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| MESORA |
Are All Religions Correct?
A discussion with a 10-year-old
RABBI MOSHE BEN-CHAIM
I wrote this article in very simple English and quite quickly, as a needed and timely response to a student’s opinions. The ideas, I feel, are relevant to us all, especially those uninitiated with Judaism’s tenets. The student needed to be spoken to in this simple and repetitive manner, in order to drive home very basic points. I start this article writing in response to my last discussed point...
We discussed whether all religions are “correct”: Is it correct for a Christian to follow Christianity? Is it correct for a Muslim that he follows Islam? This would also mean that it is not correct for a Christian to follow the Muslim religion (a problem for a person who converts).
Let us be clear: What makes a person a “Christian” or a “Muslim”? Being born to parents who follow the Christian religion does not make a person Christian. Because, if the child learns of another religion and then chooses to convert, he will not be Christian. Our ideas and our actions after we are born change us. A person chooses his religion, it’s not inherited: being born in his religion can be changed. Religions say it is OK to convert. This means that all religions say how you are born is not what makes you that religion. We have proved that a person is not born as a Christian or as a Muslim, but he is born as a man or woman. Religion comes later. How a person chooses to live is what makes him either Christian, Muslim, or any religion. To say, “Who is born Christian should follow Christianity” is not a correct statement. So how should we choose which religion to follow? I will answer this later on.
Another problem is that every religion believes that their religion is the correct religion. This means that every person in Christianity believes that Islam is a wrong religion. Every person of the Muslim religion feels a Christian is wrong for being Christian. This means that each religion says there is only one true religion. If we explain this statement, it means that each religion believes that they have the true religion that God wants all people to follow.
Belief is Not Proof. Proof is Superior to Belief.
What explanation do the religions use to prove their positions? Religions, other than the Jewish religion, believe the words of a single man, saying that God spoke to a single man. For example, Christianity says that Jesus told many other people that God said to follow his new religion. Other people say, “What proof do you have that God came to you?” Jesus had no proof that God spoke to him, so he told the others, “You must believe me. I have no proof, but believe me that I have heard the word of God.” So people will believe him, or they won’t believe him, as they have no proof to decide either way. This is the story of all other religions: they are created from the words of a single person. Other people who like this new religion follow this person. After many years, this religion grows, until they have millions of followers. This is how Christianity, Islam and all other religions grew. We see from this example that a religion can become very popular and have millions of followers, even though it is not based on any proof. Does it make sense to follow a religion without any proof? Well, the same question may be asked differently: Shall I trust my body to a doctor if there is no proof for his medicine? This makes no sense. So too, I will not trust my soul to a religion, when the religion has no proof that God made it.
Numbers of “Followers” Later on is No Proof. But Numbers at an “Event” is Proof.
It does not matter how many people follow a religion. Numbers of followers cannot prove if a religion is true. A “true” religion refers to a system that God designed for people to follow. There must be proof that God gave that system. But be clear on this point: Even though numbers of followers is not a proof for the truth of an “idea,” numbers can prove an “event” happened. If I see one million people who today are following the Christian religion, this does not prove that original Christian “ideas” are really correct and made by God. All it means is that many people find Christianity appealing. However, if we find an event in history that had many witnesses, then we know 100% that this event really happened. It is impossible that a story with millions of witnesses is false. Any story in history where there were thousands and certainly millions of witnesses AT THAT EVENT, is 100% proof that this event really happened, no matter how long ago it was. Understand this point clearly: Numbers of “followers” later on is not a proof that what they follow really took place. But numbers of people at the original “event” is a proof that that event happened.
As an example, thousands of people met Julius Caesar, so we know for sure that he really existed. A story of Caesar would not have become accepted if he never lived. Nobody would accept or transmit such a story. An additional proof is that there is no other story about the Roman Empire for this time period. This rule is true for all other events in history: any intelligible event attended by masses proves this event happened, beyond doubt.
We Cannot Judge Judaism as False with no Torah Knowledge.
How does a person know if the Jewish religion and the Torah is right or wrong for all people, unless this person studies it and comes to a clear understanding? The truth is that without much study, a person cannot know this. Maybe after much study, a person will see that Judaism is the only religion given by God. This would mean that God wants man to have only one religion, Judaism. But how do we arrive at a proof that one religion is God’s choice for all people? We already showed that all religions feel that all others are false. So all religions are not all right. Only one can be correct, only one is the real religion that God gave man. How do we prove which one it is?
Can we use proof to select a religion, or are we not to use proof? Are we just to “feel” what is in our heart, and follow these feelings? Do we always follow what our fathers teach us? Can our fathers be wrong? What if two people feel two different things in their heart, are they both right? If your father tells you to be free, and my father tells me to follow the Jewish religion, they cannot both be right. Who is right? How do we decide? How do we prove which is the religion, God wants man to follow?
If we say that simple belief is an acceptable way of following God, then any person can do this. For example, I can tell other people that God came to me in a dream and that I have a new religion. Am I any different than Jesus? Why should my religion be any less valid than Christianity? Jesus had his religion, and I have mine! So you might say that Jesus made miracles, and I did not. Well, there is no proof for his miracles; there were no witnesses. Also, there is no proof that Mohammed flew up to the sky. You see, we need to “prove” which religion is true.
Religion is not a matter of simple belief. It is a matter which, like any other story in history, requires a proof if we are to accept it as 100% true. How do we “know” truth? How do we prove which religion God gave to man? Also, how do we know that God wants one religion to be followed by all people?
Go did not make many types of people, we are all the same. We all have 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 head, 2 arms and 2 legs. Just like we are all the same in our body, we are also the same in our minds, and in our feelings. All people love, hate, and feel pain when our family members die. We all feel anger when someone lies to us, and most of all, we are all looking for happiness in life. Since all people are of the same design, this means what is good for one person, is good for all of us. All of our bodies, emotions and mentalities are the same.
We know that God made all people. Then God is the best One to ask direction for to be happy. If God tells us to follow one religion, He certainly knows best, and we would be foolish not to follow Him.
The Proof for Judaism and the Torah.
This is where we come to the proof that God gave the Torah to the Jewish nation on Mount Sinai. This event is the only time in all of world history when God made miracles in front of millions of people and told us there is one God and one religion: Judaism. It is a very simple and clear proof that we know 100% that God wants all people to follow the Torah. The story of the miracles God did on Mount Sinai in front of millions of Jews is not believed only by Jews, but all Christians also believe this story. Do you know why? All Jews were telling so many other people, this is why the true story of God giving the Torah spread over the whole world. If the whole world agrees that something in history happened, it must be true. It is impossible to make up a story that a mountain was on fire and a voice came from the mountain. If this story were false, no one would believe it! But the story really happened, so this is why everyone there told their children, and they told their grandchildren, and they told theirs, until today. Because so many people were there and saw all of God’s miracles. God ignited the mountain on fire. The world believes this history happened because the story says so many people were there. This is different from Christianity, which says, “believe” in Jesus. Christianity does not have an event where so many people were there. They have no proof. No other religion has proof.
Now that we know that God really gave us His Torah, we must look into it to see what He says will make us happy.
God also tells us in His Torah that all other religions are false. God says that praying to trees, praying to man, praying to animals, believing in magic, miracles or witchcraft are all false. God tells us that anyone who teaches something against Torah is false, and his religion is false. Well, Christians and Muslims teach against God’s Torah. They must be false. We are not to follow any religion except Judaism and Torah. Why did God tell us not to follow other religions? God said this because God knows that He made only one religion. That is all we need forever. God knows all of the future, so God knows that Torah is good always. One religion called Judaism and Torah has all the right ideas. If someone tells us something different than Torah, then we know he is wrong, because God is always right. There is no proof that God made the Christian religion or the Muslim religion. Since there is no proof, we do not follow them. But we must know that if God made one religion, then only one religion is needed. God knows how to put all the important ideas into one religion. God does not need more than one religion.
What does it mean to be good to others?
It is very important that we are good to other people. We must be interested in the happiness of others, and we are not just interested in ourselves. But we must think about this: What does it mean to be “good”? Many people feel they are doing what is good. But how can so many people have opposing values, but all these different things are considered good? For example, many years ago, the Christians killed innocent people during the Crusades. They thought it was good and important and was based on the principles of their Christian religion. But the people they killed did not think it was a good. So who has the right idea of what is good? Are the Christians right or are the families of the dead right? Who can make such a decision? If we say that killing is evil, then I have another question: If for example, a man named Thomas is being killed by a man named Jon, is it right for Thomas to kill Jon to protect himself? These questions make us think that there must be some rules that tell us when killing is bad, and when killing is good. Without rules and a way to decide, we cannot say if Christians are good when they kill, or if they are evil. This is a question not just on Christians, but on any people who kill. We must have some way to know if killing is evil or good for every situation.
Are we to arbitrarily imagine our own laws about when it is right to kill, and when it is wrong? This cannot work, because you will come up with one idea and I will come up with a different idea. It is for this reason that we cannot just live by a simple rule, “just to be good to everyone.” We must first think and learn about what is good.
The truth is, that a man or woman cannot come up with a law for what is “good.” This decision is not possible for us to make. In a discussion of good and evil, no one person can ever be more right than another, and there can never be an end to this question. But now that we proved that God exists, and that God made every man and woman, and God also made the Torah, we have an answer. God tells us in His Torah what is good and what is evil. We have a clear objective explanation. Without the Torah, we cannot know what is good and what is evil. Since God made every man and every woman, God is the only one with the right to decide when killing is a good, and when it is a bad. If someone wants to kill me, then he is evil, and I can kill him to protect myself. My killing is a good, because God said that man could protect himself. When the Christians killed so many people, they were evil, because God did not say that to be Christian is good. God said that to be Christian is evil, because a Christian will kill innocent people. The Christian religion has evil in it.
Just Being Good to Everyone is an Evil Thing to do
Judaism says we cannot kill anyone. But if a man wants to kill me and I am not evil, God says in the Torah that I can kill him to save my life. When I save my life, I am killing, but it is good to kill him so I can save myself. God also teaches us in the Torah that there are people who are so bad, that we must kill them. If we let them live, then they will kill others. So we must kill the bad people to save the good people.
But today, the world says we should not follow the Torah. Today, the world says we cannot kill the Palestinian people. But God says that we should, because they kill innocent people. So who do we follow? Do we follow the world, and just be nice to people? And then more Jews will die, or do we listen to G-d?
There is a clear set of rules that God made and gave to man and woman. God calls these rules “Torah.” God wants man to be able to make a decision that is best for everybody. But alone, man cannot decide what is best. Man needs God to teach us what is the true good. This is why I tell you that we cannot be simple, and think we have all the answers. We do not. We need the Torah that God dictated to Moses. With the Torah, we know what is good and what is evil. If we do not learn the Torah, we will make very big mistakes, and we will let people live who must die. And when we let people live who are evil, they will kill. So we must follow what God says because He knows what is best for all people.
Some nations free evil people for political reasons. But if we would follow what God says in the Torah, we would not let evil people free. When evil people are free, they will kill more Jewish children. Why do evil men go free? Because of politics. This is evil. God knows better than leaders, and God’s Torah says to kill evil men.
We see that in politics, if we do not listen to God, our politics will kill Jewish children. So even in politics, we cannot do anything if we do not use the Torah as our teacher. If we do not follow Torah, we will cause evil to ourselves. Even politics makes no sense without Torah.
The Torah is to help us in every area of our lives.
God did not say, “just be nice and good to everyone.” Torah is not that simple. Only if we learn the Torah, we will learn what is true. We will never know the whole Torah; this is not our job. This is too big for us to do. But if we learn a little each week, and even each day, then we will slowly learn what makes sense in every place in our lives. But if we don’t listen to God’s wisdom, then we will live a life with much pain and trouble. This is what God says in His Torah.
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