Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Judaism and Christianity, Jesus and Messiah


The entire history of the Ten Commandments has never had anything to do with the Christian religion. The entire doc has been, from the beginning, a Jewish text. If "Christians" were fighting for the display of the Sermon on the Mount, at least, their arguments could hope to make a tiny bit of sense. But, they regularly make the nightmare error of equating the ancient wargod Jehovah with the Lord of pure Love taught by Jesus. They insist also that every Jewish law is also somehow "Christian." This despite the fact that most of the ancient Jewish laws, recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament"), go absolutely ignored by almost all Christians all the time. Jehovah forbade the eating of pork, for example, but Christians-- almost all of them-- continue to chew and swallow huge amounts of the dangerous fats of bacon and ham.

It is as ludicrous and out-of-place for a Christian to fight to protect the Ten Commandments as it is for a Jewish person to argue for the "messiahship" of Jesus Christ.

The people of the Book [Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament")] have made it clear, repeatedly, that Jesus is not, was never, their messiah. Now, the whole idea of a "Messiah" was a Jewish one, not a Christian teaching. And does it not make sense, if you have a question about Judaism, to ask the experts-- the Jews-- about any of their teachings? The "Messiah," in prophecy, was predicted to be a very bloody general who would lead legions of Jewish soldiers in war against the Romans. The whole world, it was predicted, would be flowing with the blood of the Messiah's "enemies." Jesus, a man of non-negotiable and unchanging peace, did not fit this profile at all. So, it only made sense for the Jewish people to reject him as their Messiah. So, despite later Christian bias, and the twisting of ancient records and prophecies to make them look as if they were specifically about Jesus, I have come to the logical (indeed, inevitable) conclusion that Jesus was not the "Messiah of Jewish prophecy. Except for a single text in Mark, which might have suffered emendation and/or alteration by a later Christian scribe, Jesus himself never claims to be the Messiah. In fact, I believe that he denied it, as he does in The Mystic Gospels of Jesus the Christ.

What mostly uneducated fundies have never come to terms with is the solid historical fact that Christianity and Judaism are two very different, in many ways, unrelated, faiths. As two faiths, they have two separate sets of Scriptures, two different sets of recognized "prophets," two different sets of teachings, different traditions, different "holy" days, different customs, and yes-- most spectacularly-- different gods. The "Jehovah" of the Hebrew Scriptures was never the God of pure Love taught by Jesus. (That alone explains why, although some form of the wrongly translated name "Jehovah" appears nearly seven thousand times in the Hebrew Scriptures, it does not appear a single time in the best ancient texts of the Christian Scriptures.)

Most Jewish people today have as sophisticated and loving an image of God as anyone. But, four thousand years ago, the primitives worshipped a god of genocide, rage, emotional immaturity, violence, and psychosis. This confusion between two very different godimages is why Christian fundies are so hopelessly confused.

Your best bet, with people whose minds resemble blocks of unchanging granite, is just to let them be. In time, karmic force alone has the necessary power to alter some minds. Happily, it is not our job even to try to change the dogmatic mind!

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