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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Wednesday, August 10

The 7 Laws of Noah

As part of trying to understand the difference between fanatical religious beliefs and mental illness, I've been reading a bit about religious beliefs - particularly Jewish. I've always been curious about learning more about the religion because I've heard some things about it that sounded very different from Christianity. It seemed more "intellectual" and I liked that there was no evangelizing.

In this reply to a question about conversion, the rabbi mentions that part of the reason people are not encouraged to convert is because it's not necessary to get to heaven. ...any human being who faithfully observes the "7 Laws of Noah" earns a proper place in heaven

A quick search on the 7 laws led me to How To Keep the 7 Laws of Noah

According to this leaflet, "The Rebbe has called on all the people of the world to abide by these seven laws and all their ramifications." The Laws are:

Do not worship idols.
Do not blaspheme.
Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not commit immoral sexual acts.
Do not be cruel to animals.
Maintain justice.

They seem either a bit vague or aren't what I would consider the most important moral ideas to promote. I'd like to develop what I think of them in more detail as a sort of thought puzzle for myself. For now, I'll start on the first one.

Do not worship idols. I wouldn't think it wise to worship anything. An idol could probably do you less harm, though, than a misplaced belief in a supernatural deity. I suppose it could mean to not worship the deity the idols are meant to represent. If I could add that a bible, book, god, or even a system of beliefs is an "idol", I'd think it was good advice. I don't think that's what was intended by whoever wrote this down and ascribed it to a god, but, sometimes, I think a mediocre idea with a slight change can turn out to be a good idea.


Anonymous said...


For a great take on Idols (and to have your head a little tampered with) have a look at Owen Barfield's book "Saving the Appearances".



MC said...

I'm not quite sure what you mean by evangelizing, but if you are referring to the extreme evangelical faith -- those who bounce off walls, speak in tongues, and convulse on the floor -- it is a religion that I don't fully understand. It certainly isn't my type of faith. But I'll let anyone practice their religion of choice; I'm not one to condemn any religion.

Funny thing is, if the pilgrims had witnessed this sort of behavior (extreme evangelism), they would have called it Witchcraft.

Becky said...

About Judaism, I meant that rather than looking to convert people, the rabbis actually discourage conversion and do not actively try to "spread" their religion to non-Jews.

MC said...

I see I misinterpreted your point. Thus:

I feel there is a lot of validity in your point. Many religions could learn a thing or two from Judaism -- with respect to missions and "converting Pagans".