Etiket arşivi: Judaism

Comparison Of The Living Religions 4

The Recognition of an Especially Sacred Community

The two most individualistic religions, Jainism and Buddhism, have organized their holy ascetics into a monkish order, Sangha or congregation; but women are regarded as inherently inferior.

Hinduism teaches that its whole hereditary caste system is a sacred institution as compared with the rest of the world, and that as compared among themselves the upper castes are successively the more holy.

Judaism – The synagogue is the place where people of equal standing meet together to pray without any need for an intermediary.

Christianity – The infallibility of the Pope, is a part of Roman Catholic doctrine.

Islam cuts clean across the common ideas of hereditary status, of social superiorities, and even of international exclusiveness by its insistence upon absolute submission before the one omnipotent world potentate, Allah, and upon active joining in his cause.

Turkmenistan, Koneurgenc.

Turkmenistan, Koneurgenc.

The Hope of a Universal Religion

The idea of becoming universal does not occur in the sacred scriptures of Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shinto and Taoism; and never to have arisen in their whole history.

In the case of Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism, the hope of becoming universal has been definitely dropped in their history.

In the case of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, the plan of becoming universal stands clearly commanded in their sacred scriptures, and was acted upon by the founder himself, and has been followed up actively in their later history, so that they have actually become international through missionary effort.

Nepal, Kathmandu.

Nepal, Kathmandu.

The Hopes and Fears of a Future Life

Hinduism and Buddhism teach that the present life is not worth continuing; although the future life is thus for most people a dread necessity, yet by various proper processes a person’s evanescent  miserable individuality may finally be extirpated  altogether.

Jainism teaches that immortality is inherently unavoidable, with ultimate residence in either heaven or in hell.

All four of the religions which originated in India teach the doctrine of transmigration, that by power of the law of Karma, a person’s soul becomes reincarnate after death in some other earthly body, according to his conduct in this present life.

Confucianism regards religion as consisting chiefly of proper ethical conduct, yet offers for the future only a ghostly kind of existence, without hope of heaven, without fear of hell, without consequences of any kind resulting from a person’s present manner of living.

Zoroastrianism and Islam teach an inescapable judgment scene, with rewards and punishments. A paradise with delights for the pious, and a hell with perpetual agonies of physical torments for the unsubmissive unbeliever. Zoroastrianism reduces the sensual features of heaven and hell to a minimum, and finally manages to eliminate all evil, but by means of an apocalyptic ceremonial.

Christianity contains a considerable variety of eschatological belief within the Bible, and also in its subsequent history. However, Christianity has taught uniformly that there will be a sure and just judgment for all mankind, when the good people will enter into the joy of closer fellowship with God, and when the wicked will suffer the terrible consequences of the seperation from God.

 

 

 

Comparison Of The Living Religions 1

The religions of the world have some features in common.

  • The belief in One Supreme Being,
  • The claim of divine incarnation,
  • The claim of a supernatural origin of the founder,
  • The claim of divine revelation,
  • The claim of an inspired scripture,
  • The report of miracles wrought,
  • The principle of the “golden rule”,
  • The recognition of an especially sacred community,
  • The hope of a universal religion,
  • The hopes and fears of a future life.

The Belief in One Supreme Being

This idea was repudiated by original Jainism and by original Buddhism. But in the later developments of both systems the founder was worshipped.

Judaism believed in one supreme worshipful God, Jehovah. After the period of the Exile the Jews were consistently monotheistic.

Confucianism teaches the beliefin one Supreme Being, designated either personally as Supreme Ruler or impersonally as Heaven. But Confucianism has limited the worship of this Being to only one person in China, the emperor, and only once a year, on the night of the winter solstice, December 22. Popular Confucianism encourages the common people to worship many spirits, both nature spirits and the spirits of deceased ancestors.

Zoroastrianism sets forth one cosmic power, which is supremely worshipful, Ahura Mazda. But this being is not supremely powerful, because there has always existed an opposing cosmic power, Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil. Furthermore, Zoroastrianism recognizes many other good spirits, subordinate to Ahura Mazda, yet deserving of worship.

Both Hinduism and Taoism believe in one supreme impersonal cosmic being, named Brahma and Tao, respectively, to be meditated upon, but not exactly to be worshipped. But in both religions the popular phases have been polytheistic, characterized by the actual worship of many deities.

A definite belief in and a worship of one supreme cosmic power by all people, can be found in only four religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. These four religions agree as to the oneness of God.

The Claim of Divine Incarnation

The idea that deity can become incarnate is found in several religions, but with various settings and applications.

In philosophic Hinduism, ever since the period of the Upanishads, every object may be regarded as a temporary manifestation or embodiment or impersonation of the impersonal, non-moral, eternal Brahma, though the high cast Brahman priests are especially venerated as such.

In popular Hinduism there are several deities, who are believed to have taken the form of men. For instance, the god Vishnu, is believed to have entered upon several incarnations; the list varies from nine to twenty-two, but always includes animals. None of these Hindu avatars are represented as morally perfect, nor are they represented as manifestations of one supreme personal cosmic deity.

In Buddhism, despite its explicitly non-theistic basis, Buddha came to be regarded as a kind of incarnation, yet even so only as one of some twenty-four incarnate Buddhas, with a twenty-fifth still to come.

In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the unique incarnation, the Word of God.

In Islam, despite its dominant doctrine of the absolute transcendence of Allah, Shi’ism broke away from Sunni’ism on the issue of imams, divine incarnations. Some subsects among the Shiites differ concerning the exact number of still other incarnations, seven or twelve, and concerning the identity of the last one.

 

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany. The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius Photo:www.ibiblio.org

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany.
The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius
Photo:www.ibiblio.org

 

Islam 13

 

The act of repeating the name of Allah silently or aloud, in solitude or in a group, is known as Dhikr, which is an invocation or remembrance, and for the Sufi it is a means of experiencing a true sense of Allah’s presence. To achieve this sublime state, each Sufi tariqa (order) uses its own individual practices. The word ‘tariqa’ means “pathway” in Arabic. The Sufis’ shaikhs (or sheikhs) and pirs (religious leaders) began meeting together in the community in the 12th century. Every Sheikh can trace his genealogy back to the Prophet Mohammed; if he traces it back to the Prophet through Ali, his sect takes the name Alevi; if through Abu Bakr, his sect is named Bakri. The Sufi master is their role-model and the source of their knowledge. He is revered as a God-inspired teacher, and respected as a person through whom God’s blessing can be passed on to others. Today there are 70 different orders of Sufism, such as Alevi, Bektashi, Burhani, Khalwati, Madari, Mawlawi, Naqshabandi, Qadiri, Rahmani, Rifa’i, Shadhili, Suhrawardi, Tijani and many others, the largest brotherhoods today being the Qadiri and the Shadhili.

Some scholars divide into two the systems of thought governing the sects, according to whether they conform or contravene Islamic rules. With the passing of time, theories were developed which put their own interpretation on Islamic rules, defining the practices, principles and decrees of Sufism, and produced theories bearing the influence of beliefs and traditions from Ancient Greece, India, Iran, and of Judaism and Christianity. They arrived at theoretical ways for the transformation of human qualities into divine qualities. Certain Sufis, for instance al-Hallaj, emphasised the union of the soul with Allah to such an extent that they were impugned for maintaining that the soul and Allah were one and the same. In the year 922, al-Hallaj was condemned to death for stating, “I am the Truth”. Abd al-Karim al-Jili in the 15th century is credited with elucidating the concept of water as the symbol of God and ice as representing the creation, in their apparent differences and hidden identities. Yet another movement came to life which, developing from this line of thought, sought to balance these theories or to reinterpret them in the light of Islamic decrees, and resolved to give as much importance as possible to intelligence and reasoning. In the 12th century, al-Ghazzali, who was an important representative of this second movement, stressed the idea that although Islam was a monotheistic religion, it was not monistic, that is, the belief that all beings, God and soul included, are ultimately composed of a single substance. In a way, the belief in visiting shrines can be interpreted as a violation of Islamic tenets. Beliefs of this kind are supposed to have infiltrated the world of Islam through mysticism (tasawwuf) from the religions of ancient India and from Christianity.

The main methods of training for the Sufi orders are penance and Dhikr. Although fundamentally the same, depending on the tariqa they bear dissimilarities in form. Candidates for the Dervish brotherhood undertake a fast for varying periods, the most common being forty days. During this time, the Dervish candidate renounces wordly pleasures, begins a life of strictest abstinence and spends his time in prayer, invocation, strife against sexual desire and assessment of his life. The life of the hermits is an example of the Muslim mystical ideal, which is to transcend all that alters and degenerates, in order to reach unchanging eternity. A symbol of Sufi endeavour to attain union with the divine is known as the Simurgh.

Each order has its own special costume, such as cloak, belt or crown. A Sufi training centre is named zawiya, or tekye -a lodge, or khanqah- a kind of seminary.

In many of the Sufi orders, team dancing is practised. Muslims generally steer clear of music because it excites the senses, but in the mystical Sufi brotherhoods music has always been highly regarded. They customarily play musical instruments, such as the pipe, the tambourine and the lute, and usually Sufi music includes vocal or choral compositions, using the notation and scales of profane music. Hymns are sung in nearly all Sufi orders. Sufi thought is of great importance in Islamic history. Some of the best examples of Sufi literature are Sufi love poems, written in Arabic, Persian, Turkish or Urdu.

İnanç Dosyası 49 | Judaism 17

Chagall Windows Famous Jewish artist Marc Chagall designed the 12 stained glass windows of the synagogue at Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem. The set depicts the twelve tribes of Israel. As this is a place of worship, photography is not permitted. But  the gift shop next door sells postcards. The windows were installed February 1962. Chagall agreed to the project, promising to complete the windows free of charge. Each window is 11 feet tall and eight feet wide. Once unveiled, the windows were immediately heralded as a success. They have been on exhibit at the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and are still a major point of attraction in Jerusalem. Reuben (light blue) “Reuben, you are my first-born.  My might and first fruit of my vigor.  Exceeding in rank   and exceeding in honor.  Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer.”

Chagall Windows
Famous Jewish artist Marc Chagall designed the 12 stained glass windows of the synagogue at Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem. The set depicts the twelve tribes of Israel. As this is a place of worship, photography is not permitted. But the gift shop next door sells postcards. The windows were installed February 1962. Chagall agreed to the project, promising to complete the windows free of charge. Each window is 11 feet tall and eight feet wide. Once unveiled, the windows were immediately heralded as a success. They have been on exhibit at the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and are still a major point of attraction in Jerusalem.                              
Reuben (light blue)
“Reuben, you are my first-born.
My might and first fruit of my vigor.
Exceeding in rank
and exceeding in honor.
Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer.”

 

Simeon (dark blue) “Simeon and Levi are a pair;  Their weapons are tools of lawlessness..  Cursed be their anger so fierce,  And their wrath so relentless.”

Simeon (dark blue)
“Simeon and Levi are a pair;
Their weapons are tools of lawlessness..
Cursed be their anger so fierce,
And their wrath so relentless.”

Levi (bright yellow) “Your precepts alone they observed,  And kept Your covenant.  They shall teach Your norms to Jacob  and Your instruction to Israel.”

Levi (bright yellow)
“Your precepts alone they observed,
And kept Your covenant.
They shall teach Your norms to Jacob
and Your instruction to Israel.”

Judah (dark red) “You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise;  Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes..  Judah is a lion’s whelp..  The sceptor shall not depart from Judah.”

Judah (dark red)
“You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes..
Judah is a lion’s whelp..
The sceptor shall not depart from Judah.”

Zebulon (light red) “Zebulon shall dwell by the seashore;  He shall be  a haven for ships.”

Zebulon (light red)
“Zebulon shall dwell by the seashore;
He shall be a haven for ships.”

Issachar (green) “Issachar is a strong-boned ass,  Crouching between the saddlebags,  When he saw how good was security,  And how pleasant was the country,  He bent his shoulder to the burden.”

Issachar (green)
“Issachar is a strong-boned ass,
Crouching between the saddlebags,
When he saw how good was security,
And how pleasant was the country,
He bent his shoulder to the burden.”

Dan (blue) “Dan shall govern his people..  Shall be a serpent by the road,  A viper by the path,  that bites the horses’ hells...”

Dan (blue)
“Dan shall govern his people..
Shall be a serpent by the road,
A viper by the path,
that bites the horses’ hells…”

Gad (dark green) “Gad shall be raided by raiders,  But he shall raid at their heels.”

Gad (dark green)
“Gad shall be raided by raiders,
But he shall raid at their heels.”

Asher (olive green) “Asher’s bread shall be rich  And he shall yield royal dainties.” “Most blessed sons be Asher...  My he dip his foot in oil.”

Asher (olive green)
“Asher’s bread shall be rich
And he shall yield royal dainties.”
“Most blessed sons be Asher…
My he dip his foot in oil.”

Naphtali (yellow) “Naphtali is a hind let loose,  Which yields goodly words.”

Naphtali (yellow)
“Naphtali is a hind let loose,
Which yields goodly words.”

Joseph (orange) “Joseph is a fruitful bought by a spring.  Its branches run over a wall.  Blessed of the Lord by his land.”

Joseph (orange)
“Joseph is a fruitful bought by a spring.
Its branches run over a wall.
Blessed of the Lord by his land.”

Benjamin (blue) “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;  In the morning he consumes the foe.” “Beloved of the Lord,  He rests securely beside Him.”

Benjamin (blue)
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he consumes the foe.”
“Beloved of the Lord,
He rests securely beside Him.”

 

İnanç Dosyası 48 | Judaism 16

Bene-Israel (Beni-Israel), native Jews of India claim “pure” Jewish descent although their language is Tamil and the women wear Hindu dress.  For many centuries, the religious customs of the Bene-Israel varied greatly from those of Talmudic Jews. In 1964 the Israeli rabbinate recognized the community as being Jewish.

This ancient community of Jews in India now numbers no more than 20,000 members. Shortly after the destruction of the second Temple in the 1st century CE, the Hindu ruler of the time graciously received some 10,000 Jews.

In 1968 the Cochin Synagogue celebrated its 400th anniversary by the presence of Indra Ghandi, Prime Minister of India.  It was a great day for Jews in India and abroad, who came in large numbers to take part in the celebrations. India – Kerala, Cochin Synagogue.

In 1968 the Cochin Synagogue celebrated its 400th anniversary by the presence of Indra Ghandi, Prime Minister of India. It was a great day for Jews in India and abroad, who came in large numbers to take part in the celebrations.
India – Kerala, Cochin Synagogue.

The arrival of Jews in India and the colonisation of Cranganore or Shingly dates from 72 CE, and results from their expulsion from Persia in the 5th century. From the 5th to the 15th centuries the Jews in Cranganore had an autonomous principality over which a Jewish Prince of their own choice ruled. Until recently a handful of Shingly soil together with a handful from the Holy Land was placed in every Jewish coffin. Even today, certain hymns sung in the synagogues, particularly on Jewish Holy days, are known as Shingly melodies. In 370 CE some 70,000 to 80,000 Jews landed on the coast of Malabar from Majorca, where their forefathers had been taken captive by the Roman Emperor Titus Vespasianus. After 1492, the number of Jewish settlers greatly increased because of the influx of Jews who had been driven out of Spain and other countries of Europe. In 1524, Jews were taking part in the pepper trade and so were attacked by the Moors, who burnt their houses and their synagogues. The Jews were forced to abandon their ancient settlements and escaped to Cochin, placing themselves under the protection of the Rajah of Cochin, a Hindu, who granted them a site on which to build a town and a synagogue. Thus, in 1567, Jew Town was built here, and subsequently the Cochin synagogue in 1568. Then followed 160 of the darkest years in the history of the Malabar Jews, during the occupation of Cochin by the Portuguese. When, in 1661 the Dutch arrived in Cochin, Jews enjoyed a greater prosperity for 132 years under the Dutch. By 1685 there were four synagogues and 128 families residing in Cochin. Then in 1795, the British took over and under them the Jews continued to prosper. The old Jewish settlement in China under the Hung Dynasty was an off shoot of the Malabar Jews.  Then when the State of Israel was founded, emigration began on a large scale, for the first waves of which the main incentive was religious sentiment. Further incentives were the opportunities for employment and the need for partners in marriage.