Question: What is the difference between the religious and secular approach to life? For example, I consider myself a secular person, but I always have an internal conflict, and it is difficult to figure out where in me the secular person ends and the religious one begins. The same division exists in the entire Israeli society.
According to the latest poll: 50% of the [Israeli] population are completely secular, 17% observe the traditions but do not consider themselves religious, 13% observe traditions and consider themselves religious, 12% are religious and 8% are Orthodox religious.
Answer: Secular people believe that the world is governed by laws of nature and there is nothing else except what we see and discover through science. The secular approach to life means that the world should be taken such as it is, according to one’s feelings, without relying on any upper forces, destiny, life after death. Any unsolved phenomena are no more than a figment of our imagination and fantasy.
The secular approach is the real approach. Inside it are many varieties that define man’s relationship to himself and society, but they are not to the level of the difference between the religious and secular approach.
The religious approach is based on the belief in the upper force that created the world and puts us in the conditions that we have to perform. If we fulfill all the wishes of the upper force, we deserve the award, if we do not fulfill them, we will be punished.
There are different kinds of relationships with the upper force, of attitudes to reward and punishment, to a person’s participation in this and one’s freedom of choice. But the point is that religious people take into account the existence of the upper force, a higher design, program, the purpose of creation. Thus, the center of creation is no longer the human being, but the Upper Force, the Creator.
Because people believe that the Creator arranges and organizes everything in response to one’s behavior, they have to continuously relate their lives to the Upper Force. That is, they think that one is dependent not on the laws of blind nature, but on the Upper will. Therefore, it is necessary to pray to the Upper, ask, be ashamed, repent for one’s past actions.
Many different religions and beliefs once existed and vanished or are still existing today Religion has a great influence on the world and on humanity. During the past two thousand years, humanity has evolved under the influence of religion, first after the destruction of the Second Temple Judaism arose, and then from it came Christianity and Islam.
All these religions are fighting among themselves, and there are very complex relationships between them. Each religion has many movements: Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christianity, Shiite and Sunni in Islam, and many streams of Judaism.
Every synagogue in Israel is somehow different from the rest. Not to mention the conflict between the secular and religious who are not able to organize their lives so as not to interfere with each other but want to impose their own view on others.
I do not want to judge who is right and who is wrong. But such a conflict exists only in Israel. For example, in the US or in Europe there is no conflict between religious and secular people. If you are a Jew, no one cares whether you attend the synagogue on Saturdays or only on major holidays.
The Jews abroad feel they belong to one nation. In Israel, there is a conflict, because religion is not separated from the state and is involved in a power struggle. Thus, it appears into the area of general interest, where our desires clash. Over the years, this conflict increases because everyone believes that the opposite side wants to grab a piece from it.
This confrontation in society is gaining strength, leading to such hatred and division, which had never existed among the people of Israel. And I do not think that it is the result of a different approach to the world. It’s just a struggle for power in our lives—desires of some to control others and the state so that it serves their interests, be that of the secular or religious community.
The struggle is for the state, for power, for the state treasury, and using it for their own benefit.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 5/21/15