The Christian Zionist Movement and Jewish Confusion

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

Most people who regularly visit this blog know that I am Jewish. While I am not what one would call a pious Jew, being a Deist in outlook, I have always been very proud of my ethnicity and of the religion, which plays a central part in it. From their infancy, my children were immersed in Judaism both through education and by our family regularly taking part in Jewish Rituals, including regular Synagogue attendance. Where I part personally from normative Judaism is that I view the Torah, The Five Books of Moses, as primarily allegory with some real history thrown in. To me it is a work of some wise and some not so wise men, not the writings of God. I believe and have seen demonstrated in many families though, that the Torah and its 613 Commandments can serve as blueprint for living a fulfilling life.

The issue becomes complicated when it comes to my feelings about Israel. To me the existence ofI srael is a necessity for Jews to have a future in this world and if it comes to it, a final haven to make our last stand. I am an American first, so I would not willingly emigrate away from the country of my birth, unless those who hate Jews come to power. Contrary to the opinion of many, Jews are far from being a homogeneous ethnicity/religion. One cannot for instance refer to being an Orthodox Jew with any precision of description since that movement is in itself splintered on many details of interpretation. This is true of the other main branches of Judaism: Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionism. Perhaps it is because there is no central Jewish religious authority speaking for all Jews, as much as organizations like ADL, AIPAC, et. al. would claim to, that the range of Jewish opinion is so wide on so many subjects.

This brings me to an article I read at the PublicEye.org titled: “The New Christian Zionism and the Jews”. Its’ thesis is that many Jewish supporters of Israel and the current Israeli government have allied themselves with Christian Fundamentalists whose “love” for Israel and Jews come from the wish to fulfill the prophecies of The Book of Revelations, where in fact Jews not willing to accept Jesus, will die in a horrid holocaust.  This trend has been one disturbing me for a long time. I have watched Jews and Israeli’s embrace Fundamentalist Christian support, in what to me is a shortsighted and irrational policy. This could be justified by saying that a country takes its allies where one can get them. Sometimes what seems an example of realpolitik is merely an instance of dangerously narrow opportunism, as I will elaborate. 

“In late October, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel spoke at a Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event hosted by the controversial Christian Zionist John Hagee at hisCornerstoneChurchinSan Antonio,Texas. Internationally broadcast on GodTV, Hagee presented $9 million in donations to 29 Israeli andU.S.Jewish organizations. Hagee is one of the world’s most successful televangelists and a prolific author who prophesizes that apocalyptic wars and the migration of Jews to the holy land will help trigger the return of Jesus and his thousand-year reign on earth.

Wiesel joins a long list of Jews and Israelis who show no discomfort at being in the center of someone else’s apocalyptic religious vision. Making common cause with Christian Zionists are the lobby group American Israel Political Action Committee, which hosted Hagee as a conference keynote speaker in 2007, and Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who attended a CUFI summit last July.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a very different kind of “pro-Israel” gathering was taking place.J Street, the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” lobby group, was holding its first national conference with panels featuring American, Israeli and Palestinian speakers. Hundreds gathered in the ballroom of the Washington D.C. Grand e wayHyatt for the conference, whose program explicitly stated thatJ Streetaims to challenge “right-wing Christian Zionists” – the very people Wiesel was addressing.”

http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v24n4/jews-new-christian-zionism.html

The above was the opening of the article I linked below it and it is the centerpiece of this post. My assumption is that you would read it, so I am writing this as if the full discussion has been laid out, in the interests of brevity. The current Israeli Government headed by Bibi Netanyahu is I believe wrong in its approach to the settlement of the ongoing conflict. Their power base is an amalgam of Orthodox Jews and settlers on the West Bank, which is pretty much the same thing. The aims of this government date back to the founding of the Likud Party and Menachem Begin. This party skewed Israel away from its original heritage and moved it towards a more nationalistic stance, which also was one embracing a philosophy that was economically/politically conservative. They actively sought and received the support of the more extreme elements of Jewish Orthodoxy, that except for the crucial issue of Jesus, are philosophically akin to Christian Fundamentalists. In my opinion, Likud’s rise to power reflects the same kind of public attitude that also brings Republican’s to power in the U.S..  That is a false perception of strength through militancy and an economic system favoring Corporate interests disguised as freedom.

Begin, in the 70’s began building settlements in the West Bank as a means of justifying the perpetual occupation of these areas. Through the years this policy has continued, despite the fact that world opinion sees the only viable solution being a “two state” result. Two discrete states represent to me the only viable answer to this ongoing conflict and the only one that really coincides with I believe to be Jewish values. I further feel that it is the only way to ensure Israel’s future viability, since no characteristically Jewish State can exist with apartheid.

The agenda of the fundamentalist Christians, however, is to encourage no viable solution, but to encourage the ongoing violent struggle. This is of course to bring on  the “Glorious End Times” and Jesus return. They are for the existence of Israel only up until Armageddon and then God help those Jews who don’t see the light and convert. As an outsider to Christianity, The Book of Revelations has always seemed to me to be the demented vision of a Christian persecuted by the Romans. Written perhaps 150 years after Jesus it is notable for its’ bloody and turgid style, which is at odds with both the Gospels and other writings of the Christian Canon. It was included in the Canon though at the council of Nicaea, 320 CE, because it serves as a bogeyman tale to keep the faithful in line. It presents a wholly different Jesus than the being presented in the Gospels.

Given the ends these Fundamentalists seek, it is actually suicidal for Jews and Israeli’s to share the same bed with them. It is in the best interests of the Israeli’s, Palestinians, U.S., and world peace to resolve this conflict in a viable fashion. Given the views of these Christian Fundamentalists, a peaceful solution would be a terrible idea and in their minds delay God’s Plan. The inconsistency of believing in an all-powerful God whose “plans” and schedules are affected by Humankind is not apparent to them in their delighted rush to bring on the Rapture and thus bring the “faithful believers” into Heaven.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

80 thoughts on “The Christian Zionist Movement and Jewish Confusion

  1. LK and Tomdarch,

    Some very good and thoughtful points. Let me add this in at least my explanation why the Likud gained power. Think of the U.S. after 911 and the national willingness to embrace Bush’s tragic overreaction to tragedy
    There are 7.6 million people in Israel, 5,5 million Jewish. The U.S. has roughly 40 times Israel’s population. 911 killed 3,000 Americans. If a terrorist attack in Israel kills 75 or more people it creates a similar loss. There have literally been hundreds of such terrorist attacks in Israel’s history. A people living under 63 years of such violence understandably looks to leaders who appear to radiate strength. The current tide in Israel is changing. Recently 400,000 Israeli’s demonstrated for economic equality and the movement for peace in Israel is equal, or outnumbers the hawks. that is the reason for my posts because the Christian Fundamentalist money is going towards supporting these Hawkish policies and in my view trying to bring about Israel’s destruction, in the service of the Book of Revelations.

  2. “Are you pimpin’ for the GOP or something.”

    Read everything I wrote and the article I linked, carefully this time, maybe you’ll understand the points I am making and my commitment to Israel’s existence. As for your statement I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life. The people running AIPAC are Republicans.

  3. Gene,

    The U.S. is not a Christian government – true. But it is certainly a Christian nation. That is simply a matter of descriptive statistics. It was not a normative statement. And it is neither revelatory nor inflammatory.

    Mike,

    “You miss the point completely Jack and do it because of your own smug pre-judgments. The point isn’t whether Armageddon will or won’t take place. The Christian Fundamentalists wish to push Israel into such a hard-line stance that it will ensure a war that will fall somewhat short of Armageddon (which is a fantasy that shouldn’t even grace the Christian Canon), but will cause hundreds of thousands to die in war.”

    Push? Or support Isreal’s hard-line stance? Netanyahu – like him or hate him – is Isreali. He’s not American, and he’s not a so-called “Fundamentalist Christian.” So if these so-called fundamentalist really wanted Armageddon, the fastest route is to stop funding Israel. Without their technological capabilities, the Arab world would be at their necks. Your analysis is non sense. I’m not saying supporting the hard-line stance of Netanyahu is right or wrong, but that it has nothing to with hurrying Armageddon. Rather, it is standing in solidarity with Israel. Frankly, if Israel decide to do a 180 an support the old borders and a Palestinian nations, I doubt these “fundamentalists” would do much to stop.

    As far as what the U.S. gives and doesn’t give to Israel, you are woefully lacking certain information. The fact is that much of what we’ve given to Israel has been modified by the Israeli’s, and is actually better than what we have. The Isrealies are GOOD, and really smart. But it’s our funding over the years that have kept the Arab nations at bay for so many years, and made Isreal what it is today.

    “The fantasy serves as justification of their expropriation of the Torah, believing Jews undeserving of their own literature and somehow lost souls.”

    You beat this drum long enough. Once again – you fail to be responsible in doing your research. You have grasped to an ideology that is bass-ackwards and a delusion of reality. The fact – as I am aware of it – is that no one has stripped the Torah from the Jews. They have adopted it. The difference is that Christians believe that certain JEWISH prophecy’s have come to fulfillment. Let me also mention in case the obvious escapes you, that Christianity was started by a group of Jews, whom then spread it and shared it with other nations. This isn’t some big conspiracy, Mike. If anything, it’s an inside job. Your breath of self-victimization is getting stale.

    Jack

  4. Since you realize we have a secular government, Jack – no matter the demographics of religious practice among the citizenry – I’m going to invite Christians who think their beliefs are a sound foundation for policy, along with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and any other religious group, to keep your dogma out of public and foreign policy in addition to the operation of the rule of law.

    This includes the outmoded and counterproductive practice of protecting the state of Israel when then themselves have been bad actors in the arena of foreign affairs and doing so for what seems to be solely religious reasons. A secular state cannot afford and indeed will make bad policy if they allow religiosity to dictate foreign policy instead of reason and logic based ethics. Just like the bad decisions currently being made about Palestinian statehood and its recognition by those in Washington kowtowing to the religious right-wing of the GOP. Israel under Likhud control have acted little better than oppressive thugs and an aggressor state. Any true interest in creating peace in the region must be rooted in making Arab states recognize the legitimacy of Israel while at the same time reigning in some of Israel’s own bad actions that are also bad statesmanship. Neither side of the Arab-Israeli conflict is blameless in creating the hostile and largely religiously based shitstorm in which they live. The problem is not going to be solved either with religious based “solutions” or without compromise from both sides. If everyone leaves their religion at the door when they sit down at the negotiating table, it makes the process far less contentious.

    Religion is a private matter and should be left at home and at your designated places of worship. It has no place in proper and modern governance. The current challenges that face humanity are far too dangerous to allow theocracy determine our direction as a species. Reason, science and a secular logic based universal ethic is the path forward in governance that leads to peace and our shared survival as a species. History has shown that theocratic governance leads to only one place: oppression, conflict and death. This inevitable outcome of theocratic government and policy will only be exacerbated and the outcomes worse in light of the coming challenges regarding pollution, energy, food and water.

  5. “But it is certainly a Christian nation. That is simply a matter of descriptive statistics. It was not a normative statement. And it is neither revelatory nor inflammatory.”

    Dishonest Jack,

    It was not a normative statement since if so it could have been stated without the “Christian” inserted. In your context and the context of my remarks, it was a chastisement to the idea that Fundamentalist Christian aid shouldn’t be taken by Israel, by implying it already had been taken and saved Israel..

    “So if these so-called fundamentalist really wanted Armageddon, the fastest route is to stop funding Israel. Without their technological capabilities, the Arab world would be at their necks”

    It’s not a question of “if” Jack, it has been stated over and again that they
    believe the “End Times” are near are want to assist in its’ coming. As I’ve already stated and shown, the Israeli’s have been denied the same technological aid supplied to the Saudi’s. They have developed their own weapons and improved upon designs they’ve gotten from the world arms market. For instance the first Jet fighters the Israeli’s had came from the French, since the U.S. wouldn’t sell them at the same time they were selling them to the Saudi’s.

    “Rather, it is standing in solidarity with Israel. Frankly, if Israel decide to do a 180 an support the old borders and a Palestinian nations, I doubt these “fundamentalists” would do much to stop.”

    If Israel did the 180, as they should, the fundamentalists would be up in arms against the Israeli government and working against them. Given the policies US Christian Fundamentalists represent I’m saying clearly their solidarity is not needed. I am admitting though that their is a kinship between Christian Fundamentalists and Jewish fundamentalists (Ultra
    Orthodox) in that both want to impose their values on the majority of people in their respective nations.

    “You have grasped to an ideology that is bass-ackwards and a delusion of reality. The fact – as I am aware of it – is that no one has stripped the Torah from the Jews. They have adopted it. The difference is that Christians believe that certain JEWISH prophecy’s have come to fulfillment.”

    No delusion Jack. Just your ignorance, or pretended ignorance of history. Why do you think the Torah is called “The New Testament.” The meaning is clearly that the Torah is no longer valid as a compact with God and that the Jews have lost God’s favor, which is now bestowed upon Christianity.

    Then we have almost two thousand years of history where Jews were forced into one sided debates with Christians, the murder of Jews by Christians on their way to the Crusades, The Inquisition, the expelling of Jews from Christian lands, the denial of citizenship to Jews, Martin Luther’s denunciation of Jews after he realized he couldn’t convert them, etc. All of this persecution was because the Jews clung to their interpretation of the meaning of the Torah and in that process denied Christianity’s usurpation of the meaning of the document and their picking between which sections to support and which to ignore.

    “Let me also mention in case the obvious escapes you, that Christianity was started by a group of Jews, whom then spread it and shared it with other nations.”

    Paul, let’s be clear about the reality and history shall we. Christianity was started by Paul, who admittedly was a Roman Citizen and former henchman of the High Priest, a Sadducee. The Sadducee’s were Roman collaborators just as was Vichy in France. Paul claimed to be educated as a Pharisee (although given his understanding of the Torah there is some doubt to that) because the Pharisees formed the
    Rabbinic tradition of Judaism.

    Paul never knew Jesus, but claimed a vision that superseded the
    knowledge of Jesus apostles and Jesus own brother James. He argued with the Christian movement which was led by James and to get rid of him they sent him out to preach to the gentiles (non-Jews).
    James movement remained a separate movement from Christianity for the next 500 years until it petered out. The “Jerusalem Church,” as
    biblical scholars call it remained faithful to the Torah and kept kosher.

    Here’s the rub though. The Jews despised the rule of the Romans and were characterized by the Romans as the most contentious of their conquered peoples. The Pharisee Movement, of which Jesus was no doubt a leading Rabbi led the opposition to Roman Rule and Jesus was probably proclaimed by some as Messiah. The thing is in Jewish biblical terms Messiah referred to a leader who would become King of the Jews, sent by God, but nevertheless a completely human being. Paul thought otherwise and his preaching to non Jews went over well since there were already many other models for a God, born of a virgin, whose death would bring salvation. Mithra is one of them that outdated Jesus existence.

    My contention and that of a host of other biblical scholars is that Paul,
    a Roman, created Christianity and spread it among gentiles. Not Jesus actual family and Disciples, who one should presume would know more about his teachings. The truth of each position, however,
    has become so wrapped in the shroud of history and myth that we can never know who is right. However, from the Gospels themselves and Paul’s writing, it is clear that Paul, a Roman, and his disciples, who never knew Jesus, spread their version of Jesus time on Earth and that has become the dominant version. Due to this, however, the presence of Jews who would not accept Paul’s version of Jewish history has remained, simply by their existence, a thorn in the side of Orthodox Christianity. From this and the libel of the Jews killing Jesus
    has come the 1,900 year persecution.

  6. Mike —

    I enjoyed your post and your rebuttals to the various folks who have weakly tried to take issue with you, but I have to call you out on the ancient history lesson in your most recent response to Jack, for you have taken on too many myths that are conventional wisdom but are wrong. First, regarding the Crusades — the pogroms (if you will excuse the anachronistic term) against the Jews during the Crusades usually refer to attacks on Jews in the Rhineland in the run up to the First Crusade, and the slaughter in Jerusalem when the Crusaders got there. Regarding the latter — the Crusading armies slaughtered EVERYONE when they got to Jerusalem, Jew, Christian, and Muslim. Their swords were not discriminatory. Regarding the Rhineland — the mobs that killed the Jews in the Rhineland were not Crusaders, and in fact I do not think they were answering Pope Urban II’s crusading appeal. They did have some fantastical notion of liberating Jerusalem, but they were not part of any Crusading army. More importantly, what is always left out of the story is that Church leaders did their best to protect the Jews, most notably in Koln, whose Archbishop brought Jews into the cathedral to protect them from the marauders. I am not in any way trying to be an apologist for the tribulations the Church brought upon Jews throughout the Middle Ages, but the story you related is the one always told (it is the one I saw at the Holocaust Museum in DC a few years ago), and is simply not accurate. (By the way, I recently read two very interesting takes on the life of a Jew in the early Middle Ages: A.B. Yehoshua’s “A Journey to the End of the Millennium” and Russell Hoban’s “Pilgermann”.)

    I also want to take issue with your discussion of the origin of Christianity and how it relates to the persecution of Jews. Yes, the Church is largely a Pauline creation — but Paul was far more a Hellenized Jew than a Roman. The tensions between Hellenized and non-Hellenized Jews around the turn from BCE to CE is a little-told history (though critical for understanding issues like the Maccabee revolt). Additionally, contrary to conventional wisdom, there was conversion to Judaism at that time — I even saw this stated in a recent Book by Chief Rabbi Sacks. One of the first debates in the early Christian community, the occasion of a debate between Peter and Paul that has come down to us in the historical record, was whether one had to first convert to Judaism before becoming Christian (Peter and his faction said yes, Paul and his faction said no). You rightly point to this as the genesis (so to speak) of Paul’s mission to the gentiles. But you do not mention, or perhaps do not know about, as it it is not commonly known, that there were severe religious conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean at the time, and the very powerful Jewish communities from Damascus to Alexandria severely persecuted the nascent Christian community. This is the historic backdrop to the anti-Jewish notes that some read into the Gospel of John. Again, I have no wish to excuse or justify the centuries of persecution of Jews at Christian hands, but I am a stickler for proper history.

    Thanks again for all you have taught me (and everyone else) in your posts on this thread. It is very much appreciated.

  7. “Regarding the Rhineland — the mobs that killed the Jews in the Rhineland were not Crusaders, and in fact I do not think they were answering Pope Urban II’s crusading appeal. They did have some fantastical notion of liberating Jerusalem, but they were not part of any Crusading army.”

    DHMC,

    I’ll accept that as so, though I will do further research on my own.

    “Yes, the Church is largely a Pauline creation — but Paul was far more a Hellenized Jew than a Roman. The tensions between Hellenized and non-Hellenized Jews around the turn from BCE to CE is a little-told history (though critical for understanding issues like the Maccabee revolt). Additionally, contrary to conventional wisdom, there was conversion to Judaism at that time — I even saw this stated in a recent Book by Chief Rabbi Sacks.”

    You are absolutely correct in both respects and I was aware of those facts. There was much Jewish proselytism in those days, throughout the Empire and some historians say it competed neck and neck with the Great Mother sect for rising popularity. There is also the Noachite Jewish
    tradition which got past the problem of adult circumcision.

    I am aware to that there was Jewish persecution of the early Pauline followers. The history of Jews and Judaism is certainly not pristine. Sadly, I wouldn’t even vouch for what oppression’s might happen if Judaism became a dominant religion. Oppression does not directly breed nobility into any ethnicity, Jews included. I spent a long time studying the period of Christianity’s birth and the history of Judaism. The problem is how to express it all to some, who might not be aware, in what is in fact a limited space.

    Thank you for correcting and teaching me. As I have ruefully learned passing into my dotage years, wisdom begins to come when a person realizes how little they truly know of life.

  8. What has been great about your original post, and your dedication to responding to people who responded to it and your answers, is that many people (presumably far more than who are represented in the comments) have had the opportunity to learn. I have learned a great deal, and have leads for new inquisitiveness, starting with the Noachite Jewish tradition…

  9. Mike,

    “It was not a normative statement since if so it could have been stated without the “Christian” inserted. In your context and the context of my remarks, it was a chastisement to the idea that Fundamentalist Christian aid shouldn’t be taken by Israel, by implying it already had been taken and saved Israel.”

    Put down the bottle before responding to me. That made absolutely no sense. And do not be so perniciously arrogant to continue to assume what I mean when I say things. Your reading comprehension leaves much to be desire.

    “It’s not a question of “if” Jack…”

    Then why give them ANYTHING? Moreover, the Saudis aren’t going to attack them! If you supported such an assertion with regard to Syria, then we’d have something to talk about. Lastly, let’s realize that the Saudis have something that Israel doesn’t – oil. For right or for wrong, we are sinking billions into Israel and getting nothing in return. And you claim this difference is due to Christian fundamentalism? Unbelievable!

    “If Israel did the 180, as they should, the fundamentalists would be up in arms against the Israeli government and working against them.”

    Really? Like they were up in arms with the more moderate Ytizhak Rabin before he was assassinated by a radical orthodox Jew? I forgot about that (read in sarcasm). Don’t blame this on your imaginary “fundamentalists.”

    “Why do you think the Torah is called “The New Testament.””

    And Mike calls me the ignorant one. Once again, he doesn’t make a lick of sense. And I’m not going to dive into your fundamental and malicious naivety of Christianity.

    “Paul, let’s be clear about the reality and history shall we. Christianity was started by Paul, who admittedly was a Roman Citizen and former henchman of the High Priest, a Sadducee.”

    I bet that made things really awkward for Saul (Paul) at the martyrdom of the Christian Stephen, eh? Imagine that…Paul converting Stephen in private, then pretending to be a Sadducee at his martyrdom before having another change of heart on the road to Damascus. What a story! Andthis says nothing to the fact that Peter travelled with Paul to Rome to spread the message, as all the other Jewish apostles did to various parts of the world. Stop being an ignorant, shallow flake.

    “My contention and that of a host of other biblical scholars is that Paul,
    a Roman, created Christianity and spread it among gentiles.”

    CFR!!! Your “biblical scholars” are stupid and unread religious hacks. Paul did NOT “create” Christianity, and anyone that says otherwise is lazy, or simply can’t read. He is generally regarded as the greatest evangelizer, but he did not “create” Christianity. Even if you want to adulterate Acts 11:26, the fact is that Barnabas was a Levite and senior to Paul. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your convenient story.

    Let me also to take the opportunity to note that I’m not hostile because I disagree with you, but because of your reckless disregard for the truth. You are poorly read. You speak without knowing what you are talking about. And what you talk about are generally highly divisive issues with stings of moral judgment. You have allowed (what I presume are) years of academic laziness to develop into a infected cataract of bias and unfounded disdain, and it aint flying any longer. As I said, it ignorant, fearful, and hostile propaganda from people like you that brought the awfulness of the holocaust. If you get enough people scared of fantasy, they’ll do anything. There must be a higher academic standard in the public forum, and your irresponsibility is unjustified.

    Jack

  10. Jack, if you don’t think that the Christianity that we know today is not, at its core, a Pauline creation, you are the ignorant one who won’t look at the facts.

    And this statement “As I said, it ignorant, fearful, and hostile propaganda from people like you that brought the awfulness of the holocaust.” is both ignorant and a revolting sentiment. You should be ashamed of yourself. Out of the close to 70 comments on Mike’s original post, you are the only one with a continually nasty and insulting tone — the only one, in fact, who sounds like they need to lay off the bottle.

  11. Actually, among historians, there is quite a strong argument for Paul being a Roman spy. James, the brother of Jesus, was the head of an anti-Roman sect of Jews who followed the teachings of Christ but still honored some of the Jewish traditions including many of the 613 mitzvot, the Jewish Christians. He was feared by Roman and Jewish authorities alike as a threat to the their power base. James knew Jesus personally. Paul, originally a prosecutor of Rome sent to curb the growing influence of the Jewish Christians, never knew Jesus of Nazareth, but rather claimed his conversion after seeing a vision on the road to Damascus. Given the Romans treatment of Jewish Christians and the death of James at their hands at the behest of Jewish authorities (which we know about from the historian Titus Flavius Josephus), the relatively free “house arrest” of Paul and his efforts to “Romanize” the budding Christianity, there is a strong case to be made that Paul’s conversion was false and in the service of Roman as subterfuge and his abandonment of the mitzvot was designed to make Christianity into a more salable product to the Gentiles and a tool for Roman oppression instead of a movement against Rome as the Jewish Christians were under the leadership of James. I refer you to an excellent book on this matter, “Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity” by Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon. Also “The Naked Archaeologist” did an excellent two-part episode on this subject.

    Paul in all likelihood did create Christianity in the form in which it exists today. In doing so, he took what was basically a humanist philosophy that encouraged responsibility and acceptance of your fellow humans as taught by a wise teacher – Jesus, who wanted people to worship the Spirit of God though their actions of kindness and compassion – and turned it into an idolization of Jesus as God as enforced and interpreted by an Earthly bound organization to perpetuate the power of the Church instead of empowering people through the teachings of Christ.

    If modern Christianity had evolved from the teachings of Jesus as espoused by James?

    The Inquisition? Would have never happened.
    The Crusades? Would have happened but they wouldn’t have had the religious rationale for what was basically an economic driven series of wars.

    All number of atrocities done in the name of Christianity would not have happened in “the Name of Jesus”.

    Without the influence of Paul, modern form of Christianity would more resemble the Gnostic gospels and the teachings of James.

    And that would be a good thing.

  12. “Put down the bottle before responding to me. That made absolutely no sense. And do not be so perniciously arrogant to continue to assume what I mean when I say things. Your reading comprehension leaves much to be desire.”

    So I’m perniciously arrogant Jack? I believe that statement is full-blown psychological projection. That’s the defense mechanism where someone accuses another of that which they are guilty of themselves. The example of your arrogance is the first paragraph of your first comment on this thread:

    “True to form, Mike gives one quote for the lengthy excerpt and fails to provide any citations to support the various assumptions he needs to make the conclusion. Frankly, Mike has a poor track record of speaking before thinking/researching/questioning, etc. But even worse is his substitution of common sense for mindless pontification.”

    Next up you attempt to refute me with this simplistic interpretation of what I’m stating:

    “Then why give them ANYTHING? Moreover, the Saudis aren’t going to attack them!”

    In the rage of protecting your belief system you again miss my point. I’m stating clearly that the U.S. is serving as a “brake” upon Israel, by posing as its’ ally. As such they have to make a show of aid and supplying some weaponry, however, the fact that the Saudi’s get the best weaponry indicates who is the U.S.’s closest ally in the ME. As to the Saudi’s not making war, it’s simply because they’re rich enough to do it through other
    country’s and terrorist organizations like Al Queada. Unthinkingly you make my point as to who is the U.S. real ME ally and why:

    “Lastly, let’s realize that the Saudis have something that Israel doesn’t – oil. For right or for wrong, we are sinking billions into Israel and getting nothing in return”.

    As for getting nothing in return, the billion$ are to ensure Israel’s need to comply with U.S. controls. That’s how the game is played. As an example of the Saudi control of the U.S. what do you think the first Iraq War was, if not the U.S. acting as “Hessians” for the Saudi’s and the Oil Cartel.

    “And you claim this difference is due to Christian fundamentalism? Unbelievable!”

    I don’t claim that at all. You misstate my expressed beliefs, either intentionally or perniciously. I state that Christian fundamentalism has become a major impetus in exacerbation of this and that their influence on Israeli policy is dangerous to all, especially Israel.

    My question to you Jack:

    “Why do you think the Torah is called “The New Testament.””

    Unlike you, webbed in the smugness of your belief system, I admit my mistakes. In my haste I transposed “Old” and “New”. Now Jack, in the context of my point: Why do you think the Torah is called the “Old Testament”, if not to show Jewish belief has been transcended by
    Christian belief?

    “Really? Like they were up in arms with the more moderate Ytizhak Rabin before he was assassinated by a radical orthodox Jew? I forgot about that (read in sarcasm). Don’t blame this on your imaginary “fundamentalists.””

    Rabin was assassinated in 1995 Jack and the Christian Fundamentalist Movement was not focused strongly on Israel at that time, nor did they have the political power they have now. I do think though that those that were paying attention to the ME, would not have been happy with Rabin and he was killed by a Fundamentalist.

    You see Jack I don’t consider Jewish Fundamentalists (Ultra-Orthodoxy) any clearer in thought than Fundamentalists of any other religion. Half of my family on both sides could be considered Ultra Orthodox and with the exception of a saintly maternal uncle, I didn’t feel they had the best take on life. I respected their piety in most cases, but resented their utter belief in “their” truth and the concomitant lack of respect for others belief systems. All Fundamentalists, of all religions share this flaw and in my opinion
    blasphemy of thinking they know the mind of God. In Christianity it is summed up in WWJD, as if they clearly know in each situation what the Son of God might be thinking. That is their hubris and that is their blasphemy, which they share with all religious fundamentalism.

    “CFR!!! Your “biblical scholars” are stupid and unread religious hacks. Paul did NOT “create” Christianity, and anyone that says otherwise is lazy, or simply can’t read.”

    Above Gene cited:

    “Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity” by Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon. Also “The Naked Archaeologist” did an excellent two-part episode on this subject.”

    To this I would add:

    “The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity” by Hyam Maccoby who was was a Domus Exhibitioner in Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, as an excellant source by a renowned scholar. There are actually hundreds of others by respected scholars, some Christian, but this isn’t the place for a bibliography of my own scholarship.

    “And what you talk about are generally highly divisive issues with stings of moral judgment.”

    “As I said, it ignorant, fearful, and hostile propaganda from people like you that brought the awfulness of the holocaust.”

    As DHMCarver stated your second statement above is revolting, but
    let’s parse it a bit further. Taken in tandem with the quote before it when you mention divisive issues and then talk about “people like”
    me bringing about the Shoah, the connotation of your words could be
    paraphrased as “Listen Jew [since I’ve clearly identified myself as such] you’re in the minority here and you’d best be careful in offending us, or maybe you won’t like the result, just like the Jews that brought the NAZI’s down on them”.

    Now truthfully I don’t think you are anti-Jewish and/or hate Jews. I don’t even think you are a bad or stupid person. I think you simply are so
    caught up in your own beliefs and version of human history, that there is little room for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, quite specifically Jewish ones. Jack there is nothing in your comments that makes me defensive or impels me to present you with a “bona fides”
    of my scholarship. As I said to you in my reply to your first comment, what I wrote is simply my opinion. If you don’t feel that I can back up everything I said with citations, then you are simply woefully mistaken. However, all opinion is open to dispute and you have the freedom to do so, wrong as I think you are.

  13. Mike,

    You said the following three statements:

    “I’m stating clearly that the U.S. is serving as a “brake” upon Israel, by posing as its’ ally.”

    “As for getting nothing in return, the billion$ are to ensure Israel’s need to comply with U.S. controls.”

    “Rabin was assassinated in 1995 Jack and the Christian Fundamentalist Movement was not focused strongly on Israel at that time, nor did they have the political power they have now.”

    They are incongruent. You are suggesting that the U.S. is posing as its ally to control it, and that control is to inch closer to Armageddon? If that’s not your point, then you are polluting the thread with irrelevant information and completely confusing issues. If it is, then you need to juxtapose Rabin, in which we were staunch allies, pouring money into Israel, but now without the motive that we have now? That makes no sense.

    As far as the Saudis, the point is that we don’t have to view nor treat all alliances equally. There is nothing pernicious about giving the Saudis technology while withholding it from Israel (CFR for the particular technology you’re referring to). I guarantee that we’ve given a great bit of technology to Israel that we haven’t shared with the Saudis. Why you believe you can pick-and chose is beyond me. [Also, alliances are different, and frankly, until Israel start giving us their technological improvements on the base technology that we’ve given them, I think we should stop sending our stuff over there! We should support Israel, I believe. But we shouldn’t be taken to the cleaners over our generosity.]

    ““Why do you think the Torah is called “The New Testament.””
    Unlike you, webbed in the smugness of your belief system, I admit my mistakes. In my haste I transposed “Old” and “New”.”

    First, what have I been factually wrong about? You really need to think before you speak. Stop the pontification, and raise your rhetoric to a more responsible level. If I was wrong about something, tell me. I’m not beyond learning.

    A simple mistake is a simple mistake. Thank you for the clarification.

    “All Fundamentalists, of all religions share this flaw and in my opinion blasphemy of thinking they know the mind of God.”

    And any, such as you, that believe that they know the mind of God sufficient to conclude that God doesn’t make his mind known to others is likewise, a fundamentalist. Except you add an element of distasteful moral superiority. Your hypocrisy stinks.

    On Paul, CFR. I’m not going to read a bunch of books on a hack theory that has no basis in biblical history. If you have a “cite,” give the cite. Otherwise, I am content to remain in my blissful ignorance of what is the obvious and undeniable truth – that Paul did NOT create Christianity.

    “Taken in tandem with the quote before it when you mention divisive issues and then talk about “people like” me bringing about the Shoah, the connotation of your words could be paraphrased as “Listen Jew…”

    You are disgusting. “People like you” has nothing to do with your heritage, but everything to do with your intellectual dishonesty. I have made it very clear that I have very high esteem for the Jewish people, and that I think your perpetual ignorance and intolerance is a disgrace to what they really stand for. To now make an accusation of ethnic bigotry on my part reaches into the lowest pits of fecal academics. I am astounded that someone – like you – that understands what evil has done to people like the Jews, perpetuates the same crimes of intolerant, unfounded smears. As I said, you are a disgusting, reprehensible individual. Stop throwing up the “Jewish” shield when someone makes a critique of YOU.

    “However, all opinion is open to dispute and you have the freedom to do so, wrong as I think you are.”

    You are entitled to your opinion, but not entitled to make up facts. Nor are you entitled to maliciously misrepresent what others think, believe, or opine. THAT is your problem.

    This mindless thread as obviously run its course.

    Jack

  14. Jack you are truly clueless.

    “You are suggesting that the U.S. is posing as its ally to control it, and that control is to inch closer to Armageddon?”

    Yes Jack I am suggesting that the U.S. is posing as Israel’s ally to control it. No Jack, i am nowhere suggesting that the U.S. aim in controlling Israel is to bring about Armageddon. I clearly stated that the U.S. pose was in compliance to the wishes of the Saudi’s and the Oil Cartel, to keep Israel as the “bogeyman” of the ME and thus keep the Arab people from seeing how their leaders are cheating them. I do believe on the other hand that the objective of the fundamentalist christian Leaders is to use Israel to hasten Armageddon. The only incongruence there is in your inability to comprehend what is clearly written.

    “Stop the pontification, and raise your rhetoric to a more responsible level.”

    Jack I don’t turn the other cheek. Again your opening comment to me was this:

    “True to form, Mike gives one quote for the lengthy excerpt and fails to provide any citations to support the various assumptions he needs to make the conclusion. Frankly, Mike has a poor track record of speaking before thinking/researching/questioning, etc. But even worse is his substitution of common sense for mindless pontification.”

    Do you think that was rhetoric raised to a responsible level. You started off shooting and have continued all along. It is hypocritical of you to tell me to raise my level of discourse. you still haven’t answered why the Torah is called the “Old Testament” and that is because you know why and it would harm your “Jew loving” to clearly state it.

    “And any, such as you, that believe that they know the mind of God sufficient to conclude that God doesn’t make his mind known to others is likewise, a fundamentalist.”

    See the problem with that Jack is this. any two bit con man can claim that God spoke to him/her and that has been done ever since religion began.
    I’m saying clearly I don’t know god’s purposes and my reason tells me that no human can. How can one even begin to judge the motivation of an eternal, omniscient Deity? And yes, I believe that any that are positive that they can know that motivation, or that their scriptures which are open to so many differing interpretations clearly lay them out, is performing an exercise in self-delusion. The best humans can do is to approach such a deity with humility and try to get things right. People like Pat Robertson for instance, who says things like Katrina was God’s punishment for the tolerance of homosexuality, is at best deluded and at worst a fraud. He is certainly a blasphemer and not a humble man, as neither are many other in the Fundamentalist Christian Movement.

    “You are disgusting. “People like you” has nothing to do with your heritage, but everything to do with your intellectual dishonesty. I have made it very clear that I have very high esteem for the Jewish people, and that I think your perpetual ignorance and intolerance is a disgrace to what they really stand for”

    Gee Jack, I’ll bet some of your best friends are Jewish. I’ll also bet you don’t understand the irony of my last statement.

    “To now make an accusation of ethnic bigotry on my part reaches into the lowest pits of fecal academics. I am astounded that someone – like you – that understands what evil has done to people like the Jews, perpetuates the same crimes of intolerant, unfounded smears. As I said, you are a disgusting, reprehensible individual. Stop throwing up the “Jewish” shield when someone makes a critique of YOU.”

    Now let us see. In the comment you were replying to I wrote:

    “Now truthfully I don’t think you are anti-Jewish and/or hate Jews. I don’t even think you are a bad or stupid person. I think you simply are so caught up in your own beliefs and version of human history, that there is little room for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, quite specifically Jewish ones.”

    Now certainly there was disparagement in that paragraph, but there was no charge of you being a bigot, a bad person, or a stupid person.
    In fact you’ve written many comments here making those charges against me and in fact, my answers to you maligning me, were rather reserved compared to your steamed rhetoric. Stop projecting your own thoughts onto me Jack. Look in the mirror of your own comments.

  15. Thank you for all of the different comments and insights. i love Israel and the United States. Don’t forget who is ultimately in charge. It is not any of us regardless of what we say or do. God tells ALL to pray and that says it all.

  16. Wow. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’m wondering if I should leave things at Matthew 7:6 because I’m not sure that you could handle the truth or appreciate it for that matter. Yeah, I think I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for continuing to fulfill New Testament Scriptures though, always good to know that Yeshua truly is Messiah, Savior and King.

Comments are closed.