Friday, July 3, 2009

Thought vs. Action

I was going to do a video post today but I am on this new medication and it's making me a bit loopy! Not sure I would be entirely coherent on video. Hopefully the two cups of coffee and iced chai I've consumed will help me along in writing this...

I've spent the last few days transcribing my interview with Rabbi David Gelfand (yes I know it was 2 months ago!). While my book is a secular look at the seven deadly sins, I can't ignore the religious context nor the role of people's faith in guiding their morality.

On that topic I think the Rabbi made an important distinction between Christianity and Judaism which may be obvious to others but which lit up a lightbulb for me. Gelfand explained that one of the core differences between the two religions is in how they adress human sin. Christianity, he explained, believes that people at their core are sinful and that they must change their heart in order to act virtuously. Judaim, on the other hand, believes that people must act virtuously first in order to change themselves.

So, while a Christian can be guilty of sin just for thinking about it, a Jew isn't guilty unless they act sinfully - and it's changing how we act that can change how we think. The action comes first, rather than the character change.

The Jewish perspective on this really resonates with me...I do believe this discussion will make it into the book.