I apologize if this is a stupid question, but I was pondering it today and I hope you will find it as interesting as I do. Every Rabbinic opinion I've seen, although there are plenty I haven't of course, says that Buddhism for example is idol worship because Buddha was a man and assigning god-like features to a man is idol worship. However, Kabbalah also teaches that some angels come to earth as humans, in human bodies, and also that each nation has a ministering angel appointed to it by G-d. In that case, how do we know the "men" that some cultures worship are not actually their ministering angels, appointed by G-d, who incarnated in human form as Buddha and so on?
Because if all the religious cultures that exist now were not based on their proper "minister" that G-d assigned, then why would the majority of their people have been drawn to a religious person/angel different than the one that they can actually connect to? Would the majority at least have gravitated towards their ordained minister? There are obvious precedents for "no, just look at..." but I ask it anyway as part of the whole question. And if they were, then couldn't you say in some sense they are the god (lower case) of that nation, the one assigned by G-d to that nation, and the highest form of the energy of Deity/deity that that nation can reach without that intermediary? In which case, so long as the cultures did not attribute the creation of the world to for example Buddha, but rather said he is some spiritual representation of G-d (a minister) but not the Master G-d that created the world out of nothing, would it not be idol worship? Even the Christians don't say that Jesus was the Creator G-d all by himself, although they do say he was part of G-d even from the beginning as far as I know, and they don't treat him as an angel, so you could still call it idol worship for those reasons even if you didn't count the other.
But that key distinction is a main part of this question. Is it idol worship because they worship Jesus, period, or is it only idol worship because of the Trinity doctrine and so on, whereas if they just worshiped him as their minister, or the aspect of G-d that they have access to, then it would not be?
That is assuming there is any way to determine that the human man Jesus was an incarnation of the ministering angel for Christians in the first place, which I do not know. One rebuttal to the idea would be if only a different class of angels can enter into human form, not the ministering angels themselves. But considering who the Christians ministering angel is said to be, and how many stories there are of him/it possessing human form, I'm not sure this is the case. So here are the questions.
- Can a ministering angel enter human form?
- Were Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and others ministering angels in human forms?
- Is it idol worship for a nation to worship their ministering angel? Or
- Is it only idol worship for nation X to worship a human being, but not idol worship to worship their ministering angel? Which would then take us full circle back to question one and the distinctions there.
And 5. I forgot to put, does the large majority of a nation worshiping the same...person/angel/(what they believe is their deity)...for thousands of years prove that that is their appointed minister? Or could they conceivably have been worshiping the wrong minister that whole time?
Edit: Most responses agree that it's idol worship. If we take that position, we do we reconcile it with this from the Zohar?
Whoever curses his Elohim, NAMELY, ONE OF THE SEVENTY MINISTERS, even though it is idolatry, since I appointed them as ministers to guide the world, whoever curses and desecrates them, "shall bear his sin" surely. For by My power they exist and guide the people in the world.
If the nations can't pray to them because it's idol worship, how do they guide the nations? More of a one-way relationship maybe?