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Believing in vs. serving an intermediary
People who were raised from birth as idolators, in an idolatrous community, aren't necessarily liable for their acts of idol worship which are capital sins, if there is no way that they could have learned that it is in violation of G-d's eternal commandment in the Noahide Code. Quoting from the book "The Divine Code", p. 55,

"If most of the members of the community don’t know the [Noahide] laws, one of these individuals is not liable unless he was previously warned, since it was impossible for him to learn in his situation. Since the laws of G-d are true and just, such a person would not be liable under these unavoidable circumstances. It is clear that this only applies to the Noahide commandments that need to be taught (since they are not dictated by logic), such as details of the prohibitions against worshiping idols..." [in contrast to the prohibitions which are also logically incumbent in addition to being commanded by G-d, such as theft and murder].

On the other hand, if parts of an idolator's own "holy scriptures" include the Word of G-d that forbids idol worship, an individual has the opportunity to come to learn and accept that, unless it has been taught and impressed upon him within his society and culture that this part of G-d's Word should be ignored or interpreted in some other way, and he has no practically available way to learn the Truth. Nowadays the Five Books of Moses, and their correct traditional meaning, are much more freely available than in earlier generations, and this is an effective tool for teaching people who believe in the G-d of Israel that He is One and Unique as a perfect Unity, and He is the Only G-d, and He commanded to all mankind through Noah and Moses that worship of any physical and/or spiritual entity or "force" other than Him (G-d Himself) constitutes the sin of idol worship.

Attendance at services and houses of idol worship is forbidden (i.e. sinful), but it is not a capital sin unless one actually commits an act of idol worship. A person who is forced by others to attend or participate against his will, out of fear of being harmed, but in his heart he does not accept or worship the idol, is not liable to punishment. See "The Divine Code", Part I, topic 4:3, p. 77.

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RE: believing in vs. serving an intermediary - by Director Michael - 04-11-2013, 12:55 AM

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