Monday, June 12, 2006

Christianity ---------------------------

A composition of all of the things I've written about Christianity in one posting. They appear in more or less the order they were written, with the most recent ones appearing first.

Satan in Hollywood

I just gotta say that I really enjoy exorcism movies; I think that they're very entertaining, and very meshuga, and usually they illicit some sort of running commentary by me, and other viewers tell me to shut up.

I just want to say how silly the media's portrayals of Satan in these movies are; it really makes you want to laugh.

First of all, why is he always so ANGRY? I mean, you see him crawling up walls, shouting, spitting, and contorting the face of his poor victim to grotesque shapes; what's the deal with that? Is this how Satan normally behaves, or just when he's putting on a show for the family of the possessed? What ever happened to the "Al Pacino" Satan in the movie "Devil's Advocate," where he takes the form of a well-dressed and very charismatic lawyer? In the end they add in some fire and brimstone imagery, but he's all-in-all a relatively sane Satan, admittedly with a bit of a daddy complex but not at all like the "Exorcism of Emily Rose" and "Exorcist" depictions, which make me think that while Satan is possessing people, he should take a week's hiatus and see a psychologist. All those years in Hell will do that to a demon; perhaps he should get out more. Actually, wait, no, stay where you are, hot shot.

Why would Satan assume the form of a body in the first place? If we go by the Scripture (Torah), we are informed that the role of Satan in the world is to act as the evil inclination, to tempt people to do things that they shouldn't, or to not do things that they should, and he's got a whole world of human beings to incline. The intent is that he's an angel, which is a spiritual being, and his bodilessness, like all spiritual beings, allows him freedom from the physical realm (and possibly time, but I don't claim knowledge). His incorporeality makes it possible for him to act as all humanity's evil inclination at the same time. Going into a body seems scary and evil, but if we think for a second, he can't do his bidding if he pinpoints himself in one place and time; how's he gonna tempt humanity from the body of poor Emily Rose? The media, making a highly exaggerated script out of Christianity's theology, turns Satan into a Divine "bad guy," the representation of evil, and while it might be fitting for the movies, it is definitely not fitting for a real theology. Disturbingly enough, the Satan of the movies is based on the Satan of Christianity, and while he is exaggerated to the nth degree, the basic directives are theologically true to Christianity; Satan DOES rebel against G-d, and in the script he is made to possess people by doing this. G-d is the good guy and Satan is the bad guy; we also see how he recoils from the cross in the movies - it's an assumption of the truth of Catholicism. However, and perhaps this only relates to Catholicism, but the movie insists that it is based on real events, and if it based on real events, then Satan actually possessed a human being and did all these strange things. Whether or not Satan ACTUALLY did that is a question, but the more practical question is that the people whom observed it, and the person who was supposedly possessed, certainly believed it (can we be sure about that?). Therefore, there is room in Catholic thought to believe in the veracity of possessions like this.

The Torah teaches that angels don't have free will, and if we look carefully at the verses in Genesis explaining the fall, we see that Satan himself was punished, but never expelled from the Garden of Eden. The punishments are given to him, Adam, and Eve, and then Adam and Eve are kicked out of the Garden and the Satan is no longer mentioned. We also see that Adam's and Eve expulsion was not a punishment, for their punishments were already specifically stated and given. Rather, G-d says that He is kicking them out so that they do not, now that they have free will, eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. In other words, it's a precaution. Satan is never mentioned in the expulsion, yet his expulsion from Heaven is the cornerstone of Christianity.

Satan, on the other hand, as an angel, already lives forever, he is already immortal and would not eat from the Tree of Life. Since G-d is not worried about his eating of that Tree, He leaves him in Heaven, the Garden. Also, he has no free will, which is how G-d made him, so He is not worried that he would eat of it. Furthermore, Satan is the tempting angel, he would tempt Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree if they had remained, but who would tempt Satan to eat of it? Is there another Satan that tempts Satan?

These movies are very interesting and entertaining to watch, but they are comical and unrealistic. That's all and well, they are just movies. What disturbs me though is that they are relatively accurate portrayals of true Christian belief. Satanic imagery is not very apparent in the Tanakh, which is the Jewish Scriptures, and only later is he portrayed as animalistic and what not. The Torah simply speaks of him as a "snake," or a "serpent." The Christian insistence that spiritual and divine beings have corporeality (bodily form) is also disturbing as it suggests a clinging to pagan and polytheistic ideals. We see that Jesus too has a body, the son of G-d, Whom is incorporeal to the nth degree, has a physical bodied son. This allows him to entreat and interact with humans and perhaps to get some "street cred" and to hug people, but it's a pagan idea. Further more, the split between G-d and Jesus suggests strongly, on the subconscious level, that Jesus is a separate being, which if we put on our blasphemy lens for a moment, he is another god. The pagans also believed in dual gods that were somehow one; they were believed to have no fixed nature, unlike "the G-d of the Hebrews." They also believed in evil gods that fought against good gods, and Satan fits well into the mold of an evil god-type. Like in most polytheistic traditions, the good god (or goddess) gives birth to a son or daughter whom fights against the evil god, in the end winning, but sometimes dying (for the sake of humanity). Sometimes the offspring deity tries to kill the parent deity in a struggle for control.

A few months ago I had the displeasure of watching a play for a class. It was called "Coyolxhauqi Remembers," "Coyolxhauqi" being an Aztec goddess. The scene I just described is a scene from that play and from the Aztec religion's story of Creation. The mother goddess gives birth to a daughter and a son. The son is an evil god and the daughter is a good goddess, but goes a bit crazy and kills the mother. The mother, however, being eternal, only pretends to die, comes back, and has the evil god kill her daughter, and this explains the situation we live in today; the evil god is running amok in the world. I never understood why the mother goddess couldn't just kill him? I also don't understand why Jesus never steps in during these possessions and kicks the living crap out of Satan, but that would make too much sense - for the pagan mind.

Jesus the Prophet

Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet. Christians believe that he was something entirely different. Nevertheless, they compare his messages to the Jewish people to the messages that the prophets had for the Jews. It is this comparison that I want to examine.

Let's give that analogy the benefit of the doubt; let's say that Jesus' messages to the Jewish people are indeed relatable to the messages of the prophets. It should follow then that the Jews should have followed Jesus' exhortations.

Let us examine the prophets' messages. The main core of the prophets' messages was for the Jews to return to proper adherence of the commandments. How many Jews actually listened to the prophets as they exhorted the Jews to listen to them? We cannot tell in the text how many people actually listened, and we can infer that some did but that the majority did not. I am basing this on the reality today, with many Jews not being particularly interested in Torah observance; it might have been the same then. To be sure, however, today, as it must have been "back then," there were Jews that actually listened to and were motivated by the words of the prophets to return to proper observance of the Torah's commandments. They would have been the Torah's versions of "ba'al t'shuva's," a Jew that becomes observant.

We can say that, similarly, many Jews did not listen to Jesus' messages but that some Jews did; in light of this, Jesus falls into the category of prophet-type. However, Jesus' admonitions were different in nature to the admonitions of the prophets. Those Jews, a minority, that were turned by the words of the prophets returned to proper adherence of the commandments, and their descendants were Torah-observant Jews. Those Jews whom were turned to Jesus' admonitions were also a minority, and we don't have numbers by which to compare how many Jews the prophets and Jesus each turned, but in II Kings (2:6) speaks of the Prophet Elijah's disciples, numbering fifty. Jesus had twelve disciples. The relationship might not have been totally proportionate, but more people were swayed by Elijah's, and his student's, Elisha's, admonitions that were swayed by Jesus', and more students means more followers. If we use only Elijah as a means of comparison, and being quite certain that it was only a minority of Jews whom followed him, it seems like the number of Jews that actually followed Jesus, not including his disciples, was relatively low.

You never had a Jewish movement, at least a Jewish movement that was not deemed heretical, that was of the belief that G-d removed the Covenant; this would be on par with undoing Creation. Even those Jews whom the "mainstream" considered heretics were called so for different reasons; they TOO believed that the Torah does not change and is not expunged. Christianity could not have been heresy then, because it must be Judaism to be heresy; Christianity was another religion altogether. Jesus and his followers were heretics, but their followers, who followed THEM in theory and not Roman beliefs guised as their teachings, were Roman civilians. They were not heretics, they were Romans whom were given a new religion, understood it in light of their old ones, and were not fully able to shake the polytheism off of their boots, even to this day. There was no theological revolution from Judaism to Christianity as their was from pre-monotheism paganism to "the G-d of the Hebrews." There was no jump as big, for the jump had already been taken and there is no such thing as another jump as big as that one. There is no improvement of monotheism other than the system which G-d has already layed down, there is nothing further which humanity can be revealed about itself than through G-d's Law. Mercy, grace, love; these things are all taken for granted as not being present in the Law. Any attempts to improve it only end up in having to "emphasize" one particular aspect of the Law to such a degree that it ends up removing it. The example can be the difference between the animal and the human. G-d made man by creating a soul and putting it in a body; to say that G-d gave something better than the Torah would be like saying that the first soul eventually wore itself out and G-d needed to create a "new and improved" soul, better than the original and "more in G-d's Image" than the original. It is a chilling revelation, but this is what Christianity actually believes if it professes to believe in a new and improved covenant. The "better" soul exists to fulfill what the original soul did but sees a different path in getting there. It sees the same goal but a different path. This would be fine had the subsequent religion not insisted that the first was left in a state of shamble -- it is not as benign as it insists that it is and demands conversion perpetually.

We cannot apply the term "convert" to those Jews whom were swayed to follow the lead of the prophets, and none of them ever became a group known as a different religion. What we might be seeing is a constant rehashing of the past in light of the present, or maybe the present in light of the past, but never a "lifting" of the Covenant as a means of Redemption. In Judaism, the Covenant is never seen as a burden, and even though the Jews, the Torah says, saw G-d become an Enemy to them and their relationship with G-d becomes burdensome (to them) because they rebel against Him, the Covenant itself is ALWAYS the ONLY source of salvation; it is always waiting for them should they choose to come back, like a father who waits for his son forever. Christianity is like the father who eventually up and left, and when his son returned home, found an abandoned place. However, he is an invented father, "he" being the god of Christianity; similar to, but not equal or the same as, the G-d found in the Torah. We might say that the "Christian god" is an attempt in the Roman world to find G-d; the only problem with it is that it was born out of Jewish sectarian rivalry. Why couldn't Rome find G-d without having to smash the Jews? Rome's fatal error was its belief that G-d was a man; his death necessitated revenge. This is just an example, perhaps the most perfect example, of how paganism, i.e., bodily gods, i.e., polytheism, creates falsehood, and from falsehood comes death. The first commandment; do not create images of Me from anything in the Heavens, on the ground, or in the sea. Rome was trying to find G-d, but its pagan insistence (perhaps thanks to Paul) that G-d had the form of a man was a death sentence for Jews. His death necessitated revenge even when he who died said not to take revenge.

The Torah is something that you just can't shake and when Christianity says that it was "freed" of the Law, kicked itself free, what we really see with Christianity is akin to telling G-d to "get lost." G-d didn't break the Covenant with the Jews, the GENTILES broke the Covenant with G-D, as the idolatrous nations after Noah had always perpetually been in a state of brokedness from (their) G-d; they had always been, to a large degree, in violation of the Noachide commandments. Boo hoo, suddenly they decide to come back and say that we're hogging the Covenant; their share PRECEDED ours! G-d gave the commandments to Noah before He delivered the Torah to the Jews on Sinai; if Gentiles only knew this they would stop saying that we (Jews) act as if we are the only chosen people.

The call of the prophets was on par with the call of the Torah, the commandments. The call of Jesus was categorically different than the Law, admitted by Christian theological proofs, and therefore there is not much of a basis for calling him a "Jewish prophet" other than for reasons to confirm Christianity. As radical as the Jewish prophets were, and they were quite radical, a Jewish prophet would never ask from the Jews such things that Jesus did, such as to BREAK THE SABBATH.


There was a conflict of interest at the dawn of the destruction of the
Second Temple; should people practice Judaism, which is exclusionary, or should they defer to Christianity, which is all-encompassing, allowing all those who have faith to join together?

The answer is interesting and simple; when Jews live as a minority and are being threatened, they seek to bring Judaism into the mainstream consciousness as to gain favor in the eyes of the powerful and numerous population of which hosts them. This is what a group that survives must do to continue surviving; those who favor biological explanations can see it as a biological function that allows for perpetuation.

When everybody feels threatened, the response level is macro, that is, everybody responds in one way or another to the imminent threat, and to the Jews living under the Roman occupation, the occupation itself and the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash were that threat to Jewish survival. There is no saying just how individuals will react in such a situation, which, like war, brings out from a human being previously unknown facets of behavior. The path taken by groups can be foretold with a certain degree of accuracy.

And it was in this context that Paul tried to bring Judaism to the Gentiles, not because he saw the Covenant that G-d made with the Jews as being exclusive and tribalistic, which is how Christian belief explains it, but because he was preparing, in his own way, for what he knew was coming up, the Jewish nation being faced with utter destruction, dispersal, oppression, and spiritual malaise. If he could make the Gentiles, the soon-to-be overlords of the Jews, find favor in Judaism, then by blending the communities and removing barriers he would have reduced the future threat that the Jews would have faced, for why would people want to harm themselves? In other words, by making Jews similar to Gentiles and Gentiles similar to Jews, he would save Jews, and in the meanwhile, a Gentile’s becoming more like a Jew is a clear step up from the paganism that Gentiles practiced. The key here is the word “similar,” which shares a root with “assimilate,” by making Jews and Gentiles similar to each other, by assimilating them to each other, he was trying, in his own wacky way, to ensure the physical survival of the Jews.

How did he do this? He tried to blend the theological and spiritual elements of Judaism with the various forms of polytheism in the Roman Empire, which is what, more or less, gave birth to the Trinity, a theological construct that recognizes the existence of the One G-d “of the Hebrews,” yet attributes to Him three separate, yet fully united characteristics, sometimes referred to as “persons,” one of them being a physical being. It is necessary to say that many of the polytheistic belief systems believed in this type of duality, or tertiarity, or the union of several separate beings enjoined as one and worshipped as thus; the Trinity cannot be both Judaism, both monotheistic and satisfactory to the Gentiles as the same time.

However, that wasn’t the only option; salvation to Jewish people came from the assembly of the Sanhedrin, who transferred the entire millennia-aged Jewish oral law into written form, the oral Torah, or the Mishnah, and therefore ensured the survival of the Jewish people. During the time when the Sanhedrin was standing and the
Temple was in existence, Jews, common and high, would go to the Sanhedrin to deal with issues of Jewish law. When the Temple was destroyed, the Sanhedrin was dissolved and dispersed, so the men of the Sanhedrin wrote down the entire law so that every Jew could then refer to it on his and her own, making it a part of their lives without a leadership that would bring it to them. Not by morphing Judaism into a sacrosanct alliance with polytheism was the Jewish nation to survive, but by a privatization of Jewish law, by putting it into the hands of the very Jewish people that were supposed to live by it, but introducing the concept of self rule when there was no central rulership and when the Roman occupation saw to it that there was no centralized Jewish authority. In other words, every individual Jew was subject to the Torah’s law on his or her own accord and by their own will and desire to put themselves in contact with Jewish law. It was a test that we, thanks to G-d and the Sanhedrin, passed and therefore survived.

Concerning the Gentiles, the Oral Law prescribed the Seven Laws of Noach, or the Noachide laws, which were a set of monotheistic instructions for the nations. Everything that exists in the Oral Law goes back to the beginning of the Jewish nation at
Mt. Sinai, including the way in which Gentiles are to live their lives out in a G-dly manner. The truth about the Noachide laws, however, is that they pre-date the 613 commandments given to the Jews, as the Talmud ascribes them to be given to Noah and his family after the occurrence of the flood.

Now there was a conflict of interest; did Gentiles have to follow the Noachide laws, the seven basic monotheistic ethical laws, or could they accept Paul’s vision of a utopian amalgamation of Judaism and various forms of polytheism that would “bring them into the fold” of the Covenant, to “graft them” into it, as the Christian Bible reads? The Gentile followers of Paul now began seeing the Judaism from whence their new religion came as an exclusionary, tribalistic way of life, having never practiced it or being introduced to its internal workings, which made Paul’s urgings easy to believe. Paul, of course, had inside knowledge about Judaism and the way it functioned, and even though he tried to channel the Gentiles in a specific manner, the nature of all movements is to morph and change, and the Gentiles that became known as “Christians” were not fully united under Paul’s vision in the way that he hoped they would be, and created their own leadership and institutions, especially after he died. The Noachide laws were not to replace Judaism as such, but to exist alongside Judaism, a proposed harmony between Jew and Gentile under G-d. The movement started by Paul, due to the fact that it existed in contrast to Judaism’s “exclusionism,” had no other direction to take than to move towards a theology of replacement of Judaism (this is the same as Islam’s view of Judaism, but not the same as Islam’s view of Christianity, which understands that it was inclusive, but corrupted, unlike Judaism, which was both exclusive and corrupted).

The real question that has to be asked is of utmost importance; what is more important for Jewish survival, quantity (ensuring continuity) or quality (Judaism in a true form), or is the point so essential that survival itself outranks all other matters? In other words, is survival in any form more important than the number of Jews who continue to associate, or more important than the way in which the Jews believe and practice, i.e., in line with the essential standpoints of the Torah? When survival and continuity are threatened, is it justifiable to say that Jews should continue to exist in any way possible just so that they continue to exist?

The answer, of course, is "yes," but only if we presuppose that the threat is so powerful that we will have to stray from our roots in order to survive. In other words, this view insists that there is no way to both maintain the true form of Judaism and the continuation of Judaism - that either one gives or the other. In other words, we can deduce that his intentions were good, but largely motivated by the fear and anxiety that the body of the Jews would be attacked (that is, physically) if we didn't begin to assimilate more with other people. However, he had to convince the Gentiles to join, and telling them that Jews and Gentiles have to form one contiguous community in order to ensure Jewish continuity would be ridiculous and unacceptable to them. Instead, he had to genuinely convince them of the theological motives of such a communal and social alliance, hence the watering down of Judaism and its subsequent "mainstreaming." Paul tried to Judaize the Gentiles, whom were polytheists before they accepted the religion of Christianity.

But is survival not more important than form? Of course it is, but again, even if such a movement succeeds in ensuring survival, the mixing of Judaism and various forms of polytheism would also cause Judaism to disappear, only over a longer period of time. The strangest irony of this matter is that the movement might protect Judaism, but only temporarily, and eventually it and polytheistic religions would bleed into each other, and all those Jews that were a part of this movement would have disappeared as well.

The answer remains then, in no different way then than now, the only real way to ensure the continuity of Judaism is to be true to the way the Torah explains that it should be carried out. As we see today, the only Jews that are identifiable as Jews today are those that didn't become a part of the Jesus movement (the movement that Paul advanced) - be they Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, atheist, or agnostic; even though they are different, they all identify as Jews. Eventually, his movement became Christianity; the Jews that joined it didn't remain Jews, which would have been to Paul's dismay were he alive when they began being called "Christians," and Christians eventually began persecuting Jews, and we all know where that led to.

The answer is that Paul's movement had nothing on the Sanhedrin, whom, along with arranging the Oral Law into Written form (Talmud), composed the Amidah prayer, also known as the Shmonah Esrei, recited daily in Jewish services. Their efforts directly and successfully led to the continuation of the Jewish people, and it is fair to say that they are heroes when it comes to acting selflessly for their fellow Jews.

"Yes" to Noah, "No" to Jesus... --

Today I visited my old place of work to buy some food to put into my digestive tract. There I ran into my old manager, a devout Christian, while she was loading some ice cream into the fridge in the aisle nearest the wall in the back. I said "howdy" she said "hi." As usual, the conversation led to religion, I'm not exactly sure how this time. She told me that the Gentiles were grafted into the Covenant and that it wasn't just us anymore. If I wasn't polite, and if she would listen, I would have said that the Gentiles weren't grafted into the Covenant, but rather that they smacked the living daylights out of us with the backside of a shovel and yanked it from us, hehe! All they had to do was ask, I mean, maybe we would have said, "yes." After all, the Jews spoke about G-d for thousands of years sending "golden invitations" before some Gentiles finally decided to get themselves some G-d. And seriously, there's enough of Him to go around!

The truth is that Christians don't need Jesus anymore than they need Christina Aguilera; who they really need is Noah.

If you don't already know, long before the television show "Survivor," G-d chose Noah and his family to be the only survivors on Earth after the flood; and from them, the entire world was repopulated. This was a Covenant that G-d established with Noah and his family, who guess what, are the forefathers and foremothers of every single nation in the world. This includes, guess who, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Now Noah, the modest and righteous fellow that he was, despite some short-comings, had three pretty good sons; Shem, Ham, and Yafet. As it turns out, from Shem descended Abraham, with whom G-d also made a Covenant. But before this Covenant was made, G-d made a Covenant with every single nation of the world and with every single individual from those nations; only later was the Covenant with honest Abe made. Putting this into context, Jesus is also a descendant of Abraham, and therefore of Shem, making himself a recipient of that Covenant that G-d made with the Jews at
Mt. Sinai. Christians like to say that they were grafted into the Covenant of the Jews through Jesus (I think that Paul coined this notion, not even Jesus), but in reality, they were "grafted" into the Covenant before it was even made with the Jews; chew on that one! If we wanted to, we might even be able to say that it was the Jews who were grafted onto the original covenant that G-d made with Noah; chew on that one a bit too! Maybe we are the branch and the Gentiles are the trunk? Hmmm, keep chewing and you'll eventually blow a bubble. Wait, does that actually make sense? Yes, it does.

Big Christianity

Christianity makes up 23% of the world population and is
America's religion. The popular catch phrase is that America is a "Judeo-Christian" country, but many people misunderstand this term to mean that the country is both a Jewish and a Christian country, although it is not exactly clear how they define that. The Jewish population in America is 2-4%, not exactly what one would expect from a Jewish country.

Most people don't even consider the meaning of the term "Judeo-Christian," and generally just take it to mean that
America is both a Jewish and a Christian country, referring to American religious tradition. But because Christianity itself is a religion "based" on Jewish values, the term "Judeo-Christian" really refers to the Christian religious tradition of America. In the same exact way, Islam is a religion based on Jewish and Christian values, but we cannot say that Muslim countries are "Judeo-Christian-Islamo" countries. For example, the first Americans set up churches, not synagogues.

In fact, the term "Judeo-Christian" doesn't even mean that
America is a Christian country, for America is a secular country deeply influenced by Christian values and morals, which are deeply influenced by Jewish values and morals, which is why America is a "Judeo-Christian country." Therefore, a "Judeo-Christian" tradition absorbs and filters Jewish traditions, and the remnant is given the title at hand. If Jews and Christians both adhere to the Judeo-Christian tradition, then can it be said that there is no difference between Judaism and Christianity? Jews adhere to the Judeo tradition and Christians adhere to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

In terms of sheer numbers,
America is a Christian country, and to appease the Christians who state that those who do not accept Jesus are not really Christians, America is a country of Christendom, for Rome and countless countries in Europe were also Christian countries, even if not everybody there went to Church every Sunday. Syria is a Muslim country and Israel is a Jewish country.

Furthermore, Christianity makes up
America's consciousness. For many Americans of all walks of life, Christian theological concepts such as the Trinity and Jesus' death for sin, are inextricably associated with G-d. When your average unaffiliated Christian American talks about G-d, you better believe that the name "Jesus" will come out of their mouth soon enough. This makes me cringe because I don't believe that "G-d" and "Jesus" belong in the same sentence. Jewishly uneducated secular Jews will also speak about religion in terms of Christianity, and interestingly enough, their rejection of Christianity is made apparent by their disgust of the Judaism that they are talking about, Judaism through a Christian lens. Even atheists reject religion and agnostics are skeptical about it on Christian terms, they use Christianity as a negative symbol by which to express their beliefs in opposition to, although they are a bit more "pluralistic" in their viewpoints.

This is "Big Christianity."

An Eighteen-Part G-d

Christianity believes in a three-part G-d, which is known as the "Trinity." The conjecture of the Trinity is that G-d exists singularly in three distinct forms, which is possible because the three forms are each a separate aspect of G-d, but on their own are also each G-d. Therefore, according to Christian belief, this theological understanding of G-d is not even comparable to polytheism because the summation of the three parts of G-d, each of which are not one third of G-d, but G-d Himself, necessarily equals one. It is not "one plus one plus one equals one," for that equation equals three, but rather, it is "one divided by one divided by one," which equals one.

However, G-d is not a three-part G-d, but rather He is an eighteen-part G-d. We can derive from the Torah that G-d is a Father, Mother, Creator, Husband, Landlord, Instructor, Presence, Gaurdian, Warrior, King, Redeemer, Savior, Rock, Friend, Sender of the Meshiach, Giver of life, Killer, and Resurrector of the dead; all in all, this would make G-d an eighteen-part G-d. Who said that we had to stop at three? There are countless more attributes of G-d in the Torah and Kabbalah that I cannot even begin to mention due to lack of knowledge.

**Just to reiterate, I do not really believe that G-d is an eighteen-part G-d, but rather, He is an infinite G-d with infinite parts that transcend our finite understanding of separation. This makes Him One.**

The Rebuttal

It is possible to say that the Father is the Father and that the Presence (Shekhina) is the "Holy Spirit;" but where is the Son? The "son" has no foundation in Jewish belief. Some Christians say that "son" is a term given to Jesus to express his manifestly unique relationship with G-d, not that he is the literal son of G-d. In the Torah, there are many figures that had unique relationships with G-d; Noah, Moses, Abraham, the Prophets, etc... However, none of them were labeled "son of G-d." In reality, Jesus being labeled the "son of G-d" does have to do with his "genetic association" with G-d," for the belief states that he was born from a virgin mother. If you can imagine a virgin woman suddenly becoming pregnant; what was "the sperm" that made her have a child? According to this belief, Jesus is the son of G-d in the literal sense, that he shared divine genetic material, and that he was therefore part G-d (not part god) and part human.

This is patently bizarre; a human child shares the genetic material of both his mother and his father, yet he is not the same being as his mother or his father. If Jesus was G-d, he was also Mary, for I am both my mother and my father.

*Note -- Every human seed and human egg is divine genetic material.

Day of Atonement

Leviticus 16:29-31 reads, "This shall remain for you an eternal decree: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and you shall not do any work, neither the native nor the proselyte who dwells among you. For on this day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you; from all your sins before Hashem shall you be cleansed."

The (written) Torah has six hundred and thirteen commandments, and when you take into account all of the details listed in the Oral Law, the Talmud, you get into the thousands. A Christian friend of mine, who happens to be a pastor, once told me that to worship G-d by keeping some thousand commandments would be overwhelming and that he was glad that G-d sent Jesus to die for his sins. He was glad that G-d is a G-d of grace and love, and not law; too bad he's only two-thirds right.

The Day of Atonement is the most somber day of the Jewish year for it is the day in which G-d peers into each person's "book," into his or her very deeds (and thoughts) and decides whether or not that person is written into the Book of Life. During that day, the person beckons with G-d to pardon his sins. The ten days before this are just as important, for in those ten days, a Jew must right all wrongs with the people that he knows or that he has harmed, and must ask forgiveness. After asking forgiveness from other people, he then asks G-d for forgiveness during the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur.

This process makes a world of sense. At the end of a person's life, G-d opens up the individual's own personal book and peers into it. At this point, an elaborate process begins, a process that I am not qualified to expound upon, the process of judgment. In this vein, it would make sense that at the end of all of the Days of Atonement, at the end of life, G-d looks at the composition, the sum of the parts. If a person goes through a heart-felt and genuine atonement each year during Yom Kippur, and if one was able to make a spiritual flow chart of that person's commitment to his t'shuva (repentance) each year, you would see a steadily growing improvement in the character of that person. The result of this would be less and less sin, and at the end of his physical life, G-d would be able to measure his steadily growing level of good deeds. Throw in G-d's mercy and you have a pretty good deal.

The Torah has a "no nonsense" approach to sin; you FEEL the effect of your sins, so you must stop DOING them, and with dedication and effort, supported by G-d's help, ANYBODY can succeed.

Moment of Atonement

When a person goes though the very spiritual and impactful ceremony of accepting that Jesus died for one's own salvation, he goes away feeling purified of his sin. He feels that his sin; past, present, and future, has been eternally nullified. As the days, weeks, months, and years go by, he begins to repeat some of the actions in which he was partaking before he made his acceptance, and after a while, he realizes that he has acquired more sin, and that it has again amassed. This realization forces him to re-commit and to correct the path that he previously began to walk down. He has already accepted Jesus, so can he now accept Jesus again? How is this different from the Jew's path? If the Christian has already accepted Jesus, must he accept him again for his new sins? If Jesus died once for all sins, then a Christian who has accepted him never needs to repent.

He has accepted that Jesus literally died for his sins, but in reality, and due to his finite mind, he cannot stop trying to avoid sin and still live a spiritually, ethically, and morally healthy life; he must set up a visible boundary between him and it. Perhaps I am in error when I say this, but it seems that a person who has just been "saved," feels that to be a renewal, as erasing his sins up to that point in his life. The fact that he continues to try to avoid sin is strong evidence that he somehow believes that if he commits more sins, they too will add up like the ones of old (and he is right). Right after being saved, he feels free, but as his experience moves from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind, his feeling of liberation becomes gradually replaced with obligation -- an obligation to avoid sin. This is healthy, because the crux of the nature of any relationship between humanity and G-d MUST be obligation, not freedom. This obligation is freedom.

It would be fallacious of me to say that, since a Christian believes that Jesus' erased all of his sins, that he now feels like he can do whatever he wants. Clearly a "saved Christian" feels bound to proper behavior and to avoidance of sin. Yet, if the atonement provided for Jesus' death was eternal and perpetual, the Christian would, in reality, be freed from the worry of sinning. This highlights a very pertinent point; even a saved person understands the effect of sin on his soul, which is a negative and plainly visible. Even a saved Christian understands that sinning directly harms him. If all of his sins were already atoned for, in reality, every sin, as it was being committed, would be erased from his book simultaneously, yet no Christian truly believes that. The lingering of a sin's effect after it has been committed is identified by the negative feelings that reside on the soul in the aftermath; yet, Christians would agree that a saved Christian has this feeling even after being freed from sin. If a Christian feels the negative effect of a sin after committing it, has he really been freed from that sin? Was the freeing from sin effective upon acceptance of Jesus, or does the sin take time to dissipate after it has been committed? If a Christian has already accepted Jesus, does he have to repent?

Symbolically, Jesus' death frees him from the bondage of his sin, but due to the person's finite mind, he must go through a process that allows him to extirpate himself from that sin on his own; he must feel that he is succeeding in defeating his inclination to sin. Psychology attests to this when it says that a person, for example, suffering from an addiction, must "go through with the motions," and those motions distance a person from a thing. If G-d hardwired us to be able to perceive Him, then He also hardwired our brains with an internal psychologically-based method of atoning for our sins. In this vein, an animal sacrifice (in the
Temple) makes sense. Avoidance of sin is a clear indication that a human being feels a deep need to see the ending of his sin. Since he can SEE sin's effect, he must SEE its destruction, yet he cannot SEE Jesus' atonement for he cannot really imagine it. When a person takes repentance into his own hands, as he is supposed to, he does not need to imagine it taking place because he is seeing it take place before his very eyes, through his actions. This puts him in direct contact with his own repentance and into direct contact with G-d's plan, and with G-d Himself. This is why the need to atone for ourselves is eternal, and in this way, we become responsible servants.

"This shall remain for you an eternal decree: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and you shall not do any work, neither the native nor the proselyte who dwells among you. For on this day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you; from all your sins before Hashem shall you be cleansed."

May you be written in the Book of Life, my friends, and may the
Temple be rebuilt speedily and in our days!

Yup -- Satan IS in Heaven

This can be considered to be a short sequel to the post from
6/23/05 titled "Satan is in Heaven." In that post, I tried to discuss the theology that both Judaism and Christianity have about Satan, keeping in mind that in the Christian narrative, Satan is a being that was G-d banished from Heaven due to his rebellion against Him. In the Christian mind frame, Satan is the ultimate of evil. In the Jewish mind frame, Satan is the cause of evil (the tempting angel), but is not evil himself, for "good" and "evil" do not apply to beings that possess no free will.

The differences in belief between the two religions might be considered subtle differences. However, when we consider that Christianity holds the notion that humanity forever inherits the sin of Adam and Eve (Original Sin), the differences are not subtle. This sin is forever upon humanity, and ultimately a soul will suffer Hell as the only possible option if it does not accept the sin offering, which is Jesus. Christianity considers Satan to have rebelled against G-d by tempting Adam and Eve, while the Jewish view maintains that tempting Adam and Eve was a punishable offense, but was Satan's job. Near the beginning of the Torah, we see that Satan was never expelled from Heaven as a punishment for tempting Adam and Eve, but rather was brought to a lower status (Genesis
3:14-16). Genesis is telling us that Satan actually stayed in Heaven (and is still there).

Genesis 3:14-19 describes first Satan's, then Eve's, and then Adam's punishments for their respective deeds (temptation, and falling to temptation). Genesis 3:22-24 describes that Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden (Heaven) as a precaution to keep them from eating from the tree of life; Satan is not included here. There is a Christian (and a Muslim) belief that Satan was banished from Heaven due to his rebellion against G-d, but we see that he is only punished. (14-16) The difference between Christianity and Islam with regards to Jesus is that Islam does not believe that he died to redeem humanity from original sin.

This means that Satan is in Heaven, which seems to be a funny statement, especially if its logistics are not considered, but truthfully, where else would Satan be? Christianity derives its tradition that G-d banished Satan to Hell from the Book of Genesis, but nowhere in Genesis does it even allude to that. G-d did not want Adam and Eve to attain eternal life as a result of eating from the tree, so He expelled them. Satan, on the other hand, necessarily has to be an immortal being since he is the tempter, and as long as humanity exists, there is a purpose for Satan. If he is immortal (not immoral), then there is no reason for G-d to worry about his eating from the tree of life. Secondly, Judaism explains that angels are beings without free will, which can only really exist if a being is able to be tempted. This can also be inferred to arrive at the conclusion that Satan had no temptation to eat of the tree of life because he himself is the tempter. Therefore, we find in Genesis, not a basis for, but the outright explanation that, Satan is a being that resides in Heaven.

Judeo –Christian?

The term Judeo-Christian is commonly used to describe the nature of
America’s religious system. The Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the term Judeo-Christian: having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity

In that sense,
America is a Judeo-Christian country, with the founders of the Constitution drawing inspiration from Christianity, and Christianity being a religion that, aside from its viewpoints concerning the Trinity, is composed largely of parallel values to those found in Judaism. Furthermore, America’s legal system has taken traits from Rome’s and the Talmud’s judicial process, such witnesses and lex talionis (an eye for an eye), as well as the death penalty, for example. Therefore, America’s system is a hodge-podge of Jewish, Christian, and Roman influence, and secular democracy (separation of Church and State) all mixed into one.

A slightly variant definition of term from defines “Judeo-Christian” as, “being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity; "the Judeo-Christian tradition." The term “Judeo-Christian tradition” signifies that the Jewish and Christian traditions are similar enough to be classified together in a hyphenated term, but this is not exactly the case; both Jewish and Christian traditions, and their theologies, are quite different from each other. To start, they do share common similarities, such as the belief in the One G-d, life after death, messiah, and the difference between good and evil, but suffice it to say that the fulcrum of Jewish theology (Torah) and the fulcrum of Christian theology (Jesus), alter the entire theological scope of each respective religion. In this light, the term “Judeo-Christian tradition” does a fairly poor job of actually delineating the Jewish and Christian traditions. While their traditions consist of some of the same liturgy and terminology, the definitions and concepts surrounding these similarities are vastly different.

Take, for example, the Jewish and Christian conceptualizations of sin. In Judaism, the Torah is the Divine blueprint for life with its Author and Fulcrum being G-d, and therefore, sin, or transgression, is the name for when a person violates a part of the Torah. This means that according to Judaism, each individual carries the ability to stay away from sin. Christianity’s notion of sin is derived from the Creation account of Genesis. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they and their ancestors (humanity) entered into a perpetual state of sin, which keeps them from nearing G-d, necessitating the death of Jesus to free them from that impassible obstruction. Judaism’s “interpretation” of the Creation account of Genesis makes for an entirely different understand and theology – a difference as subtle as an interpretation is the cause of the very different theologies possessed by Judaism and Christianity. The differences are far-reaching and the term “Judeo-Christian” becomes an inaccurate one.

America is a Judeo-Christian country, which for all practical purposes, would be the same as saying that it is a Christian country. Whether America is or is not a Christian country is a whole other topic and I’ll probably write something about it sometime in the future. For the sake of the argument, Judeo-Christian means Christian, and this is why; Christianity is a religion, as mentioned earlier, that apart from its belief in the Trinity, has many behavioral parallels to Judaism. Since Christianity has its own interpretation of Jewish theological concepts and in its own mind is the completion of Judaism, to say “Judeo-Christian” is really to say “Christian.” For example, a person of the Christian faith would find this analogy agreeable; blue is to purple as Judaism is to Christianity. Blue plus red makes purple, and Judaism plus Jesus makes Christianity. A person of the Jewish persuasion would find this analogy agreeable; circle is to triangle as Judaism is to Christianity, the two are both shapes, but are otherwise unrelated.

An example of a Judeo country, or a Jewish country, would be
Israel. In reality, all Christian countries can be titled Judeo-Christian countries, because Christianity itself is a Judeo-Christian religion. The same logic can be applied to the term “Messianic Judaism,” a redundant term given to the fact that Judaism is a Messianic religion, a religion that believes in the Coming of the Messiah (and that he is not Jesus). The Christian movement known as Messianic Judaism came up with that name with the intent to express its belief that Judaism is incomplete without a Messiah, and that he has already come. Therefore, the concept of “Messianic Judaism” repeats the ethos of the Christian religion in that Christianity is the completed form of Judaism, hence Messianic Judaism is really a “backwards reaching” form of Christianity.


For the same reason that we can say that Christianity is a Judeo-Christian religion, we can say that Islam is a Judeo-Christo-Islamic religion, a debate that will probably spread through America’s academic and intellectual circles very soon, if it already hasn’t started. A possible alternative to the meaning of the word “Judeo-Christian” is that
America is a Christian country that has allowed much for the influence of Jews. Since Christianity was not a religion influenced by Islam, but vice-versa, America will only be considered to be a Judeo-Christo-Islamic country in the event that Muslims increasingly become a part of mainstream America.

In reality, as mentioned earlier, America is a country that allows for the free speech and influence of all groups, but is a country based in the separation of Church and State, a term which itself is semi-explanatory of Christianity's role in this country. For example, my personal experience from speaking to people from the majority populace of
America, people who are not particularly religious but come from a Christian background, speaking about G-d makes them think of the Trinity or of Jesus, which in a Jewish mind are completely unrelated concepts. Seeing that America's Jewish population is 2-4% of the majority population, Jewish theology is an undercurrent in America, except for those who are educated in religion or theology.

Satan is in Heaven

Calm down, I am not a Satanist. In Hebrew, "Ha-SatAN" means "the adversary," "the destroyer," and is sometimes loosely translated as "the evil inclination." Another term commonly used for "Ha-Satan" is the Hebrew "yetzer harah," which literally means "the evil inclination." It must also be noted that humans have both a "yetzer harah" and a "yetzer hatov," the good inclination, and it is completely within our capabilities to lead with either one. For this analysis, I will simply use the word "Satan," the English word for "Ha-Satan."

Judaism and Christianity both believe that Satan exists and that his goal is to get us to partake in evil. The only difference between Judaism and Christianity with regards to Satan is that the former believes that his job is to tempt humanity, meaning that he has a role in the divine scheme of things, while the latter believes that he is an enemy of Hashem, acting against His will. I believe that the latter view is simply untrue as well as being spiritually unhealthy, and will attempt to show why.

First, Satan cannot be Hashem's enemy because Hashem made him with the intent of tempting us. Hashem has an angel for everything, and unless we believe that Hashem is the one that tempts us, belief in the existence of Satan makes sense. However, why Hashem would banish Satan from His Presence baffles me. First of all, if Hashem banished Satan, would Satan not cease to exist? Can it be said that there is anything outside of the realm of Hashem that has the ability to exist? If Hell is entirely outside of the realm of Hashem, is it really just a name for a place of non-existence? If Satan can be banished from Hashem but still exist, it says that he has the power of being independent from Hashem; he is as strong as or stronger than Hashem, which is impossible. It only makes sense that Satan is working for Hashem, as in Job. This also means that Satan is not evil in the sense that a person who does evil things is evil. Satan is, like all angels, a perfect receptacle for Hashem's will; he does what he does out of necessity and does not derive pleasure from it. Of course, our attitude towards him has to be "less than friendly" because his function is to harm us. This is the Jewish viewpoint of Satan.

But if Hell really exists, it must be a place that Hashem condones, because if He did not want it to be, then it would not. What this means is that there is some level of G-dliness there, even if it's just enough to maintain its existence. So if Hell is a real place, all who are there barely exist, they almost do not, which means that they have almost no power or strength, or life. Hell would be the place farthest from Hashem. Therefore, if we believe that Satan is the tempter of humanity, we must assume that he is in Heaven.

The Torah's view on Hell, or "Gehennom," is that only the genuinely wicked people go there for eternity. However, "genuinely wicked" is not a term that humanity can even begin to pretend to be able to determine, and therefore the judgment is left entirely up to Hashem, who happens to be merciful. It is doubtful that kicking your little brother in the tuchus (butt) qualifies you as "genuinely wicked," although you should probably go to your room for a while and think about what you did.

Second, it would also baffle me as to why Hashem would banish Satan but not strip him of his powers of temptation first. Is it really the act of an all-wise Hashem to kick Satan out but to continue to allow him to "do his thing?" Satan's job is indeed a necessary one if free will is to exist, but if he were unchecked by Hashem in his job as a tempter, he would wreak havoc on the Earth. What this means is that Satan has built-in limits on what he can do, he cannot make an individual act in a way other than the individual is willing to act. He cannot control us, he can only confuse us, and only if we let him. Of course, we can say that Satan is wreaking havoc on the Earth, but the extent of Satan's ability is our submission to our weaknesses. If Hashem saw Satan as an unnecessary nuisance, would He not just end his existence? Clearly Satan exists, which can only mean that Hashem Himself is allowing him to exist. And clearly Satan still tempts us, which means that he has not been defeated, which means that Meshiach (Messiah) has not come yet. For this reason, I do not agree with the Christian view that Jesus defeated sin, and therefore Satan. Satan is real and sin is real, and within practical limits, it is only as real as we let it be.

Third, the notion that Hashem has to defeat Satan also confuses me. I cannot imagine that the all-powerful Hashem has to put any amount of effort into defeating one of His creations. If Hashem wanted Satan to disappear, it would be done and over with. Again, it would not take Hashem a trial-by-error method to decide if He wants Satan to exist or not; the fact that He made him shows that he has an eternal purpose.

Fourth, do angels really have free will? Can an angel do something that Hashem has not allowed it to do, or can an angel avoid its responsibility? Free will is the only constant in the human story, something that angels do not possess. In Job, Satan asks Hashem for permission to do everything before he does it - he has no free will. Can the universe really function if Hashem grants His angels, His "employees," free will? What if an angel was feeling lazy one day, or overzealous, or scared? Would they not need a Torah of their own to keep them in check, a Torah that they could reject? Look at humanity, we have free will and look at what a situation we are in. I view angels as being programmed by Hashem to carry out a certain task; they can do nothing outside of that task, which also rules out rebellion against their Maker. But assuming that some kind of anomaly occurred and an angel was able to rebel against Hashem, I would imagine that He would just end his existence and make another one. Taking it a step farther, it is hard to believe that He would even have to resort to that; would He not just reprogram the angel to do what it is supposed to do? Assuming that angels can be reprogammed, it means that they do not have free will anyway (to resist being reprogrammed).

A Note about Satanism

Here is just a thought that I will explore in another post. In the light of all this, worshipping Satan would make absolutely no sense. If Satan is an angel designated to a task, to worship him would get one nowhere. He has no power of his own and he does not answer prayers, which is something that only Hashem does. Prayers to Satan would go completely ignored since answering them is not one of his abilities. Praying to Satan is like talking to a brick wall.

A scathing poem about Christianity

Christians are poachers and Jews are the hunted; I will spend my energy against you. I feel like we’re an endangered species; for every Jew you get, may you go to the Hell you preach. How long, O, how long, will you aid our assimilation? With friends like you, who needs wild dogs? Well stick a cross in my jugular and call me “saved!” The reverent don’t revere the reverend. How low will you go to convert us? You say you save us, but we must first agree. Your religion operates by short-circuiting the intellect and appealing to the emotions; kill their mind and they’ll follow Jesus. Christianity is a feel-good religion; Christianity is a think-bad religion. Christianity is hypnosis. If you care about me, leave me alone. May your god be as forgiving as you wrongfully assume, your dead Jew turned Roman deity immortalized. Why do you take me for a fool? Do you think that I believe what I believe because I have been fooled as you have been? I would have left good enough alone if you had stayed away from my doorstep, but now that you have taken to targeting our youth, I must crush you just to stay alive, for the dead tell no lies, nor do the ones with broken teeth spread deceit. Leave me alone and you will flourish; you have a whole world of lost Gentiles to convert -- stay away from the Jews!
G-d of Sameness

Religions believing in a subsequent Divine revelation by G-d (Christianity after Judaism, Islam after Christianity, etc...) believe in a G-d Who went through essential changes at particular points in human time. That is, He reacted to certain human circumstances by changing a particular Divine, or set of Divine ordinances, which He gave earlier.

I assume the best from people that they understand why and how G-d cannot be a changing G-d, but I find from conversing with many people of the Christian and Muslim faiths that they do not quite understand why a "changing G-d" is so anathema to His essential nature. I find this to be a disturbing fact in light of their calling themselves monotheists, and I find this attribute more common among Christians than I do Muslims.

When faced with my point that G-d does not change, I have found that both Christians and Muslims use the same argument, that G-d did not change but that this was the essence of His word all along but the people to whom He delivered it did not perceive it. This argument is clearly for justification purposes but does not hold up to real scrutiny when we actually look at the texts and try to understand what they mean. Many of the verses from the Tanakh (Jewish Bible, or Scriptures) that Christians use to demonstrate were fulfilled by occurrences with Jesus are selective. They take one verse out of a large section of text, perhaps a paragraph or an entire chapter, and attribute that verse as being a prophecy concerning Jesus. Most of the time, if we read just that verse apart from the rest of the text, it seems to be making a reference to Jesus.

But if we put the verse back in its text and view it that way, paying attention to the intonations and references found in the rest of that text, then it is very unseemly that the verse was referring to Jesus. It would be hard to understand why G-d would hide prophecies about Jesus in isolated verses strewn throughout the Tanakh rather than devote entire paragraphs, chapters, and hey, why not an entire book of prophecies about Jesus? It is far more likely that Christians looking to "prove" Christianity to be true looked back through the Tanakh and found verses that could be used to refer to Jesus. It is important to keep in mind that the Tanakh was written over a long period of time referring to many, many events. Keeping in mind that it is impossible to perfectly situate ourselves in those times and to be contemporary to the writers, we should not jump to conclusions that the verses refer to Jesus. There can be a load of other possibilities intended by the text and it helps to read the Talmud to get an understanding of how Jewish oral tradition views these things.

Christians, I find, are usually "braver" in taking verses out of context, because in the case that a certain Christian interpretation of a text does not make sense, they can fall on their belief that Jesus uprooted the Law and made a whole new system. Anything that does not jive can logically be deemed unimportant anyway because Jesus is "the truth, the light, and the way," freeing them from worrying about petty efforts to reconcile with the texts of the Tanakh.

Muslims, on the other hand, have to be more aware of what the texts of the Tanakh say because they do not necessarily believe that G-d uprooted the Law and replaced with a Law which He gave to Muhammad. Rather, they believe that the new Law, the Q'uran, is the Torah. In other words, they believe that the Jews corrupted the Torah and changed it, so G-d had to give it anew to Muhammad, who would teach it to the people, in the way that Moses did.

However, for some reason, there is a huge incongruence between the commandments given by G-d to Muhammad in the Q'uran from the commandments given by G-d to Moses in the Torah. The Q'uran seems a bit choppy when read, at least to me, and seems to be skipping about, touching on important concepts and explanations, discussing matters of relevance, but it is not the same as the Torah. If the Q'uran was the pure and true form of the Torah it should contain the same commandments, one by one, that the Torah contains. To explain this incongruence, Muslim scholarship explains that the commandments not present in the Q'uran are those examples of corruption that the Jews introduced into the text, which is why they do not appear in the Q'uran. The Torah contains six hundred and thirteen commandments told by G-d to Moses; the Q'uran contains, and I haven't counted them, only a handful of the same commands. Can we really say that, if the Q'uran contains the liberal estimate of thirty of the same commandments, that the Jews added five hundred and eighty three commandments to the Torah by their own volition? It is the simpler alternative and the more sensible one to say that Islam is simply a different religion than Judaism and that the Q'uran is simply a different book than the Torah; there is no need to say that Islam is the final Divine expression, subsuming its previous revelations. There needs to be no connection between the Torah and the Q'uran, they are different messages to different people - one of them is not the final version of the other.

Both religions have found an efficient way to validate their religions through, and by resting upon, Judaism. This was the only way that the religions could have found validity, or so they thought, because the pagan world surrounding them would have resisted a new religion if it had no connection to the past.

But G-d is a changing G-d, because looking at these religions with the knowledge that they are really different religions and not further expressions of an original Divine message, we see that G-d went through an essential transformation with the advent of Christianity and Islam. He actually went through two major metamorphoses that caused Him to utter those religions into existence; a monotheist should have a major problem with this idea. He, in essence, became a different G-d, He went through an entire personality change, He turned a new leaf, He showed that He was wrong. If He did that, then He showed that He was untrustable all along, but only if we believe that He is literally real and not a figment of our creation. If we believe in G-d, we cannot believe in "that version" of Him.

It does not end there, there are also Sikhism and B'hai, which respectively say that they completed and corrected all of the previous religions, with B'hai correcting Sikhism. It seems that G-d just keeps changing and changing and making new religions, despite His eternal wisdom and unchanging nature. The Tanakh seems to be the most consistent of the religious books; the prophets, whom all of these religious refer to, time and time again told the Jews that they must return to the proper adherence of the Law (given by G-d at Sinai). Even as Temples were being destroyed, G-d insisted on the Law. G-d never changed, but people became aware of Him.