According to the Bible, God promised to deliver the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Directed by God, Moses asked the pharaoh to release the Jews. The pharaoh refused. God then sent ten plagues to the Egyptians; Jews were not affected by the plagues.
First, the water in the Nile turned to blood. Then a wave of frogs covered the land. Next the dust of the earth was changed into gnats, which attacked people and animals. In the fourth plague, swarms of flies filled the air. Then came a disease that killed the Egyptians’ livestock. Next the Egyptians suffered from painful boils. In the seventh plague, severe hail killed people and animals. Then came locusts, which ate any crops that survived the hail. The ninth plague brought three days of utter darkness, so that people could not see to move around. In the tenth plague, the firstborn sons in all Egyptian homes died. Finally, the pharaoh agreed to let the Jews leave Egypt.
The pharaoh refused to let the Jews leave until the tenth plague. How do you think ordinary Egyptians felt about this? Imagine living through plague after plague. Would you want to keep the Jews in Egypt, or let them go?
The Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt after god sent ten plagues to the Egyptians. In the last plague, the firstborn son of every house in Egypt died. Speaking through Moses, God directed the Jews to do certain things. Death would pass over the house of anyone who obeyed theses directions. Jewish families were told to sacrifice a lamb and to mark their doors with its blood. They were then to roast the lamb, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to dress as if they were traveling, with sandals on their feet and staffs in hand. God also told them that they should celebrate this event in the future by performing the same rite every year.
Moses explained, “When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ you shall reply, ‘This is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.” (Exodus 12 26:27)
Passover is still celebrated in Jewish homes today, 3000 years after the first Passover in Egypt. Why do you think this event is still celebrated?
When Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, they crossed the Sinai Desert. God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments. These commandments formed the moral code for the Jewish people. Some were injunctions – things the people were told to do. Some were prohibitions – things they were told not to do.
Injunctions included keeping the Sabbath day holy and honouring one’s parents. Prohibitions included worshipping other gods, making idols, taking God’s name in vain, killing, committing adultery, theft, bearing false witness, and wanting things that belong to other people
Do you think these Ten Commandments are a good foundation for a code of conduct?
Prophets are people who have a special ability for listening to and speaking for God. The prophet Isaiah, who lived around the eighth century B.C.E., was an adviser to the king of Judah. At that time, the kingdom was under attack from Assyria, Isaiah told the king that god would protect the people if they had faith, but if they rejected god, they would be destroyed.
My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; . . . Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes . . . Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant. (Isaiah 5: 1-7))
In your own words, explain what Isaiah was saying here.
The prophet Isaiah said to the Jewish people, “Be a light unto the nations.”
This is one of the responsibilities of being a Jew. To do this, Jews are directed to study and live by the laws of Moses. These laws are the very will of God.
What do you think it means to be a “light” to other nations? Describe someone or something that is a “light” to you.
from Philosophy for Dummies
- The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
- The existence of the universe is thus either:
- unintelligible or
- has an explanation
- No rational person should accept premise (2.1) by definition of rationality
- A rational person should accept (2.2), that the universe has some explanation for its being.
- There are only three kinds of explanations:
- Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
- Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.
- Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.
- The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Even the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.
- The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
- Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
- No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
- A rational person should believe that there is a God.
According to Christianity, temptation is an obstacle we all face in life. Jesus himself had to deal with temptation from a devil, a spirit that seeks to convince someone to disobey God’s will. The devil asked Jesus to turn a stone into bread and prove his miraculous powers. He offered Jesus all the riches of the world if he would follow him. Jesus said no to these offers.
Do you think temptation is a part of everyone’s life? What kinds of temptation do you face? How do you deal with temptation?
The word Islam means “surrender to the will of God.”
The word Muslim means “one who has surrendered.”
How do you think a deep sense of religious conviction can be seen as surrender?
After his enlightenment, the Buddha passed a man on the road.
This man saw that the Buddha was different from other men.
He asked the Buddha “Are you a god?”
The Buddha replied “No.”
The man continued, “Then are you a magician or a wizard?”
“Are you a man?”
“Then what are you?” said the man.
The Buddha answered, “I am awake.”
Thus he was given his name. Buddha means “The awakened One.”
What do you think the Buddha meant by this answer?