Here’s a thought I had:
As we all know, western society was Christian. We also know that Christianity comes from Judaism. In this way, Christianity had many attitudes coming from Judaism. And, because of this, western society developed many attitudes of Judaism which was passed onto many of its philosophies and points of view. One of these attitudes I call the “endless reenactment of the Exodus”.
Judaism is really the religion established by Moses during the Exodus. Its for this reason that I often jokingly refer to Judaism as “Mosesism”. Much of Judaism is nothing but a continuous reenactment of the Exodus, in festivals, memories, reciting’s, and study of the laws of Moses and Talmud. In fact, the basic stance of many Jews is basically that they still perceive themselves as “wandering through the desert” waiting for the “promised land” and “messiah”. In this way, the endless reenactment of the Exodus defines much of the Judaism and its points of view.
Some of the themes the Exodus created include:
1- That they are freeing themselves from an oppression or enslavement.
2- Of the need of having to keep everyone under control. I tend to think that Moses had a hard time keeping all the Jewish people under control in the desert. Think of it . . . all those slaves (supposedly there was about 600,000), who have no unity, no authority structure, etc. all of a sudden thrown out into the desert together! That would of been quite a feat to control that population. Looking at Moses and the Exodus it suggests that it was. Because of this, Moses had to create means to keep the population under control. I always felt that the social control side of the Exodus, and how Moses did it, has been largely neglected. This means that, in a way, Judaism is really rooted in the means Moses had to do in order to keep the people under control during the Exodus . Some of these means include:
- Of the use of sin as a “power leverage” to make people obey. By making them sinners of God they had to submit to the laws of God.
- Of the use of law and sacrifice as a form of retribution and forgiveness. These kept a control and submission in the people.
- Of a reestablishment of previous conditions – the “promised land”. This gave people something to look forward to.
- Of a belief in being looked after by a God. This gave people hope and a desire to submit.
- Of a sense of a special people – the “chosen people”. This gave them a unity and a motive for submitting.
In some respects, Judaism is a “religiously justified means of controlling a population”. That is to say, Judaism is really based in a social control problem that used religion as a means. In this way, should we call Judaism a social system or a religion? In my opinion, its both. Judaism (or “Mosesism”) as a social system has been neglected as everyone has only focused on its religious aspects.
Some of the effects of these themes that appeared in later years include:
- It made the Jews very unified. In fact, in the Middle East the growing population growth caused a dissolution of people, religions, beliefs, and such which caused many problems. The Jews tended to be immune to this as they had a stable unified people as a result of the Laws of Moses. This was looked at highly and admired by other people. This Jewish integrity and unity set the foundations for Christianity and Islam. This would more or less mean that Christianity and Islam are actually founded on the dissolution of people, religion, and belief and the confusion it created. Using the Jewish model gave a “solidity” in times when there was nothing solid.
- It made the Jews not want to be subject to anyone which, accordingly, made them “split apart” from everyone else and different. Unfortunately, this caused resentment and hatred by many people. It is greatly involved with many “anti-Semitic” points of view and acts. The most dramatic, of course, are the Nazi’s.
So we see that these themes both helped and hindered the Jewish people.
Many of these attitudes would be carried over into Christianity and into Western Europe and its later colonies. It would, of course, have different qualities than was seen in the Jewish people but many of the original traits are still seen. Some of the reenactment of Exodus themes coming from Judaism, and seen in western society, include:
- The idea of escaping from an oppression, enslavement, or some evil created by some other person.
- The idea of being free.
- Of the importance of law or that there is a “right way” of doing things.
- The idea that that we are all sinners and that humanity is inherently evil.
- The hope in something new (the “promised land”).
Christianty restated many of these themes in a new way. In addition, the times were looked at in a similar way. For example, Pharaoh was replaced by the Romans, the new “law of love” replaced the laws of Moses, and Jesus replaced Moses as the savior. In ways, such as these, Christianity brought on some new themes:
- The idea of love.
- The idea that we will be “saved” by something.
- Authority issues, which tended to be variations of the oppression theme. This has more to do with the problems caused by the Protestant Rebellion than by Christian belief itself.
The Crusades also brought on some new themes:
- The idea of individual achievement. This primarily comes from the knights and acts of war.
- The idea of a “great cause”.
- The idea of a world crusade and changing the world.
The Enlightment (about 1600-1900’s) instilled many of these themes into science and politics. Some examples include:
- The idea that science will save us . . . bring on a “promised land”.
- The idea that since there is no one in charge in a democracy – a government by the people – we will be free. This is a reference to the fact that because there is no authority there is no “Pharaoh” to enslave us.
In England many of these attitudes were instilled in the government particularly early. This is primarily as a result of the Norman Conquest which took place in 1066. This was looked on as a “new Exodus” by the Christian Anglo-Saxons and they used Christian (that is, Jewish) example to interpret and deal with the situation. As a result, England has had many of these attitudes in its government for 1000 years. For example, have you ever noticed how everything political in England seems to revolve around oppression and freedom (which are themes from the Exodus)? This shows the Christian influence and, through it, the effects of Judaism and the Exodus are seen.
So we can see that in England the political viewpoint is one of an endless reenactment of the Exodus that never ends. This same tendency in politics would carry over into one of England’s colonies, the U.S. In fact, the whole political theory of the U.S., with its Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc., is nothing but a “new Exodus” founded on Christian viewpoints and, subsequently, reflecting the themes of the Exodus. For example, the British became the new Pharaoh and the Declaration of Independence instigates the new Exodus. What this means is that the political theory in England and the U.S. is based in principles coming from the continual reenactment of the Exodus. One could even go so far as to say that a lot of politics in these two countries is nothing but a continual reenactment of the Exodus.
So we see that the endless reenactment of the Exodus has continued on down to today and is as strong as ever. Because of this, at least in western society, the themes of the Exodus has become the basis and model of a whole world view. Perhaps we could call it the “Exodus-based world view”? It has become the basis of things like:
- How to interpret events and situations.
- How to define a problem.
- Of what the solution is.
- Of the proper way to live.
These viewpoints typically have little to do with religion but they generally have a lot to do with social situations. Interestingly, the original themes of the Exodus and laws of Moses are primarily based in social control, as I’ve explained above, and not religion. Its almost as if the “Exodus-based world view” has returned to its original viewpoint, perhaps revealing its true nature???
The “Exodus-based world view” has, in my opinion, created a distorted view of history, society, social relations, and authority. This is primarily because it is a “one view” perspective, interpreting things from a single point of view. And we must keep in mind that this “one view” perspective has existed for thousands of years. As a result, it has been applied to many different situations. The problem is that very few of these situations fit the model created by the “Exodus-based world view”. In this way, many interpretations were “forced” to fit the model. What this has done is basically to create distorted viewpoints. How many distorted views have been created by the “Exodus-based world view”? My feelings is that there is a lot of distorted viewpoints, particularly in England and the U.S., which has used this point of view quite extensively.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen