Competition Between Religions and Philosophies

  • Atheism is today in competition with religion.
  • Religions clash sometimes violently but improve through competition.
  • Freedom is revealed in the Messianic Era which connects the past present and future.

There is a teaching in the Ethics of the Fathers that competition between sages promotes more wisdom. The same is true in business where we see price wars. The supplier has to meet the demand at the best price. Also this is true in religion. Religions try to satisfy their followers to prevent them from looking somewhere else to be for them a connection to God.

Aristotle the famous Greek Philosopher.

Religion is a closed market but also an open market. Judaism is more closed than other religions because it is limited to the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Judaism does accept converts but conversion is difficult. Being born into Judaism is different than being a convert. A convert can decide not to return to his previous life with little difficulty. A born Jew is born into the family of Jews. If he is religious or not religious he is still part of the family and its nation which is Israel. Some Jews make it a priority in their life to be proud Jews. They accept the obligations of Judaism which are the commandments of the Torah like the keeping of the Sabbath.

Other Jews accept their birthright as Jews but have other priorities in their lives, which may be secular.  Some Jews may be particular about who to marry, and choose a Jewish soulmate. Others have difficulty rejecting potential soul mates outside of the Jewish family. As a result they intermarry. Their children will no longer be Jews if the mother is gentile. The connection to Judaism is weakened through intermarriage. Judaism is not only a religion; but also a birthright.

To protect Jewish children from assimilation the religious leaders will use all tactics to place fear into Jewish children about the consequences of intermarriage. They will also emphasize the rewards of being Jewish and practicing the commandments of the Torah. Today unlike during the times of the Biblical Nation the laws of the state enforced Judaism even to threaten desecrators of the law with death sentence and other punishments, Jews in modern times have free choice. Jews in today’s world live in an open competitive market. A Jew is a Jew even if he is not observant.

Christianity became the first major competitor for Jews and Judaism. There were Jews and people living in the region who were not satisfied with Judaism. Christianity accepted the Five Books of Moses called the written Torah but rejected the sanctity of Jewish Law. They abridged and adapted the law for Christians. Sometimes Christian law is stricter than Jewish law. A major change in Christianity was to divide Christians into two levels of spirituality homeowners married Christians with families and priests who were devoted to God as celibates.

The devotion to God as a celibate priest was given preference in the New Testament. The Catholic priests became the leaders of their religion until came Protestant Christianity through Martin Luther. They based these changes on their interpretation of the Written Torah. According to the written Torah Adam and Eve were celibates before they were coaxed by the snake to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and procreate naturally which was for them a sin. Adam and Eve were born through the word of God resurrected from the dust. A Christian could choose to be a priest, or an orthodox Catholic homeowner. They did not give free choice to believe in Jesus when the Church was established as the religion of Rome. Today Christians live in today’s world in an open competitive market. A Christian is a human being even if he is not observant.

Christianity went on a Crusades to make the whole world Christian. They did not succeed from two sides Judaism and Islam. They could not force people to believe who were atheists. Islam was in competition with Christianity as it grew into the Ottoman Empire. The Byzantine Empire i Byzantine Empire – Wikipedian Rome fought with the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire – Wikipediain Constantinople. In the background were Atheists who didn’t believe in God and suffered under the persecution of religious fanatics from all sides. In World War I was defeated the Ottoman Empire.

Atheists were always in the world. Judaism was the first movement to bring the light of God into the world starting from Abraham until the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai after the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt led by Moses the Prophet. Atheism is connected to philosophy. The most famous philosophers were Plato and Aristotle. Greece in 300BC became a powerful nation. Greece and Rome were secular societies believing in Philosophy and science. Atheists became attracted to Greek and Roman philosophy which became very powerful in the world eventually overthrowing the Biblical Nation of Israel and destroying both temples in Jerusalem. Their philosophy was in competition to religion initiated by the Jews in their nation Zion.

The secularists of Rome defeated Judaism only to fall under the Christian establishment in Rome. Religion again ruled the world. Atheists were forced to be silent. Islam took another approach toward faith in God at war with Atheism.  The greatest enemy to religion was always atheism but there were always conflicts between the establishments of these three religions Judaism, Islam and Christianity each one claiming to be the only authentic path to God. There were three approaches toward religion in the west and also Buddhism and Hinduism in the east. Secularism and philosophy originating in Old Greece and Rome became the ruling power after World War I. Enlightenment movement began in the 1600s led by Spinoza a leading figure in the Dutch Golden Age.

Secularism became Marxism communism, fascism, and democracy. Marxism and fascism suppressed religion completely. In Democracy religion is in the background, the way of the past secondary to secularism. Secularism has its roots in philosophy that was present in the times of the Greeks and Romans including modern technology, modern science, and medicine. It was always present in the world but second to religion.

The classic story in the Talmud about when the Romans had infiltrated into the Israel Biblical society the Romans took captives the Biblical Scholars of the Jewish people. They asked about their opinion of the Roman society. There were three great Torah scholars questioned on this issue. Rabbi Yosi remained silent. Rabbi Judah said, The Romans have done great work bringing technology into Israel, building bridges, roads and modern medicine and science. They accepted the words of Rabbi Judah releasing him from prison. Rabbi Shimon when asked about his opinion spoke out in opposition saying, The Romans do everything only for their own glory. He escaped their prison and hid in a cave for 12 years with his son Elazar. The Zohar the foremost work on esoteric Judaism is attributed to Rabbi Shimon.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe worked to strengthen Judaism by adapting Judaism to modern times.

There are two approaches which the Old Age religious society take in dealing with the changes which have occurred after World War I where secularism has taken control of modern society. The Ultra-Orthodox like Rabbi Shimon secretly oppose Modern society and pray only to return to the past.  The progressive Orthodox accept these changes as the will of God but work hard to continue their religion anyway. There is competition between the three sides of religion Judaism, Christianity, and Judaism. They are all basically against secular atheist values. Atheists, also agnostics, enjoy their freedom, their free choice which they was denied when the world was run by theocracies.

Competition between Judaism and Christianity in the world has improved Judaism by forcing Judaism to expand its borders of knowledge to accept esoteric teaching which they suppressed in the past. The Zohar the book of Splendor was revealed in Spain in the 1200s and has today been translated not only in Hebrew but also into English. Recently the English translation was completed by Daniel Matt Daniel Matt: Revealing the Secrets of the Zohar | Jewish Week (timesofisrael.com). The leading scholars of Judaism have been forced to communicate with atheists, to study philosophy, psychology, and science to not to be completely separate from the Modern World.

Rabbi Jonathon Saks of blessed memory, Welcome to the website of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (rabbisacks.org) the former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth devoted part of his life to this purpose writing many books and speaking publically. Also a great Jewish Scholar Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz Steinsaltz-Center | Homepage (steinsaltz-center.org)worked to unite the secular and religious worlds. Pope Francis has taken an exceptional direction in his teachings to incorporate modernization with the Catholic Church.

Islam which follows the law Sharia written in the Koran is more limited than Judaism to adapt to modernization. Moses gave the Jewish people the five books of Moses which contained within them Jewish law and Universal faith. Judaism connects almost completely to the Jewish people which separates them from the rest of the world. However Moses is not only their teacher of the law, he is also their redeemer giving each and every Jew freedom Exodus from Egypt.

Judaism has in it freedom but freedom is secondary to blind faith and national loyalty. In the Zohar esoteric Judaism is revealed the secret of freedom which comes after slavery. The Koran teaches national Islamic unity without freedom. The aspect of freedom which came after Judaism was revealed through Jesus the Messiah. Mohammed revealed the aspect of devotion to the nation Islam without the revelation of the Messiah. In the New Age the twentieth century is revealed freedom and democracy. The Christian Bible can relate to freedom because Jesus is to Christians the Messiah of freedom. The Jewish Bible relates to freedom through their connection to Moses who freed the Jews from slavery. For Islam the connection to freedom is much more difficult and will take longer.

In the Universal faith revealed by Baha” Baháʼí Faith – Wikipedia in Acre in the 19th century is united all three religions Judaism, Islam and Christianity with freedom. The Zohar esoteric Judaism also unites religion with freedom through the resurrection of Moses. World Unity and Peace (worldunitypeace.org)The connection of the Old Age and New Age is connected to the Messianic Era.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory (chabad.org)n his life taught that this connection is today of primary importance in Judaism and to the world.

Religions will continue to compete. Competition between religions forces religions to adapt to change which they are against. The ideal of freedom is being revealed in the world. Everyone is free. Everyone has the freedom to choose.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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