hmm.

fed up
I wouldn't say it's obvious, especially when one's mind is operating within the confines of Judaic thought...sometimes only when one takes a step back and looks at something with fresh eyes, do things become obvious. Which, of course, is not something you do when you're a religious Jew.

Baal Habos
Very interesting. I think you're right. I think I will post one more time about that subject...

lost and not yet found said...

You can tell that some Jews are racist just by the way they speak [the word 'shvartez' is used derogatorily] and how kids are petrified of non-Jews because that's the way they were raised. Sad.

Jewish Sceptic said...

lost, much as it pains me to admit it, it may be a racist philosophy. Though I like to think it was made that way later because of the fact that Jews had to live amongst the nations after they were it acted as a sort of barrier to assimilation. But also, it was probably a good thing at the time, if you think what middle ages europe was like...not very jew-friendly. No wonder jews weren't very trustful towards non Jews.

its just a shame that resentment seems to still be there.

bluke said...

I posted about this a while back, A Halachik state, Saudia Arabia and the Taliban, Clarification about Judaism and the Taliban and How much different is Charedi society then Saudia Arabia? and people jumped all over me.

Anonymous said...

In comparing violence dictated by haShem in the Tora with violence dictated by Allah (or, more precisely, Jibreel) in the Qur'an, we have to make two very important distinctions:

1) The people haShem commanded the Jewish people to annihilate do not exist anymore. To quote an infamous Iranian, they have been wiped "from the pages of history". The reasons for this lie not so much in alleged Jewish genocides against these peoples (remember that, according to the Tanakh, the lives of various Canaanites were spared, like Rahab, and some, through a deceitful pact with the Israelites, worked as "woodchoppers and water-bearers"). The annihilation of the Canaanites and the Philistines as civilizations is largely due to the Assyrian conquest of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. For all intensive purposes, these commandments are null and void because these peoples don't exist anymore. In contrast, Jihad is commanded against all who are not Muslim or Ahl al-Kitaab (People of the Book), which is, in essence, the entire population of the universe minus the 2 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims, the 15 million Jews and however many few millions of Zoroastrians are still practicing their faith. This is quite a large amount of people still alive Muslims are commanded either to convert or execute.

2) The violence in the Tora was limited to just those few nations in the defined boundaries of Eretz Yisrael singled out by haShem for destruction. The Qur'an, on the other hand, commands Jihad against all who are not Muslims or Ahl al-Kitaab, be they in India or on Jupiter. There are no geographical limitations to the command of Jihad.

Comparing violence in the Tora to violence in the Qur'an is comparing apples to oranges. Muslim apologists like to use this tu quoque argument as a means of justifying violence in the Qur'an, but, when you really dig deep down into the ramifications of the commands, they commit not only the logical errors of tu quoque, but false analogy as well.

Chag Sameach (or 7agh Samea7 if you happen to be Sephardi/Mizrachi)