It is, in Fact, Respectful to Recognize that Some Theologies are Incompatible with Others
A reason people do not realize that Judaism and Christianity are not and cannot be theologically compatible (let alone “merged” as some have suggested) is because they know that Jesus’ friends and followers were Jews, that the man lived and died a Jew, and that the earliest Christian evangelists were all Jews, and that Christianity emerged from Judaism in place and in time. They assume, then, that Judaism and Christianity must be compatible theologically. They could not be more mistaken.
The central tenet of Christianity…that human blood may atone for sin (a specific human’s blood)…and is necessary for redemption from sin and spiritual death…is so contrary to Judaism and always has been that the two belief systems are unbridgeable. Judaism forbids human blood sacrifice for any reason and for all time very early in fact, in the Genesis playlet in which God first orders Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his son, and then stays the patriarch’s hand.
For Hebrews, and later, for Jews, far from being about the appropriateness of contemplated human blood as sacrifice, that scene is about (and is solely about) obedience.
I make no case here against Christianity. None. (If some insist that I do that’s about those making the charge.) My case is that no religion (not simply Christianity) in which there is blood sacrifice/blood atonement cannot be theologically compatible with Jewish Thought. This is (among other reasons) because the first of the Hebraic commandments is about the One, Incorporeal God.
And whether or not you believe in God—and I do not—is beside the point. This is about comparative theology, not what you or I may believe or not believe.
Judaism, ancient, modern, and contempoary, and throughout all branches and iterations of Judaism, deems it Idolatrous even to entertain, let alone to accept, the idea that a man can also be in any manner divine, or, conversely, that the divine can be in any way a human. And idolatry is what Judaism teaches that we must first, last, always and in every way and for all time avoid and reject. This is the essence of Commandment One.
And acknowledging this is not remotely mean-spirited or “tribal”.
Respecting others’ religions and cultures, respecting atheism and agnosticism, working together with others to improve social conditions, building friendships and partnerships with all sorts of people, is not about agreeing that all religions/cultures are essentially the same or that they should be. That latter is magical thinking befitting of children, not so much conscientious, well-read adults.
Accepting and recognizing the complexities and differences between and among theological and cultural systems is, in fact, respectful of people and of our diverse traditions.
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