Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Does Judaism acknowledge that there are some other religions that come from G-d? If yes, how? Which religions are that? Please give me some examples. And what are the reference for this claim?

share|improve this question
1  
ARZ, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! I hope you stick around and find more that piques your interest. –  Isaac Moses Dec 31 '12 at 16:15
1  
Hello and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Could you clarify what you mean by "recognize"? I'm guessing you don't mean "acknowledge that they exist", since that would be uncontroversial. Do you mean "recognize as valid for their followers"? "Recognize as valid, period"? Something else? –  Monica Cellio Dec 31 '12 at 18:18
1  
Thanks everybody. I Mean does Judaism acknowledge that there are some other religions that come from G-d? which religions are that? and what are the reference for this claim? –  ARZ Jan 1 '13 at 8:55
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Chief Rabbi Sacks writes in his book "Dignity of Difference"

"The great faiths must now become an active force for peace and for the justice and compassion on which peace ultimately depends. That will require great courage and perhaps something more than courage: a candid admission that, more than at any time in the past, we need to search – each faith in its own way –for a way of living with, and acknowledging the integrity of, those who are not of our faith. Can we make space for difference? Can we hear the voice of God in a language, a sensibility, a culture not our own?" (pp. 4-5.)

"God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims . . . God is God of all humanity, but no single faith is or should be the faith of all humanity." (p. 55).

"When two propositions conflict it is not necessarily because one is true [and] the other false. It may be, and often is, that each represents a different perspective on reality, an alternative way of structuring order. . . . In heaven there is truth; on earth there are truths." (p. 64.)

"God is greater than religion...He is only partially comprehended by any faith" (p. 65).

For a more extended collection of quotes and discussion, see Marc Shapiro's review, "Of Books and Bans" in

http://www.edah.org/backend/coldfusion/search/document.cfm?title=Of%20Books%20and%20Bans&hyperlink=3_2_shapiro%2Ehtm&type=JournalArticle&category=Jewish%20Diversity%2FRelating%20to%20the%20Non-Orthodox&authortitle=Dr%2E&firstname=Marc%20B%2E&lastname=Shapiro&pubsource=not%20available&authorid=350&pdfattachment=3_2_Shapiro%2Epdf

share|improve this answer
    
Curiouser, see new edits to the question. –  msh210 Jan 1 '13 at 15:30
    
@msh210 I don't understand. –  Curiouser Jan 1 '13 at 15:40
    
The question was edited recently in a way that may make you want to edit your answer. –  msh210 Jan 1 '13 at 18:48
    
@msh210 I have no idea how I should change my answer and your elliptical comments are completely unhelpful. –  Curiouser Jan 1 '13 at 19:33
    
I don't, either. I'm just saying that the question has changed substantially, so you may wish to revisit it and edit your answer accordingly. I haven't checked, to be honest: maybe your answer doesn't need revising at all. I was just notifying you of the change to the question so you'd be aware that your answer might not match it any longer. –  msh210 Jan 1 '13 at 23:56
add comment

TL;DR
Judaism believes that non-Jews must follow the 7 Noahide Laws. This is irrelevant of which religion they follow. However, if they follow a religion that teaches ideas that are in conflict with the 7 Noahide Laws, then they are also in conflict with these laws.


If you mean "Does Judaism recognize that other religions exist?" then obviously the answer is "yes". If you mean "Does Judaism recognize that other religions are the true one?" then the answer is obviously "no".

However, if you mean "Does Judaism recognize other religions as valid ways to serve G-d?" then the answer is a little bit more complicated.

Judaism believes that Judaism is the only way for a Jew to properly fulfill G-d's expectations of him. But Judaism does not believe that non-Jews are required to join Judaism. Instead, Judaism teaches that G-d gave 7 universal laws to Noah, and that these are the Laws that non-Jews must follow.1

(Edited to reflect the question's edits)
"Does Judaism acknowledge that there are some other religions that come from G-d?"

Everything comes from G-d. Even Evil comes from G-d (in a way). Did G-d create the other religions? Yes. All religions come from G-d, but that does not mean they're all valid ways to serve him. G-d created good and evil, and has tasked humans to choose good. If a religion does not violate the 7 Noahide Laws, then it's not evil. A non-Jew who follows the 7 Laws and is part of this religion is doing good.

Ultimately though, it's not the religion that matters to the non-Jew, it's the 7 Noahide Laws. Keeping them, with or without other religions, is all that he or she must do.


See also:
Avodah Zarah in other religions
Is Christianity Avodah Zara?


1: One of those laws is to believe in G-d. Specifically, One G-d. For those religions that teach that there is one G-d, this poses no problem. A non-Jew who follows the 7 Noahide Laws and is a member of such a religion is fulfilling his obligations to G-d. Of course, he could also be fulfilling those obligations if he wasn't part of said religion.

Religions that don't teach that G-d is One, violate that Noahide Law, and so its followers are not fulfilling what G-d expects of them. This is called "avodah zara" or "foreign worship", for they are worshiping something that is not G-d.

share|improve this answer
    
Great answer. Whats does TL;DR mean? –  Shraga Dec 31 '12 at 9:00
    
@Shraga It stands for "Too Long; Didn't Read". Internet slang for "Summary". –  HodofHod Dec 31 '12 at 9:09
    
Ah, good to know, thanks :-) –  Shraga Dec 31 '12 at 9:29
    
Just to add: The classical Jewish codifier and philosopher Maimonides wrote (just over 800 years ago) that the emergence of other Abrahamic faiths has gotten a larger portion of the world speaking a similar religious vocabulary to that of Judaism and/or the Noahide Laws. –  Shalom Dec 31 '12 at 11:16
    
+1. But I disagree with "If you mean 'Does Judaism recognize that other religions exist?' then obviously the answer is 'yes'". I mean, the answer is "yes", but I don't think it's obvious to the layman. A reference to halachos of a"z or something would help. –  msh210 Dec 31 '12 at 14:05
show 3 more comments

The new version of the question asks:

Does Judaism acknowledge that there are some other religions that come from G-d?

While I'm not sure what this means, I suspect the asker actually means to ask:

Does Judaism acknowledge any other religion as correct, as a proper way of serving God?

In that case, the answer is "yes, Noahidism, q.v.".

share|improve this answer
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/7214 –  msh210 Jan 1 '13 at 18:51
    
Is Noahidism a religion into itself, and does practicing it exclude being a part of another religion? –  HodofHod Jan 1 '13 at 19:26
1  
See my response, that according to R. Sacks the answer is yes for many of the world's religions, including Christianity and Islam, not just Noahidism. And R. Sacks is simply taking the approach of R. Yaakov Emden, in his famous discussion of this topic in Luach Eresh. –  Curiouser Jan 1 '13 at 19:35
    
@HodofHod I don't see why you couldn't call Noahidism a religion: see the answer I link to in my comment just above (on this answer). –  msh210 Jan 1 '13 at 23:57
add comment

Raphael Jospe, cites the Garden of the Intellects (Bustan al-`Uqul) of Netanel ibn al-Fayyumi (Yemen, c. 1165) as "probably the clearest statement of religious pluralism in medieval Jewish thought":

Nothing prevents God from sending unto His world whomsoever He wishes, whenever He wishes, since the world of holiness sends forth emanations unceasingly from the light world to the coarse world, to liberate the souls from the sea of matter – in the world of nature – and from destruction in the fires of Hell. Even before the revelation of the Law He sent prophets to the nations, as our sages of blessed memory explain, “Seven prophets prophesied to the nations of the world before the giving of the Torah: Laban, Jethro, Balaam, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.” And even after its revelation nothing prevented Him from sending to them whom He wished, that the world might not remain without religion. The prophets declared that the other nations would serve Him from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof: “For from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof great is my name among the nations.” (Mal 1:11).

According to Jospe, "this leads Netanel to explicit religious pluralism," however I am not so sure:

Know that God commanded that all the people should serve according to the Law; and He permitted to every people something which he forbade to others, and He forbade to them something which He permitted to others, for He knoweth what is best for His creatures and what is adapted to them, as the skilled physician understands his patients.

According to R. Kapach's more compelling explanation, the author did not believe that Muhammad was a true prophet, but said so to protect the Jews of his time and place (12th century Yemen, where denying Muhammad's prophecy was punishable by death). See also Sirat, A History of Jewish Philosophy, 92-93.

For a discussion of R. Yaakov Emden's view on this topic, see here.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.