General Question

fluthernutter's avatar

If Jesus was Jewish, why are people [insert other religion here]?

Asked by fluthernutter (3177 points ) December 17th, 2013 from iPhone

Honest question from someone who’s not really religious.

Okay, so I’m not religious. But if I were to believe in this whole God thing, it seems like Judaism would be the way to go. I mean…if it’s good enough for His only son, it’s good enough for me. Right?

So, religious jellies (who aren’t Jewish)...why aren’t you lighting the menorah this holiday season?

Keeping this in General so it doesn’t get out of hand. But I wouldn’t mind some light-hearted answers—so long as you guys can keep it respectful to one another.

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51 Answers

KaY_Jelly's avatar

Well Christians aren’t Jewish because that part about Jesus being Jewish is only part of the story.

When you read the rest of it and start to put things together you start to understand that Christians don’t follow Judaism today because the Mosaic covenant was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

~Jeremiah 31:31–34
31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
~Hebrews 8:13

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

As Christians IMHO we do not need to follow the old covenant any longer, because the old covenant has been replaced with the new covenant.

Buttonstc's avatar

Because Judaism is based upon the law (as expounded in the Old Testament and the Torah).

Jesus came as he expressed it “to fulfill the law) and its requirement of blood sacrifice as atonement for sin (which separates one from God).

He came to create the New Covenant between God and man based upon Grace rather than the law. You can find this expressed more fully in the writings of Paul in the New Testament and if you’re really interested I could hunt for the most pertinent passages outlining this.
——————————————————-
EDIT:

Well Kay Jelly posted as I was typing but we both said essentially the same thing.

But interestingly enough, there are some Christians who have converted from Judaism who do keep a lot of the same traditions, holidays, etc.

They call themselves either “completed Jews” Messianic Jews or Hebraic Christians to denote and emphasize their Jewish roots.

Here’s just one example of such:

http://www.hebroots.com/

Obviously this is upsetting to some regular Jewish people since they eschew prosetylizing and feel quite strongly about that.

ragingloli's avatar

Because people did not want to follow these strict laws, so they invented this new religion so they did not have to follow these laws, while still using the OT for legitimacy, and to have a book to point to when they wanted to force certain rules, that they did not follow themselves, on others, and with force if possible.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I blame Saul/Paul. He proselytized the bejesus out of this newfangled philosophy. He went up to Damascus and turned left toward Rome. If he’d turned right toward Baghdad, then we in the West would have been saved all the Christian crap.

Think of all the religious wars fought over the last 2000 years in Europe. Think of all the lives that would be saved. Think of the great Greek and Roman philosophers who would not have been suppressed as heretical pagans. We could have had progress in many areas much sooner than what’s been accomplished since the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.

And we could still be worshiping the Roman pantheon. That sounds like fun. Every day, a new god.

ragingloli's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake
And do not forget the Holocaust.

bahamamama's avatar

@fluthermutter, I think the writers of the New Testament books were women who grew tired of living under a religion where men couldn’t sit in the same chair where they sat down during certain
“times of the month”. give me a break… ya there’s a reason for a new covenant!! Rebellion for sure!

@ Kay, do you think that with something as important as people’s eternal destiny..eternal damnation for lack of belief etc… that the inspired word of God could have made a prophecy a little more specific???....than (behold a new covenant…. will come…blah blah). I mean to say could you have read that BEFORE Christ came and understood the prophecy to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ who would be called Immanuel.. but he wasnt and the king of Israel but was wasn’t and I could go on and on. It says he would be a nazarene…not from Nazareth. Someone oopsed in writing that one in the New Testament. Prophecy should be clear before it happens. In fact even after Jesus Christ it is not clear what that passage means. The new covenant could be ANYTHING ..and why is God fickle and contradictory.. changing it all up to “put the law inward” when plenty verses in the Old Testament say God had already put the law in people’s hearts

But when people need “perimeters” to live by they go seeking what best suits their lives. After living inside a particular religious bubble its difficult to read passages without the bias.

hearkat's avatar

The Menorah was lit from November 27 – December 5 in 2013; Hanukkah fell earlier this year because Jewish holidays are influenced by lunar cycles.

I am an agnostic who was raised protestant and have friends of different faiths. My understanding of the primary difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Jews are still waiting for their ‘Messiah’, while the Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the ‘Messiah’.

filmfann's avatar

Consider Judaism as the very strict process that was needed to bring the Christ.
Once he arrived, and fulfilled the prophecies, a new religion called Christianity came about, built on the Jewish Bible, but making the changes that allowed everyone, not just the Jews, to be saved. It was no longer the strict faith that most Jews ignored.

ragingloli's avatar

except that Jesus did not fulfill any prophecies. that is why Jews reject him.

LostInParadise's avatar

Wikipedia article on separation of Christianity from Judaism

Of particular interest is the suggestion that after the destruction of the Second Temple, Judaism split into two different religions, each different in practice from the Judaism that preceded. Jesus preached rather strongly against the Temple and predicted its destruction, so it is reasonable to suppose that this event gave renewed strength to Christianity.

There is today a small group of Israeli orthodox Jews who would like to see the Temple rebuilt.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m with @Hawaii_Jake I blame Paul. I don’t feel confident Jesus claimed to be the son of God or the Messiah. Bunches of people were killed on the cross, it was the barbaric way they did it back then. I don’t get worshipping how he was killed. If he had been killed with a bow and arrow is that the pendant Christians would be wearing around their neck?

I think Jesus was a nice Jewish boy. I think he disagreed with some of the harshness and ridiculousness of the Old Testament, he was probably the first Conservative or Reform Jew. The messianic age in Judaism is a time of great peace, and I don’t think we can say we have that, so it doesn’t seem to me Jesus was the messiah who brought in great peace. Unless there is some argument that the peace might take 3,000 years after the coming of the messiah. I guess we can say anything when it comes to religion.

I’m Jewish by the way, I hope it is ok that I answered.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

^Of course it’s OK you answered! ?

Pontius Pilate murdered Jesus.

Pontius Pilate was a historical figure in the time of Jesus.

I don’t have the time to go through this in great detail at this moment.

But Jesus didn’t have Roman citizenship and people with Roman citizenship were immune from being killed barbarically on a cross that is why he was killed on the cross.

All of this is in the bible.

At the time Jesus was on the cross He even said something like “it is done”, I don’t have the actual text right now. But the claims Jesus made were bold and always the same which is also in the bible.

The cross has become a symbol, IMHO, I think because in the time Jesus died at Pontius Pilates decision and for no other reason than being “the king of the Jews” so people look at the cross as a symbol that honors His death and suffering.

Jesus had to be doing something so threatening to Pontius and his authority at that time it called for death.

Nowadays we see those claims as unbelievable but righteously they threatened a ruler and warranted the death of a man so serious enough that they even Pontius Pilate wrote on his cross for humiliation purposes:

Read John 19 in the bible and then look up Pontius Pilate he is a historical figure. Here is a few scripts from John 19 what I’m talking about.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.

20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

This leads me to answer @bahamamama about “someone oopsed in writing”, read this please…The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Integrity.

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JLeslie's avatar

@KaY_Jelly I’m not sure why you feel empowered to say it is ok that I answered? The OP specifically asked for nonJewish jellies to answer.

I also am not sure what not being a Roman citizen has to do with my answer. My point was a lot of people were killed on a cross, a lot of people also claimed to be the messiah back then, and for whatever reason Jesus’ following stuck.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@JLeslie well because this is fluther and you have the right to speak. Otherwise if you saw that too then why did you even feel empowered to give an answer knowing your current situation if we want to start putting people in groups…I also thought it was rather unfair considering a Jewish person is just as knowledgeable as a non Jewish person. It’s about equal rights, that’s what empowers me…what empowered you???

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JLeslie's avatar

@KaY_Jelly I find “current situation” to be offensive. Not sure when Christians are going to realize trying to convert or imply another religion is not worthy enough is offensive.

I do care about respecting the OP’s desires for his Q. I felt my answer did answer his question, but wanted to point out, basically a disclaimer that I am Jewish.

@fluthernutter I don’t think God cares what religion people are. I think if there is a God He cares about how we treat each other. I think Jesus was a philosopher of his day.

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JLeslie's avatar

All three Abrahamic religions have Jesus as an important figure and believe in the same God. It’s unfortunate some people feel the three religions need to be at war (I mean figuratively here). Those of faith should be helping lead the way to peace; I think Jesus would have wanted that. Attacking other religions helps nothing in my opinion, it just bogs us down in detail instead of seeing the big picture. @KNOWITALL is right that plenty of Christians interpret the bible to keep women as subservient.

@KNOWITALL I’ve never really heard of people thinking just because someone believes in God they need psychiatric help. It is a fact that sometimes a symptom of Scizophrenia is religious delusions including seeing God or Christ or the persn believing they are Christ himself. that is totally different than the average person saying they feel the presence of God or something smilar.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Like you, I’m not at war with anyone of any religion or of no religion or seeking answers. I see people as people, not their religious leanings or beliefs (which is why fluther sometimes bothers me as you know) and I’d hang out with anyone.

On the psychiatric help, I was referring to comments here on fluther from the non-theists about Christians believing in fairytales and unicorns. ;)

stanleybmanly's avatar

The word required for insertion is “gullible”. If Jesus were a lobster, the word would still apply.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Oh, I had not thought of those comments. It’s offensive and rude when people say such things. I am not sure they are implying psychiatric instability, but I see where you might surmise that. Maybe they are thinking it? I don’t know.

fluthernutter's avatar

@everyone Really fascinating answers. Thanks for a good read (and lots of bookmarks for further reading).

@hearkat I think that’s really cool that you’re an agnostic with a menorah. My family’s Buddhist, but I pushed for a “Jewish burial” for my brother. The idea of his body enclosed in this man made box really upset me. I wanted his body to return to the earth. That made sense to me.

@JLeslie I don’t think God cares what religion people are. I think if there is a God He cares about how we treat each other.

On one hand, I agree with you. Yet on the other, if that were true, why send your only son down there to be a part of a particular one? [scratches head]

Also, thanks for participating and for being so considerate. :)

@stanleybmanly Play nice!

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter Are you searching in some way? Searching for a fit with a religion?

Jesus is only the son of God if you believe he was. That is a Christian interpretation. Except for the idea that we are all God’s children. I like that idea also.

fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie More curiously exploring. Searching seems to imply that I’m looking for something.

I’m not looking for a fit with a religion. But I am curious about the thinking that compels so many generations of people.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Your admonition is well placed. If I choose to play, I should play nice. It is just so frustrating when people search for logical answers to questions involving tenets of religion. It drives me crazy! To me your question is equivalent to “Why is the weather so balmy in Munchkinland?” There is no logical or sensible answer to questions involving belief systems based on faith. This is precisely why they are called FAITHS. Some of the greatest minds in the history of the world have belonged to “believers”, and they have toiled mightily with applying logic to that which on its very face defies logic, experience, common sense, and the laws of physics. There may be penalties involved with insisting on some semblance of evidence for the claims tossed about by the hodge-podge of religions that plague the world, but I find it difficult to accept that a just God would find it necessary to inflict the world with the tortures that have arisen from that Harry Potter-like book that inspires everyone from snake handlers to nuns. I suppose it’s another example of how to “work in mysterious ways.”

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MadMadMax's avatar

Picking Judaism is based on your acceptance of the Divinity of Jesus so this makes no sense to me.

Really read the Jewish scripture…for you the old testament. If you really read them, you’ll throw up.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a friend who is Christian, her husband is a Minister and she celebrates all the Jewish holidays and believes she is Jewish. She went to talk to a Rabbi, and the Rabbi told her she isn’t Jewish. She was very unhappy about his attitude. I told her, if she accepts Jesus as her savior she is a Christian, Jews don’t believe that about Jesus, and that is probably the most important difference. She just doesn’t think of it that way. I told her maybe she needs to go back to the Rabbi.

My husband, who converted to Judaism from Catholicism, when I asked him what about the Jesus thing, he said, “what about it? What do you mean?” His father has been a practicing Catholic since he started dating his wife, he was raised Jewish, he sees the religions as very similar, I am not sure if he even worries about the Jesus thing.

I just let people self identify in the end, and accept what feels right to them. There is a part of me that thinks it is odd for Jewish person to believe Jesus is the son of God, but if someone loves the Jewish religion, and loves Jesus, then hey, what harm is there?

MadMadMax's avatar

@JLeslie It’s a whole different ball of wax.

I have Jewish DNA, my husband 100% Jewish and it can be traced back centuries and every one of us are literally cousins.

She isn’t Jewish just by claiming she is Jewish and if she were to convert to Judaism as a religion she could not claim that Jesus is the Messiah. It doesn’t work that way.

JLeslie's avatar

@MadMadMax I know, I told her all that. But, she loves the idea of Judaism. She wears stars of David, has a chai charm, she just feels compelled. I told her the Rabbi might be rejecting her to test her committment, but no matter what she is going to have a problem if she also identifies as Christian. I guess it is like the Jews for Jesus thing or something? I personally call them Christians myself. LOL.

MadMadMax's avatar

@JLeslie LOL. She is a Christian and a Christian is not a Jew. She’s a “Messianic-Jew” which is not a Jew Jew. What can I say? I totally agree with the Rabbi.

I’m hearing more of this lately.

I read an article in the Times. A young girl wanted to go to Israel as “a birthright.”

The Israeli program told her she had to give them DNA evidence that she was at least Jewish by heredity since she wasn’t Jewish if she was a Messianic-Jew. She was making a huge fuss.

Israel is a homeland for people whose ancestors experienced multiple Diasporas. You can’t claim citizenship on the basis of being a Jew if you aren’t a child of that inheritance, or unless you really convert to being a REAL JEW. LOL

Christians can be Israeli citizens; that isn’t the issue. This chic wanted to be taken into Israel as a “birthright.” Now I’m not an active Jew, but members of my family died in Auschwitz and my husband’s maternal line was wiped out—Kaput! Screw her!

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rojo's avatar

And, I suppose it is worth remembering that Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist.

JLeslie's avatar

@KaY_Jelly How about just clarify what current situation means. Maybe I misinterpreted what you meant.

@MadMadMax We agree, my girlfriend is not Jewish technically. But, hey, I am Jewish, because my parents are Jewish, and I identify as Jewish, but I don’t practice the religion. I have the blood lines, but what if I had been adopted? Non-practicing, no DNA, but raised by atheist non-practicing Jews. I mean really. My girlfriend loves Judaism for some reason, she also loves Christ. She is a loving, open, spiritual, accepting woman. I’m ok with it in the end. I’m ok with her feeling Jewish and being interested in Judaism. There are lots of good things about Judaism. Judaism is more earthly, especially reform Judaism, less judgemental. Jews believe all good people can go to heaven, they don’t try to convert others, they can be as spiritual as they like, they are committed to science and scientific thinking. She is an engineer, she went back to get her degree as an adult. She was raised Catholic, but never felt she really fit in there, her husband is Evangelical something.

She says there was a Jew in her family somewhere back in history. Who knows, if it is down her mother’s side she might actually be able to claim birthright of all things, she would love that. I assume it isn’t the case though, or the rabbi she spoke to would have probably keyed into it. The Jews love to be able to claim more people. I sat next to a religious Jewish wman on a flight recently and she told me Princess Kate is a Jew, Judaism on her mother’s side. She loved the idea. Too funny. I let her know Katie Couric’s mother was Jewish and she was all a flutter. Hahahaha. Katie was raised and still is a Christian.

So, to circle back to the OP’s question, Some Christians might be lighting the menorah and celebrating the Jewish New Year. They celebrate all of it. All the holidays Jewish and Christian. They don’t see a conflict. I think we can pick and choose, very few of us actually practice a religion exactly as it is written. If we can pick and choose from a single religion, why not from several. I know Jewish people who also like Buddhism. Some Christians seem to like the teachings of Kabalah. Live and let live.

MadMadMax's avatar

@JLeslie I could deal with Reform too. I spoke to a reform Rabbi when my kids were little and he told me that the promise of the Messiah is symbolic – Reform isn’t waiting for any individual to show up but rather a Eureka moment in civilization and we’re not even close.

My kids went to Hebrew school there for a while, but after a few years they announced they really did not have any interest in pursuing their bar mitzvahs so they stopped.

They would identify themselves as secular humanists which is really no surprise.

I also took evening classes in a Catholic College, taught by a Conservative Rabbi who said that Jews can argue with God, rail against god in anger – it’s all part of living. But then he went and disowned his daughter for marrying a gentile so there you go. :)

MadMadMax's avatar

@JLeslie “I know Jewish people who also like Buddhism. Some Christians seem to like the teachings of Kabalah. Live and let live.”

Buddhism is a philosophy of life that does not conflict with any formal religion. Leonard Cohen is an Orthodox Jew and a Buddhist monk.

hearkat's avatar

@fluthernutter – I’m sorry if I was misleading… I do not have a Menorah; I just wanted to explain to you that you are not seeing Menorahs lit around Christmastime this year, because Hanukkah happened at Thanksgiving time this year.

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fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie That’s cool that your friend is interested in a religion different than her own. Don’t think that makes her Jewish though. Or the adopted kids.

@hearkat Darn. Thanks for the clarification though.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter It’s way more than interest.

I’m thinking adopted kids do get birthright maybe. Now I want to research it. I would think as long as the mother is Jewish the children are Jewish period. Even if they don’t practice the religion. Again, I have to research it.

fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie I haven’t researched it, but it is called birth right after all. Plus I think the whole reason why they follow the maternal line (instead of the paternal line) is to be sure of their lineage.

But they could get converted. They just have to put in the work.

JLeslie's avatar

@fluthernutter I read the wikipedia page and although it doesn’t mention adoption it does mention parents or grandparents and also that for citizenship it doesn’t matter which side maternal or fraternal, so I think adoption is irrelevant. I think a child raised in a Jewish home by a Jewish parents has a right to apply for Israeli citizenship. That’s the way I interpret it anyway.

Conversion of an adopted child I think does happen, but I can’t imagine Israel would look for such a formality; I could be wrong. Judaism is about being a Jew, living as a Jew, and not practicing another religion. Even nonpracticing Jews are just as Jewish in the eyes of Israel. The mother is important in Judaism because she is thought to be the main person to raise and teach the child. She shapes the soul of the child.

I’m going to ask our Israeli Jelly about the right of return and adoption question.

MadMadMax's avatar

ELIGIBILITY
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The gift of a trip to Israel from Taglit-Birthright Israel is designed to offer a first-time educational peer experience. As such, while the trip is available to young Jews all over the world and from various backgrounds, there are guidelines for eligibility.

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fluthernutter's avatar

@JLeslie As far as I know, citizenship is a whole different thing. Maybe someone who is more knowledgable can chime in? Too bad my question asked for non-Jewish jellies to answer! Doh!

JLeslie's avatar

You can always ask a Jewish question if you have more thoughts on the matter. I ask Christian questions all the time.

antimatter's avatar

I am Pagan, my girlfriend is a Cristian and I think it’s the attitude how we approach people about their believes. So what if Jesus were a Jew because it’s not his background that’s important it’s what he tried to teach the world that’s important.

MadMadMax's avatar

Acquisition of Israeli Nationality – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
mfa.gov.il/.../AboutIsrael/.../Acquisition%20of%20Israeli%20Nationality…‎
Persons born outside Israel, if their father or mother holds Israeli citizenship, acquired… years, immediately preceding the day of the filing of their application.

Court rules Judaism, not place of birth, is grounds for Israeli citizenship
www.haaretz.com/.../court-rules-judaism-not-place-of-birth-is-grounds-f...‎
May 15, 2012 – Israeli court denies petition by anti-coercion activist to be recognized as Israeli without connection to Judaism, says citizenship is solely…

How can I become an Israeli citizen? – citizenship naturalization…
ask.metafilter.com/138371/How-can-I-become-an-Israeli-citizen‎
Nov 17, 2009 – *Eligibility requirements. Those who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return are immediately entitled to citizenship. However, differences of…

ragingloli's avatar

@MadMadMax
the link does not work

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