Israel arrests suspects in torching of Church of Loaves and Fishes

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A nun looks at damage caused by a fire in the Church of Loaves and Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel June 18, 2015. Photo by Baz Ratner courtesy of Reuters

A nun looks at damage caused by a fire in the Church of Loaves and Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel June 18, 2015. Photo by Baz Ratner courtesy of Reuters

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Rabbis for Human Rights say there have been 43 hate crime attacks on churches, mosques and monasteries in Israel and the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since 2009.

  • Be Brave

    Just teach real history about the real Christians in the first century of The Church. They were hounded, harassed and attacked by pagan Romans and Jewish zealots. Christians now, acting like Christians should, are not going to be the life of an anti-Christian party. And that includes the horrors committed by “political Christians” (against many peoples including Christians) from Constantine to Scott Walker.

    Why would we expect anything to change? Mankind shows that “we” are no different than anyone in the past. Our cell phones and highways just makes for depravity to be instantly widespread. Worshipping Molech in Instant Messaging.

    “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

    Yup.

  • Susan

    I have read the New Testament and I found it to be hateful to Jews and Judaism. Mostly it made me feel sick to my stomach.

  • Jack

    Susan, a part of the reason is that one particular Greek word is repeatedly mistranslated throughout the New Testament. Modern translations are just now beginning to deal with the problem, even though it’s been known for decades.

    The Gospel of John has been most affected by it, because it appears about 70 times there.

    Read carefully and understood correctly, the New Testament is anything but anti-Semitic. In fact, its final book describes heaven as having 12 gates, with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel eternally inscribed on them. Its final book also depicts Jesus as returning to destroy the nations who hate Israel and will try to destroy her. That same book depicts the Jewish people as a radiant woman who is protected by God, and Satan as the author of anti-Semitism.

    But Christendom’s history of anti-Semitism, through its embrace of replacement theology, is undeniable. That’s a story in itself.

  • Jack

    That’s a very good solution, but they need to read the most modern translations of the New Testament…..Most translations from the past are laced with theological anti-Semitism.

  • Jack

    Susan, even with the flawed translations, there are obvious points in the New Testament that are the opposite of what you just said.

    For example, the 11th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Roman church is a masterfully shrewd refutation of the anti-Semitic belief that God has rejected the Jewish people. In it, Paul takes every aspect of that argument, gives it more than its full due, and still manages to destroy the argument. Basically, he refutes it even after deliberately tying one hand behind his back.

    And consider the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel — where the main characters in those chapters, including Jesus’ mother, Mary, are praising God in an unmistakably Jewish way and calling for God to uphold their people against the haters.

    And regarding the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, the church in Europe was so disturbed about its pro-Jewish tone, it considered ways of tossing it out of the New Testament canon.

  • London

    As a Jew who has read the NT in Greek several times – this is not true. Anti-Semitism is a key part of the message of the NT, though thankfully less common among Christians themselves than it once was.

  • Jack

    The perpetrators obviously think they’re the Maccabees….but they’re a bunch of foolish clowns, probably from America and probably a part of Kahane’s old bunch.

  • Jack

    Actually, that’s not the case if you’re reading a translation that gets a key word or two correct.

    The key is to read it unmediated, as the actual writers intended, and without the intervening 19 centuries of anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish teachings.

  • Jack

    London, if you have read the NT in Greek, you should know about the controversy over the Greek word, ioudaioi, which is pivotal to what we’re now talking about.

    The translators throughout history erroneously rendered it as “Jews” when contextually, it usually meant “Judeans,” as opposed to “Galileans,” especially in John’s Gospel, which was clearly written from the perspective of a writer who was quite evidently a Galilean, who used the words as short-hand for the then-corrupt priestly leadership centered in Jerusalem, Judea’s capital.

    There’s an obvious way to check this: Pull out sentences in that Gospel that contain the word, and substitute “Judeans” for “Jews” to see how the sentences read as a result.

    You might be surprised by what you find.

  • Larry

    Not for nothing, but the New Testament may have been the motive for the arson in the first place. 🙂

  • Larry

    So every church short of the Quakers was just “reading it wrong” for centuries when they made antisemitism an official part of their doctrines. Doesn’t say much for the clergy within the faith. What else are they intentionally mistranslating in order to promote hatred?

  • Jack

    We agree. Once the generation of the apostles died out, the church began the long process of dejudaizing itself, until what began as a family dispute among the Jews over whether a particular Jew was the Messiah became a dispute between Greco-Romanized Christians and Jews.

    The old anti-Semitism of the pagan world found its way into the church and one of the results was replacement theology, which in its most virulent form said that God had rejected the Jews and that the church was the new chosen people of God.

    This of course flatly contradicted the plain words of Paul, who, writing more than a half century earlier, expressly refuted that notion in the 11th chapter of his letter to the Romans. He asked, “has God rejected” the Jews? And he answered, “May it never be” and then went on to show how, even if we grant the claims of the nay-sayers, the Jews remain God’s people. He refuted them with one hand deliberately tied behind his back.

  • larry

    I was being sarcastic. I find your argument to be unconvincing. Just because you are willing to interpret scripture in a more socially acceptable fashion doesn’t mean it can’t or hasn’t been interpreted much much differently.

    I don’t give a flying crap if people who are committing bad acts and atrocities in the name of their faith are “true” or “authentic” believers. Its a distinction which means nothing for those on the receiving end of religious inspired hate.

    Those who are “reading it right” somehow are always so few and far between as to not matter one bit. If the overwhelming majority of believers are reading their scripture in one way, it becomes the only way which matters for anyone else.

    It doesn’t matter that you think Paul contradicts antisemitism when almost 2000 years of organized Christianity has said otherwise (and much of it still does). Nobody else in the faith seems to take your assertions seriously. Therefore its an irrelevance.

  • Susan

    Jack, the NT completely distorts who the Pharisees were and what they stood for. That is an ant-Jewish element that you have completely ignored. I have gone into explaining why in other places on this web site. I will just say that the Pharisees were deeply religious men. They wanted to sanctify everyday life. The Pharisees believed that saving a life trumps Jewish law, but you would never know that from the NT. I would recommend that you read anything by Amy Jill Levine, a Jewish scholar of the NT at Vanderbuilt U.

  • Jack

    Larry, I’m sure I’m not the first person to notice that you have a foolish habit of commenting on matters about which you know little or nothing, and trying to bluff your way through.

    What you end up doing is calling attention to your ignorance on a subject, rather than making people think you actually know something about it.

    On the subject at hand, the only thing that matters is what the writers intended to say when they said it. Your post has nothing to do with that question, so you come off as mumbling in a corner to yourself as opposed to saying something productive and useful.

  • Jack

    Susan, I have addressed that issue in other places on this web site as well. I specifically defended the Pharisees against a poster who used the word disparagingly.

    I agree that Christendom has a very distorted and negative view of the Pharisees and every chance I get, including on these boards, I oppose that view. But what I don’t agree with is the claim that a careful reading of the NT yields that view. Jesus made quite clear in a particular passage that the Pharisees sat in the seat of Moses, thus acknowledging their interpretative authority. He ate meals with Pharisees regularly. He had friends who were Pharisees, and his style, method, and content of teaching was closer to the Pharisees than to the Saduccees.

    Yes, I have read Amy Jill Levine, who a couple of years ago edited a groundbreaking New Testament commentary from Jewish scholars. I liked the fact of diversity of opinion therein.