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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

Jews as the Chosen People by tucsonmike on 5 February 2006 8:00pm
I threw this in as an extension to the Mohammedan Cartoon post. The Complete Idiots Guide to the Middle East made me think.

I used to resent the fact Israel was treated differently and held to a different standard. Now that I am older (but not necessarily wiser) I understand Realpolitik. This will always be the case. If you are going to call yourself the Chosen People in Ancient Times, well you are opening the door. All I want to know is, chosen for what?
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by canaveralgumby on 6 February 2006 3:34am
In "Fiddler on the Roof," Tevya asked God, "I know we're the chosen people, but do you have to choose us ALL the time?!"

There will never be peace in the Middle East. Three religions, maintaining ugly prejudices about each other, consider the single city of Jersusalem to be THEIR city. I have stopped following any goings on on the news, for my own mental health.

Frankly, every group in the west thinks they are chosen people, even if they don't use that verbiage. Some people believe they'll get 72 virgins in paradise. Some believe they'll be raptured up. Some (like the old lady in my living room right now) think that because they've been baptised and go to confession they'll go to heaven but everybody else won't.

Whatever, dude. :^)
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by pandab on 6 February 2006 4:11am
Another quote from Fiddler on the Roof that I love comes from the matchmaker: "People! I tell you, if God lived on earth, people would break His windows."

I was raised a good Christian girl in a Brethern church that was way ahead of its time with inter-faith exchange. Once a year, our congregation "swapped around" with other churches and temples in our city. No mosques, but only because we didn't have any at the time.

Anyway ... We attended Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Methodist ... you name it. I didn't always understand what was going on in the different services (hey, I was a kid), but at least I got exposed to it.

Sometimes, I wish people could do the same sort of thing now. Imagine an Israeli family trading places for a time with a Palestinian family. Lock, stock and barrel. <Sigh> I'm dreaming, of course.

Re: Jews as the Chosen People by sighthound on 6 February 2006 11:08pm
You are right; there will never be peace in the Middle East - at least not as long as people are hysterically devoted to organized religions (which are always, by nature, political while denying their political impetus) rather than having a populace that responds to its own, honestly arrived at, spiritual and ethical impulses.

The refusal to understand and investigate the historical facts behind the development of religious doctrines and to blindly follow the "Word" of various scriptures leads to incredible intolerance, ignorance and, ultimately, violence. All religious literature (much of which is VERY important to me - nothing tops the Golden Rule and Christ's two Great Commandments as a way to conduct your life and all religions have a variation of that Golden Rule) is based on stories, myths, that are rooted in specific eras. Take Genesis - there are two creation stories. The first, I find inspiring. The second (the rib one), was written at a time when Jews were confronting goddess-centered cultures and is the blueprint for the misogyny that developed in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (And don't even get me, a victim of a Catholic education, started on the ramifications of myth of "Virgin Birth" based on the mistranslation of the Aramaic word for "young girl" as "virgo"....)

On the other hand, rampant secularism which can so quickly degenerate into the hedonism of the West, doesn't do much better. (Hey, don't get me wrong, a little bit of hedonism can be a very good thing as long as it doesn't define your life and entice you into exploiting others.)

This is an eternal problem. The only thing that makes any sense to me is to provide a very liberal education to everyone, giving them historical facts and the tools to interpret them and hope that there is a goodness in human nature that will prevail. If not, we will become extinct as a species and, said with a heavy heart, it will probably be for he best and maybe there will be life at another end of the universe that will figure out how to do it better.
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by tucsonmike on 7 February 2006 1:40am
Goodness, Sight I hope you are wrong. I hope mankind isn't that hopeless and far gone. Also if you haven't read the Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by canaveralgumby on 7 February 2006 1:55am
pandab, sounds very cool. I'd like to shake your parents' hands sometime. When I'm over this contagion...

sighthound, you put my thoughts into words, thank you.

*** I always thought the virgin birth thing came from the "mother/whore" complex, which has come to be known as the "Madonna/whore" complex. Men not able to deal with women; thinking of women as some other species, operating in opposition to men. Women = sex and not much else, and sex = sin, so we're inherently sinful, or diabolical, out to bring about a man's "fall." Yeah, right, cha cha, look, I got other things to do with my time! But the point is, in order not to taint the person of Jesus, the woman who bore him had to be asexual.

There are many men who operate like this. If a female is not asexual or matronly or seemimgly virginal, then she must be a whore. There are men incapable of thinking that a female can be a multi-dimensional human, complete with spirituality AND sexuality, and God forbid intelligence and humor, just like any man can be.

There's also what psychiatry calls "v***** dentalis." History has proven this to be absolutely backward. Men have been the ones to subjugate women. Show me, please, where in history (NOT myth or male fantasy!) women have led a culture and subjugated men. Maybe it happens out of a male, warrior mentality that they need to get us before we get them!

Anyway........ :^)

I'm amazed that people can't bear in mind that these texts they uphold as dogma were written by PEOPLE, with all their FOIBLES, THOUSANDS of years ago when humankind knew about THREE PERCENT of what we know now!
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by sighthound on 8 February 2006 4:05am
Canaveralgumby, have you read "The Chalice and the Blade"? Very apropos to what you just said. Wonderful book!

Mike, tell me more about the "Red Tent".

I was subjected to 16 years of Catholic indoctrination in my early education. I (in my heart but I didn't have the guts to state it publicly for a very long time), moved far away from believing in the fairy tales that passed for Catholic dogma.

I went to a Jesuit University and I am eternally grateful to many of those Jesuits for introducing me to the concept of "textural ctiticism" that woke me up to understanding the historical contexts for so many of the scriptural references. (I was a philosophy major and had to sign forms in triplicate to be allowed to read Descarte but the Bible we used in the theology classes was the Oxford Annotated - go figure. The Oxford Bible was much more important to my apostacy.)

People love to believe in Fairy Tales. All religious institutions know and exploit this. The fairy tales, the myths, the scriptural stories that we grow up with can educate us into an ethical understanding but, taken literally, will lead us into religious intolerance and, ultimately, warfare.

I never trust a "true believer". Anyone who is totally convinced that they KNOW the intent of God is, IMO, immediately suspect for rampent ego.
Re: Jews as the Chosen People by canaveralgumby on 8 February 2006 4:15am
I will look for that book, sighthound, thank you. I became aware of a lot of this by reading Doreen Valiente and Patricia Crowther.

I remember, at about age 6, "The Ten Commandments" was on tv, and in my mind I was putting together that this movie was supposed to be depicting "our" (Jewish) religious beliefs. And I got very frightened.

I couldn't put this into words at the time, but I THOUGHT, "Holy s***, adults believe this? That frogs rained out of the sky? That a guy raised a stick in the air and the ocean parted perfectly into 12 lanes? But adults are supposed to be smarter than that. They're in charge of the world, and they believe in stuff like this?!?!"

The world just didn't seem promising to me at that moment!

Re: Jews as the Chosen People by sighthound on 8 February 2006 9:14am
Actually, there have been some documented incidents of frogs raining from the sky due to unusual meteorlogical conditions. And I remember reading (but the details elude me now) about an explaination for the sea parting (but it was nowhere near as dramatic as in the biblical and later stories) but this is how myths get started. Myths always have their roots in historical or natural phenomena.

Tell me more about Valiente and Crowther, please. (BTW, "The Chalice and the Blade" was written by Riane Eisler.)

Re: Jews as the Chosen People by JF on 8 February 2006 9:46am
I'm Jewish and I'm chosen every day.

Yesterday I was chosen three times; once to receive cheap mobile phone calls and a free handset, once to get a free kitchen design and once to get a timeshare at a specially reduced rate.

Strangely enough, I was chosen by a computer on each occasion and the person who told me had a very strong Indian accent but had the same name as an Australian test cricketer.

The Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways.
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