General Question


If Jesus was Jewish, why is there so much historical conflict between Christians and Jews?

Asked by MRSHINYSHOES (13956points) September 15th, 2010

I am not an expert in religious studies, so can someone explain to me why many Christians have had a historical dislike (animosity, suspicion) towards Jews, even though Jesus himself was a Jew?

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31 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Many Christians blame Jews for Jesus’ death, since those living in Jesus’ time did not accept his divinity and orchestrated his death. According to the Bible, it was the Pharisees and Saducees that manipulated Pilate into handing Jesus the death penalty.

phoebusg's avatar

Because ruling is easier once you unite the land, but then keep them divided.
Divide and rule – but only divided enough so they can be busy enough to leave you in power/control.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I honestly think it has to do with the tenacity of the Jews. After 2000 years of being driven from their homeland, they still maintain a separate identity. I also think it has more to do with the Jews’ rejection of Jesus then with their “killing” him (The Romans killed Jesus). Rejecting a religious person’s beliefs immediately opens the door to those beliefs being fallacious, and that scares people.

Master's avatar

Jews don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah.
neither do i

jaytkay's avatar

I think religion is tribal for most adherents. Not an ethical or spiritual or intellectual framework, just a way to separate “us” from “them”.

Deja_vu's avatar

According to the Bible Jesus was supposed to die. It was Gods divine plan. He was the lamb of God. Jesus sacrificed his life to save souls. If a Christain blames the Jews, than that’s just silly.

Qingu's avatar

Jesus was “Jewish” in the same way that Joseph Smith was a “Christian.”

Jesus’ originally cult was basically a radical sect of Judaism that also took elements from mystery cults of the time.

As you are probably aware, religious sects—even within the same religion—don’t tend to get along. For example, the Sunnis and Shia, the Protestants and the Catholics. The monotheistic religions have a long history of sects that like to kill each other for being heretics.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that a breakoff sect of Judaism (Jesus’ cult and later Paul’s absorption of it) was paranoid and violent towards rival sects, and vica versa.


@Deja_vu Wasn’t Jesus God’s son?

weeveeship's avatar

Most Christians I know are not anti-Jew. In fact, many Christians are pro-Zionist and favor helping the Jews rebuild their homeland in Israel.

Of course, we have radicals in any religion, but those are the exception, not the norm.

Deja_vu's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES yeah and he was God.

Qingu's avatar

I actually find it pretty likely that Roman-era Jewish zealots would want Jesus dead (obviously, so would the Romans).

The Jewish zealots of ancient Rome were very much like the Taliban and al-Qaeda today. They wanted to follow Biblical law. The Bible explicitly says that people like Jesus should be killed.


@Deja_vu So Jesus sacrificed his life for his Father?
This religion stuff has me thorougly confused. (lol….sigh)

Qingu's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES, I believe the story goes, Jesus (who is God) sacrificed his life for his father (who is also God, and therefore himself), so that humans could disobey laws without automatically getting tortured forever—laws which he (God) gave them, and which they’re incapable of obeying in the first place because of “sin,” an evil force that has been passed down through the generations from Adam, our earliest ancestor, because he ate a magic fruit at the behest of a talking snake, and a force which his sacrifice somehow works to remove through some kind of blood magic or ritual.

Deja_vu's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES He sacrificed his life for us.


The animosity just seems irrational and weird, like someone hating his brother because the brother decided to break away from the family or decided not to follow family rules. lol

Master's avatar

Here: (2:03)

This is all you need to know.

JLeslie's avatar

@hawaii_jake Jews believe all good people can go to heaven, it’s Christianity that obsesses about everyone following their religion or you are on the outside; especially on modern day.

My Catholic friends say the same thing @dejavu says, that Jesus dying basically fulfilled a prophecy, and to dislike the Jews for supposedly killing Jesus is ridiculous. I’m not sure if that is what the Catholoc church at large believes.

@weeveeship being liked because the Jews are supposed to return to Israel and build a temple, is not the same as treating Jews as equals. Being a Zionist does not convince me in any way that Christians and Jews get along. However, I do feel there are many Christians and Jews who do get along, many people are close friends and family members, I just think it has nothing to do with being a Zionist, it is outside of religious beliefs, but more about society today, less religion in many countries, or if you are in America we try to pound into people that all people are created equal.

@MRSHINYSHOES I think it is about controlling people and power as many mentioned above.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, it’s the Christians who are obsessed. You have that right. I think what I was trying to say above is that the Christians are more upset by the rejection, because the rejection opens the door to questions about the veracity of the Christian religion. Those questions scare Christians.

Deja_vu's avatar

@JLeslie well, I am a Roman Catholic. I also come from Jewish descent on my mother’s side. So…. I forgot what I was saying. Catholics and Jews seem to get along very well. During the holocaust there are many stories of nuns and priest who saved Jews, hiding them in convents. I found this.

JLeslie's avatar

@Deja_vu I didn’t read your link, but it is of course true that many Catholics helped the Jews, and protested agains Hitler, that is why so many Catholics were killed during the holocaust. In America the Catholics and Jews do tend to get along very well, especially the Italian and the Polish Catholics. That is part of the reason I always separate out Catholics from other Christians, although I do firmly feel Catholics are Christian, even if other Christian faiths don’t.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add that other Christians did help the Jews during the holocaust, not just Catholics.

eden2eve's avatar

It seems to me that both groups agree that He was Jewish, but that they don’t agree about what else He was. Unfortunately, these points of disagreement involve beliefs that are significant to each group, and don’t seem to be something which can be resolved.

However, I don’t see that in the present day this is as much of a problem as it has been historically. And I don’t believe that the rational individuals of either belief system are unable to be civil in their dealings. Of course there are radicals in any almost any belief system, but I don’t think they should be allowed to define the group.

I believe that some of the historical conflict was more due to the culture of the groups, who seemed to create enmity with anyone who was very different from themselves. People of other eras have been, for the most part, more warlike and less tolerant.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

As I understand it, Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah due to what they see as discrepancies in how the prophecy was supposed to be fulfilled. The legal thinking behind killing him was that if Jesus was not the Messiah, he was then claiming to be a false idol, directly disobeying the commandment “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Jews thus believe that Christians worship a false idol, while Christians believe that by not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, they are spitting in God’s face.

And, of course, all the stuff about neither group thinking any one thing, and blah blah blah don’t stereotype/label, etc that everyone before me answered.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The early Christians claim that Jesus set aside all the 613 commandments by which traditional Jews are supposed to live, substituting acceptance of Jesus as Saviour.
This made marketing this easy route to salvation attractive to those not strongly committed to the discipline of a righteous life of a Torah Jew.

This trivialization of Jewish tradition resulted in the Jewish followers of Jesus as apostates.
Not long after the Jesus cult developed, the followers purged Jews from their midst. Roman converts to Christianity were less trouble and asked fewer tough questions.

Christians have actively hated Jews well into the early 20th century even in America. The suspicion and hatred of Jews persists still among the uneducated and among many of the followers of ultra right-wing “born-again” evangelicals who see still accuse Jews of killing Christian babies to make Passover matzoh (made from flour and water only). This classic blood-libel is an extension of the long-maintained myth that the Jews as a people promoted the crucifixion of Jesus. Since the Salvation they believe in derives from this event, it makes no sense to blame Jews for what they believe was ordained by G_d. This paradox never seems to have bothered the Christians who gleefully slaughtered Jews for over two thousand years.

While Jews hate what has been done to them and their ancestors, Jews do not hate Christians or Christianity. Jews could stand to be treated with the love Christians claim to have for all G_d’s children. They would appreciate it if Evangelists pretending to be Jews would stop undermining the beliefs of young Jewish people who are easily bamboozled by fast-talking con artists seeking to destroy Judaism by stealing the children of Jews with slick propaganda.
Live and let live is how ethical people of faith should behave.

JLeslie's avatar

@dr_Lawrence. There are evangelists pretending to be Jews?

Do you think that originally, when Jesus supposedly removed the need to do the over 600 commandments that cognitive dissonance played a large roll in hatred of the Jews? That one way Christians who accepted they did not have to worry about these obligations or mitzvahs had to turn on Jews to feel good about themselves and their own choices? By the way, I’ve never heard before this explanation you give about ditching the 613 commandments, and that being a contributing factor to the dislike of Jewish people..

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I was referring to converts to Christianity who were born Jewish and pretend to still be Jewish as a means or recruiting other converts. Your cognitive dissonance explanation makes good sociological sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I see. I guess the most blatant example is that crazy Jews for Jesus movement. Is that group primarily going after Jews? Or, just anybody who will join up? I personally have never met a Jew, born Jewish, who converted to one of those born again Christian religions. My father-in-law was born and raised Jewish, and now basically is a practicing Catholic, but he would never try to convert anyone.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

They target Jews nearly exclusively! My sister is one of them!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I never met a Jew for Jesus. Does she try to convert you? Does she now think you are not going to be saved?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

She does not try anymore! We agree not to discuss religion (or much else for that matter).

philosopher's avatar

Many uneducated people do not know that Jesus was a Rabbi. They wish to scape goat people for their problems.

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