More White Evangelicals than American Jews…

say God gave the state of Israel to the Jewish people.

This is where it pays to have a Magisterium. The state of Israel is a secular nation state like America, France, or Australia. It has the same rights and privileges as any secular nation state. But apart from Evangelical superstition and a lousy misreading of Scripture, there is no reason to regard Israel as somehow founded by God, much less immaculately conceived and preserved from all sin original and actual. Treat it like any other other and stop falling for quack Evangelical eschatology. That stuff is dangerous.

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  • Dave G.

    If you break down the numbers, though, you’ll see that conservative and orthodox Jews, and white evangelical (and Black Protestant) are closer in line with each other. Add reformed and non-religious Jews, as well as mainline Protestant (heavily divided by liberal theologies and secular viewpoints) and that number drops. So the more traditional the beliefs, the more likely to see Israel as somehow connecting to the work of God. It should be noted that according to most surveys I’ve seen, between over half to 2/3 of American Catholic believe in the Real Presence. And 34% of Catholics, per this survey, believe God had a hand in Israel’s formation. So it could be that at least half, to most (depending on the study) of those who believe in the Real Presence believe that God was at work in Israel, but we don’t know since “Catholics” aren’t separated by beliefs other than being Catholic. Therefore, again, it looks like those who do believe that God had something to do with Israel tend to be those who are more likely to believe in the traditional teachings of their faith traditions. Not all apparently do, but that’s where the numbers are. As for Israel being a secular this or an ungodly example of that, I’m sure such information doesn’t detract. See the Old Testament for further examples.

    • Dan C

      White evangelicals are 80+ percent “yes.” Orthodox are 80+ percent “yes.” Conservatives are about 55 percent “yes.” A group of conservative Jews will be more like a group of Reform Jews (at about 35 percent “yes”) than they will be with Orthodox. I think it is a stretch to compare at all Conservative with Evangelicals who clearly stand out as very very different and, in this assortment of categories, ONLY like Orthodox Jews.

      It is inaccurate to describe Conservative Jews as similar to Evangelicals. A group of Conservative Jews will express opinions closer to Reform Jews than Evangelicals.

      Evangelicals have a very idiosyncratic view.

      • Dave G.

        I didn’t say conservative Jews and Evangelicals are close to one another in some open context. My point was simply that this topic is more complex than a specific group of Protestant Americans verses the entire population of Jewish people in America. As the chart and survey shows.

        • Dan C

          I do not see the complexity. Who is closer to whom: conservative Jews to reform Jews or conservative Jews to Evangelical Protestants?

          Evangelicals only track with Orthodox Jews, and Jews of other traditions look more like the rest of the US- within 10 percentage point. Orthodox Jews and Evangelicals are 30 percentage points higher than the next subgroup.

          It’s not more complicated.

          • Dave G.

            Of course evangelicals would, as a group, be higher. They are a group defined by certain common ideas. Conservative Jews (which is less easily defined – see below) tend toward higher numbers than Reformed when it comes to this issue. Reformed Jews are closer to non-religious Jews and non-religious in general on the subject than they are those who believe it to be about God. The headline is not factually inaccurate in itself, but there is more to the story than just how it is presented. That was all I was saying. Which is true. And I merely noticed that those who hold to more traditional approaches tended to have higher numbers than those who don’t when it comes to this topic. Again, that’s what the stats seem to indicate. Not sure what the problem is here. Headlines are valuable of course, but sometimes there’s more detail past the headline is all I’m saying.

            BTW, the survey itself is somewhat difficult, because for instance, several friends I have who are Jewish are somewhere, by their own admission, between Orthodox and Conservative. Where do they fall? Likewise, as I said, Catholics are just presented as Catholic. Perhaps the actual survey would have more information.

            • Dan C

              The headline is modest. It could be asserting how aberrant and idiosyncratic the Evangelicals are. When most of the rest of the population splits on this question, evangelicals are far different.

              As a group, they and orthodox stand out.

              • Dave G.

                Yes, because again, they’re defined by a common set of beliefs, as opposed to the more vaguely defined ‘conservative’ Jew, or not at all defined ‘Catholic’. It’s something they hold to, sure. But there’s more to it than the headline suggests.

            • Dan C

              Graphing this as a bar graph, the evangelicals stand out.

              • Dave G.

                Along with the orthodox groupings of Jewish believers. That’s sort of my point. When I saw this, I just noticed those who tended toward more traditional approaches were inclined to see God’s hand in modern Israel.

                On the other hand, other things also jumped out at me as well. That 34% of Catholics see it was interesting, but since nothing more was said about a breakdown, there’s not much else to say. White Mainline (interesting the racial breakdown preference in the survey, BTW), was about what I would guess, given the general splits within mainline Protestantism anyway. I chuckled at the unaffiliated. 16% think so? What does that even mean? I was also taken by the stat for Jews with no religion. 16% of those non-religious Jews see God having a hand in Israel. Huh?

                That’s all I was saying. It was an interesting set of stats. More than just White Evangelicals think more of it than Jews. That’s one of many different ways to see these stats, sure. But there are others, which our discussion seems to suggest.

  • Another evangelical/protestant idea that shows the need for a magisterium might be the idea that God favors the U.S. over other nations. A kind of “manifest destiny” doctrine. Seems like a weird kind of patriotism to me.

    • Dan C

      Is it magisterium or the recognition that we are a global Church with two millenia of history? What impoverishes thought and commentary has been a failure to acknowledge Catholic solutions and opinions outside the US. I find a magisterium universally ignored. I think conversations change when one recognizes Catholic solutions and opinions in, for example, the Aparacida document.

    • Marthe Lépine

      (Version originale)

      XIII On Americanism


      Concerning New Opinions, Virtue, Nature And Grace, With Regard To


      Pope Leo XIII

      Encyclical promulgated on January 22,

  • Were it actually true that Israel “has the same rights and privileges as any secular nation state” their terrorism problem would have been long gone by the same methods that all those other powers would and have used in the past.

    All Israel really had to do was to say that they reserve the right to sink shipping coming from and going to any country at war with it but that it would be happy to sign a peace treaty normalizing relations with any nation that wished to do so without seeking any reparations for past acts of aggression against Israel.

    They don’t have to actually sink a single ship to give the world’s insurance companies the vapors and cause massive economic damage without lifting a finger.

    No, Israel isn’t just another country, but that’s a political statement, not a theological one. My personal opinion is that God has a plan for us all and everything, in some sense, comes from God. That makes pretty much all countries part of God’s plan I guess. I don’t think that is what the evangelicals are talking about though.

    • Dave G.

      No, it isn’t what Evangelicals are talking about. Much of the Evangelical belief is that Israel means Israel, of biblical prophecy speak. This was a big thing for Protestants, including but not limited to Evangelicals (terms, which, BTW, Protestants and Evangelicals don’t always agree with), esp. those influenced by the dispensationalist traditions,

      One reason for the support is that in many 19th and early 20th century biblical commentary, the idea of a “real” Israel had been pretty much dismissed. One can go read old examples from the day seeing “Israel” as re-imagined in some figurative way. After all, Israel was a thing of the past back then. This was one example among many in rereading the Scriptures in light of new beliefs, new advances in scholarly thinking, and new discoveries. So for those who were not so thrilled with reducing the bible to just another ancient text with nothing to say about the real, modern world aside from some moral or ethical teachings we prefer (think Jefferson), imagine their shock – and then delight – when in 1948, seemingly out of nowhere, the state of a real, physical Israel suddenly drops back on the map. Hooray! That will teach those modernists!

      That’s one part of it. Not just dispensationalists and premillenialists either, it should be noted. Though they are a major driving force in making Israel more than just ‘yeah, I think it’s part of God’s plan’ in Protestant and/or Evangelical circles.

      FWIW, most of my friends who are Jewish, the bulk of whom are Conservative and also see God at work in Israel, nonetheless are a little reserved in their support for the Evangelical spin on Israel. As should be expected.

  • Joe

    I once indulged in a thought experiment about what would happen if the PA and Israeli government decided to reform a secular state of Palestine (as existed before the end of WW2) to end the conflict. Fascinating but a complete pipe dream.

  • M.L. Zwick

    It’s no different from any other Middle Eastern nation founded by Yiddish Speaking Poles and Russians with machine guns.