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Keith Osborne
Keith Osborne

One Of Gods Better People

"There are concerns that the proliferation of robots might lead to greater numbers of people leaving religious practice as temples begin to rely more on automation than on practitioners to care for their deities," Waters writes, citing research that has found that younger people are, indeed, going to church less.

One Of Gods Better People

"This not only makes robots attractive replacements for dwindling priesthoods but also explains their increasing use in everyday contexts: People use them because no one worries about the robot getting it wrong, and they are often better than nothing when the options for ritual performance are limited," Waters writes.

Hindus worship one Supreme Being called Brahman though by different names. This is because the peoples of India with many different languages and cultures have understood the one God in their own distinct way.

Most Jewish texts do not state that "God chose the Jews" by itself. Rather, this is usually linked with a mission or purpose, such as proclaiming God's message among all the nations, even though Jews cannot become "unchosen" if they shirk their mission. This implies a special duty, which evolves from the belief that Jews have been pledged by the covenant which God concluded with the biblical patriarch Abraham, their ancestor, and again with the entire Jewish nation at Mount Sinai.[19] In this view, Jews are charged with living a holy life as God's priest-people.

In the Jewish prayerbook (the Siddur), chosenness is referred to in a number of ways. The blessing for reading the Torah reads, "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has chosen us out of all the nations and bestowed upon us His Torah." In the "Kiddush", a prayer of sanctification, in which the Sabbath is inaugurated over a cup of wine, the text reads, "For you have chosen us and sanctified us out of all the nations, and have given us the Sabbath as an inheritance in love and favour. Praised are you, Lord, who hallows the Sabbath." In the "Kiddush" recited on festivals it reads, "Blessed are You ... who have chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and made us holy through His commandments." The Aleinu prayer refers to the concept of Jews as a chosen people:

The Nation of Israel is likened to the olive. Just as this fruit yields its precious oil only after being much pressed and squeezed, so Israel's destiny is one of great oppression and hardship, in order that it may thereby give forth its illuminating wisdom.[27] Poverty is the quality most befitting Israel as the chosen people.[28] Only on account of its good works is Israel among the nations "as the lily among thorns",[29] or "as wheat among the chaff."[30][31]

"[T]he initial election of Abraham himself was not earned. ... We are simply told that God commanded Abraham to leave his place of birth and go to a land that God would show him. He is also promised that his descendants will become a numerous people. But nowhere does the Bible tell us why Abraham rather than someone else was chosen. The implication is that God chooses whom He wishes and that He owes no accounting to anyone for His choices."[33]

"Originally the text read that God has not made us like the nations who "bow down to nothingness and vanity, and pray to an impotent god", ... In the Middle Ages these words were censored, since the church believed they were an insult to Christianity. Omitting them tends to give the impression that the Aleinu teaches that we are both different and better than others. The actual intent is to say that we are thankful that God has enlightened us so that, unlike the pagans, we worship the true God and not idols. There is no inherent superiority in being Jewish, but we do assert the superiority of monotheistic belief over paganism. Although paganism still exists today, we are no longer the only ones to have a belief in one God."[36]

Reform Judaism views the concept of chosenness as follows: "Throughout the ages it has been Israel's mission to witness to the Divine in the face of every form of paganism and materialism. We regard it as our historic task to cooperate with all men in the establishment of the kingdom of God, of universal brotherhood, Justice, truth and peace on earth. This is our Messianic goal."[37] In 1999 the Reform movement stated, "We affirm that the Jewish people are bound to God by an eternal covenant, as reflected in our varied understandings of Creation, Revelation and Redemption. ... We are Israel, a people aspiring to holiness, singled out through our ancient covenant and our unique history among the nations to be witnesses to God's presence. We are linked by that covenant and that history to all Jews in every age and place."[38]

According to the author of the Tanya himself, a righteous non-Jew can achieve a high level of spiritually, similar to an angel, although his soul is still fundamentally different in character, but not value, from a Jewish one.[40] Tzemach Tzedek, the third rebbe of Chabad, wrote that the Muslims are naturally good-hearted people. Rabbi Yosef Jacobson, a popular contemporary Chabad lecturer, teaches that in today's world most non-Jews belong to the category of righteous Gentiles, effectively rendering the Tanya's attitude anachronistic.

An anti-Zionist interpretation of Tanya was offered by Abraham Yehudah Khein, a prominent Ukrainian Chabad rabbi, who supported anarchist communism and considered Peter Kropotkin a great Tzaddik. Khein basically read the Tanya backwards; since the souls of idol worshipers are known to be evil, according to the Tanya, while the Jewish souls are known to be good, he concluded that truly altruistic people are really Jewish, in a spiritual sense, while Jewish nationalists and class oppressors are not. By this logic, he claimed that Vladimir Solovyov and Rabindranath Tagore probably have Jewish souls, while Leon Trotsky and other totalitarians do not, and many Zionists, whom he compared to apes, are merely "Jewish by birth certificate".[41]

Nachman of Breslov also believed that Jewishness is a level of consciousness, and not an intrinsic inborn quality. He wrote that, according to the Book of Malachi, one can find "potential Jews" among all nations, whose souls are illuminated by the leap of "holy faith", which "activated" the Jewishness in their souls. These people would otherwise convert to Judaism, but prefer not to do so. Instead, they recognize the Divine unity within their pagan religions.[42]

Isaac Arama, an influential philosopher and mystic of the 15th century, believed that righteous non-Jews are spiritually identical to the righteous Jews.[43] Rabbi Menachem Meiri, a famous Catalan Talmudic commentator and Maimonidian philosopher, considered all people, who sincerely profess an ethical religion, to be part of a greater "spiritual Israel". He explicitly included Christians and Muslims in this category. Meiri rejected all Talmudic laws that discriminate between the Jews and non-Jews, claiming that they only apply to the ancient idolators, who had no sense of morality. The only exceptions are a few laws related directly or indirectly to intermarriage, which Meiri did recognize.

Meiri applied his idea of "spiritual Israel" to the Talmudic statements about unique qualities of the Jewish people. For example, he believed that the famous saying that Israel is above astrological predestination (Ein Mazal le-Israel) also applied to the followers of other ethical faiths. He also considered countries, inhabited by decent moral non-Jews, such as Languedoc, as a spiritual part of the Holy Land.[44]

Some Christians believe that the Jews were God's chosen people,[55] but because of Jewish Rejection of Jesus, the Christians in turn received that special status.[56] This doctrine is known as Supersessionism.

Other Christians, such as the Christadelphians, believe that God has not rejected Israel as his chosen people[57] and that the Jews will in fact accept Jesus as their Messiah at his Second Coming, resulting in their salvation.[58][59]

Avi Beker, an Israeli scholar and former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, regarded the idea of the chosen people as Judaism's defining concept and "the central unspoken psychological, historical, and theological problem which is at the heart of Jewish-Gentile relations." In his book The Chosen: The History of an Idea, and the Anatomy of an Obsession, Beker expresses the view that the concept of chosenness is the driving force behind Jewish-Gentile relations, explaining both the admiration and, more pointedly, the envy and the hatred which the world has felt towards the Jews in both religious and secular terms. Beker argues that while Christianity has modified its doctrine on the displacement of the Jews, Islam has neither reversed nor reformed its theology concerning the succession of both the Jews and the Christians. According to Beker, this presents a major barrier to conflict resolution in the Arab-Israeli conflict.[61][page needed]

The Israeli philosopher Ze'ev Levy writes that chosenness can be "(partially) justified only from the historical angle" with respect to its spiritual and moral contribution to Jewish life through the centuries as "a powerful agent of consolation and hope". He points out, however, that modern anthropological theories "do not merely proclaim the inherent universal equality of all people [as] human beings; they also stress the equivalence [emphasis in original] of all human cultures." He continues that "there are no inferior and superior people or cultures but only different, other, ones." He concludes that the concept of chosenness entails ethnocentrism, "which does not go hand in hand with otherness, that is, with unconditional respect of otherness".[62]

Some people[3] have claimed that Judaism's chosen people concept is racist because it implies that Jews are superior to non-Jews. The Anti-Defamation League asserts that the concept of a chosen people within Judaism has nothing to do with racial superiority.[63][better source needed] 041b061a72


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