Good Natured Papal Ribbing

Good Natured Papal Ribbing

Sure, I’ve taken the piss out of Pope Benedict from time to time, and all indications are that my ribbing has been well received. From the adventures of the Pope as a teen in the Hitler Youth, to that one time when he liberated Jerusalem and that other time when he snuck into the Jewlicious Festival, the Pope has been the good natured butt of our scurrilous attacks. Why good natured? Because today the Pope landed in Jerusalem and I have yet to be detained. In fact, I just, mere moments ago, saw his motorcade drive by the old city. Yup – life in Jerusalem is one massive traffic jam as roads are closed and traffic is diverted (badly) for the sake of Pope Benedict’s security. And Catholics? Dang! They are all over the place!

Dancing Catholic Poles in Jerusalem: So... uh... where are your uh... Grandparents?

Dancing Catholic Poles in Jerusalem: So... uh... where are your uh... Grandparents?

And you know what else? As demonstrated by this visiting group of Polish Catholics, they Israeli dance better than you do, they know more Hebrew songs than you do and their pronunciation doesn’t suck like yours does. So we’re all honored by this visit by a former member of the Hitler Youth, and awed by the sight of the grandchildren and great grandchildren of people who hunted us down and sent us to gas chambers, singing in Hebrew and dancing in the capital of the Jewish state. These are strange times i tell you. Strange, strange times… Happy lag baomer. Hope you build a nice bonfire. Keep the Catholics away though – bonfires, Catholics and Jews don’t usually go together so well…

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

37 Comments

  • Um, a bit harsh, don’t you think?

    To remind you, the Poles were among the nations to boycott Durban II. And this Pope has made an effort to be respectful towards Jews and Israel.

    By the way, you forgot the Pope Dancing with Matisyahu video which you posted not so long ago.

  • Ahemmm, I don’t like the tone of this post. As a more or less identifiable body, the Catholic Church has suffered not just rightful and on-point criticism but a lot of cheap polemics from Jewish “progressives” over the past few years, but that compares unfavourably considering 80% of support for the NSDAP among Protestants to 8% among Catholics. To this day, neo-Nazi parties are strongest in foremostly Protestant parts of Germany. (The Klan also, by principle, is Protestant.) There were Dutch that turned over Jewish refugees to the Nazis just as there were Poles. There were people from all kinds of religious and national backgrounds that joined their Jewish friends and relatives in the deathcamps and others that risked their lives hiding Jews they didn’t even know.

    Anti-Catholicism is not an inch smarter than anti-Semitism, and “forever yesterday” works both ways, just that neither is anything desirable.

    Also, even as a non-speaker of Hebrew, I can tell accents when I compare the Hebrew of recent migrants to Israel and “long term” Israelis, and it’s been confirmed to me by my fourth generation Israeli friends (descendants of early Zionists) that a large portion of more recent immigrants have got pretty strong accents.

    But what do I know? I’ve already been labelled Eurotrash.

  • In an extremely nasty way. In a way that denied me my right to have an opinion on about anything as Europe did not matter politically and / or economically anyway (so the line of reasoning).

    CK only just called me provincial despite our shared African heritage.

    🙁

  • Hey, Froylein, don’t fret it. Eurotrash continues to have a high exchange rate against Dollar based trash.

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  • Maven, I just get shocked and appalled when I see people are so ideologically blinded and ill-informed / ignorant and at the same time enjoy pointing out their “ivy league” education.

    X, theoretically the Klan is now open to Catholics, but theoretically, there also may be no discrimination against a person based on ethnicity or religion – it’s the reception of the theory that matters. I’ve read a few recent interviews with Klanspeople that pointed out the Klan helps preserving their Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage. [I’m not sure whether there’ll ever be a more critical look at the Founding Fathers in American education as it took a long time already to accept the Native Americans weren’t exactly volunteering to help with the harvest. “Cuius regio eius religio” already was in (actual) effect in Europe for 70 years before the Puritans left. There were large regions that were Puritan Protestant e.g. Switzerland (Zwinglian) and today’s Netherlands (Calvinist), so the Pilgrim Fathers could have settled quite freely there (and tried to in the Netherlands, but didn’t like it themselves). The customary lack of curtains in the Netherlands still is a heritage of Puritan background BTW (and not, as urban legend has it, was due to curtain taxes imposed by Napoleon) – people wanted to show they were not doing anything improper inside their homes.]

    Middle, I’m not keen on replying to such nasty statements in kind…

  • And I thought Germans perpetrated the holocaust. Better brush up on my David Irving.

  • ck: You’re forgetting that the Imperial March must be played whenever Darth Sid–Pope Benedict the Palpa–Supreme Chancellor Pal–gah, I can never get his name right– appears. It’s like… The first thing in the Declaration of a New Order.

  • Just because Judaism doesn’t have a hierarchy in its clergy does not warrant this stupid mockery of the Pope. His religious education, even that of Jewish scriptures, beats that of the bulk of current rabbis. He’s reaching out to Jews, and what does he get in return?

  • Depends, you mean from Jewlicious or from authorities? We’re not here to represent world Jewry. There are people who are paid to do that or who get elected to do that. ck is having some fun. Besides, not everything is so great about the Pope. He did shake the hand of that Shaikh who spewed venom against Israelis, he did reappoint a Holocaust denying priest, he is trying to secure some prize properties from Israel for the Church and to the exclusion of other Christian groups.

    And seriously, it’s not as if I haven’t attacked certain leading rabbis severely on Jewlicious. If they can get it, why can’t the Pope?

  • Segev’s piece suggests the pope’s ethnicity renders his presence in Israel hopelessly problematic, as if his Germannness imposes a heavy, personal burden of proof. The pope is indeed an abstract thinker, an academic and theologian first and a pastor second. He’s not JPII and probably shouldn’t pretend to be.

    For me, Benedict is there as representative of the universal church, and gets graded on how he projects Gospel values. He’s done well, I think, especially in condemning extremism and the corruption of religion for political ends.

    This trip above all is about Christian-Muslim relations and the endangered status of Christians in the Arab Middle East. Relations with the Jews are what they are, and if Benedict’s contributions to them (beginning with his participation in Vatican II) then nothing he can do now will change that for the better. That was yesterday’s interfaith challenge, not today’s, and as a church we’d do well to move on. I suspect that will be the last visit of a pope to Yad Vashem for a very long time.

  • Interesting take on it, Tom.

    So you think this trip happens to be where Jews reside but is really about Christian/Muslim relations?

  • froylein: I will like the guy when he decides to to make certain changes in the church that are strategically and politically necessary. For example, he could implement ways to increase the participation of women in the Church. He could make it so priests are no longer required to be celibate. Heck, he could even just moderate the Church’s stance towards homosexuality.

    The Church is losing members left and right. Parishes are closing due to lack of financing. Attendance drops every year, with increasingly few faithful as Catholicism (in the West at least) lacks the group cohesiveness needed to maintain such a strict orthodoxy.

    Were he a leader, he would realize that trying to keep the Church in the past will only make it less relevant for the Catholics of the future.

    I cannot respect a man as bigoted, sexist and homophobic as the current Pope.

  • Middle, I said mockery was done by Jewish “progressives” and didn’t specify. It isn’t progressive to be demeaning of a religion as the religion per se and is also greatly hypocritical to see what the Catholic Church gets called upon what is conveniently covered in Orthodox circles. I’ve never said the Pope is great nor have I said I prefer the Papal hierarchy, but we should apply the same fairness to others we expect from them. I merely said the current Pope could give most current rabbis a run for their money, and that fact can be traced to his well-recorded education as well as publications that require such knowledge.

    Kari, you don’t have to like the Pope, Christianity, the Catholic denomination, Christian / Catholic theology, but for your consideration, the Catholic Church is less stringent on communal participation of women than Orthodox and most of Conservative Judaism, the official Catholic (and mainstream Christian) stance on homosexuality in a nutshell is exactly the same as that of religious Judaism mandated by biblical scriptures both religions accept as valid and mandatory (otherwise there’d only be a few actually Jewish religious holidays, no ban on intermarriage etc.). Both Catholicism and religious Judaism (the pop-version Reform aside) believe in the mandatoriness of scriptures, teachings, and tradition, so matters that were brought about by the teachings or traditions are matters of dogmatic value and not subject to change just as quickly, particularly if they have become dogma or Canonic law and can only be overruled by biblical scripture. The only way Jewish Orthodoxy can maintain its constituencies is a way that does not resonate well with a post-Enlightment Western view of humanity and the world. I’d rather say: good for the Catholic Church that it has come to accept there’s freedom of creed as hey, Jewish Orthodoxy does not yet accept that. Catholics still make up more than 1 billion of the world’s population (to counter a common myth, population explosion mostly occurs in predominantly Muslim countries). The issue of celibacy is highly debated among reputable religious scholars, it’s not as if the Church were suppressing critical views if people actually can base them on something (one of the most renowned critics of priestal celibacy is Prof. Dr. Vogel, who himself became a priest but eventually got married; he still remained a professor of exegesis and couldn’t have done so without the Church’s permission). So, if you want to ridicule the current Pope, ridicule each and any Charedi / Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox and Conservadox rabbi for what it’s worth. If you cannot respect a person for their religious views that are not just about random but have grown for centuries / millennia as they don’t meet your personal likes or dislikes, then you’re narrow-minded yourself. You need not accept those people but human dignity requires to be respectful of them (which, BTW, is the Catholic stance on homosexuality as can be seen with the Church-respected activities by organisations such as “Homosexuelle und Kirche”, which even get to host events at buildings that belong to the Church). I do not agree with a large part of most religious doctrine and religious life in general, but that does not mean I disrespect religious people.

  • Middle, I suspect from Benedict’s perspective this is above all another step in detente with the Muslim world. If Catholic-Jewish relations were his chief concern, I think he’d address them from Rome, if only because of his aversion to travel. He doesn’t have to go to Israel to interact with Jewish leaders.

    In the case of Muslims, Mohammed must come to the mountain; he needs to demonstrate he’s comfortable calling on Muslim leaders– well, at least Abdullah and Erdogan.

    I don’t know if Kari is Catholic or not, but you hear that sort of rhetoric from lefty Catholics all the time– frequently, just after criticizing the papacy as an authoritarian institution. In other words, we don’t want this funny guy in the white clothes telling us what to do– unless, of course, he’ll enforce our views on the hot-button issues.

    If you’re right that changing teaching on, say, homosexuality will reverse what you see as Catholicism’s decline, we’ll see how it works out for US Episcopalians. I know gay Catholics and pro-choice Catholics and passionately Obama-supporting Catholics and Catholics who are highly critical of the papacy, and they’re not going anywhere, thank you very much. It’s as if you’d suggested to bitter Democratic critics of Bush that, well then, simply leave the country if you feel that way.

    The church’s decline is greatly exagerrated, and while it has its problems, holding people to an uncomfortably countercultural standard is not one of them. There’s probably a Jewish analogue here– why is Reform less healthy, less vibrant, than more conservative denominations? Believers like to be challenged to raise their proverbial game. I’d be delighted if, say, the ban on artificial contraception went out the window. But such things are a small price to pay for belonging to a faith that isn’t in the business of congratulating you for your ‘progressive’, enlightened values, but pushes you always to do better.

  • Tom: I’m not Catholic. Jew. My problem isn’t the Pope’s views in and of themselves, it’s the fact that his views are really hurting the institution he’s the head of. It’s a failure of leadership to be poorly aligned with the people you serve.

    froylein: Before I even respond to your post, PLEASE — USE WHITESPACE. Reading such a long block of text is… painful.

    Anyway, I’d dispute your point about women in Judaism versus Catholicism. At least officially in the Conservative movement, women are token men, and consequently can be in Conservative Judaism everything that only men can be in Catholicism. Opportunities for Orthodox women have also been expanding, no?

    On the subject of homosexuality, I’d also dispute that. The arguments presented by Jewish and Christian sources are quite different as the two groups have significantly different understandings of several key concepts. Jews and Christians do not have the same model for what a human being is in relation to G-d, do not have the same idea of what a soul is, do not have the same understanding of obligation. Furthermore, Judaism is much more orthoprax than Christianity is, and that affects the arguments as well.

    While I suppose you could say both Catholicism and (most of) Orthodox Judaism essentially say the same thing (homosexuality is wrong), it is a demographic reality that Orthodox Jews (even rabbis) are considerably more tolerant of same-sex couples and extending legal benefits and protections to homosexuals than right-wing Catholics and priests are.

    I generally don’t care what others believe so long as it does not affect my life. However, our world leaders do affect my life whether they realize it or not, and their beliefs influence others in ways that can help or hurt me. Consequently, it benefits me if they believe certain things, and harms me if they believe other things.

    A belief in the inferiority of women, espoused by a variety of people, causes myself, as a woman, to be paid less for the same level and quality of work as a man in many industries. I don’t have a problem with people believing women are inferior. I have a problem with the fact that that belief causes me to be under-compensated for my career efforts.

    Much the same with the Pope. I do not mock him for his faith or his beliefs. But I am harmed by some of his beliefs, and thus, I have every right to criticize him. He’s making my life harder, and thus is subject to my scrutiny, no different than if I get shoddy service from the lawnmower guy or from the electric company.

  • Kari, no problem with your criticizing the pope and the church. We’re big boys and girls. I’d simply add that you may want to reflect on how the church makes your life easier. If you live in the US, for example, you benefit by the contribution of Catholic social services to education and health care.

    As an outsider, you can’t see the church’s strengths but only its problems. If you find yourself in the Boston area, feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll show you around the local parish, with its school serving mostly African-American kids, and its staff, with priests from the US, Korea and Nigeria.

  • Tom: I don’t deny the positive work the Church has done… Does it seem like my attack on the Pope’s beliefs is a complete opinion on the history of the Church?

  • Kari, I will start a new paragraph as soon as there is need for one, i.e. when there is an actual change of topic. Continuous text written in a font without serifs should only be painful after 20 letter-sized pages. Not every new side-note warrants a new paragraph, but I’ll try to make reading easier for you even if the overuse of tiny paragraphs is, by all standards of literature and writing I teach and have been taught myself, poor style.

    As for the claims you make regarding Catholic theology compared to Jewish theology, what do you base them on? There is not the slightest bit of a difference in understanding how humans relate to God between Judaism and Christianity. Christianity does not believe trinity to be polytheism; its concepts reflect the Jewish concepts of an omnipotent creator that has got the ability of revelation to his creation.

    I also don’t know what you base your claim regarding the treatment of homosexuals in either religion on; according to my experience, and as has been confirmed by all my Orthodox rabbinical friends I’ve asked, homosexuals get arranged into marriages, sort of force-married, and I know several examples of unhappy marriages that were brought about by reason of state, so to speak. To get this straight, if you’ve got a rabbi that is accepting (as your description of the effects above is that of acceptance, not of tolerance) of homosexuality or even only tolerant of it (as in not trying to change the status quo), then that rabbi is not Orthodox in the actual meaning of Orthodoxy, i.e. a stringent observation of dogma. That does not mean I agree with it, but I do not see actual Orthodoxy to be more tolerant of homosexuality than Catholicism is. Legal benefits are granted by the state, not by a rabbi; if a state’s laws facilitate same-sex marriages, that’s a different matter than an Orthodox rabbi wedding a homosexual couple (as if).

    Women play inferior roles in actual Orthodoxy if you go by modern feminist standards. Jewish Orthodoxy, as well as Catholicism, views families to be the smallest unit of a society and therefore does not quite see the need for modern gender roles. In contrast to what some people like to promote, in actually Orthodox circles women do not generally pursue advanced degrees – at Catholic faculties, there are plenty of female professors holding highly paid tenure positions, there are female doctors galore at Catholic hospitals etc. The head of an Orthodox girls’ seminary traditionally is male, there even aren’t any female actually Orthody paramedics. Communal participation basically is limited to the in-home religious practice in Orthodox Judaism while monastic Christianity has known prioresses for more than a millennium. Ask an actual Orthodox rabbi why Rashi’s daughters studied Talmud and gemarah and were highly respected scholars and today’s women are not supposed to, and the most likely answer you will get is, “Are you Rashi’s daughter?” Christianity and Judaism don’t believe women to be inferior; they go by the biblical scripture stating in Genesis that “[hu]man” consists of a male and a female partner [joined in matrimony]. That was a provocative notion considering the environment back then and the idea still provokes, but that is the bottom line to the Jewish and Christian understanding of gender roles.

    As for the “token Jew” concept, to a Catholic priest it does not matter how many people are in attendance, what gender, age or religious affiliation they are. Female acolytes are common; the question of female deacons has not been decided yet, but women do get to actively participate in Catholic services.

    BTW, a study published the year before last showed that wages for females in NYC were 18% higher than those of males in the same professions.

  • The fact that Christianity doesn’t hold that the trinity isn’t polytheism doesn’t mean that it isn’t. From a Jewish perspective it is, to put it mildly, highly problematic.

    For Jews, anyway. Christians may believe what they want.

    Also, you are absolutely and completely wrong when you say that there is no difference between how people relate to G-d in Christianity and Judaism. If I am not mistaken, Christianity believes, in general, that man is inherently sinful and that he cannot do anything to bring about his salvation, and that therefore salvation (whatever that might be) is a freely given gift from G-d that man can do nothing to earn. No rabbi I know, (actually, no Jew I know) believes anything like this.

  • Ephraim, that is Protestant believe and reason behind the major fall-out between the then-Church and Protestantism. Luther claimed that traditions and teachings were not valid, only biblical scriptures (sola scriptura), and God’s mercy can only be obtained by faith (sola fide), not actively living a lifestyle by the commandments (and the teachings). Catholic lifestyle (in the religious version) is just as “qualified” by rules as is Orthodox Judaism, just that the latter has a lot more laws focusing on the “here” and not so much on eschatology and in some aspects oddly resemble the ultramontanist movement (or vice versa). You basically get the same distinction between Orthodox and non-Orthodox and more apparently Orthodox and Reform. Even though Reform Judaism does not actually put it into words, their idea is the same – God’s mercy does not depend on how much my life goes in line with biblical scriptures and religious teachings.

    I know the mainstream Jewish view on Christianity’s concept of God, but we were talking about people’s beliefs, not how they get perceived by others (the contents of belief are subject to belief and cannot be proved), otherwise atheists could go about locking all theists up as nutcases. Oh wait, that’s what the Nazis and the Communists were into.
    A more scholarly look on Judaism tells you that it is monolatristic and only after a long while into its history became positively monotheistic in practice.

  • I am quite aware that there is a big difference between the Catholic and Protestant ideas on the “faith vs. works” issue. However, in your post you spoke of Christianity in general, not just Catholicism. Even so, as Christians, I assume that Catholics also believe in the doctrine of original sin. Indeed, Christianity really couldn’t (and wouldn’t need to) exist without it. This is the starting point for the development of Christian views about the nature of man and his relation ship with G-d, and since Judaism has no such belief, Judaism’s views about human nature and how man relates to G-d must, perforce, be different.

    I am quite aware that Christians think they believe in a single deity. I am not sure this is strictly true, however, no matter how much they believe it to be so, just as I don’t believe that the fact they believe they believe in a god that is all love makes it true either.

    As for the Reform, don’t get me started.

  • Ephraim, I equalled Catholicism with Christianity as this was also done above when Catholics got accused of matters that weren’t committed by Catholics exclusively.

    There also is a concept of original sin in Judaism, read here: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=812&letter=S#2582; the existence of the concept of original sin in Christianity tells us that the concept was going strong in Judaism of Second Temple days, otherwise people could not have related to the concept and used the terminology they used. It might not be “en vogue” now anymore, but appears that 2,000 years ago it was commonly accepted. In (ultra-)Orthodox line of reasoning, we need to assume the older generations to be right as they were closer to Mt Sinai, Judaism’s most decisive “event” of divine revelation.

  • That’s it? Man is inherently sinful because he has free will? That you equate with the Christian concept of “Original Sin”, which cuts man off from G-d to such an extent that G-d was forced to offer his only son as a sacrifice so man is not damned for eternity, since he cannot save himself through keeping commandments?

    And, of course, you fail to note that the majority did not follow that opinion. Minority opinions don’t determine halacha. Even you should know that.

    You know, you need to get your nose out of books and actually go to shul or something. All of your study has ruined you.

    You remind me of a Catholic woman I know who believed that Mass and the Seder were the same because they both featured wine and wafers.

  • I didn’t fail to notice that the majority (now) doesn’t accept it, that’s why I explained that it was pretty obviously widely accepted in Temple days (you said there was none, I said there is).

    My studies haven’t ruined me, but you should actually read up on Christian theology before commenting on it. You’d see how much it shares with Judaism, even the notion of original sin as the only way of explaining man-made evil. The concept of salvation through God also is a Jewish one – a large chunk of the psalms beg for just that – but people are supposed to obey the (mostly immanent) commandments in addition. The notion that obeying the laws aims at a transcendantal world already is heavily Christian-tinted; the original idea behind them were regulations for when the Israelites settled in the Promised Land (as was once confirmed to me by an expert on old languages including biblical Hebrew, the line that gets translated as “thou shallt not” was, just like the English “shall” can also be used in the first person today, meant to aim at the future in “when you reside in the Promised Land, you will…”-way).

    If a shul means a place where non-scholarly people are afraid of asking questions and shy away from looking for answers, a mere negative travesty of what a shul used to be, then this is not a place I need to go to. I could as well be watching auditioning shows until my brain starts oozing out of my ears.

    Minority opinions determine Jewish life all the time, otherwise people would not eat differently from how the sages did and Charedi rabbinical courts and their political bystanders could not affect all of Israel’s Jewry with their minority theology.

  • Surely you know the difference between halacha and minhag, froylein.

    I’m not denying that Christianity is made up almost of whole cloth from Judaism (albeit with its own particular take on things). Nor am I denying that Judaism and Christianity have influenced each other over the centuries of a (not always healthy) symbiotic relationship.

    However, surface similarities are not the same as similarities of substance. I do not agree that the concept of sin in Judaism is in any way similar to the Christian concept of Original Sin (sin vs. Sin, so to speak). If it was, we would have required G-d to sacrifice His life to save us as the Christians decided was necessary. Such a radically different solution to what you claim to be the same problem must indicate that it isn’t the same problem at all.

    And I thought this whole discussion was based on how much you know and how little I supposedly know. If you know so much, you must be, by definition, scholarly, so why should you be afraid to go to a shul and ask a rabbi a few questions?

  • Ephraim, I ask rabbis questions all the time as I’ve befriended quite a few, all of them (ultra-)Orthodox, but their answers are not usually sufficient. I even once emailed the Chabad rabbi info service to see how they fare, and in terms of school grades the reply was an “F”, did not answer the question in the slightest, did not so much as even try to (but I’ve been receiving donation begging emails since). Hey, I was even told that there are rabbis out there that fear me and my questions. 🙂

    What happened during Jesus’ lifetime pretty much resonates with the Judaism of his time. Judaism has changed a lot as well as Christianity has. A theology professor I know once stated that Christianity has grown to focus too much on Sin; I can see why. Christianity and Judaism slightly differ in what exactly the effects of original sin will constitute as Christians believe something already happened which Jews still anticipate (unless you consider all Jewish scriptures not valid that have been greatly received in Christianity). Judaism is a more immanent religion than Christianity with less of a focus on the afterlife. We’ve got the same key ideas, but the way people go about them in religious practice differ; you could say there’s a differnce in priorities. And much of Jewish eschatology only manifested itself in response to predominantly Christian environments in the diaspora.

    I know the difference between halacha and minhag, but the Charedim in Israel also interpret halacha in ways convenient to them and impose their interpretations on non-Charedim.

  • We’ve got the same key ideas, but the way people go about them in religious practice differ; you could say there’s a difference in priorities.

    Oh, really? Man, I must have missed that part. Thanks, Sherlock.

    If you start with the same “key idea” and then go about it differently in practice and have different priorities, I submit that it matters not a whit what the original idea may or may not have been. In practice, which is all that really matters, it is, effectively, a different idea.

    Beef is inherently kosher. However, if the animal is not shechted and bled properly, etc., and is then served ground up on a bun with bacon and cheese, it is not kosher. But it’s the same beef, isn’t it? I hear you say. No, not anymore it isn’t.

    Same with ideas. What Christianity shares with Judaism (or, should I say what Christianity took from Judaism) is the idea that there is a G-d. There is also sin, which G-d doesn’t like. So, what to do? The answers the two religions came up with are radically different and bespeak a radically different understanding of man, G-d, and their relationship. The fact that there are surface similarities is irrelevant.

    Seriously, your analysis seems shallow and overly concerned with surface appearances. But, I suppose reading Wellhausen will do that to you.

    Again, I am not denying that there is a family relationship. But sometimes the kids grow up in a way unrecognizable to the parents.

  • I think it’s you who is being shallow for the sake of reassuring yourself. If you looked into either theologies in depth, you’d see striking resemblances. There are also differences in religious practice among Jews. The concepts of God, man and the redemption of sin are the same if you actually care to read up on Jewish eschatology. You may disagree with trinity all that you want, but Christians believe it to be one God. Early Judaism BTW believed in the existence of more than one deity but only worshipped one (that’s monolatrism), and only gradually turned monotheistic in practice. Basically, Christianity is the largest and oldest movement of Jewish mysticism that prevailed. The only important difference between Judaism and Christianity is the role the person Jesus of Nazreth is given in either. A lot of religious practice in Judaism has been influenced by centuries of Christian environments, whether they started as a copy or mockery. Even sheitels are; the rabbis highly disapproved of them, women insisted on wearing them, ignoring the rabbis.
    You don’t create identities by going in denial and making assumptions about what I’ve read. If your religious identity does not hold up to theological realities, then the shallowness is on your end. Just because people have made up a bunch of more than less irrelevant religiously flavoured customs does not mean they impact theologies.

  • The only important difference between Judaism and Christianity is the role the person Jesus of Nazreth is given in either.

    Wow, another thing I missed. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Is the wold spherical or flat? Doesn’t really matter, though, does it? Regardless of what you believe, the world is still the world, right? Does it really matter what shape it is? It’s not like it has any effect on anything, so what’s the big deal? You believe the world is flat, I believe it’s spherical. We’re exactly the same. Why can’t you see that?

    Don’t you get bored looking at structural and historical similarities and ignoring content?

  • It’s not me who is ignoring content here by denying religion and religious dogma and practice their history (the thing which is called “tradition”). Also, as I said before, contents of belief cannot be proved, the shape of Earth can be though. We can trace how those contents of belief developed, and I definitely don’t get bored by that. As soon as you conflate belief and knowledge, you argue on the level of cults, not religions.

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