shopify analytics tool

NeoNote — There is no "Judeo-Christian faith."

There is no "Judeo-Christian faith."

You're talking about disparate groups that range from Orthodox Jews to Mormons to Christian Scientists and every possible variation in between.

Their arguments among each other lead to pluralism, the American religious virtue that no one wants to talk about. No, it's always how only their particular sect is enlightened and humble enough to show the way to peace and prosperity. Which is why they think they should be "in charge." Everyone else only exists on their sufferance. Well, that's not how it has worked.

The only thing that unites them is their willingness to live and let live so long as others let them do the same. And I have news for you, they didn't get that from their holy writings.



Case in point and an overlooked example in this day and age.

For centuries, Jews were only tolerated in "Christian" nations as long as they had something the rulers wanted.

Another case in point. How many Christian monarchs waged war on each other "officially" in the name of Christianity?

Before you tell me that doesn't matter, I'll remind you of all the Bible that you routinely ignore today, including the explicit and detailed instructions on slavery.

Trade did more for pluralism and religious freedom than anything else. In fact, I just read a piece that discussed using commerce as an alternative to outrage. No matter what the flowery words, no matter what the justification, practical economics does more than religion. If you're lucky, religion and faith may point the way. But real tolerance and freedom lies in trade.

If your faith works for you and makes you a better person, more power to you. If it inspires you, great. But raising one faith above all others and demanding that everyone else submit is not freedom.



No, but that isn't the point.

I believe that the measure of a man can be found in the lives he touches. Vice or virtue is not in the label, but in the words, actions, and choices of the individual.

If you are going to claim enlightenment in the name of your faith, you'd better damn well accept the sins as well.

Recently on another site, I was discussing the actions of Christians and the American government towards the Amerindians. From the late nineteenth century after the Civil War, the American government set out to eradicate various tribes and cultures. From the 1890s to the 1930s, if was Official Policy®. Some parts didn't change until well into the 1970s (Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975), other parts didn't change until the 1990s.

The treatment of Hawaiian culture and language is another example. The push to suppress was led by Christian missionaries, something that still isn't widely acknowledged in this day and age.

I don't want to hear about the virtues of Christianity. Tell me about the good men and women who live their faith instead of spouting seldom-remembered verses from dusty books.



No, trade didn't do it all. But trade did do it better. And the great thing about it, over time trade improves things. Literally everything from technology to infrastructure to racial attitudes. Once you start making allowances for the other guy's thoughts and feelings, it's only a short step, hop, and skip to the ethic of reciprocity. The free market is still the only thing humanity has developed with a feedback loop and improvement bias built in.

I wouldn't write off China just yet. I still think that in the long run Hong Kong is going to be rightfully called The City That Ate A Country.



"Live and let live" didn't originate with Christianity and it certainly didn't originate with Judaism. More to the point (grins), Christians themselves didn't follow that idea consistently until the later half of the 20th. Even there, I have to credit trade more than faith.



Personally I prefer the original motto, E pluribus unum.

Where it originates isn't important unless you wish to establish the primacy of your faith over all others. It was Constantine's choice, to shift from one faith among many to one faith above all. The problem with making faith political is that it takes individual choice out of the equation. Faith becomes just another duty imposed by the state on it's subjects.

So for a moment, let me ask which is more important? To have "Judeo-Christianity" acknowledged as the paramount faith and The One True Way? Or just accept that how we treat each other surpasses the label?



But trade was the foundation of Greece and Rome. Trade is what turned the U.S. into a super-power.

You didn't answer the question though. Which is more important, the label or the deed? Which should be cherished?



See, this is the thing. Leaving aside the issue that not all (or even most) Jews agree with the premise "Judeo-Christian," if you claim morality and ethics set "Judeo-Christianity" apart, then you have to acknowledge all the bad and downright evil things that have been done. The Bible is not history, but history is full of terrible deeds done in the name of Christianity. I've pointed out some, such as the treatment of Amerindicans.

There's already situational ethics and multiple quagmires. Number three of the Decalogue prohibits graven images. That pretty much eliminates all crucifixes, Ten Commandment monuments, and by a strict interpretation any physical crosses entirely. And that greatest hits list puts that above honoring your parents.

Even sticking to the NT is problematical. Whole libraries have been published to deal with some of the issues. For example, if one questions if Paul is really a true apostle, doesn't that raise serious questions about his (supposed) writings? And then you have the interpretations and translations of the interpretations.

Christianity has done some magnificent things, but it has also done some draconian things. There's nothing to raise Christianity's history over a dozen other faiths except it's tolerance. And that came despite the intramural conflicts. If you look closely (and with the single exception of ending the slave trade), the good things that Christianity has done have had their roots in trade. Religion is the justification after the fact.



We do disagree. I don't think "Judeo-Christian" or "Judeo-Christianity" is a thing. If it had been Western Civilization, I probably wouldn't have said anything.



Ah, this is going to be one of those.

Yes, I picked two "extreme" versions of Christianity. I could have just as easily picked the Catholics and the Methodists. My point from the first is that there isn't a "pure" form of "Judeo-Christianity" and that label draws false equivalences between sects that have very little to do with each other.

Even if you eliminate the Essenes, sectarianism predates the "historical Jesus." There is no one thread that links Judaism and Christianity. Christianity picks and chooses which parts of Judaism it uses and leaves the rest in the trash bin. From the very beginning, Christianity has also been marked by sectarianism. Christian rulers have also ruthlessly suppressed the sects they could not control.

But let's return to the assumption that Christianity is THE successor to Judaism and is therefore entitled to proclaim what is true.

For our purposes here, there are three significant differences between Christianity and Judaism. First are the textual differences. There are books in the Torah that are not part of Christian canon, and of course the entire New Testament (any version) is not found in Jewish law. Second is the Christian assertion of Jesus as the Messiah (leaving aside the question of if he existed). And finally the Christian announcement there is a new covenant that replaces Jews as G*D's chosen people.

Taken together, these differences reduce Judaism from a living faith to a curious relic that exists only because Christians sometimes find it interesting. Why in the World would devout Jews be part of that?

Of course there are many more differences than those I listed. But the underlying assumption of "Judeo-Christian" thought is that men and women have moved on from Judaism because it is less important than Christianity. "Judeo-Christianity" claims to honor Judaism all while diminishing it's contributions. "Judeo-Christianity" is a one-sided exchange that treats Judaism as a second class source, occasionally tolerated but seldom valued on it's own merits.



Well, this is embarrassing. It's not very often I make two mistakes in row. It's my own fault for not double checking my memory. I forgot that The Twelve are broken into separate books in the Christian OT.

Still, the order and emphasis changes the meaning. So there are textual differences beyond the NT.

If the Christian view of the new covenant includes all peoples including the ones who didn't choose it, then yeah, everyone got shoehorned in there. This assumption is one thing that really annoys non-Christians, not only are Christians presuming to speak for us but we get no choice in the matter.

Bible verses don't impress me.

“If that "Living Word" exists, it has to be in the hearts and souls of those people who have really embraced it. It's not in a dusty book. The verses don't matter except to show you the way. Tell me what lives behind those printed words. Tell me how you turned your sacrifice into a blessing.”
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

Comments

Demonic realms

If you use the law to "protect" your religion and your children from "demonic realms," that doesn't say very much about your god, your religion, or your faith.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Religion enshrined in law

I'm not demanding that you give up your faith.

I'm asking why religion should be enshrined in law.

Faith is between you and the Divine, no other person can change that. It's up to you and your choices.

I'm asking for no sacrifice unless you believe that your religion should govern the faith and religion of others.

And if that's the case, I'm asking why.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

NeoNote — Religion & government

It may be a religion, but if it relies on force, any and all opposition is justified.

Read More...
Comments

NeoNote — Control

So some religions should get protection and others should not? Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that if we start making those distinctions we've just sacrificed religious freedom.

Read More...
Comments

NeoNote — Religion in public schools

Mandatory school attendance is backed by the force of law. Much of it has degenerated into who gets to control the conditioning.

Read More...
Comments

Personal

Faith is a personal choice. It has to be, or it has no meaning.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

NeoNote — What are the freedoms you feel are restricted?

There are others, but these are the biggies.

Read More...
Comments

Friday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

Read More...
Comments

Syncretism happens even if it offends

Faith and religion don't stay in the nice neat boxes and cabinets we make for them. Syncretism happens, even if it offends the True Believer™.
     — NeoWayland

Comments

Concede the war

The question is not which religion or belief set is mainstream, authentic, or even legitimate. Define your faith in those terms and you concede the war.
     — NeoWayland, Faith worthy of freedom
Comments

Celebrate

Celebrate your beliefs and cherish your faith. All I ask is the same. Just don't demand that my beliefs and actions are bound by yours. Live and let live.

What you believe isn't important to me. Your freedom to choose what to believe, that is vital. That is what I will defend.
     — NeoWayland, A Pagan looks at “Christian America”

Comments

Response to my Ebert entry

Critics of my criticism

Read More...
Comments

Bind me

If I can be moral without your faith, why do you wish to bind me to your faith?
     — NeoWayland
Comments

What faith

I could care less what faith my neighbor is, but I do care if she lets her dog do it's thing on my lawn.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

American pluralism

As long as there is a rule of law that doesn't raise one faith above all others, we can deal with the mess. That's one reason I'm grateful for sectarianism. When they argue among themselves over truth, they don't have time to take on the rest. American pluralism grew out of the English Civil War and the American colonists trying to practice their faith as they saw fit and not as dictated by another sect or church.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Honoring your faith

Honoring your faith is admirable. Demanding that I honor your faith is despicable.
     — NeoWayland, United We Stand - Dragging religion into politics
Comments

Choose your beliefs

Free choice. Choose your beliefs, just don't choose mine. And I will do the same. Faith imposed is no faith at all. The only faiths and beliefs worthy of freedom are those freely chosen.
     — NeoWayland, United We Stand - Dragging religion into politics
Comments

My faith

My faith and beliefs are at least as important to me as yours are to you.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Seeking power

History shows that politics corrupts faith. It's not the Divine who stirs up politics, it's the priests and priestesses seeking power.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Politics corrupts faith

We know politics corrupts faith and religion. We've ample evidence what happens when the People of the Book try it.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Casting stones

Casting stones at another faith seems a little petty.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Legislation and morality

Legislation is not morality, and morality certainly isn't legislation. The distinction must be made. Otherwise politicos wrap themselves in the flag AND hide behind the most convenient faith/moral code they can find. Arguing over morality keeps us honest. We're better when we verbally defend our ideas to people who don't necessarily share our beliefs.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Choice of faith

Faith is nothing without choice.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Faith & threats

If you had faith, you wouldn't need threats.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Without using the Bible

If you can defend your beliefs without using the Bible, that means that you've embraced those beliefs and thought long and hard about making them a part of your everyday life.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

What frustrates you

Perhaps what frustrates you most is that you can't denounce my faith without undermining your own. At the end of the day, we don't have anything but our faith. Mine is just as valid as yours by every “objective” measure you trot out.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

Faith cannot be given

Faith cannot be given. Faith cannot be taken. To mean anything at all, faith must be chosen freely.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

NeoNotes — Religion in public schools

I don't think religion belongs in the public schools. Public schools are compulsory, students can't walk away if they do not agree.

Read More...
Comments

Dreams seem small

If our dreams seem small, it's up to us to make them greater. We need to make our own, not reach for the dreams of another. We can make it our Journey, or we can live the Story of another. A simple choice but the price is high. Just your faith and trust.
     — NeoWayland
Comments

NeoNotes — Parity is the keystone

If I don't share your faith, I shouldn't be bound by it. If you don't share my faith, you shouldn't be bound by it.

This is parity. It can be derived from what Christians call the Golden Rule. It's also called the Ethic of Reciprocity and is arguably the keystone of Western Civilization besides being found in nearly every culture on Earth. Behavioral studies show that a rudimentary form exists in higher mammals. Fair is fair.

One of my "party tricks" is showing that you can build an entire moral, ethical, and legal system based on nothing but the Ethic of Reciprocity. No "Higher Law." No use of force except in defense. No one faith and no one group raised above all others never to be questioned.

Just treating each other as we would want to be treated. Nothing more, nothing less. Live and let live.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

Comments

NeoNotes — Religion enshrined in law

Why should any religion be enshrined in law? Raised above all others as THE Moral Standard?

Read More...
Comments

Faith & religion

I believe that faith and religion can be a tremendous source of individual morality and a dangerous tyranny in society.
     — NeoWayland

Comments

from crux № 16 — My beliefs

I believe that people are perfectly capable of making their own choices and that society is the better if people do exactly that.

Read More...
Comments

NeoNotes — Who gets to call the shots

For length reasons, this entry appears on it's own page.

“Freedom is what matters.”

Read More...
Comments

NeoNotes — Subjective morality

For length reasons, this entry appears on it's own page.

“The law should be limited to punishing direct, measurable harm.”

Read More...
Comments

from crux № 15 — make it better

“I want a government that is smaller than absolutely necessary.

I believe that people are perfectly capable of making their own choices and that society is the better if people do exactly that.”

Read More...
Comments

NeoNotes — Conversation - updated

“Climate is changing Because it's HUMANITY'S FAULT and WE'RE SCREWING UP THE PLANET!!!!!"

Read More...
Comments
2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2011       2010       2009       2008       2007       2006       2005