Monthly Archives: December 2014

#10 Life based doctrines

We are nearing the close of our little “primer” on Universal Judaism and what are its pragmatic advantages.

 

The critical issues which Universal Judaism has handled so far is:

 

  1. The idolatry of so-called “revelation”
  2. The idolatry of so-called “religious authorities”
  3. The idolatry of religious scripture and its authority
  4. The conflict between so-called “religious thinking”

and so-called “rational thinking”

  1. The conflict between individual self-expressions and

group norms, as a criterion of “morality”.

  1. The conflict between “faith” and real, proven

knowledge; religion and science.

  1. The way to re-ignite the spiritual purpose of Israel and

all those who follow the path of Universal History.

  1. The problem of “proof” of God.

 

That’s  a lot.  And now, let’s finish up with Principle #10. Principle #10 could be said to be a summary of everything prior. First, let’s review Principles #1-9, so far:

 

  1. Universal Judaism is Truth-based

 

  1. Universal Judaism is non-idolatrous

 

  1. Universal Judaism avoids polarized thinking

 

  1. Universal Judaism values individuality

 

  1. Universal Judaism is primarily a “living morality” and most, secondarily, a legal “system”.

 

  1. Universal Judaism is not faith-based but knowledge-based.

 

  1. Universal Judaism provides direct experience of Providence/Grace.

 

  1. Universal Judaism produces that experience called “God”.

 

  1. Universal Judaism can breed or re-breed a nation (or nations) of teachers to transform the world.

 

And now, Principle # 10:

 

  1. Universal Judaism perpetuates a Life-based doctrine, both formal and flexible, without heavy-handed authoritarianism.

 

Universal Judaism is Life-based!  This means it is not based on abstract thinking, with theories that may or may not be true. If we have a “theory” called “God”, which frankly, that’s what “God” is, because God is not provable to actually exist or not— then such a theory must produce “good” in real, human life, or, it makes no difference whether the theory is true or not.  We may have an “experience of God”, or good, but, we cannot know God beyond our experience of God.

 

So, it is Life that is the criterion of truth, not theory!  Theories may be proven true or false in Life. But, theories are not themselves Life!

 

In other religions, where it is assumed, for example, that God can speak to one person perfectly, and therefore, authority is absolute, this has some very dangerous consequences for life and freedom. Even if this assumption is true, Universal Judaism would not respect it. It does not serve Life.

And God, if God has any meaning at all, must be the Life of all life.

 

It is the nature of life to have lines, such as species, sexual differentiations, the requirements of air, food and water. It is also the nature of life to have flexibilities:  species that can interbreed;  intermediate sexual states, air-through-water (for fishes), “food through air” (like “breath-airians”)  or water through food (which we all get.)

 

Because it is the nature of life to have formalities that are flexible, and flexibilities that cannot get too flexible, but must work within formal lines— it is absolutely insane to have any spiritual perspective that is either too flexible or too formal.

 

Look around you at all the different denominations of any religion, and all you will see is the same thing:  Some too flexible, to excess. These are balanced by some too formal, to excess. Then, there are a plethora of denominations in between which vary formality and flexibility to varying percentages.

 

It is obvious to a Universal Jew, who is OBSERVANT— not in the traditional sense, but in the more scientific sense— that if there is a spectrum of denominational variations that follow a pattern that is common, that there is a problem that is producing the exact same pattern.

 

And that problem is that the human mind is incapable of absolutely knowing, in perfect, un-inspired rational way, the correct balance of flexibility and formality that is built into the very design of existence and Life.

 

We may attempt to formulate that, measure that, but we cannot. Said another way, we are not idolators!!  We do not substitute our proofs of truth for Truth Itself.

 

Oh, of course, we may discern and ascertain certain “laws” or “relatively fixed

relationships” in nature, and we can formulate this was with precision, such as E=MC2. But, we cannot formulate the entirety of the relationship, only a skeletal outline. Indeed so many “mathematical entities” were ignored in the proof, because they were either “meaningless” or “relatively small”.  Our human law in this sense is an excellent “approximation” of the True Law, which is beyond our ability to discern completely.

 

Religious laws are like this, too.

 

So, heavy-handed authoritarianism is not justifiable. Heavy-handed authoritarianism is a form of idolatry that paralyzes human conscience and the human quest for Truth in Freedom.

 

And, I remind you, that both Truth and Freedom might be said to be “synonyms”

for God:  God is the Essence of All, i.e. TRUTH— which is Unlimited, Unrestricted, Unbounded, except by Itself, which IS Freedom.

 

We are approaching the holiday of Chanukah, when the Hasmoneans refused that insane excess of Hellenistic culture and style, which worshipped the visible. Sure, we could wear Greek clothing and wrestle in gymnasia—- but, replace the Invisible God with a visible God? THAT was overboard, and we rebelled, and won!

 

We need to remember this, when one wonders why anyone should bother putting forth yet another view of Judaism.

 

Let’s also remember— since Universal Judaism is open to all faiths or no faiths

—- that we are approaching Christmas, when it is believed that a New Light came to inspire people who had become lost, ecclesiastical authorities that became entrenched, and legal systems, both religious and so-called “secular” that had become contaminated.

 

This too–  without the idolatries of God being actually Man— might be considered inspiration for Universal Judaism.

 

Happy holidays to everyone, if you celebrate them. And if you do not, that’s o.k. too.

 

Remember, the Light of Knowledge is not our knowledge itself. There is always more knowledge. There is always more understanding. There is always more

relevation by God of new thoughts, new ideas, new understandings.

 

Never, ever, be locked in a box by a religion again.

 

Never, ever, be locked in a theology by some clergy again.

 

Never, ever, be locked in a “book” by some religious teachers or pundits.

 

It’s against God!

 

Well, at least as Universal Judaism understands it.

 

Don’t agree?  I’m happy to converse!!  We’ve got a blog going.  Why not open a conversation?

 

Blessings to all.

 

 

Rabbi Michael Shevack