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Embarking on a journey of faith:

Embarking on a journey of faith:

The Beginning

It is fascinating to observe how the Khazar King turns to the philosopher in his attempt to find meaning in life and connect with something beyond the present reality. Initially, he is inclined towards the rational world, as he believes that religion, being an irrational concept, cannot provide a logical explanation for the existence of God, who cannot be encountered within the natural world or the laws of nature.

The Philosopher's God

Interestingly, the philosopher mentioned in the passage believes in God, but his concept of God is quite different from what most people think. According to the philosopher, God is too distant and exalted to have any relationship with individuals. Instead, humans can only connect with the "Active Intellect," a part of nature created by God that controls and guides it. However, this connection with the Active Intellect is the maximum that a person can achieve.

We will learn how the Khazar King reacts to the philosopher's position.

Kuzari - Philosopher's last words: 

“...In fine, seek purity of heart in whatever way thou art able, provided thou hast acquired total knowledge in its real essence. Thou wilt reach thy goal, viz., the union with this Spiritual or relatively Active Intellect. Maybe he will communicate with thee or teach thee the knowledge of what is hidden through true dreams and positive visions.”

Kuzari - philosopher debate (last part):

Said to him the Khazari: Your words are convincing, yet they do not correspond to what I wish to find. I know already that my soul is pure and that my actions are calculated to gain the favor of God. To all this, I received the answer that this way of action does not find favor, though the intention does. There must no doubt be a way of acting pleasing by its very nature but not through the medium of intentions. If this is not so, why, then, do Christians and Muslims, who divide the inhabited world between them, fight with one another, each of them serving his God with pure intention, living either as monks or hermits, fasting and praying? For all that, they vie with each other in committing murders, believing that this is a most pious work and brings them nearer to God. They fight, believing that paradise and eternal bliss will be their reward. It is, however, impossible to agree with both.

4 The Philosopher replied: The philosophers' creed knows no manslaughter, as they only cultivate the intellect.

5   Al Khazari: What could be more erroneous, in the opinion of the philosophers, than the belief that the world was created in six days or that the Prime Cause spoke with mortals, not to mention the philosophical doctrine, which declares the former to be above knowing details. In addition to this, one might expect the gift of prophecy to be quite common among philosophers, considering their deeds, their knowledge, their research after truth, their exertions, and their close connection with all things spiritual, as that wonders, miracles, and extraordinary things would be reported of them. Yet we find that true visions are granted to persons who do not devote themselves to study or the purification of their souls, whereas the opposite is true with those who strive after these things. This proves that the divine influence and the souls have a secret which is not identical with what you say, O Philosopher.

6 After this, the Khazari said to himself: I will ask the Christians and Muslims since one of these persuasions is undoubtedly the God-pleasing one. As regards the Jews, I am satisfied that they are of low station, few in number, and generally despised.

Questions to sharpen understanding of the Text above:

  1. The Path to God: Is there one authentic way to reach God? Can we reach Him through reason, faith, or a combination?
  2. Religion and Violence: Why do different religions, which believe in the same God, fight each other? Is it possible to reconcile the contradiction between pure faith and violence?
  3. Prophecy and Intellect: Why do prophecies seem to occur more with people who don't focus on philosophy and wisdom but with ordinary people?
  4. Choosing a Religion: How should one choose a religion? Should we choose based on the number of believers, the power of the religion, or our inner sense of truth? Is there a way to know which religion is "the right one"?

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    With dedication and perseverance, you can unlock the secrets of any text and gain invaluable insights that will enrich your understanding of the world around you. Active engagement is crucial for achieving success in your reading endeavors. Listening attentively, understanding deeply, and connecting the Text to your experiences is essential. Take the time to delve into the finer details, and don't be afraid to ask questions or seek help when needed.

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    "The Rabbi: The faculty of speech is to transmit the idea of the speaker into the soul of the hearer. Such intention, however, can only be carried out to perfection by means of oral communication. This is better than writing. The proverb is: 'From the mouths of scholars, but not from the mouth of books.'" (Kuzari)

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