Explain Ethical Monotheism Essay Sample
- Pages: 4
- Word count: 983
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- Category: plato
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Monotheism in and of itself is comprised of several compilatory words, starting sequentially with mono. Mono is a common prefix used to denote singularity. Theo is used as the word G-d or used in reference to related subjects and ism is a suffix used to show the belief in something and the total word (Monotheism) being the belief in one G-d. This coupled with the word ethical, a word meaning
word meaning the standards of right and wrong otherwise known as morals, means the belief in one G-d who sets the standards of right and wrong.
Plato’s allegory of the cave is the belief that there is something more than this imperfect physical world, and just by thinking about it you can be released. This ties in to Judaism because we believe that G-d is outside our physical world. Plato believes that just as shadows which can be distorted and stretched all things under the same heading come from one “form” for example there is one “form” for a cat or a chair regardless of appearance. In Plato’s analogy “the form of good” would be seen as G-d in Judaism.
According to monotheists, G-d is supranatural, he is set apart from all others and absolutely distinct from everything else and is therefore holy. G-d is above this mortal plane of existence he is beyond it, perfect and infinite. He created the world ex-nihilo (from nothing) and does not exist because of it or within it as some believe. He is absolute. He is outside of time and space, without a beginning or an end.
In Judaism we can see this idea of ex-nihilo from the way it says create, normally the word is ??? however, it uses the word ?????? a word only used here to describe creation from nothing, not even a vacuum or gas. This is different to the idea of Aristotle’s prime mover, in which change was started by an outside force to initiate change, in the way that G-d created that which is to be moved (or otherwise changed) and also that He is still active in its making.
Thus, is the Jewish belief in G-d. The ethical side can be seen alongside the aforementioned monotheistic side in the Shema. In the first and second sentences proclaim primarily that “Hashem is the One and Only” and secondly, “you shall love Hashem, your G-d”. The first clearly states that there is only one G-d but the second is not so obvious, it says to love, not to listen to His moral preaching. To understand how you get to stringent observance from love you need to understand the nature of a personal relationship. By being close to someone, be it love, you would do everything to do as they say, and such is the Jewish obligation to keep to the moral boundaries set by Hashem and his mitzvot in the torah.
In the second paragraph of the Shema you see the concept of reward and punishment a furtherment on the ethical idealism foreshadowed in the previous paragraph. It can also be expanded to include the idea of a personal G-d due to the reasoning in my next paragraph.
G-d demands us to better ourselves “and you shall be holy to your G-d” 3rd Para. Shema From this we can see that G-d wants us to become elevated through our actions. Also the fact that he is able to make this demand proves an already existing relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem as you don’t make a demand to a stranger (especially 613 “demands”). Also the fact He asks us to elevate ourselves is because He cannot come down to our level as He would therefore be diminishing His power. He is holy, we are not, as, “from dust” we were made.
Further Reinforcement can be found in the 10 commandments, the first commandment shows once again His personal relationship because that is where he established his personal relationship through his manipulation of divine providence. The further 9 all highlight specific important ethical laws, as they are laws to follow to have a civilised society.
Our need to follow these laws is hence underlined every time Hashem makes a demand due to our personal relationship with Him it is also enhanced by our understanding of Him. This is made easier by certain metaphors and anthropomorphisms (the attribution of a human form, characteristics, or behaviour to nonhuman things) such as “outstretched arm”, “G-ds eyes”, “G-ds feet” and the like. These heighten the feeling of a personal G-d strengthening our relationship and hence our understanding of G-d and with greater understanding in turn comes a stronger relationship.
Our ethical behaviour is therefore absolutist as our morals are defined by G-d and is not subject to personal opinion or subjectivity as opposed to relativist where someone can do something they think is right and you think is wrong and both are true in the eyes of each person. The only problem is that being from G-d it may have been misinterpreted and hence there is endless debate on the minor details of every part of Judaism.
Judaism is also adamant that there is only one G-d. Other gods either do not exist at all, or they are false gods or demons; i.e., beings that are acknowledged to exist but that cannot be compared in power or any other way with the one and only true G-d. This applies then to Judaism where there is the suggestion of these false gods whilst there is the one true G-d. This position is reinforced by the first commandment.
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