There’s a Sickness in Christianity…

Just watched ‘Constantine’s Sword’ by James Carroll and I must admit – the history lesson is an eye-opener to say the least.

I think within Christianity we do not completely understand where our anti-Jewish sentiments both come from and how they impacted history…namely in Europe. It is sad to know that with Constantine era (325 Ad and on) that Christianity becomes a religion that kind of bullies it ways through history with the help of state/religion co-mingling for some 1400 years after 325 AD…which had dreadful reprecussions for one group focused on in the NT…the Jewish people.

Christianity does not speak higly of Judaism – even from as early as the gospels and early church leaders – language colored in what can only be seen as denigrating towards Jewish people, their culture, and their faith. This story continues into the middle ages (with the crusades), then in the Reformation Period (Catholics and Protestants alike), and finally into what became the Shoah under Nazi Germany – which really was a culmination of this rheotric which finds it’s history in Christian roots.

Christianity needs to recognize this sickness is within them – and up to them to ‘stop’. This rhetoric has made it hard for one people group on this planet – the Jewish faithful. In the crusades we see the slaughter of villages of Jewish people along the Rhineland in Germany. During the Protestant Reformation the introduction of ghetto’s and the stripping fo the rights of Jews happens (under Catholic rule and Luther’s own wording – this lasted for some 300 years this persecution). By the time Hitler arrives on the scene (or Mussolini in Italy) the commonplace mentality (started within Christian roots) of the denigration of the Jewish people is such a familiar history that what Hitler starts really was already happening for some 1000 years in Europe already…Hitler was just so recent we take a little more careful note of him.

However, this same mentality still exists within Christianity that spawned such hatred in the past. Jewish faith is still denigrated (2nd tier), the Law is condemnatory (according to Paul), Christianity believes to have usurped the Jewish lineage/tradition (ie: connection to God), and guess who killed Jesus? It’s really sick when you think about it. It’s also really backwards and filled with deceptions.

Jesus followed Judaism people – light should go on about now. Jesus never saw the usurping of the Jewish faith as something ‘normal’…nor the law as something ‘bad’. Jesus makes no claim to any Christian usurption of the Jewish tradition – Paul barely does this. The stories in the gospel do point to the Jewish people killing Jesus (fact) – yet the story could not be any less true to actual history (Romans had him killed). Fact is, Christian scripture has very little ‘good’ to say about Judaism – from the gospels to Paul…and this is where the heart of this problem lies…in interpretation and historical context.

If I was looking at the facts and remarking on Jesus’ statements in the gospels about ‘persecution’ – or John’s revelation about the ‘end of times’ and the world gathering to ‘Jerusalem’ for war…I think maybe this is about Judaism and their struggle…not Christians. In fact, Christianity has done nothing but fan the flame of hatred in the 2000 year history…persecuting the Jewish faithful for being Jewish…and this all based on interpretation of some books written in history (now called ‘the word of God’). Maybe Christianity needs to admit they got this all wrong!

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16 thoughts on “There’s a Sickness in Christianity…

  1. and John is written just after his group was tossed on it’s ear from the synagoges. there was a rejection of Christianity by the Jewish ppl of their time… for reasons not altogether clear. but the pain comes out as John constantly calls “The Jews” bad.. even though he makes sure to differentiate in other passages between why type of Jew approaches Jesus.. pharasee or sadduccee..

    it’s a bais written into the gospel and unquestioned.. used to oppress and kill our brothers and sisters in the faith. humans will do anything to get out of dialogue and compassion for their fellow man. instead we fall into our regimented group label and kill all those outside it.

  2. I’m not saying that this assumption/analysis is wrong, but I’ve never read the gospels and thought that any negativity was aimed at the Jews in general. The Jewish priesthood and leadership, yes.

    And as for condemnation of the law, I’ve always viewed it not that the law itself was bad, but that it wasn’t enough to put humans on the right path…that it was part of the process of bringing us to God but not the endpoint.

    Because if the law itself was “bad” Jesus would never have upheld it.

    I don’t know. Maybe I need to go re-read the gospels and the epistles, but methinks that fault lies mainly in the interpretation and approach post-apostle…and not within the content and intent of the New Testament.

  3. “but I’ve never read the gospels and thought that any negativity was aimed at the Jews in general. The Jewish priesthood and leadership, yes.” (Smokedawg)

    I am like you on this one – I gained a great appreciation for Judaism because of the gospels – it introduced me to a whole new way of thinking.

    However, before our time this was not the case. Catholcism and church history is clouded in problems the Christian faith had with the Jewish people. Why? It’s pretty obvious Christianity interpreted aspects of the Nt in a light we might not think to use it – to denigrate the Jewish people who ‘killed our Lord’. That one piece if the gospel stories is just horrific in what it has caused. Plus Christianity saw itself as the new torch-bearer of the ‘gospel/good news’ – which was their view of the continuation of what happened in the OT…this viewpoint also comes with it’s ‘divisionary’ problems.

    “And as for condemnation of the law, I’ve always viewed it not that the law itself was bad, but that it wasn’t enough to put humans on the right path..” (Smokedawg)

    But what does that say about Judaism? They follow the law and that law (Torah) was given to them by the very hands of God…it’s really beyond me how we can come in and call that a ‘useless’ thing? It’s actually a striking contradiction if u ask me.

    “Because if the law itself was “bad” Jesus would never have upheld it” (Smokedawg)

    Then why don’t Christians uphold it? I find it funny their supposed leader upholds this document and then the followers find a way to weasle out of it. I have all the lines of reasoning on this one – the most prominent being that Jesus upheld and was perfect – then gave us commands that were perfect (which we could not follow) – thus his obedience to the law was applied to all of us (in his sacrifice). The reasoning serves to remove the law requirements and allows us to belittle those who choose to follow the law.

    “but methinks that fault lies mainly in the interpretation and approach post-apostle…and not within the content and intent of the New Testament.” (Smokedawg)

    I agree – but you wont find the answers in a church I can tell ya that! The viewpoints and theologies are already clouded and ‘set’…as if Christians have developed their own ‘law’ on how to read this stuff from Paul or the gospels. Many of the actual viewpoints for those barbaric acts of history are based on passages of scripture from the NT…this isn’t no word of a lie. So even if all of these things are post-apostolic (which I doubt) – how come the justification for acts aforementioned on Jews are pulled from only the NT portions of the bible? (ie: john’s gospel or Pauline literature or even Matthew)

    Christianity – as nice as it seems – is a walking set of contradictions.

  4. It’s just awful.

    Look at the terrible way Christians treat Jews in America,

    Huh???

    Christians and Jews live together (same neighborhoods), work together, paly on the same sports teams…no problem.

    Christians support the state of Israel to a greater degree than many American Jews do.

    There have been bad episides, yes. People are people and do stupid things.

    As for Jesus, the Jews didn’t kill Him…the Romans didn’t kill Him…we all killed Him.

    It was for our sin that He had to come in the first place. And when goodness shows up in a place like this, it doesn’t last too long.

  5. Christianity hijacked Judaism, and Islam is not too far behind the Christians. Its kind of like kids in the sandbox.
    “Here, let me play with your toy. You know what, this isnt very good, let me show you how to make it better, but can I still play with yours?”

    As for Jesus, the Jews didn’t kill Him…the Romans didn’t kill Him…we all killed Him.(Steve)

    Silly man, if we were to believe you, he aint dead.

  6. “Christians and Jews live together (same neighborhoods), work together, paly on the same sports teams…no problem.” (Steve)

    True – but this hasn’t always been this way in America – Jewish people had a toigh time finding acceptance in the early part of the 1900’s (even in the 50’s under McCarthy – they were likely to be labelled ‘commies’). The klan which had a following of some multi million people in America up until the 1920’s was thoroughly anti-Jewish. So not all history is as kind as today’s standards.

    The problem is what we pull from the scriptures and say about Jewish people and their faith…we denigrate it – and anyone here that should know about that it is you – your a Lutheran (Luther even has a pamphlet on being anti-semitic – meaning – his viewpoints also reflect this ideology). And I have not qualms seeing the anti-semitism within Luther’s writings – another man (like Paul) that hates Torah.

    “There have been bad episides, yes. People are people and do stupid things” (Steve)

    Episodes…I would agree but I cannot see how keeping all the same ‘talk’ from about 1800 years of this crap is going to make it ‘go away’. Fact is, it won’t – and Christians need to be vigilant about their language on such a subject – lest they help enhance more movements of these ‘episodes’.

    “As for Jesus, the Jews didn’t kill Him…the Romans didn’t kill Him…we all killed Him” (Steve)

    Nice spin on it – but false. The gospel records have the Jewish people being blamed and the Romans washing their hand of any guilt (it’s in the gospel record and also in Gibson’s movie ‘the Passion’). Theoretically our sin put him there (collectively) – it’s a viewpoint – but ‘our sin’ has no way to crucify him being an inanimate thing.

    “And when goodness shows up in a place like this, it doesn’t last too long.” (Steve)

    Christianity – oddly enough – has helped generation by generation help snuff out those ‘good people’ also. You need to remember your challenge of any things the church says might just get you as easily ex-communicated…change will not be forthcoming in a structure that is in a sense – it’s own god. I contend the church wouldn’t know ‘good’ if it walked up with smelling salts trying to catch their attention…they got better things to do.

    When slavery was ending – who did nothing? Yes – churches! When civil rights happened – who opposed it…yes churches! When the holocaust happened – who said nothing – yes churches! When it was time for a land grab who helped in taking all the land rights of the Native citizens of America/Canada – yes church people (even Puritans)! When a war was happening in Vietnam and Iraq – who supported those things…take a guess…yes churches! Churches are pretty much just Nationalistic puppets – any change they try make is a joke (since they don’t know how to).

    It’s a control machine – to mind numb the occupents for the sake of national stability…and the church makes no bones about that. You either agree with them – or get out…you cannot change a thing the church is doing – it just won’t happen…that being said – when the gov’t moves they move.

  7. “Christianity hijacked Judaism, and Islam is not too far behind the Christians. Its kind of like kids in the sandbox.” TfT

    absolutely! i said it in class that the Abrahamic faiths have a bad habit of supersessionism. AHA! I see your Torah and raise you Jesus! Well we see your Jesus and raise you the Koran!

    it’s deeper than bone this problem. but if you read your bible as a ppl-eye-view of God and not a God-eye-view of ppl/world, then you already see this and can learn to COEXIST.

  8. In Galatians, Paul says that if you are to keep the law, you must keep all of it.

    In James 2:10 the verse reads, “for whoever keeps the whole but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

    When the rich young man came to Jesus and asked what must I do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asks what does the law say? Then the young man rattled off the Commandments and said,” I have done all that since I was a kid.”

    Then Jesus says, great! “Sell everything you have, give the proceeds to the poor and follow me.”

    The young man went away grieving. jesus took him to the first Commandment and showed that he couldn’t get past that one. All the young man’s possessions were ‘his gods’. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. And he did, and we do , too.

    But Jesus loves and forgives us…anyway.

  9. Christianity needs to recognize this sickness is within them – and up to them to ’stop’. (SVS)

    I know we have a tendency to do a lot of Christianity bashing in these forums and I am no innocent man in that sense. I freely share my crticisms about christianity and the church, because of the brutality I have seen perpetrated on the people, that it supposedly loves.

    I personally agree with the sentence and the title of this post. The question that I would propose is, how does christianity heal itself?

    Christianity is essentially a construct, a form of faith, a set of propositions, a guideline, so it cannot really do anything of the sort. It’s the people within it that have the power. I would hope that somehow these people could be led by the Spirit and that they would make the necessary changes. But I don’t expect it to ever happen, I can dream though.

    I think it would have to start at the top. But then that’s part of the problem isn’t it. Christianity is a world of hierarchies; Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, senior pastors, pastors, visitation pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, deacons, elders, Professor of Theology, Associate professor of theology, lead singer, lead guitar and on and on it goes…. Each has their own little square in the organization chart. This one answers to that one, but not to that one over there

    But lets not let the dream die there just yet. Suppose it were possible to heal christianity. It would have to be the leaders, the theologians, the pastors that would have to re-think and be the prototype of healthy christianity. This would then have to be taught to the masses they serve.

    The people would have to reflect on the atrocities of their forerunners towards Jews and to every other group that has been oppressed and suppressed in the name of christianity. Judasim would get fair treatment, the NT would be read in the light of the Torah, restitution would be paid to the injured people groups. It would take hundreds of years, but then it took hundreds of years for christianity to do what it did.

    Christianity would truly look like and be a forgiving, loving, family of believers, that treated its fellow man and woman with respect. It would not totally discount the thoughts and teachings of other forms of faith and maybe it would learn more about how God really treats the world in the process.

    beep, beep ,beep, Wake up just1, its just a dream.

    hmmm, I think in some sick way, I prefer christianity the way it is and so does everyone else.

  10. “In James 2:10 the verse reads, “for whoever keeps the whole but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”” (Steve)

    James – good pick – let’s examine that letter.

    “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (2:8-9)

    How can James uphold this ‘law’ (which he freely admits this is) and then 2 verses later mention the keeping of the whole law is wrong/makes you guilty? Because, in the NT passages about ‘love your neighbor’, this is the essence of the ‘whole law’ – it is to be kept and at that – solidly.

    James’ point (and likely Paul’s) when mentioning being guilty of it ‘all’ – is not on the breaking of it (sort of like a statement of emphasis). James does not like the partiality they are showing (going a few yards but not the whole way)…basically they are guilty for not following through on the whole thing – but deceiving themselves into being ‘right’. They need to ‘love their neighbor’ more fully. A few verses later he makes this clear point:

    “For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty” (2:11-12)

    James does not see the law as condemnatory – but as the law of ‘liberty’. He fully recognizes these Gentiles are not under Jewish law (this is not their law to adhere to) – but admits that Jesus taught about not being someone that ‘broke these good laws’. James right here tells people to follow 2 laws – concerning murder and adultery – since they seek your neighbors best interests (you love them by doing so). But not following Jewish law does not mean you were off the hook concerning following them – the Jewish council only exempted them from food laws and circumcision (according to Acts and Paul)…not necessarily moral obligations to one another (seen as loving your neighbor).

    It really makes no sense any other way – namely when you consider James topics in this chapter:

    (vs.1) – personal favoritism/being better than another

    (vs. 8) – love your neighbor (which is a law)

    (vs. 14-26) – works and faith debate – works being an essential part of your faith

    James is offering moral direction and guidance – from the law! The law to him is not a ‘bad’ thing however so this makes sense to do – even for Gentiles who want to follow Jesus…since it can offer just that – clear cut guidance to morality.

  11. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:19)

    Jesus’ view of the law – all of it…he senses some importance to it don’t ya think? And this is a teaching he passed on.

    “And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Gal 5:3-4)

    Paul’s viewpoint…little different than James and Jesus (oddly enough – they were brothers).

    However, Paul’s point is also quite simple – circumcision was conversion to Judaism (which isn’t a bad thing) – but it meant to Paul you had to now follow the Judaic law (including kosher foods and everything else). This was not necessary as they are not ‘Jewish’ but Gentiles – so Paul warns against converting unnecessarily (thinking this was essential to being a follower). Paul saw no reason for a Gentile to convert to Judaism to follow Jesus (one might question whether anyone actually did?).
    However, Paul is either a hypocrite (contradictory) or only trying to make an emphasis on not being converted to Judaism to follow Christ…here is a few verses later:

    “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” (Gal 5:14)

    Paul admits the Galatians must keep the ‘law’ also! Apparently, in his version, the Spirit of God will lead you to these things no matter what (same idea in John about the Spirit). Paul does not seem to have a problem with this aspect of the law because it produces moral behavior – which as we seen in James and Jesus – is essential to following Jesus.

    IMO, Paul gets misinterpreted to read the law is useless – and maybe that was his view…for Gentiles! He still upheld values of the law though – for Gentiles – I just think people read him too far in what he is saying to an all Gentile community.

  12. Sorry if that seems harsh Steve – my bad on that one…sorry about getting a little carried away (comment to be removed of my by me)…maybe there is also a sickness in me (lol).

  13. Just a quick couple comments on the following exchange:

    —————————–
    “And as for condemnation of the law, I’ve always viewed it not that the law itself was bad, but that it wasn’t enough to put humans on the right path..” (Smokedawg)

    But what does that say about Judaism? They follow the law and that law (Torah) was given to them by the very hands of God…it’s really beyond me how we can come in and call that a ‘useless’ thing? It’s actually a striking contradiction if u ask me.

    “Because if the law itself was “bad” Jesus would never have upheld it” (Smokedawg)

    Then why don’t Christians uphold it? I find it funny their supposed leader upholds this document and then the followers find a way to weasle out of it.
    ——————————————–

    I agree, SocietyVs, that there is a certain “weaseling” factor that is often seen among Christians. But at the same time, we cannot uphold Jews for holding to the law and Christians for “ignoring” it…when the fact is that Jews don’t typically uphold the law. I don’t think the law is useless…but the clear fact is that no one upholds the laws of God. I have not known a single Jew to faithfully hold to the law passed down from God, just as I haven’t known many Christians who do a very good job of following the rules.

    Perhaps in the end result, the message is “You human children of mine just won’t see past your own wants, ever…even when I have someone else pay the price and give you the easiest possible path.”

    Maybe in the end, the forgiveness we get through Jesus is more of an admonition…something that when we exit this life, we are going to be faced with…maybe it is only when we are faced with the ultimate shame that we don’t EVER listen and hardly ever put anyone before ourselves that we will truly be ready to become what God needs us to be in the next life.

    Maybe it’s the spiritual equivalent of an alcoholic having to hit rock bottom and be forced to admit, “yeah, I am pretty fucked up, aren’t I?”

    Just a thought, of course…I never much think I’m qualified to give gospel truth.
    😉

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