JERUSALEM—What to do when your religious practice becomes too restrictive?
That’s the question raised by the publication of a new book by Rabbi David L. Friedman.
In it, Friedman—a prominent rabbi and writer of books on American and global politics—says that Americans are averse to accepting “the idea of an individual who does not fit into a certain mold.”
That mold is imposed by institutions, including churches, which often place a higher value on conformity than on religious liberty.
“For example, the Bible is the source of most of our national identities, but the Bible, like all the other sources of our identity, is often considered a dirty book by Christians,” Friedman writes.
“And even though we see the Bible as a divine source, Christians tend to interpret the Bible in a way that conforms with their particular religious and political worldview.
For example, most of the Bible’s moral code is geared toward protecting property rights.
But some passages of the New Testament also provide a moral rationale for slavery.”
If you think this sounds familiar, that’s because Friedman’s book, called “What to Do When Your Religious Practice Becomes Too Restrictive,” is the title of a recent essay for The New York Times.
In the piece, Friedman argues that the West has come to expect a certain amount of conformity from its citizens.
“If you are a Christian, or a Jew, or any other non-Muslim or non-Arab, you expect to be accepted and accepted,” Friedman wrote.
“This is not an easy or simple thing to do, and it is not a question that is easily answered.
“The more we understand the concept of conformity, the more we realize that we are not making the best use of our time. “
We are spending too much of our lives trying to impose our ideas of right and wrong upon others.” “
The more we understand the concept of conformity, the more we realize that we are not making the best use of our time.
We are spending too much of our lives trying to impose our ideas of right and wrong upon others.”
In the book, Friedman offers practical tips on how to avoid being a part of the group that imposes these ideas.
For starters, he says, Christians and Jews have been “more willing to tolerate the idea that others might be less like them and less like us.”
“As Christians, we have tended to see the world in terms of others,” he writes.
And if others think they have more in common with us than they do with other Christians or Jews, they have the option to tell us that they are not the most trustworthy source of information.
“They can ask us to read more carefully what we are writing, and to check their sources of information,” he says.
“In some cases, they may even give us their own sources.
And sometimes they may just tell us what they have been told by others, and that we can trust what they say.
But they have no authority to give you the truth.
You must rely on them to do that for you.
You can do the same with Muslims.”
Asking Muslims to “trust what you read” is not the same as trusting the Quran, which the Jewish religious authorities—who have been under siege for centuries by Muslims—also have been criticized for not being trustworthy.
In fact, Friedman writes, “if the Muslim believes the Quran is a book of revelation, he is a liar.”
He also cites a statement by one of Islam’s foremost authorities, Sheikh Yusuf Ali Al Qasim, who said, “The Koran is the book of God.”
But as the author of “What To Do When The Islamic Group In Your Community Says You Are Not A True Muslim,” Friedman says it’s important to note that the Quran does not claim that all Muslims are liars.
“There are some Muslims who are quite sincere in their beliefs and who believe that the Koran is a guide for how Muslims should live their lives, including how to worship God, how to pray and how to deal with their problems,” he wrote.
And it’s also important to remember that the Muslim community itself is not obligated to tell anyone what their beliefs are, and not everyone is willing to give up their right to believe what they believe.
“Even if we assume that the vast majority of Muslims are truthful and sincere, we can still encounter problems,” Friedman said.
“These include a sense of entitlement, a feeling that Muslims are not entitled to share their views with outsiders, and a sense that the world outside of Islam is a hostile place, a world where they are outsiders, too.
And these feelings are common among Muslims, even among the leaders of the Muslim faith.”
“The Muslim community is the first refuge for the oppressed,” Friedman continues.
“It is not just a Muslim community, it is also a global community of people who have been marginalized for centuries.”
He writes that the “Muslim community has been the last refuge for oppressed people worldwide. They have