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Ferathil

(Moved from Tinker DG) Religion, what do you think? (no fighting, calling names or bad talk please)

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Well, this has been an interesting thread to read. Religion is a hard topic to talk about without fights and insults, so I hope I do not insult anyone with what I say. It is not my intention.

 

I'll tell you a bit about myself, I'm somewhat out of the norm when it comes to religion. I was raised southern baptist, have been a pagan and an atheist before coming back to Christianity. I was non-denominational Christian for about five years. Now I have converted to Orthodox Judaism. (all you Christians out there are probably scratching your heads and saying, 'What..how could you do that?!) So I guess my official title now would be a Messianic Orthodox Jew. We keep the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), following its laws--Saturday Sabbaths, kosher, etc. We go to synagogue (or in my case, a home group since we have no synagogue) on Saturday. My husband is a rabbi-in-training. However, unlike traditional Orthodox Jews, we also believe that the Messiah promised in the Bible has already come, and wait for His second coming. We do believe in the 'same' Messiah as Christians-you'd call Him Jesus, but we call him Yeshua (his Hebrew name-Jesus is Greek). We also try to cut away the Greek/Roman/European/American 'Jesus' stereotype and see Him the way He really was. He was a Torah-keeping Jew who never broke any of the commandments, kept the sabbath, and did not tell us it was ok to eat pigs. (pm me if you want to get into His stance on the Law more...this isn't really the place for that.) 

 

So, as for the how religions see each other conversation...I'm sort of in a hard spot. The Christians don't like us because they don't want to keep the Law and they see us as backwards. The Jews don't like us because they don't like Christians and they see us as such. There's a lot of hate on both sides. Which is sort of my personal religious mission I think, to show Christians where they have strayed and need to come back, and to dispel the stereotypes and hate Jews have developed towards the Messiah because of the way Christians (usually unknowingly) misrepresent Him. 

 

As one who tries to be educated on the beliefs of all religions in order to better communicate with those who don't believe as I do, I see that they all show hate and intolerance to each other, regardless of how much they teach love and acceptance. Even Christians are not exempt, unfortunately. How many Jews have been slaughtered and tortured in the name of Christ? (do some study on the Crusades, the Inquisition...) Christians are just as capable of terrorism and genocide as anyone else. So the Christians have killed the Jews and the Muslims, the Jews have killed the Christians, the Muslims have killed the Christians and the Jews, and on, and on, and on. It's very sad. Violence and hate is not the way to get people to accept your beliefs as true. Neither is telling people they are wrong and you are right when you don't know the reasons why, or even really what they believe. Get educated first, and know what exactly you believe and why! Don't believe it just because your pastor or whatever says it is true. Find out for yourself! And be humble, don't be afraid to be shown that you are wrong or that you don't have all the answers.

 

I believe the best way to evangelize is through your actions. If you don't live what you believe, why should others believe what you teach? And trust me, they are watching you for any fault or weakness that you show. As a dear friend of mine used to say, 'You should always share God with the world. Use words if you have to."

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He was a Torah-keeping Jew who never broke any of the commandments, kept the sabbath, and did not tell us it was ok to eat pigs.

Most Christians point to Acts 10 and the vision of Peter as the reason why it's okay to eat unclean food.  The tireless repetition of Paul that he is no longer bound by the law is also used towards this argument.  However, you are completely correct that Jesus (yes I'm going with the Greek to English translation on this, it's more readily recognizable) never once said that it was okay to eat unclean animals.  Even considering the vision of Peter, Jesus did not appear before him and claim that it was now okay to consume that which is unclean.

 

In fact, there are many things that Christians hold as major sins that were not mentioned by Jesus at all.  In the time of the Roman empire, it was known that certain herbal teas or the like could lead to a miscarriage and were used specifically for that purpose.  However, Jesus did not find it important enough to mention even once.  While Israel itself did not necessarily have a sizable homosexual population, it was common in Rome and Greece.  However, Jesus did not see fit to say anything about this either.  However, in many conservative churches, abortion and homosexuality are major sins that are often times cast as the most important moral issues in the world today.  Jesus did think it was necessary to talk about divorce though.  However, despite what Jesus himself thought was important enough to teach on, many of these churches have simply come to accept divorce as part of the modern culture.

 

My point is the general operating philosophy of the modern church is more heavily influenced by tradition and the outside culture in many ways than the teachings of Jesus or even what they hold as scripture.  Should Christians abide by the whole law?  That is a matter that has been debated for centuries with various texts commonly held as scripture supporting both sides but clearly stating neither.  I personally think there are far more pressing issues with the church and the culture that envelops it than what should be a relatively artificial line between the Messianic Jews and their Gentile counterparts.

 

I am in no way, shape, or form trying to say that any of these things are right or wrong, I'm simply trying to point out priorities, and where they deviate from scripture.

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:) I have heard it said that, being born a Gentile, I could never become a Jew, regardless of how many laws I kept or rituals I followed. The Bible seems to support this view, as when Jesus instructed His disciples to go first to the Jews, not the Gentiles or the Samaritans (part-Jewish). Most of the Jews spurned Him. But this was expected, according to prophecy.  Did God ever intend Jesus to be the deliverer of only the Jews? I think not. Because then He appointed Paul as a missionary to the gentiles. Through Paul, His teachings were embraced by many more gentiles than Jews, and as the numbers of the gentiles in His churches increased, Jewish members were rejected and even persecuted. This was wrong,  but it continues to this day, despite Paul's teachings(Romans 11:17-24). We are taught that God's intention is to unite Jew and Gentile in the New Jerusalem, ruled by His son. This I believe. I can not be a Jew, but I can be a Christian.

 

As for the Law, there are three types of laws, ceremonial, civil, and moral. The Pharisees frequently accused Jesus or breaking ceremonial law. Still, we keep in mind today (as He did then) the intent of these laws - to worship and love a holy God. Jewish civil law was tied to life in Israel at that time, all of which can not be specifically followed now. Yet again though, we must keep in mind the principles behind such laws as a guide to our conduct, as Jesus demonstrated them by His conduct. Only the moral laws, the Ten Commandments, must still be obeyed strictly, as He did.

I think that Jesus made both his reverence for the Law and his contempt for what it had become very apparent. He said he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. When something has been fulfilled, it is over, finished. Something that is no longer pertinent need not be destroyed. Something that no longer functions as intended could be said to be already destroyed. His actions in the Temple could not be more explicit. He didn't simply preach against their actions. He overturned the tables. The symbolism here is very strong.

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So, as for the how religions see each other conversation...I'm sort of in a hard spot. The Christians don't like us because they don't want to keep the Law and they see us as backwards. The Jews don't like us because they don't like Christians and they see us as such.

 

Spirit, Jews aren't particularly fond of "Messianic Jews" not because we "don't like christians" but because we think you're dead wrong on the entire Jesus thing and various and sundry other theological points, and "Messianic Jews" have a tendency to target jews for missionizing.  We don't take kindly to that.  As long as there's no missionizing involved, we couldn't care less what you believe.  (don't get me started on the whole jews for jesus thing).

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:) I have heard it said that, being born a Gentile, I could never become a Jew, regardless of how many laws I kept or rituals I followed.

 

Lor, that's actually not true.  A convert to Judaism is considered a Jew in all respects, and converts in general are highly regarded.  In fact, the story of one such convert - Ruth - is read yearly during the Shavuos holiday (which celebrates the acceptance of the Torah at Sinai).  Other converts have been prophets (Ovadiah), major commentators on the Torah (Onkeles, whose commentary is printed in every chumash), rabbis, etc.

 

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:)   That is interesting to know, but not apparent from the story. Yes, Ruth is a convert. Ruth accepts the God of Abraham, but it's clear she knows nothing of Jewish customs. She does as Naomi tells her, mainly out of love for Naomi and trust in her. I'm sure that Ruth continued to learn about the laws and customs of her husband's people and worship God. But I think it's obvious that they never thought of her as being Jewish, since she is referred to throughout as "the Moabitess". I've always suspected that was the real reason why the first kinsman turned her down, when Boaz approached him on the subject. He did not want a Moabitess as a wife. Boaz is one of my heroes btw.

As I said, it is interesting to know that she is so revered by the Jewish people. She is important to us of course, because she is an ancestress of Jesus. 

I love your posts. I learn so much from them!  :)

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:)   That is interesting to know, but not apparent from the story. Yes, Ruth is a convert. Ruth accepts the God of Abraham, but it's clear she knows nothing of Jewish customs. She does as Naomi tells her, mainly out of love for Naomi and trust in her. I'm sure that Ruth continued to learn about the laws and customs of her husband's people and worship God. But I think it's obvious that they never thought of her as being Jewish, since she is referred to throughout as "the Moabitess". I've always suspected that was the real reason why the first kinsman turned her down, when Boaz approached him on the subject. He did not want a Moabitess as a wife. Boaz is one of my heroes btw.

As I said, it is interesting to know that she is so revered by the Jewish people. She is important to us of course, because she is an ancestress of Jesus. 

I love your posts. I learn so much from them!  :)

 

;D Thanks.

 

Not only was she considered a Jew, but her story is considered the paradigmatic example of conversion, so much so that many of the laws of how conversion operates are derived from the book of ruth (particularly that potential converts must be dissuaded before they are allowed to convert; essentially, an "are you sure you want to do this" test).  If she weren't considered Jewish, not only wouldn't Boaz have married her, but her children would not have been considered Jewish either (since Judaism operates by matrilineal descent).

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As Christopher Hitchens says "Religion Poisons Everything"..if you require more..check him out,his books and debates can say it all better than I ever could.

 

Robin

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