Beliefs, Concepts, and Elements of the Religion Thesis

Pages: 5 (1597 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … beliefs, concepts, and elements of the religion, including the essential elements of the Gospel in the religion. Judaism is one of the world's best-known religions, and Jews have a long history of their beliefs, and a long history of persecution for those beliefs. It is an interesting religion that helped produce the Old Testament of the Bible and continues to be a source of conflict and dissent in the Middle East, between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations. There are practicing and non-practicing Jews all over the world, and Judaism continues to be one of the most misunderstood religions in the world today.

Judaism, or the Jewish religion, has been around since the dawn of time. Initially, Jews were called Hebrews, and Hebrew is the name of their language, today. The religion is described in the Bible, and one of the most famous Bible stories concerns Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt to wander the desert for 40 years before they finally find their Promised Land. In fact, scholars believe the Old Testament of the Bible is based on Moses and was told to Moses after he found the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. A Jewish author writes, "God revealed the Torah - every word of all five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy - to Moses at Mount Sinai in a single revelation."

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Today, there are many different sects of Judaism, from Orthodox to traditional and others, just as there are many different sects in Christianity. The Jewish religion predates Christianity, and many scholars believe Jesus Christ was a Jew, born in Bethlehem and traveling throughout the area that is now part of Israel and other countries of the Middle East.

TOPIC: Thesis on Beliefs, Concepts, and Elements of the Religion, Assignment

The major beliefs and practices of the Jewish religion are quite different from some of the concepts of Christianity. Jews believe there is one God, who they often refer to as Jehovah or "YHVH," and only that one God can be worshipped. They believe God has no physical form or being, (their temples do not contain images of God or Jesus), and their Bible is called the Torah, it was revealed to Moses and came straight from God's mouth. They believe the Torah is "perfect" and that the traditional 613 laws of the Torah are binding and unable to be changed.

They also have the Talmud, which is a book of rabbinic discussions about Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. It is nearly as important as the Torah in Judaism, and in fact, it expands and clarifies rabbinical thought on the 613 laws of the Torah.

The religious leaders of their temples (also called synagogues), are rabbis and women can be rabbis in some sects of their religion. Their Sabbath is on Saturday, and it extends from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Jewish thought and salvation comes from studying the Torah and discussing it, and they do not have specific beliefs on the afterlife, salvation, and redemption, rather, the faith encourages personal views and thoughts on these subjects.

They celebrate Passover instead of Easter, and do not celebrate Christmas; rather they celebrate Hanukkah around the same time each year. There are special foods that go hand-in-hand with these celebrations, and Hanukkah includes lighting a candle in the traditional Menorah each night for eight nights, symbolizing the oil that continued to burn in the Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews regained it. Many traditional Jewish foods, like matzah balls, gefilte fish, bagels and lox, and challah bread have found their way into mainstream cooking, and many modern Jews do not follow the strict kosher laws of their ancestors. However, many others do follow the kosher lifestyle, which has strict dietary guidelines including eating no pork and eating only kosher foods that have been approved by rabbis. Many men of Jewish faith were the yarmulke, a small round hat that sits on the very crown of the head.

The Jewish religion varies from Christianity in one major way. Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, and some question whether he existed at all. They believe the Messiah has not appeared yet, and they are still awaiting his appearance. That is why they do not celebrate Christmas, because they do not believe in Jesus. They also have differing views on salvation and Heaven. One Jewish expert notes, "It is worth adding within the context of Messianism, that the Hebrew words geulah (redemption), hoshaa (salvation), and other similar terms do not carry the same theological implications as they do in Christianity."

Many Jews do not believe in salivation or an afterlife, while others believe in reincarnation. Some believe that they will attain an afterlife in Heaven with God, but it is not a central portion of their religion. Most believe that it is life that matters, more than what happens after life.

In the Jewish religion, many of what are considered essential elements of the Christian Gospel simply do not exist. Jesus is not considered the savior, they do not believe in salvation as such, and they do not recognize the individual's need of a savior, although they do believe that someday, a savior will appear to them. As for man's sin, they do not usually use the word sin, and instead they talk about "faltering" or "moving away from the path." They believe in personal responsibility rather than atonement, and they believe the last thoughts of the day should be of God, rather than sin or atonement.

In the Jewish religion, God is the most important being and the giver of life to all people, men and women alike. He (or she, there is no gender specification), sees all and oversees their conduct and behavior, as well. The Talmud reiterates the laws regarding behavior, ethics, and spirituality, and the people are supposed to live by these laws. Another important aspect of their religion as it related to traditional Christian Gospel is that they do not recognize the New Testament. They recognize the Old Testament as the Christian equivalent of the Torah, but since they do not believe in Jesus, they do not recognize or acknowledge the New Testament of the Bible.

It is not so much that the Jewish religion has objections toward the gospel and Christians; it is that they simply do not believe it. They believe far differently than Christians do, and so, their religion is seen as different and often misunderstood. Many people think that Jews think they are "better" than other religions, but in fact, they believe that everyone is the same in God's eyes, and if they are "special" in any way, it is because they chose to accept the Torah as the word of God.

They believe God offered it to others who declined, and that they are "chosen" because they chose to accept. Jewish expert Rosen continues, "The word 'religion' does not feature in the Bible. If religion is defined as a system of beliefs then Judaism may well fail the test because behaviour counts far more than commitment to a particular credo (which in itself is a controversial issue in Judaism)."

Jews believe their actions are extremely important, and that they can gain a measure of knowledge and "salvation," of a sort, by religious prayer, reading the Torah, and living a good and decent life.

It is important to remember that there are several sects of Judaism, and they do not all share exactly the same beliefs, although the core beliefs are the same. The Orthodox Jews are the most traditional of the Jews, and still believe in some older concepts of God, responsibility, and spirituality, while the Conservative Jews are "middle-of-the-road" Jews, somewhere between the traditional Orthodox and the more liberal Reform Jews. They all believe that the Messiah is still to come. Some… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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