Your question, “If G-d is omnipotent, why doesn't He clarify for us which religion is correct, once and for all, to stop religious wars?,” has been referred to me for a response.
Our ancestors saw in God both omnipotence and omniscience; these characteristics are clear in our reading of the events narrated in the Hebrew bible, and through the later lore of our people.Reform Judaism understands, throughout the history of Israel, that the nature of the relationship between the community of Israel and its God – or to be broader, between God and humanity – has evolved, and that God should not, today, be understood as ‘omnipotent.’
According to the 1937 Columbus Platform of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (http://ccarnet.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=40&pge_prg_id=4687&pge_id=1656), “the heart of Judaism and its chief contribution to religion is the doctrine of the One, living God, who rules the world through law and love. In Him all existence has its creative source and mankind its ideal of conduct. Though transcending time and space, He is the indwelling Presence of the world. We worship Him as the Lord of the universe and as our merciful Father.” [By the way, Reform Judaism understands that God has no gender; this concept entered the writings of our movement in the 1970’s.]This source is one example of many that brings forth, using positive language, the way in which we understand and relate to deity.
It is true that our view of the ‘sovereignty’ of God translates into worship, fealty, dedication to God’s purposes, and emulation of God’s actions to assist the world.But we understand that God does not interact with the world in the same fashion as described in the Bible.Nowhere do we recognize God’s omnipotence in our day.
In a way, the opposite is true:We believe that we bear the responsibility to be partners with God in the ongoing acts of creation, and the ongoing task of the repair of our world, actions that we call in Hebrew tikkun olam.Rather than humanity’s existing under the concept of God’s omnipotence, we believe that we are God’s agents and actors in the world, and that it is up to us to do the work of reducing human violence.This may prove to be an unsettling answer to some, but ultimately we believe that we must bear the responsibility for our world and for developing ways to change it for the better.
In a more recent platform (“A Statement of Principles of Reform Judaism” (http://ccarnet.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=44&pge_prg_id=4687&pge_id=1656), we state that “we continue to have faith that, in spite of the unspeakable evils committed against our people and the sufferings endured by others, the partnership of God and humanity will ultimately prevail.”
In this way, we accept the presence of evil in the world, and, at the same time, dedicate ourselves to working alongside God (in a figurative way, of course!) to eradicate the evil in our midst.
If God removed any doubt concerning religious truth, He removes our free will ability to choose and, almost by definition, makes us less than human because the essence of our uniquely human capacities and dignity is our ability to make ethical choices.
In that vein religious strife is an indication that many humans continue to make the wrong moral choice.
Also. I don't think Judaism sees itself as the only path to a meaningful life. A righteous gentile has a share in the world to come in Jewish teaching.
As such people should certainly be free to follow there own religious tradition as long as they respect others and grant them the same right.
Answered by: Rabbi --- Not Active with JVO Suspended
Any questions directed toward understanding God’s “consciousness”, so to speak, are difficult to answer. In my view God does not act as a typical third party, in the way a human being would. In fact, the very nature of God is unique, in that God transcends and unites humanity at the same time.
Yet, our tradition is firmly rooted in the concept of free will – the ability of the human being to choose his/her path. Our entire Torah is an attempt to persuade us to follow God’s commandments. There would be no need to persuade if God’s plan for the universe was to force us to follow the one correct path. We are made in the image of God and right from our creation we are commanded to be partners with God in determining the fate of our world.
In that regard, there are many strands within traditional Judaism that recognize that there are multiple ways of life that honor God. As a general rule, for example, we do not seek converts, nor do we theologically condemn members of other religious groups to some sort of “hell”. The meaning of the “Chosen People” is actually premised on the idea that we were chosen to follow the Torah as part of our particular covenant with God – no other people is bound by it in the same way. This also implicitly teaches us that others may have a different covenant with God that could be valid as well. There are many paths to the top of the mountain.
Violence is not a path sanctioned by Judaism to prove the truth of religion. While Israel may have to fight defensive wars in order to survive, violence in the name of religion has no place in this world. Yet, the responsibility for the cessation of such religious violence lies not at the “feet of God” but at our own feet. I pray that the world community will unite against it.
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