The Jury Talks Back

12/10/2008

What does it mean that the Jews are the Chosen People?

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 9:18 pm

The front page contains a lively religious discussion on the issue of Jesus as the only way to salvation.  One remark in particular caught my eye, because it repeated a common misunderstanding about the “Chosen People” concept.  While the commenter received a few responses, I wanted to devote a post to clear up any confusion.

The idea that Jews are God’s chosen people comes from the Torah.  Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession.”

This idea of being divinely chosen is not, in fact elitist.  It does not mean that Jews consider ourselves better than others.  Jews do not hold the belief that God loves us more than Gentiles.  Jews do not teach that our lineage entitles us and us alone to eternal salvation or other divinely proscribed favors.  Centuries before the Exodus, God chose Abraham and his descendents to receive divine revelation and eternal covenants.  At Mount Sinai, the Jewish people chose to accept the commandments and live by them, thereby acting  act as a “light unto the nations.”

Ironically, many Christians consider the Law to be a curse.  In the New Testament Paul taught, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse.”  By contrast, observant Jews consider the Law to be a great blessing.  The Psalmist’s exclamations — “The Law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of gold and silver … Oh how I love Your Law!” — have been echoed throughout the centuries by Jewish faithful.  Many Christians cannot understand why Jews so cherish what they consider to be a yoke.

Finally, Judaism is most definitely not an exclusive religion.  Jews do not believe that one must convert to Judaism in order to enter heaven.

I would be happy to discuss Jesus and Christian doctrines, controversial passages such as Isaiah 53, or general issues like Pascal’s Wager and the Liar-Lunatic-Lord Trilemma in the comments.

The Oprah-Palin saga continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 7:13 pm

Newly elected Senator Barack Obama appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show back in January 2005, and again in October 2006 — four months before the much-anticipated annoucement of his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.  His appearances undoubtably raised Obama’s profile among American women voters.  In May 2007, Oprah endorsed Obama’s candidacy.

When Sarah Palin became the Republican nominee for vice president, Oprah created a stir when she refused to have the Alaska governor on her show during the campaign.  As the talk show icon explained it, “At the beginning of this presidential campaign … I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates.”

Now that the election is over and her candidate is safely on his way to the White House, suddenly Oprah considers the candidate who electrified the Republican base a compelling guest.  But while Sarah Palin has appeared on other shows, she has so far eluded the highest-rated daytime talk show, and Oprah is miffed.

“I said I would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin when the election was over … I went and tried to talk to Sarah Palin and instead she talked to Greta [Van Susteren].  She talked to Matt [Lauer].  She talked to Larry [King].  But she didn’t talk to me.  Maybe she’ll talk to me now that she has a (multi-million dollar) book deal.”

A spokesman for the governor responded.  “We’re up to about 250 requests for interviews and appearances and so on.  It’s worldwide, there’s still a tremendous amount of interest.  It’s nothing personal about Oprah, it’s just that [Palin] turned down the vast majority of these requests.”

Token Opposition to Blagojevich

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 5:50 am

Dave Freddoso at NRO’s The Corner links a Greg Hinz Chicago Business News article claiming that the Illinois Legislature is working quickly to pass a bill taking away the governor’s power to appoint US Senators to fill empty seats.

“I will call the Senate back to session to pass legislation that would create a special election,” Mr. Jones said in his statement. Doing so will “help restore the confidence of the people of Illinois during this difficult time.”

Yet neither Freddoso nor Hinz allude to the fact that Governor Blagojevich would presumably have to sign the bill that is presented as being written to prevent him from doing something he wants to do. They could override his veto, but that takes time. If they fear a jailhouse appointment, do they not fear a jailhouse veto delay? There is no way that they can stop him from making the appointment in the next week or so. You would think that this little fact is relevant to the story.

The real story is the desperation of the Democratic-controlled Illinois Legislature to appear as though they are opposing the governor, and the way their message gets out without anyone noticing that it is no more than token opposition. They are willing to permanently change the mechanics of government in exchange for looking as though they are effectively opposing Blagojevich.


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