Christians generally think of Jews as people stuck in their ways who need to move on (and become Christian, Heaven forbid).
Jews sometimes think that Christians have moved on but veered away from the Truth and should be redirected (and become Noachides?).
Could they both be (partly) right? Could these positions be reconciled?
Spoiler alert: Jews for Jesus supporters will be the most disappointed.
Two Friends Talking
Christian to Jew: You have been stuck for 2000 years.
Jew to Christian: At least, we held on to the Truth as we learned it, stubbornly.
Christian to Jew: It’s high time that you show some flexibility.
Jew to Christian: Perhaps you are right. With the new safety of a Jewish State in the back, maybe we can be more frank, from now on. With all the persecutions, it was hard enough work just to stay faithful and alive.
Christian to Jew: “Frank” — what do you mean?
Jew to Christian: It was better to be stuck with the Truth than to join others running with falsehood. We held on to what we were given because, when you are in love with the truth, you can’t water it down.
But now we might dare to be frank.
Christian to Jew: What do you mean by “frank”?
Jew to Christian: Thank you for spreading Jewish notions around the globe, like Peace, G^d, Redemption, Free Will, Holiness in time, place, and people, Repentance, Love, etc. together with the Muslims.
My first request: Stop competing with Islam. You both got things right and you both got things wrong. Stop the hatred, the supremacy, the anger, and the mental, verbal, and physical aggression and violence.
Second request: Please send our captives home. Tell converted Jews that they should return home to Judaism. For a Jew, there is nothing better than being traditional and faithful. Many of them suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome. You can help them by apologizing to them.
We should not have to spend time rescuing them. They came to believe your stories over ours, so you have more leverage. And we could teach you instead of being busy extracting them and protecting our children.
Until you start granting the above two requests, we cannot progress to the main point, the following last request. There should be some conditions for being worthy of learning the Word of G^d first-hand.
Third request: Turn to the most knowledgeable Jews and request that they teach you. You know that’s the Jews’ task, to teach the Heathens. All the bloodshed committed on us could not wash away this truth, wipe out this small voice in your heart that you need to listen to the Jews. And bless them for your sake, as the Torah tells you over and over again.
And don’t worry: We won’t try to convert you to Judaism. We like having great Gentile friends. By both being human, we share plenty.
You cannot understand Christianity (or evaluate it) without a solid foundation in Judaism. Instead of going through old Books with second-hand accounts in odd translations, learn from a life Jew right in front of you. Why do you think that G^d put you on this earth in this time and not 2000 years ago? To learn from the Jews who are here today!
Our Heritage was never meant just for us. We received the Torah in no-men’s land not for nothing. G^d has a message for you. We are His mail service. But please, first pay delivery costs, the two above requests.
We will all gain. It needs to happen sooner or later anyway. There is no way around it. So, let’s do it. If not now, when exactly?
What Would I Teach? (Condensed)
I just can’t help myself and need to share the first things I would teach if I were knowledgeable and wise. I would say:
First, try to recover a love and real passion for truth. Also when reality is unpleasant or not as you want it to be.
Learn to say “I don’t know” when you don’t.
Learn to live with doubt.
Try to embrace whatever situation G^d put you in as exactly where He wants you — for the good of Him, you, and all of humanity.
Do away with all White Lies (except for when someone else would rather not hear the truth), Wishful Thinking, Bending the truth to win, Accepting false arguments because they come in handy, etc.
It’s little use to try and learn all kinds of things while you only want to hear what suits and charms you.
The second thing I would teach Christians (but not Muslims because they got that already) is a Jewish appreciation of this world.
G^d wants us to emulate the positive actions that we see of Him. (He’s merciful, we need to be merciful. He is generous, we should be generous. He cares, we’d better care. He is as good as His Word, we should be honest.) One of the things to follow is that He intended, planned, spoke, and created this world.
His reason for creating was two-fold: for creatures to enjoy it and to have people earn a perfect afterlife.
Reward we worked for, we value more than gifts we got for free. And G^d’s giving needs to be as perfect as possible.
But, though this temporary world is merely a gate to and vestibule of eternal Heaven, Paradise, our presence in the world is not merely a stopover, a means to an end (pun not intended).
When He created the world, He knew what He was doing, He made no mistake at all — Heaven forbid — and we should not squander it. We should value, protect and enjoy (within limits) this life and this world with gratitude.
He intended, planned, spoke, and created this world but he did not complete it. He invites us to join Him in perfecting it, including ourselves.
And we do that by intending, planning, speaking and doing. Just feeling and believing are not enough. Deeds speak louder than words. Intentions without action are sterile. He wants us to intend and plan speaking and doing good.
If our intentions and planning work out is up to Him but we have no permission to shy away from making the effort.
The essence of our actions indeed lies in our intentions and feelings but that’s only after the (f)act. Before we acted, the essence is doing.
No brainless activity He wants but even more so, no intention instead of action.
The effort that goes into choosing to work for and with G^d is what is reward-able; our positive feelings multiply that merit but only when we have tried to effectuate them.
For example, it’s nice to love people and feel for them but if you don’t try to receive them with a smile and help them, what have you actually contributed? You probably just enjoyed your own feelings.
He invites us every day to join Him in completing this world with our intentions, planning, and effort and by being pleased with our deeds. (And also to flee from needlessly hurting ourselves and others and our relationships with ourselves, others and G^d.)
He gives higher priority to doing what we are here for than to honoring Him. Forget about Me but not my Torah.
Best practice is to do it because that is the best expression of how holy He made us, not just because we want eternal reward.
Don’t squander this world because afterlife is going to be so much better. Use your Free Will (making an effort to improve morally) because in the next world you will not be able to — it’s too late to try earn there.
Enjoy life now. No enjoyment is inherently sinful; only settings and amounts can be; abstinence is offensive and sinful because it rejects a part of G^d’s gifts.
And it could very well be that this perfected world will be the afterlife.
Intellectual Jews who live outside of the Land of Israel in countries with a Christian culture are bound to be less connected to the practicalities that are asked of us.
Different from Muslim Philosophy, G^d is One but His Creation has dualities.
Different from Greek/Christian Philosophy, the world has many grays and it’s important not to be an extremist but rather walk the middle road. (Exception: only keep a sliver of your pride and do away with all anger.)
The third thing I would teach Christians (but not Muslims because they got that already) is that there is one and only one superpower in the Universe and not two.
The Devil is an Angel created and directed by G^d. His work is to challenge us (so we can show our virtuousness), in the end kill us (as the Angel of Death, though the Sages in the Talmud already teach that that’s going to stop) and be our Heavenly Prosecutor (and Hell is a temporary Station for cleansing, not eternal). The Satan is not a second power.
Though his evil suggestions (evil is just inflicting needless suffering, nothing spiritual) are often despicable, we can profit from him greatly. Much like a home trainer is useless if we can cycle it without any effort, a life without challenge or endeavor is not going to give us the maximum reward that G^d wants us to have. The Devil is here to give us mental and spiritual muscle.
BTW, know that it is Jews forbidden to pray to anything else but just G^d. Gentiles are possibly allowed to also address others (Jesus, Maria, Angels) but for Jews that counts as idol worship. Jews should prefer death above doing that.
Judaism doesn’t want everyone to be Jewish. It’s fine to be a Gentile. But Jews have higher standards to live up to. (If you are fit for that, you may join but you don’t need to.) Remember that.
We have little dispute with Atheists as long as they admit to really be Agnostics, willing to be ethical.
Life is Holy
The fourth thing I would teach Gentiles is that G^d chose Jews to be His Messenger because of our commitment to educate every generation about the sanctity of human life, not to murder — and preferably not to kill people at all.
The vile and false slander that portrays Jews and Israelis as murderers, mainly aims to neutralize our message to not murder and also to be set off against the murders on us as to “equalize” the accounts: they kill too.
An exception is where killing a human would be the only way to stop him from committing an acute murder or because G^d tells us to kill.
But, you need to understand that G^d expects of Jews that His instructions to execute or kill will be scrutinized by them and as much as possible to be mitigated, to be found to be not applicable in each very case.
The best proof for G^d’s “existence” (beyond the Universe but still close, with His fingerprints and footsteps all over Creation) is the continuous survival of the Jews despite our refusal to out-slaughter our butchers.
Also, we understand that G^d is thousands of times more merciful than stern. G^d’s not harsh or angry. He loves all people and has the highest expectations of all of us.
He also — unlike idols — doesn’t need to be appeased. He feels fine and has all He needs, so to speak.
Remember that harsh language in the Torah comes to Jews who feel His love already and need to know that there is a limit to niceness. It’s not a call unto humanity to believe in an unfriendly G^d. Jews don’t need Jesus, as a friendly ambassador to G^d —
Nor the New Testament. The latter consists mainly of quotes from the Oral Torah (that is part and parcel of the Hebrew Bible) that we already learn, mixed with some foreign Greek philosophies that are contradictory to Jewish Thought and which we must deny.
To keep and not destroy and not to hurt animals used to be separate Commandments. Yet, to care for the planet (climate, nature, animals, and all of humanity), prevent nuclear war, and fight infectious disease globally (malaria, AIDS, Birds’ flue, Ebola) just became part of saving all humans. We’re all in the same boat (not the Ark of Noach). We’ll all survive or die.
All Jews (this includes Jesus) are human in every way and still special (“chosen”). That specialness lies in our ability to do more than is expected of others. It’s a responsibility, not a privilege. Only, Gentiles should honor us. Not so that we’d feel more important (we’re not) but to honor G^d and help protect us. Firstly because we are fellow humans and secondly, so that they can continue to learn from us. For 2000 years, Gentiles have been cutting off the branch they’re sitting on. Unbecoming and unwise.
How’s that for a start? Stop fighting Muslims, send our captives Home, and get yourself worthy Jewish teachers. Your spiritual wellbeing and future may depend on this. Let me know if you want me to expand on this via YouTube.