Sunday, December 6, 2009

Huston Smith Assignment 1

1. In Judaism what is the meaning in history?

In Judaism history is important because it allows change in religion and lifestyle that people lived. They believe that the context of a person’s life significantly affects how they live and that they should work together to bring about change. Also, in Judaism, history is viewed as a series of lessons that people should learn from such as the Babylonian exile. Also, history is important because it makes life’s events different and unique and a person should not pass up an opportunity because he or she will never have the opportunity again because God does intervene at crucial moments in history and offers opportunities to those who are faithful to him. Judaism was surrounded by many nature based polytheistic religions, and these religions focused on keeping things the same because people were afraid that a god could get upset and throw everything into chaos, they did not think about making things better, just preventing them from getting worse. In Judaism, history is more of a relationship between what actually is happening and what could be happening, which is the reason that history creates a way to change a person’s lifestyle if they do not agree with it.

2. In Judaism what is the meaning in Morality?

In Judaism, morality is important because society would not function without basic moral standards that everyone lives by. These rules only exist for humans because they are controlled in animals from instinct, but humans need guidelines so they can all function peacefully together. In Judaism the basic moral rules are the Ten Commandments, and they create the structure of a society. The Ten Commandments cover different rules in the four main areas that need to be controlled in order for humans to coexist; force, wealth, sex, and speech. There are various rules for each of these areas, which create a structured society that does not fall into chaos if these rules are followed. Also, one of the most important qualities of the Ten Commandments is that they are universal and are not specific to just one situation and are more of a foundation for morality in Judaism.

3. In Judaism what is the meaning in Justice?

In Judaism, justice is important because it is the root of political stability for a society. The most important historical figures of the pursuit of justice in Jewish history are the prophets, who speak the word of God. There were three stages of the development of the prophets; the first stage was the prophetic guilds, which focused more on losing self consciousness, the second stage was of the pre-writing prophets who began to focus on ethics, and the third stage was the writing prophets, who focused on the ethics of society as a whole. The pre-writing prophets would focus on one person, while the writing prophets would focus on creating ethical change for the entire society. They created political stability by demanding the same rights for everyone because they believed that if everyone was a child of God, then they all should have the same rights. The prophets came from different backgrounds, but all lived in a society that was in danger because of its injustice and they used the word of God to create change and therefore political and social stability.

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