“A NATION UNDER GOD.” There are more churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques per capita in the United States than in any other nation on earth: one for about every 865 people."

U.S. News and World Report Special Issue “Mysteries of Faith”, November 2003

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

According to Bush, Colin Powell, John Ashcroft, Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay and their Evangelical base, America is a “Judeo-Christian” nation, a nation that holds strongly to Biblical beliefs. Thus one would conclude that indeed the Founding Fathers established this nation on “Judeo-Christian” beliefs and that America indeed is an informed religious nation.

HOWEVER, neither postulate is TRUE.

"One of the embarrassing problems for the early nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was that not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian.”

- The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 420

Studies and Polls have repeatedly shown America to be the most “religious” and diverse nation in the Western Hemisphere. Yet, in the realm of Biblical knowledge American is tragically uninformed. Like all things western, the romantic image of religion far supersedes the substance and internalization of faith.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans say they are religious and 80 percent identify themselves as Christians, worshipping in 300,000 congregations in more than 4,000 denominations…..Once, many Americans liked to call ours a Christian nation. Then, beginning in the 1950s, the phrase became our "Judeo-Christian heritage….yet….48 percent even say they do not know anyone who is Jewish."[1]

According to a 2000/2001 Gallup Poll, 60% of Americans say they attend a Church or Synagogue with 92 percent saying they own a Bible, BUT:

1. Fewer than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis), only one-third know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (many named Billy Graham, not Jesus), and one-quarter do not know what is celebrated on Easter (the Resurrection, the foundational event of Christianity).
2. Six out of ten Americans can’t name half of the Ten Commandments.
3. Only half of adults could name any of the Four Gospels, only 37% could name all.
4. 38% of Americans believe the entire Bible was written decades after Jesus’death (The Old Testament was written before him)

"The Bible is the best selling, least-read and least-understood book." said Andy Dzurovcik of Faith Lutheran Church in Clark, New Jersey. (Gallup Poll Article 2000/2001)

Thirteen years after its 1990 December edition “Who Wrote the Bible”, U.S. News and World Report in its November 2003 Special Edition entitled “Mysteries of Faith” and once again came to the same conclusion: The authors of the Bible both Old and New Testament are for the most part unknown, The Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are by unknown authors who did not know Jesus and who wrote completely contradictory stories on important events in his life

“Based on the best tangible evidence, as Beitzel has noted, the authors of the Old Testament “almost from A to Z” must continue to be regarded as anonymous.” (Conservative Theologian Professor Barry Beitzel of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois)
--U.S. News & World Report, “Mysteries of Faith”, November 2003 Special Edition, p. 46

JUDAISM:

It could be said that the Jewish Historical Premise is:
“It’s hard to be humble when your God (s) “CHOSEN” people, above all human laws and accountability”

In the Old Testament Israel is spoken of as God’s “Bride”. In several passages God describes Israel as His beloved Bride often with alluring sexual imagery. SEE: Hosea 2:14-16; 19-20: Jeremiah 2:2-3: Isaiah 54:6-7 [2]

God Speaking to Israel:

Then you grew up, became tall, and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown.Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw that you were ready for love; so I spread My cloak over you and covered your nakedness. I swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became mine, declares the Lord God. - Ezekiel 16:7-8

The phrase "spread my cloak over you" was a Hebrew euphemism for intercourse (Ruth 3:9).

Is Judaism a true MONOTHEISTIC faith?

From Genesis to the Babylonian Talmud we find that Judaism went through the phases of Henotheism (a worship of One God while acknowledging many others), to Monotheism, to Polytheism.

In his famous book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion” Professor Israel Shahak states:

“In many, if not most, books of the Old Testament, the existence and power of “other gods” are clearly acknowledged, but Yahweh (Jehovah), who is the most powerful god, is also very jealous of his rivals and forbids his people to worship them. It is only very late in the Bible, in some of the later prophets, that the existence of all gods other than Yahweh is denied.[3]

The early Hebrews followed the Cannanite literature that the god “El” is one among many gods, having many “sons of god”.

Genesis 3: 22: “Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil”
Exodus 15: 11 “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?
Psalm 82:1 "God has taken his place in the divine assembly; surrounded by the gods he gives judgement”
Psalm 138:1 "I will praise thee with my whole heart before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.”
Psalm 82:6 “"I {God} said You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.”
Job 1:6: “Now there was a day when the sons of god came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them”

With the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., Jews lost their center of worship and animal sacrifice. In its place Rabbis developed a system of rituals, prayers, and study of God’s words termed “Rabbinic Judaism”.

At the time of Jesus the main Jewish Rabbinic Sects with different beliefs were the Sadducees (only believed in the literal written Torah), the Essenes (used “baptism” for admission, Jesus thought to have been a member), Jewish Christians (Palestinian Jews who believed in Jesus as the Messiah to Jews only until Paul extended Christianity to Gentiles eliminating much Jewish rituals; Christian called “Nazarenes” in Jewish texts), and the Pharisees (“separatists/interpreter” Rabbis believing in the “written” Torah PLUS an “Oral” Torah also revealed to Moses by God of Laws and Interpretations of Torah) who then became the only dominant form of Rabbinical Judaism until today. It was the Pharisees who also developed the “Synagogue” (Greek word for “ben knesset”: House of Assembly) and the prayers used today facing Jerusalem. In about 220 C.E. Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, finally put the “Oral” laws and interpretations in writing and called it the “Mishnah” (“repeated tradition”). It became the source of all Jewish law used and studied till this day.

These Rabbinical explanations, termed Halakah (Legal or “way to go”), relate to traditions about legal or ritual practice. Later explanations called, Aggadah or teachings, relate to theology and history of the Bible. As these traditions grew in number Rabbis in Palestine and Babylon compiled them into a “Talmud” (curriculum), in Palestine ca. 425 C.E. and Babylon ca. 525 C.E.

The Babylonian (& Palestinian Talmud) Talmud consists of the “Mishnah” and the Rabbinical discussion or interpretation of the “Oral” Law called the “Gemara”, or tradition.

The following centuries saw more Rabbinical writings, most important was the Babylonian Talmud (others: Midrash, Palestinian Talmud, Tosefta, Shulchan Aruch, and Zohar, and others.)

Thus Rabbinical Judaism, not the Biblical Torah, is the dominant form of Judaism till this day; hence Judaism cannot technically be called a “Biblical” Revelation akin to Christianity and Islam.

“The Babylonian Talmud remains today the most revered classic among observant Jews."[4]

"The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the centuries, from the Pharisees." — Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

Around the eighth century C.E., an Anti-Rabbinical tradition developed in Baghdad called ‘The Karaites, or Scripturalists”, led by Anan b. David. He taught that the Oral Torah was man made to serve the interests of the Rabbis.

Another movement was the “Kabbalists, or secret tradition” who believe in hidden secrets known to but a few in the Written Torah. According to Professor Israel Shahak, classical Judaism and modern day Orthodox Judaism arose from this movement which is not a “monotheistic” tradition but polytheistic, believing in several gods emanating from a male and female god who are either in union or in disunion thus impacting the earthly fate of the Jews. In Israel the violent settler movement “Gush Emunim” are followers of this movement.[5]

The Babylonian Talmud, the Jews holiest text contains some of the most offensive teachings against Mary, Jesus (pbuh), all Gentiles, allowing sexual abuse of children, and even murder of Gentiles. Once Christian Europe learned of these passages the Talmud was burned throughout Europe forcing the Jews to remove offensive passages. Current translations outside of Israel of the Talmud either don’t contain these passages or are edited. Fortunately a group of courageous Jewish scholars undertook the translation of the Babylonian Talmud into English replacing the offensive passages that were removed or edited to avoid Christian wrath.[6]

Current Jewish sects in America consists of the liberal Reform Jews, largest group, who don’t place much emphasis on Rabbinical teaching or the rebuilding of the Third Temple, the Conservative, Orthodox, and the Reconstructionist Jews. Most Jews worldwide including Israel are secular, however in Israel “Orthodox” Jews have the legal authority to decide religious issues. There is tension, animosity, and even violence in Israel among the various sects especially between the Observant and Secular Jews. Many in Israel have warned of an impending civil war. Perhaps the occupation and militarism against Palestinians is needed to distract Israel from its internal combustion, hence peace maybe Israel’s undoing.

Orthodox Judaism strictly observes the dietary laws although there is no biblical explanation to support them, but they do serve to segregate Jews from Non-Jews.[7] Some of Orthodox beliefs on women are even more stringent than Islam’s although ignored by the media.

By Halaka (Jewish law), women are not given leadership roles in the synagogues, not required to pray in synagogues due to their maternal responsibilities, are seated separate from men by a partition or in a balcony, men and women should dress in full length modest clothes, women if married should have their hair covered (Hijab), they should not engage in lengthy conversations with unrelated men, boys and girls in schools are segregated, women can’t marry a non-Jew, and jewishness is only transmitted through the mother, only men can become Rabbis, women can’t function as judicial witnesses due to their excessive emotionality and non-objective behavior.[8]

In Judaism it is a sin to convert to any other religion thereby breaking God’s covenant. To Jews, Islam and Christianity are only good for other nations “regardless of the errors to which they may adhere."[9]

According to Rabbinical tradition, 613 biblical commandments (precepts and prohibitions) were revealed to Moses at Mt. Sinai.[10]

Examples in Old Testament:

--The high priest may marry only a virgin (Leviticus. 21:13).

--He who violates a virgin must marry her and may never divorce her (Deuteronomy. 22:29

--A childless widow may not marry anybody other than her late husband’s brother (Deut. 25:5).

Most Jewish historians, albeit some grudgingly, admit that Jews fared better and even prospered under Islamic rule compared to Christian rule.

“The situation of the Jews in the Islamic Empire, where there was no anti-Semitic persecution, was far happier.”
- “The History of God”, by Karen Armstrong p. 243

“The height of magnificence and luxury was reached by the wealthy Jews in the lands of Islam, particularly in Moslem Spain”;

-“History of Jews” by Haim H. Ben-Sasson (Editor: published by Hebrew University Scholars 1969) pg. 401

“The Muslim policy of tolerance towards other religions had a positive effect on the people of Syria, especially the Christians and Jews, who had been persecuted under the Byzantines.”

--The Islamic world until 1600. University of Calgary[11]

Many of the rituals of Orthodox Judaism such as wearing the yarmulke (skull cap), establishment of Synagogues, forms of prayers, the strict rituals of the Sabbath, the dark clothes and hats, and much more, were introduced by Rabbis as customs that in due time became “law”. Swaying while praying, especially in those standing, is a custom or habit and not found in law and is not universally accepted or performed.[12] Neither the word Jew, nor Jerusalem, nor the method of praying three times daily were found in the Torah/Mosaic Law but were developments centuries after Moses’ death.

Prostrating one’s face to the ground in prayer has been the proscribed prayer for all Prophets from Abraham, Moses, Jesus, to Muhammad, peace be upon them all.

“Abraham fell upon his face (Gen: 17:17); Moses...bowed his head toward the earth (Ex. 34:8); Ezra….and all the people…bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground, (Nehemiah 8:6); Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, (Joshua 5:14); And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed.” (Matthew 26:39)

Click here to see Diagram of Jewish prayer “Falling Prostate” in “How to Pray As a Jew"[13]

CONCLUSION:

God’s revelation to Moses (pbuh), the Torah, has been lost for eternity. In it’s place Sages, Rabbis, Scribes, and Theologians have developed a man made set of ethics, principles, rituals, and commandments that often conflict with each other in their practical interpretation. “Perhaps it is for this reason that attempts to formulate a coherent and systematic approach to Jewish theology has always failed….Judaism could never be described as having a universally accepted creed or set of dogmas. ..Thus it is clear that it cannot be defined."[16] Judaism emphasizes life and actions over faith and the afterlife.

Given this wide-ranging and diverse understanding of Judaism, Jews around the world are united by their blind support of Israel (mostly from afar) and their nationalistic pride as a people.

Moses Hess, a famous Jewish German socialist, in his 1862 book entitled "Rome and Jerusalem" stated clearly:

"Jewish religion is above all, Jewish patriotism." (p. 61.)

CHART COMPARISON OF JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM: (by author)

"Say, `O people of the book' (Jews and Christians) come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves lords and patrons other than Allah.' And if they turn away, then say: “Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves unto Him.” (Holy Qur’an:3:64)

 

GOD

Prophet

Scripture*

Revelation

Sects

Trend

Islam

ONE

ONE

ONE

23 years

NONE

Increasing

Judaism

One to Many

Numerous +
Rabbinical Teachings

Numerous

1,500 years &
Ongoing

Many

Decreasing

Christianity

Unitarian
Trinitarian
+/- Mary, Mother of God

Numerous +
Jesus
+
Popes
+
Saints
+
Protestant Leaders

Bible
+
Catholic Church Teachings
+
Teachings of Many Protestant Churches

Bible: 150 years
+
Ongoing

33,830 *

Decreasing
(Dying in Europe)

* World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001; David Barret, Oxford Press

Notes:

[1]. PBS: Religion and Ethics Weekly: Exploring Religious America, April 26, 2002http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week534/cover.html

[2]. http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/bride.html

[3]. Israel Shahak, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion”; Pluto Press, 1997, pg. 32

[4]. Corrigan J, Denny F, Carlos E., Jaffee M; “Jews, Christians, Muslims”, Prentice-Hall Inc., 1998, p. 22

[5]. Ibid, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion’ pg. 32-33

[6]. http://www.come-and-hear.com/p_navigate.html

[7]. Rabbi Roy A. Rosenberg, “The Concise Guide to Judaism”, A Meridian Book, 1994, p.51

[8]. Ibid, “The Concise Guide to Judaism”, pg. 152-153

[9]. Moses Maimonedes: In the Mishneh Torah, Law of Kings, 11:4

[10]. http://members.ozemail.com.au/~adamgosp/otcomm.htm

[11]. http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/islam/caliphate/umar.html

[12]. Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, “To Pray As A Jew”, BasicBooks, 1980, pg. 40-43

[13]. Ibid, “How To Pray As A Jew”, p. 40-41

[14]. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/index.htm (Texts of Judaism)

[15]. http://www.religioustolerance.org/intol_bibl1.htm (Old Testament Intolerance/Murder)

[16]. Rabbi Ben Isaacson, Deborah Wigoder; “The International Jewish Encyclopedia”, Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1973, pg. 184-185

[17]. http://www.kensmen.com/catholic/terminologynotes.html (Site on “who is a Jew” & definitions of terms and Judaic scriptures)

[18]. http://members.ozemail.com.au/~adamgosp/otcomm.htm (Site 613 Jewish Commandments)

Related Content:

- Challenging the Bible (s) :: Part One ::

- Challenging the Bible (s) :: Final Part ::