Explaining Judaism to a Teenager
I don’t have to tell you that teenagers ask questions. – How do you answer them?
There is only one way to do it: Honestly.
So when your teenager asks you: How do we know that Judaism is true? – What are you going to answer?
Here is a suggestion:
By definition, a religion is going to be telling you information about the realm of the unknown. Each world religion claims to possess the truth about things that we cannot see, feel, hear, touch or taste. Judaism claims that there is One God who demands that we live a moral life. You can’t see this God and the benefits of living a moral life a moral life aren’t readily apparent to a teenager. Christianity claims that Jesus is divine and that if you don’t believe in him you will live to regret it in the afterlife. The alleged divinity of Jesus is not something that anyone ever saw. Islam claims that Mohammed is a true prophet. No-one ever touched or felt the prophecy of Mohammed.
In order to get you to believe their respective claims, each religion must present a bridge through which the information passed from the realm of the unknown to this physical world. Each religion points to a conduit through which they receive their information from that unseen and untouchable world.
The Christian points to Jesus. Jesus, it is said came from the world of the unknown, and told us what he learned there. Jesus is the conduit of communication that the Christian must rely on in order to bring the information from the world of the unknown to our physical world.
The Moslem points to Mohammed. Mohammed, it is said, peered into the world of the unknown and taught his followers what he learned. For Islam, it is Mohammed who bridges the gap from the world of the unknown to this material world.
Judaism is the only world religion that does not bridge this gap through an individual. The two foundational precepts of Judaism; the perception of God and the knowledge that Moses is His prophet, both came from God directly to the nation, as a whole, from the realm of the next world (Deuteronomy 4:35, Exodus 19:9).
Judaism is the only belief system that lays claim to obtaining information from the realm of the unknown on the level of a nation. The fact that this claim is unique to Judaism is something to consider.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
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