When we see the multitudes embracing interfaith dialogue, Jewish leaders clamoring to be granted visits with the Pope, and the pervasive, positive sentiments expressed by both Jews and Christians, it seems ‘sacrilegious’ to argue the sustained dialogue of two former adversaries speaking peaceably. But as students of truth and reality, popularity is not our barometer of what is God’s will; rather, God determines that.
What is the Torah’s position on “Interfaith Dialogue”?
Let me first clarify matters: in no way should anyone presume that I mean to create a rift between any peoples, or that I maintain any ill feelings towards any group. We are discussing “religions” not adherents. People come and go, so what we wish to address are the ideas themselves, the principles behind religions. Life is about searching for truth, even if it opposes common beliefs. Additionally, as God created all men and women, we must duplicate God’s kindness to all peoples. The greatest kindness is educating another person, and the greatest harm, is to conceal the truth.
That being said, let us first determine our term “Interfaith Dialogue.” It refers to a forum in which Jews and Christians seek to solidify friendships and remove strife; mutually accepting each other’s practices and beliefs. However, we must ask, “Are their views accurate? Are Jews accurately presenting Judaism to the Christians? Is the very presence of a Jew at such a dialogue contradictory to Judaism? Is such a forum God’s will? Did God’s appointed Hebrew forefather Abraham, engage in such dialogue, or did he in fact debate with other religions? Did not God actually appoint Abraham as a leader ‘because’ of his very opposition to religions and idolatry, creating a people who would follow Abraham’s way? This is expressly stated in Genesis, 18:19:
“For I know (him) that he will command his children and his household after him and they will keep the way of God to do charity and justice.”
It is clear: Abraham led a distinct lifestyle, precisely defined as opposing idolatry, and teaching against it. This is exactly why God chose Abraham and created a nation from him, “For they will keep the way of God.” This means that Abraham partook of God’s way, while no one else did. God approved of Abraham’s opposition to idolatry, and education of monotheism, as He says, “For I know (him) that he will command his children and his household after him”.
Abraham spent many years pondering the universe, arriving at profound ideas of philosophy, science, monotheism, morality and justice. Since Abraham followed what God’s original plan was for man, a life in pursuit of truth, God desired that the rest of the world benefit from Abraham’s findings, and Abraham’s method of using reason to determine which religious ideas are true, which are false, and to teach others of their error for their ultimate good. Therefore, God selected Abraham to become a leader of a nation, a nation that would be provided with a system (the Torah) for guiding man towards these truths. This Torah is not just for Jews, but all mankind. In other words, God selected Abraham to establish and proliferate the Judaic system - one of monotheism, which denounces idolatry, for the goodness of all humanity. Abraham did not engage in interfaith dialogue, but in interfaith debate and education. Furthermore, Christianity plagiarizes Judaism. We have no need for misinterpretations of the book, which we possess in its uncorrupted, original form.
One Man Created – One Religion Given
Deuteronomy 5:19 states that Revelation at Sinai was never duplicated, and God Himself says His Torah will never be lost, (Isaiah, 59:20-21) against the Christian view of a “new covenant”. Thus, God’s will is to give mankind only one religion. Since man’s design never changes, God provides all humanity for all generations with a system God knows will never expire. There is no purpose in God duplicating Sinai and offering a different religion, and He never did: Sinai remains the only event containing proof of God giving a religion - mass revelation never occurred in any other religion. Man does not change; therefore, the original religion maintains in its validity for all time. God also says not to add to or subtract from His Torah system. (Deut. 4:2) We learn that the Torah system is for all mankind, for all generations, with no justifiable cause for any alteration. And any such change violates God’s will.
One People Selected
God never selected one people, before or after Sinai:
“Has God ever come to take one nation from another with signs, miracles, wonders and with war and with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with awesome sights, as God performed for you in Egypt in front of your eyes?” (Deut. 4:24)
Abraham embodied a monotheistic life. God desired that idolatry and all such foolishness be abrogated. Therefore He selected Abraham’s seed to continue, making truth available for all generations. Abraham and his children would be those who transmitted God’s truths to all mankind, forever. God never selected any other nation, and the Christians contradict God’s words when they argue on this verse. Therefore, the Jew is the one to whom we refer, when seeking Torah elucidation. It is foolish and harmful to seek a Christian understanding of God’s will, when God did not give the system to Christians, but to Jews. The Jew alone remains the sole Torah authority; those who maintain God’s will who continue to preserve His system, not corrupting His Torah into a man-god religion, as did Christianity. The Jews are the possessors of the Written and Oral traditions back to Sinai, and those duly trained in the methods of Torah exegesis. This is fact, not haughtiness.
There are many proofs of Christianity’s deviation from God’s words; deification of man of just one example. Deuteronomy 4:16 and numerous other verses prohibit the deification of man, what Christianity violates: “Do not make any image, male or female.” This theme permeates the entire Torah. We are not to deify a human. Christianity violates this at every turn. A religion, which grossly ignores God’s word, cannot be God’s word. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “There will not be killed fathers for sons (sins, nor) are sons killed for father’s (sins). Each man in his own sin will be killed.” This verse teaches that the theory of the death of Jesus on behalf of others’ sins is contrary to God’s own words. God’s system is just; only the one who sins pays the price, not another. God teaches us intellectually sound ideas that are reasonable and conform to justice.
Nations will Praise the Torah
An amazingly clear argument is this statement of Moses (Deut. 4:6-8):
“And guard the commands and do them, for they are your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations, who will hear all of these statutes, and will say, ‘certainly a wise and understanding people is this great nation’. For what great nation has God close to them, like God our God, whenever we call Him? And what great nation has righteous statutes and laws as this entire Torah that I give to you today?”
These words of Moses were condoned by God to be included in God’s accurate Torah. God endorses Moses’ statements that no other nation possesses such righteous laws, and that the other nations will marvel at the wisdom encased in the Torah’s commands.
What does this mean? It means that we Jews must perform the Torah, and present it as the only system given by God, in order that the other nations witness God’s will for them. If we engage in interfaith dialogue where we seek common ground, concealing Judaism’s true intolerance of other religions, then, instead of teaching the other religions about Judaism, then we fail to act as Jews, and we fail to uphold God’s very words. God desires the accolades for Torah cited above from other nations. He created all humankind, and desires that each and every person have the opportunity to arrive at His will. It is the Jew’s obligation – not to conceal Torah and seek alien adoration – but to advise the false religions as to their deviations. God knows all and He said the other nations would say, “Certainly a wise and understanding people is this great nation”.
If we do not make Judaism and true Torah ideas available, we are not kind, but in fact quite cruel, as we hide from others what is perhaps, the one opportunity they may have to learn what God desires of them. We are the ones who inherited the codes and values from Sinai – there are no others. If we do not speak up, we allow others to walk in the dark. We must not be concerned more with fostering “better relationships” or losing friendships through our Torah education. That will happen. Rather, concern yourself and be greatly satisfied that there will be those who do hear the truth, and regain their lives. A truly noble person will forfeit his relationships and esteemed status, for he knows that these are meaningless if it means allowing another human being to forfeit his life. And that’s just what one does when his ideas of God are the Christian kind.
We do not preach proselytism, but simply to make the Torah’s ideas available, and educate other nations away from their errors, guiding them – as we are commanded – towards truth. Once we fulfill our obligation, to embody truth through our Torah performance and education, it is then the Gentiles’ decisions to learn more, or remain idolatrous. We cannot be concerned with our fellow Jews alone. That is not God’s way, nor what Abraham exemplified. But if we continue interfaith dialogue in its current fashion, and it does not move past mutual pats on the back, excluding an honest representation of God’s intolerance of idolatrous practices and heretical views, then we send a message that other religions are acceptable, deceiving them that God accepts heresy and idolatry. It also teaches our fellow Jews the same corruption.
Learn all of the fundamentals of Judaism so they are 100% clear to your mind. Be honest with others. Do not seek relationships in place of exposing the truth. And don’t view interfaith dialogue as the final frontier. Education of the fallacies of other religions is sorely missing from our schools and Yeshivas, and this disregard is allowing missionaries to convert more Jewish youths. If we educate our children on the corruptions of all other religions, they will have the best defense against missionaries: they will be able to think for themselves, and answer those who seek to convert them.
Ask your school, Yeshiva, or college to plan a curriculum, which proves how Judaism is the only religion that God gave mankind, the rationality of the fundamentals, and the basic deviations and historical fabrications of the other, major religions. Mesora.org is available to provide course materials or to coordinate live, interactive and audible classes via the Internet: http://www.Mesora.org/LiveClasses or write us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our last live class was recorded on June 26th and may be listened to at this link: http://www.Mesora.org/Audio/InterfaithDialogue.wma
Interfaith dialogue is only a good, when it does not conclude in harmony between religious adherents, but when it reaches it true, essential goal, of exposing the flaws of other religions. This is the greatest kindness we may show other people. But if our objective is simply to foster peace, allowing other religions to believe Judaism recognizes Christianity and others, then we go against God’s desire that one mankind have one religion.
There is only one “human race”. There can be only one religion.