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Monday, August 17, 2009

Wikipedia and Judaism

For Torah on this week's parsha, as always, please click on the name of the parsha in the labels column on the right.

I find it sad that fundamental errors about Judaism can be widely accepted as truths. Here's an example: Wikipedia has an article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusivism , which states that:

Religious exclusivism asserts that one religion is true and that all others are in error.

It has two forms:

  • Absolute exclusivism asserts that one must be born into the religion to be a true adherent. Historical examples are the religion of Athens during the golden age, Judaism and some forms of Hinduism.
  • Relative exclusivism asserts that conversion is mandatory. Examples are Christianity and Islam. (end quote)
Is there anyone among the readers of this blog that thinks there is any truth to this at all? I hope not. To assert that one must be born Jewish to be saved, to be loved by God, to be considered loyal to God, to be eligible for eternal reward, is simply absurd. If, for example, the writer would have included Judaism among the second group (who believe that conversion is mandatory for salvation) I would have said that it was an interesting error, because according to the Rambam a Ger Toshav needs kabala lifnei beis din, a proclamation of faith in the presence of a religious court. It would still be wrong, because even according to the Rambam the presence of the court is only necessary insofar as the din of "ve'chei imach," the obligation to give charity to the Ger Toshav. But to include Judaism in the first group is not only an error: it has to be an intentional lie. Nobody that knows the most elementary facts would make this error.

If so, I have to wonder why a lie is so successful when a simple truth would do as well. Maybe the concept that Judaism is so confident and enlightened amidst a sea of reactionaries would be troubling. Or maybe I'm reading too much into this, and the definition was posted by a fourteen year old ignoramus or an intellectual vandal.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your last sentence defines the intellectual honesty and dependability of any Wikipedia article in which there is a "left-wing" interest.

Anonymous said...

I beleive anyone interested has the abiity to edit Wikipediia entrys

Barzilai said...

I think that swatting one mosquito is no use at all.

Anonymous said...

Depends if it gets under your skin

LkwdGuy said...

Mazal Tov on making it.







Your picture was published in this weeks Yated.

Barzilai said...

Thank you, LkwdGuy. You hang around with the right people long enough, you've got to get lucky eventually.