Recently I’ve seen a great example of what can go wrong if a person has the wrong idea about the seven laws. And it comes as no surprise when the commandments are routinely taught in distorted ways or handled in ways that seem unjustified.
And the effects of holding incorrect views about God’s commandments can be significant. It can result in being overly harsh when it comes to judging the acts of oneself and others; it can result in discouragement in God or the laws themselves; it can cause a person to either become so isolated from other Gentiles or become so all-embracing that it is impossible for anyone to do any wrong. You can get fools, like Asher Meza, teaching that the seven laws is just one’s conscious or that the commandments are morally stagnant.
I wonder how many of us have read or understood the teachings that warn against altering God’s commandments, from the first woman’s addition to God’s command which may have led to the first sin against God which had such wide implications, to some of the implications that arise from Korah’s rebellion as written in the Torah, to the outright commandments that Israel should neither add nor take away from God’s commandments, to the warning in Mishlei (Proverbs) not to add to God’s word so that one doesn’t become a liar. The warning against getting the wrong ideas about God’s laws are not just a one-off isolated teaching, but is repeated a number of times, and for good reason!
It is vital, of the utmost importance, that a Gentile gets a right perspective on God’s commandments as best as one can. From the Talmud to the writings of Rambam, the significance of knowing what is permitted and prohibited for a non-Jew is given the highest importance. Whether you accept my view of the death penalty or not, one thing that should be observed is that there is something crucially important about not breaking the divine laws. Alongside that, it becomes incumbent upon us to make sure that we learn what our divine obligations actually are.
I’ll give a few examples of where I think it’s gone wrong. Because I can be accused of purely giving my own opinion which can and has been thrown in the proverbial dirt or toilet, I’ll try to give some quotes from Torah tradition to show I’m not simply running on my own steam. When it comes to the Talmud, I’ll be quoting from either the Schottenstein edition of the Talmud or Soncino’s edition.
Only negative prohibitions for which one must sit and not do an act are counted among the Noahide commandments; but positive commandments to get up and do something are not counted. (Tractate Sanhedrin 58b, Schottenstein)
And just to share the commentaries,
The various listings of the seven Noahide commandments contain only prohibitions against performing certain acts (e.g., do not steal, do not commit adultery). The Noahite fulfils them by not acting (refraining from theft and adultery). (Schottenstein edition’s comments on the above portion)
The seven Noachian laws deal with things which a heathen must abstain from doing. (Soncino edition’s comments on the above portions)
So it should be clear to you from these quotes that the seven commandments consists of acts Gentiles must not do. [ASIDE: I’ll get to the law of Dinim later in this article or article series depending on how long this post is.]
Yet too many times I am faced with webpages, social media memes and even teachings from rabbis where mainly positive commands are stated. I sat through one rabbi’s teaching on Youtube where he consistently made the main emphasis of the Seven Laws the “positive” side of them. At no point did he simply state the command as a prohibition. Elsewhere, I’ll see the first law in their ordering stated as “Believe in one God” or something to that effect. And it will be stated as if it is one of the Seven Commandments that God enjoined upon humanity.
Can I be blunt with you? It may be painfully so. OK, get ready!
There is no commandment from God upon Gentiles to believe in God. It is not one of the seven laws.
How do we know this? Because the Talmud clearly stated that no positive commands are counted among the seven laws, only acts we should refrain from.
I wish we lived in a time where I could leave it just like that. But we don’t. Someone is bound to come along and say “well, David, does that mean it’s totally ok to be an atheist?” I’ve said many times that just because something isn’t commanded it is therefore perfectly ok and beneficial for a person. I know that atheism is possibly the most stupid, idiotic and immoral – yes, immoral, not simply amoral – worldview a person can have. But I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and go over that point again. My focus here is the Seven Commandments. I’m already near the end of writing about the atheism nonsense.
So there is also no command to respect the family unit or marriage, or to protect your neighbour’s property, or to bless and praise God. There isn’t even a command to be kind to animals and the environment.
It may be said that by keeping the seven prohibitions has the effect of doing positive acts or have positive side-effects of respecting the family unit or being kind to animals. I don’t deny that. But again, the focus here is the seven laws themselves, not the incidental products of obeying the prohibitions.
I know, it may be better PR and give a more pleasant face to the seven commandments if they are depicted as encouragement to do positive acts rather than being told not to do things. But, once again, I’ll be blunt. If a person simply has a list of positive commands for the seven laws, then they are not teaching or being taught the seven laws.
Now what I’m promoting here is going to face instant or nigh-instant rejection from many. Some follow the Divine Code. Others follow books like the Rainbow Covenant or have some rabbi that taught them that they were commanded to do some positive act. The Divine Code outrightly states that some positive things are commanded by God. Rabbi Moshe Weiner paints the picture that a Gentile has two aspects to the law against idolatry: a prohibition against worshipping idols and a positive command to recognize and know God (pg. 134). Who on earth is gonna listen to an apparently lone Gentile writing a blogpost like me contradict an renowned rabbi like rabbi Moshe Weiner and a most popular book like the Divine Code? The obvious answer is no one.
(Again, that’s part of the reason why this blog is more a collection for myself than an edict for anyone to listen to me.)
But that’s why I made sure to quote rabbinic sources at the beginning of this section, to show that this isn’t just David writing about David’s ideas which David got from personal and isolated contemplation. As shown by the Talmud and its commentaries, other rabbis state that there is no such divine command upon Gentiles to worship or know or believe in God.
Let me state my own opinion here. I believe what shows that the Divine Code may contain incorrect information is that the Talmud only states that one command had an active aspect of doing something and a prohibitive aspect of being commanded to be inactive, that being Dinim (Tractate Sanhedrin 59a). But rabbi Moshe Weiner states, with no Talmudic reference, that another law, the law against idolatry, had two aspects, a positive (active) one and a negative (inactive) one. But it may be that he is not simply writing up the basic seven commandments but rather an expansive code of law for Gentiles wanting to go beyond the seven, a “noahide code” that includes aspects that are not actual commands of God enjoined upon the world but rather are principles of doing good that can be derived from the seven laws. And yes, there is an important qualitative difference.
Look, it is a great and good thing to promote the seven laws. It is fantastic to push for righteousness in the world that both is part of the seven broad precepts, and that is not part of the seven but is logical and rational. I’d love for the knowledge of God (not just belief in God) to flourish throughout the world as well as respect for God, respect for the family unit and respect for living things. But to promote such ideas by claiming that these positive aspects are actually the seven commandments is a falsehood. And, at least on my little island of mind and blog, at least I’ll make a clear stance against it.
There’s more to come
A pensive reflection on being human. Please, take a look
One morning this past week on my way to work I got to pondering about what it meant to me to be a ‘ben Noach’.
For those who may be new to my blogs, ‘ben Noach’ is Hebrew for ‘son of Noah’.
What is so special about that designation? What does it mean? Why would I want to assign myself a designation? And the questions go on.
Learning To Question
One of the beauties of Torah Judaism is that it teaches you to question, not to question out of doubt but to question to inquire knowledge and gain wisdom.
My wife and I, for over a year attended a Sabbath morning class at a synagogue in Atlanta, GA. We would drive two hours to get there. The young rabbi that taught the class taught us how to ask questions. For a year we studied one chapter of Tehillim/Psalms. Every week…
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How can I read this beautiful piece and not share it? Please, take a look.
I love our third floor apartment, built on top a large hill, our apartment’s view faces east overlooking the foothills of the great Smokey Mountains. The sunrises are awesome and breathtaking.
It in this setting that I spend time in reflecting on my studies and personal communication with the amazing Creator of the view I am blessed to behold.
In a single moment my eyes and mind was raptured up in beauty of the mountains and a blue sky peppered with cotton ball clouds that I told the Creator that I seek neither Heaven nor the world to come but only Him I seek.
Tehillim 62:2 To G-d alone my soul waits silently, from Him comes my salvation.
Back in the late 1990s, I was involved with Pentecostal Christianity, during that time I read a book by Tommy Tenney ‘The God Chasers’ – it spoke to me, it described who I was and…
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To anyone who reads this, the fantastic article has an international message. It’s a must read from a man, a non-Jew, who I see as having a loving heart for people, for God and for his truth. Please read.
There is a Jewish and a non-Jewish side to the story of Jonah.
The story for the most part has been turned into a cute child’s tale about a man and a whale. When in all actuality it is not about a whale for the species of the great fish is not given in the story. Why? Because that is not important. The great fish was only a tool to get the fleeing prophet back on the right path.
The story of Jonah was put in the Hebrew Scriptures so that Israel and the nations would study it and learn about teshuva i.e. repentance – its about changing lives from doing wrong to doing what is right in the eyes of the Creator.
This blog will only deal with the side of the story for the non-Jewish nations.
What we learn from the story and from the Sages of Israel…
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The season has passed, but I thought I’d share my current position on it, or at least think about it in writing.
I don’t celebrate it, obviously. But not only that, I detest it. There are a few things in life that irritates me enough for me to wish it were physical so that I could choke the life from it until it be dead. One is atheism. Another is the naturalistic belief held by atheists, Torah adherents and so many others about the development of the universe and the diversity of life. And another is Christmas. As this little expression is about Christmas, I’ll focus on that.
First, let me get a few things out of the way.
I used to reject Christmas because I was taught it came from idolatrous festivals, from Saturnalia, from Mithra, from so on and so forth. I was taught that the Christmas tree was idolatrous, referred to in Jeremiah 10 and the date was the birth date of other god. I held these views while I was a Christian and was raised with such views.
It’s strange. It’s only after years of having left Christianity that I hear the arguments from the other side, those christians who kept Christmas and I see that most of my views about Christmas were not based on fact, but rather circumstantial historical evidence that are more plausible reconstructions than actual overt admissions. I personally hate it when people put words in my mouth when I never said them. I don’t want to do it to the church, even if I don’t agree with them. I had not realised how weak the link between Saturnalia, Mithra and Christmas was before I took another look. I didn’t see that Jeremiah, in chapter 10, was talking about an idol, not just a tree. [I know a certain rabbi who I very much respect refers to Jeremiah 10 when giving his teaching against Christmas, but I’ve seen enough from a good amount of other sources to feel okay having a different opinion. Oh, the horrible crime of disagreeing with one rabbi, even if it’s because of the teachings of another!]
Anyway, leaving aside those arguments, why don’t I celebrate Christmas, even as a secular holiday?
Christmas is a christian festival and it was started mainly by a church that believes in worshipping Jesus as God, worshipping the Holy Spirit as God. It celebrates the birth of Jesus with the claim that he was the promised Davidic king, that he, an innocent person, died for the sins of the guilty.
That’s the basic position I’m using.
I’m am ardent follower of the seven laws for the children of Noah, meaning all of humanity. For me the question is, how do the obligations given by God to me, and the principles within that tradition apply to Christmas?
The seven laws prohibit idolatry, the worship of anyone other than the God who revealed himself to Israel and brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery. That God at that time did not reveal himself to be a trinity, or as a man.
The seven law tradition forbids the creation of new religions, religious festivals or commandments.
Based on these two principles, I conclude Christianity is a innovated religion and creating such a religion is forbidden.
The doctrines and practices of the Christianity that created Christmas was idolatrous, worshipping a man and worshipping a God not revealed to Israel.
Even if Christianity was not idolatrous, and especially because the main part of it is, Christmas is an innovated religious festival. It is not a festival made by and for atheists, Muslims, Hindus or any other form of religion. It is a christian religious festival, despite the fact that people from other worldviews take part in some of the customs. Such a festival is forbidden.
When it just comes to the human, rational principle (“the image of God” or tzelem elokim), the idea of Jesus being messiah is false. The notion of him, an innocent man, dying for the guilty is a false and deceptive perversion of justice, an affront to justice. It’s not as the conman from Tarsus, Paul, proclaims, that it doesn’t make sense. It’s that it does make sense and it is wrong, sending many wrong and misleading messages, twisting the hearts of so many.
Honestly, how could I take part in something that is built on injustice, idolatry and what violates tradition? I detested the festival for so many years for the wrong reasons. Now I detest it for better reasons, not just based on the patchwork story and interpretations of history from “scholars.” I feel my reasoning now is based on moral principles of what I know as opposed to think things I have no real evidence for.
So this is just my current stance on Christmas. I wonder if there’s any point in writing more about how I deal with presents and cards and the common Xmas greeting that people give.
Anyway, if anyone reads this, thanks. David (yes, I’m talking to my future self), if you read this …. Errr … Thanks?
For me, the anti-God view of the world has become an infestation. If I want to search for issues regarding Torah online, many times amongst the first search results I get are from the anti-Torah, God rejecting perspective. Even when it comes to commentary on social or political issues, the atheist voice is most predominant.
One common theme I see amongst that group is the moral declarations and judgements they make about what people do, about religions, about so many aspects of real life. I listened to an atheist YouTuber share his gripes with Islam, essentially claiming that it encourages violence and rape. These voices are particularly loud regarding politics and religion.
Can you and I be direct about this with no holding back? Based on my previous articles in my series about God-rejectors, you should know what I’m going to say.
When one who rejects God give a moral condemnation on anything, when such a person pours out frustration or anger at a perceived immorality or injustice, when he or she explicitly or implicitly rages against they view as wrong, anything at all, to be consistent with that stance of rejecting the Creator, that reaction and response is worthless, and utterly so.
What is at the base of their contention? Where does their morality come from? It’s not from something true and solid. It started from and ends with dust, nothing more, possibly less. An effect cannot be greater than its cause. A human is just a speck of dust in comparison to the universe, the planetary system, even this planet. Individually, our lives are short, coming from nothing and ending in nothing. It doesn’t matter if we were made from star dust or pond scum. Matter is not moral. Energy is not moral. They just are. And we, the products of such an amoral constitution, are nothing more than that.
With the rejection of God comes the inevitable consequence that morality is only a made up game in the minds of walking monkeys that they take way too seriously for what it really is.
So when the atheist baboon points at a fellow primate, babbling boisterously against the way it got its bananas, there’s nothing deeper to it than instinct and biology. And when a supposedly more evolved atheist or God rejecting primate complains about another primate, there is nothing qualitatively different about the scenario. It’s not some objective standard being pointed out, just a side effect of biology. They have no other basis for it.
It’s just an observation of mine about the futility of the godless. Thinking about these things just reinforces for me the laughable situation of when a God-rejector points at any worldview, including that of the Torah, and attempts to point a moral flaw. Based on his own worldview, he automatically becomes a hypocrite. Based on the Torah worldview, he never stepped away from being a fool.
I need to get the science and knowledge part of this series done. I’ll try to do that next. I wonder if you already know how that is going to pan out.
It was exasperating. I think that’s the word. Yes, exasperating.
Just in case you didn’t know, I don’t live in America. I would say that’s a blessing if the country in which I live and the people in it were qualitatively better. But … ah I don’t know, different dog, same crap!
Anyway, it seems like America’s rubbish gets washed up on every shore and is then painted across the land and houses via the media circus that is shoved by the truckloads into so many homes and businesses. As the world is both smaller and colder due to social media, it is relatively easy to see certain trends arising. One trend that found its way into my little island of life is that of a number of religious people, Jews and Gentiles, who are encouraging others in America of like-mind to vote for Trump as opposed to Clinton.
Personally, the specific identities of the selected political puppets offered to the public to give them the false feeling of control don’t really matter to me. That’s specific to the land. But the principles and the example such people are putting forward, those things are international and those are the things that bother me.
No, I haven’t got to the exasperating bit yet. It’s coming shortly. Probably now.
What I find exasperating (see, I told you!) is the notion of Torah faithful Jews, those who should be priests and ministers and a light to the nations, pushing for one candidate as opposed to the other using the argument of “the lesser of two evils.” And that’s not all! What makes this advocating so frustrating is that neither candidate actually wants to uphold the seven laws and their policies make no change to the continued abrogation, undermining and ignorance of these laws which are meant to be the spine of international law. Yet somehow, one political candidate is supposed to bring us closer to the seven laws than the other, even though both ignore it in policy and practice.
I had one Jew advocate Trump who was teaches Gentiles about the seven laws. And then another Jew who had previously advocated that voting against the seven is bad then turn around and promote Trump. A God-fearing Gentile at least implied, if not outrightly said, that there was some obligation to vote. One showed me an article showing how the Rebbe said there was some holy duty to vote in Israel for the most God-fearing candidate, and applied to that to Gentiles voting for the less worse candidate, that not voting somehow looked bad to others and aided in destroying the world.
And I step back and look at this aghast and in dismay. Some people are so programmed to invest in this system, they would vote for evil because it seems less evil than another evil. Why support evil at all if there is a choice to abstain?
I know, I know. Some who feel strongly about the political ritual will wonder why I would feel this way, why my convictions are so against helping prop up the golden statue of this Babylonian and Roman politic. [I use the word “Babylon” in the same way that the Rastafarians of Jamaica use it, and the word “Roman” to reflect the way a friend of mine refers to Esau and Esavian systems.] I’ve said it in different ways before and because of my opposition against this empty rite I have no qualm against saying it in a different way again.
What are the seven commandments for humanity? (Why do I so love doing this?)
- Justice or Laws or Courts (prohibition against injustice)
- Prohibition against cursing God’s name
- Prohibition against idolatry
- Prohibition against having sex with forbidden partners
- Prohibition against murder
- Prohibition against theft
- Prohibition against eating flesh taken from an animal while it was alive
So those are the seven commandments for humanity which we’re all obligated to follow. Now, what are the seven commandments? What are they supposed to be to us? What significance do they have? Why are they so important?
These commandments may be regarded as the foundations of all human and moral progress. Judaism has both a national and a universal outlook in life. In the former sense it is particularistic, setting up a people distinct and separate from others by its peculiar religious law. But in the latter, it recognises that moral progress and its concomitant Divine love and approval are the privilege and obligation of all mankind. And hence the Talmud lays down the seven Noachian precepts, by the observance of which all mankind may attain spiritual perfection, and without which moral death must inevitably ensue. That perhaps is the idea underlying the assertion (passim) that a heathen is liable to death for the neglect of any of these. The last mentioned is particularly instructive as showing the great importance attached to the humane treatment of animals; so much so, that it is declared to be fundamental to human righteousness. (footnote 34 of the Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, folio 56a, at http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_56.html)
The Noachide Laws are seven laws considered by rabbinic tradition as the minimal moral duties required by the Bible on all men. (Jewish Concepts: The Seven Noachide Laws, The Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/The_Seven_Noahide_Laws.html)
What Noahides are bidden to uphold is a simple code of the most basic more elements to human existence … However, being charged to uphold no more than the sheer bedrock of morality by which a human is elevated above the animal comes at a price … (The Price of Freedom: Understanding the Inflexibility of the Noahide Laws, ebook, Kindle Edition of Guide for the Noahide, by Rabbi Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron)
You should see that the words “basic,” “minimal,” “foundation” and “bedrock” emphasize that this is the level that we Gentiles should not go below. Especially once a non-Jew comes to the understanding of these laws, there should be no “below.” How can one go below the foundation, the minimal? These laws are of vital importance.
I’ll add that it is not a good thing to claim that these laws are so vitally important and then spit on them, encourage others to break them and to support them being broken.
So let me look at the details of these commands to see if there is a political party or candidate that I can really get behind without sacrificing and betraying the details of the laws.
The law of Justice is understood in various ways. But the seven laws should be upheld courts. Laws should be set up which approximate those of the Torah law for the Jews. Injustice shouldn’t be rife in the courts. There’s no place for juries and solicitors, only expert judges. Judges should judge according to the seven laws and warn and teach the people regarding them. Police should as open to punishment for crimes as anyone else, not protected on all levels, from from sergeants to unions to even the judges, from prosecution.
I’ve not seen any points of political policy that addresses this at all. I’ll move on.
As a point of law, it should be forbidden to curse God using his name. This is a crime of speech. Yet the belief in freedom of speech, that a person can say what they want without threat of legal action, means that it is protected act under the draftings of fictional human rights and constitutions to speak venom against God.
I won’t insult your intelligence or waste your time by even pretending that today’s politicians and political parties would even dare or dream of putting respect for that divine law in their policies. Not even “saint Trump” is espousing that one.
What about idolatry? What is in the policies of Labour or Conservative or the Liberal Democrats or UKIP or the Republicans or the Democrats or the Trump or the Clinton to forbid idol worship? Hmmm … Wait, don’t all parties preach freedom of religion? Don’t constitutions and law protect the “rights” of people to worship whatever they like? Seems like a prohibition against idolatry would be anathema to present political and societal mores.
Have we taken any steps closer to the seven laws yet? I’m not seeing it. Seems like the seven laws are on one side and political parties and candidates are on the other, and there’s no Trump or Clinton even aiming to step closer.
Now remember, the seven are foundational and basic divine laws for humanity. For me to just pass a single one and see it trampled under foot by the politicians vying for the individual vote to attain the throne they salivate for (how honourable, if only Moses was like that), to see that indicate to me that this party was aiming below the bedrock level of human morality. And did you know Torah faithful Jews and Gentiles are promoting that?
I’m gonna continue now. You may be bored so if you feel like clicking away now if you haven’t done so already, I fully understand. I’m used to singing and talking to and for myself so … Anyway …
Forbidden sexual partners. So adultery is wrong. Anything in the proposed policies and bills to make that illegal? What about … wait for it … homosexuality? Is Trump or Clinton bringing is closer to that law? Should I burst out laughing at the ridiculous idea of politicians of today bringing us closer to this basic foundational standard? Or should I silence myself in despair, crestfallen?
Murder? Any word on abortion?
At least with theft, that law is … is … oh … civil forfeiture laws make the police into thieves and bandits. In fact, police worldwide have the ability to legally steal your stuff. There’s a rabbi I know that may question the Torah legality of income tax, but hey, there’s no point going there since so many see so much virtue in the coerced distribution of wealth, even (or maybe especially) amongst those who follow the seven laws.
And then there is the law against eating the flesh taken from an animal while it was alive. Now I know that laws state that an animal needs to be well knocked out before going cut up, but the fact that I’ve seen doubts in writings about the seven laws about the suitability of store meat makes me question whether the government law really upholds the principle of eiver min hachai.
Either way, let’s see if Trump or Clinton … ah, who am I kidding? There’s not a policy they’ve proposed to follow this law.
Come here! A little closer. You’ve stayed this long, so I ain’t gonna bite. Let’s consider, you and I.
It is the contention of some that voting for modern political candidates gets us closer to seven laws. For me personally, I think such a contention is devoid of actual truth. Based on just a cursory glance at the seven, for me, that is clear. But think a little deeper.
History is full of the broken promises of politicians, especially when it comes to election promises where they are trying to get votes. So many times they simply say what tickles the ear in their quest for power. Yet all of a sudden, the most recent election deserves our attention and we need to pretend as if this time, the moral integrity of politicians has risen when there is no evidence of this. Let’s not fool ourselves.
In the country I live in, in elections, normally there is a choice between, in one hand, a power hungry, but well presented, parasite who cares for getting the reins of power for himself and his group and shows no practical care for the seven laws, and on the other hand, someone else who matches the same description. So it’s a choice between evil and evil. And according to too many, the moral thing a person should do, a person’s holy duty, is support (either) evil. I’ve been told that to do otherwise is to support evil.
Did you catch that “brilliant” logic? Let me apply it to the seven laws. Did you know that the seven laws are all prohibitions, even the law of Justice? Did you know that that means that if you are presented with the opportunity to do an evil deed, a deed that contradicts a command, then you must not do it? You have to refrain from acting. But not according to this “voter” logic. According to voter logic, if you don’t support idolatry, you actually support idolatry. So by keeping the commandment, you’re breaking it!
Although that way of thinking, that not supporting a politician is an evil act that spreads injustice, is comfort and justification for those that have the conviction that politics is a way to fix the world, experience has taught me the opposite. History teaches me the opposite, that more often it is through politics that evil is protected and incubated, and to be a supporter of it is to support murder, wars, lies, injustice, immorality and the continued abolition of and ignorance about the divine laws. History shows me that, too often, it is law-abiding tax payer, the avid voter, that has been complicit in the crimes the political system in which one has invested oneself.
After all that, let me put it simply. One aspect of the seven laws, for me, is personal responsibility for one’s own actions. If there is a selection of candidates who all do practically nothing to promote the divine laws and continue in the current state of injustice, and I have the choice also to abstain, to refrain from giving my support to any one, then “the lesser of evils” is irrelevant when I can avoid supporting that which contradicts my standards (I’m still talking about the seven, but I also include other moral gripes I have with the state and its acolytes).
Another aspect of the seven is communal and social. They are laws meant to be kept by people groups, not just individuals. But expecting change from the top down, trying to place that “less worse” vote for grand politician is vain and worthless. If the people are not educated morally, then the selection for Prime Politician will be just as illiterate and will be a product of that miseducation. Considering the vast majority of people I meet, whether at work, home, in religious settings, amongst the “noahides,” “gerim,” Jews and rabbis, are happy with or are happy to settle with and/or promote the current system of living at the expense of another, having others forced to pay for one’s choices, and having people punished, extorted, coerced and killed at the dictates of the politicians under the illusion that “democracy” permeates and perpetrates, considering that, then the communal aspect of the seven laws will remain dead, the society needed for the establishment of righteousness will always be out of reach. If my experience is anything like the rest of the world, then don’t look to the expected places, the synagogues, the noahide or ger virtual meetings, the Torah faithful Jews. Look for that stray rabbi, shouting in the corner, that gentile shuffling in the shadows where he can’t be prosecuted by the mob. They can point you to the corpse that was meant to be a better people. Don’t expect mourning from their tired eyes and despondent hearts, just a warning to prepare for what the majority voted for, what they deserve. Because when certain consequences come, they swallow the righteous and unrighteous alike.
I know the argument, “but if I don’t vote for candidate x, then the country I live in will collapse and fail!” The implicit arrogance of that belief walks hand in hand with its deluded nature. An individual vote is numerically worthless. Think about it, maybe in terms of sound. When there are just a few voices, individual voices can be heard. But in a din, in a cacophony of millions of voices, the voice of the individual is effectively silenced. In this analogy, I’m only talking about the “power” of a vote. If an individual does or doesn’t vote, it makes no real difference.
So the person who says “if I don’t vote, this or that politician will come into power and destroy the plot of territory I’m invested in,” such a person is living in cloud cuckoo land.
If I want to do something positive for myself and the community around me, I’ll learn and apply and be consistent with the seven laws and the many other universal principles the Torah had to offer. I can give charity, teach, be an example and a good role model. I can do these things without showing people that faithfulness to the seven laws can be sold for the promises of politicians, people hungry for power, but with no divine standard.
Neither the ballot box nor its illusion, nor the deceiving politicians, nor their acolytes are a friend to me or the Torah I uphold.
This part of my expressed inner monologue about the emptiness of rejecting God is where I take a look at some of the condemnations of those who reject God and share with you how I approach them, especially on the basis of what I’ve said before:
1) People who reject God do so first before using the moral argument against him;
2) People who reject God make themselves a higher authority than God, his superior, and thus make themselves a god;
3) Their morality can only be subjective and have no power outside of their own personal internal chemical reactions.
It should also be stated that a significant number of their moral arguments against the acts of God in the Jewish Bible come from ignorance of the Jewish Bible or a misreading of what it states. Because many God-rejectors come from a christian background, their ignorance of the Oral Torah and the wisdom of ancient rabbis who have already dealt with such issues is a significant factor in their unlearned and error-filled opinions and interpretations of the Jewish Bible.
The fact that I come from a so-called “sola scripture” approach, although I now embrace the oral tradition of traditional Judaism, informs me of the fact that many arguments from the God-rejectors employ some of the foolish tactics of christians in proving doctrines, interpretations and ideas. Taking passages out of context, ignorance of the original Hebrew text, mistranslating the text or relying on faulty translations are some of the tactics ex-christians take with them after they’ve supposedly left the religion and acknowledgement of God.
Ok, let’s go through some of the attacks against the integrity of God.
The Bible condones slavery.
This is a common statement used to condemn God or the Bible as saying they are evil or that God promotes it.
But the problem with this statement, this accusation, can be broken down once a few questions are asked.
So I’d ask this: what did the statement assume? What is not said but is necessarily true for this accusation to hold water?
The accusation assumes that slavery is a morally bad thing. It means that God overlooks or is lenient with something that is bad, evil or wrong. God-rejectors will say that it is wrong to own another person, or you can’t own someone else.
It also assumes that this moral judgement is absolute or objective enough to hold the law of God up against it. If the person using this accusation was consistent with his anti-Torah sentiments, then he would say nothing except note that slavery was fine in those days and people just have different values in some parts of modern western culture. But no, this anti-theist is saying that it was wrong then and it’s wrong now, showing the timelessness and universality of this moral statement, that it applies to all people always. If this wasn’t an assumption of the statement, and morality is subjective, then no such condemnation can be rightly levelled against the written Torah.
So these people say it’s morally wrong for one human to own another, that slavery is absolutely wrong. So then comes my next question. Where does this objective moral precept come from? Who thinks they have the right to tell me what I can and can’t do? What makes this precept absolute and objective from the person making this accusation?
Did the claim just come from the opinion of a subjective human? Is that its source? Without God, there is no objective standard, so it seems like this is just an opinion, something with no power or even any real truth to it.
So if the accusation is that God has done something morally wrong yet there’s no basis for objective morality, then God hasn’t really done anything absolutely wrong, just something that goes against a subjective taste. That’s it. So the accusation is weightless, empty.
Let’s think of it another way. In certain worldviews, especially the godless ones, humans are just another breed of animal. And it’s acceptable in the eyes of many for people to own, kill and eat animals, to use them for labour, such as farming and transport. Pets are common, even in this day and age. So humans being animals, it should be logically fine to own one. To speak against it is arbitrary as there’s no absolute standard to condemn the owning and use of one animal over another.
I know there are people who think animals have rights and thus even animals shouldn’t be owned. But, as I said before, that’s just a personal conclusion, and without objectivity in morals, what you may conclude or feel for may not be what I conclude or feel for.
It’s all just DNA and chemical reactions. Your taste buds and their messages to your brain may mean you like strawberry ice cream and the chemicals within me may hate that and prefer chocolate. I may even be allergic to strawberry. In the same way, your brain chemistry may not result in a preference to owning other people and you find justifications for that. It could be because of DNA, or upbringing, or culture, or maybe you’re just afraid to go against what so many others subjectively conclude or the coercive politicians who write threats against anyone that goes against their own opinions (otherwise known as “laws”). But then any change in those factors could result in a different opinion, and there’s no objective way to say which is better than the other.
It should be also known that slavery has existed for much of human history and even still exists today in various form, both subtle and overt. In fact, if Frederick Douglass’ logic holds true about income taxes, then not only is most of the world still under slavery, but many people actually still want it (for example, see What did Frederick Douglass teach me about income tax?). Just in case the link breaks, I’ll summarize the argument.
As a slave, you and your labour belongs to your master, the one who owns you, who tells you what to do and you must obey. Even if your master allowed to work elsewhere, if you still have to give all your earnings to him you’re still a slave. Even if you are permitted to keep a percentage for yourself, the master is still in control over what you can keep. So you’re still a slave working for a master. (Just read that again replacing “master” with “government.”)
It’s always surprising how those who reject God out of condemnation about slavery still support slavery by means of politicians or government. The anti-theist, Christopher Hitchens, in a debate, would argue against slavery and dictatorship with one side of his mouth, and then in the next refer positively to people having to live under laws which are nothing but the opinion of someone else with the added dimension of coercion, threat and force, no qualitative difference to a (slave-)master. The essential “power” of government is this: “Do what I say or I’ll hurt you.” And atheists mainly are fine with that sort of people ownership. And his atheistic colleagues, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and many others are no different in their hypocrisy. They think that a bunch of humans, whether it be the ruling class or its thugs (the police or army or other such forces), or a strong enough bunch of people, can control how much freedom another person has, even restricting that freedom by putting an individual “under arrest.” If one person can control the freedom of another, that is another form of ownership. Yet these so-called “moral” people are happy with and advocate for such ownership whilst railing against slavery. Again, hypocrisy at its finest!
It’s like those who claim to be anti-gun yet want government to have all the guns. In other words, they’re not anti-gun; they want government to have all the guns. This reveals a great inconsistency in thinking.
Since God exists, he makes the rules. Since there is no prohibition against slavery, then it is important to do what God-rejectors commonly fail to do. What is that? Study properly what the Torah means by slavery, how a person becomes one, and how one must be treated.
Too often when dealing with such subjects, the one rejecting God and Torah demonstrates an ignorance of the topics and read in ideas from their experience rather than what the Torah is teaching. Such people don’t seek to understand Torah for what it says, but add their alien cultural definition to the Torah words. When thinking about “slavery,” a person thinks about mistreatment, unjustified harm, sometimes a person being kidnapped and made into a slave. Based on that, rather than understanding what the Torah concept, the person ignorantly accuses God of what he never taught.
So for all these reasons – subjectivity, lack of objectivity, inconsistency, the inadequate chemical basis for moral statements without God – the charge of God being evil is baseless and invalid.
Subjectivity, ignorance and many times hypocrisy were the stock and trade, the modus operandi, of those who reject God and try to use morality against him. It is seen with any and every argument.
For example, the charge of God or his Torah being homophobic, as if it’s objectively wrong for God to say which relationships are acceptable. Think about it. Objectively speaking, God, the purposeful creator of everything has the right to set the rules of what is right and wrong. Yet, subjectively, without God, who can dictate to another what to think about homosexuality? There is no absolute right or wrong. There is nothing wrong or right with homosexuality, bestiality, incest, paedophilia. It’s just a matter of personal taste. It’s all subjective. So I can think what I like and you can think what you like. Who is the God-rejector to tell a person how to think? Hell, who is the God-rejector to dictate to God what is right or wrong?
Either anything goes or there are objective rules. Humanity can not be the source of objective morals or its standard. So the person who rejects God cripples his own position before he even opens his mouth.
God condones genocide.
Genocide is the killing of a large amount of people, normally of the same ethnicity or religion. It is said by some to be the gravest, most serious crime. And God is accused of this crime. He wiped out the vast majority of humanity in a great catastrophe or deluge, destroyed a number of towns, one of which was Sodom, he commanded the destruction of the Canaanites and the Amalekites.
So the person who condemns God would seem to have the testimony of his own Torah … until we actually ask a few familiar questions.
Who is God, according to the Torah? Who is he? Isn’t he the creator and thus the ultimate owner of the heavens and earth and all that is in them? Isn’t he the one who built the foundations upon which any morality must find itself? Isn’t he the one who gives life and sustains everything? He is wise and all knowing and the Judge of the whole world, having crafted objective morality. He’s the one who makes the rules for us, not the other way around.
On the basis of that alone, before I talk about his character, the question must be this: who or what must God be in order for humanity to judge him? He must no longer be transcendent, above and beyond us but rather he is under our jurisdiction, under our power. So he’s actually rejected as God first and then put at the place for condemnation. Human, becoming the judge of God becomes the god of God!
Now think of the inconsistency on different levels. Subjective humanity, one set, one modern set, tries to state an objective moral standard. From where does it come? From subjective brain fizz without God! So it’s not objective and down to taste. In another culture it’s fine when the time demands it. The word “genocide” was only made up in 1944. That just shows it to be a modern conception. And the reason it was thought up was because someone else did it and thought it to be fine. Subjective!
On another level, what is a human according to naturalistic philosophies? A bacteria that’s changed! The effects of natural forces on pond scum. It’s an evolved fish, an evolved amphibian, an evolved mammal, a primate, a slightly rearranged monkey or ape. But wait! Don’t we use anti-bacterial chemicals to clean surfaces? Don’t humans slaughter loads of animals and birds, mostly for food? If I do housekeeping on a whim, how many lives are lost capriciously? What exactly makes one type of life superior in quality to another? Objectively, nothing. Subjectively, … well you may as well flip a coin and justify the result. Just do and feel whatever your particular brain chemistry and DNA programs you to. Who is one person to tell another what to think or feel?
In so many ways, this accusation is crippled, limited by the user. Without God, there is no grounding upon which to condemn him. You have to use his world and steal from a worldview based on him to attempt to make a point.
The struggle may still exist within: how can God command such a thing, the decimation of everyone in a town or city, even the children and women (as if the lives of the men are disposable)? A person who has at least studied the issue properly in a God-centred worldview could provide at the very least inferences, draw educated conclusion. Let me give a few.
- God owns everything because he made everything.
In that fact alone, he has the right over his own creation. This life isn’t ours to demand anything of God. It’s his! And he can take it back when and how he wants.
- God sees the big picture and each individual life.
Therefore he is in the perfect place to judge the rare occasions where wiping out a people group would be justified. Humans are not in that place to judge which it is why it is wrong for humans to take it upon themselves to do such a thing.
- The age of responsibility.
Children under a certain age are seen as extensions of the adults. Once they reach the age of maturity and responsibility, then it can be said that they are guilty. Until then, when a place is destroyed, everything is erased, not just the adults, but the possessions as well. This leads to the next point.
- This life isn’t all there is.
As there is an afterlife, there is at least the possibility that those children will find a place in a much better world.
Now, I’ve already heard what those who deny God will say. They will claim that they do good things without God, that they don’t need God to be a good person and do good things. But this shows that they have not understood the point. What is good??? Who decides??? The serial killer? The thief? The politician? The majority? The individual? The collective? And what is the basis of the decision? Brain fizz? Without God, there is no real “good” or “bad.” It’s just a personal delusion!
This is particularly true for any – and I mean any – moral condemnation of the God of Torah. For those who accept the Jewish Bible, this is akin to a “Job” or “Iyyov” standing before God in order to get some sort of justice against him for wrongs committed, and God having to school the infinitesimally small flesh-bag on its own limitations. People, having adopted the mindset that the prominent group of scientists have inculcated, seem to be at awe at just how minute and insignificant our planetary system, planet and individual lives and brains are in comparison to the scope of the known universe. To call such a person “impudent” who attempts to condemn the One who created and creates and sustains every level of existence, from macro to micro, is an understatement at the grandest of scales.
The phrase “learn your place” comes to mind.
And that’s the problem. The one doing the condemning has committed the strawman fallacy in that this person cannot deal with God as he is or else, logically, his condemnation doesn’t have a foot to stand on. So he has to make God not God, more of an equal, so that this person’s subjective sense of morality at least has some chance of being superior enough to be a challenge.
So these are some of the grander arguments against God’s morality. I’ll have to see if there are any minor ones supposedly based on the Jewish Bible that require comment. As far as I know, the arguments against God are normally based on moral subjectivity, the strawman fallacy (saying God is not God as the implicit or express basis of the argument) or ignorance of the Jewish Bible as well as the written and oral Torah.
A positive article about a possible future for those who embrace the seven laws.
I have detailed in previous posts about the problems with the Noahide movement. In this post, I will offer a solution.
In order to regain control of the Noahide movement, to wrest authority from the rabbis who have turned it into a Jewish sect (or, in the case of the gerrings, a cult), we need to first establish a paradigm for the Noahide Code.
First of all, we need to understand that every man, woman and child who is not Jewish (according to halakha) is a Noahide. That means that every non-Jew is under the Noahide Law whether they accept it or not. This means the issue is not conversion but teshuvah. You don’t have to walk down the aisle and shake the rabbi’s hand to become a Noahide. You already are a Noahide.
The Noahide Law is a moral and legal code. Since the Noahide prohibition of idolatry…
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It’s been going around, a simple statement that has been circulating in certain circles. As it includes a value I hold dearly, I want to share it too.
I believe if a person votes for a political figure, that figure embracing policies that go against God’s commandments (for non-Jews, those would be the seven laws), that person becomes an accomplice.