Christianity vs Judaism II
If I am invited to join my employer in a meal, and I notice what is being served is spoiled, I must avert ingestion, and also inform my host. When I do, he will hear me, stop, look at the food, and act accordingly. He will probably thank me. What he will not do is respond as follows, “How dare you remark about my food, while I pay you week after week?” He will not offer such a knee-jerk response, and certainly not before he has examined his food. When you attempt to help someone, the normal human response is investigation, realization, and appreciation. Also, a rational person will not allow his authority as my employer, to deny my authority on the nature of this food. These two spheres of authority are unrelated.
So we are puzzled at a similar scenario. Why is it, when we respond (I stress ‘respond’, as we don’t chase them) to Christian missionaries, informing them of our reasoning that their religion is riddled with riddles, that we receive a hostile response? After all, they approached us, and not the reverse. We would assume that the missionary would at the minimum, objectively search for truths that may be contained in our response, and not offer a knee-jerk defense, if reason says otherwise. However, this is not the case. Christianity is defended tooth and nail with demands to follow blindly. Rational explanations are not found in their words. We have heard responses like, “How dare you criticize our religion, while we love Israel and join in your causes?” One thing has nothing to do with the other, just as my employer’s authority in the workplace does not extend outside that sphere. Instead of investigating our response, we receive an immediate condemnation – despite the validity of our point. There is no attempt to consider our position - perhaps it is reasonable. There is no attempt to take us on our word that our intent is to benefit the Christian. We are viewed as aggressors, although again, we are not the missionaries. This emotional response reveals that something boils below the surface. They have no rationale that may refute us, so hatred is how they react. It is this hatred, which I feel, propels their missionary work to begin with. Why do they feel the need to convert us? Is our religion such a slap in the face to Christianity? Obviously it is. Our religion is rational-based, and rationality uncovers the blind-faith, Christian system as mere beliefs, with no rhyme or reason. Certainly the Christian adherence to the Bible displays their acceptance of the truth that G-d gave the Jews His Book. So why on Earth don’t they accept the masters of this Book, the Rabbis, and adhere to these Rabbis’ understanding of this Book? The answer is that this fable of Jesus gains an assumed credibility based on such wide acceptance, antiquity, and the veneer of those elderly leaders who are majestically robed, and follow strict asceticism. All these “religious” factors fool the mind into believing there is truth here. But there is one element missing: intelligence.
Such a lifestyle, where one denies his mind, is doomed to frustration. Our world operates based on reason. So when someone lives with faith, he will keep running into inconsistencies.
This one-sided approach, where another viewpoint cannot be heard, leads me to suggest the following: the next time anyone is approached by a missionary, your first words should be as follows, “If I disprove your words, will you abandon Christianity?” If the Christian says yes, then talk with him. But if he responds “No”, then he does not operate with reason, and any rational discussion is useless. Anyone should abandon his or her position, when it is exposed as baseless. The denial to accept rational arguments reveals a person who cannot be reasoned with, and any conversation is a pure waste of time.
Honesty Rules – Not Religious Belief
In contrast, Judaism is based on a search for absolute truth. We do not shy from any question. Our greatest Rabbis demonstrate how committed they were to following truth, and not cherished beliefs:
Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed, Book II Chapter XXVI
“…Owing to the absence of all proof, we reject the theory of the Eternity of the Universe: and it is for this very reason that the noblest minds spent and will spend their days in research. For if the Creation had been demonstrated by proof, even if only according to the Platonic hypothesis, all arguments of the philosophers against us would be of no avail. If, on the other hand, Aristotle had a proof for his theory, the whole teaching of Scripture would be rejected, and we should be forced to other opinions. I have thus shown that all depends on this question. Note it.”
The Ibn Ezra (Exod. 20.1)
"...The second category (of commandments) are commands which are hidden, and there is not explained why they were commanded. And God forbid, God forbid that there should be any one of these commands, which goes against human intelligence. Rather, we are obligated to perform all that God commands, be it revealed to us the underlying "Sode" (principle), be it hidden from us. And if we find any of them, which contradict human intelligence, it isn't proper that we should understand it as implied. But we should consult the books of the wise men of blessed memory, to determine if such a command is a metaphor. And if we find nothing written (by them) we (must) search out and seek with all our ability, perhaps we can fix it (determine the command). If we can't, then we abandon that mitzvah as it is, and admit we are ignorant of it".
These two Torah giants exemplify the utmost honesty that every human owes it to him or herself to follow. Unfortunately, many people wish to fool themselves, allowing their emotional satisfactions to overshadow their rational convictions. They prefer to lie to themselves. Well, free will is G-d’s will, so we may not interfere with what a person does. We can only hope that at some point in a person’s life, they will detect that they have not been following reason, and will seek the truth, even if it means abandoning cherished beliefs. Rabbis Maimonides and Ibn Ezra, display such attachment to truth. There was nothing more desired by them. No other considerations, not even their religious beliefs, were held onto, if they discovered fallacy. This is what every Jew should do. This is what every Christian should do. We should examine our beliefs, and when we find anything that is not supported by reason, proof, and truth, we must then abandon it.
Don’t Bury the “Hatchet”
A few of our Jewish readers have responded that Christians are our friends, and we shouldn’t upset them by denouncing their religion. In no manner did we suggest that someone approach a Christian and denounce his religion - we have been dealing with the “response” required for missionaries. Our writings are intended for our Jewish readers. If Christian missionaries approach our children, and they will, these children must be prepared with an unwavering conviction for Judaism. Such conviction does not happen without learning how Judaism is correct, and all other religions are false. For this objective, we must teach our Jewish children and students. Again, this is not being taught in our Jewish schools, and this is a gross failure.
Christian readers are bound to get upset with what we write. But if they are honest, they should have already been questioning their doctrines long ago without our impetus, and they would have already abandoned Christianity for its lack of rationale and contradictory positions. However, we will not avoid alarming other religionists at the cost of sacrificing truth and losing Jews to missionaries.
I mentioned earlier the anger with which certain Christians responded to our recent articles. It is no secret that Judaism denies all stories about Jesus being the messiah. It is also no secret that Christianity’s position is that Jews who deny Jesus will burn in hell. So when we enunciate what we already know is public knowledge, why the hostile reaction? Christian teachings of Jews burning in hell for denying Jesus do not evoke hostility from the Jews. So why is the Christian response angered?
I feel there is one answer for both; why Jews aren’t alarmed at Christian teachings, and why Jews desire to squelch the education of Christianity’s flaws: Jews are afraid. Jews desire Christian support, more than G-d’s approval. This is a real sickness. Jews have succumbed to their infantile need for human approval. They would rather cripple their children by withholding our tongue, than supporting their convictions in what is truth, and what we are commanded to learn and teach. Simultaneously, such insecure Jews withhold the truth from Christians, which also hurts them. We mentioned this last week, but I feel this is important to reiterate.
Part of the cause of anti-Semitism is the Jews’ apologetic, Judaic practice. The very act of not standing firm in your religion invites ridicule, and also displays a corrupted Judaism, which I agree deserves criticism. But if the Jew would commit to the knowledge that G-d knows what is best, and he follows authentic Judaism, his actions will earn the accolades of the nations: (Deut. 4:6-8) “And guard them and do them (the commands) for they are your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the nations, who will hear these statutes, and they will say, ‘What a wise and understanding people is this great nation’. For what great nation has G-d close to them, as G-d, our G-d, whenever we call to Him. And what great nation has statutes and righteous laws as this entire Torah, that I give to you today?”
Anti-Semitism can be dealt with. If Jews study Torah and live in accord with the perfect ideas created by G-d, other nations will have an opportunity to see G-d’s wisdom. This is our obligation. I have received letters from Christians who sought rationale for Christian doctrines, but found none, and later, converted to Judaism as it made sense. When the nations are afforded knowledge of G-d’s Torah through contact with learned Jews, they will see a different life, one that appeals to their minds, and causes no frustration in their hearts. They will be imbued with the perfection of Judaism, and will desire to learn more. They will appreciate the pure, absolutely clear wisdom G-d, and despise the false, distorted religions made by man. This is exactly what happened with Queen Sheba. She came to King Solomon to verify his knowledge, and she left with a love for G-d’s wisdom, displayed in the king’s answers. Her unmatched gifts proved her sincerity. As any scientist is awed by the cosmos, any person will be awed by the wisdom that is encapsulated in the Torah. But if as Jews, we do not study, and perform the Torah’s laws, by what means will other nations have a chance at seeing Torah wisdom? By what means will other nations realize the true distinction of the Jew, and abandon anti-Semitism?
As a Jew, study our great Torah, and you will find answers to all your questions. G-d wrote it. He knows our questions, and made the answers available. Don’t fall prey to the sins of previous generations who sought the accolades of alien nations. We have G-d’s promise of a great life if we adhere to His system. This must override your other petty concerns.
Abraham, our forefather, and founder of Judaism, was not a Jew. He was no different than any Gentile today. G-d desires that all mankind exist. Therefore, it is against Judaism to have ill feelings towards any other human being. Just as we have a strong tie to Abraham, we must also recognize G-d’s will that each one of our neighbors has been given a soul. Before the existence of “Jews”, G-d favored Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Twelve Tribes, and Moses. These great prophets displayed how perfected man can be. This perfection is available to not only these men, but to any man or woman today, and perfection was made easier through G-d’s gift of His Torah.
Our neighbors are black, white, Gentile and Jew. Not one would be alive were it not G-d’s will that he or she live. It is this reality that demands our respect and concern for every member of mankind. Every person has an opportunity to make the most of this short life. Our primary goal is to use the intelligence given to us and no other creature. This is why we always stress living a life based on reason, and not blind faith. G-d’s very gift of intelligence to mankind teaches that G-d wishes we use it, and not ignore what reason tells us. Although religions demanding faith became popular, this in no way obscures G-d’s plan that man use the intelligence, to reason for himself, and arrive at a life where he follows what is proven true, and denies what is bereft of proof and reason. This is why we argue against Christianity. It is false, and it misleads mankind. G-d gave the Jews a role to educate the world in His Torah.
That being said, we will continue to expose what we find as baseless, to steer our children and students away from fallacy. For any Christian reader, bear in mind that to hear what we discuss, you must be honest and objective. If you desire Jesus more than reason, I suggest you cease from reading further. But if you wish to live in line with honesty and reason, please continue. If you have questions, please write us. Your mind can discern between truths and fallacy. Do not deny your mind, in favor of maintaining beliefs that are clearly false. Be honest, you have one life. Don’t forfeit it simply because you have lived so long in a certain manner. That is no argument to continue in your error.