Last week we published an article, which focused on defending our Jewish children and students against Christian proselytizers. With tens of millions of Christian dollars financing missionaries to convert Jews, we cannot sit by idly, or imagine our children are exempt from their tactics. We reacted to the intolerable absence of education in our Jewish schools, urging parents, and teachers to immediately commence classes that examine religions like Christianity, and teach our children the falsehoods contained in these man-made religions. As our Rabbis have taught, we do not cower from any area in life. We approach any and all matters with a fearless zeal to first learn what the truth is, and then apply it in action. Moses taught the people, “When you come into the land that G-d your G-d gives you, do not learn to do as the abominations of those nations.” (Deut., 18:9) Rashi, quoting Talmud Sanhedrin 65 states on this verse, “But, you shall ‘learn to understand to teach’. Meaning, understand their ways, how destructive they are, and teach your children ‘do not do such and such, for this is the way of the idolatrous nations”. Rashi, our leading Rabbi, tells us when Moses instructed us not to learn from the ways of idolatrous people, it was a prohibition of committing idolatry - not a decree to put blinders on our eyes and ignore their practices. In fact, Rashi teaches we must learn their practices for the purpose of teaching our children what is falsehood, and what is destructive. Our entire Talmudic tractate “Idolatry” is based on the Rabbi’s study of what is idolatrous. We must do as they did, examine destructive practices, and teach our children so as to guard them and ourselves from harm.
We do not play politics, distorting truth for any consideration. Any person, who would sidestep the truth distorts Judaism, and defames G-d’s words. In Jewish life, “truth” guides our every action. Therefore we speak openly and honestly about Judaism’s view on everything, including other religions, and Christianity: G-d abhors - more than all else - any form of idolatry. G-d’s Torah is replete with prohibitions and devastating punishments for violators. Anyone who reads Exodus and Deuteronomy cannot deny this. If any Christian finds these words harsh, your first error is taking this matter personally, when you have not been singled out and attacked. Your second error is feeling defensive, when I have not yet begun to explain my view of “idolatry”. Perhaps after I have done this, you will agree.
G-d warns against adding to His words or detracting from them. For this reason, we do not accept the Christian view that G-d is changing His laws given at Sinai, replacing them with Christianity. One cannot deny G-d’s open declaration through Moses, (Deut. 13:1) “This entire thing which I command you (the Torah), it shall you guard to keep it, do not add on it, and do not detract from it.” G-d does not change His mind. For if you will say He does, then nothing is consistent, not even a Christian interpretation. But more primarily, G-d does not change, as he knows all future considerations. Furthermore, change implies a “need” for that change, and G-d cannot have any needs nor does He change, “For I, G-d, do not change…” (Malachi, 3:6)
When we discuss the violations of the Torah, and religions like Christianity that partake of these violations, we always address the flawed principle, and never attack individuals. We have made this clear so many times, in so many of our articles. Yet, time and time again, individual Christians read our words, and become up-in-arms against us, as if we are attacking them personally. I guess this will always be the case, as many people lack the objectivity to separate themselves from abstract beliefs. Until you can be objective, your emotions will blur your objectivity, and you won’t be able to hear us. But for those who can separate themselves, there is much to be said. I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the reactions to our article from both our Jewish and Christian readers.
One Jewish reader wrote in urging our tolerance of all religions and beliefs. I agree - we must be tolerant of other people and religions, as this also protects our own freedoms. More primary is the fact that G-d desires that each member of mankind be free to make his every decision based on his own free will. Judaism fully supports this principle – it is G-d’s will. So what is this reader’s concept of tolerance, over and above our position, that he needed to write us? Certainly, he does not mean “tolerance” in the extreme degree that I start to live by those other religions. His “tolerance” also must not require me to ask my children to live by another religious code. Does he mean that I do not interfere with those other religionists in their practice? Well, we do not suggest that one should interfere – that violates G-d’s desire that man functions from his own free will. The only other possibility for his definition of “tolerance” I see, is that we do not condemn other religions. But here is the problem: his desire to be “tolerant”, directly opposes G-d’s desire. I will explain.
Tolerance is Cruelty to Christians
Judaism is concerned that ALL people have the truth - this is our goal as Jews, to offer the world G-d’s Torah. To refrain from making G-d’s Torah available to others is a direct violation of G-d’s will. For the Bible itself records Moses addressing the Jews: (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?”
How can Moses say our laws will enamor other nations, if we are not acting out these statutes in our daily lives, and in our teachings? It is only by our adherence to our positive and negative commands that other nations will come to learn of G-d’s Torah. But if we do not practice and do not teach our people G-d’s Bible, His Torah, then we not only violate G-d’s law and hurt our own people, but we also hurt all other nations by violating G-d’s will and keeping His laws hidden from their sight.
Although misinterpreted in the opposite vein, the very fact that we openly discuss and identify a religion as violating G-d’s Torah, is a demonstration of our adherence to G-d’s will, and a concern for other people. So let us speak the truth and cease from the charade of playing politics to earn the love of others through phony “tolerance”. G-d clearly denounces idolatry, He does not “tolerate” it, and does not desire that anyone – Jew or Gentile – be misled by false practices, even if followed by millions. Jewish causes often woo Christian groups for verbal or financial support. But if in doing so you conceal your real Jewish identity, then what you seek to support is no longer Judaism. You are also unfair to your Christian counterparts by keeping them in the dark regarding G-d’s true position on following man-gods like Jesus. If you desire the good for yourselves and others, the only option is honesty.
So how do we identify true idolatry? Of course this is where the issue gets gray. But this is why G-d gave one law to clarify our misconceptions. As always, when desirous of learning G-d’s Torah, we inquire of those to whom He entrusted His torah – the Jews. This is historical fact. When referring to those Jews - our Rabbis and Talmudic Sages - we learn that idolatry is clearly defined as “the belief in anything other than G-d possessing power”. The Egyptians believed in deities who dominated many aspects of the heavens and earth, each one possessing power over the Nile, the sun, the moon, fertility, rain, crops and so on. Christianity believes in a Trinity, something other than “One” G-d, and that G-d can become physical, although G-d Himself says, “To whom can you equate me?” Meaning, G-d can have no similitude to anything, including gross, physical entities. So the Christian notion that G-d became man is against G-d’s word, and is plain stupid. Further, the very concept of a Trinity is not only absurd by definition, but it violates G-d’s words, “Listen Israel, G-d is our G-d, G-d is One.” (Deut. 6:4) Additionally, gods of silver and gold are severe violations. Belief in G-d being physical or associated to anything physical also violates our Bible, the Torah: “And guard your souls greatly, for you did not see any form on the day that G-d spoke to you in Horeb from amidst flames. Lest you act destructively, and make for yourself a statue, the form of any design, the form of male or female.” (Deut., 4:15,16) Statues of Jesus clearly violate the very Bible that Christians retain. Let me repeat that verse, “Lest you act destructively, and make for yourself a statue, the form of any design, the form of male or female.” Christianity violates G-d’s words again and again. And the violations are in the most severe area – “what G-d is”. To possess and teach the wrong idea of G-d is the greatest crime.
Christianity: Man is Central, and is Infallible – Judaism: G-d is Central and Man Sins
At the core of Christianity’s beliefs, is the deification of man. Jesus is never depicted as having sinned, which again, contradicts G-d’s words (Ecclesiastes, 7:20) “For man is not righteous in the land who does good and never sins.” Judaism focuses on the Creator alone, never hiding man’s errors. Even Moses’ sins are openly written. The man Jesus is also far less abstract than G-d, and more emotionally appealing. This explains Christianity’s wildfire reach in so short a period from its inception.
Before Jesus, before Moses, before anything or anyone...there was One Cause of the entire universe. By definition, this Cause we call G-d has no need for anything. He is self-sufficient. G-d desires we have the truest possible concept of Him. He therefore clearly commands against the notions of Trinity, statues, deities and believing in anything except in Him alone. In Judaism, man is never raised to a saintly status. Christianity preaches a warped view of man that is a lie, and not corroborated by any Torah text. Judaism on the other hand exposes even our greatest prophets, as mortals who sin. Our Patriarchs viewed G-d alone as the One to worship and give any honor to. Our Patriarchs abhorred the idea that other members of mankind would worship them, and therefore commanded that they be not buried in Egypt. They were concerned that Egyptians should not deify their burial sites. Yet, Christianity does not follow Judaism’s founding prophets, and they violate the teachings of Jacob by praying to a dead man.
Dying for Others
Other Christian fundamentals also violate G-d’s very words, and G-d could not have said it any clearer, (Deut., 24:16) "There will not be killed fathers for sons (sins, nor) are sons killed for father's (sins). Each man in his own sin will be killed." This means that G-d does not kill someone unless they sinned. Accordingly, the concept that Jesus died by G-d’s will for mankind’s sins is a violation of the Bible. Christianity’s fundamentals oppose G-d’s words.
Are we to follow cowardly, Jewish and Christian groups who fear facing G-d’s own words? Are we to sidestep G-d’s truth, so we can muster political and religious allies among the Christians? G-d clearly warns against such practices. Even according to world history the Jews are the recipients of G-d’s Torah. If we do not teach G-d’s word, then His Torah will be lost. The people of the world will no longer have the opportunity to truly learn what G-d desires of them. How can we allow this to happen? How can you, those Jews who want to silence our talk of G-d’s laws, hold such a position? You directly violate G-d’s will. If G-d openly denounces idolatry as the worst crime, you directly violate G-d’s word when you wish anyone to remain silent. This false sentiment of “tolerance” must not be followed. Yes, we will never interfere in someone’s freedom. But as those commanded to uphold G-d’s Bible, we must never conceal G-d’s words for any consideration. We are tolerant of people’s actions provided they do not harm us, but we are intolerant of ignorance, the spread of false ideas, and the spread of idolatry. We must be concerned to teach the truth and make it available though our actions and our teachings – for Jew and Gentile alike.
One Christian wrote in with disdain for our position. She complained how we could disagree with Christian theology, while so many Christians support Israel. She asked to be removed from our email list, and we complied. But such a view is nonsense. She suggests if a group does a good for another, then the recipient must lie to show thanks. Since Christians support Israel, am I to lie and say I don’t think they violate G-d’s word, when in fact I do? Aren’t I doing a greater good by putting feelings aside, and advising them about their error? And let’s be truthful, she certainly does not agree with Judaism, as she certainly feels I will burn in hell for rejecting Jesus. By her withholding her feelings from me, in her framework, she keeps the “good” from me. She cares less that I will burn in hell according to Christian theology, as she does not try to teach me. Isn’t she the one who is doing the harm to me, and not vice versa? A true friend will risk the friendship if he feels the other needs counseling. Even though he will hurt the other, he will tell him his error, because he loves him. That is a true love.
Therefore, we do not ‘take the bribe’ and remain silent. Our goal is to teach our Jewish children what G-d’s Torah says. Our obligation is also to make the Torah available to all others, so we are not allowed to conceal it by lying that we “tolerate” Christianity. Yes, we tolerate practitioners, this is an American right, but we do not tolerate your principles. They are idolatrous and violate G-d’s word.
Why don’t Christians denounce those Christian missionary groups if they love Jews so much? I’ve never heard one Christian leader ever do so. Where is Christianity protecting our rights to practice Judaism? Why don’t Christians speak out against missionary groups telling them to cease from converting Jewish children? Where is Christianity’s support of American Jews’ “freedom of religion”? You don’t see any Jews out to proselytize Christians. Although we denounce Christian theology, we don’t interfere with your right to freedom of religion. We adhere to freedom of speech, and do not violate or cross that line. I would like to see a courageous Christian defend our rights of freedom of religion, and denounce all Christian missionary activity to convert Jews.
One Christian writer prayed for my conversion. I think this displays a desire of many Christians that Jews ultimately convert. There is no denying the Christian belief that those who do not believe in Jesus will burn in hell. If this is the case, how can any Christian truly accept Judaism? Again, honesty is called for, if both Jew and Christian will talk honestly about their beliefs and arrive at which is true. But I fear the more powerful emotion of maintaining friendships (for ulterior motives) will win out. Neither party cares enough for the other to openly discuss with the sincere and genuine objectivity, what G-d’s true will is for mankind. Only a truly concerned minister, preacher, nun, father, pope, or rabbi will end the silence, and caringly converse with other religious leaders. And consider that; wouldn’t such a religious discussion, where truth reigned supreme, yield the most precious outcome? I honestly hope the opening has been made with this article. I hope that Jews and Christians can end that silence, and discuss, not what we did to each other, but what the differences are between the two religions, and arrive at a conclusion as to which one is G-d’s word. Neither party wins here by remaining silent, and neither party “wins”, when both finally decide what G-d’s word is. Meaning, it cannot be about “winning”, but about an objective search for truth, regardless if that truth demands you abandon your religion.
We are both on equal footing in G-d’s eyes, as human beings obligated to follow G-d’s words. Fear of being “wrong”, and a desire to be “right” must not enter the picture. The “person” is not the issue, but the “principles”. If both parties sit down to debate religion, with the agenda of trying to prove their side, then such a meeting is useless.
Pro Religious Teaching
One writer commented as follows: “Although I have read many things addressing this issue, this is the first to clearly address the flaws in our education. It is indeed imperative that we educate Jews - especially our children about the flaws, the negatives of other religions, and not only extol the positives of ours. Even in a panel I attended for Jewish professional educators directed by Jews for Judaism, this challenge was rejected! I truly felt alone in my conviction that our children as well as we ourselves must be informed clearly about the flaws in the rationality of other religions.”
Judaism’s bottom line is that G-d desires each man and woman to use their G-d-given free will to make their choices. This applies to every member of mankind. Unlike other religions, Judaism does not ascribe to, or believe in proselytizing others, or using physical force to make a person do something or live a certain lifestyle. Man’s actions must stem from his own choices to earn reward, or deserve punishment. Therefore, we will never interfere with how anyone else desires to live, be you a Jew, a Christian, or any other religion. We will only interfere for our self-defense, when you endanger our freedom or our lives. But here in America, our freedom of religion is cherished, and we support such a haven for free, religious expression. However since part of “free, religious expression” allows the institution of Christian proselytizers to flourish, we must protect our own with our American right of free speech. We will teach our children and students without compromising our tone, lest we mislead them that we are not passionate. We will not compromise our content, for fear that a Christian or “politically correct” Jew will have their feathers ruffled. But we will speak the truth, citing G-d’s Torah as our source. In doing so, we will make it clear what Judaism believes as true. By doing so, our Christian brothers and sisters will no longer be mislead by Jews with ulterior motives, who hide their true tenets from those Christians out of ulterior motives. But they will see what exactly G-d’s Torah says and means, all based on G-d’s original recipients, the Rabbis and Sages.
Let honesty have her day, and allow the curtains of “agenda” to be shed: Christians desire Judaism no more than Jews desire to live Christian. This charade of mutual support for multiple religions is dishonest. A Christian’s very selection of Jesus and Christianity over Judaism proves this, as so does a Jew’s denial of Jesus. A Jew does not shy from any question - rationale and proof is at the core of Judaism. No blind faith here. So I invite our true Christian friends, not to hold your tongue, and I urge our Jewish friends, not to conceal Judaism from the Christians. Engage in honest, unbridled religious discussion. Both of you agree that both Judaism and Christianity cannot be simultaneously “G-d’s Chosen religion.” Reason will dictate which are G-d’s proven words, and which makes sense. Don’t fear a conclusive proof. One must be wrong. I praise the person who can yield his cherished beliefs, to the proven truth.
To our Jewish and non-Jewish readers I ask, “Are you adhering to a religion simply because you raised in it?” If so, you are both in error. G-d gave you each a mind to arrive at your beliefs based on reason. You must stop parroting and realize that “being raised in a religion” is in no argument for the truth of that religion. Nor do you possess any merit by acting in such a fashion. The only way to arrive at a conviction that your religion is truth is by using your own mind. So do so. Inquire. Your first realization is that Judaism and Christianity cannot both be G-d’s choice. Admit that one is wrong. Now, how do you arrive at this knowledge of which is wrong? The answer is simple; follow reason to prove which one is right. Look for historical proof of G-d giving a system to mankind, a proof that is irrefutable. Then, examine G-d’s words with honesty, and be objective, do not let your upbringing and emotional tendencies blur what you might see as true. Then inquire of those who safeguarded G-d’s words, deriving from them alone G-d’s laws and intent.
I will give you an analogy: Henry Ford created the first “Ford Automobile”. It is absurd to say that before Henry Ford was alive, there existed a “Ford”. This is plain and simple. History conclusively denies this claim. It is similarly absurd if even after Ford’s first auto, someone claim he possessed the “authentic” Ford. Such a claim would be laughed at. How could a copier tell the originator, “I possess the authentic”! It would be as if a son told his father, “I’m really the father.”
By definition, the original was always the first. Similarly, we arrive at the conclusive evidence – even accepted by Christians – that G-d in fact gave the Jews a Bible, the Torah, on Mount Sinai. The Jews never disputed the understanding of G-d’s words. This Torah was to last forever - unchanged. Only centuries later, Christians who were not the inheritors of the Torah, who lacked the essential Torah derivation principles for unlocking G-d’s profound truths, got their hands on a copy. They in turn approached the Jews and attempted to teach us how to learn the book that we gave them, which we have studied for thousands of years! No one tells Ford “I reinvented the authentic Ford”. So too, no one tells the Jews “We have the correct understanding of the Bible”. Then, to make the crime greater, the Christians added to the Torah, violating G-d’s command not to do so. What compounds such a crime further is the lack of knowledge possessed by Christians who would make this claim. They have not mastered Talmudic thought, nor studied the volumes of Talmud and Rabbis writings, in decades of diligent study under Talmudic Sages, the only possessors of G-d’s Oral Law. Such a lack of Talmudic study officially locks out anyone from attaining any semblance of Torah authority. Yet, they suddenly feel more authoritative than the Jews, those from who they received this Torah! It is absurd and the height of arrogance to tell the Jews, the original recipients of G-d’s Bible, that we have it all wrong. Tell the world that you just created the authentic Ford. See how the world responds.
But let G-d’s Bible speak for itself: “When you inquire of the first days that were before you, from the day that G-d created man on the Earth, from one end of the heavens to the other, was there a thing as great as this? Or was anything like it ever heard? That a nation heard G-d’s voice speaking from amidst flames, as you have heard...and lived? Or had G-d miraculously revealed Himself, when He selected one nation from others, with signs and wonders and with war and with a strong hand and an outstretched arm and with awesome wonders, as all G-d had done for you in Egypt in front of your eyes?” (Deut., 4:32-34)
Moses reminds the people of G-d’s miracles performed forty years earlier. Moses could not have made them recall, that which never happened. The fact that the Jews followed Moses displays the truth of what Moses recalled. That’s number one. Number two, and the primary focus, is that Moses reminds them that G-d never did such miracles as He did in Egypt, nor did He ever select one nation from others where mankind heard G-d speaking from a fiery mountain, as He did with the Jews on Sinai. Moses impresses upon the Jews that G-d’s selection of the Jews from all other nations is undeniable. Moses teaches that G-d’s selection is quite clear – He desires the Jews.
I ask you as you finish reading, to consider the words of the Bible quoted herein. If you have a response, let us hear it. If you don’t, then let G-d’s words direct your actions.