Thank you for sending the links to Rabbi Manis Friedman’s talks. I watched the first video and here are my thoughts:
He told the story of Abraham sacrificing his son to explain how women should answer if God instructed them to dump their husbands. I don’t see the connection or similarity at all so perhaps you can offer one.
He advised that the women were to go with their husbands if God told them to dump them. How does this have anything to do with Abraham complying with God’s demand to sacrifice his son?
The story of Abraham brings up huge issues for me. It shows a God that is demanding and cruel that he has the need test the belief of his people. So often in the bible, God is described and describes himself as an angry and vengeful God, even a jealous God. A fearful God is not a God I want to believe in which is the God that traditional religions worship.
If God is so easily offended and so acutely sensitive, he cannot be a God of strength and unlimited power. This God is more offended than I am that I cannot possibly put my faith in a God that is weaker than me. This God finds everything offensive, from eating on glass plates that aren’t kosher, to shaking hands with women, to judging women ‘unclean’, to not switching on lights on Shabbat, to what women should wear. If any man dictated what I wore, judged me on my shoulders showing, my hair, what I should eat, decided what I do with my body, it would make him the ultimate abuser.
In our book When Loving Him Hurts, we have what we call The Bully Barometer. It’s a 16 point check list where women can mark their relationship as a way to find out if they are abusive. If you read through this list, most of them apply to a God defined in the bible.
- Does he criticize you constantly and no matter how hard you try to please him it isn’t good enough?
- Does he constantly blame you for all his problems or anything that goes wrong for him?
- Does he ridicule you when you are alone and in public, even if that ridicule is hidden in humor?
- Does he refuse to discuss problems, accuse you of being unstable or making things up if you try to force the conversation?
- Does he undermine your opinions and your feelings and undervalue your achievements?
- Does he constantly criticize your friends and try to prevent you from seeing them?
- Have you given up important activities such as hobbies or sports or people to please him?
- Does he flirt with your friends or tell you how much better they are than you to make you feel insecure and unwilling to see them?
- Does he constantly criticize your family and try to prevent you from having contact with them?
- Does he constantly accuse you of flirting or having inappropriate contact with other men?
- Does he manipulate you with money by withholding it or making you spend your money on him?
- Does he constantly demand sex when you are unwilling and accuse you of not loving him if you do not have sex with him?
- Does he try to force you to do sexual acts with him that you are uncomfortable with?
- Does he withhold sex to punish you for making him angry?
- Does he threaten to leave you if you displease him?
- Does he have affairs with other women?
The God I believe in is one that resides in each of us. It’s a God that is kind, loves unconditionally, does not believe in sin or punishment. As humans we make mistakes and all that is required is correction. They are not sins that require punishment, sacrifice or the need to earn God’s love. We are here to learn, not earn. If we are created in God’s image, we have God’s attributes. Love, truth, unlimited power and are invulnerable. We do not live at the effect of the world but at the effect of our thoughts. Nothing outside of us can affect us. Our world is a projection of our perception and our perception is what our belief system is.
No one is better or worse than anyone. Comparisons and judgments are an alignment with the ego thought system whose foundation is lack, loss, limitation and grievances. When we align with our right mind, our God mind, we hear the voice for God. Truth, love, kindness and joy.
Any form is meaningless. If we see a world of separate bodies and rely on our five senses, we are blind to the unity of God, to our source and our unlimited power. God created us like himself and so we have his attributes. This is why lashon hara is meaningless. If we are taught that words can hurt, we argue for our limitations and get to keep them. We reinforce our belief that we are weak and live at the mercy of a merciless world. No one has the power to disturb our inner peace unless we give them permission to do so.
We get to choose what thought system we want to follow every moment of our life. It’s a choice between the tyrannical ego thought system based on fear that lives in the past and future, demands sacrifice, limited resources and scarcity, and that if someone wins another has to lose, or the one of our inner guide, our right mind, our big Self. A thought system whose foundation is unlimited abundance, joy, peace, love, truth.
There are only two emotions, fear and love. Fear limits, love extends. Following the ego thought system is no different to having faith in a tyrannical God. One that makes demands and rules that when interrogated, make no sense. Belief in this God requires one to suspend critical thought. To follow him is to reinforce fear and the belief that we will not earn our way to heaven unless we do so. Heaven is not ‘up there’, neither is God. We get to choose heaven every moment by choosing a loving God that resides within us. Choosing the ego thought system is no different to choosing to believe in a tyrannical God who watches and judges our every move. That to me is the definition of hell.