Righteous Towards Man
Aurora: Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim, Mesora is like an oasis in the desert, when I come to it that half an hour every day, I enjoy the shadow of the palms and I drink all the thirst-quenching water I can. My way of reasoning is changing since I discovered Judaism throughout Mesora and I have became more rational ...I am finding God, not the man-made concept of God but the real God and I fill a happiness inside.
I would like to tell everybody about my happiness, I would like to share it with others. But every time I have tried it, people try to make me doubt, and in this moment, I don't want negative influences.
By accepting Judaism I lost nothing because there was nothing that I accepted before Judaism, I had my idea of God but it was mainly a man-made idea.
My sister on the other hand, lives in a little town in Croatia; it took to her years to learn the ways of its inhabitants. She now is appreciated by others and has became one of them. She has become very religious in the last few years, the town's life moves around Christmas holydays and celebrations. Is it right to make her doubt about her beliefs? Christmas holydays and commemorations is a way to get together for this people; without this celebration, they will feel empty. How can I say to my sister that all those celebrations are wrong? Should I? My sister always thought I would some day become close to Christ, she will be very disappointed when she will know Judaism has interested me and has gave me answers. I don't think however that I will be able to remain quiet. I would however want to know if it Is correct to hide ones adherence to Judaism?
Thanks in advance,
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: Aurora, You should not hide your adherence to Judaism, for with your openness, you will, perhaps, enable others to inquire, and learn of the one, true God, just as you have. That would be righteousness towards others. We must be concerned for all others, especially when it comes to the eternal prospect of their souls.
I would talk with your sister, and anyone for that matter, and first, discover what their arguments are in defense of their beliefs. They all usually fall back on the widespread view that "I just believe". Once they do so, demonstrate how they are not consistent, and actually feel that proof is of greater value: since they do not go to anyone for medical treatments or surgeries unless proven to be doctors, you can show them how, when their physical life is in jeopardy, they desire "proof". So ask them why they forfeit the greater part of their lives -- their eternal spiritual souls -- merely relying on word-of-mouth blind faith? Using reasoning alone, show them what exactly their errors are, in specific, that they follow faith, which proves nothing…when proof will refute their notions 100%. Everyone accepts reason over faith for most of their life’s decisions, admittedly because “certainty” is what people seek, and what our minds tell us is accurate. Unless someone wishes to live with no accuracy for their beliefs, they will accept proof in place of faith.
But you must be aware that they will often try to escape the conversation once you expose their errors, as no one wishes to be wrong. You must make it clear that the conversation is not about being right or wrong, but about discovering what is true and false. Personalities and egos must be left out of the conversation. You will need to keep their focus on the points, and not allow them to move off the issues.
They disagree with Judaism, since they accept Christianity. In that case, ask them for their reasoning for rejecting Judaism. Once they realize they have no reason to reject Judaism, and that both religions cannot be correct simultaneously, they have admitted that one must be wrong. Then ask them, “how do we determine which one is wrong?” They will not have any defense for Christianity. You will then demonstrate the Proof of Sinai, that we accept as true, any event “witnessed by masses”, and transmitted and accepted by the world. For this reason, Jesus, Christianity, Mohammed and Islam are rejected, as they have no event witnessed by masses.
Also demand that they respond to each of your arguments and questions, and ask them to agree from the outset to sustain the dialog until a conclusion is reached.
Aurora: your words make so much sense to me, but things are much more complicated that they seem. It should be easy to demolish all Christian lies. I did it by myself at age 9, I refused not to use my mind, I asked so many times (without getting any answer) "why does God want us to be believe in so much nonsense?"
The problem is that Christians’ ideas are very appealing to some kind of people, because Christianity doesn't ask you to make much effort, you don't need to use your mind; faith is considered a virtue and reasoning about Christian's beliefs is more or less a sin. This takes away from you the very tool by which you could let them be free and see the truth. It’s a very frustrating job. Can you see the difficulty?
There is another complication, and these are traditions. Christmas, Easter and other commemorations tie people together: people are not willing to renounce these festivities because these are part of their heritage; Judaism (for a non Jew) doesn't offer anything that can substitute these recurrences. They will say, "Jews have their traditions, their holidays, they want to take ours away". They will feel Judaism is offering them a second-class affiliation. Don't you think so?
For me is different. I just want to learn, I see the beauty of Torah system, it is helping me, I feel I am finally learning about the real God and this is giving me a happiness I never felt before. For me it is more than enough. I don't fallow any Christian festivity so I am not renouncing anything. I am just earning.
This is the great difference. That’s why I feel so unprepared to affront my sister. Do you understand my fear?
Your advices are still valid, but it’s not so easy. They will not just escape the conversation, they will consider you a sinner and they will not treat you the same as before. If you don't adhere to some commandment, they still forgive you but if you try to question faith matters, this is different, they wont forgive you.
I like Judaism also because you are not afraid to speak out. We on the other hand are afraid to do it, because it's not allowed to contradict any belief, if you do this, you are evil.
I would like to talk to you about my atheist friends too. This is all another story. It could seem easier, and still, much more difficult.
Before Mesora I felt so alone (even if I was surrounded by so many person). I am so scared to feel that sensation again.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: Aurora, if faith was so much of a virtue, why do they abandon faith in all other areas of their lives? Not one Christian would work for an employer for a whole year, based solely on the “promise” that they will receive pay. They would also demand a contract, and they would not even wait an entire year to receive some compensation: they would request at minimum, to receive some partial payment monthly. So ask them: “why don’t you simply have the same faith in your employer, if faith surpasses proof?” The goal is to unveil their contradictions, which this example successfully achieves.
Another method is to ask them this: “If you accept Jesus based on faith, and that he alone is God’s chosen, not Mohammed or others, on what basis do you accept Jesus and not Mohammed?” Since they have no “proof” as they are living by faith alone, ask them this: “Suppose a new prophet arises who renounces Jesus: why should I not follow him?” Eventually, they will recognize that they are operating without reason. This strikes the core of any human being. They might reject you openly, but they will no longer be able to deny your words internally, since every human recognizes that reason surpasses blind faith. At that point, they will either wish to hear more about your thinking, or they will become angry, as do any religionists who have no proof, and resort to hatred and baseless rejection of other people who oppose them, as their means of gaining some foothold on their security in their empty beliefs.
Regardless, you will have done them a good, by etching indelible and undeniable thoughts on their minds, and they cannot deny the tools of reason as you suggested. Now, if they resort to using holidays as their means of defending contradictory faith, ask them how holiday celebration undoes their contradiction. They will have no answer, so bring them back to your one issue, and remain firm on one issue, ask them again, “Suppose a new prophet arises who renounces Jesus: why should I not follow him? If faith as you say is supreme, why can I not have faith I another prophet…who renounces Jesus?” You may need to repeat this question many times, as they will be quite disturbed by this realization that they should agree with you, and seek to abandon the conversation. When they do so, make certain to show them they are escaping, and avoiding what they know is a problem. You will then have succeeded.