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Jaques Hadida...Christian blind spots

Reader comment on item: Q&A: Remaking a Religion
in response to reader comment: JAQUES HADIDA, YOU ARE WRONG ABOUT CHRISTIANITY

Submitted by Erich W (United States), Jan 3, 2011 at 21:55

You are right to hold Catholics and Orthodox, as well as Protestants, to the standard of what the apostles of Christ wrote, and what Jesus taught. They certainly would all claim allegiance to that teaching. It is also obvious that cultural blind spots, philosophical biases and ancient hatreds get mixed in with Christian teaching in a variety of churches. Similarly, most Jews do not follow their Lawgiver or the Prophets very closely. Jesus certainly taught that the gateway that leads to life is hard to find, and most do not enter into it. The broad road that leads to destruction is "just a whole lot easier". It would be a mistake to bank on a whole civilization, or its official institutions like State and Royal churches, to understand him and truly follow him. Humanity is not that good--especially when power and prestige is involved. To judge a civilization by the standard they profess is one thing; on the other hand, to sincerely expect them to be free from the faults of humanity is not realistic. Greeks and Romans hated Jews long before they accepted Christianity in its third and fourth century form.

The neo platonism of those times made for a reading of the Bible that was highly abstract and allegorical. Promises to Israel were simply appropriated to the Church, or applied to Heaven above. Israel--a real people, a real land, with a real city, was all made to be merely a type, a literary symbol, of more real spiritual things. It was a theological system that allowed for ancient antagonisms to prevail. A more careful reading of Scripture, which creates a love and respect for the Jewish people and prophecy concerning them, was a minority position. That position did not prevail until the non-conformist churches began to enjoy real freedom in the British Empire and in America. Political leaders schooled as children in this more literal reading of Scripture, have been true friends of Israel. It is not because of guilt, nor to seek forgiveness, but because of Scriptures that were always clear, but willfully ignored in previous centuries.

I think also that as devout Christians encounter the religions and ideologies of the world, they find that they are closer, in many important respects, to Jewish understanding than to other world-views. In a globalizing world we learn with whom we have more in common, and with whom we have less in common, by experience.

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