1. The prophet Amos spoke out against the injustices of the Northern Kings of Israel. A central theme of the prophetic tradition is social justice. Read Amos 2:6-16; 5:14-15 in this regard (see the online Bible in Webliography). Please respond in one post to all of the following:
What is your definition of social justice, and how does it seem to compare with what you read in the two Amos passages?
When Amos thunders in 5:15 “Hate evil, love good”, what influences do you think was instrumental in shaping his idea of “evil” and “good”?
What role do you see religion as playing in helping to establish and uphold social justice?
2. The text has a lengthy discussion of Jewish history as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. Please respond in one post to both of the following:
What Old Testament event stands out to you as especially helpful to understand Judaism?
Which Old Testament historical figure stands out as someone who especially inspires and/or encourages you, and why?
3. Judaism is very concerned about orthopraxy, perhaps even more than orthodoxy. Please respond in one post to all three of the following:
How would you explain “orthopraxy”?
The Sabbath is a Jewish example of orthopraxy. What does the Sabbath mean to a Jew, and why is it so important to them?
What do you think about their Sabbath beliefs?
4. Epicurus is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil, and it is sometimes called the Epicurean paradox: “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?”
What is your explanation for how a God who is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good can permit so much pain, suffering, and evil in the world?
5. In talking about evil, knowing how it is being defined is helpful. Since we’re considering Judaism this week, to better grasp how the Jewish God of the Old Testament defines evil, read Jeremiah 32:30-35 (see the online Christian Bible in Webliography). Please respond in one post to both of the following:
What seems to be the main issue for the Jewish God when it comes to evil?
How does that compare with how you understand evil?
6. One historical event which springs to mind for many people when it comes to Jews is the Holocaust, which is discussed in the text. Please respond in one post to all of the following:
What did you learn about the holocaust that you did not know previously?
Can you identify the term typically used today to describe something similar to the Holocaust, as well as two locations where it has happened within the last 20 years? Who were the perpetrators and the victims, and how many people died as a result?
What conclusions about evil do you make as a consequence of events like these?