Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q12.16 TOC Q12.18 >

Question 12.17:
How does Judaism differ from Xianity, Marxism, Communism, Humanism and other -isms?


Communism and Marxism are discredited fin-de-siecle (late 19th century) atheistic philosophies in which people are grouped by economic class, seen as the primary force of history. In contrast, Judaism postulates a set of overriding moral principles, which traditional Jews believe came from G-d, and recognizes the power of righteous and evil individuals.

Humanism places man above all else. Judaism places G-d above all else, especially above mankind. "Jewish Humanism" usually describes the combination of elements of Eastern European (Jewish) culture and an atheistic absolute moral code which just so happens to be very similar to Judaism's. For more details, see the Humanistic Reading List.

Judaism rejects the possibility of G-d assuming human form. (See Talmud Yerushalmi, tractate Taanis 2:1 (9a) from Bamidbar [Numbers] 23:19). Judaism also rejects the concept of a mandatory mediator between G-d and man, although it accepts the idea that one person can petition G-d on behalf of others. Branches of Xianity postulate salvation exclusively through faith, while Judaism requires observance of the commandments, irrespective of one's level of faith.

For more detail, see question 4 in Prager and Telushikin's The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism (Simon and Schuster, 1981, page 77)

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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