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Thread: Is the supreme being in Judaism "all loving"?

  1. #1
    unbiased
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    Is the supreme being in Judaism "all loving"?

    Hi,

    Is the supreme being in Judaism an "all loving" being?

    What I mean by this is does the old testament or the torah state that certain people will go to hell for eternity because they are not jewish?

    Does Judaism require that a person convert in order to avoid going to hell?

    Or do all people go to heaven in Judaism?

    Does anyone know?

    Thanks,
    Unbiased

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what you mean by all loving. One of the attributes of God is love. Another is mercy. But those are only two attributes. Help me to understand what you mean.

    There is no concept of hell in Judaism not in the Christian sense, there is Gehenna. This is rather abstract since there is no notion of eternal damnation, punishment. What it can imply is varying degrees of separation from God. There is no real sense of heaven either by the way.

  3. #3
    Micah
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    One way I have heard Gehenna described is a bit like purgatory. A place of correction for most, very few are there permanently. Although you don't need a minion to pray for their salvation .

    Another way I have heard the Olam Haba and Gehenna is In the Olam Haba, you get to study Torah all day and you don't have to stop to eat or sleep, while in Gehenna you have to study torah all day and don't get to eat or sleep.

    That last example shouldn't be taken very literal, as you don't have to eat or sleep to survive anyway. Just using words that are more easily understandable to describe the state of being in those places.

  4. #4
    ibrodsky
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    I don't claim to be an expert on Judaism. But I would like to point out some interesting facts:

    1. Anyone can follow the Ten Commandments;
    2. Judaism recognizes "righteous Gentiles"; and
    3. Judaism does not condone proselytizing.

    Unbiased, you might also be interested in the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides. He argued that religion must not contradict facts obtained through human inquiry or violate logic. His writings heavily influenced Thomas Aquinas.

  5. #5
    Communication
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    All very good comments. Impressive. I'll add the law:

    Righteous gentiles have a place in the world to come.
    Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah 3:4 based on Tosefta Sanhedrin 13:1; Talmud Sanhedrin 105a

    It says (Job 37:23): "With justice and an abundance of kindness, He does not deal harshly." G-d does not withhold reward from gentiles who perform His commandments.
    Jerusalem Talmud Peah 1:1

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Micah
    Another way I have heard the Olam Haba and Gehenna is In the Olam Haba, you get to study Torah all day and you don't have to stop to eat or sleep, while in Gehenna you have to study torah all day and don't get to eat or sleep.

    There is a beautiful subtlety to that. I love it.


    Ibrodsky is right. Rambam (Maimonides) wrote a tract called "the 13 attributes of god"


    Here is the summary: http://www.jewish.com/askarabbi/askarabbi/askr2365.htm

    As loosely translated in the Rabbinical Assembly Machzor based on the classic rabbinic interpretation, with a few other explanatory notes, the 13 attributes are:

    (1) God (who is compassionate before you sin)

    (2) God (who is compassionate after you sin)

    (3) God of Power (who rules over all, Gentile and Jew)

    (4) Gracious (to those with merit)

    (5) and Compassionate (to those without merit)

    (6) Patient (with the wicked, who may repent)

    (7) Abounding in kindness (with those in need of kindness)

    (8) and Faithfulness (rewarding those who do My will)

    (9) Assuring Love for a thousand generations (when you do good deeds)

    (10) Forgiving iniquity (when you sin deliberately)

    (11) Transgression (when you rebel maliciously)

    (12) and Sin (when you sin unintentionally)

    (13) and Granting Pardon (when you repent)

    www.jewish.com/askarabbi

  7. #7
    MichaelC
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    Originally posted by Micah
    in Gehenna you have to study torah all day and don't get to eat or sleep.
    With all due respect to the religious sensitivity of anyone who reads this post, this sounds like hell.

  8. #8
    Micah
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    As I said, it shouldn't be taken literally. That is just one way I have heard it described. I can imagine it being more of the former example I gave before.

  9. #9
    JustPat
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    Originally posted by Mediocrates
    There is no concept of hell in Judaism not in the Christian sense, ...
    Were not those who are credited with writing the New Testament Jews? Where did they get their concepts?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JustPat
    Were not those who are credited with writing the New Testament Jews? Where did they get their concepts?

    The NT was written down in the 3rd-4th Century by Greeks, Jews and Romans. It's hard to tell where they got all their concepts from. Did you know for example that even during this period the #2 religion in Rome was Mithraism, which was largely monotheistic? Certainly by the time of Constantine's dictat in 303 making Christianity the official Roman religion it had begun to come together but not in the form we see it today.

    If you look at Byzantine Christianity through the period of the ascendency of Constantinople one thing about their flavor of Christianity stands out.

    There is no Devil and very little mention of hell. During this time the 'Devil' Lucifer is an angel in very close proximity to God. In the art of the day, a different trinity is depicted: God in the center, Lucifer on one side, usually in blue and a good angel on the other side of God. It's not really until the 11th-12th Century that the notion of hellfire, boiling sulphur, eternal damnation really come to the fore. This by the way is the same time that priests were first forbidden to marry (I think the edict on that was 1141). By the time of the Black Death, around 1340, the concept of a devil with a fiery pitchfork, animal sex, flaming eternal suffering and the lot were firmly ensconced.

  11. #11
    McSceptic
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    These ideas acutally came in a bit earlier. Monotheism, the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam goes back to the Persian prophet Zoroaster. Judaism seems to have acquired the concepts of a single god, an opposing evil power, a last judgement etc during the period the Jews were under Persian influence.

    http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/63...gion/zoro.html

    covers the ground quite well.

    The influence of the Persians is often overlooked, but it has had a double impact on Christianity, first through the restructuring of Judaism and then through the cult of Mithras.

  12. #12
    ayesha
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    Originally posted by Mediocrates
    There is no concept of hell in Judaism not in the Christian sense, there is Gehenna. This is rather abstract since there is no notion of eternal damnation, punishment. What it can imply is varying degrees of separation from God. There is no real sense of heaven either by the way.
    i have heard this, can u elaborate? is there no real heaven/hell? what about after life? how do i have to live as a person to reach 'heaven' and not be separated from God?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ayesha
    i have heard this, can u elaborate? is there no real heaven/hell? what about after life? how do i have to live as a person to reach 'heaven' and not be separated from God?

    The afterlife is left intentionally vague. It's not really a place any more than God is a 'person'. There is no notion of a conciousness I think. I'd have to do some research to find the right words to describe it. I guess the key thing to note is that it's not all that important. The key is life here, ethical behavior in this world.

  14. #14
    JustPat
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    Originally posted by Mediocrates
    The NT was written down in the 3rd-4th Century by Greeks, Jews and Romans. It's hard to tell where they got all their concepts from.
    David Stearn disagrees. When rendering the "Jewish New Testament" he noted that though the language was Greek, the structure and concepts were decidedly Jewish.

    Archeologists have found fragments dating to the first century CE, and even these are thought to be copies of earlier documents. One school of thought is that the Greek text was a translation for the large Gentile community that was developing.

    In the various communities I have been part of, our discussions of the New Testament have always come around to discussion of the Jewishness of the life described. It can be quite lively to discuss the impact of Gamaliel on Paul. To me it adds to the interest in the text, to some it makes it more credible, and it certainly makes it more personal.

  15. #15
    unbiased
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    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the answers. It has been very informative.

    Are there any other religions that permit "good nonbelivers" to also go to heaven?

    Thanks,
    Unbiased

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