What is a Noahide?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
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  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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A Noahide, sometimes spelled Noachide, refers to those people who follow the Noahide laws. Many Jews feel these Noahide laws must be obeyed by Gentiles in order to be considered as sharers in the life to come. There are seven Noahide laws, which are thought to have derived from Noah, who is considered the father of all men. The flood saved Noah and his family, and thus, all people of the world derive afterwards from Noah, according to Genesis.

Though some people are not Jews, they may be considered spiritual brethren by strictly adhering to Noahide laws. However, strict adherence is often a difficult task and is open to much interpretation. Knowing the Noahide laws helps illuminate some of this controversy.

The Noahide laws are as follows:
1) No worship of false gods.
2) Murder is not permitted.
3) Stealing and Kidnapping are sins.
4) Sexual immorality is forbidden. This includes adultery and homosexual behavior, as well as incest.
5) Do not blaspheme God.
6) Do not consume any flesh torn from an animal that is still alive.
7) Establish a system of laws, courts, and police that is honest and effective.


Of these laws, a few put other religions into quite a tangle. For example, people who believe in the Holy Trinity may be thought to be worshipping more than a single God. Homosexuals, who may be active Christians in some denominations would by Noahide laws not be considered devout. A more loosely constructed interpretation, however, would allow for Trinitarians, such as Catholics to share in the next life. As well, some forms of Judaism view homosexuality as acceptable, and thus would consider homosexuals who followed the other Noahide laws as righteous.

It is believed by many Jews and others who follow Christian or Islamic religions that the Noahide laws are something that binds all the faithful who believe in one God together. In fact, Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar argued strongly that Islam fits all the conditions of a Noahide religion and should be treated as such. Therefore, strife among these religions makes no sense given that all follow this code of laws and are righteous.

Perhaps the most binding force of the Noahide laws is the belief in a single God. Monotheistic principals and the fact that Jews, Muslims and Christians all believe in the same God should be considered a uniting aspect. However, Muslims and Christians may not take kindly to being considered as righteous gentiles. Instead, some Christians and Muslims may argue that Jews are wrong in this respect as the newer covenants established by Jesus or by Mohammed are more important prescriptives, they argue, than Noahide laws.

Some Christians see Noahide laws as a subset of the Ten Commandments. In the past few years, some formerly apostolic religions have abandoned the Nicene Creed as a violation of Noahide laws. Others still assert the value of the belief in the Holy Trinity and appeal to God in three forms, and also to the apostles and saints. In strictest definition they violate Noahide laws.


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Post 5

There are various types of Noahides. Orthodox Noahides certainly consider homosexuality as part of sexual immorality, but Liberal Noahides would not.

Post 4

Even though I know that Noahide laws are founded on religion, I don't think anyone has to be particularly religious to abide by them. Some people use noahide law and moral or universal law interchangeably. They are referring to a kind of universal understanding of how humans deserve to be treated and how they deserve to live.

If you look at the seven laws one by one, of course there would be a lot of conflict over what is acceptable and moral for all people. But I'm honestly not talking about adultery or homosexuality. I'm thinking more about conflict, war crimes, sexual crimes, human trafficking and genocide. I think that there is a universal morality that finds these acts unacceptable.

I would promote people to become Noahides if it is going to be a commitment to respect all people and to treat them justly and kindly, which is what Noahide laws mean to me.

Post 3

This is interesting, seeing the general views of all three Abrahamic religions about the Noahide laws, the interpretations seem to be different.

I'm a Muslim and I've been taught that we (everyone on earth) are descendants of Noah and before, of Adam and Eve. I have never heard about the Noahide laws but everything in it is also accepted in Islam as the article mentioned. The Qur'an doesn't mention any religious book being sent to Noah by God. It only mentions the Torah, Bible and finally the Qur'an. But it also doesn't matter because the Qur'an says that all three books teach the same thing.

So I think, technically for Muslims, if you are a practicing Muslim, you can be considered a Noahide as well. Although I can't really imagine that a Muslim would prefer to be called a Noahide in everyday life.

Post 2

A Noahide is a descendant of Noah which is not Jewish. More specifically it is the superset of humanity excluding the children of Israel. There are two sets of humans per Orthodox Jewish teachings; "b'nei Noach" and "b'nei Ysrael"; that is, "children of Noah, and children of Israel. Technically even Israel is descended from Noah however they are considered a sub-set in that their mission in life is different from that of the Gentile.

In plain terms a Noahide is a Gentile.

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