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Your Answer Has to Apply to ALL Religions Equally
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Merrymom









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 12:45 am
I judge a religion, not by the people in the news, or even by the stories I read here. I judge Jewish people by those that I know and specifically certain groups. Therefore, there is no such thing to me as saying "Jews are like ...." or "Orthodox Jews are like...". I can say though, "Chassidim, chabad bts, or MO are like ...." because I personally am exposed to certain things that I see so often with so many different people that for me it is true across the board to that particular group. I assume the same thing would be for all religions. Maybe I can't say what white xtians are like but I probably can say what white xtians who live in Akron, Ohio are like who attend a certain church. This is the whole concept of chillul Hashem btw, whether we agree to it or not we all are the face of our religion.
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amother




Cobalt


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 1:17 am
The only nation that really claims to love Jews are evangelical Xians. They are trying to help Jews move to Israel, because it is their belief that when all the Jews are gathered there, then their Messiah will come and we will all die. Basically, they want to help us because they want us to die.

Last edited by amother on Sun, Jan 03 2016, 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Cobalt


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 1:24 am
Deleted.

Last edited by amother on Sun, Jan 03 2016, 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sequoia









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 1:32 am
OPINIONATED wrote:


The only nation that really claims to love Jews are evangelical Xians. They are trying to help Jews move to Israel, because it is their belief that when all the Jews are gathered there, then their Messiah will come and we will all die. Basically, they want to help us because they want us to die.


Nonsense.

They think all Jews will convert to Christianity once their messiah comes. I could give NT verses to back it up but I'm sure it's not allowed here.
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Isramom8









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 1:45 am
The question assumes that all religions are equal. What is a "religion"? There are "nations", and the Nation of Israel was given 613 mitzvos. Non Jews have 13 mitzvos. Any "religion" made up by humans is as fallible as the human condition.
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amother






Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 4:13 am
sequoia wrote:
OPINIONATED wrote:


The only nation that really claims to love Jews are evangelical Xians. They are trying to help Jews move to Israel, because it is their belief that when all the Jews are gathered there, then their Messiah will come and we will all die. Basically, they want to help us because they want us to die.


Nonsense.

They think all Jews will convert to Christianity once their messiah comes. I could give NT verses to back it up but I'm sure it's not allowed here.


You're both right; these are both views held in xtianity. xtian Zionists usually believe Jews will either all convert when Jesús arrives, or that some will convert right before and be raptured off and that the rest will stay on earth and undergo tribulation/armageddon with the rest of the non-xtians, or that some will convert during tribulation and lead an army against te antixhrist. Other xtians that believe Judaism is the synogogue of satan and will be destroyed, but they are generally not xtian zionists. I'm not a fan of xtian zionism by any means and I don't trust the movement.

As you may have guessed, I was raised with a theology that viewed jews as being doomed without conversion and revelation as being literal prophecy. Fortunately, it didn't stick. Smile
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imamama









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 4:47 am
I think a lot of stereotypes are based on culture, and not necessarily religion. Like in some East Asian countries, where taking off your shoes is a sign of respect, or touching someone's head is an insult, or raising your hand above your eyebrow shows arrogance.

In the Middle East, it is culturally acceptable to say what you think the person wants to hear, and it's not considered lying. That goes for Jews and Arabs. (Ever have a shop owner in the shuk tell you what he's selling is the very best in all of Israel, and the cheapest you'll find in the whole city? Also, it's the only brand he buys for himself and his extended family.) But that doesn't mean that the statement, "All Arabs are liars," is true or fair.

Every region in the world has a culture, and from that culture grows a worldview. That can determine how a person views people who look different than they, or how a parent treats a child and vice versa, how a person is expected to treat his peer, his environment, animals etc. etc.

Of course there are plenty of people within those cultures that can think outside the box, and wonder why they do things the way they do, and wouldn't it make more sense if we did x y and z, instead. But humans are stubborn creatures, and no one likes change. There is always the majority who follow the herd, and a minority of black sheep.

Stereotypes happen for a reason, but that doesn't mean we should judge individual people based on the stereotypes of their culture. It might be that they really are the "stereotypical Jew" or the "stereotypical Chinese mother," but you have to give people a chance to prove themselves otherwise.
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ora_43









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 5:40 am
I think you can say it's the religion when people say they are doing it in the name of their religion, and when religious leaders and texts back them up. So for example, I could say of the Amish, or of hareidi Jews in Israel, that they have religious reasons for not enlisting in the army. I could say of polygamous Mormons that they have religious reasons for polygamy.

You can generalize about the religion as a whole depending on percentages. So for example, I could say "Most Israeli Jews celebrate Passover" even though there are those who don't, or "Most Afghani Muslims believe women should cover their hair," etc. Neither of those examples would be accurate statements without the "most," but if someone did drop the "most" (as I did in the first paragraph) it would be an understandable mistake IMHO.

OTOH, I couldn't say, "Mormons are polygamous for religious reasons," since most aren't. Or "Jews don't enlist in the army for religious reasons," since that's not true for most. If someone made those statements, it'd be a more significant mistake than would dropping the qualifier "most" regarding something that 60-100% do.

When people don't attribute something to their religion, then even if a large percent do it, it still isn't part of that religion. For instance, if there's clan warfare in most Bedouin Muslim communities, but almost everyone agrees Islam does not approve, it's not a Muslim thing, it's a cultural/social thing (and there are often major social and economic differences that affect these things. for instance, there are poor communities in the states that have gang warfare among people from a mostly christian background).

When it comes to making vague generalizations, or comparisons, that I think can be done more easily. So for example, I think Americans are more likely than Israelis to get really, really drunk. I base that on nothing more than what I personally have seen in life. But I wouldn't say "Americans like to get drunk" - that's too vague, most Americans probably don't like it. What I would say is "Americans are more likely than Israelis to... " etc.

As a general rule I'd say it's enough in a case like that if Group A is 80-100% more likely to do something than is Group B. So for instance, if 20-year-old drivers were just 20% more likely to cause a fatal crash than 40-year-olds, I'd try to avoid saying things like "Young drivers are more likely to kill someone," but if they are 90% more likely, it makes the statement a valid one.

And that's true among religions as well.
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shalhevet









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 6:06 am
The way to say what religion x believes in is to look at their mitzvos (with or without "") and books and see what the religion teaches, not how individuals behave.

So if someone would like to show me widely accepted mussar seforim of other religions, telling you to be careful to be scrupulously honest, not get angry, do things besimcha etc, then I'd accept that it was part of their religion too, even if not everyone tried to put it into practice.

Similarly, if a religion has part of its teachings to kill the infidels, or offer people to convert or die, or worship idols, I would say that is part of their religion even if many thinking people don't practice it today.
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saw50st8









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 6:21 am
shalhevet wrote:
The way to say what religion x believes in is to look at their mitzvos (with or without "") and books and see what the religion teaches, not how individuals behave.

So if someone would like to show me widely accepted mussar seforim of other religions, telling you to be careful to be scrupulously honest, not get angry, do things besimcha etc, then I'd accept that it was part of their religion too, even if not everyone tried to put it into practice.

Similarly, if a religion has part of its teachings to kill the infidels, or offer people to convert or die, or worship idols, I would say that is part of their religion even if many thinking people don't practice it today.


Like amalek?

I think to a certain extent, you should judge people more by their actions than their philosophies. So to a certain extent, it doesn't matter that I'm commanded to kill Amalek, because I won't. But I don't get in a huff when people say "Many MO women don't cover their hair" because yes, there are many MO women who don't cover their hair and many who do.

It also depends on what the stereotype is. I have less of a problem with "Black people generally have big butts" because its a relatively harmless one. I would have much more of a problem with someone saying "Chinese mothers generall call their kids garbage" because I think thats' borderline abusive.
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Isramom8









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 6:24 am
We have to kill Amalek. We just don't know who they are. I read about a great rav who could read the facial signs of an Amaleki. Therefore he would not look at the faces of any non Jews because he and the rest of the Jews could get into a lot of trouble that way.

In other words, we're not looking for trouble, with religion as an excuse.
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HindaRochel









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 6:27 am
An individual has to be judged on what they do, not on what their group does.
However, group does affect individual. There are mores that are exhibited by a group as a whole. It is not sensible to simply dismiss cultural standards as lacking validity. It is important to understand what part they play and how one can react to that. There are philosophical standards to which the majority of one group subscribes, and to ignore those standards and beliefs is unintelligent,

T
So Christians think that we will either convert or die in the end of days, and Muslims think that we will either convert or be killed. Are you worried? I'm not. I'm worried about what actions the person does now.

(and just a point of annoyance. Islam is not a religion of peace, any more than Christianity is a religion of love. It is a religion. It has violent aspects to it and non-violent aspects to it. Repeating the lie does not make it true.)
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shalhevet









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 6:46 am
saw50st8 wrote:
shalhevet wrote:
The way to say what religion x believes in is to look at their mitzvos (with or without "") and books and see what the religion teaches, not how individuals behave.

So if someone would like to show me widely accepted mussar seforim of other religions, telling you to be careful to be scrupulously honest, not get angry, do things besimcha etc, then I'd accept that it was part of their religion too, even if not everyone tried to put it into practice.

Similarly, if a religion has part of its teachings to kill the infidels, or offer people to convert or die, or worship idols, I would say that is part of their religion even if many thinking people don't practice it today.


Like amalek?



I knew someone was going to say that.

Yes, I believe Judaism has part of its religion to kill Amalek. Like Isramom said, we don't know who they are today. Maybe if we did we'd understand why. Maybe we'd see how evil they were.

Judaism believes in killing others too - like soldiers fighting against us, and someone who comes to kill you, and a rodef, even if that rodef is innocent (like a baby crying in a place where he will give away other people's hiding place).

We don't believe in killing people who don't agree with us.
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Tzippora









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 7:06 am
shalhevet wrote:
saw50st8 wrote:
shalhevet wrote:
The way to say what religion x believes in is to look at their mitzvos (with or without "") and books and see what the religion teaches, not how individuals behave.

So if someone would like to show me widely accepted mussar seforim of other religions, telling you to be careful to be scrupulously honest, not get angry, do things besimcha etc, then I'd accept that it was part of their religion too, even if not everyone tried to put it into practice.

Similarly, if a religion has part of its teachings to kill the infidels, or offer people to convert or die, or worship idols, I would say that is part of their religion even if many thinking people don't practice it today.


Like amalek?



I knew someone was going to say that.

Yes, I believe Judaism has part of its religion to kill Amalek. Like Isramom said, we don't know who they are today. Maybe if we did we'd understand why. Maybe we'd see how evil they were.

Judaism believes in killing others too - like soldiers fighting against us, and someone who comes to kill you, and a rodef, even if that rodef is innocent (like a baby crying in a place where he will give away other people's hiding place).

We don't believe in killing people who don't agree with us.


To play devil's advocate - we have death penalties for lots of things, and misa biyidei shamayim clauses for lots of others. With regards to people who don't agree with us, a "mevarech Hashem" is killed.

My argument would be that we spent much less of the recent past living in a place where we could enforce our views, and that informed the development of halachic rulings. We haven't had a consistent period of independent Jewish theocracy in a LONG time, certainly not during Mishna/Gemara times. We got a lot better at tolerating the non-believer because we didn't have much power to stop him and his army. Our martial element, which wasn't as strong as the Islamic one to begin with, has been toned down. We put all kinds of constraints on when a Jew is obliged to kill people because for much of Jewish history, those halachos were extremely dangerous for the Jew(s) involved.

In other words, what the Quran says is less important than how it has grown and been interpreted. Just like I don't kill every blasphemer I come across in the subway.

In answer to Marina's question, I believe that all religions reflect the sociopolitical elements of the times and places they have been and in which they have existed. Sometimes that is more adaptive to encounters with other religions, sometimes less.
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ora_43









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 7:27 am
In terms of religion itself, I think you can make generalizations based only on the texts and interpretations.

So for example, you could say that Judaism prohibits eating pork, even if (chv"s) 90% of the Jews were to eat pork.

The problem with that is differentiating between different types of texts, and different types of authorities. So many frum Jews have trouble distinguishing between, say, a rabbinic interpretation of a mitzva d'oraita, a rabbinic mitzva, a statement in the Gemara that is not universally accepted, and a takana - kal v'chomer, we might not properly understand the difference between the Koran and the Hadith. And non-Jews are unlikely to understand that not everything written in the Gemara was accepted at the time, let alone today, or that not everything in the written Torah is interpreted the same way by Jews as by Christians.

So while in theory one could draw conclusions about a religion as a whole just by looking at texts, in practice they are likely to misunderstand what they read, and it's better to rely both on texts and on what people actually do.
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Atali









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 8:20 am
I think that the question is not how the majority of a religious group behave, but whether the behavior of that majority (or significant minority) of a religious group or subgroup is based on something that the group believes.

For example, the group of Muslims that commit terrorist acts are doing so based on things that it says in their religion and things that are preached by some of their religious leaders, therefore it is correct to say that Islam, or at least some form of Islam, is responsible for their actions. However, if some Muslims, or even a majority of Muslims, commit some type of crime that is not encouraged by religious texts or leaders, then it is the fault of the individuals and not the group.

To provide a Jewish example, if one is upset that a Jewish school violates local law by not teaching the minimum required amount of secular studies, then one can say that the behavior is the fault of whatever the hashkafa of the group running the school is, while the fact that many Jews speak lashon hara cannot be blamed on the religion since Judaism certainly does not encourage one to speak lashon hara.
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marina









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 8:30 am
Quote:
I think you can say it's the religion when people say they are doing it in the name of their religion, and when religious leaders and texts back them up. So for example, I could say of the Amish, or of hareidi Jews in Israel, that they have religious reasons for not enlisting in the army. I could say of polygamous Mormons that they have religious reasons for polygamy.


Quote:
I think that the question is not how the majority of a religious group behave, but whether the behavior of that majority (or significant minority) of a religious group or subgroup is based on something that the group believes.


Some frum people believe that "venishmartem es nafshoseichem" means that their children should not be vaccinated. Their rabbonim support them and they have a textual source and they are abstaining from vaccinations in the name of their religion. Do you think, Ora & Atali, that I could then say that "observant Jews do not vaccinate their children for religious reasons" and that would be an accurate statement? Would it be correct to say that Judaism discourages vaccinations and that these people's behaviors are based on their adherence to their religion? Percentage doesn't come into it at all? How large does the minority have to be before they are a "significant" minority?

Let's not turn this into a vaccine debate, btw, that was just an example.
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Tamiri









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 8:30 am
iluvy wrote:
I just found this in an Islamic message board:

Quote:
islam is a religion of peace and Allah swt dose not encourage violence at all

but you will find corrupted people in every religion unfortunately.

they deceive people by dressing like muslims but in there hearts they hide a much darker secret and there is many hadiths about these people and Allah has also described these so called peace makers in the holy Qur'an


Just replace "dressing like muslims" with "wearing a beard and payos."
Yes. I think there is a major difference between "religion" and "in the name of religion". The problem with religion is that it's open to interpretation. The interpretation causes clashes between sects of the same religion, and clashes with "outsiders". I don't think that any decent religion is based on anything other than being good, but the problem is in the interpretation and what people will do in the name of religion, according to their interpretation.
For example, if a religion promotes outsiders as "heretics" that "need to be converted", the religiously observant can interpret the word "need" in any way they choose. The Mormons do it one way, the Muslims do it another.
When another religion is taught via it's scriptures, it's "the chosen nation", some religiously observant see that as a challenge to step up to the plate and others see it as a carte blanche to behave in a crude and inappropriate manner. Do you interpret "chose nation" to mean that the people have to act as if they are chosen because they are so special and need to set an example, or does it mean they are above it all and don't have to care whether their actions are acceptable or not - after all, they ARE chosen...
I think that within the same religion, people of a certain personality will act out in a negative manner, while others will strive for the positive all the time.
Unfortunately, it's always the negative that stands out most strongly, and it's what people remember. And the things that stand out most strongly are those that will be embedded in "outsider's minds" as "the way people of THAT religion behave".
It is, in my opinion, all a matter of interpretation and how it affects things done "in the name of religion".
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marina









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 8:36 am
amother wrote:
marina wrote:
Is there some rule, some demarcation line where you can say "it's not the individual people, it's the overall religion" ? Can you personally articulate a rule of thumb when a generalization or stereotype would be appropriate?


Are you asking how true (on a percentage basis) something has to be to be a stereotype?

Or are you asking what percentage of followers of a religion must behave a certain way in order for the religion to be seen as the cause for the behavior?

Or are you asking something else entirely?


I'm asking both, the latter one was sort of the focus, but if there is a different way of demarcation without the numbers that would be fine too.
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Apple pie









  


Post  Thu, Mar 17 2011, 8:38 am
Quote:
When another religion is taught via it's scriptures, it's "the chosen nation", some religiously observant see that as a challenge to step up to the plate and others see it as a carte blanche to behave in a crude and inappropriate manner. Do you interpret "chose nation" to mean that the people have to act as if they are chosen because they are so special and need to set an example, or does it mean they are above it all and don't have to care whether their actions are acceptable or not - after all, they ARE chosen...


But what if the religion itself (or its interpreters/leaders) explain that chosen nation means responsability (your first choice)? Then whoever is behaving according to your second choice ("I am the salt of the earth and everything is ok for me|) is NOT following religion... it would be a misguided reading of the religion...

So we come again to the accepted interpretation of religion by its leaders, versus the behaviour of certain of its adherents (in the name of religion by without backing of their leaders)...

Very interesting thread, Marina!!!!
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