Judaism & Other Religions: No Comparison
Reader: I have just read your article on turning the other cheek. My question is this: is everything in the Christian Bible wrong? Can we recognize certain teachings, even though we certainly do not accept their basic tenets? For example, the Torah says that G-d is slow to anger and merciful. Can turning the other cheek be a benchmark; to strive for only to moderate the need for revenge? Here is what I mean. Let us say that on a scale from one to ten, one being the absolute need for revenge, like in the mafia. At the other end of the scale, ten, we take literally the Christian founders desire that we turn the other cheek fully. By striving for ten, yet knowing that this is unreasonable, maybe we can end up with six, which is less of a need for revenge than one. So then, the Christian ethic asks for ten knowing that it is too much to expect but will materialize in more than one. If a student strives for an "A" but ends up with a "B-" he did better than if he strives for a "B" and ends up with a "C".
Mesora: This type of “shooting for the stars, so just to reach the moon” is deceptive. One must not urge another person to do that which he does not feel is proper, even if he knows the other person could not possibly reach the objective. That closes one issue.
Secondly, some other religions and cultures possess ideas or laws, which only seem similar to Judaism. We tend to equate their objectives with God’s Torah-based objective. But this is an error. The primary mistake is as follows: as long as one’s view of God is inaccurate, all the “good” he does in the name of religion, is based on falsehood. All the knowledge he accrues is also false. As he thinks God to be something other than what He truly is, this person has no idea of what the Creator is, and therefore, all he assumes as truth, is false. Our earthly knowledge is targeted at our arrival at an ever-increasing knowledge of the Creator, to the best of human ability. And when this notion of God is wrong, thereby, all that we learned fails in its sole purpose. A Rabbi lectured 30 years ago as follows: “If one studied the human cell, but had no knowledge of God, he could not possibly understand the ultimate purpose of cells, because its purpose is to sustain a human being so he may function in full health…so as to study his Creator unimpeded. One, who is ignorant of God, may know the structure of the cell, but not its purpose, which is synonymous with its true reason for existing. Thus, a biologist has less knowledge of the human cell, than Moses. Moses possessed the most complete knowledge attainable concerning God and man. Thus, Moses possessed the most accurate knowledge of all created things.”
“The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7) All knowledge is accurate, provided one possesses a true knowledge of God. As long as one’s notion of God is false or inaccurate, all his actions are not a reflection of God’s will, and his knowledge is compromised, for he does not know what God is. With this argument alone, we may discount as forgeries, all alien religions and their values, which only appear similar to Judaism.
A third error is as follows: we cannot perform God’s will, if God did not command a given act, or man did not study creation so as to derive God’s will from it. Certainly, when the parameters and true considerations of mercy for example, do not reflect God’s will, one only “appears” to be reflecting God’s mercy. Forgiving a murderer, as some other religionists unbelievably do, allows this murderer to kill another innocent victim. Such religions preach a warped sense of mercy. Judaism demands murderers must be killed. Hence, the “apparent” mercy” of another religionist on the killer of his own son, is actually not a performance of God’s mercy, but it is cruelty to others…maybe even cruelty to himself, if the killer so wishes to mark him as victim #2. Human emotions are the cause of this error. One explanation is that people wish saintly self-images, and by forgiving a murderer, one fantasizes himself as a saint. This is ego at its height. We must rely on God’s supreme and ultimate knowledge to determine when and where mercy should be displayed, and who is a fitting recipient of our mercies.
Be mindful of God’s command to not alter the Torah. Once altered, it is no longer “God’s system”. Certainly this is the case when false religions retain only a few of God’s Torah verses or laws, and couch them in new, fabricated codes, calling them “God’s words”. In such a code, these verses, even if intact, no longer reflect God’s intent, and therefore such ideas appearing to mirror Judaism and Torah, are in fact corrupt.