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Reform Judiaism

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on October 28, 2004 14:57:31 UTC

I am a convert from atheism to Reform Judiaism, although raised as a christian in the Congregational and Espicopal Church. So I can comment on Reform thinking accurately, and on Conservative, Orthodox and Haisidic thinking with somewhat less accuracy.

Reform thinking is that the Old Testament was written by Rabis, not by God. It was of course inspired by god, but it contains the inspiration of humans as well. In particular the Creation story of Genesis is acknowledged to have been borrowed from earlier religions. But the Reform branch of Judiaism is not recognized by Israel as valid Judiaism.

I have attended services in Conservative Temples many, many times with friends from town, most of them rather well educated. I do not know the official position of the Conservatives. But none of my friends believe in the 6 day creation story. Rather they believe in the earth and the universe being billions of years old, and they believe in evolution.

My in-laws came from the Orthodox branch and they honor the Torah, which includes Genesis, and they abide by all the Laws of Moses. They think God created the world, but not necessarily in 6 days. I workd at MIT with an Orthodox scientist, who became a friend; and he practiced Judiaism as a matter of tradition. Being a physicist, he did not accept a 6 day creation in any way except as a metaphor. He did not take the bible literally.

It seems to me that only the Hasidics take the Torah literally and believe in a 6 day creation less than 6,000 years ago. Moses according to them gave us the Torah 1,500 years ago and it is as true today as it was then as a guide to life and law.

On the subject of evolution, Austrailian scientists from the New England School recently discovered a case of human dwarfism on an island where elephants and other animals also experienced a loss of size. It seems that whenever animals live in a situation without competitors, they tend to reduce in size- a kind of inverse evolution. If size is a measure of progress: then removal of selection prosesses seems to promote regress.

Here is a link:

"The discovery of a new species of human living on the Indonesian island of Flores around 18,000 years ago shows that human diversity in the recent past was much greater than expected, scientists say."

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