.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Church, chapels, Jews
A baseball chaplain is suspended from the Washington Nationals after nodding his head to a question about whether or not Jews are doomed.

There are a lot of things to ponder about this story - whether religions should shy away from their beliefs because of bad publicity, whether or not Jews should care if others think they are doomed, the implications of calling another religious group doomed, and the general question of why is everyone still so freakin' obsessed with the Jews?

But, by far, the most pressing question in my mind is - baseball teams got chaplains? What are they, going into battle? Do they need religious counseling after being on the bad end of a strikeout? This is at once fascinating and preposterous. I don't have any kind of a chapel at my job. I go to religious services at a religious institution. That way, if my clergyman says something controversial, my employer doesn't have to even think about distancing the company from the statement.
I'd like to go on record that I don't mind at all when people think I'm going to hell. I really just care how people behave to me. Perhaps not coincidentally, those who are most certain that I will face damnation are the most likely as a group to (1) be nice to me (2) vote the same way I do (3) support Israel. Good enough for me.
BTW, it's funny that it's always secular Jews who are most offended by Christian attempts to proselytize to them. I accept that Christians are sincerely trying to do me a favor when they try to turn me on to Christianity. Why should that be offensive? It's offensive only if your grip on Judaism is so tenuous that you feel threatened by it.

I disagree. I have a very strong grip on my identity. I know who I am and why I believe what I believe. But I think that it is rude and offensive for people to think that they have a lock on the truth and I consider the actions of many of them to be religious terror.

Here is why. Many of those who witness prey upon those who as you say have a more tenuous grasp upon Judaism. I think that it is rude, underhanded and obnoxious to use their ignorance against them in conjunction with threats of eternal damnation. If your faith cannot stand on its own two feet then there is a problem.

Beyond that I wonder about people who think that I am an ignorant fool who is going to hell because I am not convinced that their treatment of me is going to be what all people deserve. I don't want to be patronized or treated with condescension and I cannot help but suspect that this is there.

Furthermore the evangelicals and company may be supporters of Israel but I don't like or trust their agenda. Too many of them have told me about their beliefs about what happens during the rapture.

As far as I am concerned there are multiple paths to G-d. Judaism makes the most sense and works best for me but I am not so arrogant to think that it is the only way.
I know someone who uses the "damnation" thing against them by engaging them in debate. It's kind of amusing, actually.
I don't have a problem with the doctrine so much as the application.

Some people believe that Jews DESERVE to go to hell, so if something bad happens to us, we are just getting what we deserve.

If you follow that to the logical conclusion, I won't need to tell you what the Catholic Church has coming to it.

Fortunately, however, I find few Christians give anything religious very much thought.
Mrs. B: "Fortunately, however, I find few Christians give anything religious very much thought." It's hard to imagine you have any religious Christian friends, or you wouldn't believe, much less say, that. I, fortunately, do have religious Christian friends, so I can tell you with confidence that your statement is false. I have to assume that it is also insulting.
Jack: Not only don't I care that Christians think I am going to hell, I also don't care what they believe will happen at the Rapture. My Goodness, if Jesus does return to earth, doesn't that mean that we Jews have been really wrong (to put it mildly). I'll be the first one to convert at that point. I just don't think it will ever happen.
Mrs. B: I think perhaps you mean "default" Christians. By which I mean most Americans who aren't Jewish or something else. Lots of people are "Christmas and Easter" Christians who, you are right, probably don't give religion much thought. I think when we say "Christian", we mean people who are actively committed to Christianity, go to Church, etc. Those kind of Christians frequently give their religion daily thought. For example the "what would Jesus do" jewelry and the like.

From a personal standpoint I don't give a rat's ass what they think about my beliefs, but at the same time I cannot help but wonder if that impacts their treatment of us. Some people are not open and progressive enough to look at people as people and if they think that you are going to hell the manner in which you are treated may be different.

I know from experience that this is true with some of the bible thumpers that I have worked with. I cannot quantify this and say that all Xtians believe this or that even a large percentage do, but I am saddened to know that there are people who do.

I also know members of our own tribe who look down upon nonmembers. I think that this is just shameful behavior. This is all part of why I like keeping religion separate from gov't.
Guess I'm just lucky. I've met people who thought I was going to hell, even people who thought Jews had horns, but they were pleasant. I've only once been called an anti-Jewish name and that was by someone missing teeth, so I didn't give it too much credibility. More to come.
Everyone thinks they are right: Christians, Jews, atheists, Republicans, Democrats, me, you. It’s not surprising (or interesting) that people who think one thing get into conflicts with people who think the opposite. It is more interesting (in my opinion) to seek the truth, because opposing viewpoints cannot both be right. Whatever you believe, you should know why you believe it and you should know the arguments for and against it.

There are all sorts of Christians. Some say “The Jews are in trouble. I should help them.” Some say “The Jews are in trouble. F--- them.” Some say “The Jews are not in trouble.”

I suppose there are all sorts of Jews. Some say “I don’t care about the Christians. I’ve got my own problems.” Do any say “The Christians are in trouble. I should help them?”
Oven: I don't think so, because Judaism believes that Christianity is a valid path to God, so no Jews think that all Christians are hell-bound. That's part of the reason you don't find us going door to door turning people on to Judaism. We don't think they're in trouble.
Truth is, we don't do much outreach to non-Jews at all. When's the last time you saw a Jewish group handing out monotheism leaflets outside of a Hindu temple or something? Or at a wiccan ceremony? I'm not sure why that is... I guess the Jewish groups who spend their time on outreach have enough to do just trying to bring their fellow Jews back into the fold.
I wouldn't mind handing out monotheism pamphlets at pagan ceremonies. That would be cool! I gotta think with the bright people that comment here we could come up with some good stuff.

Dear Pagan:

I am sorry to inform you that what you call your religion is actually idolatry. There is only one God and you... well you just ain't worshiping Him. Please convert at your earliest convenience to Judaism, Christianity or Islam, lest you spend any more precious time on the wrong path.

Thank you.

Good? It's just a first draft.
Jews think that Christianity is a valid path to God? Interesting... and enlightened. That's not what I would have guessed, particularly if sitting in a Christian worship service is Jewish kryptonite.

Mormons visit me sometimes. I'm nice to them, so I think I get special attention. They've done a genealogical background on me, they've given me a Book of Mormon, and they keep asking me to visit. I always tell them that my family and I are committed to the local Protestant church, but I appreciate what they're doing and I wish them good luck. It takes some of my time, but these guys probably get a lot of doors slammed in their faces and I can be a friendlier person than that.
Oven: I used to be friendly to missionaries too, except Jews for Jesus. Those guys just piss me off! Now, I typically don't have the time. Also, I guess they have discovered that they don't get many converts over here, so they don't come around as much.
Oven: I still think you are missing the big picture about what Jews believe about Christianity. Actually, kryptonite is a great example. It's bad for Superman but harmless to humans. Now, replace "kryptonite" with "Jesus." It is dangerous to Jews, but beneficial to Christians Get it?
Related commentary here.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger