The soul of my Bible

I’m writing in a hurry hope it doesn’t come out sloppy. If yes, I’m sorry

This is in response to JOURNEYERBLOG’s article regarding the TaNaCH [the Hebrew Bible] I would like to present the view of the Jewish religion.

I first of all want to clarify that I’m one of those ‘some Ultra-Orthodox people’ in whose community the Bible is banned. I am as ultra as one can possibly be; I wear black hat and coat [even in the summer], my peyos [side locks] and beard meet at my chest, my first language was Yiddish, and I studied in a Yeshiva with virtually no secular studies. Had my nose been three times the size I wouldn’t blog, I’d make a mint modeling for the caricature section in Neo-Nazi magazines.

Anyway, my point is, that in my ‘ultra’ school I began learning Genesis when I was 6 and Joshua when I was 9, and Judges when I was 10. I do admit that there are extreme alt-ultra schools that keep the prophets out of the curriculum for children, for they don’t want them to think badly of Saul, David and the other prophets who’ve erred. This trend originated some 200 years ago when bible criticism was at it’s infancy within the community. The rabbi’s did try to ‘protect’ the faithful who endured thousands of years, not to be lured into a fleeting fashion that was based more in faithlessness than in true seeking. Some rabbi’s produced great works and eventually everyone went back to studying their bible.

I’m writing this, for I don’t want anyone to really think that there is such a thing of being religious without the bible. It’s absurd, misleading and delusional.

So, you will say religious Jews spend the majority of their time studying Talmud and the words of the rabbis rather than the words of the prophets. And that accusation is 100 percent accurate. For two reasons which are probably really one. The first is, for the Bible is not exactly clear on the specifics of Laws and Commandments, hence the need for Oral Law. We don’t have a phone to contact Moses and ask him exactly what he meant, and Moses would’ve been reckless had he not given over the meanings and details of every last word and Law. That tradition is still alive today. It existed since Moses. The second, is like when we study ancient works, we have to adapt the logic and understanding of the original law in order to apply it relevantly. When God says not to work on Sabbath, it gets all complicated with modern machinery etc. The same is with applying laws regarding oxen and donkeys to cars and trucks. Inscribing and iPhones. And the list never ends. The Karites, like so many different groups of successors, abandoned the Tradition and were hence pretty much lost.

It’s hard for me to address the point that God is not central in the bible and the Jews were pagans who worshipped all the Gods their neighbors did. Did you ever open a bible? Seriously, please tell me what is at the core of the Bible?

Did the Jews worship pagan gods? Of course they did (you don’t need ‘careful and critical reading and archaeology’ to see that, its all over the bible). Where the prophets proud of it? It was the worst of all their sins. Did God approve? He almost wiped out His nation for doing that. Was it something they did when they were behaving or when they were acting obnoxious? Now for some basic contextual understanding of the issue:

Abraham grew up in a pagan world and he came up with the idea that the gods everyone was worshipping are powerless. There must be a higher power; a Creator that shares His Glory and position with no one. That is the core of Abraham and the covenant God had with his children. God is not to the Jews what Ra is to the Egyptians. God has values, morals and very strict Laws; hundreds of them, in fact. God’s Laws begin with sanctifying His Name, loving Him, fearing Him, recite his Oneness twice daily, and whenever your on the way, and when you speak to your children, and you should put it on our doorpost and on our arms and between our eyes…. God is obsessed with us remembering his Oneness. That is what the bible is all about! That is why God took us out of Egypt. That is why God chose us in the first place. Whenever something bad happens, God says it’s because we didn’t keep His Laws. If all the aforementioned isn’t religion I’m not sure what you call religion.

The bible is has a serious code of law, commanding the Jews how to lead their lives from marital issues to monetary issues through faith issues. God has opinions about everything. And when we read the bible, its laws are not social standards they are the Word of God.

Now, regarding idol worshipping. God commands us to stay away from idols and their adherents, to kill all the Canaanites, and not to marry their offspring, not to do their witchery and not to follow their statutes, all for the fear that we might worship their gods. Why all the warning? Who needs to be told? Who wants to worship idols? The answer is everyone! In the time of the bible, the world was all about idols. Everything revolved around idols and therefore God knew the Jews will have a difficult time resisting. And a difficult time they had. They succumbed to the seductive culture of worshipping idols. And the prophets never stopped attempting to get them to quit. So, stating that the Jews worshipped many gods, and God too fought their battles, is misleading. It’s like saying the Jews were fidelitous [is that a word?] in marriage and part of it is cheating. It’s either or. And the Jews were at times in limbo from faith in God to that of the idols.

Regarding the rituals. Let me begin by a ritual that is very widespread in our ‘ultra’ circles, and I taught this to my two-year-old already. Whenever one reads from a bible and closes it, you kiss it. If it falls on the floor, you run as fast as you can pick it up and kiss it. For that is how common people show love. Not because God commanded, not because the prophets told us to. At the time of Abraham and his children, the way people expressed worship was through sacrifice. Abraham said “my father sacrificed to Ra, I’ll sacrifice to the Creator.” (and BTW the holidays at the calendar of agriculture is not a mystery. Had your father built you a business wouldn’t you go say thank you at every milestone? c’mon! The ancient does not believe? Only worship? In my bible their intertwined. Read the story of Abraham. Read the Shema.) Rituals are an expression; they are not what the faith is about. When the Jews got too into their sacrifices the prophets gave them hell for it.

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry…” (1 Samuel 15:22)

An atheist Jew is an oxymoron! In the words of Saadia “Our nation is no nation, only with its Torah!”

 

“There is no coherent or unified theology about the nature of God and His workings amongst different Biblical authors and it does not really bother them either. These things are left to the individual and as long as one holds up the tribal honour and rituals nobody cares what they do or do not believe in.” Seriously, please open a bible… read the prophets… you clearly never have…

Just for the heck of it, a list of some verses regarding the God and His Oneness

Genesis 1:1, 2:1-3, 14:19,20,22, 18:14, 21:33, 24:3, Exodus 4:11, 7:17, 8:6,18, 9:14,15,16,29, 10:2, 14:4,18, 15:11,18, 18:11, 20:2,11,19, 23:13, 29:46, 34:14, Leviticus 11:45, 19:36, 25:23,38, 26:13,45, Numbers 15:41, Deuteronomy 4:9-24, 31-39, 5:6,7,15, 6:4,12,13,14,21, 7:9,18,19,21, 8:2,3,4,14-18, 9:3, 10:14,17,18,21,22, 11:2-7, 13:3,6,7,11,14, 17:3, 20:1, 26:8, 29:1,2,4,5, 32:6,39,40, 33:26,27, Joshua 2:11, 3:11, 4:24, 24:17,18, 1Samuel 2:2,3,6,10, 10:18, 12:6, 2Samuel 7:22, 22:32, 1Kings 8:23,27,60, 2Kings 19:15, Jeremiah 2:6, 5:22,24, 10:6-16, 14:22, 23:24, 27:5, 31:34, 32:17-21,27, 51:15-19, Isaiah 40:12-26,28, 41:4, 42:5, 43:10-13, 44:6-8,24, 45:5-7,12,18-23, 46:5,9,10, 48:13, 51:15, 66:1, Hosea 13:4, Amos 4:13, 5:8, 9:5,6, Jonah 1:9, Nahum 1:2-4, Zechariah 12:1, Psalm 8:4, 10:16, 11:4, 18:32, 19:1-7, 24:1,2, 29:10, 33:6-11, 65:7-14, 66:6-9, 68:8,9, 71:19, 74:12-17, 78:12-16,42-55, 81:11, 83:19, 86:8-10, 89:6-14, 95:1-7, 96:4,5, 100:3, 102:26, 104:1-35, 113:4,5, 114:7,8, 115:3-11, 119:73,89-91, 121:2, 124:8, 134:3, 135:5-21, 136:1-26, 139:5-16, 145:9,14-16, 146:1-10, 147:1-20, 148:1-14, 149:2, Job 4:17, 5:9,10, 9:2-12, 10:8-12, 12:9,10,13-25, 25:1-6, 26:6-14, 28:23-28, 34:13, 35:10, 36:22,23,26-37:24, 38:1-42:6, Proverbs 3:19,20, Ecclesiastes 3:11,14, Daniel 2:20-22, 3:33, 4:31,32,34, 5:23, 6:27,28, 9:15, Ezra 1:2, 5:11, Nehemiah 9:6, 1Chronicles 16:25,26, 17:20, 29:10-12,14-16, 2Chronicles 2:5, 6:14,18, 20:6, 36:23,



Categories: Bible, Judaism

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37 replies

  1. Great article! Can you think of any verse in the Torah that says God is three persons?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heck no.. can you think of any verse in the qoran where it says God married a bisexual lunatic??? He might be the next pope… your children and mine will be debating this nonsense with that freaks followers… I can hear them scream “well it says God is one” and it says “a man shall cleave to his wife and be one” you see… OMG I’m really getting scared about this

      Liked by 2 people

    • “He might be the next pope…”

      lol!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mozer,
    Great post! I never understood how a Jew can be atheist, and still consider him self one of “The Chosen People.” It is hard to believe how some Atheist Jews, can hold their nose up and look down on non-Jews such as Muslims, who actually do believe in God, his power, might, revelation, Divine Law and most importantly his oneness.

    I am sure you know that Muslims also show great reverence to the Holy Word of God, as revealed to us in Al-Qur’an al-Kareem, ritually purifying ourselves with ablution before even touching it, kissing it after reading, guarding it from touching the floor, often storing it in an ornate box, or covering with fine cloth and placing it in a place of honor on top shelf so that nothing is above it.

    Conversely I have often witnessed Christians shamelessly leaving their Bible in the filthy bathroom, carelessly leaving it opened and laying on the floor, showing no respect to their own book whatsoever. I once saw a Christian irreverently using the Bible alternatively as a footrest or a doorstop, and another used it as a coaster for his drink!! If Christian’s do not respect their own book, then how in God’s name, to they expect anyone else to respect it?

    The only thing I question you on is this:
    “I’m writing this, for I don’t want anyone to really think that there is such a thing of being religious without the bible. It’s absurd, misleading and delusional.” – You are aware that Muslims have no problem “being religious without the Bible” which makes me think that maybe you were directing this more specifically at Jews and possibly Christians, for whom the Bible is more relevant.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yes. i am referring to Jews. i thought it was clear.
      thanks for your comment. to the second half i have to point out that we can’t generalize all Christians that they violate the respect of the bible physically. spiritually, i agree that all of them use the Hebrew Bible as a something to stamp on to reach their interests, namely idolatry and abandoning the Law

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mozer,
      Yes, I shouldn’t generalize, but the irreverence of many Christians toward their own book never ceases to shock and amaze me! You are right as well in regard to their spiritual disregard.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No atheist Jew considers themself to be “the chosen people”

      Like

    • Izzy,
      Thanks for the clarification!

      When questioned directly on the subject, the few atheist Jews I have spoken to in the recent past actually did claim to be of the chosen people based on their own lineage, almost as if it is some kind of prestigious racial club or fraternity that should command respect regardless of belief or disbelief in the Bible (as Mozer was discussing). Maybe the people I spoke with were mistaken?

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Jewish view on this is actually paradoxical. On the one hand, one born to a Jewish mother is Jewish whether he likes it or not. He’s a child of Abraham Issac and Jacob. We look at them like lost brothers whom we wait and pray they return to their Graceful father. But while they hold on to their rebellious ways they are estranged sort of..

      Liked by 1 person

    • In regard to my last comment, I think that there may be confusion among some people as to who or what a Jew is. It is someone who is of a certain racial extraction? or is it someone who is a religious believer in the religion? or Both? Or neither?

      One never hears the phrase, “Christian Atheist” or “Muslim Atheist”, as this would be a clear oxymoron. Mozer seems to agree that an atheist Jew is an Oxy-moron as well and he quotes Saadia on this.

      However, it remains that certain Atheists of Jewish extraction still consider themselves to be in some sense Jews, which in turn seems to imply that they are a self identifying themselves as a member of “the tribe” or “the chosen people.”

      I think this is why some people, possibly including some atheist Jews may be in a state of confusion as to if an Atheist Jew is still considered a member of “The Chosen People” regardless of their own rejection of the Bible, or difference in interpretive understanding from that of mainstream Judaism.

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone by any means.. I am genuinely interested to improve my own understanding and hear what Jewish people think on the subject.

      Are Atheist Jews, really Jews or not?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s put it this way, imagine Abraham Lincoln got up and said “America without equal freedom, is not America” how would you translate it?
      I would say that he obviously is not denying all those millions of slave owners citizenship he’s saying that there’s the core of values and morals upon which this nation was founded if you deviate from it, you might be born American but you are unAmerican. Do you need new citizenship to American again? No. you are American you just need to come back to its correct ways.
      I hope you appreciate what Saadia is saying: he’s giving a rally against Jews who think that there’s a Jewish pride or identity outside of Torah, there isn’t. It’s the fabric of our people. We’re the Jewish people chosen in the Bible, they were. Yes, all their children are part of this nation too. But raising the “chosen” flag when you spit at everything you were chosen for, is silly and insulting. (Btw I didn’t mean anyone personal. Please no one get defensive) Salam

      Like

    • Mozer
      I understand your answer clearly and I see Saadia’ point. But given what u said, what I don’t yet understand is why someone like Izzy would say that, “No atheist Jew considers themself to be “the chosen people” ” Is this because they recognize that they are acting un-Jewish?

      Some atheist Jews seem to believe that they are being true to the Jewish tradition of intellectual critique by questioning everything. These Jews might deny that they are behaving in an un-Jewish way. Are these Jews also considered to be “chosen” as well, even though they are actively rebellious?

      How can it be justified that a rebellious atheist Jew is chosen by God, while (I assume) other people who are in full submission to the will of God, believing in his oneness are not “chosen” by God? The Qur’an teaches that God judges us by our Taqwa (piety) not by our race or tribal affiliations.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s say God reveals Himself today, goes over to someone and “chooses” him to do a mission. The guy then rebels against God and violates his mission. Does it mean he wasn’t chosen? In the Bible God chooses the Israelites for a specific mission, some of them are obnoxious people and keep on going back to bad ways, God waits for his repentance- for him to come back to carry out his mission. In that sense btw the “chosen” that rebels is way worse than someone else. Imagine the guy in our analogy walks around proudly and says “you know I’m better because I was chosen”

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    • Mozer,
      In your example of someone being Chosen for a mission, I think it is important to define what the mission is. I hope you will agree that the core of the mission is to submit one’s will to the will and commandments of God, while believing in his oneness, and walking along the righteous straight path. If the person who was chosen for that mission fails and does not carry out that mission how can he still be one of the chosen? I mean, why would God choose an Atheist to carry out his mission?

      Forgive me, but it seems that Jews believe that only they were exclusively chosen to carry out the mission of God. While, on the other hand, it could be argued that Muslims believe that anyone who carries out the core mission of God is really one of his “chosen people” and that those who do not adhere to the core mission are rebellious and no longer considered as God’s “chosen.” However, instead of using the term “chosen” we just refer to those people who are engaged in carrying out the core mission as “Muslim” (in the spiritual context of someone who submits to the will of God).

      For example, the U.S. Marines refer to themselves as the “Chosen Few” chosen to do a mission, but that one is a member of the “chosen few” does not cancel out the possibility of dishonorable discharge for acting in a way that is contrary (rebellious) to the ideals of the organization or for failure to carry out the mission. (Maybe a bad example but you get the point). One who has been dishonorably discharged can no longer be referred to as one of the “chosen few.” Importantly, I must add that (unlike the Marine Corp), God himself is all-forgiving (al-Ghafoor) and as you said, “God waits for his repentance- for him to come back to carry out his mission.”

      One of the greatest Jewish theologians, Musa Ben Maimonides wisely wrote that, “The righteous among all the peoples of the earth have a share in the world to come.” This seems to be an indication, in agreement with the Qur’an, that God does not have ethnic, racial, or class favorites, and that he only judges between mankind by the standard of piety.

      I hope I am not misunderstanding, or offending you.

      Salaam.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, thanks for your response. The premise of my post is based on the findings of academic biblical scholarship. Since you reject these findings you read a very different bible to the one I do.

    Of course according to “the oral tradition” the bible is a monotheistic book, but I reject the very claim of an oral tradition. To me the bible is a collection of writings from different authors most of whom were not monotheists.

    I would love to continue this conversation, but I have to keep it short for now. Please let me know your thoughts, but we have to be very clear that our disagreement is about how to read the bible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My point is that all the writers have a very coherent view of God and preach equally about his Oneness and listening to His Laws… you don’t need oral law for that. I appreciate your attitude. Looking forward;)

      Like

    • The Bible clearly refers to an oral tradition in multiple places. The rejection of an oral tradition is biblically (and logically) untenable. How can you be sure the oral tradition is non-existent? You can, at most, demand some evidence. Which the Bible amply provides.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Im baffled! ” ….i dont want anyone to really think that there is such as a thing as being religious without the bible. It’s absurd…” I hope I have the quotation correct.

    So presumably there might have been no religious instinct in humanity prior to the writing of what has since become the bible? And indeed the people of the Hindu faith don’t even feature in these conversations. really? Their religious texts don’t even get a look in?

    I also find the comments about how Christians use the bible “all of them” deeply offensive. Of course it is true that some are guilty of misuse and willingly use it to put down their fellow human beings (notably gay and female being the usual victims) , just as i have been appalled at how jewish and muslim are able to abuse the text in their own interests and in equally prejudicial ways To give the impression that all Christians are guilty of a disregard of the ancient texts is nonsense. I think this kind of accusation brings shame on the discussion and simply fits in to the increasingly extremist pattern of self expression that seems agreeable to many in our troubled world. So much for religion promoting a kindness of spirit.
    Very, very disappointing. And, ill-informed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • … and here I thought it was obvious he was talking about Jews…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi
      Sorry for the misunderstanding please read the first comment of mine you’ll see I was talking exclusively about Jews. I thought it was clear from the way I wrote it. And if you’d read the post I was responding to you probably would’ve understood that right away.
      In my second comment I make the exact point you make regarding the generalization of Christian disrespect for the Bible. However, you have to understand that Jews believe that christians hijacked and molested their bible. Yes, it’s not politically correct, but I’m gonna be honest. I have Christian friends I didn’t remotely hint that they are less people, I think Paul and his friends really invented a religion based on Judaism and violated every one of its rules… that’s not politically correct either.
      I don’t think anyone should be offended by two Jews discussing their Book.

      Liked by 2 people

    • James
      Talking down to us with your “holier than thou” attitude is not very helpful either.

      Both comments that you take issue with were either clarified or toned down in previous comments. The words “all of them” was never used in reference to Christians.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mozer
      We appreciate your honesty, but in regard to your comment that “Paul and his friends really invented a religion based on Judaism and violated every one of its rules…” I am sure you realize that Muslims would differ with that assessment and offer their own honest opinion on Judaism in relation to Islam. But that does not mean we cannot see past our differences as we both believe in God and his oneness, and that is what matters most.

      Like

    • Are we disagreeing? I’m confused.

      Like

    • Mozer,
      I just realized that I totally misunderstood your remark on Paul. I was reading you wrongly. Yes I actually agree with u on that. Sorry, My apologies!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • James,
      I would like to further clarify my previous comment about the way some (but not all!!) of your coreligionists physically and irreverently mistreat their own Bible, I was actually trying to express how upsetting it is for me personally to witness such mistreatment of your holy book. I share with you the same interest in comparative religion. Even though I don’t personally believe in the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I realize that OTHER PEOPLE DO! That is why it pains me to see some people mistreat what they themselves believe to be the word of God (even though its not my book it is about showing respect for God and that which is holy). I would think that someone like you would be even MORE offended than me to see your own holy book abused by your co-religionists. Sorry if you misunderstood my previous remarks.

      Given what we often see in the news today, it may be hard from some non-Muslims to believe, but Islam has duly taught me to respect the faith and religion of others, especially to respect the Prophets and the Holy Books. I may often question the validity of the contents of those books, but I would never physically abuse the holy book of other people, And I would NEVER, EVER, insult any one else’s historical Prophet (It is one thing to criticize a people’s belief ABOUT a Prophet, but something entirely else to directly insult and verbally abuse the Prophet HIMSELF) Unfortunately, we Muslims often don’t often see the same mutual respect being returned from the many fundamentalist Christians who have been known to have physically abused our book in many different shameless ways, and have repeatedly verbally insulted, slandered and accused our Prophet. And in regard to this I will repeat your own words, “I think this kind of accusation brings shame on the discussion and simply fits in to the increasingly extremist pattern of self expression that seems agreeable to many in our troubled world.” I am sure you will agree.

      Please also see my further comments to you on this page further below.

      Like

  5. Shalom Mozer G, Excellent post. I hope you explain why the Trinity is not compatible with the Torah. Christians might agree that the Torah is not prescribing the worship of the Trinity but it is compatible since the Trinity is the best explanation about the Torah. The best evidence for the Trinitarian dogma is the Shema according to evangelicals. Your response? Will you write something? Many Jews have converted to Christianity, as they believe that the Shema demands the Trinity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You think some rationally impossible nonsense is the *best* explanation for… anything, let alone the Torah?

      Really? “The Lord your God is One” is *evidence* for mind-bending absurdity?

      Is this the comments section of a blog, or did my phone just access the actual Twilight Zone?

      😂

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a very simple subject that was twisted enough, that it began to appear as if it was complicating. Do me a favor, right on top of the comments at the very end of the article, there’s a list of verses. Before you need an answer, read all those verses well without commentary of any sort. Let me know what your overall feeling is after you’ve read all of it… I don’t think you’ll bed much clarification. Shalom to you too, wish you clarity and peace.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am sure Ken Temple will reinterpret all of those verses as evidence of Trinity if he hasn’t done so already! 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Shalom Mozer, thanks for the post,

    Your worldview is Islam 101. it’s just different book and sets of oral law traditions.

    Some trinitarian argue that trinity was accepted by ancient Israelites and resorting to recent scholarly discourse on binitarian or two- powers in heaven by Alan Segal, Martin Hengel, Daniel Boyarin etc., they insist that the doctrine about god’s plurality was inherently jewish.

    I do not find this convincing those jews who knew better and who had heard from God Himself with their own ears, in Sinai some of them deviated guilty of intentional idolatry, such as the case of worshipping the golden calf. Of course it did not make golden calf worship authentically jewish worship. Also in what sense this secondary figure divine?, Judaism tradition had many divine figures such as the Angels and metatrons but they are not the same as YHWH. My understanding is that the theology that the rabbis were contending as heretical was a pagan concept that had taken a hold amongst some Jews.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Well this is a blog on theology that hosts adherents of different faiths. Your particular brand of polytheism is, in this case, the odd man out and thus a topic of discussion. Hardly surprising.

    You’ll need to explain (this should be good lol) how you arrived at the conclusion that “we all know” (besides taking a long leap). Because if it’s one thing “we all know,” it’s that the Trinity is simply falsehood (and that’s the only simple thing about it lol).

    Like

  8. I am one of those Christians who has always been somewhat ill at ease with the doctrine of the Trinity. I remember in theological training and study finding at best convoluted and at worst contrived. My views haven’t greatly shifted over 30 years.

    My inclination is in worship and my own daily life to address God as God. No more, no less.

    I resist strongly the invitation to worship a man whatever his name or title

    But I can as a matter of faith see that in certain people a particular revelation of God or a particular understanding might be understood.

    The insights of the three Abrahamic faiths seem to me to complement one another. The Trinity Eli’s an understanding of the relational aspect of the creator to be understood or at least explored. Jesus after all thought nothing of naming God as abba.

    My view is that as theists standing in the tradition of Abraham and Sarah we have much to bring to the table of faith. I recall in my early days of theological study contemplating a change to Judaism. My thoughts were short lived once I realised that respecting those other insights didn’t obligate me to convert to them. But I certainly did decide to honour those insights in the practice of faith which owes so much to Jew called Jesus

    Similarly I feel strongly the responsibility to honour the insights of Islam and I work very closely indeed with people of the Islamic faith. My own church hosts in its halls a growing and vibrant Islamic community. I hope we are saying something powerful as an antidote to the mistrust and ignorance that temper so much of our society.

    My faith has never been about converting and never will be. I hope it is enough to help people in their own way find their God but hopefully drawing on the insights and hallmarks of faith so amply granted through thousands of years of religious experience and history, some of it inspirational but some of it shameful.

    So in my study I have copies of holy writings from all the Abrahamic traditions. With other traditions including Hinduism as well. My particular area of interest is Celtic spirituality

    This is a long way of saying that though it holds a significant place in my Christian heritage and reflection, there are other much more vital areas of agreement that we should be focus img on. Not least the compassion and oneness of the creator.

    Phew! Got there. James

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your insights James.

      Liked by 1 person

    • James,
      That was a very nice Comment from you. I enjoyed reading it, and it is always nice to talk to someone who is interested in having an interreligious conversation based on equality and mutual respect without the underlying intention of trying to score polemical points or convert the other party.

      I also appreciate that your church is hosting a Muslim community. There is a Church in my City which is also doing the same thing, until the Muslim community can raise enough funds to build their own Masjid to worship in. This has helped to build strong interfaith ties, trust and understanding. When the Masjid is finally built, and full of Muslim worshippers glorifying the name of Allah, it will not be forgotten that Christians had a hand in making it happen, and there will be a positive connection and kindness between that Church and Masjid which will remain long into the future, Inshallah. This kind of mutual belief in peace, tolerance, and support for others who hold a mutual belief in God, is what our religions really teach, and (as you mentioned) that is what we should focus on rather than constant debate. But when critics attack Islam without mercy, Muslims are forced to defend, even though we would really just rather sit with someone like you and have a cup of tea.

      I appreciate your effort to “honour the insights of Islam” and I wish more Christians would follow your lead in moderating their position in regard to Islam, and accepting its rightful place among the faith family of Abrahamic traditions. As members of this great tradition all Jews, Christians and Muslims should be allies (not enemies) supporting each other in the faith of Abraham.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you. There is no question in my mind of the rightful place of Islam. With good wishes. James

    Liked by 1 person

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