The Myth of Judeo-Christian America
One of the most interesting phenomena of American Christianity is its apparent affinity for Judaism. Politicans regularly speak of a “Judeo-Christian” moral base for American law (even though it is, in reality, closer to Roman law), and evangelicals often refer to their “Judaic” or “Jewish” roots – especially with those sophisticated enough to realize Jesus was not a blonde-hair blue-eyed American. I don’t feel the need to extrapolate all of the ways that American evangelical Christians look fondly at the Jewish nation – it is fairly transparent. But it isn’t the only thing about the “Judeo-Christian” tradition of America that is transparent.
There is no way of getting around it: Christianity, in any form other than the most original Jesus movement (in which we can probably only see a glimpse of through the Ebionites of the 1st and 2nd centuries), is directly antithetical not only to the Jewish tradition, but to the Jewish people. This is the most dishonest aspect of contemporary evangelicalism: “we” are friends with “you” [Jews] here on earth, but guess what – you messed it all up and now only “we” [Christians] can regain the paradise lost. And you know what? The Jewish people know what Christianity means for them and know what Christians believe. They know you are playing the “friend of Israel” card because that is what is needed for evangelical End Time fanaticism (where they will also have to suffer the Tribulation along with all of us heathens and heretics).
Christianity is the bastard brother of rabbinical Judaism, not its loving child. The perverted meshing of Greek theology with a warped Jewish mythology led to this unholy offspring. There is little wonder why the Jewish community never found the Christian perversion appealing or remotely truthful – those that did were swept aside by the Pauline-Johannine tradition. Jacob Neusner famously wrote in Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition,
[These religions represent] different people talking about different things to different people.
In the collection, Disputation and Dialogue: Readings in the Jewish Christian Encounter, the late rabbi, and scholar, Eliezer Berkovitz rightly expressed that,
Judaism is Judaism because it rejects Christianity, and Christianity is Christianity because it rejects Judaism
There is little “believing” in Judaism, Harold Bloom asserts. Yahweh does not ask the Jewish people to “believe” – they are to “trust” in the Covenant: a covenant that has invariably been broken by God, especially if the Christians of Pauline tradition are right.
For those interested in the major discrepancies and ironies in the Jewish-Christian discussion, I suggest that you read about the other side rather than always trying to explain why Christianity is not opposed to Judaism. If you are interested, Harold Bloom is a good starting point, and Neusner is an excellent scholar in the area:
The Book of J (Bloom)
Jesus and Yahweh (Bloom)
Intellectual Foundations of Christian and Jewish Discourse (Neusner)
Judaism When Christianity Began (Neusner)
Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition (Neusner)
The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (Cohen)
But please, when you realize their is something perverted about the new Christian plurality, don’t follow the lead of this guy (start 2:20 minutes in for Mark Driscoll’s good stuff):
I wrote this article several months ago, but only now did it seem relevant, especially after Pat Robertson just condemned George W. Bush for his [sad and belated] attempt at peace in the Middle East.