Why is the Jew untouchable?

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William
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 09:19 pm
Now I have gone over every single thread in this category and we question everything, I mean everything. No religion is safe from our critique except one. Not just Judiasm, but the Jew himself. Christians have been crucified in this forum as some others. Please, I am really looking for some answers here?

Thank you,
William
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 09:22 pm
@William,
I think it has to do with the fact that Christianity is very popular in the West--especially the U.S.--and thus, is the main target of anti-religious people. I don't think many people on the forum know much about Judaism; therefore, it does not seem to be much of a target. Everybody knows Christians, many of which are totally nuts. Not everybody knows a Jew.
 
William
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 09:38 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;67871 wrote:
I don't think many people on the forum know much about Judaism; therefore, it does not seem to be much of a target. Everybody knows Christians, many of which are totally nuts. Not everybody knows a Jew.


I have never known a Jew personally. Or at least not that I realized anyway. As a matter of a fact, I have only had a conversation with two in my entire life that I know of. Does anyone who is not Jew?
William
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 01:38 am
@William,
Judaism is a wonderfully historically rich religion with a whole lot of fun things to rag on, but what theat says is true, people just aren't familiar enough with it to mess with it.

The other reason is that being a Jew is not only a religion, it is an ethnicity with very loyal boundaries. Atheist Jews are still Jews and very much identify with their ethnicity. There are plenty of ex-catholics or ex-mormons willing to berate their former religions or the religions of their families, because they see them as belief systems and if you no longer or never have believed their is no traitorous feeling when berating it. Jews, even the most rabildy secular ones are never really ex-jews and have a hard time doing this because their religion and their identity are so closely intertwined.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 01:52 am
@William,
I think every time people criticise the Old Testament its quite reasonable to assume that those who follow Judaism are as much a target for inquiry or criticism as Christians.
 
Baal
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 02:30 am
@Dave Allen,
Also from a pretty theological perspective and in respect to the importance of religion; (1) Not much is known about Judaism to the rest of the world [What is represented in the old testament as being "Old-school" Judaism is not entirely accurate], and (2) Judaism as a religion is also very small, being very factionalized as well.

Of course one may say that people of Jewish ethnicity have made an impact in many fields, but that does not necessarily mean that their religion (and if you come to think about it, most of the famous Jews were non practicing and came from a non-practicing environment, with some exceptions) played a large role in a direct sense.

Furthermore Judaism is not very well expounded as a purely western religion. Much of its doctrine is written in a language understood by 10 Million people, and whose specific dialect is understood by less than two million.

Also, unlike Christianity which takes its main importance from the New Testament, mainstream Judaism derives from the Oral Law; the Mishnaic and Talmudic texts, which are even more cryptic and have very few translations; none of which are widely accepted and none of which offer any exegesis into these cryptic texts.

There is a great amount of criticism about Judaism; only that such criticism is not generally available in languages other than the language of Judaism itself.

Compared to Christianity, Judaism has a huge amount of canonical texts (Christianity has many texts as well, but they are supplementary and one can be a good Christian without knowing all of them; however the Jewish texts are very extensive and are pretty much a pre-requisite for good practice; whether one knows them in detail or only in a cursory fashion) and hence to criticize Judaism without knowledge of those texts (which very few people have) is nearly impossible and not necessarily justifiable.

In response to Dave Allen:

Some criticisms of the old testament are also leveraged against Judaism as well, but not all of them are. Jews and Christians will have a different interpretation of the old testament as well. For example the "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" has been taken in Judaism as meaning that the offender must give monetary compensation for such, and not that he must have his eyes gouged out or teeth pulled out. There may have been people who practiced this lhiterally (such as the Sadducees) but those groups have not had any presence here for the past two thousand years or such.

However you are mainly correct in that Jews will take offense to people such as Dawkins and the like (provided they are not Atheists themselves, and see Gosh's comment).

Another issue is that Judaism is generally not at the center of heated battles; a good example is abortion; which is not considered murder in Judaism [although it is discouraged and generally not permitted under normal circumstances]. Furthermore even if Judaism were against it, it is not a religion large and powerful enough to make enough noise that would actually turn many people against it and begin criticizing it. Of course one may argue that it is influential and has a lot of money etc. but in terms of sheer number Christianity is the most dominant religion in the west.

You will find a lot of criticism against Judaism from secularists and atheists in Israel; where indeed Judaism is the dominant religion and environment
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 02:41 am
@Baal,
Baal;67925 wrote:
Another issue is that Judaism is generally not at the center of heated battles;

I can think of two.

Genital mutilation and the actions of one of the world's only theocracies.
 
Baal
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 03:04 am
@Dave Allen,
Without speaking about "Genital Mutilation" in depth, this custom exists in Islam as well. Not to mention there are quite many non-Jewish or muslim men who are circumcised.

Even in Israel where you have fierce criticism of Judaism among the secular sectors, you will not find many complaints against circumcision.

Much of the debate centered around "Genital Mutilation" refers to female circumcision in which the clitoris is removed In regards to the "Theocracy", that would not be a complaint against Judaism proper, as Judaism is just the "Theos" and not the "Cratos" in this case.

Again I am not going to argue into the two issues above, I am just saying that their relevance as a popular anti-theological is moot; "Genital Mutilation" as circumcison because it is simply not a big issue (you do not hear many people complain about it), and Israel as a theocracy (which is a "Secular" state with a "Jewish Character" [and see the note earlier about Jewish also being an ethnicity and not necessarily only a religion] and therefore mainly a nationalistic movement such as the PLO)
 
7skullz
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 03:28 am
@William,
Sir, I am circumcised, and I am an atheistic, non-religious person. I know many a person who are circumcised and non-religious. I also happen to know many people who are religious and are circumcised. My good friend Aaron's father is a protestant pastor and he (my friend, not his father) are circumcised. I also know people who AREN'T circumcised. Really, it is the parents' choice, and it can be made for medical reasons too. The foreskin, if improperly cared for, can actually grow shut over the urethra, which is not good.


-Skullz
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 03:29 am
@William,
I think a parliment who leave an empty seat in the house just in case King David returns can be said to be pretty religious in character, as is the hugely discriminatory Law of Return on which the state of Isreal is based (ie: immigration to the nation is easier or more difficult depending on your faith).

As for genital mutilation existing in other cultures - well, so what? I don't think removing part of either the male or female genitalia during infancy or later without consent is a practice that should be respected or continued.

I would go so far as to say that the one reason male circumcision meets with less criticism than female circumcision is that it is associated with Jews as well as Muslims, and so people criticise it less out of a desire not to be labelled anti-semitic.

I think its pretty vile to remove part of someone's body without their express desire to have such an operation performed or for good medical reasons - I suppose girls who have their clitoris excised are more likely to make objects of sympathy than boys who have their foreskin removed, but only because the operation is often more severe, and the object of dulling sexual pleasure somewhat more overt.

YouTube - Christopher Hitchens - On Circumcision
Note: The above video is a bit PG13.

7skullz;67930 wrote:
Really, it is the parents' choice, and it can be made for medical reasons too. The foreskin, if improperly cared for, can actually grow shut over the urethra, which is not good.

Obviously medical treatments sometimes require mutilation to effect a cure. I'm pretty glad I was sliced open to remove a gangrenous appendix. It doesn't change the fact that I think ritual genital mutilation is an abhorrant practice unless the mutilatee, fully understanding of what they are going to go through, decides on the operation.

As for it being a parents choice - I think that's rather weak. Would you support the right of parents to choose to dig out the clitoris of their infant daughter? I hope not. Yet it is apparently fine to remove a sensitive part of the male anatomy just because "that's what people of my/their culture do".
 
Baal
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 04:06 am
@William,
Dave Allen: What your opinions are on the subjects really have nothing to do with this thread; the fact is that most people don't think like you and don't have such opinions on this topic (7skullz is an example). My point was not about the justification of anything mentioned, it was about how much a religion (in this case, Judaism) played a role in a mainstream topic as part of the popular argument itself. In terms of both Israel and Circumcision, Judaism per se is not something which is debated about.... Although I can see a few directions in which this thread will be going.. I lurk often, and post little.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 04:33 am
@Baal,
Baal;67936 wrote:
Dave Allen: What your opinions are on the subjects really have nothing to do with this thread; the fact is that most people don't think like you and don't have such opinions on this topic (7skullz is an example).

So what?

You claimed Judaism didn't spark off hot topics, I named two I could think of off the top of my head, you denied they were really issues, I responded with some proofing.

Now you're claiming I'm not really addressing the topic. If discussing characteristics of Judaism which may or may not be hot topics isn't relative to the topic why did you bring it up?

As for whether people disagree with me or not - I don't really care. As far as I see it I'm entitled to my opinion whether or not I share the position of the majority. 7skullz can always answer for himself if he feels he has a response to the arguments I proposed. I look forward to it.

Quote:
In terms of both Israel and Circumcision, Judaism per se is not something which is debated about....


Oh what nonsense! So essentially what you are saying is that as part of a debate about whether or not Judaism is subject to criticism like other faiths, it wouldn't be relevent to discuss issues that are directly influenced by, or characteristic of, Judaism.

Even though plenty of the debates about other faiths do address issues influenced by or characteristic of that faith.

At the risk of seeming obnoxious - it strikes me that you don't really have any answers to my last post, despite the fact that I wrote it to address claims you made, and are now crying that I'm breaking the rules by going off topic, because that's easier than either cedeing my points or properly rebutting me.
 
Baal
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:07 am
@William,
I said I would not respond because the issues here were off topic. I did not say that Judaism cannot spark hot debate, I am simply saying that it generally does not. You are failing to realize that although you have much to debate about Judaism, most people do not; that, and only that, is the point of mine that you are playing on.

I did note that there was a large secular and atheist population in Israel which debates and criticizes Judaism frequently, however that is a rather small segment (and not very vocal outside of Israel) of the western [if it be called western] and global population.

Then again, it should come as no surprise that a religion which has less than two million religious practitioners [the rest of the Jewish population is secular to one degree or another] does not come up often in debates. Or when it does, it comes up as mis-information -> (by the way I have never heard about the Knesset having a "Seat for king David") -> in which, by the way, the argument you were placing was not often heard and not often a criticism against Judaism specifically.

Again, let's take two hot issues - Criticisms - against Christianity (or at least of some denominations which I will from this point simply refer to as "Christianity").

1) Abortion is considered murder, and therefore anyone who undergoes an abortion, and anyone who assists in such is a murderer.

Counterargument "This is a backwards position.." etc.. and eventually blaming the religion itself for being backwards

2) Condoms should not be distributed as they increase promiscuity

Counterargument "This is an absurd position; to place imposed sexual morality above the lives of people dying from AIDS and protecting people from HIV" etc.

You see; in both these cases the reason given for the "offensive" notion is religious and the counter-argument as well is generally a complaint against the religion (or at least against those who interpret the religion as such).

Now.. your case with circumcision fails this qualification as it is simply not an issue which is sufficiently popular, and your case with Israel fails simply because complaint against it is not directed against the religion or even against religious authorities; and is again, more of a Nationalistic issue (which you may or may not agree with). You will ask "Well, what about the case of conversion"; in which it should be said that in conversion you are able to join a people. One does not simply change religion upon conversion to judaism but enters among the Jewish people. Just as if I were to join a tribe, I would not only be adapting the customs of the tribe, but I would become one of them. Of course I understand if it is a bit hard to grasp the concept, but it holds true for many systems in the world (Particularly among indigenous American and African peoples). Nevertheless the issue of immigration has nothing to do with any religious code; and religion plays a part here merely as a reference of the definition of being part of the Jewish people (Just as the Greek, German, and Russian consitutions have definitions about who is a national of that respective country; and yes, there are such laws there too, and yes, preference is given to nationals in those places too - also in respect to immigration).

Quote:
Oh what nonsense! So essentially what you are saying is that as part of a debate about whether or not Judaism is subject to criticism like other faiths, it wouldn't be relevent to discuss issues that are directly influenced by, or characteristic of, Judaism.
I do not see what is so absurd about a thread discussing why some religions are more subject to criticism than others. But regarding the quote, yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Things that are Influenced by Judaism are not Judaism itself and a criticism against it will not necessarily be a criticism against Judaism. For example the Condom and Abortion debates are sourced in the old testament; yet Judaism itself has a different view about both of these topics than that which Christianity has, as I elaborated in my first response.

I suppose the same can be said about Islam (although Islam has received a fair amount of criticism of late, I would not necessarily call it critical but more of a general animosity towards it; and this too, only because Islam itself (by means of political Islamism) has come to the forefront of global affairs in recent years. Nevertheless the main criticism is still received by Christianity (and it is also the source of the most persistant criticism) simply because there are more people familiar with it, and because it is a Confronting Issue which is a native element in society.

My point in all this has simply been that the west is far more familiar with Christianity and therefore Christianity is far more a subject that can influence the opinions and therefore be more heard; and thusly be scorned in rebuttal.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:24 am
@William,
William;67869 wrote:
Now I have gone over every single thread in this category and we question everything, I mean everything. No religion is safe from our critique except one. Not just Judiasm, but the Jew himself.
We've disciplined a lot more members for unfairly attacking Islam than we have for attacking Judaism. But we've also disciplined people for stereotypically taking on Christianity and Christians.

Just be congenial, sympathetic, and sensitive to other people -- it's a good skill to cultivate, much more important than the mercilessness of one's critique.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:34 am
@William,
I think that's much better.

I agree that the relatively small number of Jewish people in comparison to Christians is the main reason that they are not so visible in terms of discourse. I also think that those who do criticise Judaism can be smeared as anti-semites - rather than having things to say that may be worth considering - and so people may bite their tongues on the matter.

I read an essay by the Israeli writer Meir Shalev, who apperently enjoys bestseller status in Isreal. He claimed that the "children of Israel" "still wait for him (King David) to appear, we sing psalms attributed to him, we even let him take part in political discussions on the future of the Middle East" and goes on to mention the symbolic empty chair in the Knesset.

Contraception and abortions are both controversies within Christianity and things which secularists tend to smear Christianity with.

Perhaps the only comparable controversy both within Judaism and between Jews and non-Jews is the extent to which Israel should follow the plans espoused by the original zionists, from those who want to see Israel become a secular state within the borders of 1946 to those who want to see the annexation of "Greater Israel" and a Jewish state for Jewish people.

This would strike me as a very hot topic both within Israeli society and without, as almost everyone with any interest in events in the Middle East knows that a lot hinges on Israel, either as a shining example of western style democracy, or a source of angry Arab discontent over the situation of the Palestinians.

I mean, even if you are right that most people do not regard circumcision as a hot topic or a religious one (and I don't think you are) to suppose that the domestic and foreign policies of Israel are not perceived to affect people worldwide is just not true.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:46 am
@William,
Discussing the politics and policies of Israel is legitimate. But people confuse this as if there was some sort of Jewish invasion that cleansed the area of Palestinians, and that's simply not what happened. Before WWI the Ottoman Turks controlled the area and THEY oppressed Palestinians. The British gained control of the area after WWI. The victors in WWII established a Jewish state there, because 2 million Jewish refugees needed a place to go and neither France, Britain, nor the USA wanted them, and it seemed like what the Jews wanted. The Palestinians never had a state there to begin with.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:55 am
@William,
My history on the issue is not comprehensive, and I by no means mean to deny the irresponsibility of Turks or Britons in the past. However, the Palestinians were disarmed and relocated by the British on the urging of those who sought to establish the modern state of Israel, where they not? The further displacement due to the wars Israel fought against Egypt, Syria and Jordan (which I do not lay at Israel's feet by any means) was not the responsibility of Britain. Britain cannot be held accountable for where current borders are drawn, or where water supplies are routed or to what degree new settlements are encouraged or not. British politicians tend to support UN resolutions to discourage building of settlements, or to assert the right of return, which the US tends to veto.

I can't think of a nation whose history I think is glorious without exception, but I do find some of the controversial acts of Israel's government inextricably linked to the idea that people have a right to a certain area of land due to their theology alone.

If I can only couch my opinion of this alondside the crimes of other nations then I think William has a point - Judaism is untouchable.
 
William
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 07:45 am
@Baal,
Baal;67951 wrote:

Things that are Influenced by Judaism are not Judaism itself and a criticism against it will not necessarily be a criticism against Judaism.


This statement is IMO, key in justifying the next statement. It seems to me what is important here is the two houses that are used that make understanding and communication difficult when discussing the reality of the world we live in and the Jews involvement in that reality. There is always the "secular Jew" and all to often that often leads to anti-semitism when the conversation gets "sticky"; and on the other hand it ventures off into esoteric antiquity when the religious justification is discussed. Such as the above statement "things that are "influenced by Judiasm are not Judiasm itself". IMO, that statement is the crux of my thread. The Jews have an enormous influence in the world we live in, especially the United States from the Movies we watch, what is on the television, the clothes we where, the money in our pocket, So, yes it is important to question who they are? And no one seems to know, except the Jew. It seems they have an answer to everything, at least seems to me, in all cases any real culpability they might have in the chaos that is the world we live in, leads to esoteria, or anti-semitism supported by their "victimization". It seems also to me an inigma as to a people with such power could ever be a victim of anything, because of this "victim" status offers justification for them to be highly "secretive" as they function behind the scenes in anonymity for fear of being further victimized rendering them "untouchable". Common sense tells me no one with this much power should be so "unknown". Let's face it this world is in pathetic shape. and for a people to proclaim to be "The Chosen", must be accountable in some respect. Wouldn't you think? I do not want this thread to venture off in eiher one of those areas of esoteria of anti-semitism. The seems to be a major disconnect here somewhere. I am an expert at adding 2 and 2. And something about the Jew just does not add up. In all respect, help me connect the dots.

For your consideration.
William
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 07:59 am
@William,
William;67980 wrote:
It seems also to me an inigma as to a people with such power could ever be a victim of anything, because of this "victim" status offers justification for them to be highly "secretive" as they function behind the scenes in anonymity for fear of being further victimized rendering them "untouchable".

Or the claims that they are powerful and secretive are exaggerated by those who seek to make a scapegoat for the problems of the world out of a particular group of people, which has historically worked very well in the case of the Jews, which is why they have been victimised a lot.

I imagine certain Jewish people have managed to turn this around and claim a certain dispensation due to their percieved victimhood - I don't doubt it, but the Jews as a group have not been playing some sort of game whereby they sacrifice themselves for 2,000 odd years just so they can manipulate the rest of us as a result.

It all sounds a bit "protocols of the elders of Zion" to me.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 08:20 am
@William,
William,

... a little clarification here if you please:

Your topic title assumes the Jew is untouchable. I don't think Jewish people are more or less 'untouchable' than any other nationality and/or religion. What makes you assume they are?

Thanks
 
 

 
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