Leaving Islam




Rebuttal: Born Again as an Infidel

Ivan M. Lang  

In her 4/20/2005 column on faithfreedom.org  Ms Eleanor Green provided her reasons for discarding her adopted religion of Orthodox Judaism for atheism. Unfortunately, Ms Green’s reasons were based on distortions and omissions of Jewish law, Halacha, and as such do not represent Orthodox Judaism.

Ms Green began her essay by suggesting that in Judaism “no matter what a monster” all Jews have a place in the World to Come (WtC) but “most Gentiles” do not unless “they follow an inferior religious system” that they never even heard of. She suggests that because of this Mother Teresa because of her belief in Christianity and Walt Whitman because of being a homosexual would not go to WtC, but Pat Robertson would even though he has taken money under false pretenses from the poor.

The truth is that Jews believe that Jews must follow 613 commandments and Gentiles only 7 to be worthy of the WtC. The seven laws Gentiles must follow are called the Noahite laws and although the specific laws are disputed most suggest they are no worship of idiols, no blashphemy, no murder, no robbery, no incest or adultery, no eating live animals and establishing a system of justice. Whether Gentiles have heard of these laws or not these laws are consistent and followed by all of the major religions of the world and even the great majority of people of the world. None of these laws would prevent Mother Teresa or any Christian from going to WtC and none of these laws say anything about homosexuality. No Jewish commentator or Rabbinical authority has ever included a ban on homosexuality in these laws. The Noahite laws do not even require a belief in G-d, therefore according to Judaism, even atheists like Ms Green have a place in the WtC.

Ms Green suggests continually in her diatribe that Judaism favors Jews in some way; but the truth is that it is far far easier to fulfill the 7 Noahite laws than 613 commandments. Surely the Jewish concept of law favors Gentiles over Jews as billions of Gentiles right now qualify for the WtC and they do not even know it.

Ms Green suggests something even more insidious and false. She writes that since Whitman and Mother Teresa transgressed one commandment that according to Judaism they are doomed to not be worthy of the WtC forever. Ms Green is confusing her former religion, Christianity, with Judaism. Judaism, in contrast to Christianity, does not believe in mortal sins. There is no one sin that prevents anyone from going to the WtC according to Judaism. Judaism believes that G-d judges us based on our entire life and he weighs the good with the bad. Proof of this clear from the Torah. Moses, Judaism’s greatest prophet, sinned by killing an Egyption guard, yet does Ms Green suggest that Jews believe that Moses cannot go to the WtC? In addition, Judaism believes that everyone has the opportunity to repent and be absolved of any sin. This is what the holiday of Yom Kippur is all about. What is the purpose of Yom Kippur if there are sins from which there is no possibility of redemption? However, repentance can occur anytime and one need not and should not wait for Yom Kippur to repent and repentance is fully open to Gentiles as well as Jews anytime and any place.

Ms Green also seems to not understand at all the Jewish concept of heaven and hell. Jews believe in hell, but according to Judaism one can only go to hell for a maximum of 11 months. Therefore,  even if at death one is not worthy of the WtC; the sins get washed away after spending an appropriate amount of time in hell not to exceed 11 months. Therefore, everyone no matter how sinful has a possibility for a place in the WtC whether Jew or Gentile. Moreover, while Ms Green may state that she knows who would or would not go to heaven; Jews and Judaism do not make such judgements about any human being as we fully acknowledge that we do not know the will of G-d or the hearts of men.

Ms Green continues to denigrate Judaism by suggesting that Orthodox Jews have “accomplished so little good for the betterment of universal mankind” whereas secular Jews like Einstein have accomplished so much.  This statement denies 4000 years of history. The entire system of jurisprudence of the Western World is based on the Torah concept of justice and law. The first systematic set of laws and a court system to adjudicate these laws with its basis of fairness regardless of position or influence or riches is spelled out in great detail in the Torah and these laws and precepts were adopted by Christianity and then the Roman Empire and then the entire Western world. There is no other system in the Western world which has brought more good to”universal mankind” than this system of jurisprudence. In addtion while I have no intention of denigrating Einstein, surely, Ms Green must recognize that Einstein's brilliance has resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 people in Japan . Brilliance and intelligence are good virtues, but are not immune to evil.

Ms Green acknowledges the great contributions to mankind of all of the great secular Jewish lawyers, doctors, and scientists. One-third of all Nobel prize winners are Jews yet they constitute a very small segment of the population. This cannot be by chance, so where did these traits come from to create these geniuses?  Since intermarriage was minimal among Jews before the 19th century and the only Judaism before the 19th century was Orthodox Judaism this means that the ancestors of every one of those brilliant Jewish Nobel prize winners was an Orthodox Jew and many of them Orthodox Rabbis. If Ms Green believes in the science of genetics, then she must acknowledge that these great scientists got their brains and brilliance from Orthodox Rabbis. And where did these Orthodox Rabbis get their genius from? For thousands of years Orthodox Jews developed their intellect and brains and brilliance through their religion in the form of intelligent religious discourse epitomized but not limited to the Talmud. It is clear that Ms Green has never read the Talmud or Maimonides, or Nachmonides or Rashi or the myriad of other brilliant Torah scholars who were the forefathers of those Jewish Nobel prize winners. The truth is that according to genetic theory, there would be no secular Jewish Nobel prize winners today without the brilliant Torah scholars of yesterday.

Finally Ms Green suggests that Judaism teaches that Jews should disrespect or dishonor relatives and friends by refusing to attend weddings of non Jewish friends or eating non-kosher food at the homes fo non-Jewish friends or other disrespect of our fellow human in favor of  the 613 commandments. Again, nothing could be farther from the truth. Judaism teaches very clearly that the laws governing relations between man and man supercede laws between man and G-d. In addition every Orthodox Jew is taught the famous story about Rabbi Hillel, one of the main Rabbis of the Talmud. He was asked to be told the Torah in a nutshell and he said that  the entire purpose of the Torah is the Golden Rule and everything else is commentary. There are very few situations in which an Orthodox Jew must chose between the 613 commandments and friendship or relatives, and if those situations arise they are very easily explained and compensated for by simply talking with the person involved. One can go to a wedding and not eat the non-kosher food and one can invite the friend to your house instead of going to his explaining to him that you value your kosher laws. No true friend would think ill of this; and I have many non-Jewish and non-religious Jewish friends for proof of this. 

Ms Green’s article exhibits either a profound ignorance of true Orthodox Jewish law or a deliberate falsification of those laws and therefore I am forced to doubt her integrity in this matter.

Related links 

  Born Again as an Infidel Eleanor Green 2005/04/20  

  Another Rebuttal: Born Again as an Infidel  Matthew Cohen 2005/04/22

  Born Again as an Infidel Eleanor Green 2005/04/22


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