The struggle of the true Jew with the heathen in the Jewish nation began from the moment of our receipt of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, from the moment of the formation of the Jewish religion, and it continues to our time.
Heathenism has been preserved into our time not only just in the wild tribes of Africa. Heathenism’s essence consists not of any kind of African tribal rituals. Heathenism’s essence consists in the belief that a multitude of gods exist who are all-powerful in any kind of specific area of our numerous desires.
If my life’s goal is only sex, I enter into an agreement with the god of sex – I carry out all his instructions, and he guarantees me unlimited sex.
If my life’s goal is only military victories, I enter into an agreement with the god of war – I carry out all his instructions, and he guarantees me unlimited military victories.
If my life’s goal is not to be responsible for all the deeds done by me myself, I enter into an agreement with the god of Marxism – I carry out all his instructions, and he gives me instructions about every aspect of my life, removing from me the responsibility for everything that happens.
If my life’s goal is to do everything that comes into my head without any limitations, I enter into an agreement with the god of Liberalism – I carry out all his instructions, and he protects me from all the attacks of people who are dissatisfied with my actions.
And so forth.
That is the sense of the many gods of heathenism. And not only can the people of a wild African tribe be affected by such heathenism, but also people of elevated Western intellectualism.
And in that is the fundamental distinction of heathenism from monotheism – monotheism demands compliance with a single morality and integrated laws for creation regardless whether you like it or not.
The “secular” person who does not go to synagogue or church, but tries to carry out the Ten Commandments of the One God in all his daily activities, is a monotheist. The “religious” person who prays for forgiveness of his sins in the synagogue or church because of the conscious failure to comply with the Ten Commandments is a heathen.
It is difficult to distinguish true Judaism from heathenism, because both versions of Judaism refer to those very same authorities and sources of knowledge. In order to distinguish true Judaism from the heathen, it is necessary to analyze their interpretations of the statements of the authorities which is being done in this article in the example of Maimon-RAMBAM’s thirty principles of faith which are recognized and worshipped by everyone. Everyone has agreed with these principles, but the interpretation of these principles by heathen Judaism distinguishes in principle from the interpretations of authentic Judaism. The most essential thing in this distinction is the following.
Heathen Judaism believes that the chief thing is prayers and rituals in a spiritual citadel of their sect, and not activities all over the world – only the Most High Himself can create all over the world. True Judaism itself believes that the chief demand from the Most High is to be in partnership with Him in the creation of our world according to the “blueprints” of the Most High Himself outside the bounds of one’s own sect together with the whole world.
Maimon-RAMBAM’s 13 principles of faith
1: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.
The interpretation according to heathen Judaism: We are supposed to pray and carry out all the ceremonies laid down in our spiritual seclusion, and this is the most important thing – the Most High will create everything himself, as he did it in the six days of the world’s creation.
The interpretation according to true Judaism: We are supposed to create everything ourselves according to the Most High’s design, penetrating His plans as presented in the Torah, and create around the world – prayers and ceremonies are not an end in themselves, they only enable penetration into the Most High’s creative plans.
2: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be.
Heathen Judaism: From the multitude of old heathen gods we have retained the One True God Himself, there are no others like Him, but our relationships with this one god have not changed – we are supposed to pray to Him, make sacrifices and carry out the ceremonies and then He will protect us.
True Judaism: Our relationships with the One God are completely different, not as they were in heathen times – we were created “in His image and likeness,” and as He, we are supposed to be creators and build in this world.
3: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, has no body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that there can be no comparison to Him whatsoever.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, that’s the way it is, God has no likeness – therefore, we are not supposed to imitate his image, but must carry out his instructions.
True Judaism: Yes, God has no corporal form, but He has a spiritual form which we are supposed to try to imitate, inasmuch as we were created in His image and likeness.
4: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the first and the last.
There are no differences here between heathen and true Judaism.
5: I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, Blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, we need to pray only to Him and He will protect us. And we need to pray only as it was developed in Jewish Galut spiritual isolation. And if someone expresses thoughts that differ from what was created in Galut isolation, it is necessary to isolate such a person spiritually so that his “seditious” thoughts are not propagated.
True Judaism: If one prays, then it is of course only to Him, but the chief thing is not in formal prayers and rites – one can pray even to oneself without words and without apparent ritualistic activities. The chief thing is in the actions for the creative organization of our world so that it becomes a better place for everyone. And concepts of better for everyone can be born only in discussions between everyone. Therefore, Judaism must be a place of discussion for all ideas, even if some ideas are not inscribed in established traditions.
6: I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, it is true in its specific verbal “frozen” account which is tied to the real events of the times of the prophets, and this specific verbal account is unalterable, despite the change of the real conditions of life.
True Judaism: Yes, it is true, but not in the specific verbal account, but in the spiritual admonitions which explain the essence of real events of a constantly changing world – the spiritual admonitions are unalterable, but the verbal account changes.
7: I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both those who preceded him and those who followed him.
There are no differences here between heathen and true Judaism.
8: I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that is now in our possession is the same that was given to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him.
Heathen Judaism: God’s thoughts in the Torah were interpreted by a group of rabbis nearly 2,000 years ago, and this interpretation, presented in the Talmud, is eternal even if our world is eternally changing.
True Judaism: God’s thoughts in the Torah were interpreted by a group of rabbis nearly 2,000 years ago, and this interpretation reflects the state of the world at that time. The Torah is a constantly developing document, inasmuch as God created our world as constantly changing. And so that the Torah always could respond to the problems of a constantly changing world, it must change with the world – as the Most High conceived.
9: I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be exchanged, and that there will never be any other Torah from the Creator, Blessed be His Name.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, the Torah must not be changed, and its interpretation in the Talmud must be “frozen” for eternity for that reason.
True Judaism: Yes, the Torah must not be changed, but and for that its interpretation must change constantly so that it responds to the problems of a constantly changing world.
10: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and all their thoughts, as it is written, “Who fashioned the hearts of them all, Who comprehends all their actions.”
Heathen Judaism: The Most High knows everything and all the thoughts of every man in exactly the same way parents know everything about their children, and the Most High directs people to do Good, and forbids people to do Evil.
True Judaism: In knowing everything about people, the Most High gives people freedom of choice, while making it possible for each one to choose between Good and Evil – then the Most High judges people according to their choice and actions.
11: I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, rewards those who keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, that is so – if you violate the Most High’s covenants, embodied and “frozen” in the Talmud, the Most High will punish you, and if you fulfill these covenants, the Most High will reward you.
True Judaism: Yes, that is so, but reward and punishment go not directly “by the hands” of the Most High, but through our actions for the strengthening of Good and in the battle with Evil according with the concepts of the Torah: real life, created by the Most High, rewards those who do Good and punishes those who create Evil.
12: I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, the Messiah will come, and so that he will come, we must obey the covenants of the Torah interpreted in the Talmud, and these covenants call for us to live in spiritual isolation – the influence of others prevents us from fulfilling the covenants of the Torah in our interpretation.
True Judaism: Yes, the Messiah will come, but only after we build the world in accordance with the covenants of the eternally living and developing Torah, and for such construction we must go beyond the boundaries of spiritual isolation and cooperate with everyone.
13: I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, Blessed be His name, and His mention shall be exalted for ever and ever.
Heathen Judaism: Yes, the dead shall be revived in their physical forms.
True Judaism: Yes, if that be the will of the Most High, He can bring the dead back to life, but, most likely, if it is done, it will be done by the movement of the spirits of the dead into the physical bodies of those newly born. And perhaps such a thing already is occurring.
As is seen from all these comparisons, true Judaism is distinguished from the heathen by the fact that true Judaism relies on the intellect (the mind) given to us by the Most High and which distinguishes us from animals. The intellect helps us understand the Most High’s creative instructions and to find creative methods for their fulfillment. Not intellect, but a sense of preservation and worship, which suppresses creative aspirations and kills any discussions directed at the introduction of intellect into Judaism, is the very heart of heathen Judaism.