Should We Be Using the Term “Judeo-Christian”? On Erasure, Prejudice, and the Christian Holy Week

Should We Be Using the Term “Judeo-Christian”? On Erasure, Prejudice, and the Christian Holy Week April 18, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I have a temper, which disappoints me from time to time. It disappointed me twice this week, when I sat in an internet café prepping class materials and accidentally overhearing a Southern Baptist missionary Skyping with his mother. The first time, he was discussing the case of a missionary who got sent home, for reasons that weren’t entirely clear but seemed to have to do with “insufficient training” and an encounter with a local. That time, I was simply seething at the reality and audacity of a Christian missionary in Colombia, a country that shuts down for a far larger portion of the Christian Holy Week than the US. A country, furthermore, with grottos for the Virgin Mary on most every corner, and a national anthem played thrice-daily on the radio and in the metro, with the following words in the first verse:

Cesó la horrible noche
La libertad sublime
Derrama las auroras
De su invencible luz.
La humanidad entera, 
Que entre cadenas gime, 
Comprende las palabras 
Del que murió en la cruz!

[Bolded: The whole of humankind, groaning in chains, understands the words of He who died on the cross!]

Not surprisingly, the young man believed he had been sent not to exchange in dialogue, not to learn in full humility from another Christian context… but to educate, to bring the poor, lost sheep of Colombia into the light… which had me gritting teeth the entire time. So much white, estadounidense arrogance for people of a “developing” nation. But! I didn’t say a thing. (I just stewed about it for the rest of the day.)

The second time, I learned that he was 22 and felt he still had a lot to learn, which made his subsequent, ignorant commentary about the burning of Notre Dame easier to swallow (i.e. he and his mother felt it was a direct attack on the church, a sign of the end times, while also being mystified as to how something “entirely of stone” could burn). But then he started into an anecdote about one of his “converts”, a homeless man battling drug addiction. Apparently, even though this homeless man had been given “everything” he needed to stop doing drugs (i.e. prayer–I kid you not: prayer and spiritual texts), the man still kept asking for food and money, and continued to use drugs.

The missionary described this situation with clear frustration for the homeless man’s lack of faith and willpower, and I heard him parrot the line that this kind of missionary work naturally fortifies in a certain kind of entitled human being: I did the best I could but (sigh!) some people just can’t be helped. Rather than deepening his empathy, rather than coaxing him to think about the broader systemic and biochemical pressures that make it difficult to transition out of a life of addiction… this man’s experiences through the church were training him to see the problem as entirely on the individual, who simply needed to choose to be saved. This is the kind of education that helps many religious people find peace with the idea of hellfire, because now they’ve seen “firsthand” how wilfully people “choose” not to be saved even when given “everything”.

Suffice it to say, then, I was… so close to saying something that I muttered angrily at the printer and startled one of the videogame-players nearest to it.

But I didn’t say anything, because I knew that wanting to lecture this young man was selfish, simply a release valve for my anger. What good would it have done? How could I be sure that I wouldn’t just further entrench him in counterproductive practices if I, a stranger, snapped at him for his presumptuous approach to other people’s problems?

I also held off posting for a bit, as you might have noticed–because I didn’t want to be writing just to pick on someone else’s failings.

I wanted, instead, to be in a place where I could use the experience to think a little more carefully about my own.

An Act of Erasure and of Prejudice: “Judeo-Christian”

Also this past week, after all, I became aware that a term I have used with great frequency, “Judeo-Christian”, is considered destructive by many practising Jewish persons. Now, I’d been using this term as a shorthand for certain mythology and symbolism shared in Christian and Jewish writings, but as Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg outlined in brief on Twitter, the term has been employed in some powerfully misleading ways. Namely:

“Judeo-Christian” isn’t a thing. It a) positions Jews & Christians against Muslims, is Islamophobic b) elides Christian oppression & murder of Jews over more than 1000 years & c) ignores Jewish civilization worldwide & facts of key Jewish developments in Middle East & N Africa.
And yes, Jesus was a (brown-skinned, Middle Eastern) Jew, but his followers were not. Jews changed their liturgy to be clear about that differentiation pretty early. And guess what? Judaism has continued to evolve since the Second Temple was destroyed!
[So] it’s important for interfaith dialogue, coexistence, basic respect and historical accuracy to not conflate Judaism and Christianity. Two different faiths, traditions, theologies, histories. The origin & relationship to text is overlapping in some cases, yes, but…
There’s no Judeo-Christian tradition. And that’s ok.
For those asking about “Abrahamic faiths” re: Judaism/Christianity/Islam, sure, but when do you really need this? And what’s implied about Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, etc etc? Not saying it’s never applicable but better to check yourself first.

In essence, the rabbi makes the case that it’s important to think carefully about who is using specific language, and to what end they’re employing it. In this case, “Judeo-Christian” is often leaned upon by far-right Christians in the US, which should immediately inspire caution on the part of any humanist. Indeed, one needn’t look far into mainstream US news to see how “Judeo-Christian” is used to draw a moral line between Judaism/Christianity and Islam (even though all three draw on Abrahamic lineage, and Islam counts among its prophets Moses and Christ). But Judaism is also minimized, relegated to a precursor-history instead of a living tradition, in this effort. The term for that is “supersessionism”, the idea that Christians with their new covenant with Christ have replaced Jews, and it is rampant in evangelical Christian communities.

Simply put, then, the use of “Judeo-Christian” more often than not asserts a continuity and discursively productive relationship between Judaism and Christianity that does not at all accord with

  1. how Judaism manifests around the world;
  2. how Judaism responded to the rise of Christianity’s early cults; and
  3. how Christians sought the destruction of Jewish persons for centuries and in many contexts thereafter.

Christians using the term therefore do so–at best–in a way that imposes a false harmony between two very different faiths. And at the worst? Their use of this term offers tacit cover for both antisemitic and Islamophobic pro-religious advocacy in the public sphere.

And hey, ultimately, that’s Christianity’s issue to deal with, along with their appropriation of Jewish rituals (including this recent egregious example where the Passover meal was entirely rewritten by a West Virginian news station to claim that matzah symbolized… the body of Christ, of all things).

But what the heck are we secular folk doing when we use the same language? We’re letting that group of Christians set the terms of our public discourse, and tacitly propping up the marginalization and erasure of persons from other backgrounds of faith.

I was furious this week in the presence of an ignorant young Southern Baptist missionary. I was angry with him and his community for imposing so much on another culture instead of engaging in the more critical work of self-reflection.

But here I’d been for quite a few years now, employing a religious term that is also culturally ignorant and destructive.

Which, then, is the more constructive site of ideological combat and reformation?

Further Reading on the Subject

Now, lest you think I change my opinions willy-nilly on the basis of Twitter discourse, Rabbi Ruttenberg is by no means the only one who argues in this light. Here are a few other readily accessible sources to help understand how the term “Judeo-Christian” feeds into Christian supersessionism; marginalizes the rich and ongoing history of Judaism; and also serves as a cipher for Islamophobia:

Harry Freedman, “How Rabbi Akiva Saved the Shema for the Jews”

This is a splendidly comprehensive post that makes a few critical observations about how Judaism responded to claims from the “minim” (understood to be an early Christian cult) that Moses only received the Ten Commandments at Sinai. The Ten Commandments were elevated in Christian practice, so Jewish liturgy emphatically dropped its usage to reassert the primacy of the Torah as a whole. The New Testament also included parts of shema that were incorporated into early Christian practice–often specifically as criticism of the Jewish people–so Rabbi Akiva and his students established the Mishnah (the first major written collection of Jewish oral traditions) that would make clear that shema was a distinctly Jewish practice of daily prayer. In short: there were emphatic moves taken to distance Judaism from early Christianity.

Marianne Dacy, “The Separation of Early Christianity from Judaism”

And even in primarily Christian scholarship on the subject, said early division is clear. Here, Chapter 5 perhaps involves some of the clearest illustrations of Jewish-Christian division–even as the book on whole also illustrates how plainly Christianity drew from pre-existing Jewish text. At the close of one section, on page 136, Dacy observes that

The break would have been sealed when Christian assertions about the divinity of Jesus made it impossible for Jews and Christians to worship together. This may have been happening about the time of the composition of the Gospel of John, but an exact date cannot be pinpointed. When the particularity of Christian ritual was so defined as to make worship together with Jews untenable, a break had occurred and another step towards separation taken. One fact is evident. The more significance that was attached to the person of Jesus, the further apart the separation became between Jews and Christians.

And on page 141, the impact of Rabbi Akiva’s firm division of shema becomes clear in relation to early Christian practice, as

The question of the Shema is fundamental, as it concerns the question of monotheism, a basic tenet of Judaism. In the case of the Shema, the point could be made that a movement that declares Jesus to be divine, would not be inclined to recite the text of the first two paragraphs of the Shema, but would substitute cult prayers centred around Jesus’ death and resurrection. Again, why retain the use of tefillin or prayer shawl, or mezzuzah if ‘Jesus’ symbolism is to distinguish the new movement, whose members came in increasing numbers from the ranks of non-Jews? Thus, the non-retention of the Shema in Christian worship represented a fundamental break and further step apart, a corollary of the Christian view of monotheism and the place of Jesus.

Both groups, in other words, were keen to make use of ritual divisions in those early centuries of Christian practice.

Esther Solomon, “Ben Shapiro Glorifies ‘Judeo-Christian Values,´Absolves Its Anti-Semitism and Preaches Its Islamophobia”

Sadly, this article went under paywall between my first draft and my last, but you really don’t get any more plainspoken about the dogwhistle nature of “Judeo-Christian” than in Haaretz.com’s alignment of Shapiro’s comments this past week with a recent history of the term’s use among white supremacists, and its especially insidious undercurrent of hatred for “brown/Muslim” persons, including of course Palestinians. Shapiro’s use of the term is especially important here, because it means that even certain Jewish persons (i.e. those aligning themselves with US conservative politics) are willing to perpetuate cultural erasure in pursuit of immediate power. Or, as Solomon puts it:

Shapiro is proud to identify with the term “Judeo-Christian values.” It neatly summarizes a historically unprecedented identification and alliance between right-wing Jews and Christians in America, reframed to whitewash embarrassing centuries of anti-Jewish prejudice but embracing the othering and targeting of Muslims.

At a time when the right is resurgent in the U.S. and Europe, these Jewish conservatives believe they’ve found a formula that allows them to ride that wave, with pride and as equal partners. It’s a notable moment when Jews feel sufficiently confident and enfranchised that their political participation is so broad and deep on the right as well as the left.

(And it goes without saying, doesn’t it, that there were Jews who voted for Hitler, too… so just because one Jewish person uses a given term by no means gives the rest of us license to ignore its dangers, especially when outlined by other prominent members of the faith.)

M J C Warren, Why ‘Judeo-Christian values’ are a dog-whistle myth peddled by the far right”

Lastly, with the Haaretz article now behind paywall, here’s an open-access piece that also outlines the recent history of “Judeo-Christian” as a tacit way of saying “white” and propping up an horrific amount of supremacist commentary in recent Western politics. And it’s not just the US using the term this way, either. As Warren notes:

“Judeo-Christian” is now most often used to draw a line between imagined Christian values and a perceived (but false) threat of Muslim immigration. It’s in this context, that right wing figures such as Nigel Farage use the phrase. Talking about radical Muslim clerics such as Anjem Choudary, he said for example:

My country is a Judeo-Christian country. So we’ve got to actually start standing up for our values.

But in this statement, Farage connects his fears of radical Islam with the idea of “Judeo-Christian values”. It appears that it isn’t so much about including Jews as it is about excluding Muslims. And since Farage has also come under attack for anti-Semitic comments, including being called on to apologise after recent comments about the threat of “the Jewish lobby” to American politics, it seems hard to view the “Judeo-” in his “Judeo-Christian” as actually valuing Jewish people or Judaism as a religion.

The Take-Away

Suffice it to say, then, I’m sickened to realize that I’ve been using a term that has such resonance, even after writing myself about the absurdity of white supremacism and the importance of atheists reckoning with our proving grounds of its ideology.

But, we all have room to grow, and language can often be repurposed overnight into a heinous call-to-arms. Whatever our tradition of faith or atheism, our readiness to re-visit personal assumptions and adapt our views and behaviour when presented with new evidence is critical to our work as compassionate and globally minded humanists.

Going forward, then, I will make a more concerted effort to describe Judaism and Christianity separately here–not lumping Judaism automatically into any analysis of Christian use of Jewish histories and texts; and calling particular attention as often as possible to the fact that Judaism is a living faith with its own, ongoing conversations.

And since this is the Christian Holy Week, what a fitting time, too, for such a transformation: amid the cultural re-enactment (quite literally, here in Colombia!) of a religious story that definitively sets Christian theology apart from Judaism.

With any luck, too, I’ll find in my own growth and practice of self-reflection the capacity to be calmer and more constructively interactive, if I happen to share the local internet café with that young missionary again.

I mean… greater “miracles”, I’m sure, have occasionally come to pass?

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  • Mustafa Curtess

    “Judeo-Christian” is pejorative somehow? As an Atheist – I use it in all contexts, and will continue to do so, because (except at Easter and Christmas) as good as all Christian sermons/teachings are from the Old Testament. Plus Jews and Christians are conjoined twins in the context of Middle Eastern foreign policy. (I gave up trying to understand persistent Christian anti-semetism many decades ago.) Muslims’ distaste for Israelis pales by comparison.
    With the resurgence of overtly Nazi Fascism in the USA today (complete with the traditional trappings of racism. homophobia, and xenophobia) I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the anti-semitism – since it’s a vital voice in that well-rehearsed Christian choir.
    So until they begin repudiating each-other much more convincingly – “Judeo-Christian” it must remain.

  • tatoo

    I do not think it is pejorative, it is just those who use it know shit from shinola about Judaism.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I didn’t mean to mply that I know much at all about Judaism itself. But I’m certain that with the bible composed of Old and New books – it seems to bind them together. I don’t believe anything “bad” about Jews and altho in the bible they always seemed to always wanted to take over other tribes lands – pretty much everyone else did, too.
    However – in the meantime they seemed content to keep to themselves, and even today they aren’t out to convert everybody like Chtistians do. (I mean: Christians have always gone all over the world just to convert people – even if they didn’t ALWAYS plan to actually occupy and plunder. Go somewhere and infect it, leave some preachers, and go somewhere else. Jews never did that. They were always ruled by some empire but allowed to do their own thing so long as they did it peacefully. And all they expected of other non-jews was just to do the work without any cutural influencing. Maybe if Christianity hadn’t got started – Islam certainly wouldn’t have (it was just to avoid having their lives turned upside down by aggressive, nature-hating Christianity.) They were pagans and up until that time had no real complaint against the jews among them. In fact there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of contact outside of business. Empires came and went – but without the constant PERSONALIZED turmoil of Christianity.
    For sure without Christianity there wouldn’t have been a holocaust (or mabe not even a Jreish “problem” in Europe. They were driven there by the Christians – not the Muslims.) Up until that time it was the Christians that set them against each other. (That’s the only conclusion I could come to from history – even tho it clearly wasn’t written to give that impression.) For 2000 years history has been dominated and written by Christians, and any free-thinker can see what a bunch of murderous assholes they were (and still are – in a “kinder, gentler” way). If Christians couldn’t say anything good about themselves they didn’t say anything. The story comes out when those gaps are filled in by exterpolation.

  • Robert Baden

    The Islamic world was often a place of refuge for Jews fleeing Xtian persecution.

  • Major Major

    The actual origin of “Judeo-Christian” was amongst liberal Christians, such as FDR and Jews in order to counter Hitler’s anti-semitism. Ironic how it has become such a dogwhistle for the right:

    http://usreligion.blogspot.com/2013/04/fdr-and-judeo-christian-tradition.html

    Also:

    https://aeon.co/ideas/the-strange-short-career-of-judeo-christianity

  • tolpuddle1

    But it isn’t now.

    Fact: Christianity is capable of self-criticism and of change. Islam isn’t.

  • tolpuddle1

    As Nazism and Fascism are bitterly anti-Christian (despite the presence of naive or dishonest Christians in their ranks), they aren’t part of any Christian choir.

    Hatred of any sort is condemned in Christian scripture; to fall into, say, anti-semitism, is to cease to be a Christian.

  • tolpuddle1

    Muslims have often used religious conversion as an excuse for slavery, occupation and plunder. Many Muslims have been murderous assholes, as their own histories make very clear.

    All the positive changes in the world these last 2,000 years have been the result of Christianity.

  • tolpuddle1

    As the founder of Christianity – and His leading followers – were all Jews, they naturally “drew from” Judaism.

    Oh, and BTW, monotheism is a basic tenet of Christianity as well !

  • tolpuddle1

    Christianity was founded by a Jew at a Pesach meal.

    Thus it hasn’t “appropriated” Passover but is BUILT upon it, by devout Jews.

    E.g. in the Book of Revelation, where the Lamb of Sacrifice – Jesus Christ – is shown to be at the very heart of God’s nature.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Please offer the reasoning behind your conclusion. What FACTUAL history is it based upon?
    Arrange history in chronological order of the events (and the character of the events themselves) and a picture will emerge that proves that to be untrue.
    1500 years of continual war among Christians in Europe was NOT a positive change. Protestants and Catholics are still killing each other in N. Ireland today.) All 3 Abrahamic superstitions originated in Palestine. Please study how they spread from that small area, where they spread furthest and fastest, ( it began centuries before the advent of Islam which itself was a counter to its spread into the Arab world at the time), and the consequences of that spread during that 1500 years. Nothing associated with Islam even approaches the horror and genocide of Christianity. ( And unfortunately it was done primarily with celestial navigation technology discovered and developed by Muslims in southern Europe.)
    Nothing Islam has done begins to compare with the slaughter and slavery by Christians from Colonial America thru the Civil War ( with racist residuals that continues to shape USA society today). Muslims had only a very small (but greatly exaggerated) part in it, and indeed – 20% of the slaves sent to the Americas were black Muslims. (That historical event is a “positive change” only in one very narrow perspective.)
    “The father of modern medicine” is an Andalusian Muslim named Ibn Rushid (renamed “Averroes” by Christianity to claim his works). His books were used as references by Christian physicians for 3 centuries – and every advancement of the age was built on them.
    Continuing humanitarian turmoil and misery throughout Africa today is the direct result of white, Christian, colonialism. (Done for the purpose of slavery, occupation, and plunder exclusively). Please produce an example of Muslim colonialism that begins to compare with the slaughter in the Congo done by King Leopold of Belgium ALONE. Then add British in E. Africa and Ehglish/Dutch in S.Africa – and your conclusion becomes false.
    As an Atheist educated and experienced in both Christianity and Islam – I heartily agree that religion is a fatal plague on humanity – but I see nothing to be gained by creating false narratives intended to make Islam seem far worse than it is and Christianity seem far better than it is.
    (Also telling: That voluntary Christian converts to Islam far outnumber Muslim converts to Christianity today. There’s good reason for that. But more importantly – the far greater number of BOTH who are now sufficiently educated to become Atheist.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Who is the “real” Christian? Which passages in the bible have to be ignored in order to be able to call ones self a “good” or a “true” Christian? How often is one allowed (or divinely instructed) to change from one dogmatic following to another in order to maintain the pretense of “piety”? Why is it necessary to do so many hateful things to others – to show your “love” for them?

  • guerillasurgeon

    “All the positive changes in the world these last 2,000 years have been the result of Christianity.”
    What? When Christians have opposed many of the positive changes in the last 2000 years – including getting rid of slavery, equality for black people, gay people, and women. Not to mention that the beginnings of social safety nets were often if not always secular in origin.Or do you not regard those as positive changes?
    And for more than a thousand years, the church/s preached obedience to authority, helping to set in stone the feudal system for instance. Or do you not regard those as real Christians?
    If you regard fundamentalists/evangelicals as real Christians then of course we run into the problem that they are antiscience and to a great extent anti education. And the development of science is probably the greatest positive change in the last 2000 years.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “There’s good reason for that.”
    Could that good reason be that some Muslims regard this as the equivalent of treason and therefore punishable by death?

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Once secured – All religion is extremely reluctant to be abandoned. They know that people can discover their fraud – but it is vital that they remain plausibly “faithful” lest they encourage the self- liberation of others. Secular law is the only obstacle to the death penalty for apostates and heretics – and (I may add) is the ONLY reason that unbelievers have been allowed to live (usually as an oppressed minority) in majority Christian societies. That is the important difference between secular and theocratic societies today, and deserves some VERY serious consideration as Evangelical religion is being given Domion over the USA.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    There are many in the USA who don’t believe that Atheists are loyal citizens. SCOTUS Justice Thomas has said that we have no moral obligation to be truthful without a god to swear by. (No that he does, either.)

  • guerillasurgeon

    ” Christianity is capable of self-criticism and of change. Islam isn’t.”
    No that’s opinion. Both religions have changed over the hundreds of years they have been extant. Christianity has split more than Islam, but that’s not necessarily result of self-criticism.

  • tolpuddle1

    Massive slaughter in Europe before Christianity and (even more) when Christianity faded.

    Massive Muslim slave trade in Africa – which Muslims didn’t abolish (only Christians have ever abolished slavery.

    Muslim crimes less extensive because Islam has had less power.

  • Margaret Leanne Clark

    Thanks, Major Major–you’ve hit upon the point exactly. Irrespective of its origins, if it’s being used as a dogwhistle now, if it’s being employed to advance antisemitism and hatred for (brown) Muslim persons, I want nothing to do with it in my own practice, and can easily create workarounds.

    Really glad to see at least one comment here that recognizes the difference between descriptivism and prescriptivism, too. Happy Sunday!

  • Wow, a bunch of irregulars showed up to debate, didn’t they?

    When I was a Christian, I didn’t like the term because I understood it to be used by people who were expecting Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom in Israel. My denomination taught that the kingdom had been established on Pentecost — the church was the kingdom. Those who use the term are generally millennialists of some sort.

    In fact, they are somewhat responsible for the existence of the modern nation of Israel. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the UK managed Palestine. Immigration by Jewish people was increasing, but was legally limited. Perhaps it was inevitable, but it was the evangelicals in the UK who deliberately looked the other way as quotas were broken, so much so that the immigrants declared themselves a nation in 1948. That’s probably a bit simpler than what actually happened, but it’s basically what I have come to understand. The millennialists see this as a sign that Jesus is getting ready to return. They really expected it to happen in 1988, but they haven’t given up. And it explains much of US support for Israel. I had a coworker once tell me that if the US ever quit backing Israel, God would destroy us. I was a Christian at the time and I thought that God might actually be judging us because we were trying to restore a nation he had destroyed.

    ———

    In The Acts of the Apostles chapter 19, in the city of Ephesus (in modern Turkey), the Christians got kicked out of then synagogue because their differences with the local Jewish community had become too great. There would have been both Jews and non-Jews among the Christians, as well. There doesn’t seem to be much agreement upon the date Acts may have been written, but we see this split you reference there. I think it significant that their own book describes it, yet today’s Christians don’t see their religion as having evolved from a sect. I certainly didn’t! Galatians 3:24 says that “the Law” was a tutor to take us to Christ, from which Christians infer that the Law of Moses was originally intended to be temporary, and that now it has been replaced. The scholars you quote expound upon that, so I’ve learned something today.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Chronology? (Constantine had been Christianiziing the Roman empire, including Palestine, 400 years before the existence of Islam).
    Muslims didn’t abolish slavery in Africa because Africa wasn’t Islamic. (Muslims are still a minority in Africa.) Muslims were never in a position to abolish slavery except in Muslim countries. Where it is abolished (and never has been racial).
    Are you saying that “crime” should be pro-rated demographically? (Interesting.) I can tell you that residents of Muslim countries are less victimized by common criminality than we are in the USA.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “Massive slaughter in Europe before Christianity and (even more) when Christianity faded.”
    Figures? Because I don’t believe that in the slightest. Much of the massive slaughter was Christian’s killing pagans or other Christians.
    “Kill them all, God will know his own.” I suspect you don’t know a great deal about history.

  • “For those asking about “Abrahamic faiths” re: Judaism/Christianity/Islam, sure, but when do you really need this?”

    GW: You need it when you are talking about “God” which is the god of the Abrahamic faiths.

    “Christians using the term therefore do so-at best-in a way that imposes a false harmony between two very different faiths. And at the worst? Their use of this term offers tacit cover for both antisemitic and Islamophobic pro-religious advocacy in the public sphere.”

    GW: I agree with this. Really, I think Judaism has more in common with Islam than it does with Christianity. Ironic.

  • I disagree. Christianity has at least three gods — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And so, it is polytheistic.

  • Thanks. Good reflection and it has changed my mind on a term I frequently use. I will try to be more mindful going forwards. Best wishes from the UK, H

  • When I lived in a Catholic community in a Muslim country as a child, we were frequently amused by Jehovah’s Witnesses (presumably from Estados Unidos) who would come around proselytizing. The thin end of their wedge semed so similar to what we already held to be true that we were bewildered at their waste of time. Eventually I gathered that they were choosing the easy path of hawking their wares at us instead of the much larger Muslim population because doing the latter would have almost certainly have resulted in their abrupt expulsion from the country (or worse).

  • What was the significance of 1988?

  • IIRC it had to do with that year being 40 years after the establishment of the nation of Israel, though I don’t know what the scripture is that they get this from. There’s a book, though (that I’ve never read) called
    “88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988”. Still waiting! And according to what Jesus supposedly said (Matt 16:28), there are some 2000 year old people still waiting, too.

  • Indeed, both Judaism & Islam continue to adhere to the tenets from Deuteronomy (e.g. not eating pork).

  • Yes. Also, neither Judaism nor Islam consider Jesus to be a god, as Christianity does.

    I have a Muslim friend with whom I have talked for over a hundred hours about religion. We agreed that Islam and Judaism have more in common with each other than either has with Christianity, in terms of the major beliefs.

  • Cynthia

    Wow, that’s the first thing you’ve said about Judaism that sounds accurate.

  • Cynthia

    Thanks for a thoughtful article. I agree with basically everything you wrote.

    I’m noticing more and more that “Abrahamic religions” is replacing Judeo-Christian in some parts of the internet. At least it includes Islam, but it often tends to be used by people who don’t see to really know much about non-Abrahamic religions and just want an umbrella term so they can make snarky generalizations.

  • -MARK-

    Jewish people don’t have to repudiate Christianity much more effectively for anyone’s taste.

    And that you gave up trying to understand Christian antisemintism doesn’t mean it f
    Does not exist and is real.

    Judaism is not Christianity lite.

    But by all means keep using the term Judeo-Christian as a slur against both and we Jews will judge you ignorant

  • -MARK-

    “didn’t mean to mply that I know much at all about Judaism itself. But I’m certain that with the bible composed of Old and New books – it seems to bind them together”

    So you don’t know much about Judaism but are still going to imply the connection based on the idea that they are similar

    News flash

    Judaism is not Christianity minus Jesus and the NT.

    Jewish interpretation (and in many cases translation) of what Christians call the OT, is vastly different

    But important, Jews have he Oral Law the Talmud which Christians don’t have. This oral law is what is used to interpret the OT, that does away with many a plain simple translation.

  • -MARK-

    That line has been used against Jews for two thousand years

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Distort it however you wish to make a point. But at 82 years of age – I’m still wondering why 90% plus Christian sermons are from the Old Testament.
    There’s no “implication that they’re similar”! (They are bewilderingly the opposite!) Jesus supposedly replaced the “Law” with “Grace” – but then said that he enjoins the Law to earn that “Grace”.
    I recognized the mass of contradictions and inconsistencies by the time I was 12, experienced the wrath of family, church, and school teachers as a result of ASKING for clarification. But tried to reconcile it for another 50 years before accepting the facts about the bible and the quran: Both fraudulent creations of ignorant, superstitious, slave-masters.

  • -MARK-

    I am not distorting anything

    You are showing a lack of knowledge about Judaism

    Judaism is not the OT as Christians would read it and understand it.

    It’s the oral law and the Talmud

  • Mustafa Curtess

    ??? Where do you get: “Nazism and Fascism are bitterly anti-Christian? Totalitarian, authoritarian, philosophies – with zero tolerance for challenge. No matter what behavior is condemned by Christian scripture. Christians do whatever they please -even knowing it’s wrong. Doesn’t matter – because they’ve got “repentance and forgiveness” in their corner. (Christianity is the wordhip and celebration of hypocrisy.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Give me a break! “Showing a lack of knowledge”. (What a sleuth you are!) I prefaced my comment with the admission that I know little about Judaism. You put words in my mouth that they are “similar”. I said nothing of the kind – because they are totally unlike. I maintain that “Judeo-Christian is an item because the OT and NT are the bible – with some weird and incomprehensible co-dependence.
    If you have a crow to pick about how Christians regard or understand OT, Talmud, Oral Law, Anal Law, or anything else – It certainly isn’t with ME. (Because I don’t believe or defend a single WORD of any of it.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    That’s your individual interpretation only. It may actually be true in some aspects of history – but just because human progress happened under Christian rule doesn’t mean that religion had anything to do with it. (In general: Christianity has strongly opposed change and progress of every kind, and continues to do so.)
    It’s surreal to read a Christian criticizing Islam about slavery. Nothing in the history of Islam even approaches the Atlantic slave trade of black Africans (20% of them Muslims) to the Christian Americas in the 1600’s, 1700’s, and 1800’s. English-speaking countries are struggling with the residuals of historic racism – and as a direct result of slavery in the America’s. I lived over 20 years in the Muslim world and never saw any racial discrimmination or segregation. The status-quo in the USA would be entirely unacceptable in any Muslim country that I’m familiar with.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I’m aware of that – and am very uneasy about it. I think the USA has been led to a flash-point that the Christian majority is too naive (or down-right blood-thirsty) to recognize.
    The forseeable future of the USA will literally be decided within the next 24 months. (Personally – I believe that it’s already beyond the control of the citizenry – but hopefully I’m mistaken.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    You persist to mis-interpet my comments. I have no expectations or demands of Jewish people whatsoever.
    And where did I say that I “gave up trying to understand Christian antisemitism”? (I understand it quite clearly.) What I did say – is that after 60 years of study and practice – I concluded that the supernatural is a fraud and that religion is a hoax.

  • Nearly everything I’ve said about Judaism is accurate, including what I’ve said here.

  • Cynthia

    Several months ago, we had some epic discussions where you insisted that “God is a person” was a core Jewish belief, despite a mountain of sources showing that it wasn’t, including an influential source saying that a key belief was that God is incorporeal and beyond accurate description. You also believed that you could accurately determine what core Jewish beliefs were just by reading an English translation of the Pentateuch and discussing it with the 10 Jews you’ve known in your life. I wint rehash the whole thing but for anyone who is interested, much of it is here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/11/science-and-christianity-a-dangerous-mixture/#disqus_thread

    That said, the Jewish and Islamic concepts of God are similar in that both talk about strict monotheism and a God that is incorporeal and ultimately beyond full human description. Both reject any concept of a God that would be capable of having a child that was both human and divine.

  • -MARK-

    Nearly everything you said about Judaism has been incorrect.

    Perhaps you can find a nice Rabbi to talk about Judaism

    Or better yet, read some books about Judaism

    Or even the Wikipedia pages.

    Because your hubris is comical

  • -MARK-

    Maimonides being a Jewish Heretic being one of the more amusing ones

  • C2: Several months ago, we had some epic discussions where you insisted that “God is a person” was a core Jewish belief, despite a mountain of sources showing that it wasn’t, including an influential source saying that a key belief was that God is incorporeal and beyond accurate description.

    GW2: Are not all our discussions “epic”? It seems that way to me.

    GW2: According to original Jewish sources, God is a person, intelligent agent, or sentient being. This is what most Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe. Of course, I don’t have any belief in God.

    C2: You also believed that you could accurately determine what core Jewish beliefs were just by reading an English translation of the Pentateuch and discussing it with the 10 Jews you’ve known in your life. I wint rehash the whole thing but for anyone who is interested, much of it is here: https://www.patheos.com/blo

    GW2: Yes, Cynthia, I suspect you and I are still in disagreement on this point. I am using a “plain reading of the text” approach, but I think you are accepting the view of rabbi’s using who knows what approach.

    C2: That said, the Jewish and Islamic concepts of God are similar in that both talk about strict monotheism and a God that is incorporeal and ultimately beyond full human description.

    GW2: I don’t see how any god could be within a “full human description.” There is a core concept, however, to which most Jews, Christians, and Muslims agree.

    C2: Both reject any concept of a God that would be capable of having a child that was both human and divine.

    GW2: Yes, I totally agree with that point.

  • Nearly everything I have said about Judaism is correct. I don’t know nearly as much about Judaism as I know about Christianity and Islam, but I know enough to make only accurate statements. I have talked with a couple of rabbi’s and several other Jewish persons and done some reading on the religion.

    This isn’t about me. Try to stick to the subject.

  • Your emotional reactions, e.g. amusement, have no relevance to this discussion.

  • -MARK-

    There is no discussion Gary

    You on wrong on nearly everything you have to say about Judaism

    You have been proven wrong by multiple people

    That you insist you are correct is amusing

    Maimonides (considered one of the greatest Rabbinical thinkers in all time) being called an Apostate is the most amusing Gary

    Dunning Kruger doesn’t even come
    Close to describing you

  • All your comments here are irrelevant. This isn’t about me. Try to stay on topic.

  • -MARK-

    Yes

    Gary it’s about you.

    Everything you have said about Judaism is incorrect

    Regardless of the people you have talked to

    Any really talking to a few Jewish people or even a Rabbi doesn’t make you an expert

    Who knows what those conversations were about or what those people would say. You talked to Cynthia and I, both Jews, but have
    Learned next to zero.

    As a Jew I am fully insulted that you claim to be an expert in Judaism

  • -MARK-

    Gary

    You never listen to a single thing I or any other Jew had to tell you here on disqus

    You have this idea about what Judaism is and therefore have made almost every Jew today an Aspotate.

    There is really something wrong when presented with the arguments of Maimonides that you claim he is an apostate

    Whatever Jewish practice you THINK took place thousand of years ago is irrelevant to Judaism today

  • -MARK-

    “am using a “plain reading of the text”

    Plain reading of the text, is not the Jewish way

  • Since you just want to talk about me and not about Judaism or the contents of the essay, I have decided to ignore your comments on this post. Bye.

  • -MARK-

    You have nothing to say on Judaism

    Nothing

    You just made an assertion that everything you said about Judaism was/is correct

    Nonsense

  • Cynthia

    “I am using a “plain reading of the text” approach, but I think you are
    accepting the view of rabbi’s using who knows what approach.”

    Well, yeah, I take the approach that if you want to know what the religious beliefs of a certain group are, you ask people who are actually part of that group.

  • Cynthia

    My point holds true for ALL religions, btw. If you want to know what members of the religion believe, there are objective ways to find out – Pew forum does good surveys, you can look at the statements of various movements, sample sermons, etc. Taking a DIY approach of just reading a religious text, with no commentary, and assuming that this is somehow the official or true version of the religion and that anything else is apostasy or people being delusional or dishonest – well, that’s just weird and unhelpful. I wouldn’t know exactly what a Christian believed by just reading the New Testament – there are over 40,000 denominations with some significant differences, and I wouldn’t know how someone dealt with even “plain meaning of the text” without knowing more from them. Don’t even get me started on all the ways to totally screw up knowing what someone who is Muslim believes – again, it would require a conversation with the person and knowing specific denominations and leaders or schools of thought followed. Ahmadiyyah and ISIS might both refer to the Quran but the similarities basically end there.

  • -MARK-

    Of course

    And then there is something even worse (the point of the OP)

    To define one religion in terms of another religion.

    I totally missed the point were Gary said that he reads the text and you listen to Rabbis. Who knows what the Rabbis think?

    At this point he deserves nothing more than mockery for claiming to be an expert in Judaism

    While Gary is not alone in this, he does it perhaps better than anyone else.

  • Cynthia

    Conservative evangelical Christians tend to have their own theological reasons for supporting a hawkish agenda for Middle East policy. When it comes to simple support for Israel – stuff like funding needed programs or providing for basic defense needs – they are largely on the same page. When it comes to more complex policy issues and political positions, they don’t always agree and you can have the bizarre spectacle of American evangelical Christian leaders lecturing Israeli Jews about dangers that the Israelis know far more about, and telling them why land for peace is a bad idea even if the Israelis are willing. Found this example: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2017/may/pat-robertson-why-evangelicals-support-israel

    That’s not something that you’ll hear from most American Jews (keep in mind that around 90% aren’t Orthodox and most of fairly liberal – see https://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-6-social-and-political-views), or even from a good chunk of Israeli Jews. Someone like Pat Robertson uses Judeo-Christian in a weaponized way against Islam, but the stuff that he’s saying is just conservative evangelical Christian and doesn’t represent mainstream Jewish views. The Pew survey makes it clear that American Jews are significantly more likely to identify discrimination against Muslim as a problem than the US general public.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    That was especially true of Muslim Andalusia – and the impetus of the “Inquisition”.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    That depends largely in the degree of confidence people have – that god exists, they are worshipping the correct one, and they are doing it properly. Christianity is very vulnerable to doubt and question – and therefore more readily modified (or ignored entirely) Call it “self-criticism and change” if you will. I call it Unsustainable BS.
    As a person with a long bckground in both Christianity and Islam – I can assure you that Islam is by far the more coherent. It very much appears that within the forseeable future all USAmericans WILL be required to profess an Abrahamic belief – and those that bother to actually study all the life-influencing implications of the 3 – will choose Islam. (Expect a shit-storm.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    After having lived so long in the M.E. and seen so much of the tragedy and aftermath in person – it is very difficult for me to accept “observers”, or “journalists”, or “analysts” conclusions. (Especially when I happen to know that they are BS).

  • tolpuddle1

    Muslims were in a position to perpetrate slave trading and slavery in Africa – and did. Would still be doing so, if Western intervention hadn’t stopped them.

    Crime is less prevalent in countries with traditional religious beliefs (whether Muslim, Christian or other). The USA isn’t such a country, though parts of it pretend to be.

  • tolpuddle1

    Most of Europe’s wars weren’t remotely religious – whether Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, the Hundred Years War in the Middle Ages or the two world wars (which both began and were rooted in Europe).

    The slaughter was the work of military castes. It preceded Christianity, largely ignored Christianity and when Christianity faded, became even worse.

  • tolpuddle1

    That’s the heresy of Tritheism, condemned by the Church in 300 AD.

    Father, Son and Holy Spirit are aspects of the One True God – eternal mind and eternal thought, joined together by eternal love.

    God is both absolutely One and absolutely Three – is Family, yet Unique, The One-and-Only.

  • tolpuddle1

    “Do whatever they please, still knowing it’s wrong.”

    That’s true of some Christians, as of some Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus etc.

    Repentance has to be sincere in order to obtain God’s forgiveness – God isn’t a forgiveness-machine.

  • tolpuddle1

    Islam is an ignorant simplification of the other two Abrahamic religions.

    For myself, the thought of Mohammed’s being (as Muslims believe) God’s Last and Best Prophet, Last and Best word to humanity fills me – as it must fill any rational person – with appalled disbelief.

    The contrast between Jesus (pacific martyr, who died forgiving His enemies) and the warlord Mohammed (who hurled insults at the corpses of his fallen foes) is a marked one.

    The contrast between the celibate Jesus and Mohammed-of-the-13 Wives is no less marked.

    The contrast between the Christian progress and hopefulness in the history of Europe; and the stagnant, fatalistic futility of almost all Muslim history, is no less marked.

    The Darfur massacres were committed by racist, Arab Muslims against black Muslims. The racist Arab Muslims knew it was wrong, but did it anyway.

    All honest, open-minded people are prone to doubt and question. Muslims,as you say, aren’t.

  • tolpuddle1

    Er, no – Islam hasn’t changed at all. Whereas Christianity as adapted to a changing world.

    Living things (e.g. Christianity) do adapt; dead things (e.g. Islam) cannot.

    Christians no longer, for example, want to persecute other Christians over doctrine or schism. Indeed the re-uniting of the Christian Church is approaching.

    Whereas the divisions in Islam, notably between Sunni and Shia, are becoming increasingly bitter, hate-filled, violent and incurable.

  • T3: That’s the heresy of Tritheism, condemned by the Church in 300 AD.

    GW3: This heresy has become dominant within Christianity.

    T3: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are aspects of the One True God – eternal mind and eternal thought, joined together by eternal love.

    GW3: It is clear from the Gospels that the Father and the Son are separate persons. Jesus himself makes the distinction.

    T3: God is both absolutely One and absolutely Three – is Family, yet Unique, The One-and-Only.

    GW3: This is a contradiction. The best way to resolve the problem is to identify three distinct individuals which belong to the same team.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    How certain are you that the slave trade no longer exists in Africa today? And how certain are you that Muslims have any involvement in it? Current African demographics place Muslims at 40% – 45% of the population of Africa. That is concentrated across North Africa in Muslim countries where slavery has been abolished for well over a century.
    Reports of human trafficking appear to be primarily in sub-equatorial Africa where Muslims are a very small, non-influential, and often embattled minority.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I can’t argue with your conclusion that countries with religious belief have less crime. Do you have some overwhelmingly secular or Atheist country in mind?

  • Mustafa Curtess

    So you blame Muslims for the slave trade” Correct me if I’m wraon – but i think slavery is well explained and approved in the Old Testament whic

  • guerillasurgeon

    1.If you don’t think Islam has changed, then you know very little about it. 30 seconds of googling should set you right there.
    2.”Christians no longer, for example, want to persecute other Christians over doctrine or schism. Indeed the re-uniting of the Christian Church is approaching.”
    If you believe that then I have a bridge I’d love to sell you.
    3. And Jimmy Carter disagrees with you. 🙂

  • tolpuddle1

    But all Christians regard themselves as monotheists ! You are therefore claiming to understand Christianity better than those who actually believe and practise it (in some countries at considerable risk to their own safety). Clearly, that isn’t the case.

    Jesus said “To have seen me is to have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Father and Son are distinct, but undivided, of the same substance, are the same One God, are one-and-the same, are distinct only in function, not in nature.

    Therefore to see in imagination Jesus preaching in Galilee or in agony on the Cross, is to have seen the Creator of the Universe – and to see in one’s imagination the Creator in Heaven, is to see the Lamb of Sacrifice at the heart of His being.

    (“Persons” are usually separate beings, but in trinitarian theology, “persons” doesn’t have the usual meaning. Likewise “Father” and “Son” don’t).

    If the “antidote” to Tritheism is the heresy of Arius of Alexandria (or that of the later Unitarians), one can only say that each of these has failed; and failed spectacularly.

  • tolpuddle1

    Many people, Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox, have in recent times said that the re-uniting of the Christian Church is approaching – so you will need a huge supply of bridges.

    Islam hasn’t changed, of course – and makes a boast of that fact. Indeed the dominant version of Islam in modern times – Wahhabism – is fanatically emphatic about preventing Islam from changing, of keeping it firmly moored to its original purity of 14 centuries ago.

    Whereas Christianity, being a living thing (not a dead one, like Islam) has changed while remaining the same; living creatures (trees, people) do.

  • T4: But all Christians regard themselves as monotheists ! You are therefore claiming to understand Christianity better than those who actually believe and practise it (in some countries at considerable risk to their own safety). Clearly, that isn’t the case.

    GW4: I disagree. Christians often mislabel themselves as “monotheists” when most of them are actually polytheists.

    T4: Jesus said “To have seen me is to have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Father and Son are distinct, but undivided, of the same substance, are the same One God, are one-and-the same, are distinct only in function, not in nature.

    GW4: This supports my position that Jesus and God are two separate persons. They are divided since Jesus is making the distinction between himself and his Father. They might be of the same substance – a spiritual substance, but Jesus either has an additional physical substance or has converted himself to a physical substance temporarily. God and Jesus are distinct in function and in nature. Jesus himself said that only God, his father, was morally good.

    T4: Therefore to see in imagination Jesus preaching in Galilee or in agony on the Cross, is to have seen the Creator of the Universe – and to see in one’s imagination the Creator in Heaven, is to see the Lamb of Sacrifice at the heart of His being.

    GW4: I disagree. According to the theology, God, not Jesus, created the universe. Also, as you may recall, it is said that Jesus sits at the right hand of God. This once again shows that Christianity is polytheistic.

    T4: (“Persons” are usually separate beings, but in trinitarian theology, “persons” doesn’t have the usual meaning. Likewise “Father” and “Son” don’t).

    GW4: Traditional “trinitarian theology” is not an accurate interpretation of biblical scripture. As I said, the only way to make any sense out of the Trinity is to consider it a team of three persons.

    T4: If the “antidote” to Tritheism is the heresy of Arius of Alexandria (or that of the later Unitarians), one can only say that each of these has failed; and failed spectacularly.

    GW4: What is popular is not always what is accurate. This is the case with the idea of the trinity. Traditional “trinitarian theology” is internally contradictory and self-defeating. It tries to make 3 = 1. It is popular, but nonsensical.

  • blogcom

    As your comments are nothing but the sum f your supposition to prop up your Christophobia I won’t even bother to address them.

  • blogcom

    You may agree but its your ignorance of Christianity and its roots that’s on display.
    Now that’s what I call ironic.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I have a few minutes to spare on response to your comment: Arguably – the catalyst for the Jewish experience in Europe was the Inquisition which began in the 1490’s. The picture I get from history is that it addressed Judaism directly and Islam indirectly – because Andalusian Jews were such an important part of the advancement of the sciences by the Muslims. Muslims were seen by the RCC as the protectors and facilitators of Spanish and Italian Jews (who had been driven out of the “Holy Land” by the Christians.) There was nothing for Jews in the Arabian deserts – so they fled northwards into Europe. Granted that Islam was hostile to both Judaism and Christianity – but by genetics, culture, and tradition – Islam is much closer to Judaism. Without alien (Christian) subversion they actually coexisted rather well right up to the 1940’s and 1950’s.
    Texas had substantial communities of Sephardic Spanish Jews who migrated to the Spanish-speaking Americas throughout the Inquisition and for 300 years afterwards. There’s Jewish cemeteries in Texas that dates back to the Texas War of Independence – and a lot of the names on the headstones are “Spanish”.
    There were thriving Jewish communities throughout the Ottoman Empire UNTIL it was broken up and colonized by Christian European countries. (“Divide and conquer”).
    In a way – it’s still happening: By setting Jews and Muslims against each other (with the implantation of “Israel”) the hedgemony of Christian USA over the Middle East is nearly absolute. (It’s virtually symbiotic.)

  • I disagree. I don’t know everything about Christianity, but I know quite a bit. Specify one thing about Christianity which you believe I am ignorant about and we can discuss it.

  • tolpuddle1

    So who are the Christians who ARE monotheists ?

    As to have seen Jesus is to have seen the Father, it is clear that they are the same Being, the same One God..

    Jesus distinguishes Himself from the Father (who is Creator, whereas Jesus is the Word through whom the Father creates), but nowhere does Jesus distinguish Himself from God. On the contrary, He said “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). “At this, they picked up stones to stone Him” (John 8:59) – unsurprisingly !

    Indeed, Caiaphas’ principal charge against Jesus was that He had claimed to be God. Caiaphas is likelier to be correct in this matter than you.

    Jesus said: “Why do you call me good ? Only God is good.” But this is said in irony and as a challenge: i.e “IF I am good, I AM God.” Elsewhere Jesus says: “Can any one of you convict me of sin ?” (John 8:46) – Jesus is claiming to be sinless, i.e. God.

    “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14). If you object to the imagery of Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father – and that imagery’s supposed polytheism – please complain to the prophet Daniel.

    The universe is created BY the Father THROUGH the Son and IN the Holy Spirit.

    Similarly, a Christian is baptised in the Name (NOT Names !) “Of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Only 1 Name, because only 1 God !

    Do you really imagine many centuries of (trinitarian) Christian theologians have been the dumb, illogical imbeciles you clearly suppose them to have been ? Or that your objections to Christianity are original ? Or that the Church has failed to consider them ?

    Oneness and Threeness co-exist eternally within the nature of God.

    Illogical ? No more so than God’s existence itself, no more so than the existence of a universe.

    Self-defeating ? Obviously not, since trinitarian Christianity, unlike the unitarian counterfeits, still exists and is growing.

    Just as well, since the only practical alternative would be a Muslim world.

    Thankfully: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

  • T5: So who are the Christians who ARE monotheists?

    GW5: The ones who are mistaken in their interpretation of the Bible.

    T5: As to have seen Jesus is to have seen the Father, it is clear that they are the same Being, the same One God..

    GW5: Either the verse itself is a fabrication of the author or you have a mistaken interpretation of it. I’ll assume the latter for now. Jesus meant that he and God were spiritual beings, had the same message, and belonged to the same team. He didn’t mean that they were the same person. This is clear from other verses.

    T5: Jesus distinguishes Himself from the Father (who is Creator, whereas Jesus is the Word through whom the Father creates), but nowhere does Jesus distinguish Himself from God.

    GW5: You just contradicted yourself. You are saying that Jesus did distinguish himself from God and Jesus did not distinguish himself from God. You see, that is a contradiction.
    T5: On the contrary, He said “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). “At this, they picked up stones to stone Him” (John 8:59) – unsurprisingly !

    GW5: This only means that Jesus existed before Abraham, not that he and God are the same person.

    T5: Indeed, Caiaphas’ principal charge against Jesus was that He had claimed to be God. Caiaphas is likelier to be correct in this matter than you.

    GW5: Caiaphas trumped up charges against Jesus. Although Jesus was sent to Earth by God, Jesus himself wasn’t God.

    T5: Jesus said: “Why do you call me good ? Only God is good.” But this is said in irony and as a challenge: i.e “IF I am good, I AM God.” Elsewhere Jesus says: “Can any one of you convict me of sin ?” (John 8:46) – Jesus is claiming to be sinless, i.e. God.

    GW5: Jesus may have been sinless (that is debatable), but that doesn’t make him God. Here you have presented one of the best verses to show that Jesus was not God. Jesus doesn’t wish to be called good because he knows that only God is good. You are just making up words and putting them in the mouth of Jesus. Isn’t that blasphemous?

    T5: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14). If you object to the imagery of Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father – and that imagery’s supposed polytheism – please complain to the prophet Daniel.

    GW5: Here Daniel gives no support to the idea that Jesus and God are the same person. If Jesus sits at the right hand of God, then Jesus cannot be God. It’s really very simple to see.

    T5: The universe is created BY the Father THROUGH the Son and IN the Holy Spirit.

    GW5: Even if that were true, it would not make God and Jesus the same person.

    T5: Similarly, a Christian is baptised in the Name (NOT Names !) “Of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Only 1 Name, because only 1 God !

    GW5: Only one name – God – for one person. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are two other persons with their own names, who are on God’s team – The Trinity.

    T5: Do you really imagine many centuries of (trinitarian) Christian theologians have been the dumb, illogical imbeciles you clearly suppose them to have been ? Or that your objections to Christianity are original ? Or that the Church has failed to consider them ?

    GW5: No, no, and no. Any Christian theologian who thinks God and Jesus are the same person has just misinterpreted the Bible.

    T5: Oneness and Threeness co-exist eternally within the nature of God.

    GW5: “Oneness” and “threeness” don’t refer to anything. One does not equal three. God is one person, Jesus is another person, and the Holy Spirit is a third person. God is leader of this Trinity team. Very simple. Christianity is polytheistic.

    T5: Illogical ? No more so than God’s existence itself, no more so than the existence of a universe.

    GW5: We aren’t discussing the existence of God or the universe right now. Try to stay on topic.

    T5: Self-defeating ? Obviously not, since trinitarian Christianity, unlike the unitarian counterfeits, still exists and is growing.

    GW5: The Trinity is a team of three persons. That would be correct trinitarian Christianity.

    T5: Just as well, since the only practical alternative would be a Muslim world.

    GW5: Judaism and Islam are monotheistic religions, while Christianity and Hinduism are polytheistic religions.

    T5: Thankfully: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

    GW5: So if the Word was with God, then the Word could not BE God. Some scholars equate the Word with Jesus. So they were two persons working together.

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Israel basically came into its existence (in its present day form) from Jews leaving Europe in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The Holocaust being significant because the Jewish people as a whole came to believe that they would Never find peace in Europe no matter what. No matter if the were religious or atheist.

    A different type of Israel might of been formed albeit much different from what we currently have.

    Most religious people did not want to go to Israel because only the Messiah could bring about the returning of all Jews to Israel. Also Jews identified as European not ME.

  • Cynthia

    The history is a bit of both what you and the previous commenter wrote.

    The modern Zionist movement started in the late 1800s as a response to anti-semitism. The movement gained more steam after the Ottoman Empire fell, and there were British officials who were Christian and sympathetic to the Zionist cause, such as Lotd Balfour. Of course, at the same time, they were also supporting those Arabs who had been allies against the Ottomans, and making them leaders of new Arab states and even establishing their armies (Jordanian Legion is the best example). In the 1930s, there was a dramatic increase in Jews wanting to come to Palestine from Europe – Hitler had come to power, and North America had closed its doors to Jewish immigration. Opposition to accepting Jewish refugees was one of the main causes of the Arab revolt in Palestine which started in 1936. That revolt led to a British White Paper restricting Jewish immigration, just at the point where it was most needed, which caused conflict between the British and the Jews of Palestine. So, both sides ultimately saw the British as siding against them. I’m enough of an Anglophile to feel a bit bad for them since I think they may have had some decent intentions but they did end up mucking things up.

    After the Holocaust, there was a general horror in the world about what had happened plus the practical issue of survivors in Displaced Persons camps. Jewish immigration to Palestine would remain restricted until the State of Israel was established.

    The initial Zionists were largely secular European Jews. After the State was established, many Jews in Arab countries were no longer safe and fled to Israel, until they outnumbered the European Jews.

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Well I did state, ‘In it’s present form’.

    Take away the Nazi era and things would be vastly different.

    There were always Jews in the area which became modern day Israel. Certainly you are correct that many Jews wanted to immigrate to ‘Israel’. But how much was it percentage wise? Probably not enough to cause a Jewish majority state. It may have been the equivalent to the idea of a one state solution. A country with a large Jewish population but well short of being able to call it a Jewish State.

    If the Nazis did not persecute the Jews and World War Two happened, we probably still would of seen de-colonialism. The getting rid of the protectorate status. Britain was bankrupt.

    In addition without the 48 war (though not without conflicts) I don’t think the mass exodus of ME Jews from Iraq, Syria etc would of happened.

    So there may have been an Israel, just not how we would of recognized it.

    We have to remember many Jews did not want to got to Israel before the Holocaust. A desert land, underdeveloped, with no a/c. (Seriously Florida only became heavily populated after A/C was widely available.) They were secular Western Europeans. Many religious Jews were against (and some still today) at the heresy of establishing a Jewish State, Before the Messiah comes.

  • Cynthia

    That makes sense. At best, it may have been either a tiny state or province, akin to Hong Kong or Singapore, or a community within an independent Arab state (possibly united with Jordan). Some non-Ashkenazi Jews would still have come – the Ethiopian community for example – but for most, it wouldn’t have been a sudden exodus. The Russians would have still come if Israel had the capability of providing the flights and absorption that it did.