Newsletter 41: Judaism, Humanism, Universalism
I have pleasure in presenting you with a short statement on Judaism, humanitarianism and universalism taken from Moses Hess' famous book "Rome and Jerusalem".
As you have probably gathered from many things I've said I believe that Judaism is not just the religion of one nation, the Jews. But it is the way to a humanitarian approach to the universe.
Judaism isn't the exclusive domain of the Jewish People, just as it wasn't the exclusive domain of the family of Abraham. The thing that makes Judaism appear to be like this is in fact, a basic principle of anti coercion; the determination of Judaism not to find converts to the belief in the idea of one universal God made it appear to be exclusivist.
The non coerciveness of Judaism, however is vital to the success of its universal humanitarian mission.
Christianity and Islam didn't understand this, and so set out to convince the world (sometimes by force) of the need for a universal humanitarianism.
The result has been disastrous for the world and has lead to never ending war.
Judaism remained the religion of the few because it's based on the principle that man is a free thinking, freedom loving creature and therefore cannot be coerced to join its ranks.
Humanitarianism can only be practiced by a person who makes a free will decision to follow humanitarian principles, like those set out in the Torah.
Wishing you a good no news day.
JEWISH NATIONALISM AND UNIVERSALISM *
by MOSES HESS.
I believe that not only does the national essence of Judaism not exclude civilization and humanitarianism, but that the latter really follow from it, as necessarily as the result follows from the cause. If, in spite of this, I emphasize the national side of Judaism, which is the root, rather than the humanitarian aspect, which is the bloom and flower, it is because in our time people are prone to decorate themselves with the flowers of culture rather than cultivate them again in the soil on which they grew. It is out of Judaism that our humanitarian view of life sprang. There is not a phase in Christian morality, nor in the scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages, nor in modern philanthropy, and, if we add the latest manifestation of Judaism, Spinozism, not even in modern philosophy, which does not have its roots in Judaism. Until the French Revolution, the Jewish people were the only people in the world which had, simultaneously, a national as well as a humanitarian religion. It is through Judaism that the history of humanity became a sacred history. I mean by that, that process of unified organic development which has its origin in the love of the family and which will not be completed until the whole of humanity becomes one family, the members of which will be united by the holy spirit, the creative genius of history, as strongly as the organs of a body are united by the creative natural forces. As long as no other people possessed such a national, humanitarian cult, the Jews alone were the people of God. Since the French Revolution, the French, as well as the other peoples which followed them, have become our noble rivals and faithful allies.
* From "Rome and Jerusalem" by Moses Hess.