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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Jews and Christians
Good stuff from Dennis Prager in the LA Times:

For Jews, it is axiomatic that people should be judged by their behavior, not their theology.

But guess what? That's exactly what most Jews do to evangelical and other Christians.

The same Jew who passionately and loudly protests Christians who judge people by their theology rather than by their deeds turns around and judges Christians by their theology, not by their deeds.
I rushed off to read the article, because I needed to know what specific, objectionable theology Mr. Prager had in mind. And now that I've read the article, I have to agree — Mr. Prager presents a strong argument in support of his position.
The painful thing is that I see a lot of this in the Jewish blogosphere: Jewish bloggers who basically criticise Christians simply for professing Christianity or are offended by proselytizing. Why be offended by someone offering you his beliefs? The only reason is if you’re not sure why you believe what you believe.

I love Dennis.
The one that really gets me are the people who don't like evangelical support for Israel because of Christian "end of days" beliefs. Basically, I figure if Jesus does come back and the whole "left behind" scenario comes to fruition, I'll be one of the first in line to say "oops looks like I was wrong." Why does it matter *today* what religious Christians believe will happen at the next reign of Jesus on earth?
I find that non-Orthodox Jews sometimes resent Orthodox Jews for similar reasons that Jews resent Christians -- they seem to resent anyone who is really convinced that he is right (with the corresponding implication "and you are wrong").

The prevailing orthodoxy(small "o" but I use that word advisedly) is that NO ONE is actually "right" -- "There is no truth, there are only opinions." That's the only principle they believe is actually true.

The corollary is that we should all be tolerant of whatever anyone else wants to do -- and I think that's the unspoken emotional appeal of the religion of "there is no truth." It means that anyone can do whatever he wants with no fear of shame or disapproval. There is no such thing as being "wrong."

Radical tolerance has its limits though: the infinitely tolerant are highly INTOLERANT of people who do not assent to the truth of the proposition that "There is no truth."
Welcome to the world. Still: asshattery crosses all theological lines. Don't single out Jews- take a look at your average calvinist if you want to see hypocrisy.

All you can do as an individual is try not to judge.

great post. great responses, too. I'm amazed by the people who can't discuss theology without resorting to character asassination or blows. Nice to see.
I love Dennis Prager! And I'm a Christian.

Toby Katz, Dr. Bean, B&C, so true!

I think most non-Christians, especially liberal ones IME, get really steamed that anybody believes they're going to hell. I had a neighbor in college who figuratively backed me into a corner to make me admit I though she was destined for hell, just so she could be mad at me for it. But the point is, Christians don't WANT to believe that. Nice, loving Christians (as opposed to the kind at Westboro Baptist 'church') come to the belief about hell sadly, wishing to justify some different doctrine. They share their beliefs out of love, not self-righteousness. But often they're drowned out by such hatred as, "God hates gays!".

og, how is calvinism hypocritical? I only know a little about it.
I have to admit that the "God hates shrimp" posters are kinda funny.
Kiwi, all you have to do is spend some time in the company of a hardcore Southern baptist or a pentecostal and you'll know. Jews murdered Jesus, Catholics worship Satan, yadda yadda yadda. Only they are going to heaven, because their preacher told them so. Of course, he had to remove a whopping chunk of the bible to arrive at this conclusion. You get the picture. There are good decent people of all faiths, but the moment ANYONE tells you "you are going to hell because of X, and we aren't because of Y, and your way of worshipping is wrong and mine is right" has utterly missed the point.
toby, I don't know how, but I fully followed your argument there, and agree.

I think.

og, I don't think that's Calvinism, I think that's just your garden variety fanaticism.
Perhaps- but in my experience (and sadly, I have a LOT of it) fanaticism and calvinism go hand in hand. You're certainly correct in this respect, you don't have to be a calvinist to be a fanatic. Nor are all calvinists fanatic`s.
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