Claims to be the oldest surviving montheistic religion.
Leadership : No centralised leadership - instead Rabbi's and scholars act as local leaders.
Summarised in the 13 principles of Maimonides
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be.
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, has no body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that there can be no (physical) comparison to Him whatsoever.
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the first and the last.
- I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, Blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him.
- I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
- I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both those who preceded him and those who followed him.
- I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that is now in our possession is the same that was given to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him.
- I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be exchanged, and that there will never be any other Torah from the Creator, Blessed be His Name.
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and all their thoughts, as it is written, "Who fashioned the hearts of them all, Who comprehends all their actions" (Psalms 33:15).
- I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, rewards those who keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them.
- I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming.
- I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, Blessed be His name, and His mention shall be exalted for ever and ever.
Membership: Around 15 million.
Major atrocities: Trying to get reliable information here is extremely difficult. Jews are quick to shout 'anti-semite' at anyone questioning Jewish history, which has helped foster a lot of clearly ridiculous and untrue myths - far worse than anything the Jews did in reality. I'll come back to this when I have more reliable data.
Rationality Score : 1*
Malignity Score : 4*
There is no doubt that the God of the Hebrew Bible is capricious, vindictive, childish, sadistic....(I could go on). It is ironic, I think, that Jews in my experience are more 'laid back' about the notion of God than many Christians (who have the much nicer mark 1.2 Jesus instead of 1.1 Yaweh). There is little doubt in my mind that the basic religion is completely barmy, and the 'historicity' of it largely bogus. The folk-origin tale of the Exodus cannot be held to have happened in light of modern evidence and even the character of Moses is elusive from any historical evidence. Modern criticism of the Jewish religion centres around Israel and its illegal occupation of land, plus its resistance to world opinion that desires a Palestinian State along the lines of previously negotiated boundaries. To those who would separate the state of Israel from Judaism in general, I have some sympathy (I have a friend who is an anti-zionist Jew). It has to be said, however, that Israel is the only Jewish state, and contains 40% of world Jewry (with another 40% in the US) so I don't think it can be easily separated...With regard to the issue of the Palestinians - I am of the opinion that Israel, with the backing of the US, has pursued the policy setout many decades ago - wait them out. In the Words of Moshe Dyan, after the 1967 war, Palestinians will "continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave." Of course I find that reprehensible, and believe that Israel is acting in a way that is illegal and immoral.
* For an explanation of these scores, click HERE
2 blog comments below
Amazing that 15 million people can get it so horribly wrong. Quite a large number of them are also of the brightest minds in the world. There has to be at least something in their religion that makes them that much brighter than those surrounding them. I grew up with Jewish friends in my community and they were always the ones that were more ambitious, enterprising, professionals and they were also good friends. They were always the better educated ones in the community, with an excellent sense of humour, had great insights in all subjects. Excelled in the arts. How do you account for that?
deanhills on Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:41 am
account for what? It is simply the normal ad-populum fallacy. Besides which YOU think they have it wrong. YOU are a Christian. The Jews say that Jesus was NOT the messiah and you, presumably, believe he was. So what exactly is your point?
Bikerman on Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:22 am