Eugene Volokh has been posting quite a bit about the idea of Jewish Christians, and he's been getting a lot of email, it seems. I don't really have much to say on the matter, other than that as a non-Jew I generally agree with Eugene's position -- accepting Jesus as the Messiah is no more divergent from traditional Jewish beliefs than are the beliefs of Reform Jews. It appears to me that many Jews define themselves by their non-acceptance of Christianity (as do many atheists, for example).

I have a lot of Jewish friends and acquaintances, and we occasionally talk about religion -- in a sense. The vast majority of the Jews I know are entirely secular and non-observant, except when they indulge their older family members. They often express curiousity about my beliefs and are interested in discussing philisophical issues. The main difference between my secular Jewish friends and my secular non-Jewish friends is that when I invite a Jew to come to church and check it out themself, they are astounded at my suggestion. It's quite impossible for them to set foot inside a church, you see, even out of curiousity, because they're Jewish.

I have brought this post back up to the top because David Bernstein has some interesting thoughts on the matter over at the Volokh Conspiracy.

The answer is at least in part that Jews have a residual distrust of Christianity born of centuries of oppression in Europe, both by the official church (which, for example, encouraged the Spanish Expulsion/forced conversion and then tried to ferret out hidden Jews via the Inqusition), and by local priests and ministers (who, for example, often fomented pogroms on Christian holidays through anti-Semitic sermons in church). ...

I've explained this to Christians, who typically get offended. But that's not true Christianity!, they protest. Moreover, whatever the sins of European Christiandom against Jews, American Christianity has arguably if anything overall been philo-Semitic. All true. But I'm talking about deep-seated, inherited cultural fears, not objective analysis.

Note that this is not analogous to anti-Semitism. Inherited distrust or whatnot of Christianity does not mean that Jews dislike Christians, or think ill of them, or even want them to stop practicing Christianity.

I'm not convinced that this is completely un-analogous to anti-Semitism; I've met plenty of Jews who do dislike Christians, do think ill of Christians, and do want Christians to stop practicing Christianity. Certainly not all Jews are not, but some Jews are anti-Christian in an analogous way. Just as, of course, many non-Jews are anti-Christian, and many Christians are anti-whomever. My point isn't to single out Jews, but to say that just about any negative religious prejudice is "analogous" to anti-Semitism.

[Note: I'm not sure about this idea of brining old posts back up to the top by re-dating them. Thoughts?]



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