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Relig St 2H03

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Religious Studies

Introduction Definitions  Peace is an end; it is not the absence of war; it is the fullness of justice & equity, etc.  Anti-violence is a position; it is the rejection of violence, and lobbies for its reduction; it’s definition is ever changing because our understanding of violence is also always changing  Non-violence is an ethic/principle as well as a strategy; it is an ethic in the sense that it is a spiritual imperative; it is a strategy in how it applies to non- violent tactics o Non-violent tactics has to do with the strategic use of non-violence; it is the use of tactics to achieve specific social/political goal  Strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, public shaming, etc  There’s like a 180 tactics that can be used o There’s no word dedicated to non-violence, even though so many religions and cultures are dedicated to it; instead there’s always a focus on violence/harm  Ahimsa, means non-harm What Is Non-Violence? Descriptions of Non-violence  Gandhi: o To Gandhi, non-violence was not a tactic, it was a deeply held moral conviction which affected all his actions o “Avoiding injury to anything on earth, in thought, word and deed” o “The greatest force at the disposal of humanity” o He denied the concept of an enemy and believed in the use of non- violence as both a means and an end; he believed using it would call forth the greatest courage  If the means are violent, then it only sows the seeds of more violence o Gandhi wrote a lot, especially about non-violence, and used it as a way to spread his message  He regularly went to jail for civil disobedience, and it was during this time that he wrote  Martin Luther King Jr.: o “Non-violence is the right and good use of power” o He believed it was a ‘potent weapon’ for social and collective transformation, based on love and renunciation of violence  It “means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”  It’s the idea that violence begins on thought  Connection to Jainism: Gandhi was influenced by it, and MLK was influenced by Gandhi  To King, the importance of love was the message of Jesus  Cesar Chavez (labor organizer) o “Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak…Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win”  Non-violent takes time to have effect, think of how long it took for the Indian revolution; despite the time (decades), it caused far more deaths  Non-violence creates less suffering yet it takes courage and persistence  Joan Baez (folk singer, social activist) o “That’s all non-violence is—organized love”  Robert Holmes (one of the editors of the textbook) o “To answer the question, ‘what is non-violence’ requires considering how people would act under various kinds of circumstances and why. Most of us are non-violence, most of the time…It is when confronted with violence, threats, lawlessness, injustice or oppression that most people think violence is justified.” o A non-violent approach says that violence is rarely justified; it requires meeting those kinds of circumstances with another kind of response; a response of refusing to see the ‘other’ as an enemy, as well as acts of civil disobedience, passive resistance, strikes, boycotts, sit- ins, protests, fasts, refusal to pay taxes, etc.  Smith Christopher (theorist) o “Non-violence includes not only the refusal to engage in lethal activities, but it also presumes a commitment to strive for conditions of fairness, justice, and respect in human relations” o Non-violence implies an active commitment to social change; it is a determination to create the kind of social environment that radically reduces the conditions that give rise to violence o Non-violence is a way to achieve positive peace which is fairness, justice and respect In Summary: Non-Violence  As an ethic: upholds the view that moral behavior excludes the use of violence  As a principle: supports the pacifist position that war and killing are never justifiable  As a practice: a means to effect personal, social, and political transformation  As a political philosophy: maintains that violence is self-perpetuating and can never provide a means to security or a peaceful end  As a strategy: used to achieve a specific social or political goal through non- violent tactics Examples Of Successful Non-Violent Campaigns  Pre-1960’s Latin America o A lot of the countries involved often had military takeovers assisted by the American Government  1970’s and 1980s South Africa  1980’s and 90’s Eastern Europe o 14 nations underwent non-violent revolutions to throw dictatorships, but some of them weren’t successful  1970’s Norway o Prevention of nuclear power stations from being built  1977 Kenya o A tree planting movement to prevent the construction of a park that ultimately led to the stepping down of the country’s dictator  2011 Arab Spring  2012 Occupy Movement  2013 Idle No More Movement Culture of Peace/Culture of Violence  “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed” – Former US President Dwight Eisenhower  “The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies.” –Lester B. Pearson  Culture of war is that there is an image of us and them because to go to war you need an enemy (propaganda inducing); it is high military spending and armies; an authoritarian governance; secrecy and propaganda; structural and physical violence; male domination; exploitation of the environment; education for war/militarism; materialistic orientation  Culture for peace is that of respect, solidity; dis-arment; democrative government; accountability; free flow of information; respect for human rights; equality of sexes; sustainable economy and development  Senator Douglas Roche defined peace as “A culture of the exaltation of the military values in the resolution of conflict which leads to aggressive military preparedness and a dominant political status for the military” o He says a culture of peace is an approach to life that seeks to transform the cultural tendencies to war and violence into a culture where dialogue, respect an fairness govern social relations  Manifesto 2000 o Was drafted by a group of Nobel Prize Laureates  Outlined a respect for all life; to reject violence; to share with others; to listen to understand; to preserve the planet; to rediscover solidarity Global Military Spending  Estimated at 1.12 trillion (approximately half coming from the US); equaling 2.5% of the world’s GDP  Global military spending followed a significant decrease after the end of the cold war but then began to increase again after 1998  Canada’s military spending hit its highest in 2007 since WWII Forms Of Violence Defining/Categorizing Violence  John Gultang describes violence as: “any action, word, attitude, structure, or system that causes physical, psychological and/or ecological damage, preventing people from reaching their full potential” o In his analysis, violence is defined as the cause of the difference between the potential and the actual physical and psychological well- being of individuals; violence is that which increases this distance when the distance is actually avoidable Direct Violence  Has four identifiable elements associated with it: 1. An identifiable actor or group of actors 2. An identifiable physical action or behavior 3. A clear physical or psychological harm 4. An identifiable victim who suffers the harm  But there are forms of violence where one of four of the elements might be lacking, yet there is still harm o In those cases it is structural or cultural violence; violence might already be present in the social order and flourish with the laws that permit and the political structures, the media and the people Barak’s 3 Categories Of Violence 1. Interpersonal o Usually direct violence o It is what happens to people in their private lives, without regard to occupational roles or formal institutions:  Example: assault and battery, corporal punishment, homicide & murder, kidnapping, rape & sexual assault, robbery, suicide (and other forms of self-violence), verbal abuse, intimidation 2. Institutional o Both direct and indirect violence o What happens within an institutional context o Examples  Within a family: elder and spousal abuse  Economic: corporate and workplace abuse  Military: petty hazing and war crimes  Religious: abuse in the same of religious organizations, sects, or beliefs o State-violence is abuse by authority of fundamental human rights  War/armed conflict is state-supported terrorism  Non-state terrorism is using physical violence to cause psychological violence against a targeted but also random population to force change; or the “unlawful use of threatened use of violent force by a person or organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing people or government, for ideological or political reasons” 3. Structural o Is a relatively new concept o It can also be called indirect violence o It is the systemic violence/systems of oppression against a whole group (gender, ethnicity, religion, class); with the conditions of structural violence being called “social injustice”  Example of sexism: it has manifested in various forms of violence against women such as rape, assault, verbal abuse, and sexual assault  Racism is also related to various kinds of structural violence like enforced poverty o Barak states it is: “what happens within the context of establishing, maintaining, extending, and/or resisting hierarchy, privilege and inequality;” “it is the most basic or fundamental form of violence…expressive of the conditions of society, the structures of social order, and the institutional arrangements of power that reproduce mass violations of personhood 24/7”  If power and resources are monopolized, the wellbeing of those being exploited falls below their potential level, thus violence exists in the system  Structural violence thrives in conditions of extreme inequality o Barak also said: “structural violence reinforces adversarial social organization that incorporates both personal and impersonal ideologies of differences privilege, and inequality”; “It exacerbates other forms of interpersonal and institutional violence” o Weigert: “Preventable harm or damage to persons (and by extension to things) where there is no actor committing the violence or where it is not meaningful to search for the actors; such violence emerges from the unequal distribution of power and resources or, in other words, is built into the structures 4. Cultural violence a. Refers to “those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence—exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science…that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence” –Galtung i. Examples: hate crimes, intimidation, harassment, rewriting history books to valorize one group and demonize the other, attempts at erasure of a particular group’s ethnic/religious identity b. A religious sub-group is identified as the target group i. Examples: government asked professors to rewrite textbooks to make Muslims appear to be the bad guys; in Saudi Arabia the textbooks villanize the Jews; eugenics during WWII (that there are differences between the races of human beings); cultural violence against aboriginals c. It is the concept of one group being saved, which is the superior, while all others are wrongs and damned; these views are used to condemn others then facilitate direct violence i. These views will translate into actions The Power Triangle Ideas Behaviors Systems  All points of the triangle (ideas, behaviors, systems) and are influenced consecutively around and around  Upholds inequality War And Mass Violence  “Put up thy sword. For they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.” – Jesus  “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” –Senator Hiram Johnson  Causalities of war o Some 110 million people across the world were killed by war in the 20 century, making it the most lethal century in human history o A lot of new terms for mass-killing came into existence this century: genocide, holocaust, nuclear warfare, etc.  War o The permissible and controlled use of violence o “In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to the state…Hence, under no circumstances can it be neglected” – Chinese General Sun-Tzu o War is the means by which rulers of states attempt to protect and enhance their national interest when regular diplomacy fails o The logic of war in and of itself requires using force/violence to its extreme, which could lead to mutual destruction, if not constrained  In the logic of war, war is an end, not a means  Causes of war o Weak, corrupt or collapsed states; illegitimate or repressive regimes; acute discrimination against ethnic or other social groups; poorly managed religious, cultural, or ethnic difference; politically active religious communities that promote hostile and divisive messages; political and economic legacies of colonialism or the Cold War; sudden economic and political shifts; widespread illiteracy, disease, and disability; lack of resources such as water and arable land; large stores of weapons and ammunition; threatening regional relationships (long-standing grievances and tensions)  Factors that put states at risk of violent conflict o A lack of democratic processes and unequal access to power; social inequality marked by grossly unequal distribution of, and access to, resources; control by a single national group of valuable natural resources, such as gems, oil, timber, and drugs; rapid demographic change that outstrips the capacity of the state to provide essential services and job opportunities; the availability of weapons  War requires o An enemy, armaments and soldiers, control of information, belief that power can be obtained by violence  Effects of war o famine, disease, infant and maternal mortality; to this legacy of death, war adds many other burdens to the planet, in terms of environmental degradation ; and unspeakable psychological and physical suffering to the survivors: massive forced migrations (refugees); mutilations (e.g., chopping off limbs); rapes of women; plus, the psychological trauma to killers Religion And Violence Question: Is Religion A Cause Of Violence?  Spalding & Hitler were responsible for over 60 million deaths together, yet neither of them were religious; instead, they were expressly communist; Hitler especially made no attempt to appeal to religion to justify his willingness to kill the Jews  Martin Luther King Jr. said that violence is a product of modern everyday life  On the other hand, in India inter-religious violence has gone on forever but escalated in recent decades o Ayodya  In Gujarat there was a mosque which was demolished in 1991 because Hindus were going to build a temple; it was believed that the place the mosque resided on was the birth place of Rama; in response a train carrying these Hindu builders was attacked by Muslims; this resulted in a violent backlash o Operation Blue Star  The whole Sikh, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi deal  A lot of this is because of the lingering effects of European colonialism; its promotion of nationalism; its misuse and perversion of religion by religious and political leaders Purposes Of Religion  For the education and promotion of the well-being of humankind  It is the ultimate authority in giving purpose, organization and meaning to life o It is the roots of motivation, awakened capacities to love, to forgive, to sacrifice for the common good; to discipline baser instincts  Despite these good teachings, when perverted, religions can be a source of prejudice, intolerance, harmful attitudes and behaviors o Despite other prejudices losing grounds, religious prejudice continues to flourish Examples of Modern Religious Wars  Burma o Buddhists and Muslims o Muslims are the ‘lower castes’, are a victim of ‘ethnic cleansing’; asking for Muslims who cannot provide proof of residence for a few decades to leave the country  Palestine o Generations of hatred Gods of War  Most ancient religions had Gods of War o Aries/Mar – Roman o Isthar – Mayan o Kali – Hindu o Thor o Monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam) had images of God which include many war-like qualities such as king, warrior, etc. God, The King And The State  ‘The divine right’ of kings meant that the ruler was an emblem or personification of god on earth  In Christianity, civil rules ordained God to do this work such as upholding justice and punishing the wicked; if a king went to war, it was because he was ordered by God  In Muslim countries, rulers are expected to exemplify the laws of Shari’a, and ensure that the people are obedient to the law; if people failed to follow them, they would be removed from the public; but in reality, rulers wouldn’t be punished for not following the same set of rules Christian ‘Just War’ Theory  The guiding principle was the principle of proportionality—that more lives would be saved by the use of force than would be lost  Criteria for a ‘just war’ o Waged only by a legitimate authority; can be fought only for a just cause (e.g. self-defense); must be a last resort; non-combatant must not be injured; goal must be peace, not political or economic gain  The Crusades (1096-1291) o Were framed as just wars o They were instigated by several Catholic popes to ‘liberate’ Palestine from the Muslims for the Christians Wars Of Religion  Struggles between the Catholic and the Protestants led to extremely violent skirmishes and all out wars linking religion and politics (e.g. the French Catholics vs. British Anglicans  The Inquisition: orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy; was an effort by the church to root out false beliefs; it was particularly brutal in Spain in the 15 century with the expulsion of the Jews & Muslims; it also conducted ‘witch’-hunting which led to the torture and deaths of thousands of women Modern Religious ‘Fundamentalism’ And Extremism  Fundamentalism was a term coined in the 19 century to refer to a movement within Protestant Christianity in the US; it sought to bring the Christian fold ‘bad to the fundamental of the Bible’  Fundamentalist Christians, along with their similar cohorts in other religions tend to be socially conservative, politically engaged and in revolt against the increasing secularization of their societies which they experience as destructive of their deepest identities and values Minimalist & Maximalist  Terms coined by scholar Bruce Lincoln  Maximalist is the conviction that religion out to permeate all aspects of human existence: political, cultural, economic o The idea that religion should be public as much as it is private and personal  Minimalist approach restricts religion to an important set of (chiefly metaphysical) concerns, protecting its privileges against state intrusion, but restricts its activity and influence to this specialized sphere o The idea that religion is a largely private matter Terrorism  Is a tactic, while a terrorist is a person or group who uses this tactic  It is the use of targeted direct violence aimed to inflict random suffering (on civilians) and to maximize fear in the larger population in service of a group’s cause  It depends on the mass media to magnify what is usually a (relatively) minor act of violence  It succeeds when fear is generated and allowed to escalate and when the act is linked to the name and cause of the perpetrators  Religions use terrorism, or at least, people do (suicide bombings, etc) Rejection of Terrorism  The vast majority of religions, their adherents and their leaders, unequivocally reject the use of terrorism in the name of religion  “Religion itself is outraged when outrage is committed in the name of religion” –Gandhi Escalation Of Violence Associated With Religion  There has been an escalation of violence associated with religion  Yet, while religion is not the major cause of violence in the world, why have horrendous forms of violence been perpetrated in the name of religion?  Why is a divine mandate for destruction accepted with such certainty by some believers? o The forces that come together to produce religious violence are particular to each moment of history o Religion has served as the ultimate authority in giving meaning to life Perversion Of Religion  Religion has been a focal point of violence and violence has been perpetuated in the name of religion  Those who use violence in the name of religion to achieve an end are maximizalationist o They do not see themselves as evil or terrorist; they see that they are protecting their religion against people who are out to destroy the world; the end justifies the means for them Cure Of Non-Violence  The practice of non-violence is not only supported by the major world religions, but it can be argued that it is precisely the call to non-violence that embodies one of the noblest values and sacred obligations of these religions  The concept of non-violence isn’t imported from the outside into religions, but are called from the central truths that call us back to the center of the authentic core of our traditions  The use of violence runs against the more significant current in religion that valorizes peace South Asian Religions & Non-Violence Sources For Peace-Making Ahimsa  Is a term shared by all Indic traditions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism  Term from Sanskirt root hims, from verb “to kill, injure, strike”; prefixed with a privative “a” = absence of desire to kill or harm  Basically is translated as non-violence or absence of desire to kill or harm  Teaching of ahimsa became most full blown during the time of Gandhi o He broke new ground in the sociopolitical implications of it, but the ethical implications where already in the religions Ahimsa In The Jaina Tradition  The historical founder was Mahavira Vardhamana (c. 540-468 BCE) o His title means great hero  Hero of victory over self; conquering yourself, your passions, ego, desires, etc.  Observation of non-violence is the central teaching  It is a philosophy based on the principle of reverence for life; as action, this translate into non-violence and non-possession o Mahavira taught that there is nothing small and subtle as the atom or nothing as vast as space; there is no quality of soul as non-violence and no virtue greater than the reverence of life o This translates to all life forms  The Jain Symbol o The swastika is a Sanskirt term  Swasta means health, tika means mark  Symbol for wellbeing and asupiciousness o The palm  Is assurance; fear not o The three dots  Faith, knowledge, and conduct; following these will lead to liberation th  Acaranga Sutra (5 Century BCE) o It is the earliest text in Jain conduct o Karma is a moral law and ahimsa is the way to overcome past intentions and minimize the accumulation of present karma  When you do a negative action or have an intention; they harm not just others but also harm yourself  You do not need to fulfill the action, the very thinking of it shapes the way your mind is; your mind then influences your practices and actions, then your habits, and your habits become the way you live your life o “Injurious activities inspired by self-interest lead to evil and darkness. This is what is called bondage, delusion, death and hell. To do harm to others is to do harm to onself” o “You are he whom you intend to kill! You are he over whom you intend to tyrannize!” o “We corrupt ourselves as soon as we intend to corrupt others. We kill ourselves as soon as we intend to kill others”  There are two paths, one for monks/nuns and one for laypersons o Monastics: follow the ‘five great vows’; laity: the lesser vows (anuvrata) o All: non-violence, truthfulness, not-stealing, sexual restraint, non- possession  Four types of violence are acknowledge 1. Intentional 2. Non-intentional 3. Related to profession 4. Self-defense o All types of violence have karmic consequences for the agent  Ahimsa is practiced in four ways: 1. Restraint of the mind – care in movement 2. Control of the tongue – care in speech 3. Carefulness on roads – care in placing and removing things, elimination 4. Eating in daylight – care in eating  Jains are strict vegetarians; they also avoid honey, figs, alcohol, silk o Think of them as vegans o Jains show tradition in establishing animal shelters o Professions that Jains can take part in are limited o Their beliefs extend to environmental concerns based on respect for life and the recognition of the interdependence of all life forms  Acharya Tulsi o Was a Jain leader who started the Anuvrat movement o The movement started in 1950 and was aimed and social and moral reform; its aim was the make the teachings of Jainism more relevant to the issues of today and bring the teachings to the masses of people  Despite this, his programme was still demanding and challenging, and was not met with mass acceptance but started a process of how Jain teachings can be useful (especially Jain teaching in relation to environment o “Both peace and war originate in the minds of men. We have paid little or no attention to the question for transforming the human psyche” Buddhism And Non-Violence  The Buddha, c. 563-483 BCE 1. “Victory created hatred. Defeat creates suffering. The wise ones desire neither victory nor defeat…anger creates anger…he who kills will be killed. He who wins will be defeated…revenge can only be overcome by abandoning revenge” 2. The Buddha was clear in his stance against violence  The Dhamapada 3. It is one of the authoritative pieces of literature which contains the sum of ethical principles, wisdom teachings 4. “He who leads others by non-violence, righteously and equitably, is a guardian of justice, wise and righteous”  Emphasis of teachings are placed on: 5. Individual spiritual self-transformation as a way to overcome suffering and unhappiness in the world 6. Analyzing causes of our behavior in order to change harmful thoughts/behavior 7. Notions of the wheel of life and the dependent arising 8. The end goal is to reach a state where the flame of desire is gone and ignorance is replaced with spiritual illumination and awakened consciousness 9. You want a systematic ‘attitude adjustment’ from hatred, greed and delusion (which are the main sources of violence) to positive social orientations; nirvana means restoration of the state of health  The true ‘weapons of mass destruction’ 10.Greed which is overcome by charity 11.Hatred which is overcome by love/compassion  “hatred is never appeased by hated in this world. By non- hatred alone can hatred be appeared. This is the eternal law” 12.Delusion which is overcome by mindfulness, insight, and detachment  The Peace Wheel – Dharma Chakra 13.Queen says Buddha is the wheel turner who transformed the wheel from the wheels used in war to the wheel of Buddhist teachings 14.The wheel refers to the Noble Eight Fold Path 15.The Flag of India has the wheel of Ashoka in the middle  He made Buddhist teachings in India the state religion  The four noble truths 1. Life is suffering  “Birth is suffering, decay, sickness and death are suffering. To be separated from what you like is suffering. To want something and not get it is suffering. In short, the human personality, liable as it is to clinging and attachment brings suffering” 2. The origin of suffering is craving or (selfish) desire  Craving leads to rebirth, bound up as this is with the search for pleasure and restless greed. It is craving for sensuality, craving for permanence, for that elusive happiness 3. Suffering can be extinguished  Understanding that suffering can end, and that change is built into the structure of reality, means that people should always be respected as capable of change-for-the-better 4. The way to extinction of suffering is The Noble Eightfold Path, traditionally divided into three areas:  Wisdom  ‘Right view/understanding’ and ‘right attitude/directed thought’  Morality  ‘Right speech,’ ‘right action,’ and ‘right livelihood’  Meditation  ‘Right effort,’ ‘right mindfulness’ and ‘right concentration  The Five Precepts to abstain from 1. Harming living beings –includes humans and animals 2. Taking what is not giving—stealing, fraud, cheating, taking more than one’s due 3. Sexual misconduct – incest, adultery, rape & abuse, socially-taboo forms of sexuality and indulgence in general 4. False speech – lying, intentional deception 5. Intoxicants  Advice for politicians (the dasa-raja-dharma from the Jataka stories) 5. Be liberal and avoid selfishness; maintain a high moral character; be prepared to sacrifice one’s own pleasure and well-being of the subjects; be honest and maintain absolute integrity; be kind and gentle; lead a simple life for the subject to emulate; be free from hatred of any kind; exercise non-violence; practice patience; respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony  Sulak Sebaracsa 6. One of the leader in the modern movement of applied ethical Buddhism 7. He claimed neither Jains nor Buddhist have ever engaged in a holy war (of course, this may be argued against) 8. He also claimed there is no possible justification for a holy war in Buddhist scriptures Hinduism And Non-Violence  Concept of ahimsa appears not in the earliest texts (the Vedas) but in the Upanishads, Hinduism’s earliest philosophical texts  Related to the concept of karma (as in other Indic religions)  In the Manusmrti, famous text on the Hindu law, ahimsa is listed as one of the ethical principles to be observed by members of all classes/castes  In the epic Mahabharata, ahimsa is described as “the supreme dharma”  Hindus consider ahimsa to be a supreme ideal, even if its not a practical one; it is an ideal to be worked towards, as one spiritually progresses (Brahmins are expected to abide by the most rigorous standards of conduct)  Otherwise, Hindus have not shunned war (Kshatriyas are rules and warriors/soldiers); the Bhagavad Gita seems to suggest that sometimes it is unavoidable and necessary to preserve dharma (righteousness), when order is threatened by chaos and lawlessness and irreligion  On the other hand, Gandhi and others argued that Hindus should in fact embrace non-violence as the central ethic and organizing principle of their lives; not just for Brahmins, not just in the later stages of life, not just privately, but all Hindus, in all stages of life, and extended into forms of social policy, governance, economics, etc. o Seeing non-violence as the supreme means to overcome injustice, inequity and evil Judaism, Christianity & Non-Violence Judaism  Deuteronomy 6:4; the ‘first commandment’: o “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”  Bible: Genesis—foundational story o God’s creation of the world, of all living things o Garden of Eden and the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil represents beginning of human’s beings capacity for good and evil o Making the right choices is one of the Bible’s major themes  Covenant (berith): o A form of binding contract between God and human beings; God sets out laws and guidance, in turn, humans who are party to the covenant are expected to obey o The Israelites were set apart by God, conferred with special responsibilities to carry (transmit and practice) God’s commandments o God frequently intervenes in human history, even directs history—for God loves His creation and wishes to see it prosper  Eschatology is a belief or doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Messiah, or the Second Coming, or the Last Judgement  “Judaism is not about being better than other people, but it is about being good” – E. Wilcock  The Ten Commandments (conveyed to Moses): 1. I am the Lord, your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt 2. You shall have no other gods but me 3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God 4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy 5. Honor your father and mother 6. You shall not murder
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