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Does Religion Produce Monsters?

by Rabbi Aaron Moss

  

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Question:

I am Jewish but cannot embrace Judaism as a religion. Religion is the cause of all wars and I believe we would be closer to world peace without it. Wouldn't the world be better off if it weren't for religion?

Answer:

Rejecting Judaism because you believe in world peace is like refusing to enter a Japanese restaurant because you like sushi. It just doesn't make sense. War comes naturally to people. It existed long before any religion. Peace did not. Peace is not natural to the human condition. It had to be taught. And it was a religious idea.

The first and most powerful vision of world peace was presented to mankind by the prophets of ancient Israel. They predicted a time when "one nation will not lift a sword against another nation, and they will no longer learn to wage war". In a world that saw war as an inevitable fact of life, the Jewish religion introduced a radical new concept: that war is ultimately undesirable and peace is the ideal state for which to strive.

When football players brawl it does not invalidate the game of football, and when doctors kill it does not invalidate medicine. Abolishing football would do nothing to create harmony, and ridding the world of all religion would not end war
Without religion we would find other things to fight about, like parking spots and noise from the neighbours. But without religion, world peace would not have entered the human vocabulary. Whether you are aware if it or not, your dream of world peace is biblically inspired. Ideals do not live in bubbles. Like people, they need parents to give birth to them and a home environment to sustain them. Peace without religion is homeless and alone. It was Judaism that gave birth to the vision of world peace and still provides a framework to implement that vision.

True, religion has been used by many as a pretext for war. But this does not invalidate all religion, just as when football players brawl it does not invalidate the game of football, or when doctors kill it does not invalidate medicine. Abolishing football would do nothing to create harmony, and ridding the world of all religion would not end war. Hitler and Stalin were not religious. In fact, religion still provides the strongest argument for peace between people: that we were all created by the same G-d. Without this belief, is there anything that really unites us all?

Rabbi Aron Moss teaches Kabbalah, Talmud and practical Judaism in Sydney, Australia. He can be reached at rabbimoss@chinuch.com.au


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religious monsters

Posted by: Graciano, Phoenix, AZ on Mar 08, 2006

mmm i like to belive that G-d did created everyting. The universe, the world, the sea, the clouds, the rain, the forest, the cute animals, the not so cute animals men and woman and all of the creation and that he gave us the Torah. But there is always a but you know i did always belived that man was the creator of religion i may be wrong no doubt about it. But i think that there is one of G-ds greatest atributes that may unite all of us i like to call it G-ds love for us. G-ds love for his handy work. And i like to think that it has nothing to do with a religion practiced in a place or in certain group of people that beliefs the other groups of people are not worthy of G-ds mercy and yes i do not take Judaism as a religion i like to think that Judaism are the teachings G-d gave us thru the ages and thru the Rabbis.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.