A Discussion on ExOrthodoxJews YAHOO Group
July, 2008

In a message in exorthodoxjews@yahoogroups.com, dated 7/11/2008, Shlomoh wrote:

I don't have any idea  of how Jews feel today about Allah  since Moslems have stirred so much hatred up among Jews Traditionally, Jews  viewed Allah as the Arabic manifestation of YHWH. In fact, Maimonides said that although a Jew may not pray in a church, he may pray in a mosque. Now  Maimonides may have been under pressure since he lived in a Moslem country  when he wrote that - nevertheless, Jews have understood that they are allowed to pray in a mosque.

--- In exorthodoxjews@yahoogroups.com, Avi wrote:

Dont forget one more major difference  Shlomoh.  Although Christians say they believe in God, they really believe in Jesus. In the Trinity, God himself takes second place to Jesus.  Everything  is done in the name of Jesus. I guess  it's something like being a  Chasid.

--- In exorthodoxjews@yahoogroups.com, 7/14/2008, Bryan Shane wrote:

As you have stated, I also am not convinced that the majority of Christians make the distinction between Jesus and G-d according to their trinitarian doctine (of course this does not included the non-trinitarian Christians).  As the alleged "hypostatic union" of the three persons in the Christian godhead make tham all equally god to any Christian, the subtle distinction in Christian theology seems to have little practical application.  On the contrary, the majority of Christians worldwide pray driectly to Jesus or use the formula "in Jeus name" which, theologically, designates Jesus as god regardless of the theological subtleties.

In either case, it stands that the Christian god, trinity or not, is NOT the same as the Jewish god, universal or tribal on many clearly definable points.  It is nice and PC to pretend they are, but apart from the gamble that it makes for a temporary truce between Christians and Jews whome their holy text desigantes as "sons of Satan" it would appear it does nothing but muddy the waters for any Jewish person earnestly seeking the truth about Judaism and its alternatives.  That is why I avoid making the spurious equation.

Of course if god is a product of human imagination, it does not matter what it is.  But the point is that the actions of a people, when religious, are predicated upon their concept of god. Christians, like many Pagans (even though technically they are NOT Pagans) use their god as a being to personally emulate.  That is the primary reason why the doctrine of the incarnation is absolutely essential to Christianity.  Without a human god, there can be no source to emulate behavior.  

In Judaism, as well as most non-Christian religions, god only exists as an authority to sanction what we already acknowledge as a people to be true from generation to generation as to our behavior as indiviudals and as a people and our relative position in Creation. That is vastly different than imagining a god-figure to emulate IMHO.

Regarding the Hasid thing, I haven't met any Hasid who prays "In the name of the Rebbe."  But I acknowledge that there is nothing that would preclude such a possibility.  And even for those errant zealots who designate the late Rebbe as the messiah, they would never go as far as equating the messiah with god as do all those religions which require a flesh-and-blood god to emulate, not to mention published Christian doctrine.

As for Allah - it is clear to me that Allah is to a Moslem exactly what Hashem is to a Jew - noting more than an authority to sanction what they know as truth as a people.  Unfortunately, the murder of innocent non-Moslems is part of their "truth" as stated literally in their Q'uran (kill the "infidel" = "Christians and Jews"), so Allah is more of a genuine evil demon of Hell (on Earth) than any analog of the Jewish god IMHO.

Like all gods, they are - in essence - all 99% human imagination with less than 1% relationship to any demonstrable truth.  Therefore, the measure of a god is always to me the actions of its people.  Where the people behave properly with respect to all the rest of humanity and Creation, the god is good.  Where the people do evil, the god is evil. (Or, as the Zoroastrians before us would say - a DEVIL.) That seems to be the way everyone else views everybody else's god as well -on either side.  That is also why blasphemy was an issue in ancient Israel - blasphemy defined the Jewish god as evil by virtue of the actions of its followers. Nowadays every known god can be charged with being evil in that regard.  So best to stay away from comparing.

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