co-posted on HA..
On God ....
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Your citation makes my point.
Of course there can be a God, if we accept either that Man can not determine God's goodness of if we accept that God is not good,
Hashem (the name) saying it is good is only evidence if you accept revelation AND God's statement. BUT, accepting that statement leads to a very unchristian conclusion .. the God of Moses is not above criticism, he is not in the Christian sense, a good God!
Did you know that the word Israel means struggle .. for Jacob's wrestling with God! Indeed there is a long Jewish tradition of struggle with God, of God mistreating "his" people out of jealousy .. hardly an attribute of a good God?
Of course, we can say that Man lacks the ability to tell good from bad except by literally following the word of God. That is close to what some OJ believe and why they adhere to 613 laws (mitzvot, good deeds). Fundamentalist Islam is very much like OJ in this regard,
Unfortunately for Christians, this Jewish/Islamic concept can not be applied w/o giving up Jesus-as-God because of the three faiths, only Christianity lacks a claim to a literally true revealed legal code. On the other hand the strict monotheism of Islam and Judaism makes a blasphemy of any sort of deity other than the ineffable Hashem. (I have NEVER understood the Western fixation on the idea that monotheism is itself a good idea.)
The good side of the lack of a Christian equivalent to the Quran or Torah is that, I think, it has led to a lot of evolution in Christian thinking. (BTW, did you know the Romans accused the Christians of atheism?)
Lacking a credible Word, that is one with historicity and an explicit statement by the deity endorsing accuracy, Christians have grown in ways that I see as positive. In some ways reform Judaism is a fusion of the Christian effort with the more elegant simplicity and cosmology of Judaism. In its early days, in late 19th century Germany, Reform grew in an atmosphere where Christianity itself was also being driven by science and humanism. What I mean by this is that reform takes on the Western-Christian concepts of freedom of belief, charity, agape, without the burdensome concept of a Deity cruel enough (sorry D, that is how I see it) to sacrifice someone so man can adhere to Its will.
Some Christian sects do the same thing by de-deifying Yashka (the diminuitive affectionate name he would have been called by if he really existed). IMHO, the Unitarians fail at this because they try to hard to accommodate everyone. There are a small number of protestants, however, who come closer or exceed Reform ... some Quakers, Noachide Christians, and the "Hebrews" movement among African Americans. (Did you know about Funnye Capers, Michelle's cousin? He leads a conservative Jewish Synagogue of AA Hebrews who have converted to being Jews). I am not so sure about the SDA. You may be the most sophisticated SDA I have met.
I have thought about getting Capers out here as a speaker. If I do would you and Raj be interested? I would like to hear how he deals with the problem of conversion. While anyone can join our people, for an observant person like you and Raj, the burden of conversion seems to me to be huge. The convert who really wants to do this, ends up with 613 burdensome mitzvot t follow plus all the opprobrium that comes with Yiddishkeit AND the orthodox dogma that Hashem (remember the Jewish God is not "good in human terms) is more judgemental of jews that He is of others.
It would be fascinating to hear how Rabbi Capers reached his conclusion.