Would what Missionaries say to you even sound COHERENT, let alone plausible, if you were Jewish?!
It’s not a question of being coherent. Most Jews know what Christianity is all about – Lord knows, Christianity has had plenty of PR explaining itself. And missionaries who are specifically aiming at Jews are usually well-armed with arguments. And many, many Jews are not well-educated in their religious tradition. The website that True Blue Jack mentions has the counter-arguments to what missionaries say. The problem is that one must be very well educated to make those counter-arguments.
For example, the angelfire website quotes Biblical verses in Hebrew and talks about mistranslations. The problem is that the missionary approaches Joe Jew with some of these mistranslations, and Joe Jew is not well-versed in Hebrew, doesn’t know the differing translations, and doesn’t know the answer when told that Jesus fulfils Jewish biblical messianic prophecies.
I wish that the missionaries came across as incoherent. Then, they wouldn’t be effective. Instead, they often target poorly educated Jews who have no defense.
I find it surprising that the “corrected translations” that the evangelists use to convert Jews successfully describe Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecies found in the Torah. I was raised Christian and I pat their heads condescendingly when they try it on me.
“That passage in the New Testament shows fulfillment of OT prophecy?” THWAP “Bro, it is obviously made up after the fact to give the illusion that Jesus in specific had been foretold. Look at how it was twisted, shoved, and shoehorned in.”
But I make a lousy Christian.
Five years of Hebrew school, and my Hebrew still sucked. But I’m not sure it is necessary. It is hard to describe how absolutely absurd Christianity sounds when you aren’t raised in it - one level above a cargo cult.
For one thing, when you’ve prayed directly to God for a long time, being told you have to go through Jesus sounds really stupid. One thing the link mentions is that the role of the Messiah is very clear, and Jesus ain’t it. Again, as long as you don’t get a mistranslated Bible, you don’t need Hebrew.
Yeah, I agree, Voyager, it’s fairly easy to reject the need for an intermediary, or the notion that God would lie (by saying the Torah laws were eternal and then changing His mind), and various other aspects of Christianity that missionaries use. My point was that some of their arguments are far more subtle (the use of a plural word for God, for instance) to refute.
Basically, Jews who are reasonably educated in Judaism can reject these approaches. Jews who are not – especially teens or college-age folks looking for answers – are often easy prey for the evangelists.
A coherent argument?
Evangelists could attack the measureable dishonesty of creationism. Now wouldn’t that be amusing?
I fired off the OP in some haste yesterday, being limited to a few minutes left in a one hour session. I think I should give some clarification, and perhaps some background.
I’m not a Jew myself and was for the first half of my life unfamiliar with the Jewish point of view as expressed by Jews. (The latter is redundant, of course. I just mean to emphasize that what is put in the mouths of Jewish believers doesn’t count - I heard plenty of THAT!)
My own background was Christian, with some part influenced by all three major branches. Eventually, though, I had to admit that the Christian Bible had several clear contradictions that were significant.
The point of the site is that it is a compilation of some of the most serious problems with traditional Christianity - it’s effective denial of its foundation, the Tanach.
Also, I have developed some appreciation for the sentiments of believers in Judaism who have been button-holed by missionaries, especially when it is a matter of specific targetting.
The idea is not that EVERY Jew will, can and has found missionary talk immediately repellant to the mind. (The very fact of appreciable numbers of converts such as J4Js would invalidate that.) It’s just that it has happened to me that if one is a solid Jewish believer with some depth of understanding and wit one would be very, very resistant to say the least. And be able to express it well enough, depending on the individual personality.
Perhaps INCOHERENT was too strong a word to imply. Maybe it would have been better to leave it off at implying IMPLAUSIBLE. And then with the above qualification.
Also my choice of question phrasing sounds like everybody reading it would be a non-Jew. While I definitely meant it to be challenging to Christian believers, especially those who are inclined to be “missionary-minded” I of course am interested in the Jewish believer input.
And I certainly want to avoid putting any words in their mouths. Although at this point in my life any such blundering would be well intended, rather than intellectully hostile.
Actually an article in Heeb gave the annual number of Jews converted by J4J. It’s a rather tiny amount
Most of them were probably high as kites when they “converted” and didn’t even know what they were doing.
In N.T. times Jews were taught by Apollos with nothing but the O.T. scriptures. The N.T. had not been written at that time.
Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
If missionaries taught from the scriptures as Apollos did they might have better results!
If you would take the time to read the Bible with an open mind you just might learn something worthwhile.
Springears How exactly would reading the Bible make it clear that Jews converted by J4Js weren’t high?
As I often mention, I live in a neighborhood filled with Soviet Jews. Since the Soviet Union had all those fun policies about Jews, many know little about their religion. Still, they left the USSR because they wanted to be free to be Jews. The J4J’s prey on these people, using their lack of knowledge and offering various kinds of assistance to draw them in. Then, they teach them Christianity while claiming to be teaching them about Judaism. The converts of J4J fall almost entirely into two categories- Jews with very little knowledge of Judaism, and those folks who have decided that they really, really, want to shock their parents.
It wasn’t that long ago that I came across something elsewhere along the lines that one only needed an “open mind” in studying the Gospels to see that there really were no contradictions in the Resurrection accounts. :rolleyes:
Naturally that statement was immediately torn to pieces. Since then I’ve been alert to pleas for “open-mindedness” from dogmatists.
Let’s put the question of “open-mindedness” to the test.
Back in college I came across a single piece of literature explaining Judaism’s reaction to J4Js and other missionaries. It wasn’t tremendously well written and used analogies such as “Democrats for Nixon”. Nevertheless I read it in its entirety.
Be honest now. Did you even read the site I provided? Or most of it?
But this is exactly the problem. The Christian interpretation of the Scriptures looks, to many Jews, to be full of mangled misreads, translation errors, and complete obliviousness to basic Jewish theology on things like the forgiveness of sin, sin sacrifice, and so on. There’s no reason to think that Apollos’ case was any different: sloppy re-interpretations of Scripture that convinced people who weren’t literate or well schooled enough to disagree.
WOW. Jesus gives all that to us, and he doesnt ask anything in return. “Well, he does want you to sign this petition to re-criminalize medicinal marijuana.”
There’s a Simpsons quote for everything
I admit to being terribly ignorant of both Christian and Jewish faith. From an outsider’s perspective, they have more similarities than differences. Is the main fundamental difference the use of/significance of Jesus?
Are there more fundamental differences?
From an outsider’s perspective, and in my experience (I hung out with missionaries a fair bit in rural Japan) I’ve found it odd that missionaries concentrate on people who already believe in God. Surely they should be concentrating on heathens like me instead.
Yeah, JC would be the main difference. Jews don’t believe the messiah has come yet, and that he will not be divine. Christians do not follow a whole bunch of the laws in the OT, believing that Jesus fulfilled the law and released them from it. So, Christians feel no need to keep kosher etc. One of the the other major differences is the Trinity. In Judaism G-d is one, and indivisibly one. (This is the short Jewboy explanation of the Trinity. Feel free to correct or expand this) To Christians, G-d is one and He is also three.
One of them; some would argue it’s the main one, but I think there are others. For example, the Christian faith makes more of a big deal about death and the afterlife; the concept of Hell is described in detail and played upon by preachers and pastors as it has been for centuries, as well as the concept of a heaven for those who, depending on the religion, have done good works and/or have complete salvation by faith in Christ (Catholicism is more oriented towards good works, and repentence/confession and not upon the pure saving grace of Christ as, for example, born-again Baptists are.)
The Jewish religion has far less of an emphasis on the afterlife, something that has been debated for centuries by the prominent rabbis and scholars of the faith. Some say Hell is simply an exclusion from God, an afterlife without the love of God, others believe it is a dark, gloomy cave (rather than a fiery pit,) some believe it to be simply the end of all thought and existence as your soul is destroyed by God. Heaven is thought by some to be manifested in a ressurection of faithful Jews after the return of the Messiah (who Christians, obviously, believe already came in the form of Jesus Christ.) Others do not believe in a heaven. Most reform Jews do not believe in either heaven or hell.
The Jewish religion is not obsessed with the concept of sinning: the word sin itself comes from an ancient Hebrew archery term meaning “missing the mark”: Many Jews believe that sin is less something to be deadly afraid of and more something to work on correcting. The lack of emphasis on a fiery hell where sinners suffer awful tortures may contribute to this attitude.
Orthodox Jews also follow more stringent rules and regulations to life. For example, the Kosher laws, which are far more complicated than just not eating ham or cheeseburgers. My Orthodox cousins on my mother’s side, for example, will not eat meat off the same plate that cheese was on; they even have different sections of their kitchen for dealing with the two items and they will use different towels for washing the different plates. Jeez! (I don’t understand how this negates the fact that the milk and meat will be mixed together in the stomach.) The whole requirement comes from the idea to “not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk” which I think is a bit specific to draw from “not eating a cheeseburger.” But what the hell. To each his own.
Actually there are a lot of rabbinic opinions on how long one should wait after eating, many suggest rather long waits(up to 6 hours after eating red meat) specifically to prevent the stuff mixing in the stomach…
First of all, to point out the obvious, you’re quoting from what is, essentially, a book of Christian propaganda (yes, the NT has propaganda in it).
Secondly, it is not possible to find Jesus in the OT without being dishonest, or least without misundertanding certain things. Whatever Apollos did, he did with manipulation and a healthy helping of eisogesis. That’s not to say that Apollos was not necessarily sincere, but that he was using highly subjective techniques.
The Hebrew Bible, when properly understood, says nothing about JC. As a matter of fact, JC quite plainly did not fulfill the expectations of the Messiah as they are outlined in the Tanakh.