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Living with relatives who follow man-made religions
#1
I have a question in regards to married Noahides, if a Noahide is married, and their Gentile spouse or children follow a man-made religion. Obviously, in a perfect world, this would not be an issue. Since the vast majority of observant Noahides were originally involved with other faiths, this seems to be a challenge.

Here are a few examples:

1) How far should it be pushed to not have any idolatrous books or items in the home? If it would cause major discord in the marriage to discard such items, how should this be handled?

2) Prayer: If a Noahide leads a prayer to the God of Abraham for the family at mealtime, their spouse who follows another religion may be saying the prayer in their heart to "the God of Abraham" as they have been taught from the doctrinal perspective of their religion. Should a Noahide refrain from open prayer in such an instance?

In general, it seems to me that you can't push the faith of the Noahide laws on a spouse or family member that believes otherwise. I think a better approach is to live according to the laws, and hope that the gentle persuasion of your actions and lifestyle convince them to follow suit. Is this the best approach? It seems that there is a balancing act that needs to be done to maintain family harmony while also staying faithful to the Noahide laws. In my case, I love my wife and sincerely pray that she will become an observant Noahide in time, but I am not sure of the proper path to encourage this.
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#2
Finch Wrote:1) How far should it be pushed to not have any idolatrous books or items in the home? If it would cause major discord in the marriage to discard such items, how should this be handled?

The Noahide spouse can request that the idolatrous books be stored out of sight, as personal belongings of the other spouse.

Finch Wrote:2) Prayer: If a Noahide leads a prayer to the G-d of Abraham for the family at mealtime, their spouse who follows another religion may be saying the prayer in their heart to "the G-d of Abraham" as they have been taught from the doctrinal perspective of their religion. Should a Noahide refrain from open prayer in such an instance?

That's not necessary. The Noahide can be more explicit in identifying that he/she is saying the prayer to the Creator of the Universe (Who is also the G-d of Abraham). For example, the Talmud teaches that Abraham himself led idolaters in prayer to G-d. After a meal, he told them to say:
"Blessed is G-d of the Universe, from Whose bounty we have eaten."

Finch Wrote:In general, it seems to me that you can't push the faith of the Noahide laws on a spouse or family member that believes otherwise. I think a better approach is to live according to the laws, and hope that the gentle persuasion of your actions and lifestyle convince them to follow suit. Is this the best approach?

It's one possible approach, and for some couples it might be the best approach. Sometimes other approaches might be better; for example, encouraging the other spouse to learn more about the Torah's Noahide Code (for example, from AskNoah.org), and more about the true meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures (including the authentic translation of key verses, as you can find for example in the Stone Editions of the Five Books of Moses and the entire Hebrew Bible, from Artscroll publishers).
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#3
My husband (who is not yet a Noahide) and I have 3 small children. He doesn't want them to miss out on xmas. We won't be celebrating it because of the religious tradition. We seem to be celebrating it more just for the kids.

So here are my questions. If we get a tree am I permitted to help decorate it? What about putting something at the top? I'm assuming an angel would be forbidden, but what about a star? What about other decorations?

What about Santa Clause? They already know about Santa is it OK to let them believe in him?
Thank you in advance Smile
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#4
(12-03-2012, 09:59 AM)Kat450 Wrote: My husband (who is not yet a Noahide) and I have 3 small children. He doesn't want them to miss out on xmas. We won't be celebrating it because of the religious tradition. We seem to be celebrating it more just for the kids.

Please note that for the previous questions in this sub-forum that asked about this, and the answers explained that some leniency is permitted, those were all talking about the case in which the customs and celebrations would be going on in another person's house that would be visited temporarily. Specifically, the concern was about the separate home of a relative whose feelings would be hurt if the Noahide would refuse to visit, or agree to visit but refuse to participate in some way. So those posts weren't talking about the case of a Noahide being asked by a spouse to accept those customs and celebrations in his/her own home.

(12-03-2012, 09:59 AM)Kat450 Wrote: So here are my questions. If we get a tree am I permitted to help decorate it? What about putting something at the top? I'm assuming an angel would be forbidden, but what about a star? What about other decorations?

If it is going to be decided to have a tree in the home to avoid hurt feelings, there should be a request/proposal that it would be observed only as a cultural tradition, and not as a religious symbol. But the decorations of angels, or a prominent star, are specifically items with direct religious symbolism in this context, and as such they should be avoided if possible.
Although the idea of tree decorations in general goes back to ancient pagan religions, an argument can be made that non-religious decorations have become a cultural tradition with no particular religious significance.

(12-03-2012, 09:59 AM)Kat450 Wrote: What about Santa Clause? They already know about Santa is it OK to let them believe in him?
Thank you in advance Smile

It would be a disservice to the children, because in several ways, it denies them good opportunities for learning to respect their parents, which is critical as a universal moral and logical obligation:
a) Children can learn to respect the fact that their parents are telling them the truth (e.g. that the presents actually come from the parents, grandparents, etc.)
b) If the presents are being given as a reward for good behavior, the children should know that their behavior is being judged specifically by the parents, and they are answerable to the parents, according to the standards that the parents set.
c) Children should learn to do the good deed of expressing thanks and appreciation to the actual person who does something nice for them.
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#5
(12-03-2012, 05:02 PM)Director Michael Wrote: Please note that for the previous questions in this sub-forum that asked about this, and the answers explained that some leniency is permitted, those were all talking about the case in which the customs and celebrations would be going on in another person's house that would be visited temporarily.
I'm sorry I read the previous posts but wasn't entirely sure if it would make any difference since as you said it's my home rather then just visiting. So thank you.

(12-03-2012, 05:02 PM)Director Michael Wrote: If it is going to be decided to have a tree in the home to avoid hurt feelings, there should be a request/proposal that it would be observed only as a cultural tradition, and not as a religious symbol. But the decorations of angels, or a prominent star, are specifically items with direct religious symbolism in this context, and as such they should be avoided if possible.
Although the idea of tree decorations in general goes back to ancient pagan religions, an argument can be made that non-religious decorations have become a cultural tradition with no particular religious significance.

Thank you for this we've decided it will be a cultural celebration then religious.
Also I noticed that name that's included in the name of the holiday. Should I try to refrain from saying any word with that name in it?

(12-03-2012, 05:02 PM)Director Michael Wrote: It would be a disservice to the children, because in several ways, it denies them good opportunities for learning to respect their parents, which is critical as a universal moral and logical obligation:
a) Children can learn to respect the fact that their parents are telling them the truth (e.g. that the presents actually come from the parents, grandparents, etc.)
b) If the presents are being given as a reward for good behavior, the children should know that their behavior is being judged specifically by the parents, and they are answerable to the parents, according to the standards that the parents set.
c) Children should learn to do the good deed of expressing thanks and appreciation to the actual person who does something nice for them.

Thank you for your insight in this it helped me understand and see that I need to tell them the truth.
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#6
B"H

Shalom,

So I'm in a bit of a conundrum. I recently moved in with my grandmother to help take care of her; however she is an avid catholic. All throughout the house she has idolatrous images. In my room and the room in which I pray all of these have been removed. So my questions/issues are as follows:

1. How do I deal with the fact that these images are pretty much all around me?
2. In an effort or honor her, I don't want to removed them except as noted above (my room and the room in which I pray). Am I correct in this thinking?
3. I remember, not in the same manner as the Jews, Shabbat (the seventh day - as a ger toshav which according to Rambam is appropriate for me) by lighting candles, praying (what I guess would be universal prayers - nothing inappropriate that doesn't apply to me as a Noahide) and I pray the Havdalah prayer (again, amended to be appropriate for me as a Noahide). The issue is, these idolatrous images are also in the dining room where I say these prayers. So, in an effort to avoid idolatry, I hide and cover these images. Is this enough?

Am I on the right path? Is there anything else I should be doing? According to "The Path of the Righteous Gentile, I shouldn't even be in a house of idol worship. Is this house thus considered?

On another note, my cousin subscribes to a few pagan believes (against which I'm trying to persuade him). Is it incorrect for me to even enter his house? Would I be dishonoring him if I did not enter, or worse dishonor G-d by entering?

Thank you in advance for your help in these matters.
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#7
Thanks very much for your questions. May G-d bless you for the caring and self-sacrifice you are putting out to do this goodness and kindness of helping to take care of your grandmother.

In response to your numbered questions:

1. "How do I deal with the fact that these images are pretty much all around me?"

- They are not your images, so you're not responsible for them being there.
- It will help you deal with it if you keep in mind that that the aggravation is causes you is being endured for the sake of the good and kind deed that you've undertaken, to help take care of your grandmother.
- You may be able to find ways, bit by bit, to respectfully and affectionately have a good influence on your grandmother's system of beliefs, to guide her to think more about the One True G-d, and less about the misguided images she's surrounded herself with.
- Keep in mind that by not praying in the rooms where those images are, you are actively fulfilling precepts of the Noahide Code!

2. "In an effort or honor her, I don't want to remove them except as noted above (my room and the room in which I pray). Am I correct in this thinking?"

Yes.

3a. "I remember, not in the same manner as the Jews, Shabbat (the seventh day - as a ger toshav which according to Rambam is appropriate for me) by lighting candles, praying (what I guess would be universal prayers - nothing inappropriate that doesn't apply to me as a Noahide) and I pray the Havdalah prayer (again, amended to be appropriate for me as a Noahide)."

Please be advised that designating Saturday or any other day as a Sabbath day for oneself is not permitted for a Ger Toshav (which anyway is not a status which is in effect in post-Biblical times), and that is the ruling by Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings ch. 10, and it is the accepted Torah Law for Noahides or any other Gentiles. But there are things you can do to honor the seventh day in respect of its being commanded upon Jews as their sanctified day of ritual abstinence from many activities as specified in their Torah Laws.
- For a Noahide, this means you may choose and enhance any normal activities, doing them in a nicer way in honor of the seventh day.
- But you should not recite any prayers or declarations that you are making the seventh day sanctified or separated for yourself (i.e. in a distinct separate category) compared to the other days of the week. This means that prayers of "Kiddush" (sanctification of the day) or "Havdalah" (separation of the day) should not be recited by Noahides.
- Examples of permitted activities of enhancement for the seventh day include: eating one or more nice meals, lighting candles on the meal table to beautify the meal, spending more time in prayer and/or enhancing the quality of your prayers.
- For more information and explanation about these points in the Noahide Code, here are some resources:
-- The book "The Divine Code," Part I, Ch. 3, "The Prohibition Against Making a New Religion or Adding a Commandment": https://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code
-- Web page "The Seventh Day": https://asknoah.org/essay/the-seventh-day
-- Forum thread "Sabbath restrictions are for Jews only" (with recommendations for enhancing activities): https://asknoah.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=145

*The Q&A posts which followed in the response to this subject were moved to another thread in the Forum: "Remembering the Seventh Day"
https://asknoah.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=664

3b. "The issue is, these idolatrous images are also in the dining room where I say these prayers. So, in an effort to avoid idolatry, I hide and cover these images. Is this enough?"

- That is quite sufficient, since it sound like you are able to do that without making your grandmother upset (?).
- The minimum prayers you would make would be the blessings on the food when beginning to eat, and the blessing after the meal. If a situation would arise that you couldn't cover or hide those images, you could take a little of the food you would be making the blessings on (which could be a bit of bread for the blessing to begin and cover the entire meal) into your room and make the blessing there. And the Grace after the meal could be said in your room if it's a necessity, although it's preferred to say it at the table where the meal was eaten.

4. "Am I on the right path? Is there anything else I should be doing? According to "The Path of the Righteous Gentile, I shouldn't even be in a house of idol worship. Is this house thus considered?"

The "house of idol worship" mentioned in "The Path of the Righteous Gentile: An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah" (the 1st Edition, not the unauthorized 2nd Edition) is speaking about a church or temple that's dedicated to serving the idol as its primary purpose. A person's home, on the other hand, is primarily designated for private dwelling purposes, and the presence of idols in the home is only secondary, and it's not considered to be a "house of idol worship." The ruling would be different if the home was designated for regularly scheduled communal worship services for the idol.
The same thing applies for your cousin's house.
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#8
I have a question about removing idols from my home. I used to be an x-tian and buddhist, and have accumulated a good number of statuary. What i was wondering is whether I can give these away to members of the family who still follow x-ianity, or what i should do with them. Much of the statuary i have was given to my by my family. The other question i have is whether it is permitted to sell, or give away these statues to be sold.
Thank you
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#9
Since you were following the false religions associated with those idols, you should make a permanent disposal of those statues along with your other garbage, after breaking their faces, or a feature off of their faces, with a hammer. Enjoy!
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#10
(01-07-2017, 01:06 AM)Director Michael Wrote: Since you were following the false religions associated with those idols, you should make a permanent disposal of those statues along with your other garbage, after breaking their faces, or a feature off of their faces, with a hammer. Enjoy!

Thanks for this response Director Michael. That sounds cathartic!

But what about items such as:

•books about xtianity?
•bibles (that include the 'new' testament)?
•solid gold cross pendant (only a cross, no person on it)

Can these be sold, given away, or do they too go in the bin? I've had these items hidden away for so many years and never known what to do with them Sad

Do old xtian bibles need to be disposed of respectfully (eg buried)?

Thanks
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