Another beneficial practice, though probably not biblical, is drinking beer, which has saved millions of lives. You can take the most disease-ridden water, like from a duck pond, and render it safe to drink by making it into beer. And over the centuries, people could plainly see that beer was much safer to drink than water was, so that became the common practice. Of course, they had no idea of the presence of those deadly microbes in the water. Nor that the act of boiling the water, which is part of the brewing process, is what actually kills those microbes. If they had, then they would have just boiled the water and drunk that. But they didn't know that, so drinking beer was the solution.
We learn what's safe and what isn't and we teach our children. Then that gets codified. That's all that happened. Not divine revelation, but rather cultural memory.
BTW, as I understand it, the practice of circumcision goes back into prehistory with the earliest mention being in Egyptian records. So instead of crediting YHWH, shouldn't we be praising the Egyptian god or gods who had told the Egyptians about this practice? After all, they came up with it first, or at least before YHWH had. Just as we should be crediting the gods Bel and Anu for Mosaic Law.
Faith, are you perchance familiar with one particular Pharisee teaching?
In my Rabbinic Literature class, we read the Pirke Avoth. Around 20 BCE, a gentile was trying to rattle the Jewish scholars by demanding that they recite the whole of the Law while standing on one foot.
Now, at that time in both Jewish and Gentile schools the practice was to memorize all the teachings of that school; given the realities of those hyper-per-Guttenberg times, that was a necessary requirement -- it was the Guttenberg press that made the Reformation possible; without the printing press, the very idea of everyone studying the Bible for themselves would have been absolutely ludicrous. In the Jewish schools, that body of teachings that needed to be memorized would have included the Torah, plus more. The Torah is The Law, so that rabble-rousing gentile was asking that each scholar recite the Torah while standing on one foot.
The head rabbi of the Sadducees did the right thing, which was to grab a stick and chase that idiot off the premises. Instead, Rabbi Hillel of the Pharisees responded to that gentile: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it."
Yes, that the Pharisees would be teaching the spirit of the Law in opposition to what the Christians say about them ... kind of makes you think, eh? Especially when it happened about 50 years before the purported ministry of Jesus. Oh, I'm sorry! Christians? Think? What could I have possibly been thinking?
If you are perchance a Star Trek fan, remember back to the early end of the first season of the original series (TOS, meaning either "the original series" or "the old show"). Dagger of the Mind, screenplay by one Simon bar David. Dr. Adams recalls to Kirk the story of Rabbi Hillel and the Gentile, though he makes Rabbi Hillel into a philosopher.
Now, by the time that the Gospels were forming, which would have been during the Diaspora, it as the Pharisee school that was trying to preserve Judaism. And it would have been the Pharisees that would have been in conflict with the early Christians, so naturally the early Christians would have bad-mouthed the Pharisees as much as they could.
But then, how true Eliyahu is being to Pharisee teachings has yet to be seen. I think we are talking about two different kinds of beasties here.
Yes, the Golden Rule is Pharisee in origin. At least as Jesus would have picked it up.
Jeez, woman! So read the Pirke Avoth already! Then watch Barbara Streisand in Yentl, where she poses as a man in order to study in a yeshiva. "The more learning the more life." Four kinds of charity. Four kinds of students. Jeez, woman! Haven't you studied anything? Read the Pirke Avoth!, AKA "Sayings of the Fathers", etc.
As for Star Trek and science fiction, we have that sage observation: Those who neglect the lessons of science fiction are doomed to live them.
But just applying some strict and basic chronology, we have Rabbi Hillel presenting the Golden Rule circa 20 BCE and we have Rabbi Yeshua (AKA "Jesus") presenting it circa 30 CE. Who presented the Golden Rule before the other? Rabbi Hillel, the Pharisee, of course.
Sorry. I've been having to deal with Christians most of my life. Much more so since the "Jesus Freak Movement" hit around 1970 which then did their utmost to make the 1970's a living hell for the normals.
While Jewish scholarship has an outstanding two-millennia tradition of excellence, Christian "scholarship" has been abysmal, primarily based in ignorance and at present day reveling in abject ignorance as evidence by "creation science".
But as I look upon Eliyahu's posts here, I am truly sickened at the depths that that long history of excellent scholarship has degenerated into.
But hey, Jews vs Christians. Who comes out ahead? The Jews every single time! I've seen the Christians at work bringing on their best. It's absolutely pitiful. Lies, deception, ignorance.
Doesn't mean I accept the Jewish position, but it does still carry a helluva lot more weight than that Christian bullshit.
Really, if you truly believe that you have a better argument, then present it already! I have actually asked that of creationists before. Know what the response was? Specifically, I asked a creationist on a Yahoo groups forum why creationists keep presenting such weak unconvincing arguments. He replied that the only reason I didn't find the arguments convincing was because I wasn't already convinced. That gave away the entire creationist pretense right there!
This isn't the thread for it but I am curious how the Jesus Freaks managed to make your life so miserable that you keep bringing them up at every opportunity.
That is not what I said. What I said was (bold added):
Much more so since the "Jesus Freak Movement" hit around 1970 which then did their utmost to make the 1970's a living hell for the normals.
So I wasn't talking so much about myself as I was for everybody else who wasn't a fundamentalist Christian. I was more of a "fellow traveller", to borrow a term from McCarthyism. Seven years before the Jesus Freaks started appearing centered around Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, I had left Christianity because I had started reading the Bible and found that I just could not believe what I was reading. When members of my friend's family joined Calvary, I tagged along and learned their teachings, which only proved to me that I had made the right choice seven years prior. This gave me an understanding of the fundamentalists behavior and motivations and made me more sympathetic towards them. While many people will want to have nothing to do with fundamentalists, many of my friends have been fundamentalists.
Perhaps you've noticed how much and loudly conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist/etc Christians complain bitterly that everybody hates them and are persecuting them? Why should that be? Well, they're just reaping what they had sown decades before.
The sudden growth of fundamentalist churches circa 1970 was from the mass conversion of both freaks (AKA "hippies") and non-freaks (AKA "straights", which had a different meaning then). Their theology was heavily dispensationalist and obsessed over the end times, which would happen any day now (err, back then). These new converts were very strongly motivated to convert others and were extremely aggressive. Their churches trained them in proselytizing techniques and strategies and organized them into street proselytizing teams. At times, you couldn't walk down the street without being accosted by proselytizing fundamentalists who wouldn't take "no" for an answer, but would aggressively persist in-your-face using hard-sell tactics, metaphorically trying to bludgeon you senseless with their Bibles. Normals hated that with a passion that they still feel decades later.
Part of the strategy was the formation of Christian clubs on school campuses. At one job in 1990, my boss was a second-generation fundamentalist, which meant that he had learned to behave normally, since he was from an earlier generation than the "Jesus Freaks". His son, a third-generation fundamentalist, left for college back in Illinois. When he returned and worked for us during semester break, he described the problems he had had meeting people there. When I suggested that he might find fellowship in one of the Christian clubs on campus, he immediately and strongly nixed that idea. He had already tried that, but all that the clubs did was to devise plans for converting the rest of the student body. All those Christian clubs were were proselytizing shock troop units. And, needless to say, the rest of the student body grew to hate those Christians for their tactics and they still remember those experiences decades later.
Many families also suffered severe problems when family members converted. The new convert would then try to convert the rest of the family using the same aggressive hard-sell tactics that had been used on him. That is what happened when my wife's brother converted and it nearly tore that family apart. Finally, my in-laws had to absolutely forbid any discussion of religion and refused to allow my brother-in-law to visit until he would comply. Other families were not as fortunate. Even worse was when a spouse would convert and their spouse resisted conversion -- that's the "double yoke" described in 2 Corinthians 6 that a Christian must avoid. How many marriages did that destroy? I am aware of how, when Dan Barker deconverted, the church leaders urged his wife to leave him, which she did.
And then there's the rise of the Radical Religious Right circa 1980 and the direct danger it and its descendant forms have and continue to present to religious liberty and civil rights. They declared culture war against the rest of society, a fact that is not lost on the rest of us. And, of course, the fundamentalist Christian attacks on science education with which this forum deals.
Christians are reaping what they had sown since 1970. Eleven years ago when my wife and I were wanting to learn Lindy Hop, the teacher I had found was hosting a big Memorial Day dance for the singles ministry of two local Baptist mega-churches, so I took my wife so she could be introduced to it. During the drive there and especially when we got out of the car and walked through the parking lot, she was complaining more and more bitterly about having to around so many Christians, that all they would try to do would be to convert us, and what she would do if they even began to think of trying that on her! She is not the only one to have formed that opinion of and reaction to Christians.
Now, the thing about proselytizing is that it is inherently extremely offensive. Its goal is to attack someone else's faith and beliefs for the expressed purpose of completely destroying that other person's faith in order to replace it with your own religion. And like the Borg and Cybermen, the proselytizer cannot understand why a normal person would not welcome being assimilated but rather would fight against such a fate. But certainly, nobody likes having someone attack his beliefs and try to destroy his faith (please review that Pharisee teaching, the Golden Rule). And that is exactly what the Jesus Freaks and their colleagues and the subsequent generations of aggressive proselytizers did. And that is why normals hate them so much, even many decades after those experiences.
In The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton MD used as a plot resolution the fact that highly virulent virii will evolve into less virulent forms, since the less effective a virus is at killing its host, the more hosts it can infect. Viewing Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa we see that its members have become less virulent as a whole. They started out in 1970 all young, mostly single, fervently believing in the imminent arrival of the End Times. They were highly virulent proselytizers and did the most to turn others against them. From what I heard, that End Times fever reached a high point through an "ex-Satanist" con-man who really whipped them up into a lather, and after that the fervor diminished somewhat. Also, as has happened over and over again throughout the long, long history of the End of the World, the End never came and these people married, had families, got careers, and a life. And now grandchildren as well. As a result, they are much less virulent than they used to be. Almost becoming normal. But they are still living with the consequences of their earlier actions, even though they're oblivious to that fact.
There it is in a nutshell.
Edited by dwise1, : "would welcome" should have been "would not welcome"