Thanks for being there while I worked through some of the chapters on the Universal Judaism book. It’s been titled, finally, Universal Judaism. Re-igniting
The Hebrew Spirit for Everyone in Today’s World.
I’ve posted it in the publications section of our website.NEW
Please feel free to print it out. (By the way, if you do like it, please remember we are a 501c, and you can get a hefty tax write-off, if you want to help.)
Now, I must tell you, I’m not so certain that this fits the bill of what I had in mind.
I had originally intended on creating a very simple primer. But I found in the course of writing this, that I had to work out many of the theological and historical and scientific problems which have been plaguing Jewish thought over the centuries, and clarify the differences. Sadly, these problems got passed into Christianity, and Islam, and into our Western culture.
I also felt compelled, as if by a force unseen, to help integrate some of the
differences of viewpoint in so-called Jewish denominations, as well as reach out to Christianity and Islam, sister viewpoints.
The result is quite a different book than I expected. It may be easily readable for some. For others, it might be difficult. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that I have
nailed some of the terrible problems that are making Judaism and spiritual-development in general problematic: Excess Biblicism, scriptural idolatry, false authority systems, ignorant philosophies with excessive revelationism, excessive obsession-compulsion and excessive fixed ideationalism.
Please read it therefore for the content, not for the fact that this is a “book”. I’ve
come to the conclusion in this age of sound-bytes, that it would be best for me to deconstruct the book, into multiple pamphlets, in order to teach in a more succinct, more easily communicable form.
This all aside, what is critically different about Universal Judaism, unlike other
perspectives, is that we do not consider God to be “there” and Creation to be “here”. We’ve discussed this before in other blogs. This leads to an insane disconnection between God and us, and then, one needs massive “revelations” such as an exaggerated “Torah” or “Jesus”– something to bridge the gap.
The Torah might be considered, as the early rabbis did, as The Blueprint of Creation, an actual “map” that God had in His mind, before He created the world. Obviously, this is pre-posterous, i.e. putting the pre before the post. And the same problem exists in the translations of the first chapter of John, in Christian scripture, where it seems that Jesus was there before Creation, i.e. before the earth, Jesus was already there.
In Universal Judaism, God is ALL. God is All Nature. Nature Itself. Divine
Nature, The Ultimate Nature. God is the Universe– meaning “The All Together”– The Universe containing any number of worlds and universes, known and unknown to us. God is the Totality. All Life. Life Itself. The Living God, to use the
Phrase of the Prophet Jeremiah (10:10)
We may use the word God or, as did Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza, we may also
say Nature (with a capital “N”) of which the earth is a nature, as is mars or the sun (with a lower case “n”). This Nature is living, i.e. it creates or evolves, continuously expanding and growing. That’s why we create and evolve!
This Nature is Creative! It possesses the capacity to create “newness”. Because of this, WE can be creative. Indeed, every plant and animal is, to some extent, creative, or evolution could not take place. But, human beings can concentrate that creativity, and make “something” new– as does God or Nature, That can create a new universe or world, never before existing.
The approach in Universal Judaism is not unlike the kind of “field theory” thinking by James Clerk Maxwell or Albert Einstein. We build into a “God concept” the qualities necessary for explaining anything that comes afterwards, so it is a more complete model. We do not need miracles that are beyond the laws of nature. The only miracles that exist occur according to the laws of nature, only that Nature is beyond our visible world and our narrow perspective.
And the astonishing thing is, that the more we work with this model, the more we
notice that all the fundamental teachings of classic Judaism, and the Bible, just seem to pop out with amazing clarity. All the laws of the Bible, become viewed not as austere commandments, but as aspects of the order of nature in which we live. When we live harmoniously with nature, we live in covenant upon the earth, obeying God’s order or command, both synonyms in English.
It is obvious in this model, that if we worship anything in nature other than the Totality of Nature AS God, then, we are an idolater. It is obvious that we will only receive a limited view of God, a limited power of nature, than the Entirety.
It is obvious too, that Nature has many natures included within it. It is a Nature of natures. It is a Life composed of all living. It is Elohim, a Singular God, which is a plural word. A Nature of many dimensions. A Reality of many realities. THE Existence of all existences.
The Universal Judaism view, ironically, turns out to be more authentic, than the
traditional viewpoint. But, warning: One thing is lost. Excessive authoritarianism and moral control.
Oh yes, one thing is lost: The disconnection between science and religion, between philosophy and biology, between so-called secular teachings and spiritual teachings.
God is restored to being ONE!!!! Religious authority is put in its place!
This model allows one to open up fully to the human spiritual experience of Oneness, of Unity, of Adonai Echad, the One Lord, our human personal, historical view of Totality!
Please read Universal Judaism, and let me know your thoughts. Again, I will probably break it down into little pamphlets in the future, but at least I’m satisfying some of the requests for more detailed knowledge.
Now that I’ve finished it, I’m going back, having adequately digested the complexity of the issues, and am writing the small, easy-to-read, simple primer, I had originally intended. I’ll post that too, once it’s done.
Thanks for your interest in a Hebrew perspective that MAKES SENSE: Universal Judaism.
It’s time for us all to take a leap!!!! Towards a better way to be Jews, Christians,
Muslims. A better way to be secular!!
The laws of God are built into Life!!! They are not, first and foremost, religious.
Be who you are. Believer or not believer. It doesn’t change Reality or Nature.
Blessings to all.
R’ Michael Shevack