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freedom of religion in USA should not involve freedom to *fully* practice old testament judiasm

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,031 times Debate No: 56365
Debate Rounds (3)
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freedom of religion in the USA should not involve freedom to *fully* practice old testament judiasm

the USA is known to be a religiously tolerant society. but, old testament judiasm permits or requires things that go against our commonly accept values and laws.

examples. in the old testament, people are to be put to death for what many would consider trivial moral infractions, slavery is often permitted or directed, women are treated as property, a woman raped can be forced to marry her rapist.
to name a few.

it's not the point of the debate. but that a country as tolerant as the USA would not and should not allow it to be fully practiced, says a lot about the religion.


I'm so glad that my opponent made this debate, I'm going to have a lot of fun, so thanks and good luck.

I would like to preface my argument with a very important point, that my opponent seems to not have realized, If the title of the debate would just be THE FREEDOM TO PRACTICE THE OLD TESTAMENT that would be one thing (because he's entitled to learn the old testament as he pleases), but he wrote OLD TESTAMENT JUDAISM. The difference being that Judaism believes in something called the oral law, which means that g-d gave all the commandment with an oral tradition explaining every law and detail in the torah. (BTW the title itself doesn't make sense Judaism holds that it's not the Old Testament, it holds that it's the only testament).

Judaism goes on to say that after the destruction of the second temple, all the rabbis were afraid that because of the turmoil and persecution the oral tradition would be forgotten, so they committed it to writing. So just a few examples, A man by the name of rabbi Yehuda hanasi (d. 196) spearheaded the project to write the Mishnah (a set of sixty books going through all the laws of the bible), now I will list a bunch of books put together in that era, although the names may not mean anything to you, but their interpretation of the bible is Judaism. The Sifra, Sifri, michilta, michita drabbi akive, tosefta, Midrash Raba, other Midrashim.

After some time elapsed what was written was considered to cryptic for the preservation of the oral law. So the two Talmud's were written as a commentary on the Mishnah.

Now that I've introduced what the oral law is, I'll show you how central the believe in the oral law is in Judaism. By quoting Maimonides (1135-1204, wrote a set of 14 books going through all the laws of the torah as understood by the Talmud and the oral law in general).

"Halacha 6
The following individuals do not have a portion in the world to come. Rather, their [souls] are cut off and they are judged for their great wickedness and sins, forever:
the Minim,
the Epicursim,
those who deny the Torah,
those who deny the resurrection of the dead and the coming of the [Messianic] redeemer,
those who rebel [against God],
those who cause the many to sin,
those who separate themselves from the community,
those who proudly commit sins in public as Jehoyakim did,
those who betray Jews to gentile authorities,
those who cast fear upon the people for reasons other than the service of God,
one who extends his foreskin [so as not to appear circumcised]."

Then he goes on to discuss each of the categories and I'll just quote the relevant one.

"There are three individuals who are considered as one "who denies the Torah":
a) one who says Torah, even one verse or one word, is not from God. If he says: "Moses made these statements independently," he is denying the Torah.
b) one who denies the Torah's interpretation, the oral law, or disputes [the authority of] its spokesmen as did Tzadok and Beitus.
c) one who says that though the Torah came from God, the Creator has replaced one mitzvah with another one and nullified the original Torah, like the Arabs [and the Christians].
Each of these three individuals is considered as one who denies the Torah."

Now that that's out of the way let's discuss the issue. Freedom of religion in the USA, so first of all I'll point out an essential point, Judaism was not given to the non-Jews in other words any law in the Old Testament in not addressed to gentiles. So the very first point that has to be understood is that this is a fight for the minority population of Jews in the United States. There are approximately 6 million Jews living in America, they are all biblically obligated by the bible to follow the laws of the torah. So this is a fight to protect 1 and a half% of the American population who are Jewish, from the "old testament".

Now on to the next point, the religious Jews in America "fully" keep the Old Testament, completely without breaking any its laws. According to my opponent they should lose that freedom...

Of course my opponent has argued that Jews don't keep the Old Testament, and he named a few laws. So let us discuss those laws as understood by the oral law.

"People are to be put to death for what many would consider trivial moral infractions". According to Judaism the Jewish court ("Beth din") can only do the death penalty when the temple is standing. So according to Judaism no death sentence can be meted out, (of course the non-Jews have a right to have the death penalty for murder, but that's a discussion for a different time).

"Slavery is often permitted or directed". It is only directed when a Jewish male thief has no other means of paying for the theft he pays off his theft by selling himself into slavery for six years. Now for Jewish slavery to be applicable there has to be the jubilee, since that stopped at the end of the first temple (if necessary I can elaborate how the Talmud learns this) there cannot be a Jewish slave. Now in regards to a non-Jewish slave there is never a directive to have one, rather it's permitted, but there's another law in Judaism that is called Dina dimalchusa Dina (the law of the land is the Jewish law) which means that as long as the law of the land is not telling us to go against the torah we are obligated by Judaism to follow the law of the land. So if slavery would be legal perhaps we would have slaves, but it's not, so Judaism forbids having slaves.

"women are treated as property". Please elaborate I don't know what you are referring to. If you're referring to the law of a maid servant, again not applicable until we get the jubilee back with the coming of messiah, until then there can be no Jewish slaves in any way.

"A woman raped can be forced to marry her rapist." Completely not true, she has every right in the world to say that she doesn't want to marry him, and she is never forced to. The law of the bible that your referring to, is that if she wants to marry him, he has no choice if he raped her (the Talmud says that probably it would play itself out in a case that she"s a very sick or gruesome lady), and he has no option of divorcing her, if at any point she wants a divorce she can demand one,(and like all marriages if he hurts her, he will be tried in court and be punished financially and if necessary by force). The lesson of course being that if she's good enough for you once shes good enough for your whole life. (Sex is not just fun and games it's a real thing).

So in conclusion freedom of religion in America does and should give the freedom to practice the old testament fully as demanded by the old testament. And we await the imminent arrival of moshiach (the real one) when at that point the world will be openly a beautiful place,and the jews will be able to fulfill all the commandments, but at that point all the Jews will want to fulfill all of the commandment, and all the non-Jews will be righteous gentiles, may it happen speedily in our days.
Debate Round No. 1


con points out that many jews in the USA fully practice their version of judiasm, and that many jews made oral laws that later minimized the issues in question, and they are considered to be fully practicing judiasm.

con ignores, however, that this debate is obviously about banning the region only insofar as it is practiced, as it was practiced in the OTestament. there's no reason it couldn't be practiced that way. if it was, it shouldn't be allowed.

even according to con, american jews only don't do the death penalty, cause the temple isn't standing. when or if that day comes, they will be free to use the death penalty. that would be them fully practicing it. then, and now at least as a matter of principal, full judiasm shouldn't be allowed to be practiced.

i will have to change this debate in the future to narrow it down to forbidding judiasm's practices, as they are practiced in the OTestament.


I spent almost my entire first round describing how central the oral law is to Judaism. The oral law is not a new version of Judaism in order to be American, it's the tradition that Jews have kept for thousands of years. Be that as it may, whether my opponent agrees that the bible was given with an oral tradition is irrelevant because the question is what does Old Testament JUDAISM believe. So it's not "many" Jews "made" oral laws in order to be "considered" to be following Judaism. No this is what according to the Old Testament a Jew is obligated to do right now.

What my opponent said that there's no reason it couldn't be practiced that way is totally ignoring everything that I said. Namely that the according to "old testament Judaism" yes it cannot be practiced that way rather exactly the way religious Jews keep it. If indeed Judaism would demand a different set of rules against the constitution, I can assure you that religious Jews would listen to the torah before listening to the laws of the constitution.

So to sum it up "old testament Judaism" is completely and fully practiced so I won the title of the debate.

Now I noticed that my opponent basically completely ignored a basic point that I made that Judaism's laws are addressed to the Jewish people as stated countless times in the bible.

Now she went on to say that when the temple will be standing then the USA should not allow Jews to practice Judaism. So first of all, the title of the debate was using the present form, I wasn't aware that were discussing the time when the temple will be rebuilt. But I'll respond anyways.

There is only one location where the temple can be built and especially the altar has to be built on one exact location. Now since we simply don't know where that is we have no way of building the temple until g-d wants it to be rebuilt. According to Judaism this will happen in the times of the messiah.

That being the case your argument is wrong for three reasons. says in psalms that messiah will rule the entire world so I don't know if their will be the United States B. According to the bible all the Jews will be in the land of Israel in the times of messiah, so there's nothing to worry about because like I said the laws of the bible are directed at the Jewish people C. the main point, in that era as it's described no one will even want to do anything other than what g-d wants, so it will perfectly compatible with freedom of religion in the USA.

Now obviously I've been ignoring the elephant in the room. That is to say that the point of my opponent is that the laws of the bible are unjust and wrong (g-d forbid). So although it's not relevant to the title of debate I'll discuss it a little bit. But before I do I'll be honest I'm very bewildered my opponent is a Christian. In other words she believes that g-d almighty is the author of the bible. She is criticizing g-d I find that amazing. It's one thing to say it's man made, but to say that g-d wrote it, but that he's wrong, is the most wild thing that I have ever heard.

Now I could go through different laws in the bible and show based on the Talmud that many many commandments are totally misunderstood. But that would take too much time, so for now I'll just focus on something that seems to bother my opponent and that is the death penalty in the Old Testament, for things that she considers trivial.

Now just so the crowd is aware of the discussion let's review the laws of the bible. There are 36 things for which one can get killed. 18 of them are sexual relations (bestiality, homosexuality, adultery and incestuous relationships), 10 of them are different forms of idol worship. Then there are two laws which the criteria is so wild to be killed that it's said in the Talmud that it's more in place to teach a lesson then to be carried out (again Judaism says this not some apologetics) and that is the law of the rebellious judge and the wayward son. A murderer is put to death. A false prophet and a kidnapper. Now for the most controversial laws in the bible one who curses his parents with the name of g-d, one who strikes his father, and one that desecrates the Shabbat.

Now I'll be honest I personally don't find it disturbing because I never considered myself to be the authority on what's trivial and what's not. Imagine billions of dollars are spent to fly a rocket ship to mars, astronauts have been trained for years, and tens of thousands of people have devoted decades of their life for this moment. And all of a sudden as they're taking off one astronaut wants to take a smoke, and he doesn't understand what the big deal is, can you imagine the outrage. The parable is that Judaism believes that the word was created for the purpose of keeping the torah. The world is on a mission and were heading to a beautiful place, any situation g-d puts us in is part of the mission. So yes if these 36 things warrant the death sentence that means that they are not trivial at all.

Now there's something else that's very important to keep in mind, g-d runs this world and always has. Point being that the reason why we biblically can't do the death penalty, is orchestrated by g-d, it's because since we don't live in the world where these truths are so clear, we cannot hold the person responsible to the point of death for his terrible sin, for the sinner simply doesn't understand the gravity of what they're doing.

Now one final point is warranted and that is that if you look at the conditions under which the death sentence is carried out it's very hard to put someone to death. There has to be two kosher witnesses, they have to warn him exactly what sin he is transgressing and what the punishment will be, he must commit the sin within a few seconds of the warning so as not to have the excuse that he forgot the warning, he has to respond to show that he heard the warning and doesn't care. These laws apply accept for the case of murder in which the person is executed as long as there's no shadow of a doubt that the person killed another person intentionally.
Debate Round No. 2


even a commenter acknolweded what it really is that con is doing, namely semantics...
"I suppose semantically you could argue what is old testament Judaism."

first, it was clear that what was being discussed is "old testament judasim", or to put another way, judiasm as practiced by those in the old testament. this was further clarified by the fact i pointed out those various laws that i find disturbing. con went on to try to arugue about anoher tyupe of judiasm.

also, in the present tense, it can easily be said that modern judaism has to be restricted. that's because the temple can be rebuilt at any time, and because the full extent of judiasm is when the temple is built, we can execute people for (trivial) offenses. so, the full extent of judiasm has to be restricted.


Ok for the final round thanks for reading until now, I hope you learned some new stuff.

Here's the deal, as I keep writing again and again, the question of what is old testament Judaism is not semantics it's the topic of the debate. All that was clear from the my opponents opening statement was that she seemed not to be aware of the laws of old testament Judaism, in other words she thought that the old testament demands now a days to carry out a bunch of things which she feels should not be allowed according to freedom of religion and tolerance in this country. To this I responded that she's not aware that according to old testament Judaism now a days these laws which she finds intolerable cannot biblically be carried out (meaning even if Israel is taken over by religious Jews they would not carry out these death penalties because the bible does not let). And I kept trying to explain that there is no different type of Judaism it's all the same Judaism.

Obviously me and my opponent misunderstood each other so I'm sorry about that.

It's clear that my opponent didn't read what I wrote about rebuilding the temple etc. namely that biblically it cannot be rebuilt until g-d wills it so.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 7 years ago
I suppose semantically you could argue what is old testament Judaism. Judaism so far as I know does not have a new and old testament.
Posted by spinosauruskin 7 years ago
Yeah, someone would be out of their minds to go con on this debate.
Posted by spinosauruskin 7 years ago
Yeah, someone would be out of their minds to go con on this debate.
Posted by alexmiller887 7 years ago
Mr High and Mighty, Christianity has exactly the same laws as Judaism.
Posted by Jevinigh 7 years ago
I don't suspect there is a coherent case to be made fro CON
Posted by Jevinigh 7 years ago
I don't suspect there is a coherent case to be made fro CON
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