Here are some facts about Judaism. Write a post about this ancient religion in your blog.
- 3,500 years old
- Founded by Abraham and Moses
- Jewish people are specially chosen by God.
- Followers worship in synagogues; their spiritual leaders are called rabbis.
- Has twelve million followers, most of whom are in Israel and the United States.
- Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.
The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important events in the years before the Common Era (B.C.E.). Use your knowledge of Judaism and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-10, with 1 as the earliest event.
a. Cyrus, king of Persia, allows the Jews to return to Judah.
b. The kingdom of Israel splits in two. The northern kingdom continues to be called Israel. The southern kingdom is called Judah.
c. Abraham, to whom the Jews trace their ancestry, is told to leave Mesopotamia and settle in Canaan, which is now Israel.
d. When King Antiochus tries to force Jews to worship idols, a group of rebels overthrows the king.
e. The kingdom of Israel is founded.
f. Judah comes under the control of Alexander the Great.
g. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and receives the laws of God.
h. The Babylonians conquer the southern kingdom of Judah.
i. Persia conquers Babylonia.
j. The Assyrians conquer the northern kingdom of Israel.
The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important evens in the first thousand years of the Common Era. Use your knowledge of Judaism, and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-8, with 1 as the earliest event.
a. After the Jewish expulsion from Jerusalem by the Romans, Jewish oral law is written down in a book called the Mishnah.
b. Jews in the Roman Empire are repressed.
c. The Romans reconquer Jerusalem and destroy the Temple.
d. The Muslim Empire expands to cover southwestern Asia, northern Aftrica, and Spain
e. Jews rebel against Roman rule and seize Jerusalem.
f. The Jews begin to scatter around the world.
g. Christianity becomes the primary religion of the Roman Empire.
h. The Romans crush the rebellion and prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.
Abraham was the first prophet of Judaism. According to the Midrash, a book of Jewish stories and aphorisms, Abraham was walking near the city of Ur when he saw an empty palace. For a moment he thought that the palace appeared before him like an illusion. Then he realized, of course, it was probably built by someone. In order for a palace to exist it must have been built. Likewise, Abraham reasoned that the world itself was made by something. This “something” is called God.
Do you think things can exist without having a beginning?
Hillel was a Jewish teacher who lived around 70 B.C.E. He was devoted to the study of Torah, or Jewish sacred writings.
One day a non-Jew came to Hillel intending to mock Torah. He said to Hillel, “Teach me the Torah in the time I can balance on one foot. If you do this, I will convert to Judaism.” Hillel responded, “The main idea of the Torah is ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour.’ Everything else is commentary.”
The visitor was so impressed with Hillel’s response that he began to study Torah seriously and became a Jew.
What is your reaction to Hillel’s response?
By the year 500 C.E., all existing Jewish holy books were gathered into one book called the Talmud. This book contains all the Jewish laws and the essential stories and aphorisms of Judaism. To study, understand, and carry out the teachings in the Talmud is one way to be a practicing Jew.
Some people think of laws as things that restrict their actions. Others see laws as creating a framework within which to act. How do you think having a clear system of laws can be helpful?
from Thousands attend Boulder debate on atheism and religion
Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, prefaced the debate, saying, “As Catholics, we are not afraid of intellectual debate. Faith and reason are not opposed to each other.”
Modern science, he[D’Souza] said, was “faith-based” in that it was rooted in Christian assumptions. We presume that we live in a lawful, rational universe whose external rationality is mirrored in our own minds, presumptions nourished by Christianity.
Man is placed between two distinct domains of “the way we are” and “the way we ought to behave.” – D’Souza
If atheism were correct, Hitchens argued, “we would be in precisely the same place we are now” in considering what our duties are towards others and why we are here.
Hitchens then raised the raised the questions of why Christianity should be considered superior to other religions, such as Islam.
D’Souza replied by noting the disconnect between “the way things are” and “the way they ought to be.” This can be explained by supposing a chasm between the “human level” of existence and the “divine level.” In D’Souza’s view, Islam and Judaism hold that this chasm may be closed by mankind building a “ladder” to climb to God.
Christianity, however, declares this project “wonderful but impossible” by teaching that the chasm “has to be closed from the other side” through God entering the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
Hitchens then explained that he finds it “extraordinarily objectionable” to exclude the “occupant of the womb” from the human family.
Following the debate, CNA spoke with Father Augustyn. He said it was an “excellent debate” with both speakers doing “very well” on their positions. In his view, D’Souza countered and “unmasked” some of Hitchens’ “unfair” and “selective” comparisons of religions.
“At the same time, Christopher Hitchens is a formidable opponent. He’s very witty, very sharp, he makes good points, and he brings out audience participation. I don’t think his arguments hold water, but I think he is a good debater.”
Hinduism developed over a long period of time; although the religion is about 3,000 years old, some elements are much older. Hinduism is not based on the teachings or words of any one person. Although there have been many teachers within Hinduism, it has no single fundamental teacher and no prophets. Hinduism does not have one holy book that lays out tenets of the religion. It combines ideas from different cultures and periods.
In what ways does this make Hinduism different from other major world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism?