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Reform Judaism/Christian exclusivity

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Question
Is Christian exclusivity the cause of all the hatred and hubris we see today in the world of American politics and life?

Answer
Joel thank you very much for your kind question. You asked is Christian exclusivity responsible for the evils and hatred so apparent in American politics and society today?

While clearly overstated (and I suspect you intended it that way) , I understand your question and concern.

As you probably already know, Judaism believes that the righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come. This is not to say that we Jews, like all faiths,  do not have some internal housecleaning to do, however this is another kettle of fish.

What you may not know is that Islam has a similar tenant. Muhamad, in his later years, stated "to me my religion to you yours".

The main problem I see with Christian exclusivity is that it divides rather than unites. The very messianic ideal that they claim to have found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Jeremiah 31:45,  Zechariah 14:9) is indeed one marked by the brotherhood of man and peace among all nations with the clear understanding that the God that Israel is the one true and living God.

In one of my favorite Friday night Sabbath prayers, I pray "Lift the clouds of ill will that divide our world into hostile camps and let all men learn to revere Thee and do Thy will with a perfect heart". Therein lies the true messianic hope.

Christians will tell you that they too believe in this unity,  but of course it is unity under their god Jesus, not the God of Israel.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, I heard several pastors say that what we need on most now is a deep respect of and love for life, one in which every individual recognizes that they are made in the divine image and are a child of God.

To us, the true answer to universal brotherhood is unity whereas Christianity, especially the fundamentalists, insist it is dividing. So in reality, unity is on their terms.

In my own interactions with Christian fundamentalist and exclusivists, I have heard them tell others who were not Christians that they were not children of God and I've also had some Christians actually get hostile when I have called them 'brother' or 'sister' because I am a Jew and not a Christian.

Of course on the other side of the coin it's important to know that Christians feel it their divine obligation to preach the gospel to everyone and to the fundamentalist Christian their faith would fall flat on its face if there was any other way to God besides Jesus. There is hope, however, as more and more progressive Christians come to the belief that "all mountains reach for the stars".

Fundamentalism and radicalism are dangerous regardless from whose camp it comes. I generally try to eschew any interaction with these people and run quickly in the other direction when they wish to tell me THE truth.

Maybe someday we will get past the point of the "my God is bigger than your God" arguments and truly form one brotherhood and finally all people know that the HaShem is God. May it be so in our lifetimes,  amen.

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Ovadiah ben Avraham

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All questions pertaining to Judaism in general; medical and ethical Halakhah; New Testament theology as it pertains to Judaism. I am committed to both interfaith relations and counter-missionary arguments. Indeed, if one looks closely, there is no contradiction. My right to swing my arms ends where your nose begins. We can discuss without malice and possibly even learn something from one another.

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Yeshiva and self-study.

Organizations
Havaruah Kol Ami (Conservo-Reconstructionist Minhag)

Education/Credentials
Doctorate Degree

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