Seems like it would be a useful thing to unpack exactly WHY Jews for Jesus/Messianic Jews are so horrific. I've been getting a few questions from people, and some pushback, which is a good thing.
In order to explain this, I think I pretty much have to start with Paul of Tarsus.
Christianity is a religion based on the teachings of Paul, who decided that Judaism was over, not a thing, and that he was going to start up a new religion to supplant it. And ever since then, Christians have been trying to destroy Judaism, by forcing us to convert. Some branches of Christianity, such as the one Vice President Pence follows, include the conversion or destruction of Jews as a fundamental tenet of their eschatology. Their Left-Behind-Series influenced religion requires Jews to have control over the land of Israel, then 144,000 of us to convert to Christianity, then the rest of us be killed. Something like that. I don't know, or care, about the specific details; what I know is that their religion requires my death. Or conversion, but, if those are the choices... *shrug* I know what I'm going for. I'm stubborn; the best way to get me to avoid something is to try to force me to do it.
Most modern Christians have pretty much deprecated this part of their religion, and created a new, much nicer religion, and I applaud that. But the horror that Christians have inflicted on us for two thousand years is burned into our Jewish souls, and we can't forget, no matter how much we would want to.
I don't have a problem with most modern Christians, or modern Christianity -- but I nonetheless flinch around them. It's not your fault. It's the fault of your ancestors. I don't blame you, specifically. But I do blame your great-grandparents. And I do blame the strains of Evangelical, Dominionist Christianity that KEEP that part even today.
So we Jews have a particular relationship to Christianity. It's different than any other religion, because it was founded upon attacking us, and hasn't let up since. It's waxed and waned, and, up until the last few years, it's been in a waning phase, but it's started waxing again. And even when it's waning, we still are... twitchy. Christianity is dangerous to us, in a way no other religion is.
No, not even Islam. Muslims and Jews are cousins. Yes, the Israel/Palestinian conflict is bad, and puts us in opposition to one another in many cases. But you have to understand -- it's a land dispute, not a religious dispute. Muslims don't have problems with Jews; Jews don't have problems with Muslims. Some of us have problems with where each other are LIVING, but that's different. Abraham had two sons, and two nations descended from them, and we cousins have fought over the land we both claim. But we are fighting over land, not over who we are.
Christians, however, have problems with Jews. Not all of you -- but if you dig into your history, you'll find that a lot of Christianity has been based around anti-Judaism, from its very first day. And while you have the ability to forget it, because it's not traumatic to you, we don't.
So Christianity is a special case.
I know Jews who are also Buddhists. I know Jews who are Pagans. And while plenty of traditionally religious Jews have serious problems with that, nobody denies that they remain Jews. Bu-Jews and Jewwitches are totally things that exist, and if one shows up at a shul, most people would be okay with counting them in a minyan and stuff like that.
I mean, sure, people might feel that Jewwitches were Jews who were in violation of some of the Ten Commandments -- but even at their worst, they'd be JEWS who were violating the Ten Commandments. They're still US.
But Christianity is different.
Taking on the worship of Jesus cuts you off from the Jewish community in a way that few other things possibly could. Because it's based on being non-Jewish, and on oppressing Jews. Much of Jewish identity over the centuries has been based on resistance to being taken over, and maintaining our religion against forces that tried to forcibly convert us. The Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Christians. We've been doing this for a long time; our heritage is, in large part, one of people telling us to stop being Jews, and us saying "No -- we are here, and we will outlast you."
But as part of this millenia-long process, some Jews fall away, and don't learn about what we are and what our history is, and about the Jewish soul of resistance to religious conversion.
And into that gap slip the Jews for Jesus, the Messianic Jews, who come to destroy us.
Some identites are compatible with Judaism. You can follow Buddhist teachings from some of the non-deistic schools and not run into anything that conflicts, for instance. But some are just not. Islam insists on one specific way of belief -- you can't be a Jew and a Muslim simultaneously. Christianity insists on one specific way of belief -- you can't be a Christian and a Jew simultaneously.
And there's nothing wrong with Muslims or Christians -- those are fine ways to believe, but you can't be a Jew at the same time. If a Jew chooses to convert, of their own free will and without coersion or confusion, to Islam or to Christianity, well, that saddens me because it diminishes our community, but I don't blame Christians or Muslims for it. It is what it is.
But Jews for Jesus and Messianic "Jews" find Jews who don't understand our history, and, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, lie to them, and try to convince them that they can maintain their Judaism while worshipping Jesus.
But they're actually part of that eschatalogical branch of Christianity which wants to convert some Jews and kill the rest.
Someone in one of these threads somewhere accused me of hating Jesus, and that's not right. The truth is that I don't think about the guy at all. He's completely irrelevant to Judaism -- except inasmuch as people have killed us in his name.
People keep saying "But Jesus was a Jew!" Well, okay. So is Bernie Madoff, but we don't worship him.
There's a huge long list of Jews that Jews don't worship. Leopold and Loeb. Harvey Weinstein. I mean, it's just quicker to make a list of Jews that Jews DO worship.
And the answer is "none". We worship none Jews. (Well, maybe Carrie Fisher and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but ...)
I guess that's about what I've got to say for now. It's a little more scattered than I really would like, but it's a start.
Posted at https://xiphias.dreamwidth.org/803561.html; you can comment there or here. There are comments over there.