May a Jew criticize Christianity?

“I think that Jewish criticism of Christian belief is new. It is long over due.” “John,” a long-time critic of my writings (David Turner)

“I think you have the right idea that the best place to protect Jews from the threats of antisemitism is Jewish self defense. Jews need to be alert to threats from outside the community and not waste too much time worrying about why they are being threatened. You do spend time explaining that the reason Jews are being threatened is because of some fundamental flaws in religious beliefs on the part of Christians. I think most Jews understand very well the things you are saying.

“I think that Jewish criticism of Christian belief is new. It is long over due. There are more problems in the world at the feet of Christianity besides antisemitism. You do Christians a good service in offering up criticism. I would say you are rather restrained and civil under the circumstances. I think I interpret your restraint as calculating. There are a variety of politics at work in discussing the Holocaust and contemporary threats to Jews.

“I think standing up to the lies of antisemitism is something that cannot be the job of Jews alone. There are simply not enough Jews to do the job. It is not enough to explain that what they say about the Jews are lies. That is a waste of time. The ignorant need to confront that what they have come to believe are lies. Those who lie do not deserve the dignity of explanations.

“Those who are not Jews and especially Christians who are worried about future Holocausts need to direct their attention away from Jews and to their fellows. Your Christian readers should be easily able to observe that you have never criticized Christian trust in the words of Jesus himself or trust in the spirit of Jesus as a force in their lives. I have heard respectable cautions from Jews on such beliefs.”


My comment which inspired “John’s” response: I wasn’t criticizing your position that “lies” are at the bottom of antisemitism, Paul. But I don’t see the functionality of confronting each and every lie I hear as very productive in effecting change. As I said over the months, as of 2011 ADL estimates at least 50 million “extreme antisemites” in the US alone. And that is only the “extremes.” Between the “extremes” and the “moderates” and we are in the range of two-thirds of all Americans. But even the category “least” virtually the entire US population is antisemitic to some degree. Explaining to the “least,” debating with the “moderate” and shouting at the “extreme”? My purpose in writing this book, doing so on-line as a “blog” is intended to impact Jewish lives, hopefully save Jewish lives. In the meantime my encounters with non-Jews does seem to impact. At least those who remain with the blog long enough to appreciate that criticizing Christianity’s Jewish Problem is not anti-Christian, and that even criticizing Christianity is not a personal attack on Christians, but a suggestion that perhaps there are structural problems even within that deserve attention if the religion aspires to live up to its affirmations.

Afterword: “John” has been a constant gadfly in my “blog” (really two drafts of a book) Antisemitism and Jewish Survival for many months. Our differences are contained below and self-evident. In our exchange, included without editing, that which drew “John” into remaining a commenter over the months was finally appreciated by him: that while Christianity has much to answer to to itself (apologies cannot change the past and will not change the course of history going forward); that if Christianity does not confront its Jewish Problem and its horrible impact on the helpless-by-law Jewish minority in its midst over the past two-thousand years then it will remain always insincere to its self-representation as the religion of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness, which the persecution of the Jews stands as condemnation.

My purpose starting out, or going forward, was never about Christians and their religion. It is about Jews and OUR salvation. The Holocaust, the “final” solution to Christendom’s Jewish Problem, is but the most recent effort at solving an imagined “problem” with a 2000 year-long history. And while the Final Solution was incomplete, 2000 years of repeated effort should suggest it will not represent the last.

To understand how a supposedly secular government over a Lutheran-Catholic country could perpetrate such a monstrosity, how the next such will originate in yet another “secular,” likely more diverse populated country I recommend reading my blog. It may save our life, and those of your children.


About the Author
David made aliya in 1960 and has been active in Jewish issues since. He was a regional director for JNF in New York, created JUDAC, Jews United to Defend the Auschwitz Cemetery during that controversy; at the request of Jonathan Pollard created and led Justice for the Pollards in 1989.