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A True Dilemma

Reader comment on item: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

Submitted by john w. mcginley (United States), Mar 31, 2014 at 09:52

The matter which you bring up is painful. It is especially painful for Judaism and Islam. Christianity generally -- except for the "Ten Commandments" passage -- does not rely on Scripture for negative commandments. Christianity generally presents itself as abrogating "The Law" (i.e. the Chumash). In effect the Church Hierarchy has replaced the Chumash with respect to mandated laws. And, over the centuries and years (especially from the mid-twentieth century onward) the Church finds was of "adjusting" the caveats of the Church Hierarchy. Further, the various sub-divisions of Christianity have differing caveats to begin with. Technically, Judaism and Islam have greater problems since in both religions nothing in their respective Scriptures has been abrogated with regard to the Laws delineated in their respective religions. ((Of the 613 mandates in the Chumash a very large number of them deal with the Priesthood and Temple worship which, even since the destruction of the Second Temple are not operable.)) This is virtually the whole case with Islam since IT does not sanction "spin-off " sects in Islam. Does Judaism truly allows for "spin-offs"? I suspect that most Orthodox sects would not recognize Concervative, Reform (and whatever) as true Judaism. There is also a wrinkle in Judaism which, to the best of my knowledge, is assiduously followed by the Orthodox and only "optionally" with the other sects of Judaism. I am speaking of the "Oral Torah." This only complexifies the matter raised in your remarks. For, generally speaking, the Oral Torah mandates additional mandates. And the Oral Torah is not in the business of mollifying the Scriptural mandates. My own view is that non-Orthodox Jews -- even in Conservative Judaism -- are more guided by secularism and "Enlightenment"-oriented values rather than Scriptural values. Of course their is some overlap. But secularistic/"Humanistic" values prevail in these sects. Finally, in the case of Islam and Judaism is there not one other option? a). To maintain whenever possible adherence to the mandates of each Scripture; and b). Study the respective mandates of Islam which, arguably, are abhorrent, here, and likewise with Judaism, there. Then study the great Scriptural aspirations , of Islam, here, and Judaism, there. I suspect one will find that these aspirations trump the abhorrent mandates. In other words each's respective Scripture is a self-correcting mechanism. However,in doing such, one must be on guard against the "Humanistic" and "Enlightenment" values which are not rooted in Scripture. It is a slippery slope. The secular siren call is the real enemy.

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