Question for Christians, Muslims and possibly Jews.

(23 Posts)
sashh Mon 12-Nov-12 07:14:46

OK, right from the start I'm an atheist, so this, for me, is 'how do thay account for that?'. But I really am interested.

OK so all three share the same belief that God created the earth and everything / everyone else.

So why did he only reveal himself to a small group of people in what was then, Judeah?

I can understand the point of view that Jews were 'chosen people', so I can understand a god that picks out a certain group. But there were people in Africa, Asia, America, Australia who he just left to their own devices.

And in a similar vein why did God dictate the Koran to only one person? (unless I am wrong here, I appologise if I am).

I realise I am coming to this from an earthly and human point of view, but if I had all that power I'm sure I'd be dictating laws / rules simultaneously on different continents.

I sincerely hope I have not offended anyone, my appologies if I have, it was not my intention.

DownTheRabidHole Mon 12-Nov-12 07:40:23

God did not choose the Jews, they chose him.

He contacted peoples and they rejected his "rules", the peoples we now know as Jews accepted.

The Koran is just the Torah with knobs on and presumably you've heard of Jesus.

sieglinde Mon 12-Nov-12 12:32:53

Like the song in Jesus Christ Superstar - why'd you choose such a backward time in such a strange land? grin

The Holy Land is actually a kind of liminal place, a crossing point between Europe and Asia, between Europe and Africa. It's both obscure and central. It's a good choice of place to send a single messenger. But also its part of God's choice that neither the Jews nor Jesus were/are successful in worldly terms.

Xtians in the era when the new World was discovered also worried about the way God had seemingly neglected the new World peoples. But I don't think any Peoples of the book now would say they are doomed to hell through innocent lack of knowledge.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a Mormon), we believe that Jesus went and visited many other people when he was on Earth and we take the Book of Mormon to be a record of one such instance. We believe that he also visited other people across the globe. John 10:16 is a biblical scripture that refers to this.

We do believe that only one Prophet at any time can hold the keys to revelation but that this is supported by witnesses (we have a modern day prophet with 12 apostles) who would concur to any revelation. This is to help prevent any dilution and confusion to the truth (Chinese whisper affect).

That is what I understand my church teaches on the principles you have asked about.

Hope it helps.

nailak Mon 12-Nov-12 16:31:20

In Islam there were 124000 prophets, messengers were sent to all people at all times. Muhammad peace be upon him is the last Prophet sent to all people for all time.

In the Quran not all prophets are mentioned by name, only around 36 or something.

There are also places which had more then one prophet at one time, like moses and aaron, yahyah and jesus and so on.

The Quran was sent down to one person but then mass transmitted to many.

nailak Mon 12-Nov-12 16:35:42

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Mumin verse 78: We did aforetime send Prophets before thee (O Mohamed (saws)): of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 13 Surah Raad verse 7: And the Unbelievers say! "Why is not a Sign sent down to him (Prophet Mohamed (saws)) from his Lord?" But thou (O Prophet (saws)) art truly a warner, and to every people (We have sent) a Guide.

headinhands Mon 12-Nov-12 20:46:43

Just say astronomers discovered a planet with intelligent life that we could only communicate with via radio. It would make sense to communicate clearly that our message was for everyone. It would be nonsensical to communicate with different peoples under a different name and with different sentiments. It would also be logical to make sure your message was distinguishable from other existing 'religions' otherwise you wouldn't be able to hold individuals who rejected your message accountable.

headinhands Mon 12-Nov-12 21:17:50

Okay my post is a bit muddled but the gist is that a superior extraterrestrial would foresee the stupidity of communicating with separate groups at different times under different names when said people have a propensity for killing each other over differences.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Mon 12-Nov-12 21:39:51

Seconding DowntheRabbitHole - Judaism views the Jewish people as a nation of priests partially because Avraham, and later the entire nation at Sinai, chose God. The story goes that the Torah was offered to others and rejected, but the Jewish nations said they would do regardless (though another story has a mountain over their heads). The other nations aren't left out (who would the Jewish people be a priest to if they were?) as the Noahide laws were given to Adam and Eve (and later Noah and Naamah) which were passed down, explaining how some concepts are found in pretty much all cultures. That is why Gentiles who follow Judaism are called Noahides, we follow the Noahide laws (and a Noahide who studies and follows the law devoutly can gain the same merit as a High Priest, they are equal intertwined paths which would rely on each other in paradise world). That part of the reason against conversion - there is no need to convert when everyone is included anyway.

(Also, to nitpick, Judea comes later when Israel split into 2 nations due to internal strife, at the time of Sinai it was Canaan).

He contacted peoples and they rejected his "rules"

<curious> where is this stated please? I mean, where (in which Holy Books) are we told that the Inuit and the Xhosa and the Celtic tribes of Northern Europe etc conciously chose to reject the "rules", and the Jews were the only guys to sign on the dotted line?

I should ask DS who is doing A level RS but he has an important appointment with Halo 4 ATM.

Sorry, X-posts there, but question still stands. 'Tis all phrased v. obliquely and just sounds like a big get-out clause.

"We DID send someone round, but you must have been out when we called... "

nailak Mon 12-Nov-12 22:09:36

head in hands I sort of get what you mean,

however say a message was sent to a peopl 4000 years ago in Australia, or in India, or in Africa, the message would not have spread really would it. and the problem you have described is solved by Quran really?

sashh Tue 13-Nov-12 07:12:01

Thank you all.

Been wondering the same since I moved out of Europe a few years ago.

Astonishing how ethnocentric we are about religion (even atheists).
There is whole big world beyond the Oural & the Tigrus which is to this day quite largely uninterested in the question.
By and large they are far more spiritual in these parts. Surely we acknowledge they had revelation too?

sieglinde Tue 13-Nov-12 09:54:25

Hi, Lapsed. I don't agree with the Mormon or Islamic view; what did you think of what i wrote?

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Wed 14-Nov-12 17:04:23

Lapsed: It's in the Midrash Avodah Zarah 2b, basically it explains that the Torah was offered to all the world, but the Jewish people were the only ones to accept them unconditionally (it told with certain groups demanding to see it beforehand and not liking x or y but the Jewish people saying they will do and then understand as God commands just as Avraham did) so the rest of the world retained the Noachide laws which were set from the beginning, and the Jewish people became priests to the nations and held to the higher standard of the Laws of Moses. There is also discussion in the Talmud about a mountain being held over their head at the time of giving the Torah (but accepting it voluntarily in the age of Esther) but many say this is hyperbole. Either way, the righteous of the nations are considered equal and the Gentile nations are considered essential and having important differences needed to bring the world to peace (which is why conversion is not seen as desirable or needed).

Sieglinde - I get what you are saying about "liminal places" - am currently wrestling with tough old essay on 'Scientific Thought in Islam during the Classical <ie Western Early Medieval> Period', so it's a concept I'm examining at the moment! confused

But also its part of God's choice that neither the Jews nor Jesus were/are successful in worldly terms

According to what creed? <interested>

sieglinde Thu 15-Nov-12 12:00:13

Hi, Lapsed. Your essay sounds great!

What creed? Worldly creeds. Well, political and financial success; that was what I meant.

The Jews were run over by a range of empires, and eventually kicked about completely by Hadrian. This wasn't because they lacked political ambitions, either. Jesus was the son of a tekhne, a poor craftsman, and he lived in a crap province in a rubbish bit of the Empire. He wasn't a Roman citizen, which is why he had hardly any legal rights; hell, he wasn't even a slave who might hope to be manumitted. He spoke and even prayed in Aramaic under pressure (Matthew), which probably implies that even his Hebrew was only that of am an of his own class. His followers and disciples were poor, too - poor fishermen and poor tax collectors (under Rome this was a kind of franchise) and he had few rich or powerful friends who could speak for him. After his death his followers were brutally persecuted, by Jews and Romans alike, and his chief disciples were judicially murdered, just as he had been. Ok, fast forward a thousand years and the RC church looks pretty established, but it didn't come from that; it was poor and broke and just plain weird when it began. Islam had a faster early success rate because it was a warrior creed, but it also had to fight constantly for survival.

crescentmoon Thu 15-Nov-12 12:11:36

"am currently wrestling with tough old essay on 'Scientific Thought in Islam during the Classical <ie Western Early Medieval> Period', so it's a concept I'm examining at the moment!"

Jim Al Khalili, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Al-Khalili, did a BBC 3 part documentary series on Science and Islam about the same period you are reading - 8th-14th century AD.

After watching it i realised how ethnocentric the term Dark Ages was to describe that period of human history just because Europe was in its medieval stage.

Part 1 The Language of Science

Part 2 The Empire of Reason

Part 3 The Power of Doubt

to my sisters id say watch the last 10 minutes of part 3 then start watching from the beginning. from that you will realise why you never heard or got taught this before.

sieglinde Thu 15-Nov-12 13:19:09

Crescentmoon, thanks for these links. I revere the Abbasid caliphate grin. Islamic scholarship was literally centuries ahead of the West.

crescentmoon Thu 15-Nov-12 15:05:36

thanks sieglinde. can we imagine how we stand today if Newton said of himself in the 18th century that "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." and some of those muslim scientists were also building on the great works of the ancient greeks and hindus. our knowledge today is based on millenia of human knowledge and experience.

as for Jim Al Khalili himself he's an atheist and a theoretical physicist who has done quite alot of programmes on science for public understanding, mainly physics shows. the most recent one was for the BBC last month on Horizon: order and disorder....

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ynyl7

feb 2012 bbc:

Hunt for Higgs

juule Fri 16-Nov-12 22:58:33

Crescent moon thank you for posting those links. Not watched them yet but think they look very interesting.

Hi ladies, I have a book by Jim Al Khalili which I'm using a a core text for the essay. Many many thanks for the YouTube links - I love the fact we can reference documentaries in academic essays nowadays! <old gimmer emoticon>

Using the term "Dark Ages" is a complete no-no for contemporary historians, unless they're being ironic smile.

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