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Old 11-13-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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A couple of folks asked me to put forth a question to ponder in relation to questions we Jews have asked for thousands of years. I will put forth one of them I know I have asked and so have others.

This is not allowed to turn into a Jew bashing or proselytizing thread. If it turns into one I will ask the moderators to shut it down. It is also not meant to be a thread that speaks to truth but just what people see as right for them.

So please be respectful in all responses.


One question concerns the nature of G-d. What is G-d, who is G-d, how are we supposed to understand G-d? Is there a G-d at all?

As a Jew I still struggle with G-d. To be a Jew in many ways is to struggle.

My understanding of G-d is of a divine presence everywhere and in everything. That is connected, but not in a personal way like I see in Christianity. But a force in the universe. I see the Hebrew Bible as the story of how the understanding of G-d changed, but not as a literal story. The story of the struggles of humans to understand G-d.

So in my understanding we all have these struggles and we all come to different conclusions.

Its a journey that will never end for me.

Last edited by Jazzymom; 11-13-2010 at 10:48 AM.. Reason: need to change title
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:50 AM
 
6,039 posts, read 9,860,243 times
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I appreciate the fact that you and the other Jews here aren't pushy about your religion like many christians and muslims are. However, it's still fanciful and unbelievable dogma to an atheist. Different flavor of the same myths, but much more tastefully cloaked due to the non-proselytizing nature of its believers. So I guess what I'm saying is, thanks for not being aggressive about it, but still...no thanks because it's just not believable. I do, however, give a hearty thumbs up to the fact that all of your holidays seem to be surrounded in food. Lots and lots of delicious food.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:53 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 4,627,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercury Cougar View Post
I appreciate the fact that you and the other Jews here aren't pushy about your religion like many christians and muslims are. However, it's still fanciful and unbelievable dogma to an atheist. Different flavor of the same myths, but much more tastefully cloaked due to the non-proselytizing nature of its believers. So I guess what I'm saying is, thanks for not being aggressive about it, but still...no thanks because it's just not believable. I do, however, give a hearty thumbs up to the fact that all of your holidays seem to be surrounded in food. Lots and lots of delicious food.

lol and thats fine! I know that what I love about Judaism is that those who leave out the G-d part still can be a part of being Jewish because they love the holidays and it becomes about being Jewish.

We have kids who are atheist in our Hebrew school.

I love the food part too!!!
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
138 posts, read 165,237 times
Reputation: 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzymom View Post
A couple of folks asked me to put forth a question to ponder in relation to questions we Jews have asked for thousands of years. I will put forth one of them I know I have asked and so have others.

This is not allowed to turn into a Jew bashing or proselytizing thread. If it turns into one I will ask the moderators to shut it down. It is also not meant to be a thread that speaks to truth but just what people see as right for them.

So please be respectful in all responses.


One question concerns the nature of G-d. What is G-d, who is G-d, how are we supposed to understand G-d? Is there a G-d at all?

As a Jew I still struggle with G-d. To be a Jew in many ways is to struggle.

My understanding of G-d is of a divine presence everywhere and in everything. That is connected, but not in a personal way like I see in Christianity. But a force in the universe. I see the Hebrew Bible as the story of how the understanding of G-d changed, but not as a literal story. The story of the struggles of humans to understand G-d.

So in my understanding we all have these struggles and we all come to different conclusions.

Its a journey that will never end for me.
I loved your beautiful post. I feel similarly to the way you do. Though I was raised Catholic, I've left the Church, and I believe I relate more to the Jewish experience than to the Christian one. I respect very deeply the Jewish belief that one must make direct reparations for each wrongdoing (Yom Kippur) and not rely upon the idea that they are already saved. I also cherish the Old Testament prophecy that a Messiah would one day come. I interpret this metaphysically, as did ancient Jewish folks. I see this as saying that G-d intends for each person to awaken to the Divine within, or the Messiah within. Not that he would come in the form of a physical being, but instead, that we could awaken to his presence within ourselves.

Peace to you,
Light
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Not.here
2,828 posts, read 3,871,678 times
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Jazzymom, thanks for following up on this.

One of the things that has always intrigued me were Einstein's views on God and his leaning towards the type of "God" that Spinoza presented.

There are lots of related Einstein-God quotes
on the Stephen Jay Gould website....


Quote:
“I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”

[SIZE=1]Albert Einstein, upon being asked if he believed in God by Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, New York, April 24, 1921, published in the New York Times, April 25, 1929; from Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, New York: World Publishing Co., 1971, p. 413; also cited as a telegram to a Jewish newspaper, 1929, Einstein Archive 33-272, from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 204.[/SIZE]

Albert Einstein: Thoughts of a Freethinker
I was reading a very interesting interpretation of the above this morning by Deepak Chopra. I'll post it when I find it later.

Any thoughts on the Spinoza God concept?
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:15 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 4,627,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by light1111 View Post
I loved your beautiful post. I feel similarly to the way you do. Though I was raised Catholic, I've left the Church, and I believe I relate more to the Jewish experience than to the Christian one. I respect very deeply the Jewish belief that one must make direct reparations for each wrongdoing (Yom Kippur) and not rely upon the idea that they are already saved. I also cherish the Old Testament prophecy that a Messiah would one day come. I interpret this metaphysically, as did ancient Jewish folks. I see this as saying that G-d intends for each person to awaken to the Divine within, or the Messiah within. Not that he would come in the form of a physical being, but instead, that we could awaken to his presence within ourselves.

Peace to you,
Light

I agree. One of the questions I had as a kid was how can anyone know the truth? I love the High Holidays because for me it does become a time of looking inward. Who have I done wrong to, how can I fix it? How can I become a better person? We have to ask forgiveness from those we have hurt. I think because there is such an emphasis on personal behavior and our accountability we strive to always hit the mark.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:22 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 4,627,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nezlie View Post
Jazzymom, thanks for following up on this.

One of the things that has always intrigued me were Einstein's views on God and his leaning towards the type of "God" that Spinoza presented.

There are lots of related Einstein-God quotes
on the Stephen Jay Gould website....




I was reading a very interesting interpretation of the above this morning by Deepak Chopra. I'll post it when I find it later.

Any thoughts on the Spinoza God concept?

I think his concept is very close to mine in a way. I am very drawn to the kabalistic (not Madonna's version) of the nature of G-d, Ein Sof and the Devine presence in everything.

But I will confess I know very little. I took a 3 part class on Kaballah and I want to learn more. Anyway I added a bit about Ein Sof.

Ein-sof: http://www.newkabbalah.com/einsof.html

Ein-Sof, the Infinite God, has no static, definable form. Instead, the Kabbalists conceive God, the world and humanity as evolving together through, and thus embodying, a number of distinct stages and aspects, with later stages opposing, but at the same time encompassing, earlier ones. The Kabbalist¹s God is both perfectly simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man. Moderator cut: modified to adhere with copyright format.

Ein Sof and the Ten Sefirot: http://www.jewfaq.org/kabbalah.htm

To give you an idea of the nature of Kabbalah, I will briefly discuss one of the better known, fundamental concepts of kabbalistic thought: the concept of G-d as Ein Sof, the Ten Sefirot, and the kabbalistic tree of life. This explanation is, at best, a gross oversimplification. I do not pretend to fully understand these ideas.

According to Kabbalah, the true essence of G-d is so transcendent that it cannot be described, except with reference to what it is not. This true essence of G-d is known as Ein Sof, which literally means "without end," which encompasses the idea of His lack of boundaries in both time and space. In this truest form, the Ein Sof is so transcendent that It cannot have any direct interaction with the universe. The Ein Sof interacts with the universe through ten emanations from this essence, known as the Ten Sefirot.

Moderator cut: modified to adhere to city-data copyright format

Last edited by june 7th; 11-14-2010 at 12:58 PM..
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
138 posts, read 165,237 times
Reputation: 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzymom View Post
I agree. One of the questions I had as a kid was how can anyone know the truth? I love the High Holidays because for me it does become a time of looking inward. Who have I done wrong to, how can I fix it? How can I become a better person? We have to ask forgiveness from those we have hurt. I think because there is such an emphasis on personal behavior and our accountability we strive to always hit the mark.
I really agree and I find the High Holidays beautiful for the same reason. For instance, I find that the Ten Commandments are a little curious -- certainly there is merit in following them out of respect for G-d, and I'm sure G-d appreciates our efforts to uphold His Laws. But I find it less meaningful if one only follows the Commandments due to a sense of fear of G-d, as in what might happen if one disobeys.

It seems to me that there is far greater value in reaching a spiritual evolution of your own soul, where you don't need to consciously follow the Ten Commandments, because they've already naturally become an integrated part of your intrinsic nature or being. In such a posture, one acts right out of true remorse or compassion for one's fellow human being/animal -- and not out of fear of repercussions.

Yom Kippur offers people an exploration of the deep and internal experience, and in such a posture of repentance I think genuine remorse can bloom. Usually gratitude is right behind!!!!!

Thanks for posting, love your ideas.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Not.here
2,828 posts, read 3,871,678 times
Reputation: 2357
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzymom View Post
I think his concept is very close to mine in a way. I am very drawn to the kabalistic (not Madonna's version) of the nature of G-d, Ein Sof and the Devine presence in everything.

But I will confess I know very little. I took a 3 part class on Kaballah and I want to learn more.

I think this is the article I was looking at this a.m.

Einstein's God, or The Hopes for Secular Spirituality (Part 3) : IntentBlog (http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2007/09/einsteins_god_o_3.html - broken link)

Gotta go right now......... back later.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:18 PM
 
9,341 posts, read 26,913,327 times
Reputation: 4523
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From Judaism 101, The nature of G-d.
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