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Why is Judaism “truth” to me?

November 5, 2015

sddrI recently received an email from a person, a Christian who has finally come to the fork in the road of his faith. He expressed to me his deep desire to get to the truth, to make a decision about which faith is true – is it Judaism, the faith of the Jewish people, or is it Christianity, the religion he has lived and breathed most of his life. He has been strongly leaning toward Judaism as being the world view with the keys to humanity’s purpose, meaning and its source of divine revelation. He asked me to give him my understanding as to why I consider Judaism to be truth.

Here’s my answer:

I am assuming that you don’t question G-d’s own existence. So, let’s start beyond that. I will be brief. Judaism is truth to me, because it’s the only faith that has revealed to the mankind the One Creator of the Universe, where as all other faiths before had a multiplicity of bizarre gods and idols made with human hands, worshiped their ancestors, animals, or rocks.

Judaism is truth to me, because G-d has preserved the Jewish people despite near constant persecution by the nations of the world and near-universal antisemitism.

Speaking of antisemitism – why have the Jews been hated so much throughout their long history, to the point that the greatest and bloodiest war humanity fought on this planet revolved around one madman’s quest to eliminate the Jewish people, specifically, from the face of the earth. And this considering the fact that Jews have contributed so much to humanity in virtually every human endeavor, just as G-d Himself predicted they will when he promised Abraham that “through you shall be blessed all the families of the earth and through your seed.” (Genesis 28:14)

Judaism is truth to me because it has influenced this world more than anything else, despite Jews constituting a tiny percentage of humanity. While some people are impressed with the numerical superiority of Christianity and Islam, they seem to forget that those two religions acknowledge, even if they distort or hate, Judaism and Jews as the very root of their belief systems. Indeed, Judaism will do very well without either Christianity or Islam, but neither one of those faiths would exist apart from Judaism – they are totally dependent on Jews and their history. If you remove Jews from the stories of those religions, they would collapse into a heap of useless rubble. [Which, by the way, helps explain why both of these religions have been and still very much are so antagonistic toward Judaism and its practitioners.]

Judaism is truth to me, because unlike either Islam or Christianity, its prophecies actually come to pass. (where’s as Jesus’ own prophecies have failed). The rebirth of Israel in 1948, at the very time when the existence of the Jews as a people was teetering on collapse due to wholesale murder of 1/3 of all of worlds Jews, and the subsequent regathering of the Jewish people after 2,000 years of painful exile and multiple spectacular defeats at the hands of the new nation of numerically and technologically superior Arab armies is one breathtaking example. Just as the G-d of the Jews has predicted:

Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign L-rd says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ (Ezekiel 11:17)

“and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. “They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.” (Amos 9:14)

There’s a lot more to say, if it weren’t for the lack of time.

As for why I think that Christianity is a bad choice for anyone, I’ve written extensively about this on my blog. You can start here.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 12:52 pm

    Gene, using the state of Israel (a secular democracy) as a sign of promise and prophetic fulfillment is a bit of a stretch I’m sorry to say. There is not a halachic state in Israel, so its not exactly prophetic. Also, isn’t it troubling for you to claim Christianity and Islam as a type of achievement of Judaism’s history if these beliefs are antithetical to your belief system?

    Saying “our prophecies came true, while theirs haven’t” is extremely shaky ground, as even Torah says the false prophet can work signs. Personally, I think Judaism’s moral center is what gives it its truth value.

    Judaism tells you not to worship humans, (and that includes your leaders,) so there is no “render unto Caesar” advocated if there is an unjust circumstance. I tended not to rest my beliefs on miracles, even when I was Christian, because miracles can’t tell you the truth. Every faith can claim miracles for itself and has very little evidence to show people. What proves a genuine movement is the fruit it has borne.

    If this Christian feels conflicted, consider that if you believe in Jesus, he observed Judaism, so why is the Church antithetical to it?

  2. November 5, 2015 1:00 pm

    “Gene, using the state of Israel (a secular democracy) as a sign of promise and prophetic fulfillment is a bit of a stretch I’m sorry to say. ”

    You can say this only by ignoring what the prophets actually reported:

    “STEP 1) I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. STEP 2) I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. STEP 3) Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.” (Jeremiah 33:7-9)

    “STEP 1) ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. STEP 2) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)

    The above is only a sampling.

    “Saying “our prophecies came true, while theirs haven’t” is extremely shaky ground, as even Torah says the false prophet can work signs.”

    Except the Jewish prophecies are in the same Jewish Bible that warns about false prophets. New Testament is not “Jewish Bible”. Also, there are “prophecies” of false prophets (a.k.a. guesses and magic tricks), and then there are grandiose, unmistakable signs of true prophecies, akin to what G-d did through Moses in Egypt – for everyone to see and be amazed at what only G-d can accomplish.

  3. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 1:39 pm

    The NT wars against false prophets too and gives the same kinds of warnings as the Torah. I’m not saying this lightly Gene, it just seems not that solid.

  4. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 1:42 pm

    Also, there are “prophecies” of false prophets (a.k.a. guesses and magic tricks), and then there are grandiose, unmistakable signs of true prophecies, akin to what G-d did

    That’s a false dichotomy. Even the false prophets (such as Jesus) have done grandiose signs.) Christianity wiped out polytheism from Europe (as a false movement,) you can’t get more grandiose than that. I’m just saying, you are on a slippery slope.

  5. November 5, 2015 1:48 pm

    “Christianity wiped out polytheism from Europe”

    Worshiping a man as god is still polytheism, no matter what Christians may think of it.

    “The NT wars against false prophets too and gives the same kinds of warnings as the Torah. ”

    CR, remember our old discussions – Christianity already believes that the Jewish scriptures (TaNaKh) are truth, while Judaism has no need for Christianity’s NT. Christianity NEEDS TaNaKh to be true and its prophets to be true prophets, so there’s no need to try to draw an imaginary equivalence between the prophets of the TaNaKh and Christianity’s false prophet or apply the same prophetic test. You are once again arguing from a position of an agnostic.

  6. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 3:12 pm

    Gene, when you have two religions that on the one hand say (we are 100% antithetical to one another,) and yet we can all clearly see that there are so many little parallels, the replication of similar ideas, similar warnings, similar teachings, etc. it gives one pause that’s all I’m saying.

    Judaism has the idea of the created Shaliach, who can speak and act in G-d’s name, for example, the angel in Genesis 31:13. This angel/Shaliach (clearly a creation) actually says “I am G-d” in first person in the text. I understand full well that Judaism has its theological distinctions and clear halachic definitions that internally prevent this concept from being classified as idolatrous, or becoming idol worship, but within Chabad, breslov, and other historic Jewish groups, (including the early Christian Ebionites) this idea very naturally and quickly can blossom into unhealthy veneration even when the halachic framework, and safeguards are in place and the law is fully in mind and in heart.

    Let me illustrate the situation I commonly see by way of a parable.

    A Hasid goes to daven at king David’s grave. In his mind and heart the Hasid knows, “I am praying exclusively to hashem, because he is the creator. He knows that his ancestors also came to this site to pray, to meditate on the life of king David, to find solace in the story of his life. He knows that by doing this, the example of David may motivate him to higher and higher levels of holiness and teshuvah, metaphorically speaking, he may even see favor from hashem in David’s merit. He is not enquiring of the dead, in fact where there is Torah, the righteous cannot be said to truly die, as it says: Jacob our father did not die.

    From the standpoint of Torah and halacha, this hasid is doing nothing wrong, any more than his ancestors were by doing this same practice. Nobody but hashem is being worshiped.

    The hasid turns around, and he sees a Therevada Bhuddist monk, and an adherent of Shinto looking on.

    The two ask him, “good fellow, what is it you are doing?”

    The hasid answers, “I am praying.”

    “Ah, so you come before the grave of your beloved ancestor to pay respect and seek solace?”

    “yes, but not like you non Jews. I do not worship them or idols.”

    “We do not hold our ancestors to be deities, or creators good sir. In fact, there are no deities, such as you would consider being worthy of the title as you conceive it.”

    What we consider holy are temporal beings that live and die like us, they are just beings on a higher plane of existence, and even that is only a temporary state for them. There is no all powerful being to which we attribute creation or providence, or to which our heart belongs.”

    The Hasid Asks, “why then do you bow before an image of stone or metal?”

    The Buddhist answers: “In the Pali canon (the Theravada scripture) our teacher the Buddha explicitly said, “do not worship me, for I am not a deity. A deity is a clear sign of attachments, and attachment (when one loses it,) leads to suffering, distance yourselves from this notion.”

    “When I as a Buddhist monk look upon an image of Buddha, I am merely reminded of his teachings, his life, his struggles, and I seek to emulate him. There are no gods involved. I do not consider the statue any more than you are considering the tomb at which you are here to pray.”

    There is no question that the Buddhist and the Shinto adherent would be practicing Avodah Zera because they have NO NOTION of the creator as Judaism would call it, nor do they have a notion of angels as Judaism conceives them. No providence or prophecy doctrine, etc. Totally non biblical ideology, but in terms of the understanding of what they are doing by their actions, the Buddhist and Shinto adherent are seeking solace and offering respect just like the Hasid to the tzaddik.

    My point is, Halachic definitions only work and help against idols where there is a knowledge of and an acquiescence to the halacha. These people in the parable would see the Hasid praying and literally not know that what they do is different from what he is doing.

    contrasting that with the Christians. Though they pray in Jesus’ name, they know that Jesus is functionally subordinate to hashem. (1 Corinthians 15:28) They believe in the Jewish Bible, though they add their books with J’s teaching. They are told in their own texts, “do not worship men or angels.” (revelation is full of those warnings.)

    Their tradition teaches them the incorporeal nature of G-d, they even have a form of the Noachide laws as the ethical core of their texts. Their theology of a deceased rabbi who is G-d clothed in a body has been replicated by Judaism itself, yet they are the most horrible so guys like remi shouldn’t support their charities?

  7. November 5, 2015 3:25 pm

    “Though they pray in Jesus’ name, they know that Jesus is functionally subordinate to hashem.”

    CR, my friend, don’t forget that I was once a Christian too and I know first hand that Jesus in THE focus of devotion and prayer to the divine in at least Protestant Christianity (Mary gets a lot more attention in Catholicism than Jesus or anyone else, even with all their claims that she’s is merely “revered”). That Jesus is somehow supposed to be “subordinate” according to NT is not something most Christians care (and let’s face it – it’s a stupid dogma that makes little sense to a sane person outside of Christianity) – Jesus is god, part of god, etc. period.

  8. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 3:42 pm

    I have experience of Orthodox, Catholic, and protestant denominations of Christianity Gene, and many have to go against their own doctrines in many cases (or they simply don’t know) to engage in that behavior, that’s the point. Christianity is an idolatry that hunts other idolatry, its weird. Its like the brass serpent. Some people it heals, some it kills (because they focus on the man as the only focus.) However, when Judaism has apathy towards every other form of idolatry (because these people don’t proselytize,) atheism, agnosticism, etc. grows rampant. At least the Christians “are constrained by the matters of religion” as the Meiri would put it.

  9. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 3:51 pm

    CR, my friend, don’t forget that I was once a Christian too and I know first hand that Jesus in THE focus of devotion and prayer to the divine in at least Protestant Christianity

    That’s not true for a lot of protestants. I (an my family) weren’t even Trinitarian. I remember when you were a messianic and this blog was messianic, and it seems like you had a very charismatic evangelical Christian experience. That’s a very specific form of Protestantism that doesn’t have much traction outside of the United States.

  10. November 5, 2015 4:09 pm

    “seems like you had a very charismatic evangelical Christian experience. ”

    Not really – my experience before MJ was plain vanilla Evangelical non-denominational (e.g. Calvary Chapel-type). But I’ve known “charismatics” who made their home within those churches and always thought they were phony in their experiences and I couldn’t stand the phoniness and the worked-up emotionalism, both within Evangelicalism and later within the MJ (where charismatics are the norm).

  11. November 5, 2015 4:11 pm

    “hat’s a very specific form of Protestantism that doesn’t have much traction outside of the United States.”

    I’ve traveled world over on missions – believe me that its reach is FAR outside of the U.S. on almost all continents, in South America, Eastern Europe, Israel and Africa, because it was brought there by U.S. missionaries.

  12. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 4:22 pm

    If you were going on missions you are interacting with specific groups, that’s the point. Not all Christians fit your descriptions than all Jews fit descriptions.

  13. November 5, 2015 4:44 pm

    “Not all Christians fit your descriptions than all Jews fit descriptions.”

    Enough of Christians do to justify speaking in generalities to make a point. Also, on this blog I generally focus on groups that still target Jews for conversion and I do not spend much time on groups that do not or groups that are too small to matter.

  14. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 6:31 pm

    Enough of Christians do to justify speaking in generalities to make a point. That’s just ridiculous. You can’t justify generalities. Generalities are not realities man.

  15. November 5, 2015 7:37 pm

    “You can’t justify generalities.”

    Watch me:)

  16. Concerned Reader permalink
    November 5, 2015 10:04 pm

    well, good luck with that. If you view Christians with generalities, don’t be surprised or offended when they do the same to you.

  17. November 5, 2015 10:16 pm

    CR, I am not going to list beliefs of some 30,000 Christian denominations to make a point on my blog. For me there are enough central dogmas shared by most Christians and I am not interested in any non-Orthodox or marginalized sects.

  18. remi4321 permalink
    November 6, 2015 7:56 pm

    Generally speaking Jews believe in the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith, I thank nobody would have a problem with that.

    Christian disagree in pretty much everything, because the new-testament is not inspired and there’s a bunch of contradictions… jajaja (spanish laugh) I think Gene concentrate in the “born again” (baptist, MJ, protestant) group and all believe in the trinity and that we are saved by faith alone by the atonement of Jesus.The law was a shadow (tutor) of the thing to come and nobody have to keep it, and that’s why they are so happy to eat pork (shweineflesh) for passover! Yommy yum yum! The other denominations are not relevant for the discussion.

  19. November 9, 2015 1:43 pm

    Hi Gene, I would like to add the fact that Jews like to question things. Jews are encouraged to ask question in synagogue and not accept things for “fact” without at least checking. In Messianic or christian circles, if you agree with the doctrine of the church, you are welcome to speak, but if you have some questions, you are shut down and allowed in, only if you don’t speak. They don’t allow heretics, or heretic material (things that are contrary to their doctrine) in their church. So basically, everybody agree with one another.

  20. November 10, 2015 1:03 pm

    Remi… also, when we are discussing things in my synagogue, “theology” and “doctrines” are virtually never discussed. Instead, it’s either halacha or delving into deeper meaning behind various Torah stories and midrashim. So, the focus of a Jewish discussion is usually very different than what usually Christians tend to fight over in their churches.

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