Do religious people fear that their religion may be wrong???

by James Mixon 49 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • David_Jay


    That's more or less how Jews view it. That's why things like "evidence of a Creator" and similar threads can be as frustrating as they are. God cannot be transcendent and then "proved" with empirical data at the same time. If you want a transcendent almighty deity you can't gather evidence from something that is by definition "beyond measure." If you have proof of a god, you don't have much of a god if you could sample something from it (which is what empirical evidence is, some sort of sample from a subject).

    As for the World to Come, Jews do acknowledge such a thing. But there is a difference between "belief" or "faith" in a theological concept and acknowledging what is part of our Jewish revelation. Jews don't "believe in" anything, technically speaking (at least not in Christian terms). "Faith" is merely an exercise of mental assent and therefore valueless for us. It is what you do that proves what you are, not what creed you make claim to.

    Therefore while the World to Come or Olam Ha-ba is a real promise, we will know it when we get there. Jews acknowledge this as a promise of the prophets. But we live as if there is no such thing. We don't "hope" to live forever. We are grateful that we have life now. You prove to be untrustworthy with life if you don't live it to the full. All the hope and faith in the World to Come won't land you a place in it if you do everything to get there but nothing to be grateful about right now. If you serve God to get a reward, you are likely not to get that reward.

  • unsure


    Thank you for the great response; certainly a refreshing viewpoint.

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    Yes thanks David for your input....I thank all to you for your comments.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel
    Vanderhoven7 » I believe Mormons, like JWs, are in a cult. But being in a cult does not mean you can't be a Christian.

    As a Mormon, I agree. We are a cult in the strict sense of the word, even as the first century Christians were a cult. As originally defined, a cult is a religion based on a larger, more recognized religion. But they alter that religion, adding a new spin and new base material such as scripture, often significantly at odds with the base religion. A cult also generally involves a central authority figure (or group) that holds total power over the cult and dictates its base beliefs.

    As Moses led his people and taught them, Jesus taught new doctrines that were strange to the base religion of Judaism. The Jews heard those doctrines and said, "this is not the messianic concept we were expecting. Blasphemy!" This also was the reaction of modern Christians to many of the teachings of Joseph Smith.

    Unlike other cults, first century Christianity and Mormonism both had central leaders who weren't one-man bands. Almost from their earliest beginnings, they began laying the groundwork for those who would follow. Jesus spent forty days with his apostles, teaching them things that were so holy they weren't passed down in their fullness to the rest of the church; and Joseph Smith called together the twelve apostles of his day just a few months before his death and conveyed upon them all the keys and authority he'd been given. Then he told them it was up to them to round up their shoulders and bear off the Kingdom of God. "If you do not do it," he said, "you will be damned." (One wonders why a fraud would go through the trouble of planning the future of his movement. In fact, I know of no other case where this has happened except early Christianity and Mormonism.)

    In cases of cults by other modern leaders, they created the movement, then sought divine acceptance. Alexander Campbell, Joseph Rutherford, Herbert W. Armstrong, David Pack and others who taught that God is the same yesterday, today and forever acknowledged that He was an active force anciently, but argued that in modern times He had become a passive force instead. "Build it, and HE will come," was their philosophy, but that had never happened anciently. "God built it and THEY will come" had always been the old way.

    God was the active element and man the passive. In Mormonism, God called Joseph Smith, gave him the necessary authority and built the church on a foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.

  • David_Jay

    Cold Steel wrote:

    As Moses led his people and taught them, Jesus taught new doctrines that were strange to the base religion of Judaism. The Jews heard those doctrines and said, "this is not the messianic concept we were expecting. Blasphemy!"

    Actually this is not true.

    For instance, the Jewish Annotated New Testament shows through its various footnotes and study articles throughout that practically none of the doctrines Jesus or the Christians taught were particular new or strange. The Jewish Annotated New Testament uses the NRSV text and is available through your favorite bookseller. It disproves this very mistaken view of Mormons that Cold Steel is presenting.

    Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah not due to his teachings, but due to the fact that he didn't become the Messiah, period. The concept of "mashiach" or "Messiah" is simple. It refers to the "anointing" or crowning of a person who gets accepted as king and rules as such. This means that the Jews as a whole have to recognize the person as "mashiach." It is a public act, and there is some democracy involved in it (regardless of what groups like the JWs or the LDS suggest). God doesn't merely "anoint" someone as Messiah. The people, the Jews, anoint their king.

    This event didn't happen. Jesus was killed by the Romans. If the Messiah dies before getting anointed and fulfilling all he is supposed to, he is not the Messiah.

    But Jesus is considered a sage of Judaism. This means his central teachings follow the core of Jewish belief. For instance, Jesus taught that the Mosaic Law was to be observed. (Matthew 5:17-19) The early Jewish Christians did this. (Acts 21:17-26) Technically speaking, as long as a Jew remains Torah observant, they can "believe" whatever they want. A Jew can believe that Jesus of Nazareth or anyone else is the Messiah as long as they don't stop practicing Judaism. Remember Judaism is not like Christianity. It's not a religion of faith or belief. Judaism is a religion you practice.

    The division came when Christianity started to claim that Jesus was God Incarnate and that Christianity superseded the nation of Israel (and subsequently that the Jews were damned for rejecting Jesus as Messiah). This occurred only after the Bar Kokhba revolt ended in all Jews being removed from their land by the Romans in 135 C.E. Up till that time the Hebrew Christians lived peaceably among the other denominations of Judaism. Hebrew Christianity disappeared in 135 C.E.

    After this all Christians were forbidden from keeping Jewish cultural practices, and this caused the division. Jesus never taught this. The era of proselytism began, and all forms of Jewish culture (all of it is based on Judaism and observance of the Mosaic Law) were outlawed. Jews didn't reject Christ. Christians rejected the Jews.

    All of this can be found not only by reading from the Jewish Annotated New Testament but from several documents from the Roman Catholic Church, two in particular entitled "The Jewish People and their Scriptures in the Christian Bible" and "The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable." In these the Church admits that the division was not all the Jews fault, but one they and all Christianity played a part in. These documents, especially the latter, explain that the Church now rejects all forms of proselytizing of the Jews and teachings of supersessionism. Most mainstream Christian groups have come to accept the second document as representing their own view as well, in particular that the Jews have never been rejected by God and are still very much in an active covenant with the God of Abraham.

    Cold Steel's comments are nothing more than very false information designed to create a "straw man" argument.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel
    David_Jay » I am not offended by LDS beliefs. I find proselytizing repulsive. ... What Jews find repulsive from any group is proselytizing, the claim that a person requires a change to another religious view and practice, often at the expense of giving up their cultural practices (dress, worship, holy days, etc.) or the demand that they adopt new ones.

    But proselytizing is an LDS belief. And because of what you say (and it's an exceptional argument), that's probably the reason the times of the Jews must follow that of the Gentiles. The Jewish culture must not be lost under any circumstances, and what we deem as the old testament scriptures backs that up. In fact, after the return of Christ, Zechariah states (chapter 14) that any of Israel's neighbors -- the ones that launched the great war against them and were defeated by the Messiah in battle (Armageddon) -- that do not go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, shall suffer the judgments of Yahweh.

    But the Jews will at that day will not escape proselytizing. As soon as they accept Jesus, as we believe, they will as a nation be anxious to learn all they can about their Messiah. In the opening section of our book of commandments, the Lord commands us to proselytize:

    1 Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.

    2 For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

    3 And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.

    4 And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.

    5 And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.

    6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of mycommandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.

    7 Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.

    8 And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious....

    So proselytizing is our belief. In Israel we don't proselytize, but occasionally convert Jews in this country. In fact, one of the best speakers I've heard in the church is a Cohen. And though he's a latter-day saint, he never have up his culture. Unlike the JWs, we don't forbid worshipping at other churches or synagogues, and he still kept his family's holy days (which he said were still his).

    The first century Christians proselytized the Jews until the times of the Gentiles were ushered in. And the times of the Gentiles will continue until they reject it, then it will go to the Jews. So we can't not proselytize because it's our mission, given by what we believe is divine decree, and our current prophet upholds it. Whatever happens, though, the Jewish culture and tradition will survive.

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    OK, Cold Steel and David I have my popcorn now, carry on..........

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel
    David_Jay » ...none of the doctrines Jesus or the Christians taught were particular new or strange.

    That is an astounding claim, David. How about the concepts of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Or the messianic claims you say aren't messianic at all? When Jesus died, he went, in spirit, to teach the spirits in prison, particularly those who lived in the days of Noah. And what of all the other teachings? How about baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29)? It's not practiced by many modern Christians, but we know work for the dead was a major part of first century Christianity. Or the concept that all must be baptized of the water and the spirit to gain salvation? There are many Christian beliefs that are very new to Judaism.

  • Vanderhoven7

    Actually I used cult in the pejorative sense of the word. But I'm interested:

    Why should people believe the claims of Joseph Smith?

  • David_Jay

    Cold Steel,

    There is a reason I mentioned "The Annotated Jewish New Testament" and those two documents from the Vatican. These are good starting points to answer all your questions.

    I made links on these materials because I expect you to see the evidence for yourself. I knew you wouldn't believe me, so I wanted to make data that verifies my claims accessible.

    Don't people avoid learning about Mormonism directly out of fear sometimes? It is easier to do this for some because people fear to be proven wrong. This is what is happening here.

    1 Corinthians 15:29 is not foreign to Judaism. Baptism is based on the Jewish practice of "tevilah." Converts to Judaism would engage in tevilah by immersion ( the Greek word from which "baptism" comes from) in an immersion pool or tub called a "mikveh." The experience symbolized rising from death to a new life in Judaism.

    But tevilah in a mikveh is also required by Torah if one comes into contact with a dead body. One "washes away death," so to speak, by means of this.

    As "The Annotated Jewish New Testament" will tell you (if you would just read it), the Greek of 1 Corinthians 15:29 can actually be rendered "washing the dead" since "baptism" literally refers to this ritual wash. While likely a play off the words and practice of Jewish ritual washing, it is not phraseology unheard of to Jews.

    Mikveh is actually performed before all Jewish burials. The dead body is washed or "baptized" via tevilah. This is a proxy tevilah as the ritual must be engaged in voluntarily when alive. Therefore when a dead body undergoes tevilah via mikveh it is done by proxy, by another who "washes the dead," or baptizes you in a mikveh since you cannot. So the Mormon belief is not "new" or foreign to Jews as you claim, just given a different meaning and practiced differently by LDS.

    As for what Jews expect about the Messiah, why not hear from other Jews as well. Visit or for starters. You may also want to visit your local synagogue and ask those in religious education there.

    Anyone following this discussion between you and I can see you have great misconceptions about Judaism and have built upon these misconceptions to build your arguments.

    I go back to the OP here because the only reason you wouldn't know precisely what Judaism teaches on these subjects is that your religion doesn't allow you to be exposed to information that isn't filtered. You don't check up on these things for youself. Why not? This is out of fear. For if you just learned for yourself or read up on these things you will see that you have no sturdy foundation to stand on for your arguments. So you just keep arguing back to me here instead of looking up these things for yourself or visiting your local synagogue. Use the links and web sites I have given you. Learn from the source. Why not? Are you afraid to be proven wrong? Would you be brave enough to accept that you are?

    A lot of religious people hold on to their misinformation about the Jews out of fear. You would rather argue to support your misinformed views of Judaism than stop and learn for yourself. The OP is right. It's all fear.

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