In Christianity, the general atmosphere is "Heretics and members of other religions are all completely wrong, and they are all going to Hell unless they repent and accept the Truth as we define it". As such I find that Christians are very hostile and antagonistic towards other faiths. (Lest anyone think that I'm blasting Christianity, I am Christian myself and am engaging in self-criticism). Eg if you mention Hinduism to a Christian, they'll likely respond with something like "They are polytheists! Polytheism is strongly condemned in the bible! Have nothing to do with Hindus or Hinduism unless you are trying to evangelise them."

Once I went on a short-term Christian mission trip to China, and most of the members of the team were very pessimistic about the native Chinese religion. Again, polytheism was a prominent feature of the local religion and the attitude of the team towards this was total condemnation, disapproval and even sadness because "those people are probably going to Hell unless they accept Christ and renounce their polytheistic ways".

I'm curious what the Jewish attitude is in this respect? I get the impression that Jews sorta just take the attitude "This is what we believe, that is what they believe. We aren't concerned with what other groups believe. They can believe whatever they want as long as they leave us alone to practice our Judaism in peace. If they follow the 7 Noahide laws then that's great! But in general we don't concern ourselves with gentile religions."

I feel like this is the case because I've heard that there are really good relations between Israel and India, and that there is a very old community of Jews living in India who have been there for ages, and that they have never been persecuted. I suspect that none of this would be possible if Jews were constantly picking fights with the Hindus on account of their polytheism.

It seems that Jews just keep to themselves and try to live devout lives without going out of their way to condemn other religions.

So for my actual question: What is the Jewish attitude towards other religions? For a concrete example, how do Jews react to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity? Do Jews generally find Christianity and the Trinity deeply offensive? Or do you just laugh it off and go "those poor Christians get it so so wrong".

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/23192/…
    – rosends
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 11:35
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    Your specific example is one itself of contention (whether the Trinity is "natively" polytheism for christians), but the question is an interesting, if broad, one. Generally, Judaism doesn't prescribe to the concept of "eternal damnation," and there are undisputed statements in our tradition that the righteous non-Jews also receive a place in heaven/paradise/whatever term you wish to use. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 13:36
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    While living under an establish Jewish religious rule/monarchy within the borders of the land of Israel, the Noahide laws must be adhered to by non-Jewish residents. Outside those circumstances, it's not our place to prosecute non-Jews, even if our religion says they are wrong. Regardless, Judaism doesn't believe in coerced conversion to Judaism or prosletyzation (with the exception of some edge cases regarding prisoners of war being pressed into servitude). Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 13:43
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    We've rarely been left to worry about ourselves in past, let alone worry about other people's religions! Intense persecution during previous centuries gave us little time to think about Gentiles, besides stay out of their way. Now that we actually have time to think about these things, we don't because we're not used to it!
    – ezra
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:52
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/7214
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


I know it's been years and only one answer has been received, but better late than never.

The attitude toward other religions varies from individual and group to group, but, strictly speaking, it "should" be positive under typical circumstances. One marked difference between Christianity and Judaism is, as you note, whether you must be of that religion to go to the World to Come. In Judaism, there are believed to be righteous of all nations, and all the righteous of all nations have a place in the World to Come. As a consequence of this, it's highly frowned upon to try and convince other people to convert, and in fact it is traditional to turn someone away and telling them to study such-and-such when they ask, only progressing with a conversion if they return several times. (My understanding is that traditions vary).

Specifically, a gentile is expected to follow the Noahide Laws, a series of seven laws given to the sons of Noah (note that, since Noah and his family composed all of humanity at one point, the sons of Noah means all humans. Jews, also being sons of Noah, are expected to follow them too, but these essentially come as part of the wider package of the 613 mitzvos for Jews). Technically, these are seven categories of laws, not individual rulings, so in truth there's more than 7. I don't know whether someone who fulfills all of these goes to the World to Come from this alone, or if there are other expectations on top of that, but I do know that it's better to be a Noahide-law-observing gentile than an unobservant Jew (thus why it's common to make conversions hard - it's for the other person's sake). The laws are as follows (citing Wikipedia since I don't have them memorized):

  • Do not commit Avodah Zarah (that is, idol worship)
  • Do not curse Hashem
  • Do not murder
  • Do not commit sexually immoral acts (ie incest)
  • Do not steal
  • Do not eat flesh from living animals
  • Establish a court of law which enforces the above

Categories 3, 5, and 7 are generally fulfilled seen as a baseline for human behavior in most societies today - it's not a super high bar in that regard. Avoiding sexually immoral acts also is pretty much done by every group I know of, except that things such as (some but not all instances of) polyamory and homosexuality would fall under this as well as the more obvious rape or incest - that's a discussion for another time. Category 6 is pretty well covered too, with the only foodstuff I know of that violates this being the rocky mountain oyster which is often taken from a live bull, but these really aren't common and most people I have talked to wouldn't eat one.

Not worshiping idols or cursing Hashem is complicated, because what counts as idol worship is not always obvious. You don't see many people doing ritual sacrifices to Moloch anymore, to be sure, but I would argue that phone and Facebook addiction is a form of idol worship and that the vain pursuit of money is worship of the dollar. I would not call those who are Facebook junkies in blatant violation of what this law is really requesting, though. What about Buddhism? Buddhists may have statues of Buddha, but they aren't generally the subject of worship. What about Christianity? Rambam says that the trinity constitutes a form of polytheism and thus Catholics are idol worshipers, but not everyone agrees. I've also heard that worship of idols itself is not the problem being discussed, but amoral acts in the service of such (ie child sacrifice), so even Moloch worshipers might pass this law as long as their sons aren't aflame on the altar. Saying "God dammit" is also generally not the concern - that's not what is meant by cursing. Thus, it's hard to say exactly who is and is not following this law for sure, but the law isn't asking for the moon.

So, ultimately, the Jewish perspective is that other nations are perfectly fine, as long as they pass these requirements - I generally call these the "decent person test", as they're pretty much asking if the person isn't committing grave and obvious sins in their day to day life. That's certainly a lower bar than Christianity. That's on paper, however, and the opinion of individuals or groups is going to vary quite a lot.

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    I've also heard that worship of idols itself is not the problem being discussed, but amoral acts in the service of such... I'm not familiar with that view, but even if it's the underlying rationale, it wouldn't change the letter of the law. There are many laws enjoining us to avoid idolatrous practices that may be obsolete today, but we're still required to follow them.
    – shmosel
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 6:29

To my knowledge, Judaism is the only religion that has a pathway to Salvation for non-members (non-Jews) too.

It's not my way, or a "lake of fire", "eternal damnation", or "death to the infidel".

According to Judaism, God is the Savior of ALL mankind, and all of humanity can be "saved", by following His commands.

According to Judaism, the mission of non-Jews, is to keep the seven Noahide laws.

Those who accept the yoke of God, as it pertains to them, are referred to as Righteous Gentiles

If someone sins, he can repent to God, and they will be forgiven.

Of course, idolatry is not tolerated from anyone. God not only has a message of love, he also has a message of anger (at those who disobey His Law, or those who hurt His people), and jealousy (at those who worship others other than Him).

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    You forgot that we don't have any great gnashings of teeth!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 10:52

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