Saturday, August 11, 2012

I don't understand

I've never understood Christianity... I was a Catholic by name for most of my life but that's what it is to us here. Catholic is who we are by name and the actual teachings are not important, it's just part of our culture to identify as "Catholic". So I don't know much about Christianity but I can understand some basic things. For Judaism, I can't understand even the most basic things that they believe in. Like:

Why is it so hard to become Jewish? Why don't they want others converting to their religion? Do they believe that you can only really believe in the truth if you were born into Judaism?

What do they believe about Christians? Do they see them as people who would be Jewish if they had not believed in something that is false? Is that why they have some sort of respect for them, or do they maybe not have the respect I seem to feel they have? The relationship between Jews and Christians should be similar to the relationship between Christians and Muslims but somehow I don't feel like it is.

What are the criteria they are waiting for to accept the next prophet? Why didn't Jesus satisfy them? Do modern Jews even think about these questions and find answers that make sense or is it a cultural identity and the truth doesn't matter so much as their identity as a Jew?


4 Comentários:

Amber said...

I'm not Jewish, so I can only tell you what I've read/been told by people who are.

As for why it's so hard to convert: partially it's because it's not only a religious identity but also an ethnic and cultural one. But the larger reason (as I've been told) is because Jews don't believe that you have to be Jewish in order to have a relationship with God or be under a covenant with Him. They believe that non-Jews are covered under the Noahide covenant, which is far less restrictive than the Mosaic Laws and so why would anyone want to go from having more freedom to less if they don't have to?

However they do recognize that some people born outside the Jewish faith have a real need to be Jewish. Whether that's because, as I once saw someone suggest, they're born with Jewish souls, or just that they're meant for whatever reason to be a part of the Jewish people. That's why they allow for conversion at all. But knowing how much more difficult it is to live under the Law, they want to be certain that the people are very, very serious.

I think that, historically, it's been easier to convert than it is now. But, I'm guessing, as they've been persecuted over and over again there's been a drive to preserve what's left of their people and so they've made it harder and harder to convert. But that's just a guess. I was never really interested in converting so I admit that I never really looked too far into it.

As for what they believe about Christians, I think that's a very broad topic. It's like asking what Christians believe about Jews, or Muslims, or polytheists. You can say, broadly, well Christians believe that Jews are misguided but that at the end they will be saved. Or that Muslims are members of a Christian cult used by a man for his own personal gain. And that polytheists are all lost, worshiping nature or devils without knowing it. And that will be true for parts of the population. In some cases it may even be the 'company' line. But it lacks nuance. If you ask a hundred different Christians the same questions you'll get a range of answers. It's the same for anything, including Judaism.

The relationship between Jews and Christians should be similar to the relationship between Christians and Muslims but somehow I don't feel like it is.

I don't understand what you mean by this, precisely.

As for the prophet thing: I think you mean why didn't Jesus satisfy the Jews of his time as being the Messiah? In which case, from what I understand, he didn't fulfill the prophecies as the Jews understood/stand them. Christians say that the Jews just don't understand their own prophecies, essentially. That they were looking for something of this world when in reality the prophecies were all about the kingdom in the next. There's a metric ton of sites arguing that one back and forth.

Do modern Jews even think about these questions and find answers that make sense or is it a cultural identity and the truth doesn't matter so much as their identity as a Jew?

As with so many, many things it depends on the individual.

As I said at the top though, I'm not Jewish. I never made a deep study into Judaism. So I reserve the right to be totally wrong.

Candice said...

That was very helpful! I think I understand a little bit more especially about conversion to Judaism.

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

They way I have also understood about Judaism is that they see very much themselves as a 'chosen' people, chosen by God, and if God wanted you to belong to the 'chosen' people, you would've been born that way.

As for Christians, many evangelicals see the state of Israel as necessary for the fulfilment of several prophecies. Many also want to convert Jews to Christians (what is known as Messianic Jews), which are often Jews who believe in Jesus, but maintain their Jewish culture, heritage and customs.

Incidentally, if you follow Jewish rules of who is Jewish (maternal line) I'd technically be Jewish as my great-great-great-grandmother (maternal lineage), however, I don't consider myself as such at all (1/32, so yeah, not really). That does mean that my great-grandmother was quarter Jewish however, and had she been born a hundred miles further south she would've been German and at real risk of dying during WWII.

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

Also, I think many Christians have felt some shame and guilt after the Holocast, but that's just speculation.

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