Respect for the Process
Christians and Moslems make strong claims about their respective faiths. They both believe that people who do not subscribe to their particular brand of Christianity or Islam will suffer eternally. They do not hesitate to share this belief with people outside of their faith.
With a love for humanity in their hearts, and I do not say this sarcastically, the missionaries of Islam and Christianity attempt to save as many people as possible from the fires of hell. If the fear of hellfire will motivate a prospective convert to join the community of believers, then why should this fear not be harnessed for the cause?
Let us shift our focus to the prospective convert. We are obviously talking about an individual who has not believed in the religion of the missionary and is now listening to the arguments presented on behalf of this belief that is new to him or her. This individual had a worldview that did not include the theology of the new religion. And this worldview is being challenged.
Let us consider that challenge.
Both Christianity and Islam claim that the truths of their respective religions are very clear. According to the Moslem, the “truth” of the Koran is self-evident. And according to the Christian, the Messianic claims of Jesus are “confirmed” by the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures. Both religions claim that those who cannot see the respective truths of their religions after having considered the “necessary evidence” must have a proclivity for evil. Why else would one resist the “obvious” truth in all of its glory?
This is the challenging thought process of the confused individual. Here I have “evidence” to a faith that I never believed in. I may see some merit to the argument, I may even see much merit to the argument, but I am not ready to make a conclusive decision. Does this mean that I am evil? According to my new-found friend, that is exactly what my indecision means. He may not spell it out in so many words, but that is the underlying message.
This is where the hellfire enters the scene. The missionary “helpfully” reminds the prospective convert that no one is guaranteed another day of life. Who knows what can happen tomorrow? Where do you want to go for eternity?
This is the “one two” punch of Christian and Islamic missionaries. “One” is the insinuation that if you don’t see the “truth” of their argument than you have just demonstrated your inclination for evil. And “two” is the fear of hell.
The employment of this strategy is a demonstration of disrespect for the human sensitivity for truth. If these missionaries would truly believe that an honest quest for truth would lead to their religion then they would encourage just that; an honest quest for truth. An honest quest for truth is not pressured for time and an honest quest for truth needs to avoid the emotions of fear and guilt. An honest quest for truth will patiently amass as much evidence until an honest decision can be calmly made.
The God of Truth does not fear questions, and the God of Truth will not condemn people for being honest. While you search and as you ask honest questions you can be assured of the love of the God of Truth.
Those who try to get you to make a decision on the basis of guilt or fear do not respect the honest process of questioning and searching. You may well wonder how it is that they arrived at the conclusions that they claim to believe in. After all, if they do not respect your right to ask honest questions why would you think that they respect their own right to ask such questions? And if they are using fear and guilt to earn converts you may rightly suspect that they are not employed by the God of Truth.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Yes,, very true. Jesus did speak of hellfire and so this cannot be wrong. Talking of simplicity,
what is difficult about “the Lord our God is one Lord”– which is pure Jewish unitary monotheism, from Jesus. Moslems are dismayed that Christians do not seem to believe this creed of Jesus,
So what shall we say. What proposition about God does Mark 12:29 present to us?
Now, why did “Jesus” speak about hellfire? I’m just doing Bible study on this and I came to the conclusion that the Jewish Rabbi Yeshua could not have tought about it because Moshe and the prophets didn’t teach anything about it, too; “Sheol” is something totally different. Yet, the Roman Catholic Demi-God “Jesus” tought about hellfire because it is Roman Catholic doctrine and this institution wrote everything on paper. It then asserted that it’s own ideas were infallible word of God.
Furthermore, “the Lord our God is one Lord” you won’t find in the Torah! ELOHEYNU is not “our God” and Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey is not “Lord”! This is the worst mistranslation I have seen ever! Christians indeed believe that a Greek “Theos” is God, too, and Hindus believe that Krishna is “God”. So I suggest to tell the difference between pagan divinities (Gods) and ELOHIM. It is not a matter of being “one God” or “trinity” but it matters much more the name and the programme (doctrine) of the respective divinity. A pagan divinity is always wrong even if it is one.
Re: Respect for the process
I unfortunately must confirm the author’s statements refering Christianity. In the past I heard about Christians praying in agony for the “lost”. They so much reflected about hellfire that they physically felt it in their souls. But they are very few. Today, in my invironment “Christians” would rather let people go to hell than to pray. But how does HaShem respond to this prayer? Read Proverbs 28:9.
This kind of “love” for the lost I cannot find in Islam as in this religion it is required to kill every “non-believer” if possible.Very likely it is the idea of their leadership rather than the Koran.
Thank you for these inspiring words. It’s so important to remember that Hashem loves us more than we love ourselves and waits patiently for us to figure things out. No, we’re not going to hell tomorrow if we haven’t found the truth by then.
“In the beginning “God” created the Heaven and the HELL and the Earth” …. ” And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good – especially HELL”. – There is definitely something wrong with the hell! Some time ago I visited the synagoge on an erev Shabbat service. An elderly Jew told me that there is no hell. I checked it from the Bible and – he was right! So, when there is no hell whatsoever, we are not going to hell even on the day after tomorrow! The Torah is given to us for the life before death, not after.
There is a rumor that a suicide bomber (who is full of love for the lost souls), when he kills himself and a dozen (or more or less) Jews, he will be rewarded after his crime with 72 virgins. Now, how do this virgins go to heaven? The terrorist does not think about it – if so, he would have to send the 72 to heaven before igniting his explosive belt.
HaShem loves mankind, that’s true. Thus, the “gospel of hell” is a horrible lie that makes the Christian and Islamic mankind fear for lifetime. I once met a student who told me that he has been suffering from stygiophobia (the fear of hell) for some time. Please, Dina, forget hell! It is an invention of the Greek mythology, called “Hades”. The two other Greek expressions in the “NT” for “Hell” in fact disprove it: It is GeHenna (GeHinnom) and Tartaros. I was in GeHinnom after leaving the Kotel through the dung gate and left “hell” unharmed. And the Greek Tartaros means “underworld”.
Some will say that you have to be called by God and ONLY God can do it, so since they really don’t believe that, these people personally believe that they are appointed and anointed by God, since His ability to call is minimal or otherwise insufficient. Or He has no voice (and they do & their voice or spirit is clearer than His. Or at least louder and more “in your face” than God chooses to be). Or His written Word is too weak and it must be reinterpreted according to their unique way, since those special, select, & perhaps distorted words are what convinced them. And they know that they needed much pressure in order for them to “buy the story that they bought and that they now want to sell you” (since the “car won’t sell itself”, especially if the potential buyer doesn’t want to be “steered down the “right” path” and wants a little more time “to think about it”). They may say “let go and let God” (do it), but they want “the sale”. Or, that those who are already are worshippers of God (like those Jews who they intend to “straighten” out) have the “wrong Orthidoxy”, since it is not the same as the personal opinion, belief, or faith that these salespersons have; the original Orthodoxy (Tanach), now obsolete, is not the same as the “updated or corrected” “brand spanking new version” (published -with many revisions- and voted on by a “majority” of select committee members not quite so long ago as the “Original Testament of God”). If they want to be successful in their mission, they might want to remember how this one “salesman”, using less aggressive and more subtle tactics, was nonetheless, quite successful in convincing this one couple, in a garden, of what was really good for them and of what it was that God “really meant” when He spoke of what He wanted from them.
This seems very convincing. When I compare your salesman parable with Christian and Islamic “love” I come to the conclusion that the salesman said; “If you don’t buy the car immediately, I send you to hell and kill you”.
Fear the L-rd keep his commandments it is for all man kind. Jews and non Jews.
There is a fear that comes from a person’s “self-preservation spirit”; a fear of the “boogie man” or a fear of “that monster or the “mafia-type” person who will “arbitrarily decide whether to send one to hell or else to heaven based on our beliefs” and not based on our deeds or our Godliness or our unselfish desire to do “what is right”. There is no “heart in that type of relationship”. That type of fear is, or those types are, not compatible with the “commandment” to love The Lord with ALL your heart. The “heart of a relationship” is the subject matter in the Rabbi’s next post.
You’ll admit that you’ll find these tactics employed by jews as well.
Yosef, to set the record straight, Jews don’t threaten eternal punishment. Sometimes punishment in the afterlife is mentioned, but not in an eternal sense. When the specter of punishment is raised, it is not to convince anyone to believe anything. Rather, when someone who already believes is tempted to sin–and knows he is wrong–a well-meaning relative, friend, or teacher might remind him of the consequences to help him make the right choice.
Furthermore, repentance is always available to those who sincerely wish to return to obedience to God.
Do you see the difference?
‘Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’
‘They shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.’
‘But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.’
No one embraces the doctrine of eternal punishment gladly, it is grievous and difficult, but it may not be shunned without grave unfaithfulness to its Author.
‘if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.’
Why has my subscription to new posts ceased?
It is amazing that we find a statement about everlasting contempt in a novel that was very likely authored during the time of the maccabeans only. Thus, no Moshe and no prophet had the foggiest idea about it and we have to ask ourselves in how far the Daniel author had adapted Greek ideas.
Thanks for correcting me, Charles. Eternal punishment is most often mentioned in the Torah as the soul being cut off from the nation. We see this happen as a natural consequence of disobedience to God and Torah. Jews who abandon Torah, whether to non-traditional schismatic groups or to other religions such as Christianity, end up with no identifiably Jewish descendants after several generations. They are thus effectively cut off from the Jewish nation.
Nevertheless, eternal punishment is downplayed to the extent that I was not even aware of these verses. That’s because we aim to serve God and obey Him because we love Him, not because we want a reward or are afraid of punishment. Obedience out of love and joy is what I was raised with, not fear of eternal punishment.
I do stand by the rest of my comment.
The doctrine of eternal punishment was invented by Aquinas, a many who could not greek very well at the least. I wonder what the Latin says.
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.
Reblogged this on Jared Joffe and commented:
I really support the message here about preaching your faith on others. Educating and providing a forum for Questions and Answers (irrespective of what faith you believe in) is so much more effective and peaceful than introducing fear to try and push your cause. I thought this one was worth sharing