Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

What is ‘Judeo-Christian,’ anyway?

As if it needed defending, this past week President Trump announced that he will be making sure that we stop attacks “on Judeo-Christian values.”

Whatever those values might be.

And when did “Judeo-Christian” become a thing?

As fellow columnist Mark Silk has said, the notion of a “Judeo-Christian tradition” comes into existence before World War II. It was a way of counteracting the fascist use of “Christian” as code language for anti-Semitic.

But, it had unique utility in American life. In 1952,  President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed: “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith — and I don’t care what it is.”

This was when “In God We Trust” appeared on our national currency. This was when “under God” made it appearance in the Pledge of Allegiance.

And why? Because we now had a new enemy. Soviet Communism was atheistic. We had to emphasize that we were different, that our culture had a different source of energy. But, pay attention: the proliferation of religious institutions did not mean that there was an equal growth in American spirituality. American religion was pretty bland. It was “faith for the sake of faith.”

“Faith for the sake of faith” fit well into the post-war suburban expansion. For the first time, Jews and Christians lived in close and peaceful proximity to each other. Every Main Street in every emerging suburb had its Catholic Church, its Protestant church, and its synagogue.

That is how we wound up with “Judeo-Christian.” Basically, it allowed Jews into the “country club” — if not the real tennis and golf country club (that would come later), then at least the formerly restricted “country club” of American culture.

“Judeo-Christian” was a bone that America threw to the Jews, letting us think that our religious faith was an equal partner in American life. When you consider that American Jews never constituted more than three percent of the American population, it seemed like a rather generous move.

And because American Jews were (rightly) sick to death of being other, and being persecuted, we parroted “Judeo-Christian” along with everyone else. It meant that Jews were strangers no more, that we were not peripheral, that we were ready for prime time.

But, in fact, this was never the case.

Oh, yes, of course — schools would close for the Jewish High Holy Days. You could get matzah in supermarkets. Jews made their famous contributions to American culture.

But, religiously? Not so much.

America’s default religious culture was — and continues to be — Christian. This, despite the massive demographic challenges that non-Christian religions have posed to the American body politic.

And, even still: an avowed agnostic or atheist would have a lot of trouble getting elected to a high American office.

Moreover: despite our society’s avowed “Judeo-Christian” cultural heritage, Jewish thinkers and specifically Jewish texts get short shrift in the public consciousness. You can be a literate American without knowing anything about Jewish thought.

The books of the Hebrew Bible (and, please, not “Old Testament”) and the books of the Christian Bible? Sure. At the very least, they make guest appearances in the New York Times crossword puzzle.

But, 21 down, “book of Jewish wisdom,” six letter word — Talmud?

14 across, Jewish thinker, five letter word — Buber?

I don’t think so.

When it comes to Judaism as being part of the American canon, Judaism is as disadvantaged as any non-Christian, non-Western culture.

So, let’s be honest. “Judeo-Christian” does not really exist.

Shall we go further?

The whole notion of “Judeo-Christian” papers over some very real and crucial differences between the two faiths and the two cultures. Notions like the personage of Jesus of Nazareth; the meaning of religious law; the very essence of human nature — for starters.

And, even further: “Judeo-Christian” began as an elegant way of saying “We are believers; the Russians aren’t.” It had a political agenda.

It still does, in case you haven’t been paying attention. When contemporary politicians invoke the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” you can bet your electric menorah that what they are saying is “Judeo-Christian — and not Muslim, or Sikh, or anything else.

And so, Trump wants to defend “Judeo-Christian values,” along with girding on his armor for that imaginary “war against Christmas,” which was actually only (only!) a war for civility, politeness, and the affirmation of genuine American diversity — the recognition that not all Americans are Christian.

I invite you to join me in defending “Judeo-Christian” values as well. Especially (and, perhaps, only) if those values include such biblical greatest hits as:

  • Tzedakah for the poor
  • The vigorous pursuit of healing for those who are ill
  • Welcoming the stranger
  • The idea that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve, and are therefore deserving of dignity
  • The impartial pursuit of justice, for both the rich and the poor
  • The idea of limited monarchy — that the king or president is subject to the same laws as everyone else
  • Stewardship over the earth as God’s creation

And, if we were going to expand this list into post-biblical Jewish sacred literature, we might add the following notion:

Truth thrives on multiple opinions, each one wrestling with the others.

If that is what turns out to be the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” sure — sign me up.

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

110 Comments

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  • We need to go back to the “E Pluribus Unum” America. The “Judeo-Christian” and “In God we Trust” mottos were clearly put in place as a reaction against foreign adversaries and possibly even to disenfranchise domestic groups of people. This occurred during a 1950’s red-scare moral panic, at the same time God was added to pledges, etc.

    Judeo-Christian may be defensible as a cultural description…but “In God We Trust” should be buried — it is divisive, rude and likely unconstitutional…not to mention immoral.

  • I was always under the impression that Judeo-Christian was a recognition of the fact that Christians and Jewish worshiped the same God, the 10 Commandments, that the Talmud (OT) was precious to both. The only difference is Jesus, who btw is also Jewish. That through the divinity of Jesus and his Jewish heritage and birth, we who believe in Jesus have “come into the fold” to receive God’s salvation.

  • The judaeo part of judaeo Christian is needed, because without throwing a bone of legitimacy to the Old Testament, Christianity is worthless. Of course, they have managed to take all of the inconvenient parts of the OT and magick them away. Don’t like the dietary laws? here’s the Scripture which allows that bacon sandwich or shrimp cocktail. Notice that the same words apply to that bacon sandwich or shrimp cocktail as apply to the super duper extra horrible sin of doing the wrong thing with your dangly bits? Oh, those are moral laws that must be enforced. Point out the must-be-immoral sin of not believing the in the god of the Bible, with the prescribed death penalty? Oh, it doesn’t say that at all, because whenever the Bible says something inconvenient, it’s clear it means something else entirely.

    The fact that only fundamentalists believe in a literal Adam and Eve is highly revealing, because without them, Christianity is just another religion. The fundamentalists know this.

    and that is why hey can whatever they want to do.

  • And i don’t trust god. You never know when he’s going to send an earthquake, a tornado, or a Pat Robertson your way.

  • Values are necessary but they should not be based on false foundations religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam or any other religion for that matter.

  • I bought a package of Jimmy Dean pork sausage last month at Wal-Mart, along with microwavable brown/wild rice. Heat ’em all in the microwave, then mix ’em all together in a paper plate.

    Then you eat it up. Pure Christian Gourmet!! Give it a try sometime.

    (PS … Gay marriage is still Anti-Christian — and even “Anti-Judeo” for that matter.)

  • Youre minimizing Christ’s departure from Judaism. Youve rejected the concept of the ‘cornerstone’. Muslims believe in the same God and also heirs of Abraham. PUT NO GOD BEFORE ME = NO GOD BUT ALLAH.

  • Sorry…you are mistaken about the Talmud being the ‘OT’ i.e. Old Testament which we Jews refer to as the Tanach or Hebrew Bible. The Talmud is a series of commentaries that were codified many years after the Hebrew Bible was canonized. Christianity completely disavowed the Talmud and in fact, burned it in 1240. Matt McLaughlin is correct about Islam – it is considered the 3rd of the so-called Abrahamic Religions.

  • “Judeo-Christian tradition,” is what we call America’s civic religion. It’s fundamentals involve a pledge to a flag, the Declaration of Independence, a sense of fair play, manifest destiny and a bunch of other stuff. It is neither Jewish or Christian, but instead the common tradition that usually keeps the nation united. Most American religions can support it because it draws truth and inspiration from all of them. It is what keeps peace within the plurality. I know the focus here is on Judaism (certainly a minority in the religious mix in this country), but the greater value in civic religion is that it keeps various Christian groups for open warfare with each other.

  • “but the greater value in civic religion is that it keeps various Christian groups for open warfare with each other.”
    That, along with “At least we’re not as bad as the Muslims” is one of the more stunning indictments of Christianity in America that I have come across.

  • Well, you can always put them in jail, as you stated a few days ago. That’ll teach them to learn the truth much faster.

  • Are they practicing immorality Ben? Is that what you are trying to suggest? There is a difference between being a thief and pro-thievery.

  • The “truth” you assert is a belief based on nothing more than faith. And while faith can be important, some people are prone to mistaking their faith-based belief for truth. Being prone to illogic, they then use their unreasoned “truth” to justify the unjustifiable. No doubt, people who do this can be very dangerous. Please be careful.

  • I have to grade your civil religion paper a C- there, buddy. Mine was graded an A+ yesterday, but I cheated by copying the following verbatim:

    Excerpt from Robert Wuthnow, “Divided We Fall: America’s Two Civil Religions”, The Christian Century, April 20, 1988, pages 395-399:

    “Both the liberal and the conservative wings of American [civil] religion have a vision of where the U.S. should be heading. But the two visions are fundamentally at odds. The conservative vision seems to embody what Max Weber termed the ‘priestly’ function of religion, while the liberal vision expresses religion’s ‘prophetic’ function. The conservative vision offers divine sanction to America, legitimates its form of government and economy, explains its privileged place in the world and justifies a uniquely American standard of luxury and morality. The liberal vision raises questions about the American way of life, scrutinizes its political and economic policies in light of transcendent concerns and challenges Americans to act on behalf of all humanity rather than their own interests alone. Each side inevitably sees itself as the champion of higher principles and the critic of current conditions. The two versions of American civil religion appear to have divided along a fracture line long apparent in discussions of civil religion. That line is the inherent tension between symbols that express the unique identity of a nation and those that associate the nation with a broader vision of humanity.”

  • Mr. Salkin always seems to be having a bit of his cake and eating it too. He often objects to the history of Jews, here and elsewhere, being treated as the other, then boisterously enumerates the ways by which they are the other. I do not disparage otherness, it contributes to a rich cultural mixture of people, traditions, and points of view. It creates, or should, a positive dynamic tension. But as to Hamlet Mr. Salkin, less of it. And you need not concern yourself with Christianity being the default cultural position in these United States, that is changing very quickly, at least in every meaningful sense. It will not be displaced by “foreign” or “minority” faiths. It is being displaced by a growing secularism that is thriving amidst the doubts and fears of a world growing ever more uncertain. It’s champions applaud the thing, but the national road ahead appears to me to be dark, drear, and uneven; the chasm which lies at the end of that road is marked by the riven and shattered bridge of a cultural Christianity too weak to bear the load.

  • Take a look at your pocket change. If your coins say, “E Pluribus Unum” but don’t say, “In God We Trust”, then your coins are automatically counterfeit and worthess. Your nation is the same way.

    America will never see anything close to “E Pluribus Unum”, unless it first goes all-in on “In God We Trust.”

  • Base them on what then? Seriously, I’m curious. Upon what universal principle would you base your authentically rational humanist values? (Can’t use one found in religion, e.g. Golden Rule — you’ve already called that a “false foundation”.)

  • OTOH, he could also be misunderstanding the doctrine of supersessionism, whereby the Christian Church has supplanted the Jewish nation as the “chosen people”. That is the original intent behind Christianity’s “new covenant”. Yoikes seems to mean well; but his understanding is hampered by ignorance of the historical relations between religions, and the way doctrinal distinctions have been used and abused to support one side or another.

  • Hay, you’re a tough grader. I’m following the work of Robert N. Bellah, one for the first to popularize the idea of civil religion. The point of the above article and my comment is that civil religion is neither fully Jewish nor fully Christian. Sociologists since Bellah, as in your quote, will naturally further define civil religion (I’m guessing that you can find more than two branches were you to go looking for ways to split it up). But the point is the same. Civil religion is neither Jewish nor Christian, but draws thinking from both. While I don’t know how Islam might have influenced our civil religion in the past, I’m sure it will in the future. For years we’ve been hearing the three grouped together as the “religions of the book” in places we once would have heard “Judeo-Christian.”

  • There were times and places where Christian factions/denominations warred with each other as Sunni and Shiite Muslims do today. It happened right here in colonial America to a much less deadly degree. However, the “better angels” of our nature have over time brought toleration and something like peace to the Christian community. That and the fact that civic religion gives a way for join public expressions without favoring one group or another. Still our desire to respond to Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one” continues to war with the all too human tendency to partisanship.

  • I would prefer to think that what stopped whatever internecine Christian warfare was in fashion was the opposition to giving state power to the religionists to enforce their particular and peculiar theologies on people who didn’t share them. Unfortunately, there are those theocrats among conservative Christians who would like to see that happen again.

  • Why not? religion holds no patent on the obvious.

    Confucius came up with the golden rule 500 years before Christ.

  • You have to love that the very next thing Trump said after the “defending Judeo-Christian values” line was “you’re going to be saying Merry Christmas.” So much for the Judeo part. One of the reasons I wish people “happy holidays” is that I can’t be sure whether they are Christians, Jews (in the season of Hannukah) or nothing in particular, but gearing up for the New Year.

  • That doesn’t keep Trump from trying to whip up some triumphalism among his Christianist base. They may be going down, but they intend to fight.

    And let’s not forget that Bannon was right there championing the Judeo-Christian thing too. But he’s not much a champion of the first part. These men want a religio-nationalist identity they can manipulate.

  • Yep, because I want them to know that I am actually wishing them a good time, being focused on them. If I know their religion, then I’ll use that information. If I don’t, then it’s “happy Holidays”. Christians pushing their religion on people? Say it ain’t so!

  • Yep, Jeffrey’s main point is correct – that “judeo-christian” is just a fundamentalist dog-whistle meaning “Christian”, and explicitly excluding Muslims and anyone else. One point – Jeffrey, please don’t include creationism in “Jewish Values”, as you did here (Adam and Eve). Historically, taking that story literally was not required, going back to Maimonides and others. Today, very few Jews take that story literally. Here in the US, where there is tons of creationism (and Christians are evenly split), Jews oppose creationism 81 to 16 (almost the same rate as the non-religious, who are at 82 to 15). http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/chapter-4-social-and-political-attitudes/

  • Words are so important….

    “Jew” and “Israelite” are not synonymous. Josephus noted —

    Judea’s demographic makeup around the time of the Jesus Christ was primarily of Edomite ethnicity, as a result of Johanan Hycarnus’ forced conversion of the Edomites to Judaism in 130 BC and their absorption into Judean society, as recorded in “Antiquities of the Jews” Book 13: Chapter 9, Section1. http://www.perseus.tufts.ed

    http://www.perseus.tufts.ed
    Historian Flavius Josephus states in “Wars” Book 2, Chapter 8, Section 2 that of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essens, only the Essens were Israelites by birth, this indicates that the Pharisees and Sadducees (who Jesus Christ rebukes, e.g.in Matthew 16:1-4) were Edomite converts to Judaism, given Hycarnus forced conversion of Edom/Idumea to Judaism, and the fact that King Herod himself was an Edomite.

    So…..it is incorrect to call Christianity, “Judeo-Christian”.
    When Jesus “feared the Jews”, I hardly believe he feared His own Tribe.

  • Jesus [as] did *not* leave Judaism; he clearly said that the Law would not lose “one jot or one tittle” until the end of history [Matt. 5:18]. It was Paul, who never met Jesus in the flesh and hence cannot have been an apostle (Greek for “one sent forth, envoy, emissary”), who declared the Law inoperative upon believers in Christ [Romans 6:14-15].

  • Jeffrey did not take Adam and Eve literally, but consequentially. Rather than talking about “flood geology” or the age of the Earth, he immediately stated the moral consequence of the myth: that we are a single human race, a single family, and all hold the same worth in God’s eyes. I’m sure Maimonides and especially Rabbi Hillel would have concurred. Don’t look for fundamentalism where it doesn’t exist.

  • No disagreement from me. However, the request was for something good and moral that didn’t come from religion.

  • Paul found very little that Jesus had to say that he did not feel free to contradict, embellish, or make serviceable.

    The “law” said circumcision. Paul realized his product wasn’t selling to the Ews, so he made circumcision optional for the people who said, “keep that knife away from me.”

    Jesus said no divorce except for adultery. Paul said “there’s an exception. Let’s call it the Pauline exception.”

    Jesus said not one jot or tittle. Paul said, “here’s a basket full.”

  • But if the term “‘Judeo-Christian’ … had a political agenda” from the start”, so that “America’s default religious culture was – and continues to be – Christian”, and “Judaism [remains] as disadvantaged as any non-Christian, non-Western culture” – why then will “President Trump … be making sure [to] stop attacks ‘on Judeo-Christian values’ … [and] defend ‘Judeo-Christian values'” whose existence, by “default … continues” anyway?! Shouldn’t somebody please tell the guy to stop worrying about those “values” going away anytime soon?

    And “attacks” by whom, by the way? “Defend” against whom? “The Jews”? “American Jews”? The “avowed agnostic or atheist … elected to a high American office”? “The Russians”? “Any non-Christian, non-Western culture” such as the “Muslim, or Sikh”?

    You didn’t say, brother Jeffrey Salkin. How come? What is it that you’re not telling us here?

    I learned something new, though, and I thank you for that. That the term, “‘Judeo-Christian’ was a bone that America threw to the Jews, letting us think that our religious faith [i]s an equal partner in American life” when, in fact, “Judaism is as disadvantaged as any non-Christian, non-Western culture.” Mind, that “bone” gets thrown to me & my fellow born-again Christian brothers and sisters, too. It’s a very unsettling word, this “Judeo-Christian” myth, I call it. But now what you said makes sense. It was a political propaganda, and remains so to this day.

  • I like you already. I realized yesterday I didn’t insert 🙂 for lightening-up effect, but you got it. Phew. This is fun.

    Now I understand you better, about “civil religion [being] neither Jewish nor Christian”. Poor article guy, though, for thinking only the Jews got left out. Christians too, right? I know I am. Thing is, my fellow born-again Christian brothers and sisters don’t think so. They love this rendering unto Caesar and never mind God. Conservative civil religion will be the death of Bible Christianity, if not already.

    Interesting musing there about Muslims & American civil religion. Islamic civil religion will be the death of jihadism, and that’s a good thing, obviously. Which means, though, there’ll be more and more ecumenism and COEXISTENCE to the point of I don’t know. The death of monotheism, maybe? Coopting of atheism into it, too, perhaps. Maybe your fifth generation of grandchildren will confirm for us?

  • “Not about Jesus”, mos’ def. But what “Christian values” are there that are “not about Jesus”? Still “Christian”? Most progs say, But of course, and I’m the stupid and narrow-minded one. No, “Judeo-Christian Syncretic American Religion” is all about D.E.M.O.C.R.A.C.Y. whose god/demon is …?

  • Can’t go “imitating Christ”. C’est impossible, mon ami! God expects us only to bear the image of His own beloved Son, Israel’s Messiah. How? The prophets taught us how. The Messiah taught us how. His 1st apostles & disciples taught us how. Since the time of the Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers, however, everything got Lost in Translation starring Bill Murray. One of their disciples even claims, “Imitating Christ is the essence of Christianity”. Go figure.

  • Jesus is not the only difference between Christianity and Judaism AT ALL. You stating that it is with perceived authority is evidence of how useless the term Judeo-Christian is and solidifies the author’s point that while every American is Christian literate and Jewish illiterate due to Christian normativity.

    Your Old Testament is a version of our Tanakh, not the Talmud (of which there are multiple versions). The Christian trinitarian view of God is antithetical to Judaic monotheism (as is the Unitarian view as it still holds that God was able to become incarnate and imbue a human with divinity-God is absolute and indivisible Judaically). We have 613 mitzvot (commandments) we’re obligated to observe and follow laid out in Halacha (Jewish law) to the best of our abilities, not merely ten. ETA: Judaism doesn’t teach that you must be Jewish to be “saved” (salvation like that isn’t a concept in Judaism) or to be allowed in Olam ha’Ba (the World to Come). You can be a tzadik (righteous person) under Judaism and not be Jewish.

    In Christianity, Jesus’s sacrifice made Halacha unnecessary. Christianity is a universal, orthodox-based (concerned with the correct belief) fully open religion while Judaism is quasi-closed orthopraxic (concerned with the correct conduct) ethnoreligion tied to a peoplehood.

    I could go on and on about the differences between Christianity and Judaism (and that’s not even going into denominational differences or ethnogenesis/diaspora/movement differences within Christianity and Judaism.)

  • There is no Judeo-Christian tradition. Christianity evolved away from Judaism almost from the beginning, as evidence by the fact that almost no Jews in Palestine and very few in the Mediterranean basin followed the followers of Jesus. His message as his followers interpreted and preached it was not a Jewish message. In fact, Christianity abandoned its Jewish roots for Hellenic trappings. Thus, the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds are about Jesus’ miraculous birth and miraculous resurrection–the stuff of Hellenic myth and religion, not Judaic story. And what is in the middle? Absolutely nothing about Jesus’ teaching or healing in the Jewish tradition.

    More than the fact of this historical divergence are radical differences of value. One example among many: Judaism believes that God made the world good and that it remains good; Christianity believes that God made the world then and that it became bad by man’s sin–thus, the world is associated the flesh and the devil.

    The two faiths differ often quite sharply in attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, principles, practices, and values–which is not to judge from these differences one as superior or inferior to the other. Both should be respected; kludging them together in the phrase Judeo-Christian disrespects them both. They deserve better.

  • I challenge that Christianity is a universal religion. Christianity claims that salvation is open to all–but on the condition of accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Judaism claims that salvation is open to all who live righteously, minimally according to Noachic law, in effect, the rules later set forth as the last six or seven commandments; it claims that adherence to Jewish law is simply a better way to live righteously. So which is universal? I would say that, if the answer is defined by access to salvation, Judaism trumps Christianity because it makes no doctrinal demands as a pre-condition.

  • Only if one makes it so. To deny that there are not many religious permutations of Christianity, plenty of which are not reliant upon the transformative power of the cross, is to be unrealistic.

  • That’s not what universal means in this context. Universal meaning that anybody, regardless of what nation/people they belong to, can be a Christian. To be Jewish, you must be a Jew. Salivation isn’t a Judaic concept so I’m not sure why you’re using it in this way.

    Being a Noahide and following the noahide laws is not the same as being Jewish. While I agree with you that under Judaism you don’t have to be Jewish to be considered righteous (I literally said that in my comment above) I’m not sure what bearing that has on the Christianity being universal versus Judaism being closed and tied to a peoplehood. Christians are Noahides.

  • those who accept less than the 611 + 2 laws are called Noachides. and this, so called judaeo christian thing has been around since thomas jefferson spoke to a jewish group about separation of church and state.

    in order to observe all 613 laws, you must reside in Yesrael with The Temple. other wise you, have been demoted by ELOHEEM to being a Noachide. every time you, were sent into slavery, conquered, or dispersed you were being demoted. The San Hedreen, was the first congressional body made up of Kohaneem with a two party system. the us government, is modeled after this including a president and vice president administration.

    and if christians, do not know much about the jewish religion. whose, lack of communication fault is that?

    and The Religion, is not about being true to any religion, synagogue, mosque, church, person, or any other secular or non-secular religious movement. it is, supposed to be about being true to ELOHEEM here in The Physical Living Torah Happening again.

    judaeo christian,, is just a new name given to an old theme for separation of church and state. and It, is not supposed to be a separation of ELOHEEM G-D and State. we, are supposed to be discussing what is true from G-D, otherwise, it is your version of truth from the devils. we are suppose agree on, what is True or not true from ELOHEEM G-D. be-careful of the word G-D or g-d, since there are other g-ds it does not specify which g-d is being worshiped, being believed in.

    in fact jew, jewish, and judaism, are names of deceit given to the Yehoodeem, and Leveet (including Kohaneem)… when they, are not the same family tribes.

  • The word “universal” above my comment was not defined. So I can define and use it as I did.

    As for the rest, you really do not know much about Judaism. Anyone can become a Christian by conversion to the denominational creed and rituals of their choice. Anyone can become a Jew if they wish to convert to Judaism according to instruction and ritual. Jews have a notion of salvation, but it is not the Christian notion of salvation. Moreover, it is undeveloped and not really very important; Jews are about this life; for Jews, unlike Christians, “life is not a dress rehearsal.”

    Your second paragraph is confused. I was clear that Noachic law is not Jewish law, just that laws consistent with those articulated later in the Ten Commandments. Christians can be anything they want to be because Christianity has no “code of conduct.” “Love” one another means anything any culture or any individual defines it to be.

  • Which is exactly where I differ from them. I am quite firm in my Christian convictions, and I rather not have them linked to a form of nationalistic jingoism.

  • the most anti-Semitic books of their time were the Gospels. Chistianity is profane to Judaism, and vice versa.

  • The Jerusalem Church, not Paul, declared the Law not binding upon Gentile believers. The Jerusalem Church included the apostles, and James and Peter were named specifically among them.

  • I’m an Ashkenazi and Litvak Jew.

    Universal was defined by context. I described Judaism and Christianity and compared them and their component parts. When you convert to Judaism you become part of the Jewish people. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, a discrete ethnic group made up of subethnicities. Is the same true for Christianity, regardless of denomination? (One exception I can think of are Coptic Christians.) You say I don’t know much about Judaism, but none of what you wrote actually contradicts what I said.

    Since I’m so confused about Judaism, please inform me, a practicing Jew and part of the Jewish people, what the Jewish conception of salvation is? Because your short description of it is not at all what the Judaic concept of salvation it. It has nothing to do with eschatology or the afterlife at all. It’s also developed and very really important to Halacha and Judaism in general. Also what parts of my second paragraph are confused?

    Please tell me more about how much I don’t know about my own ethnicity and religion.

  • Being a Jew does not make one an expert on Judaism. Story: in a synagogue discussion of abortion, I heard a woman declare herself a Jew who knew that, because Jews value life, they do not approve of abortion. All three rabbis in the room–Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform–replied that, depending on the circumstances, Jewish law permitted abortions and that the Jewish definition of life is the moment of breach.

    I do not know why you are picking quarrels with me. Am I threatening your sense of being Jewish? It would seem so by your shift to talking about peoplehood. Whether Christians are a people or not, or Jews are a people or not has nothing to do with whether one can become a Christian and a Jew. I stated that salvation was attained differently by Jews and Christians, and that the Jewish notion of salvation was not like the Christian notion. I did not say that the Jewish notion was eschatological. You are too much looking for a fight to read with understanding and invoking your ethnicity in support of your views. Please drop it; I shall not reply in future.

  • I’m not sure how I’m picking a fight with you when you’re the one who first responded to me.

    You couched the Jewish notion of salvation within eschatology when you wrote: “Jews have a notion of salvation, but it is not the Christian notion of salvation. Moreover, it is undeveloped and not really very important; Jews are about this life; for Jews, unlike Christians, “life is not a dress rehearsal.”” I was reading with understanding as you put it.

    And I didn’t shift to talking about peoplehood; I’ve been talking about peoplehood since my first comment. (“Judaism is quasi-closed orthopraxic (concerned with the correct conduct) ethnoreligion tied to a peoplehood.”)

    Again literally nothing you’ve written has actually contradicted anything I’ve written. You seem to be the one picking a fight and not reading with understanding. All you’re doing is projecting on me what you, yourself are doing.

    I hope you have a restful night or rest of the day and actually act in a way that is in accordance with how you feel I am not acting.

  • Christian scripture states that the Lord God and his laws stay the same. Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

    Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

    Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

    Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

  • The Edomites were conquered by John Hycarnus who forcibly converted them to Judaism, and from then on they constituted a part of the Jewish people, Herod being one of their descendants.” [The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, New Revised Edition, 1966] https://christogenea.org/system/files/resources/StandardJewishEnc-Edom.PDF

    Jews began to call themselves Hebrews and Israelites in 1860″ — (Encyclopedia Judaica 1971 Vol 10:23) ♦ “Strictly speaking it is incorrect to call an Ancient Israelite a Jew or to call a contemporary Jew an Israelite or a Hebrew.” — (pg 3 of the 1980 Jewish Almanac). https://media.christogenea.org/images/wmfinck/1980-jewish-almanac-page-jewish-identity
    https://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Almanac-Richard-Siegel/dp/0553012657

    In Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9, Apostle John speaks of imposters who “say they are Jews, and are not” labelling them the “synagogue of Satan.”

  • Jesus Christ has NO racial relation to “Modern Jewry.” The Lord Jesus Christ was an Israelite from the tribe of Judah via his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary. Contemporary Jewry descends primarily from Edomites who were forcibly converted to Judaism 130BC, NOT from the Biblical 12 Tribes of Israel. The prophet Obadiah foretells the complete annihilation of Esau’s Edomite offspring, [which “Modern Jewry” descends from] in Obadiah 1:9, Obadiah 1:18.

    Historian Flavius Josephus: “Antiquities of the Jews” Book 13: Chapter 9, Section 1.
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0146%3Abook%3D13%3Awhiston+chapter%3D9%3Awhiston+section%3D1
    Hyrcanus took also Dora, and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their
    genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews;
    and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befel them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.

    The Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian Strabo further testifies to the colonisation of Judea by Edomite converts to Judaism in Geography [Book 16 Chapter 2 Section 34]. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0239%3Abook%3D16%3Achapter%3D2%3Asection%3D34

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

    John 7:13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

    John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

    John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

    John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

  • Then there is the Golden Rule which has no basis in religion but reiterated by many founders of religion:

    “As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule”, or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of “the ethic of reciprocity,” it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, “two-way” nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[1]

    Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 BCE) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept’s framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”.[7] According to Greg M. Epstein, “ ’do unto others’ … is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely.”[8] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.[9] In his commentary to the Torah verse (Hebrew: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך” ca.1300 BCE):”

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

    —Leviticus 19:18[10], the “Great Commandment”

    Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

    e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

    “I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors.”

    From Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, ” In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus.”

    See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

    And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said rule.

  • “As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule”, or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of “the ethic of reciprocity,” it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, “two-way” nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[1]

    Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 BCE) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept’s framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”.[7] According to Greg M. Epstein, “ ’do unto others’ … is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely.”[8] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.[9] In his commentary to the Torah verse (Hebrew: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך” ca.1300 BCE):”

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

    —Leviticus 19:18[10], the “Great Commandment”

    Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

    e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

    “I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors.”

    From Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, ” In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus.”

    See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

    And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said rule.

  • That’s not at all clear. He could well be taking them literally by what he wrote. With creationists shutting down science across the country, taxpayer money going to build creationist ministry centers including a giant ark, a creationist as Secretary of Education, and so on, would it not have been better for him to simply include a word or two making that clear, instead of giving implicit support to creationists and literalists?

  • Christianity had its birth as Judaism. Remember Jesus was a Jew, his parents were Jewish. That being said, Judeo Christian Values may be good for those of us who are Christian or Jewish, but as a nation we are diverse.
    There are many religions that have their followers who deserve our respect, even if these are religions that have tenets that we do not follow.
    What I fear is that VP Pence, should Trump no longer be in office, either due to impeachment of Amendment 25, would try to make his religion the religion that we all would be obliged to follow

  • Enjoy eating whatever you wish to eat, Floydlee.
    However, marriage equality is here to stay. You may discover that you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew or dear friend who is LBGTQ

  • While I respect your right to your views, Sandi, I have read your posts in the past and know that you are Evangelical. This is well and good for you, but many people hold differing opinions. Thus Marriage Equality is the law of the land. Many main line churches accept, in full inclusion, our LBGTQ sisters and brothers.
    I am old, Sandi, in my 80s, and I remember when the Evangelical Churches and this nation discriminated against our African American sisters and brothers, due to the color of their skin. This racism still exists, sadly, in our nation, but not so much in churches.
    Someday all churches will accept our LBGTQ sisters and brothers and do so with full acceptance, including the right/rite of marriage and ordination. However, yes, there will still be some homophobia left just as there still is racism in the minds of some.

  • You do realize when this was written, don’t you? It was written in a time when people only lived until 30 or 40 years of age, women had a high maternal death rate, and infant/child mortality was high. The people of that day needed to increase population, hence, since those who were gay or lesbian did not conceive, they decided that this was an “abomination.”
    Of course, other abominations were consuming of pork or shell fish. Both were contaminated in those days, and people became ill. Pork had trichinoisis, and shell fish contaminated by feces in the sea water close to shore where people bathed.

  • there is no comparison between skin colour – given by God, and the choice to wilfully sin against God

  • Matthew 15:11 “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

    Mark 7:18-19 “So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”

    (In saying this, the Lord Jesus Christ declared all foods clean.)

    Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

    Christian scripture says that God and his laws stay the same!

    Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

    Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
    Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

  • They did nothing of the sort. James and Peter accepted a compromise with Paul and Barnabas which included relaxing, *not* abolishing, the Law’s requirements. They did so in order to foster unity, because Paul was preaching total abrogation of the Law, which they wanted to avoid.

  • The Gospel of John, and some of the apocryphal Gospels are certainly anti-Semitic. But the Gospel I quoted from (Matthew) was clearly written by a Jew, and addressed to Jews in their own religious language. The predecessor of Matthew, known as the Q text, was little more than an assemblage of Hebrew Bible passages which the author claimed Jesus had fulfilled.

  • The word for Confucianism in Chinese is kung jiao, which means “the religion of Master Kung”. Thank you for playing.

  • There had never been any Torah requirements upon Gentiles to “relax.” Righteous Gentiles were held to the much simpler and more ancient Noahide standard. The Jerusalem Church decided there was no reason to alter that.

  • Actually, a better translation of Jiao is “teaching”. Confucianism is occasionally called a religion. Most do not.

    You’re welcome.

  • “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Clearly condones oral, but only if you swallow.

  • I’m sure the millions of Chinese praying in Confucian temples would agree with you.

    Seriously, there is actually a longstanding, strong connection between religion and education. Jesus was also referred to by disciples (lit. “students”) as _rabbuni_ (“my teacher”). From the other side, there is the explicitly religious behavior of “philosophical” schools like the Pythagoreans and the neo-Platonists. Better luck next week.

  • You realize you’ve now switched sides in this argument, right? By upholding the Noahide commandments — derived from the same source, in the same way, and carrying the same strength of obligation upon Gentiles as Halakha upon Jews — James the Just was a fortiori asserting the primacy of the Law, over and against Paul’s antinomian exhortations to “live by faith”.

  • Salvation does not come by following any law, whether Torah or Noahide. But faith that does not produce transformation is dead. Either the Spirit is present and at work or He isn’t.

  • And now you’ve doubled back to your Augustinian “cheap grace” — the central contradiction of Christian theology. If the Law doesn’t matter, why read the OT? If works don’t matter, why do them? It doesn’t add up. That’s why I left Christianity — too many Christians follow Paul & Augustine, not enough follow Jesus (as) and his brother James. If your theology doesn’t obligate you to strive to be a better person in *this* world — not encourage, not inspire, but require it as the only essential doctrine — it is the work of the Enemy. End of discussion.

  • “If the Law doesn’t matter, why read the OT?” To learn more about our Lord and how He works and what He wants.

    “If works don’t matter, why do them?” Out of love and loyalty to the one who paid for our salvation, of course.

  • I find it odd that no one seems to see the connection between the begining of the use of Judeo Christian as a term and the beginings of Zionism. Some how Christian got convinced the Zionist is on the same level as Christians. I think the tie is the Scofield bible. Zionism, Scofield Bible, and the term Judeo Christian, all start near the same time. This all seems to have the combined effect of creating an acceptance of the Jew and Christian as equal in the eyes of God. When the facts are there are Christian and non-Christian (we could be called the true Isreal). We need to treat the Jew and all others with love. But in no way should we condone their behaviors anymore that we should condone the behaviors of homosexuals.

  • Your premise is mistaken. There are decades separating these three things. ‘Judeo-Christian’ first appeared in print in 1939, coined by George Orwell. Cyrus Scofield published the first edition of his famous reference Bible in 1909. And the Hovevei Tsiyon (Lovers of Zion) began creating Jewish settlements in Palestine as early as 1870.

  • To the author of the article, regarding his belief that the president and/or king of a country should be subject to the same laws as the common citizens:

    Please get educated on what the meaning of “sovereignty” is. Sovereignty is the highest authority in the law, and is the source of the law, and so by necessity is above the law. It is a fundamental maxim of law that “the sovereign cannot be made subject to its own creation”.

    So if a king is the sovereign, then the king is above the law. In England, the Crown (rather, whoever is wearing the crown, i.e., the Queen currently) is the sovereign.

    However, in America, the people are the sovereign, because it is the body politic “We the People” who are the authors of the Constitution, which instrument gives the federal government its very blessing to exist. If the Constitution didn’t exist, the government would have no authority to exist. The Constitution delegates certain powers to the different branches of government, including certain powers to the Executive branch (the President). However, it is also a maxim of law that “powers delegated do not equate to powers relinquished”. So the mere fact that the Constitution delegates any particular powers to government does not at all mean that the People have relinquished those powers. The People still retain their sovereignty. So the President is not above the law, because he is not the sovereign.

    See how sovereignty works now?

  • You have to be ignorant if you do not recognize the attack on Judeo Christian values …. ironically even this article’s author shows some hate with comments like secret code language.

    I am NOT even religious but do find biased comments like this article to be rather offensive.

  • You sound rather obsessed and angry about religious beliefs. I am NOT religious but have no problem with others who do have strong beliefs… unless they are beliefs of hate such as Sharia Law Muslims.

  • Well, lets see current national polls show support for gay marriage at aobut 65%. current surveys of religious beliefs shows that about 70% of America is some sort of Christian.

    So, you’re right, in your very very very wrong way. PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR EVERYONE ARE ARROGANT.

    And losing. you have a niceday, dearie.

  • No, dearie. I am angry about gay kids killing themselves, and peaceful, law abiding, and productive citizens being attacked by so-called Christians ofr the “crime” of doing something with their genitalia that those Christians don’t approve of.
    sure, you’re not religious.
    the real question is, why are oyu reading year old posts and chasing after people?

  • I would hope we could all agree that this world’s biggest threat is the cult of Islam and not the petty bickering over the legitimacy of the Old Testament. We all know the ancient philosophers formed our laws and beliefs long before Jewish law took hold and branched off into Christianity. We were all Jewish at some point. Our historic documents may be lacking in some respects and have holes here and there but I would like to be on a unified side of Judeo-Christian believers when the Muhammad-loving cult tries to take over.

  • But, then, the Talmud and it’s goyim, and Jesus as the son of a whore. How do we reconcile?

  • John 19 and the Talmudists calling Caesar king, discounting the need for Messiah, and calling for the blood of Jesus to be upon their and their children’s head. Then there’s Romans 11 to deal with.

  • And yet orthodoxy never disagreed. Christian Zionism is based on the Scofield Bible Annotated, a recent invention.

  • You appropriate American Blacks for sodomy, the Bible condemning sodomy. What is God’s written word to you, a suggestion?

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