When the Creator, blessed be His name, gave His Torah at Mount Sinai He told the Children of Israel He was setting before them life and death and that they should choose life. We make choices every day. Some are easy while others require some thought on our part. The choices we make in our lives make us who we are. I choose to follow the G-d of Avraham. In doing so, I have accepted upon myself everything that goes along with that. The Talmud tells us there are 613 commandments in the Torah. These commandments have various rules that go along with them as well. I choose to follow them and do them to the best of my ability. Furthermore, I accept them without even knowing what all of them are and what they entail. This is the same thing the Children of Israel did at Sinai. “na’aseh v’nishma“–“We will do and we will hear/understand.” This teaches us that understanding comes after doing. Indeed, our understanding of Torah can only come after doing what it says. Further, the more that we do what it says, the deeper our understanding becomes. But, before you can do any of it, you must choose to do it. So why would you choose to do it? Isn’t that a lot to do?
It goes without saying that choosing to follow Torah is a good thing. But, how can you possibly know this? How is it that you can understand what is good? In order to understand what “good” is you must also understand what evil is. Evil, being the opposite of good, is easy for us to understand. It fits into the realm of what we can comprehend. The human brain loves opposites. It is a simple equation. Good equals life while evil equals death. Who in their right mind would choose death over life? Many people try to extend this equation to their understanding of G-d. G-d is good so something else must be causing all this evil in the world. This is the mistake that comes from trying to understand first rather than doing. The Torah teaches us that good and evil both come from G-d. There is no evil force at odds with Him. Everything comes from Him. He created this world and everything in it. This concept is foreign to other religions, but it is the only one that makes sense. Think of it this way. Say you are an artisan of some kind. You sit down to do your creative work. Do you create some part of it to negate the work itself? It is not even possible. Can a musician write a song that will have some opposite part that will stand out as being a negative of the song? Can a painter or a sculptor do this? In the same way, G-d did not create the world with some evil being who is trying to undermine its creator. It just isn’t possible. But we know that there is evil in the world. From where did it come? Torah teaches us that evil comes from G-d just like everything else. Without evil in the world, it would not be possible to choose good. He wants us to choose Him, to choose life and not death. Without at least two options, one cannot make a choice. You must also understand that He transcends our limited understanding of good and evil. We cannot say that G-d is good or that He is evil. We can only say that He is.
Free will gives us power, albeit a limited power. Whatever our status in this world, free will gives us some power. Even those of the lowest social status have the power to choose to do good. That is free will. Whichever path in life you choose, there are things that go along with it. We work at becoming what we are. The evil person has things he does and practices his evil. Likewise, the righteous person has work to do to fulfill his righteousness. Both paths have that which is simple and that which is difficult. It is simple for the righteous person not to kill someone. It is simple for the evil person pocket something that is not his if the opportunity should arise. Where the two paths come close to each other is when it gets difficult. The righteous person might be tempted to steal something or the evil person might be tempted to do good. At times, we do make choices that are out of our character. But this is not the norm, and that is not to say that the individual cannot decide to change his life and take the opposite path. This happens all the time.
Many people believe that humans are born evil. The concept of “original sin” however, does not exist in the Torah and is nothing more that pagan folklore. There were many righteous people born after the time of Adam and prior to the Nazarene. Noah, Abraham, and Moses are but a few. These men, and countless others like them, made the conscious decision to do that which was good. The pagan concept of original sin should have rendered them guilty. Noah was counted righteous enough to populate the entire world. Abraham was counted righteous enough to be the father of many nations. Moses, the greatest of all the prophets, was given the honor of receiving the Torah. Do these men bear the guilt of original sin? Are they burning in hell right now? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. The pagan church has been very successful in convincing much of the world that this is exactly the case. The church, in fact, does its best to remove free will from the world by means of an ultimatum.
The church negates free will by removing the ability to choose. They demand that you believe in their god. If you don’t, you will burn in hell for eternity. Is that a choice? Not hardly. The church has spent two thousand years perpetuating these pagan ideas. Recent history has not been nearly as violent as the early years. The Protestant Reformation severely undermined the power the early church wielded over humanity. But rest assured the concepts are still there.
The church actually calls free will a problem. Protestant reformers Calvin and Luther didn’t think free will even existed. Catholics contend that G-d controls the wills of men. These concepts are complete foolishness and even contradict their own tenets. All churches teach that one must be saved in order to receive eternal life. They also teach that those who are not saved are under the control of the devil. This begs the question. How can a person who is wicked ever be saved unless they make the decision to do so? Freewill is a big problem for the church. Free will gives us the power and removes it from them and they don’t like that. They would rather people just follow along with what they are pushing and not be free thinkers.
Judaism doesn’t have this problem. In fact, they don’t expect anyone who isn’t Jewish to become Jewish. They certainly allow conversion, but it is neither demanded or expected. They allow the individual to choose their path in life. The Hebrew Scriptures even allow people who aren’t Jewish to have a relationship with G-d. Gentiles are only responsible for following the seven Noahide Laws. These are the seven general regulations given to Noah after the flood. Those who keep the seven laws are guaranteed a place in the world to come. So, in Jewish thought Gentiles are given three options for their lives. You can be a good Noahide and keep the seven laws. You can convert to Judaism and take on the entire Law of Moses. Thirdly, you can be evil if you so choose. The choice is completely up to you. Unfortunately for the church, they have chosen this third option. You see, the church practices idolatry in that they worship the man on the stick. Worship of anything or anyone other that the Creator, blessed be His name, is idolatry. Idolatry is forbidden by the seven laws as well as the Law of Moses. Idolatry is a grave insult to G-d.
Know that you have a choice in life. Know that you are at liberty to make any choice you wish. Don’t allow the church to threaten you with hellfire only to trap you in their idolatrous maelstrom they call religion.
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