Now that the Jewish holy days are behind us, I am back to blogging with renewed focus and refreshed strength. There’s much to write about and I look forward to interacting with my readers.
The other day I have went out to lunch with an old Christian friend of mine. He already knew about my return to Judaism and wanted to talk about my life and especially what led me out of Christianity (a.k.a. “Messianic Judaism”). He told me that he’s not going to attempt to talk me out of it. As I was relaying to him all of the reasons and happenings, he listened very intently, shocked not so much at my choice, but rather from all the things he was hearing, as if for the very first time. As I quoted the Hebrew Bible for him and compared it with the New Testament, he acquired a worried look on his face. As I brought up the biblical verses, one after another, where G-d over and over said to Israelites that He was not a man, that He can’t ever die, that we are not to place our trust in other human beings for our salvation, that we are to love Him above all else, that there’s no one next to G-d, he was actually shocked about the possibility that worshiping Jesus is in fact idolatry. He had so many questions.
I met him again, a few weeks later. Continue reading this post
R. C. Sproul, American Calvinist theologian, author, and pastor, on why he rejects evidence presented by critics of Christianity (and even some Christians themselves) that shows that Jesus was wrong in his predictions:
Maybe some church fathers made a mistake. Maybe our favorite theologians have made mistakes. Now I can abide with that. I can’t abide with Jesus being a false prophet, because I can understand that if Jesus is a false prophet my faith is in vain. (R. C. Sproul, Eschatology Symposium, 1993, Mt. Dora, Florida)
A former “Messianic Jew” emailed me recently asking me my opinion on whether it’s proper to “access tzaddikim” (dead holy men), as long as one doesn’t consider them to be G-d. He told me that he no longer worshiped Yeshua/Jesus or thought of him as G-d or even as messiah, but wondered if it’s an acceptable Jewish practice to rely on dead holy men as mediators between G-d and man. Was it OK to access them for deliverance or any sort of help, the way Christians rely on Jesus? Here’s my reply.
Christianity starts with one idea about man; Judaism with another. The idea that Judaism starts with is that man is created in the likeness of G-d. You do not have to go far, according to Judaism, to discover that it is possible to bring forth the divine within you and the divine in other men. There is always the opportunity to do a mitzvah. It is with that opportunity that I began as a Jew. Christianity begins with the basic assumption that man is essentially depraved and sinful – that left to himself he can do nothing. He has to be saved. He is involved in evil. This is not the Jewish way of thinking. The first question of Christianity is: ‘What do you do for the salvation of your soul?’ I have never thought of salvation. It is not a Jewish problem. My problem is what mitzvah can I do next. Am I going to say a blessing? Am I going to be kind to another person? Am I going to study Torah? How am I going to Honor the Sabbath? These are my problems. The central issue in Judaism is the mitzvah, the sacred act. And it is the greatness of man that he can do a mitzvah. How great we are that we can fulfill the will of G-d! But Christianity starts with the idea that man is never able to fulfill the will of G-d. All he has to do, essentially, is to wait for salvation. (Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, quoted in What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism. World Books, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Chapter 2, page 66).
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Apostle Paul, Romans 10:9-10)
Christianity has countless heroes of faith and saints. However, almost without exception, virtually none of these “best of Christians” tried to treat Jews with compassion and relate to them as to fellow human beings. They all condemned them to hell for not believing and worshiping Jesus, often looking the other way when Jews were mistreated and even slaughtered, although since Augustine Jewish lives were occasionally preserved as a “witness to their failures”. This is because Christians have always looked at the Jewish people through the greatly distorted lens of the New Testament. That text, as well as the accompanying Church dogma that has been built up on its foundation over the last two thousand years, have made Jews less than human in the eyes of a Christian, a veritable spawn of Satan himself (John 8:44).
Because of this it is exceedingly rare to find a Christian who, prior to the Holocaust (itself a culmination of European Christian antisemitism), truly tried to empathize with Jews, to see the world from their perspective. Few Christians proved able to shake of such a high degree of religious indoctrination, found in their own religious texts, against the people that birthed their god and savior. Indeed, when one reviews biographies and stories of most celebrated of Christian saints, people whose virtues Christians have come to admire the most, not a single one stands out as a friend of the Jewish people. Not one of them who was tried to be truly compassionate to the oppressed (by fellow Christians!) children of Israel and tried to understand them or help them, with virtually all of them speaking of Jews in most condemning of terms and looking the other way when Jews were maligned.
Except for one man – Peter Abelard, the great medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian, logician and composer. For his thinking outside of the Christian box Abelard was virtually ostracized by Christian theologians, clergy and thinkers of his day. Yet, when it comes to the Jewish people, he refused to join their chorus. Continue reading this post
Here are the posts and topics that I am planning on publishing in the near future on the Daily Minyan:
- Saving Paul – the great whitewashing of the apostle by New Perspective on Paul theologians
- Why is “Messianic Judaism” so repugnant to the Jewish people?
- A Messianic Jew’s guide to doubt and cognitive dissonance
- The fuzzy midrashic Jesus
- You may have fallen for antisemitic propaganda if…
Check back soon!