Did Judaism naturally flow into Christianity?

How about a little more history of my de-conversion?  I gotta get this stuff written down.

Summer of 2007, I started studying Judaism on the weekends. I was still a Christian at this point, and I wasn’t struggling with my faith or intending to convert. But what I learned about Judaism really opened my eyes.  Here’s the highlights.

Jews have absolutely no need of a savior in the Christian sense.  When the Messiah comes, the idea is that he will set up God’s kingdom on earth, bring peace to the earth, and reinstate Temple sacrifice.  So there’s nothing about a messiah dying for them.  When Jews are talking about salvation, they are usually talking about salvation from Christians! — or at any rate, salvation in this world, not from an afterlife of eternal torment. 

So the idea that the Messiah is supposed to die doesn’t really work; he’s got a job to do, and it doesn’t involve getting himself executed, much less dying for the atonement of sins (which is impossible anyways; more on that below).  Plus, the abhorrence of human sacrifice is a really big deal (and a big no-no) in Judaism.  And another big problem with Christianity, to a Jew, is this idea that God can be conceived, born, and die. It’s blasphemy. And the idea that God is somehow three separate persons is also blasphemy: “YHWH your God is one.”

Furthermore, this whole idea that God requires blood sacrifice is ridiculous to a Jew.  It was a component of proper worship, but only in ancient times, when there was actually a temple to perform the sacrifices in.  But besides blood sacrifice, prayer and good deeds have always been a critical part of a Jew’s relationship with God.  During the time of the Judges, when the Temple had been destroyed, the people asked the current judge what they were supposed to do to please God.  They concluded that prayer and good deeds would take the place of sacrifices (since presumably, if God allowed his temple to be destroyed, he wasn’t going to require sacrifices on it.)  The Jews are not, as a pastor put it to me, “in big trouble” because they have been unable to perform sacrifices.  If God wanted them to have a Temple, he is fully capable of getting that done.  Also, it’s like saying that men are required to keep the laws regarding menstruation: it’s impossible; men haven’t got a uterus.  Likewise, the Jews haven’t got a Temple; therefore, no Temple sacrifice is required.

It is also ridiculous that one person can pay the penalty for another person’s sin.  That is not Jewish.

The most powerful religious idea that I discovered, though, was this: The Jewish law was given only to Jews.

Well, duh, right?  But no.

The Christian idea is that this Jewish law was given to the whole world, and that all the conditions must be met in order to obtain righteousness– and get into Heaven. Christians believe that unless all the laws are met, a person goes to hell.  Conversely, if you fail to keep even one law, you go to Hell.  Hence the need for Jesus to meet all the conditions on our behalf and then die as the necessary sacrifice for our failure to follow the rules. It probably sounds a little wacky, but there it is. And it does make a sort of sense. But it hinges on the following premises:

1. All humans, Jew or non-Jew, must obey the teachings given to Moses;

2. It is impossible that all these teachings be obeyed;

3. Therefore, everyone is kinda screwed. Until Jesus comes and fixes everything.

But Judaism teaches that

1. only Jews are required to obey the law since they are the ones God made a covenant with (after saving them from Egyptian slavery);

2. that these laws are possible to keep (the passages in the Christian New Testament that refer to people who are righteous supports this);

3. and that no Jew (or anyone else) will be eternally punished for failure to follow the rules.

Plus, I challenge anyone to find a Jewish point of law that is literally impossible to keep.  Jews do not say you’d have to want to or feel like doing it all the time, but it is not literally impossible.  Why?

First of all, because the Jewish God is not a jerk. He doesn’t require you to do something that he has made it impossible for you to do. That’s just mean.

Also, because there’s no original sin.  Judaism teaches that every human is born with good inclinations and bad inclinations; we are to nurture the good and reject the bad. 

Plus, the idea that Jesus was specifically a Passover sacrifice has problems, too.  One, because the Passover sacrifice is one of worship, not for sins (the Yom Kippur sacrifice would be the one of atonement).  Two, the sacrifice must be performed in the temple and the blood must be spilled on the altar, whereas Jesus was executed on a hillside.  Three, Jesus is not a lamb, and that is the required Passover sacrifice.  Four, the Passover lamb stays dead.

What kind of “sacrifice” doesn’t even stay dead?  What kind of sacrifice is that?

I had to LOL when I learned all this.  It wasn’t that it shook my faith so much as it obliterated it.  I stopped laughing, however, when I realized I had some bad news for my husband, though.

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