Open Response to Charles

Charles

In response to your comment – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/exonerating-the-sinless-ii/#comment-15142

You attempt to compare the books of the prophets to the writings of the followers of Jesus. The comparison is outrageous. The prophets were not part of a separate community. But in the eyes of the gospel writers – the sharpest distinction in the world was that which divided “believers” and “non-believers”.

Here is an excerpt from “Supplement to Contra Brown” that is relevant to your irrelevant comment.

The prophets wrote and spoke their rebuke as a rebuke to their own following, while the authors of the Christian scriptures wrote their invective as accusations against people outside the sphere of their following. The Jewish books of scripture were read as a chastisement to the people who considered the prophet’s words holy, while the books of the Christian scriptures are read until today, as character assassination of Jesus’ opponents, and as words of self-righteous reassurance to the “believers”. The Jewish prophets included themselves when they spoke of the sins of their nation (Exodus 16:28, Jeremiah 14:29, Isaiah 64:5, Psalm 106:6, Daniel 9:5, Ezra 9:6, Nehemiah 9:33). The authors of the Christian scriptures never saw themselves or their intended audience as a part of the group that they were maligning.

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159 Responses to Open Response to Charles

  1. I’m sorry to cause quite so much upset, and I will eshew endless
    debates. However the last statement is quite mistaken.
    The Gentiles were almost but an afterthought, as I outlined in my response to
    Elephant and the Suit
    . The children of the covenant truly
    remain the
    apple of God’s eye
    , though perhaps this attention is for the
    present unwelcome.

    Peter’s statements:
    ‘Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said
    unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what
    shall we do?
    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in
    the name of Jesus the Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall
    receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are
    afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.’ Acts . 2.37-39

    ‘Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God
    made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all
    the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised
    up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of
    you from his iniquities.’ Acts 3.25-6

    ‘Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the
    name of Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God
    raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you
    whole.’ Acts 4.10

    Stephen, and I know well the accumulated objections this speech has
    engendered over the years. (Please remember the audience was learned
    and rabbically educated, if they could have ridiculed Stephen it would
    have served to have discredit his message far more effectively than
    turning him into a martyr. The text for good reasons records his
    listeners ‘were cut to the heart’.)
    Stephen addresses his Jewish congregation ‘Men, brethren, and fathers’
    and the family note continues throughout. Yet this family reunion is
    very reminiscent of the prophets encounter with Israel in her
    idolatries and of Joseph and his brethren, is it not?

    Even the despised ‘Apostle of the Uncircumcision’, went first to the
    Jews and commended the message of the Messiah to the Jews as
    Jewish.  Romans.1.16, 2.10. He and his band regularly went
    first to synagogues – not as an intrusive outsider, but as a Jewish
    teacher of Jewish verities.

    His sermon in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch is typical, ‘Men of
    Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of
    Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as
    strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them
    out of it.’ (Acts 13.16)

    Sure, things began to change once Gentile predominated in the
    assemblies, and then the Spirit’s prophetic warning of Gentile
    highmindedness began to become chillingly and increasingly necessary.
    (Rom.11.20-23)

    But then what could a Gentile be expected to know?

  2. Concerned Reader says:

    The authors of the Christian scriptures never saw themselves or their intended audience as a part of the group that they were maligning. They didn’t? Really?

    What about all the early Christian descriptions ofJudas? He was a disciple. When Jesus calls Peter (his number one) Satan? What of that? What about revelation chapters 1-3’s letters to the seven Churches, or Paul’s rebukes of the Christians in Corinthians? The gospels have several “maligning” words for Christians, that are every bit as strongly harshly worded as Jesus’ words to his theological opponents. True, there are some Christians who mistakenly think that they can just “believe,” but that is a very selective, not too mention rather modern reading in terms of Christian history.

    • Concerned Reader
      The maligning I was referring to was specifically to the chief “sin” of rejecting Jesus, the most definitive line in the world-view of the writers of the Christian Scripture. These writers saw themselves and their audience on one side of this divide and they saw the Jews as a community that stood on the other side of this divide. This has no connection to the criticism of the Jewish prophets who included themselves in the national confessions of guilt.

    • Jim says:

      Con,

      Surely you understand the difference between Jesus calling Peter, “Satan” and calling Jews, “sons of the devil.”

      When Jesus rebukes Peter, he is not calling him evil. He is telling Peter that he is trying to tempt him. Jesus is supposed to have begun telling his disciples that he is to suffer and die. Peter is incredulous at this news, saying that such a thing should not happen. Jesus then calls him “Satan” because Peter is “a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (Mt. 16.23). It is true that Jesus could have been more gentle, but he is not really calling Peter corrupt or evil.

      It is a different situation when he calls the Jews, “sons of the devil,” even though the instances sound alike superficially. Jesus is contrasting himself to “the Jews,” saying that his father is God and theirs is the devil. He tells them that the reason they don’t accept his words is because they are of their father “the devil, and [they] choose to do [their] father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him….” (Jn. 8.44). Jesus claims that he is truth and they as liars cannot understand his teachings. There is a vast difference between calling someone Satan because he has said something that could serve as a temptation to you and calling him a son of the devil for not believing you. He is attacking his opponents with hate-filled vitriol.

      It should be noted why this exchange between Jesus and the Jews began. Jesus begins with a grandiose statement that he is the light of the world. The Pharisees rightly point out that claiming this for himself is invalid. As I often say, “Anyone can say anything.” The Pharisees say that one cannot testify on his own behalf. Jesus argues with a totally nonsensical statement that his testimony is valid because he knows its true. This is folly. Even if everything he said were true, just him saying it is not reason enough to believe. One does not accept every “not guilty” plea just because the defendant insists that he knows he’s telling the truth. Jesus’ attack on the Jewish people is unfounded, and it is provoked by his own senseless ramblings about how people ought to listen to him just because he says so. When he gets to calling them “sons of the devil,” it is because they do not blindly accept his testimony. He is attacking his opponents for not accepting him without sufficient evidence.

      These are two wholly different situations and the terms are employed in wholly different ways. Granted, neither is particularly kind. The first is a harsh rebuke. The second, however, is hateful invective against Jesus’ opponents. That is much worse situation.

      Jim

      (P.S. Among the silly things Jesus says in John 8 is that God could raise up sons of Abraham from stones. This is absurd. One could call such creatures, “sons of Abraham,” all he wanted, but they would not be so. To be Abraham’s son, one would have to be descended from Abraham, which would not be the case of a rock turned man.)

      • cpsoper says:

        ‘He is attacking his opponents with hate-filled vitriol’, this brings us full circle, Jim.
        Does describing the true state of all unbelievers Jew or Gentile (in a way I also personally borrow in open air preaching) make the speech full of vitriol. I don’t think even my own most passionate enemies could or would describe the preaching in that way, much less the Messiah’s. Even if the Muslim or atheist hearers also sometimes threaten death and cursing.
        If accurate descriptions of sin and its effects mean hate speech – then Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are just as culpable. The truth however is that to lance a boil needs a scalpel, to deliver a patient from gangrene needs steel, to deliver a soul from sin and death needs firm reproof. Love for God and men sometimes speaks very severely. The presence or absence of hate may be best judged by the intent for the hearer.

        Your comments about raising sons from the stones is to my perception weak. Have you never heard of genetic engineering or cloning, or the creation of Adam from dust? How difficult for the Creator is to raise true genetic descendants of Abraham from the same materials?

      • Concerned Reader says:

        FYI that was john who said G-d could raise up stones, not Jesus. The point I was making Jim is that Jesus levels the same kind of very harsh speech at his own students. Even outside the context of John’s gospel. Also, we can’t forget that Satan was not always evil in Christian theology, he was apparently G-d’s favorite angel, and was thrown down due to pride. Jesus says “you people” when talking to Nicademus, who says that they believe he came from G-d. What do you make of that?

        • CR, sadly that you force a distinction between the inspired record and the subject of the record just reveals how far you’ve wandered from sound moorings. As to your defence of Satan….

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Charles, you are aware that the majority of the Church, Catholic and Orthodox teach very clearly that a bad Christian is every bit as damned as any evil person? G-d is a just judge, and judges people for what they are capable of knowing. Defense of satan? No, just noting the errors of a dualist understanding of Satan. G-d is in charge, not Satan.

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          Thank you for the correction concerning “sons of Abraham from stones” being John, not Jesus. In my mind, I was placing it in John 8, probably because of the discussion of the “sons of Abraham” mentioned there. I should have double-checked my reference. I apologize.

          Jim

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          I know what point you were making. And I’m showing how that is not true. The two scenarios while superficially alike in their “harsh speech” are really quite different in nature.

          Jim

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question about Nicodemus.

          Jim

          • Concerned Reader says:

            No worries, Jim. As you’ve pointed out, I’ve made mistakes too. It’s not easy to keep track of so much information.🙂 My comment about Nicodemus was that Nicodemus says “we know you are a teacher who comes from G-d, but Jesus still addresses him, and the other rabbis as “you,” So, even those who are not averse to Jesus are subject to a very harsh style of teaching.

            I understand what your saying about John’s gospel, but it’s historical context can give an idea of its Provence. http://lawrenceschiffman.com/jewish-christian-schism/ Here is a good article that mentions John’s text.

          • I hope everyone here knows that I respect your pisitions despite our disagreements. I know discussions can get heated, but it’s always a learning experience.

          • I also erred in loosely thinking the reference to Abraham’s offspring was in John’s Gospel, a misrecollection. Nevertheless, the fault of separating recorder from the subject of the record is not confined to this page, CR, and your latest citation confirms that. The NT is either revelatory that demands obedience or a dangerous piece of deceitful propaganda, and we know what position most posters here take on that. There is no safe or consistent middle ground. To claim as Prof Schiffman does that ‘the Jews as a whole are identified as the opponents of Jesus’ in John’s Gospel is profoundly erroneous: it assumes a late date for authorship, and misreads the Gospel’s assertions, just as much as asserting Jeremiah teaches the same because the hierarchy was vehemently opposed to the prophet and his companions.
            Choose life.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Con, thanks for the Lawrence Schiffman article. It’s a good read. I’ll be browsing that website now. Question for you: how does this article support your position? I am confused. Thanks!

  3. Jim says:

    Charles,

    I call Jesus’ words hate-filled vitriol because they are base on the fact that anyone would doubt him. He starts the whole exchange by saying that he does not need to offer any proof of his claims that he is the “light of the world” because he already knows that what he says is true. The audacity of condemning his opponents for not ‘taking his word for it’ is outrageous. And then he goes on to malign them. That is hate-filled vitriol.

    Jim

    • I suspect we will make little headway in discussing this. It is easy to perceive malice when receiving a reproof even when there is none. We profoundly differ, the Messiah had made it clear repeatedly and emphatically that He receives validation from the Tenach and from Moses’ writings particularly (Jn.5.31-47), it was that statement (esp 5.31 to which the Pharisees alluded in 8.13 as you know well, and forms the context for his assertion in 8.12.
      ‘Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses in whom you trust’

      • Charles
        The motive for Jesus’ attacks against the Jews is stated openly in the Christian Scriptures – it is in order to “explain” their non-acceptance of his message.
        Think about this.

        • I can assure you I have and I do very often. It is something that grieves me deeply.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, what grieves you, Jesus’s attacks against the Jews or the non-acceptance of his message (or both)? (Just seeking clarification, thanks).

            I have another question for you. Jews and non-Christians see Jesus’s words against Jews as hate-filled, but they do not have the same feeling about the Hebrew prophets in Tanach. Have you ever considered why only believing Christians do not see these words as hate-filled?

            That’s also something to think about.

  4. Jim says:

    Charles,

    It’s a small point about which I would not like to get bogged down, but God being able to give rocks Abraham’s DNA would not make them sons of Abraham. John the Baptist (thanks to Concerned Reader for the correction) is making an absurd claim. It is not merely matching DNA that makes one a son of Abraham. To be children of Abraham, they would have to come from him, not merely be matched to him.

    But Jesus did not say this is the passage I was discussing. It was John the Baptist, and not even in the John’s Gospel. I crossed a wire somewhere, probably in a biblegateway search. Usually when I’m typing comments, I’m home-schooling my daughters. While they do a worksheet or read a story, I’ll type up a comment. Since I go back and forth between typing something here and answering questions for them, I sometimes mix up things and they slip by. I try to catch them, but… sometimes I miss something. In this case, I must have pulled up the two different sources separately and in the midst of juggling things, forgot I had different pages open. I’ll try to be more careful.

    Jim

  5. Concerned Reader says:

    Hi Con, thanks for the Lawrence Schiffman article. It’s a good read. I’ll be browsing that website now. Question for you: how does this article support your position? I am confused. Thanks!

    It supports my position by noting that John’s gospel was written in 90 CE by the leader of a Community of Jewish Christians. He makes 3 references in his gospel alone to believers being expelled from the Synagogue. This shows us that the historical nature and Provence of John’s rhetoric is inter sectarian Jewish polemic, as opposed to an entirely distinct non Jewish Church polemic. The point is that this is the proper lens for understanding how to read, and how not to read the book.

    Be well

  6. Concerned Reader
    “inter secatarian” does not necessarily mean that it is not anti-Semitic. Michael Korn is also a Jew – and he considers himself one but he is still an anti-Semite. There are other defining factors that determine if harsh words are spoken out of love or out of hate.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      That’s very true rabbi, but me having that information as a non Jew and keeping in mind in it’s context is very vital, so as to know what NOT to do. Knowing that there are very very heated discussions, knowing that there are experiences for a very few people that lead them to feel as Mixhael does is important. To know why Michael has such horrible sentiments is not an endorsement of them, just like knowing the context of John’s community and what lead to his sentiments is not an endorsement. Knowing what produces those horrid sentiments aids in preventing them in future.

      Hope all is well btw Rabbi

      • Dina says:

        Hi Con,

        The difference between Michael Korn and his horrid sentiments and John and his horrid sentiments is that Christians accept John’s words as being divinely inspired. And Michael Korn draws the inspiration for his horrid sentiments from John’s horrid sentiments. Do you not see the problem?

        The reason for Christian anti-Semitism past and present is Christian scripture. Plain and simple.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          I do indeed see the problem Dina, I agree with you. For the record, I apologize to you for any hate or injustice you face because of our religion and despise the hateful invective in the text. I do have to say though that a Christian who condemns you for “unbelief” does not take to heart the very stern warnings that the NT text levels against him or her too. They do not check for the beam in their own eye. As I wrote before, there are manifold warnings in the NT by Jesus saying that Christians are not secure in salvation if they are wicked, and also that G-d will be just concerning those who were a law unto themselves. It’s also true from the text, that Jesus’ death was planned, and is nobodies fault. If you are righteous, G-d will bless you. This is a teaching that both of our religions share, and I believe that these teachings are of greater emphasis to our religion. Also, the fact is, Jesus was an observant 1st century Jew, so anyone who says to you that you are wrong to observe your religious duty, disagrees with both Jesus and even with Paul, and all the early Christian manuals of discipline concerning proper practices. The information is clearly there for those with eyes to see.

          http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/falk1a.html rabbi Emden recognized these facts in the 18th century, it is about time the Christians caught up with him.

          • Dina says:

            Con, you are ignoring Matthew where the Jews accept responsibility upon themselves and their descendants (“his blood be upon us and upon our children”). Also 1 Thessalonians 2:15: “Who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone.”

            Why is it a terrible thing anyway? Isn’t this event supposed to be the best thing that happened to all of mankind? Shouldn’t Christian scripture be filled with gratitude toward the Jews for getting the job done (if you accept the story as true, which I don’t)?

  7. Jim says:

    Charles,

    I am surprised that you would wish to bring John 5 into this conversation. After all, the contradictions between John 5 and John 8 are rather striking. In 5.31, Jesus says: “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.” In 8.14 he has changed his position substantially: “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I come from and where I am going.” In the first passage he has admitted that no one can testify to himself. But three chapters later he claims that he can testify on his own behalf, because he knows he is telling the truth. Obviously the position is false that one should accept the testimony of another uncritically because he who testifies asserts himself to be honest, and one should be bothered both by the contradiction and the demand to be believed because he says he’s telling the truth. But the contradiction is not the greatest problem. The two passages show exactly why Jesus’ speech is correctly labeled “hate-filled vitriol”. To understand this, we must understand why Jesus admits he cannot testify to himself in chapter 5 but expects that his testimony to himself is enough in chapter 8.

    In chapter 5, Jesus claims to be attested by two witnesses: God and John the Baptist. This is after admitting that he cannot testify on his own behalf. Neither one of these witnesses is compelling, however, as the Pharisees must have made apparent to Jesus, if we assume that the same group is talking to him in chapter 8.

    It is easy to cite these witnesses, because neither one is there to offer testimony. One assumes, however, that at least in the Gospel of John, the Baptist would have testified to Jesus, based on chapters 1 and 3. However, one must ask, what makes his testimony valid? He claims to know things through visions. So, he must be established as a prophet before one would have any reason to accept his testimony. So, even if Jesus is correct that the Baptist testifies to him, not presently before this crowd, but has done so in the past, one could reasonably say, so what? What makes him a credible witness to declare that someone is the Son of God as he declares in the first chapter? The Pharisees would have every reason to demand a reason to accept John’s testimony.

    Things get worse when Jesus appeals to the testimony of God. He does not have a Sinai event to establish him. He relies on two subjective proofs, miracles and scripture. Neither one is a clear proof of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. To the contrary, it does not take much to see that they do not testify to him at all.

    To some degree it is hard to analyze the proofs he is to have brought from scripture. John has him saying: “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (5.39). John has not given any scriptures here and it does not seem that Jesus has actually given any scriptures. If he did not, then it is an easy thing to say that the scriptures testify on his behalf without proving it. This would just be an unsubstantiated claim.

    If he did bring specific scriptures, even though John does not present them, it is perfectly reasonable to say that they were specious. The claim itself is dubious because so little of the Tanach has anything to do with the Messiah. He is not the aim of the Torah. The Torah does not urge people to come to the Messiah for life. Such a concept is foreign to the Torah. Rather the Torah tells us: “If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees and ordinances, then you shall live and be numerous…” and, “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and holding fast to Him; for that means life to you and length of days…” (Deut. 30.15, 19-20). The Torah teaches that fulfilling the commandments, etc. brings life, not puttijng one’s trust in Jesus. Moreover, the idea of a Son of God in the manner of Jesus is itself an idea not taught in the Torah.

    It is safe to say, that at the very least, if such scriptures existed, they would require interpretation. If such a figure were hidden in the scriptures, the way Christians find Jesus in them, not through open teachings but oblique references, then he cannot condemn them for not having his interpretation. How could they know if a particular verse referred to Jesus or to someone else? If Jesus employed the method of removing texts from context like the authors of the gospels, one would not be compelled to believe such evidence. Once again, Jesus is asking them to accept him uncritically. The scriptures do not offer any clear proof of Jesus. He interprets them so that they do. That is not the same thing. The testimony of the scriptures is no reason to believe him, or come to him for life.

    But God is also supposed to testify to Jesus through the miracles. Now, everyone knows that miracles by themselves do not make a prophet. Even Jesus would admit as much, since in Matthew 24 he tells his disciples that false messiahs would arrive and perform signs that would be so powerful they would almost turn aside the elect. Moreover, common sense tells us not to follow miracles alone. If a man cures me of cancer, even claiming he did it by the power of God, and he tells me to kill my father, will I not doubt that he is really from God? Should I kill my father because a man healed me from cancer? And Christians do not credit the claimed miracles of many other religions. I doubt many protestants would credit the miracles Augustine claims happened at the shrine of Stephen, even though he claims witnesses.

    So, by themselves, miracles do not show much. They are interesting. They may lead us to make an investigation to see if we should listen to the miracle worker. But by themselves they cannot prove much.

    If one does investigate Jesus, based on his miracles, one will not be provoked to proclaim him Messiah. The miracle that started this whole conversation with “the Jews” is the healing of the man by the pool of Bethesda. The man, who was unable to walk, after being healed by Jesus was carrying his mat on the Sabbath, as Jesus told him to do. The Jews told the man it was unlawful to carry on the Sabbath, and he answered that the man who healed him told him to carry his mat.

    So there is a problem with the miracle worker. He is supposed to have made a man walk who was previously unable. But then he told the man to violate the Sabbath. Should one then accept the miracle as proof that Jesus was sent from God? Not at all. One might at first be interested in this miracle worker, but once he is showing a cavalier attitude toward the Sabbath, one cannot listen to him anymore. At the least, one must say that his claims are dubious.

    In fact, Jesus exhibits disdain for the Sabbath quite frequently. His disciples break the Sabbath as they cross a field. Later, he will heal someone on the Sabbath after making a salve from dirt and saliva. Creating the salve is wholly unnecessary. He is violating Shabbat just to do it. He does not need to use a salve to heal the man’s eyes. The overall effect of these stories is to denigrate the Sabbath.

    However, the Sabbath is a major commandment. The Israelites were not to collect manna on the Sabbath. It carries the death penalty. And one is cut off from Israel if he violates it. Jesus and the authors of the gospels treat it as if it is foolishness. They treat it with contempt. This being so, his miracles are not enough to testify to him.

    To summarize the three proofs Jesus brings in John 5: He appeals to John, an unproven “prophet”. He appeals to the scriptures, which provide no such testimony, except through creative interpretation, the kind that could as easily be applied to Horace’s Tree. And he appeals to miracles, which by themselves cannot prove anything, but when tested in light of his contempt for God’s Sabbath are no proof whatsoever.

    It is likely that “the Jews” rejected his proofs because they are so poor. Though John does not give their response, John 8 gives us good reason to believe that they argued along the lines presented here—Jesus has not provided any real proofs. So when chapter 8 comes around, he appeals to himself. Whereas in chapter 5, he admits that he cannot testify to himself, after having his weak arguments rejected, he relies on himself. “Well, I know what I say is true.” This is the last bastion of a foolish man, who can bring no evidence.

    And now we see why he resorts to calling them children of the devil. After they have rejected his rather hollow arguments and unsubstantiated claims, he is left with name-calling. He must find some reason the erudite students of Torah reject him. It must be because they are evil. He hates them because they, with good reason, have rejected his proofs. In fact, they were no proofs at all. They were mere assertions, which, when analyzed even briefly, collapsed under scrutiny. His screed against them is hate-filled vitriol. They rejected his evidence because it was not sufficient.

    Jesus is characterizing his opponents as villains because it suits him. He must explain them away somehow. He relies on hate-speech to explain their rejection. Imagine if I acted in the same fashion. Imagine that in our disagreements, I did not try to persuade you with evidence and reason, but instead I villainized you. I said that your mind was clouded with murderous thoughts, that you were a servant of the devil. Would I not have shown myself to have left reason behind me? Would I not have revealed myself to hate all who disagree with me? Would I no show myself to be the real villain?

    Jesus did practice hate-speech. To those who disagreed with him, he imputed impure motives, regardless of his lack of evidence. He was not rebuking the sinful. He was demanding mindless acceptance of his teachings. He demonized those that did not mindlessly accept him and his teachings. This is hate-filled vitriol.

    Jim

    • Jim. You’ve followed the Pharisees into the obvious snare of reading statements over-literally. By the same token Solomon is a fool and God a liar. Prov. 26.4,5.
      I will explain, but like disputing with a man who rails against Solomon’s ‘obvious self contradiction’ I shall not linger to gratify a dubious appetite. Sometimes objectors are best left to stew in their own juices, and that I take to be the sense of 26.4. It doesn’t take 1,800+ words to show this. For this, It is likely I will leave the debate with this contribution.

      The statement in Jn 5, ‘ If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true’ does not mean He ‘cannot testify to himself’. Think for a millisecond about that silly suggestion. Not only does it set the Messiah in contradiction with Himself on Jn 8, but in a hundred other places, but also with Moses, David, Samuel, Paul and many other holy ones, though they be sinful. Its sense if I alone bear witness of myself. Do you really think He was so inane? You don’t do yourself credit, let alone your King.

      He then adduces 5 lines of evidence of His authority.
      First John. John was widely recognised as a prophet, not by the Pharisees and Saduccess, but by others – even Roman Josephus writes of him as a righteous teacher (Antiquities 18.5.2 116-119) and contrasts him with deceivers like Theudas. John emphatically and repeatedly testified to the Messiah, He is ‘The Lamb of God’, the One he was utterly unworthy to represent.
      Second, miracles of power, may indeed be deceptive (Deut 13.2), but they are nonetheless to be expected for the accrediting of new revelation (Ex.4.1-9) as were short term predictive prophecies (Deut.18.22), like the warnings about the destruction of the Temple. John did no works, by premeditated contrast with his Master. The character of the works, resurrection from the dead, the healing of the born blind, the cleansing of leprosy signified by their character (Isa. 29.18, 35.3-6, 42.7,16, 61.1) not just their supernatural power, signified the nature of the Messiah’s priestly work – healing for dead souls, cleansing of spiritual pride and filthiness, perception for those who had lost their sense. Efficacious unlike Levi’s power only to diagnose, valuable but insufficient. Only one sign was a destructive curse, unlike the miracles of the Exodus.
      Third, the Father’s voice and verdict was audibly heard at Bethabara at the Baptism, in Mount Tabor and subsequently at Jerusalem.
      Fourth, the scriptures bear manifold testimony to the necessary death and resurrection of the anointed High Priest as a surety for His people, without which there can be no peace with God nor any cleansing from our heart’s great leprosy
      Fifthly, this is especially evident in the case of Moses, who spelled out the consequences of the final defection in Deut.28.68 at AD 70 (a time when the principles you advocate were enshrined in practice in Israel). Where is your atonement? Where is your High Priest? Where is your sanctuary? All three have been removed.

      The additional claim of ‘disdain for the Sabbath’ is unjust and unholy. It was observed carefully by the disciples even at the time of Yeshua’s burial (Lk.23.56). However if by healing or restoring sick and disabled to life on the Sabbath – the sign of the substance of its shadowy remembrance of a greater Redemption (Deut.5.15) – you intend disdain, your position is not that of Nehemiah or Ezra, or Moses, but that of those who chose to refuse the truth, by making even the Sabbath into an idol, to be set before God’s will. The dichotomy between believing Yeshua and loving God’s commands you seek is false, and the refuge only of charlatans who call themselves ‘Christians’, but are not, see 1 Jn.2.3, Rev.12.17, Rom. 3.31 among many others.

      As to hate speech, two things. One, I have often heard the prophets of the Tenach misperceived as hateful – has noone here read Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens – wakey, wakey? One only needs to read the strife of their Jewish opponents when they spoke (Jer.26.1-19) and the savagery of the persecution and opposition of the prophets to be reminded of the same repeated reaction to the Messiah (Jn.7.43-4) – indeed it is exactly the same phenomenon (Matt.21.33-42).
      Second, it is love not cruelty to warn a man of impending judgement, in order that he may avoid it, and malice not love to flatter the wickedness of men’s hearts.
      Friends, look to yourselves, escape from the Divine wrath to come now, don’t put it off. Don’t just follow the crowd. You will need solid mercy and real cleansing, and you won’t find at all it in a fossilised position of trust in self and unscriptural traditions.

      • Dina says:

        Charles, I’m disappointed. I thought you were one of the good guys! Yet you penned this arrogant, self-righteous, and contemptuous paragraph:

        “I will explain, but like disputing with a man who rails against Solomon’s ‘obvious self contradiction’ I shall not linger to gratify a dubious appetite. Sometimes objectors are best left to stew in their own juices, and that I take to be the sense of 26.4. It doesn’t take 1,800+ words to show this. For this, It is likely I will leave the debate with this contribution.”

        Perhaps you’d like to take that back and restore yourself in my esteem? Just yesterday I was telling someone that if you talk to Christians long enough–the nicest Christians!–eventually they will reveal his contempt for non-Christians. This has sadly been my experience.

        At the end of your comment, you reveal your lack of self-awareness and your judgmentalism with your warning not to follow the crowd. Self-awareness because it is you who are following the crowd, a crowd of two billion Christian believers, while we are the lone voices fighting to be heard. Judgmentalism because you assume that we (and specifically Jim) have herd mentality and have not carefully weighed the evidence for ourselves. How do you know that Jim has not had to sacrifice much and have great courage to turn his back on the faith of his family? How can you say something so insensitive to him?

      • Dina says:

        Charles, you’ve justified Jesus’s venomous words by comparing them to the Hebrew prophets, but you fail to understand the context of the Hebrew Bible–a context in which Israel is judged on a very high standard. Please read Joshua Chapter 7. Israel is defeated in battle because of the sin of ONE individual, and what was his great sin? Taking some of the spoils. And what language does God use? Listen:

        “Israel has sinned; they have also violated My Covenant that I commanded them; they have also taken from the consecrated property; they have also stolen; they have also denied; they have also placed it in their vessels. The Children of Israel will not be able to stand before their enemies; they will turn the [back of their] necks to their enemies because they have become worthy of destruction.”

        That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it, when you consider that one man sneakily nicked some things for himself. That should show you the high standard God has for His people and maybe it will give you a different perspective when you read the heavy rebukes of the prophets.

        It’s not loving to try to turn people away from God, Charles. Think about what you’re doing.

  8. Yehuda says:

    Hi Folks,

    It’s been a while since I posted. I just haven’t had the time of late to follow the blog that closely (although I have lurked from time to time) much less engage in any of the dialogue. I happen to read this post by Jim and have little to add to Dina’s grade, except, Jim, that when it comes to the inefficacy of miracles to proves an alien theology, not only does Matthew 24 belie this notion, but I think you overlooked Deut.13 as well.

    BTW, to Yehuda Yisrael, I don’t mean to create any name confusion, although frankly I think I was here first🙂 .

    To all those who participated in the Shabbos Project, I hope you had as wonderful an experience as we did here in Brooklyn.

  9. Jim says:

    Charles,

    Thank you for noting my word count. You would be great in one of those carnival games where you must guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. I was only two hundred shy of a round 2,000? I suppose I should not have left as much on the cutting room floor. But I kept repeating to myself, “Brevity, Jim! Brevity!”

    If you review my statements, I think it is not unclear what I mean by saying that one cannot testify to himself. I mean exactly that he needs some sort of verification beside himself. And Jesus clearly accepts this principle. That is why he appeals to The Baptist and God. He recognizes that one cannot be expected others to “just take his word for it.” We do not, for example, accept uncritically the testimony of one suspected of murder when he says he did not do it. Of course he will say that.

    So, when bringing his proofs, which are not proofs at all, he is left with only one witness: himself. At that point, he no longer says that his testimony is not enough by itself. He says that it is, because he knows he is not lying. And if the Pharisees had the truth in them, they would sense it—magically, I guess.

    This is not credible.

    Now, you may not know this, but just because some people believed that the Baptist was a prophet does not make him one. And since he is relying on special knowledge, it is imperative that he be established as one before his testimony that Jesus is the Son of God can be accepted. Many people have claimed to be prophets and even accepted by people, but they have been discovered frauds. If the Pharisees and Sadducees did not know that the Baptist was a prophet, then it is foolish to expect them to accept his (absent) testimony as proof.

    Regarding the miracles, I am surprised that you can bring up Deuteronomy 13. You will note that Jesus, in John 5, is referring the Jews to himself, a god whom the Jews did not know, rather than to God. He is demanding that they come to him for life. I only had not mentioned this in my previous comment because I worried about the length. If I had known how close I was to 2,000, I would have put it in.

    Moreover, your abuse of Isaiah is shocking. I can see why you quote the verses you do but neglect all the surrounding bits. Taken by themselves, those verses could be read to be talking about Jesus, but not in the context of what surrounds them. Certainly they do not give us new information on how to identify a prophet. They do not tell us that if he uses miracles of healing then it is the Messiah. Perhaps if you had not just read 42.7, but also 42.8, you would have reconsidered: “I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.”

    You should also reconsider your opinion that Jesus never violated the Sabbath, nor his disciples. John 5 testifies that Jesus told a man he healed to break the Sabbath. Matthew 13 has the disciples breaking the Sabbath. Later, after these conversations, Jesus broke the Sabbath, making a salve, as I pointed out. Because the disciples rested after the death of Jesus does not mean that they never broke the Sabbath. I did not invent this. This is the testimony of the gospels.

    Regarding the scriptures that testify to Jesus, you turn this into two categories, and I do not know why. But, anyone looking at your list of Messianic prophecies will see quickly that they seldom relate to the Messiah except in the imagination of the Church. If you think that we should be impressed with such “prophecies” because of the bulk, you have not been paying close enough attention. In fact, the scriptures do not refer us to the Messiah. They refer us only to God. (Question: should we count the required reading from your link in your word count?)

    Your second category of scripture is quite breathtaking, I must admit: “Fifthly, this is especially evident in the case of Moses, etc.” I must thank you for this gift, because anyone can see that you have obviously no scriptural evidence relating the exile to the rejection of the Messiah. You imply it, which is lovely, but if you had such a verse from Deuteronomy, you would have quoted it rather than ask your questions. Of course, the reason for the exile is given: “If you do not diligently observe all the words of this law that are written in this book…” (28.58). It has nothing to do with rejecting Jesus. And neither does their restoration: “When all these things have happened to you, the blessings and the curses that I have set before you, if you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, and you and your children obey him with all your heart and all your soul, just as I am commanding you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you…” (30.1-3). Neither the exile nor restoration have anything to do with rejecting or accepting the Messiah. It has to do with following the commands of God. If you had a direct passage linking them, you would not have asked rhetorical questions. You would have referred us to the passage. And as a sidenote, Jesus could not have been referencing this or your questions, because they were not in exile, and they still had a sanctuary.

    Just as Jesus did not refer to your fifth line of evidence, he did not refer to the third, the voice from heaven. He could not have referred to the voice in Jerusalem, because it had not yet happened. (Also, people were not sure what they heard, according to John.) Regarding the transfiguration, only Peter, James, and John heard it, and Jesus told them not to tell anyone until after his resurrection. So he was not telling people about that, nor would the Pharisees have any knowledge thereof. (To the spectators: does anyone know which gospel does not carry the story of the transfiguration? If you said the only one supposed to have been written by one of the witnesses, you win a kewpie doll. You also win one if you guess my word count.)

    The only voice Jesus could have referenced, and if he did it is not in the text, is the one at his baptism. You should know that no such voice appears in John. In the other gospels, it is not at all clear that the crowd hears the voice. It appears it may have been only heard by Jesus. Even if not, the Pharisees in Jerusalem on the day he told a man to violate the Sabbath might not have been there for the voice.
    So, after Jesus brings his proofs, baptismal voice or not, it is not enough to convince “the Jews”. The evidence just is not compelling. And since the Jews did not accept his reasoning, he went on a harangue. I must emphasize, this bears no resemblance to the prophets. He is not warning of sin. He is railing against those who disagree with him. It is not an act of compassion. He is maligning those who disagree with him.

    I know you said that you would not likely comment again, and I feel like a cad taking the last word, but I do hope you come back, so I can learn my new word count. I’m going to guess 800. But then, I never was good at guessing how many jellybeans there are in a jar.

    Jim

    • LarryB says:

      Ahem, you don’t tug on supermans cape,

    • Dina says:

      LOL, Jim, you’re way off. You really aren’t good at guessing how many jellybeans there are in the jar. Your word count is 1319, counting salutation and signature. But then, I cheated. I copied and pasted your comment into a Word document, which automatically gave me the word count. So I guess I don’t win a kewpie doll😦.

      • Jim says:

        Not unless you guessed which of the four gospels omits the so-called Transfiguration.

        Jim

        • Dina says:

          I haven’t read all of them yet, so this is really a guess. No cheating, not even looking it up…I’m guessing Luke.

          • Jim says:

            Dina,

            A valiant effort, but the only gospel that does not record the Transfiguration is the one attributed to John, the only one of the gospels supposed to be written by a witness to the event. Peter, James, and John were the only three witnesses to the event, and the only one of the three to whom a gospel in the NT is attributed is John. But he says nothing about it. No kewpie doll for you.😀

            Jim

          • Dina says:

            Dang, I really wanted one🙂. Haven’t read John yet.

    • Dina says:

      Jim, Charles has implied that you are simply not worth his time and that arguing with you is beneath his dignity. To me this is an admission that he cannot formulate a defense of his position that is grounded in reason. He expects others to accept his views on faith, just as he does.

      • Jim says:

        Dina,

        Recently, a Christian has been trying to reconvert me. We have these discussions, and he’ll appeal to some scripture from Tanach. Then I’ll go and show why it does not mean what the Church or he says it means, because of the context, or what have you. When this happens, he says, “I do not want to debate scriptures with you” and then he’ll go on to quote more scriptures. This says two things: 1. He expects me to listen to him, but he is not obligated to listen to me. 2. He is not interested in truth. If he were, he would review the scriptures and look to see if he did indeed err. Instead he just moves on to the next misunderstood passage.

        Regarding the first point, the only problem is the hypocrisy of it. I do not expect anyone to listen to me. However, if they come to me and tell me that I should listen to them and their important message, then they have obligated themselves to show me the same courtesy. But, while it is annoying, it is not the major problem.

        The real problem is the second point. His belief trumps truth. When he uses the scriptures, it is not to understand their meaning, particularly Tanach. The Tanach is not his foundation. It is a weapon to be employed to support his beliefs. Since it does not say what he desires it to say, he must carefully cut and paste passages, until his Tanach looks something like a ransom note assembled from magazine print. He is deceived, because he is disinterested in truth. He is much more interested in his faith. Now, he has every right to believe it, but it does not do him any good.

        If he holds me in contempt, I do not mind. It is not his favor I wish to obtain, nor that of his imagined king. His contempt for me does me no harm. But I am saddened for him, because his contempt of the truth does harm him. However, that is his business.

        Jim

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Jim, I’m sorry you have a missionary on your case trying to change your path. You might have more luck though with opening him up to the truth of the noachide laws, if you show him that they are not just your reading, but that the gospels contain them too. He may be more receptive that way.

          More than likely, he’s got good intentions, but a degree of fear. Your absolutely right that he should be receptive to your readings and appeals to the context. I know you probably feel that I haven’t been receptive, but I promise, I do read what you have to say.

          • Jim says:

            Con,

            Thank you for your kind sentiments. I know that he has good intentions, or at least thinks he does. Unfortunately, I do not think that making him aware of the Noachide Laws in the gospels will help, because that is not the sticking point. Much like Jesus in John 5, he is insistent that I need Jesus for life. Even if I adhered to the Decalogue, as he thinks one should, it would not be enough for him. “For all have sinned…” etc. and “No man comes to the Father but by me…” etc. But I appreciate your advice and sentiment.

            Jim

        • Dina says:

          Jim, the contempt of Christians is irrelevant to me so long as they leave us alone. Unfortunately, in the case of Christians like Charles, the contempt is very dangerous. If history is any model, this kind of contempt translates into danger for non-Christians. Hopefully not in my lifetime.

          In my early interactions with Charles, he was respectful, courteous, and, I thought, infinitely patient. Now he is peremptory, arrogant, and contemptuous. Was it all an act? How many Christians feign kindness and respect, but when they fail to win us over, reveal their true nature?

          I find it very troubling indeed.

    • Jim, I will accede to your request once and only briefly.

      First, please consider that your own statements here are not consistent.
      Initially you wrote, ‘The contradictions between John 5 and John 8 are rather striking. In 5.31, Jesus says: “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.” In 8.14 he has changed his position substantially: “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I come from and where I am going.”
      [A position which would have made Messiah, inconsistent even within the bounds of chapter 5, given that He makes claims about Himself there.]
      Now you write,
      ‘I mean exactly that he needs some sort of verification beside himself’
      In the first you allege a self-contradiction, in the second you have relinquished this, and only affirm what Yeshua affirmed. After making spurious claims of self-contradiction, this inconsistency ill befits an attempted prosecution of ‘hate-filled vitriol’ in a fellow Jew, like Gentile critics of Jews, perhaps you too need to spend some time studying the mirror?

      As to the substance of this verification, I really don’t have time to spend 1,000s of words spelling out its mechanics and details, nor with picking some of the obvious holes in some of your comments, when we have already both spent many minutes at the keyboard, so I can only touch on some of the main problems again.
      First, Yeshua is the same Divine Messenger, who appeared at Sinai. To deny that HaShem appeared to Moses at Sinai and on other occasions to the Patriarchs is idolatry, not to affirm it, it is your position that creates a new god, not the other way round, and I have spent some time explaining how Maimonides exemplifies this worship of
      a new god
      , not known to the fathers. Plotinus’ demi-god, Rambam’s attribute-less, Simplex is yours, not ours, and one fruit of rejecting the Heir and the Eternal Son. This is a fundamental watershed between life and death.
      Second, and it is a big subject, do you think making an eye salve on the Sabbath to give sight or for example to raise the sick, is less than circumcision or temple sacrifices for which the Sabbath rest is properly and lawfully suspended? I will not debate this further here.
      Third, you claim that John the Baptist wasn’t recognised by the Pharisees or Sadducees, so ‘it is foolish to expect them to accept his (absent) testimony as proof.’ The Jews of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel’s days also rejected their prophetic words, and were culpable for doing so. The same is just as true of John – the scribes didn’t have even the courage to deny it publicly. They were culpable for rejecting prophetic testimony, just as much if not more than the Jews of were guilty of rejecting their God – and they should have known better.
      Finally, if the scriptural testimony to the Messiah is as threadbare and vapid as you claim, so that His testimony amounts to nothing but a baseless harangue, it’s curious that 100s of pages and 1,000s of words are needed on this website to try to (often rather feebly and unpersuasively one might observe) discredit them. Do Messianic Jews or Christians put up the kind of effort you are exerting here with Mormons, or other sects? Of course not, there is no need, a few short exposures are usually all that’s required. It’s only when you’re fighting the light, it mandates effort to keep the shutters down, but sooner or later the truth will be wholly vindicated.
      It is this foolish and needless continued rejection which is so grievous, and I fear will redound to your own eternal hurt.

      • I wish we could transparently edit these comments like Facebook, with old editions still visible:
        ‘than the Jews of were guilty’ should have read ‘than the Jews of former times were guilty’

      • Dina says:

        Hi Charles,

        Once again, I’m disappointed by your peremptory tone. As I asked Jim, were you only pretending to be kind, but when you failed to win us over, are now showing us how much contempt you really have for us?

        The search for truth requires patience (and patience is a virtue!). Through these discussions we achieve clarity. I find the experience exhilarating, and I wonder why you find it tedious. So what if we have to expend many words on its behalf? Is there a more important pursuit than discovering the truth?

        As an interesting aside, I counted how many words you wrote on this page: 2425. While Jim wrote many more (4502), that includes his conversations with Concerned Reader and with me, including the banter and the jokes.

        By the way, we’ve been over this ground before, but you make a grave error to assert that somehow, you with your Trinitarian belief are practicing a purer monotheism than we are with our belief in one God.

        The Torah defines idolatry as a type of worship that was unknown to our fathers. Jesus was unknown to our fathers. Ergo, worship of him is idolatry.

        You know what, Charles? It really is that simple. See? It can be summed up in 27 words (the previous paragraph).

        We are, all of us, God’s children. May He guide us in the light of His truth, and may we be humble enough and patient enough to see it.

      • Sharbano says:

        “As to the substance of this verification, I really don’t have time to spend 1,000s of words spelling out its mechanics and details, nor with picking some of the obvious holes in some of your comments, when we have already both spent many minutes at the keyboard, so I can only touch on some of the main problems again.
        First, Yeshua is the same Divine Messenger, who appeared at Sinai. To deny that HaShem appeared to Moses at Sinai and on other occasions to the Patriarchs is idolatry, not to affirm it, it is your position that creates a new god, not the other way round, and I have spent some time explaining how Maimonides exemplifies this worship of
        a new god, not known to the fathers. Plotinus’ demi-god, Rambam’s attribute-less, Simplex is yours, not ours, and one fruit of rejecting the Heir and the Eternal Son. This is a fundamental watershed between life and death.”

        In reading this and others from your site it is apparent you have done what all Xtianity has done, that is to use selective quotes to give support to your own thoughts. You certainly haven’t grasped what the Rambam was teaching but only searching for a way to support the Xtian theology.

  10. Concerned Reader says:

    Was that an intentional perry Como reference Dina?🙂

  11. Concerned Reader says:

    Oh, lol well Jim probably knows who I’m referring too then🙂 hope all is well.

  12. BTW Jim, could you possibly link to your questions and arguments that I haven’t yet answered so I can answer them. I apologize, but with the speed of discussions, posts and comments get buried pretty quickly.

    • Dina says:

      Con, before you post your comment, click on the box that says “Notify me of new comments via email.” Then the comments on that particular article will be emailed to you. It’s a great way to keep up with the conversation and not miss any responses that are directed at you. Hope this helps.

  13. Jim says:

    Charles,

    I understand the difficulty of admitting that Jesus is inconsistent, inasmuch as you worship him. It is uncomfortable to think about the possibility that one has devoted himself to a false god. And so one is forced to reject the notion that his object of worship erred. However, if you review the facts, you will see that the inconsistency is not with me. It is with Jesus.

    Jesus acknowledged that the testimony one offers on his own behalf is insufficient. He needs evidence external to his own testimony. Nobody is obligated to believe a claim that Jesus makes on his own behalf. So he appeals to the testimony of the Baptist and God, the latter via miracles and scripture. John’s testimony is akin to an expert witness called upon without establishing expertise. It is not reliable testimony. Neither are the scriptures or miracles, for reasons I have already stated.

    After those proofs are revealed to be of no use, Jesus contradicts himself. Now he asserts that the testimony that he offers upon his own behalf is sufficient. He does not need external testimony, because he knows the truth himself. His opponents would also know the truth, without need of external proof is they were not devil-children.

    Jesus’ change of position is necessary because he has no proofs. He attempted to offer proofs, because he knows, as all sensible people do, that what one says about himself is insufficient proof. However, the proofs he brings are not proofs at all. Now he has only one thing left and that is his own testimony. So, after bringing failed proofs, he demands that his testimony be considered without any other proof. This is what it means when he says that he knows it is true.

    If you consider this, you will see that Jesus is inconsistent. His demands are unreasonable. It is a difficult thing to face, I know.

    You seem to think that I am Jewish. I am not. But if I were, it would be rather brazen of you to ask me to consider that I judge him too precipitously while Jesus excoriates those who do not believe his unfounded claims. If you are to accuse me of speaking ill of others, you must consider that he was doing it on a much grander scale. I reiterate that he is not correcting their sin. He is maligning those who do not believe him without proofs. He considers it a great thing to believe in him without evidence: “You believe, because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.”

    Do not think that I do not feel for you. I understand you are in a difficult position. To consider that a man you thought was perfect, whom the Church literally deified, was not perfect, that he was rather abusive is no easy thing to do. However, be encouraged that others have faced this reality and survived it. If you seek the truth, you will find that the present discomfort will pass. And the worship that you now offer a mere man, you will much more gladly give to the One Who made not only him but also you.

    Jim

    • Jim, I note you have failed to extricate yourself from your contradiction.
      We don’t have any ‘difficulty’ at all about worshipping HaShem as He has revealed Himself, on the contrary it is our glory, indeed it is impossible to do so, without seeing Him tabernacled in Yeshua, as Abraham and the other patriarchs rejoiced to, in a way Maimonides could never consistently permit. Yeshua didn’t make or construe anyone devil-children, that is our own work not His, by nature we are not children of God but puppets of the flesh, the Adversary and of unbelief. You also badly miscite Him with respect to Thomas, he was to be blamed precisely because he chose to reject a wealth of evidence, evidence that left him without excuse, evidence far stronger even than a resurrection, not because of a lack of physical sight though that was later also graciously supplied.
      Sadly, the same may also be said of your position, and with this I shall bow out of this conversation.

      Your blood, my friend, is upon your own head, and I have done everything I can to warn you to escape the city of destruction – your quicksand theology – for the Rock Who begat you.

      • Sharbano says:

        It looks to me like all you are doing is trying to promote your Own site, a site replete with distortions.

      • Dina says:

        Charles, you have run out of arguments so you resort to threats. Nothing more need be said.

      • Dina says:

        Hi everyone,

        I told Charles that nothing more need be said on the subject, but I was wrong. I see now that I very much want to address the issue of the so-called theophanies in Scripture that Charles has presented as evidence for Jesus. Unfortunately, Charles has left the discussion. I am therefore addressing this comment to anyone who wishes to pick up the thread in his place.

        I argue that the Torah defines idolatry as a type of worship that was unknown to our fathers. Charles argues that worship of Jesus is not unknown to our fathers because God appeared to our fathers in the form of a man (to Abraham and Jacob, for example). Rabbi Blumenthal has written about this here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-bush-the-cloud-and-genesis-18/

        Unfortunately for Charles, there are two things wrong with his argument. Let us say that the men who appeared in these encounters really were God incarnate. I do not for a second believe this, but for argument’s sake let us say this is the case.

        After meeting these God manifestations, our fathers never worshiped them. They never named them, talked about them, prayed to them regularly, and expressed their adulation of these manifestations. These manifestations are never mentioned again. Thus, worship of an incarnate god is a worship that was unknown to our fathers.

        The second problem for Charles is that the Torah tells us to define idolatry also by what was not revealed at Sinai. At Sinai, God revealed Himself to the entire nation of Israel. Later, the Jewish people are warned that, “The Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the sound of words, but YOU WERE NOT SEEING A LIKENESS, only a sound…But you shall GREATLY BEWARE for your souls, for you DID NOT SEE ANY LIKENESS on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb, from the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image, a likeness of any shape; a form OF A MALE or a female” (Deuteuronomy 4:12, 15-16).

        The Torah is teaching us that worship of anything that was not revealed at Sinai is idolatry. Jesus was not revealed at Sinai; hence, worship of Jesus is idolatry.

        It’s so clear, like Charles said, you don’t need thousands of words to explain it, just read the Torah.

  14. Jim says:

    Charles,

    You ask if making an eye salve to give sight or raise the sick is less than circumcision or sacrifices, with the implication that it is not. Well, it would depend upon the halacha, but the question is mistaken anyway.

    Jesus did not make an “eye salve” to give sight. The salve was not of medicinal value. In fact, according the teaching of the Church, Jesus was divine and had no need for medicines to heal people. He was not a doctor (except in the metaphorical sense).

    When he makes the salve, it is wholly unnecessary for the miracle. But, making a salve is a violation of the Sabbath. So, when you ask if making an eye salve to give sight is less than circumcision, the question is a mistake. The eye salve does not serve that purpose. It does nothing but create a violation of the Sabbath.

    With regard to the raising the sick, you have made a similar mistake. The problem was not the healing of the man. (I don’t know the halacha for performing healings on the Sabbath. That is not my lane.) The problem is he told a man to carry on the Sabbath. He told the man to violate the Sabbath. Similarly, in Matthew, he allows his disciples to violate the Sabbath, where no healing or necessity is involved. He makes some confused arguments about the matter that culminate in him declaring himself the “Lord of the Sabbath”.

    These things have nothing to do with necessity. It is not a question of whether or not Jesus should heal the blind on the Sabbath. He need not have made the salve, and the salve is a violation of the Sabbath. The way you set the question assumes the link between the salve and the healing. That link is non-existent.

    Jim

  15. Concerned Reader says:

    Jesus acknowledged that the testimony one offers ON HIS OWN BEHALF is insufficient. He needs evidence EXTERNAL to HIS OWN testimony. Nobody is obligated to believe a claim that Jesus makes on his own behalf. So he appeals to the testimony of the Baptist and God, the latter (meaning G-d) via miracles and scripture. John’s testimony is akin to an expert witness called upon without establishing expertise. It is not reliable testimony. Neither are the scriptures or miracles, for reasons I have already stated.

    Jim, if independent attestation is necessary to validate Jesus, and neither miracles, his movement’s accounts (due to confirmation bias,) nor an appeal to G-d are sufficient evidence, then why is anyone obligated to accept The Jewish bible? The Jewish people have their unique collective national claim, and an appeal to G-d without any independent attestation to the claims they make being validated by another culture. If we say the Jewish people are expert witnesses though, and that their number guards the claim against tale bearing, they are still testifying only on behalf of an already believed ancestral tradition, and so might suffer from the same confirmation bias as a Christian believing the gospel. Ie they believed in the premises before the Purported event. How do you personally deal with Judaism’s own failure to meet your established criteria?

  16. Concerned Reader says:

    No I don’t deny the validity of your argument, but as I actually asked in my question, how do you deal with the failure of your position to meet those criteria?

    • Jim says:

      Con,

      I’m sorry. I do not understand the point of the question. It does not seem to relate to what is being discussed here. Perhaps you could elucidate for me.

      Jim

      • Concerned Reader says:

        I’m responding to the paragraph that you wrote to Charles. The logical standard of evidence that you are requiring of Christianity is a standard of evidence that Judaism does not meet either. How do you deal with the contradiction?

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          No such contradiction exists.

          Have you read the entire conversation between me and Charles? I ask, because your question does not really relate. The discussion is not about the proofs for Christianity in general. It is about the proofs Jesus offered, and how he expected people to believe what he said about himself on his say-so. When they did not, he maligned them. We have not been talking about proofs in general.

          Still, I am not unwilling to answer your question, but I do not know the purpose. I do not know how to address it properly, because it is a random question disconnected from the topic. Or, it is not disconnected, and you are implying hypocrisy on my part. I tend not to think the latter, but if it is, my answer would be different.

          I suppose, since you refuse to tell me the purpose of your question, I’ll assume you wish to show hypocrisy on my part. So, I’m going to address the supposed hypocrisy, but if that is not what you are getting at, I’m sorry. (You could have told me the purpose of your question, rather than repeating the question itself.)

          Again, the topic was not the standard of proof required for Christianity. It referred to the claims of Jesus, specifically, as reported in John. I argue that it is reasonable to reject his claims, due to the lack of evidence he brought, as reported by the Christian source. And it is unreasonable for him to malign his enemies.

          But let us say that I am applying a double-standard. Let us say that I overlook faults of Judaism’s proofs, and in regard to Christianity I am more strict in applying them. Let us say that I too readily accept proofs for Moses and turn aside those for Jesus.

          It is irrelevant for two reasons:

          First, I do not actively seek to convert others. More importantly, I do not malign others for not believing. Generally speaking, the Jewish people do not do so either. If one does not believe that the Torah came from heaven, I believe him to be in error, but I do not call him a child of the devil. I do not malign him or consider him an enemy of my faith.

          Second, it is irrelevant, because if I too readily accepted Judaism, that does not mean that I would be in error to reject Christianity. Christianity could be false either way. So, if I say that Christianity offers no substantive proofs (and it does not) it is perfectly reasonable to reject it. Even if I have mistakenly accepted insufficient proof by accepting Judaism, I am under no obligation to compound the error by accepting insufficient proof for another faith. It would be childish to say that because I accepted one error, I should accept any other error that comes along too.

          If this is not the point of your question, then I am sorry. As I say, I am confused, because it does not directly relate to the conversation. I doubt that you are looking for a defense of the Jewish faith. But it does not seem likely that you are trying to show me to be a hypocrite either. If my answer serves no purpose, then I apologize for the 200(?) words I’ve wasted here.

          Jim

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Jim, my question was absolutely directly relevant to the subject. You said to Charles that Jesus expected people to follow him based primarily on miracles, appeals to scripture, G-d, and on his say so, and you roundly criticized his castigation of those people who failed to believe him on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Judaism is accepted and founded on the same basis, even when accounting for the unique claim arguments it brings forward, because, as I said, it can suffer from the same confirmation bias that you see in Christianity being primarily based on a family tradition before the central Sinai event.

            Whether Judaism seeks converts or not is also irrelevant, as the Jewish Bible itself makes universal claims against all foreign religions, and cultures, that are not strictly regulated by either the seven laws of Noah and or Torah law, and this outlook governs all interaction between us. It does not matter to many Jews or Noachides if other nations already observe those rules, if it is not from within a biblical framework according to scripture, and as you have said, religious innovation is also wrong.

            I’m not saying, nor have I ever implied that you should accept Christianity. I have only noted some of the reasons (not based on miracles, or Christian testimony,) for why Christians believe in their faith. You are within your rights and free choice to reject it. Based on the questions and criticisms you level against Jesus though, I’m curious how you handle the same kinds of issues in Judaism’s case?

            I’m not trying to call you a hypocrite at all, I’m trying to say that the standard you have raised to judge Christianity, and specifically Jesus by, doesn’t work any better for Judaism, and Moses, and I’m wondering how you deal with that? I hope that clarifies my questions and comments.

          • Concerned Reader, what you are doing is you are trying to make appear as though we Jews have a “double standard” by asking for evidence of jesus’s supposed messiahship and deity. You argue that the points that we scrutinize about christianity also can be applied to Judaism, namely the authenticity of the Tanach.

            But as I’ve told you multiple times, it is YOU who are holding the double standard. You seem to love to ignore the fact that your entire NT is fully dependent on the authenticity of the Tanach. The second a christian starts to question Moses’s validity as a prophet, the christian is questioning very foundation of their own religion. Yes, this is also true for Jews, but we aren’t making that argument. We aren’t the ones claiming that the Messiah already came. YOU ARE!

            Because you and your NT authors make such a brazen claim, we can justify putting the claims of the NT writers to the levels of scrutiny that we do. Remember, mainstream Judaism does not claim that the Messiah already came. The idea of the Messiah’s coming is associated with the end of days throughout the Tanach. The idea of the Messiah coming and then “going away” and then “coming back” is rooted primarily in christian thought as a reactionary theology that occurred after jesus failed to fulfill the Messianic prophesies of the Tanach. There is evidence for this in the NT itself, as none of jesus’s disciples expected him to “come back” until after jesus made the claim…In other words, jesus’s followers did not develop a “second coming” theology until AFTER jesus told them he was going to “come back.” They did not get the idea of a supposed “second coming of the messiah” from the Tanach.

            So because your NT strays from the Messianic narrative of the Tanach, we Jews are 100% justified in questing the authenticity of the NT claims. However, you and any other christian who claims jesus is the supposed MESSIAH OF THE TANACH, are not justified in calling it a “double standard” for us to scrutinize the claims of the NT authors concerning jesus by bringing up the fact that Moses’s claims would not hold up to the same scrutiny…Why? Because YOU MUST BELIEVE IN THE WORD OF MOSES AND THE OTHER PROPHETS OF THE TANACH IN ORDER FOR THERE TO BE POTENTIAL FOR THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH AT ALL!

            Here’s an analogy for you, CR. Lets’ say we both agree that George Washington was the first president. Let’s say you went up to me and said “Benjamin is going to be President of the United States in the next election! He’s coming back! He was also the president of the United States! He actually won the votes in an election after George Washington, but you didn’t see it!” I would of course, challenge you on the claim and say ” wasn’t even a US President ever, so your claim is ridiculous. He never won an election. Plus you can’t prove to me that he is going to be elected or that he is coming back.” But then you reply to me back and say, “Well you can’t prove to me that George Washington was elected into office either! Did you count the votes? Did you see them?”

            This is essentially what you are arguing. The office of President can be likened to the the office of prophesy and ultimately, the Messiah in this analogy. The second you question whether or not the first President of the United States was legitimate, you question the entire historical foundation of everything you believe about the presidency.

            So too, when you question the validity of Moses, you aren’t making anyone look like fool but yourself.

            We have every right to question the validity of your NT authors’ claims. It is NOT a double standard.

            You on the other hand, have NO justification for comparing our critique of the NT to a critique of the Tanach. Once you reject the foundation, you have nothing!

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Funny Yehuda, that you suddenly appear to answer Jim’s questions for him, though I know and have no doubt that he is probably working on an appropriate, if more respectful response, so I’m waiting for him. I’m not saying that Judaism is being inconsistent, if that’s what you are perceiving, then that’s your problem, not mine. Notice, that I clearly told Jim, that if I agree with his arguments, he too is still found to be in the same boat vis his criteria that he is applying to Jesus and Christianity, in the case of Judaism.

            If you disprove Jesus, then you are still a long way from proving to me that your own religion is also true. Whether messiah has or hasn’t come, does not have any bearing on the truth of Judaism’s own claims, especially If I agree, after it destroys Christian claims. If you rest on the fact that Christians just accept the Torah anyway, my question still stands. If anything, your arguments against Christianity just show that people can be very very gullible. So, the question stands all the more for the claims that are anterior to Christianity. How do you account for Judaism’s own inability to meet Jim’s criteria? Its utterly irrelevant what the Christians have to, or don’t have to believe, after you have dismantled their religion.

            They did not get the idea of a supposed “second coming of the messiah” from the Tanach.

            Yehuda, respectfully, We know that the messiah is affectionately called David in scripture many times. If we wanted to, we could claim that the Tanakh says David, in future will be their prince forever. Ezekiel 37:25 You could say, David himself, or David’s descendant, (whichever G-d would choose) will be their prince forever, since when Ezekiel wrote this, David was long since deceased, that’s technically, a second coming of David. Make of that what you will.

            NOTICE AGAIN. IF i agree with your sentiments that the Christian religion is false, then I am under no such compulsion or responsibility to accept your claims at all! I am saying, if you prove Jesus is false, you are still in the same boat in that your own claim cannot stand up to your own standard of scrutiny. If that is not important to you, then I’ll just ask the readers, who are interested in truth, why?

          • Dina says:

            Con,

            Are you being facetious in writing this:

            “Yehuda, respectfully, We know that the messiah is affectionately called David in scripture many times. If we wanted to, we could claim that the Tanakh says David, in future will be their prince forever. Ezekiel 37:25 You could say, David himself, or David’s descendant, (whichever G-d would choose) will be their prince forever, since when Ezekiel wrote this, David was long since deceased, that’s technically, a second coming of David. Make of that what you will.”

            Surely you aren’t serious?

            Jesus’s claims are different from Judaism, you know that. Jesus insisted that people believe him on the basis of his own say-so. Moses didn’t insist that anyone believe in him. He didn’t have to, because God spoke to him in front of the whole nation.

          • CR, I’m not here to answer for Jim. I here to put you in your place. You’ve been arguing the same narishkeit over and over again and you should know by now that you have no case for your position.

            It’s funny. Your response actually sheds light on something profound. You claim that even if we could convince you that christianity is wrong, then you would outright reject Judaism with it. This exposes something about your position that you may not be consciously aware of:

            Your belief in jesus as the Messiah is solely based upon what the NT says. You do not care what the Tanach says concerning the Messiah or really anything else for its own sake…Rather, you abuse the context of the Tanach to conform to your preconceived notions of your messiah and your god based off of your NT.

            Think about it: If you truly believed in the divine authenticity of the Tanach for its own sake, you would not abandon the Torah of Moses simply because your NT authors crowned a false messiah.

            This is the deep dirty secret of all christians that they will only tacitly admit. Your entire theological foundation starts with jesus and ends with jesus. The irony of this strange christian paradigm is that the original followers of jesus did not need to believe jesus was the Messiah in order for them to believe the words of Moses in the Torah. They did not need jesus to supposedly “rise from the dead” for them to believe that the words that Moses spoke in the Torah are true.

            You on the other hand, claim to “need jesus’s claims to be true” in order for you to believe in the authenticity of Moses’s words in the Torah. Why? Your NT writers didn’t need this! Why in the world do you?

            I don’t claim to “need historical proof” for the miracles that occurred during the Exodus. I don’t need someone to “prove” to me that Moses split the sea by the power of G-d. I simply believe that it happened, just as your NT writers believed those things happened. I can use the Kuzarie principle as an interesting support, but I don’t claim that it definitively proves anything about the Exodus. Ultimately it is based upon my Emunah, just like your NT writers, matthew, mark, john, paul, etc.

            But you would throw it all away if we could convince you that jesus is not the Messiah…

            What does that say about your faith?

            Shalom

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Yehuda, something profound that you may not know about my Christian faith is that its not based around relying on the Christian religion or Jesus exclusively, or miracles. I do not need to consult Christians or their scripture to know that their founder Jesus existed. I do not need them to tell me that he died by Crucifixion under Pilate. I do not even need them to know that people made the claim that he rose from death. The Romans and Jews documented all of these claims.

            The Hebrew Bible says that when a false prophet arises, he should be killed, along with his followers that were complicit with him. Jesus arose, and was killed. However, his movement did not cease with his death as the movements of all other false prophets in history had. If he and his movement qualify under the Hebrew Bible’s category of false prophets, the test should have ended long ago, if the Bible is any indication of precedence.

            Not only did the movement not die, it exploded. I find that curious. I find it even more curious that even those who detest Christianity vouch for its ultimate, though small role in “paving the way” for the world embrace of Monotheism, which the prophets in the Tanakh indeed foretold.

            You have stated “The irony of this strange christian paradigm is that the original followers of jesus did not need to believe jesus was the Messiah in order for them to believe the words of Moses in the Torah.” All this really means is that Jesus’ followers embraced the religion of their birth without critical thinking, it has no bearing on the truth or falsehood of the claims made therein.

            Jim has made the case that Christians cannot listen to appeals to G-d, Scripture, or witnesses, without independent verification. “Jesus acknowledged that the testimony one offers on his own behalf is insufficient. He needs evidence external to his own testimony. Nobody is obligated to believe a claim that Jesus makes on his own behalf. So he appeals to the testimony of the Baptist and God, the latter via miracles and scripture. John’s testimony is akin to an expert witness called upon without establishing expertise. It is not reliable testimony. Neither are the scriptures or miracles, for reasons I have already stated.”

            I have noted that Judaism does not meet this standard of evidence, after I have agreed with Jim’s premises. Perhaps you should be more careful before judging my integrity Yehuda.

            You have given every reason not to accept Christian claims, but when the same light of criticism is shined on your faith you cry irrelevant. That is the height of intellectual dishonesty respectfully. Its also telling that you have to disparage my love of G-d and the Bible to make your point. As everyone here knows, I have made no attempts at proselytizing, because I have respect for Judaism, and know that Torah observance is scriptural even in Christian scripture.

            Be well.

          • Dina says:

            Con,

            You think that a prophet is proved true if, even if he is killed, his movement lives on. First, a prophet being killed doesn’t prove he is false or true. If the Jewish court finds him to be false, they are obligated to put him to death. But just the fact of his being killed proves nothing. True prophets were occasionally killed, as you know from reading Tanach. By the way, Deuteronomy 13 says nothing about killing his followers. Look up the passage again.

            Second, you wrote, “Not only did the movement not die, it exploded.” Are you serious? By your logic, you would have to believe in every prophet whose following exploded. Islam exploded, for example. Mormonism is doing pretty well, with 15 million followers, not even 200 years after its founding.

            Puh-lease!

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Moreover Yehuda, you speak of having personal Emunah that is bolstered but not “proved” by Arguments like Judah Ha Levi’s Kuzarie, and that if the disciples of Jesus had faith in the Tanakh, and you have faith, why don’t I, etc.

            Well, I did! I absolutely Did, and it wasn’t based on Christian say so! All of your arguments however about how poor faith based arguments are, and how Christianity is faith nonsense, not based on the Hebrew Bible, have made me think, and now you have the gall to ask why I do not just have faith?

          • CR, since you put so much emphasis on fairytale of jesus’s supposed “resurrection,” why don’t you consider the fact that jesus could have been resurrected to eternal damnation?

            Daniel 12:2. And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken-these for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence.

            Assuming your jesus rose from the dead, (he didn’t) this shouldn’t impress you in the least. How do you know that jesus wasn’t hypothetically the first to be resurrect for eternal abhorrence? I can easily justify this by the fact that jesus has not returned for over 2000 years when he did in fact claim that “this generation shall not pass…” you know the deal. You can whine about the greek for the word “generation” and stand in a profound stupor about how many follower jesus got. You can ignore Deut 13’s warning against false prophets and simply marvel at jesus’s large following just for the sake of it. You can continue to be impressed with “similarities” between Rabbinic Judaism and christianity and ignore the profound theological differences where christianity strays from the Tanach. You can continue to ignore the fact that jesus failed to fulfill the Messianic prophesies.

            You claim to not proselytize, but here you are on a Jewish counter-missionary blog, outrageously insisting that believing in jesus is consistent with Hashem’s will in the Tanach. Yet you shy away from argumentation every time we show you how jesus cannot be the Messiah, and you change the topic to your biased skewed look at history, throwing the theology of the Tanach out the window. You pinpoint a sliver of time, the end of the Second Temple period, and base your entire belief system off of a group of renegade Jews who crowned a false messiah and got a bunch of pagan gentiles to join a new idolatrous brand of “Judaism.”

            I think deep down inside you know that your belief system is asinine but you just can’t let go. You aren’t going to get any sympathy here. Your beliefs are going to be critiqued and your views will be called as being asinine and desperate.

            Please, stop making yourself look silly.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            CR, since you put so much emphasis on fairytale of jesus’s supposed “resurrection,” why don’t you consider the fact that jesus could have been resurrected to eternal damnation?

            Yehuda, I want you to show me from my comments where I ever rest my faith in Jesus on a miracle like the ressurection. Show me from my comments here where I say I believe in him based on a ressurection. You will not find one instance in my comments on this blog of me thrusting the ressurection on anyone. I in fact, have acknowledged openly that the ressurection is a Christian faith position that you have to rely on Christian testimony to accept (you have to have faith in Christ in order to believe it) so I’ve never brought it up on this blog as proving anything. If you are not going to address anything I actually write, that’s fine, but at least have the integrity to read what I’ve actually discussed.

            Dina, the point of issue with the unique claim argument about the national revelation at Sinai, (as per Jim’s earlier comments) is that it also relies exclusively on your own national testimony in the way that the testimony of Jesus in the gospels relies on his testimony, miracles, the testimony of his believers, and that of G-d only. The national claim suffers from the same confirmation bias that Jim says the gospels do, because everyone present already believed in G-d, and the claims made about his nature and abilities to redeem.

            The Jewish nation is a nation made up of one Man’s descendants.The only real difference between Judaism’s claim and the gospel’s is the claimed number of participants in the event. Jesus claimed to have 12 witnesses, Jews claim 600,000+ But, neither Judaism nor Christianity have verification external to the testimony found in scripture, or a testimony independent of the tradition, that verifies your particular version of events. You have no Ethiopians, Egyptians, or other contemporary cultures who verify the story you are telling as the bible narrates, as you have no evidence off the plague of the first born that I mentioned long ago. So, as I said above to Jim, Judaism does not meet the standard of evidence that Jim has set up for judging Jesus and Christianity either. If Jim has proven Christianity false because it does not meet his criteria, then he shouldn’t accept Judaism either, so that he shows himself logically consistent with his own standards.

            If as Yehuda says, you have Emunah that the Bible is true, I’m fine with that, but once you say that your acceptance is faith based, the thrust of the national revelation argument becomes somewhat irrelevant as it cannot be proven independent of your say so. If I accept that Christianity is false based on Jim’s criteria, why should I believe the Torah. Once I reject Christianity, based on Jim’s standard of evidence?

          • Dina says:

            Con,

            Let me put it to you this way.

            Let us say neither of us can verify our claims. Let us say they are purely faith claims.

            Now let us compare the two faith claims.

            Jews believe that God spoke to Moses in front of the entire Jewish people, their physical ancestors, and therefore accept the Torah as true.

            Christians believe whatever it is they believe about Jesus (he’s God, he’s the Messiah, he saves them from sin, etc.) based on his say-so and the the testimony of his followers who are not their physical ancestors.

            All we’re saying is, can you match your claim with ours? That’s all there is to it, really.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Dina, the issue I have with your continued mention of Islam, and the Mormons, etc. is that your rabbis don’t actually call Muslims idolaters, when compared to Christians, and they even praise Islam’s virtues, (The grandson of Rambam does this for instance,) even though Muhammad actually verifiably spoke in the name of known false gods in his day (ie in the Quranic verses called the Satanic Verses, he spoke of local polytheistic deities.)

            Jesus, by contrast only ever spoke to and in Hashem’s name, and he placed himself under G-d’s authority and the commandments until his death. However, Because he is described by Christians in a way that due to your traditional emphasis on anti anthropomorphism, you reject, you regard him as advocating idolatry, you regard him an idol even though there is historical evidence that many very pious good Jews held similar ideas. That’s one reason I don’t personally have issue with Mormons. They have a historic backup of Jews actually believing G-d had body. There were rabbis in antiquity that held that G-d had a body, and they weren’t considered heretics or misguided. There were rishonim that held G-d had a body, and even when we tell you that we orthodox Christians ourselves do not believe Hashem is limited to or has a body, you still say we believe it. For instance, Mormons are called heretics by the orthodox precisely because they believe G-d to be entirely anthropomorphic and physical. You call us idol worshipers even knowing that the religion we hold to is “plagiarism” from Judaism to use your words, and you reject the likes of Philo because he wasn’t Orthodox enough, even though he contains central tenants of what became our Christian theology, and he defended Judaism from Hellenism. You also accept the words of a man (Moses’ words in Deuteronomy) as holdIng the authority of Hashem’s word, but you blame us? You have the selichot in your prayer book where you ask angels to ferry the prayers of the righteous to Hashem, but You call Christians idol worshipers for praying in the name of father, son, and spirit?

            You dismiss my appeals to accepted history, then you complain that Christians have blind faith, and only believe what their fathers taught, but when pressed to show how you yourselves have more evidence, a more sound foundation, yehuda has to say, “the disciples believed, why don’t you?” I’m using your own standards, and they are reflecting unfavorably on your own position. That is not my fault. I’m sorry if this response sounded unkind, really, but when you have to throw accusations, and then apply a double standard, it gets very bothersome.

          • Dina says:

            Con, I am not going to address the points you raised here, because you did not address my challenge at all. You are distracting from the issue.

            You argued that the evidence for Jesus is the explosion of his following. I responded that the same could be said for many religious leaders, so how can you use that as evidence? You responded by criticizing the Jewish attitudes to Islam and Christianity (wherein you totally mischaracterized our attitudes, but like I said, I’m not going to get into that right now). Answer the challenge if you can, and say you can’t if you can’t.

          • mansubzero says:

            con, are you sure christianity exploded? nt right doesn’t believe it exploded. richard carrier believes it didn’t explode in gains. have you read richard carrier’s response to jp holding? what about people doubting and leaving christianity in it’s early days? what about pagan cults being in greater number than first century christianity?

  17. Jim says:

    Charles,

    You said “…if the scriptural testimony to the Messiah is as threadbare and vapid as you claim…it’s curious that 100’s of pages and 1,000’s of words are needed on this website to… discredit them.”

    This must be the most disingenuous thing you have written. It is obvious why such a need exists. Prior to the Jewish response to Christian proselytizing, there was Christian proselytizing. Christians have written much more than hundreds of pages and thousands of words in an attempt to support their faith.

    And they have not been content merely to quote their own “scriptures”. They have felt the need to misquote and misrepresent the words of the Jewish prophets. What verse would the Church find impossible to read Jesus into, regardless of the topic? They have expropriated the words of others and turned them to their own purpose, turning out page after page.

    And when a Christian misunderstands some text from the Torah or the Prophets or the Writings, and it is shown to him the error he has made in making the scripture about Jesus, he does not apologize. He does not normally even acknowledge his fault. He moves on to another scripture. And when that too is shown to be misunderstood and misrepresented, even misquoted, he moves on to yet another. He claims to have hundreds of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Like a hydra, every verse disproven is replaced by another misrepresented verse.

    This is what necessitates the hundreds of pages and thousands of words. The Christian insists on being heard. He spends millions of dollars a year on evangelizing the world. He churns out book after book and program after program targeting this group or that. And all the while, demanding to be heard, he seldom listens.

    How can the aggressor accuse those who resist him? How can a Church that publishes volumes demand that no rebuttal be made? You are right that one day the truth will be vindicated, but until that day comes, I shall stand up for it.

    Jim

    • Dina says:

      Jim, this one gets a standing ovation. Thank you for your courage.

      • Dina, About that; the false prophet was to be killed .The previous arguing about whether Jesus’ ‘movement’ died out or continued and despite his death – whether it is proving him being false or true- I would leave that aside and better start with another fact. You mostly believe in the words spoken against Pharisees to take place and use it as an argument against Christianity, you take Jesus’ conversation and uses it against, why don’t you take so seriously other words that are in the gospels regarding the fact of Pharisees dismissal of Jesus’ resurrection and their idea of stolen body that nobody for some reason even took for a public display to prove the lie? Read Matthew 27;63-66.

        • Dina says:

          Eric, I don’t understand what you wrote here. Don’t you know I don’t believe Christian scripture? Whatever stories it records about the Pharisees is lies and slander. The whole stolen body thing is a vicious lie. It makes me furious to think about it. It caused thousands of years of suffering for my people. You don’t get it, don’t you?

          • Dina, putting aside the ‘suffering issue who is to blame. ..what is my point, to make it clear? What do you consider as a lie in the gospels? The words spoken by Pharisees to falsify the fact of Jesus’ resurrection? Was it made up story written by an unknown author? If you believe so; you shouldn’t take Jesus’ words seriously either. It should be ‘that his ‘ But I tell you’ – never was spoken!, All words in the gospels should be judged on the same basis by you- as words or conversation that never happened. If Pharisees’ dismissal of Jesus’ resurrection never happened, if Matthew 27; ’63-63 conversation is made up story then you have either no Jesus to blame – as he never existed and was just a tale to you, just the unknown author is to blame that wrote 4 gospels, acts and somehow made it correlate so well.

          • Sharbano says:

            It’s Not whether we believe what the Xtian text “says”, it is the result of those words and how they affected the Jewish community throughout the ages. The errors of the Xtian text are well known. Much has been written about them but Xtians are simply unable to accept factual evidence. The reliance on the emotional connection hinders the understanding of truth. It’s not unlike the issue Menashe spoke to Rav Ashi about.

          • Dina says:

            I say these things to point out how Godless your scripture is, not because I believe Jesus actually said any of it. I don’t know what is true and what is false. There is so much that is false in there that therefore none of it is reliable.

          • Dina, But behind all of this is still hate to Jesus and his words, who according to you probably didn’t even exist. The hate toward Jesus’ words is expressed in so many post on this web that you can’t deny. But how can you hate somebody who you believe didn’t even exist ( is made up)?

          • Dina says:

            Eric, we don’t hate Jesus, we couldn’t care less about him. We hate falsehood and we hate idolatry. And we hate hatred. Jesus’s words as recorded in Christian scripture (even if he never said them, someone claimed he did) are full of hate. We Jews have suffered horribly because of those words. For this reason we condemn Jesus’s message in the harshest terms.

            The point is, someone attributed all these words to Jesus and a lot of people believe it, so it’s irrelevant if he said them or not. Personally, I think that if he would have known what was written about him and said in his name he would have been horrified.

          • Dina,He might be indeed horrified but are you not aware that any even OT GOD’s words can be used toward any horrifying action? Don’t you remember scarifies of children by pagans offering their infants on fire for their gods? I might ask the same question and use the same argument. If God knew people would come up with such ideas of sacrificial meaning and misuse , He should not even bring up any sacrificial ceremonies in the history. Pogans would not copy the idea and misuse it for their horrifying actions. The same way you should look at NT. Jesus didn’t mean to bring persecussion. Whoever misused his words justifying his evil actions is described in Matthew 27;63-66

          • Dina says:

            Really, Eric? People used the Torah to justify human sacrifice? What are you saying?

          • Dina, Pagans didn’t have to have access to your books! Sacrifices existed long before isreal existed. Don’t you remember Cain and Abel? Pagans used the idea of sacrifices and misused their purpose. That is what I mean when I said , if the idea was never introduced , others would not copy it and misuse it. But does it mean Abel is guilty because he was the first one offering sacrifice to God? That is what I mean when you try to blame NT’s words that were misused and used for hating Jews. You said if not NT , there would be no Jews ‘persecution and hate. Can I say the same ; if not Abel and Israel’s sacrifices later, the pagans would not misuse their purpose and kill their own kids for their gods?

          • Dina says:

            Eric, you are speculating. The fact is that, whether rightly or wrongly, people used Christian scripture to justify worship of Jesus as God–something I am sure would have horrified him. They have also rightly or wrongly used Christian scripture to justify persecution of the Jews–something I am sure would have horrified him even more.

            This is fact. It is not factual to say that pagans may have used the Torah’s idea of sacrifice to justify human sacrifice. You have no evidence of that, historical or otherwise. You simply made it up.

          • Dina, Would you ever spend time to condemn Pinocchio if his words would carry any antisemitism ? I am sure you would not as he never existed. You would look for the author of the story and why he brought up such character. But you indeed focus so much on Jesus when it comes to NT as source of hate.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, I’m not sure what your point is, but yes, if Pinocchio were revered as a god and had a large following, and if the words attributed to him were used to oppress the Jewish people–or anyone else, for that matter–then I would criticize him the same way I criticize Jesus.

          • dina, the point is how can you blame somebody who never existed according to your belief? You would rather blame the author of the story and not take fictional character seriously.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, I never disputed the fact of Jesus’s existence. I rather dispute the stories the gospels say about him, including the Jews’ involvement in his crucifixion. I have given you reasons for this. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. I think this particular thread is a distraction and it is pointless to pursue it.

          • Dina, I have no time to go back to all your comments, I will just focus on that one little thing. You wrote you never disputed the fact of Jesus’s existence. So, on which base you can say you never dispute his existence when the only evidence of his existence is gospels? At the same time you believe that all what is written in the gospels is lie, so how do you decide which facts are true which made up? How do you decide that existence of somebody might be true but the rest is a lie?

          • Dina says:

            Eric, are you kidding me? There is extra biblical evidence for Jesus (he’s mentioned in Josephus and the Talmud) and there is extra biblical evidence for Pontius Pilate (also mentioned in Josephus plus archaeological evidence). The most that historians can accept with any degree of certainty is that Jesus was a Jewish man who was executed by the Romans for a political crime. Whatever can be corroborated by other sources I can accept as true. Everything else is unreliable, and the stuff that totally contradicts history we know for certain is false.

          • Dina, evidence for Jesus in Talmud???? Can you clarify??? That is interesting you so easily can accept the fact of somebody’s existence although you have no proof for it apart from saying that Josephus mentioned Jesus, yet any other testimonies are dismissed by you when they don’t suit you. You would discard Paul’s testimony of his own eye witness of Jesus , but you would not mind to accept Josephus’ testimony, yet the reliability of one witness is not exceeding the other. But you would still consider one thing as the sage , the other the fact. As if no-one ever recorded any true words spoken by Jesus of whose existence you can be sure based on being mentioned by historians. You would really believe that non of the words spoken by Jesus were ever recorded? If you believe they were , how can you tell which ones are true which are not ( made up)? Since so far you seem to say that whatever was spoken in the gospels is made up and not true.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, you asked “How do you decide that existence of somebody might be true but the rest is a lie?”

            The existence of someone can be confirmed while the legends that arise concerning him can be rejected. For example, we know that John Dee and Rasputin were real, historical figures but we don’t believe the magical legends that were spawned after they died.

          • Dina, I am not talking about the magical legends spawned after Jesus’ death and resurrection. I am talking about his words spoken. You have no proof to say that his words are not true, neither you can’t prove what about his life is true what is not.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, I don’t understand your point. I have shown you why the NT is unreliable. I have given as my reasons the fact that it misquotes, mistranslates, and fabricates quotations from Tanach, that it records events that contradict the historical record, that its internal contradictions make certain events impossible, and that its doctrines contradict the Torah, among other things.

            Because it’s unreliable, that means we can’t know which parts are false except for the following:

            1. Whatever contradicts the historical record.
            2. Whatever contradicts the Torah.
            3. Whatever internal contradictions make impossible.

            This requires careful sifting through and comparing to Tanach and history, which I do not have the time or patience to do right now. I have already demonstrated this numerous times on this blog.

          • Dina,finishing my last comment; you are not giving a good support in your response to my question ; how can you decide existence of somebody might be true but the rest is a lie?- in relationship to Jesus.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, go back and read what I wrote. I think you missed something.

          • Dina, Back to that godless scripture….so godless that transformed lives of millions of people around the toward hope of God, so godless because it showed a person who was healing others by God’s Spirit ,a person filled with God’s love willing to die for those who are sinners. Scriptures about so godless person that was teaching others to love God and your neighbor. You just sound ridiculous.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, an emotional rant is a waste of time. I’m after the truth here. What about Muslims? Are they godless? Why or why not?

            What is so beautiful about a movement that was responsible for millions of deaths throughout the centuries and unspeakable suffering (not just for Jews but also for Christians)? Christianity has done some good, but don’t ignore the evil.

            The moral legacy of Christianity leaves a lot to be desired.

          • Dina,God doesn’t judge us based on what we call ourselves ; good Muslim or good Christians, or good Jews. He knows the heart of every person and He knows who is after the truth and who wants to obey Him. God doesn’t go by movements. That is why you don’t put all Christians to one box and say ‘these are the followers of God.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, I brought up Muslims because you took offense that I said that I used Jesus’s words to point out the godlessness of Christian scripture. You said that the scripture can’t be godless because it “transformed lives of millions of people around the toward hope of God etc.” Muslims say similar things about the Koran. That’s what I meant when I asked if Muslims are godless. I should have made that more clear.

            So my question, which you haven’t yet answered, is if you judge the truth of a movement by the fruits it produces, then how can you choose which movement is true? They all produce good and bad fruit. Except for Judaism, of course, which produces only good fruit🙂.

          • dina, oh…judging by fruit is one thing but it doesn’t exclude judging based on the accordance with Gods words. But arguing about whether NT is in accordance to what God said is pointless on this blog as you see fulfilling of the words differently than us. The list of arguments would go on and we could not agree on any ; for you someone raised by God to life is still false, you would not see fulfillment of suffering described in Isaiah in Jesus but you would see it only in a group. That is why I am not going back to all these details but said that fruit is one of the distinctives that tells you who walks with God who doesn’t.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, so if it doesn’t suit you after all, you can just discard the argument. Very convenient for you, I’m sure.

          • Dina, I don’t say that only those who consider Jesus as the Messiah know God. God is not looking for any movement that will interpret His words in a specific way. History showd you that you can know God’s words or know His truth but not act according to His words. Accting according God’s words is what Jesus stressed in NT not just following him for a fame of his name or for belonging to any movement called by his name.
            But the idea of this blog is to show by you the falsehood of Christians , you don’t even consider that people considering Jesus as the Messiah can be Godly people, or could have right to say they know God. Look for a moment for good examples, read Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Did her and her family belief in Jesus to be the Messiah hinder her godly life? What brought them to the point that they were willing to risk their lives to help Jews? Definitely God who didn’t curse them for their belief in Jesus to be His son.

          • Dina says:

            That’s not true, Eric! We do not say Christians cannot be Godly people! Show me one place where anyone said that on this blog. If you can’t find it, then apologize.

            We say Christianity is false, it’s idolatry, etc. But we have told you many times that there are righteous Christians. I never disagreed with you about righteous Christians who risked their own lives to save Jews. So why do you keep bringing it up?

            Christians can be Godly, of course they can. And of course some were. And of course some are.

            Unfortunately, in the past, these Christians were little pinpricks of light in the great darkness of Christian history.

            By the way, I also think Muslims can be Godly people.

            Do you think Jews are spiritually blind and ungodly?

          • dina, first of all what we mean here by being ;godly ‘ or ungodly.? I don’t call people godly just because they are nice . Maybe I used a wrong word to describe what I mean. I mean a person who walks with God and trusts His words , not just does good deeds from time to time. I know many people who apparently would look’ godly; that means they try to act right ( according to them) but they deny God thinking He doesn’t exist and doesn’t care of this words because of the evil happening, and only they think they care.
            So when somebody says we are idol worshipers, it means we can’t be walking with God. Can you at the same time worship an idol and God? But because for you the fact that Christians trust God sending Jesus as the Messiah is an act of idolatry, according to you we can’t walk with God.

          • Dina says:

            Eric, there is godliness in all of us because we are all created in God’s image. Even an idolater who lives a basically decent life but doesn’t know better (he doesn’t know God or he was indoctrinated in a false belief) can be considered a righteous man.

          • dina, to your question “Do you think Jews are spiritually blind and ungodly?” I don’t judge , God knows your motivation and I let Him handle whether it is ‘godly’ to deny Jesus or not.

          • Dina says:

            So, Eric, are you going to apologize for asserting that we called Christians ungodly?

          • Dina, look at the whole blog and tell me what impression does a christian get looking at what is being written about us here? You don’t have to use the word ‘ ungodly’ to describe us, it all speaks for itself. But if that makes you feel better I apologize .

          • Dina says:

            If it makes me feel better? That’s a non-apology, Eric! If you would read this blog without a chip on your shoulder you would see that we attack Christian doctrines, not their practitioners. We have nothing against Christians (although we would love for them to come to the truth). We only have a bone to pick with Christians who try to proselytize us, in which case we defend our faith with passion and vigor. If you take that personally you are too thin-skinned to engage in these sorts of discussions.

            On the other hand, Christians on this very blog attack our character when we don’t convert to their ideology, calling us rebellious, spiritually blind, etc.

            Sorry, Eric, you can’t claim the moral high ground here.

  18. Concerned Reader says:

    con, are you sure christianity exploded? nt right doesn’t believe it exploded. richard carrier believes it didn’t explode in gains. have you read richard carrier’s response to jp holding? what about people doubting and leaving christianity in it’s early days? what about pagan cults being in greater number than first century christianity?

    If we talk about Christianity, early on in its history, there is no reason whatsoever why it should have even survived, I’ll grant you that, totally, and without issue, but in the grand scheme of history, it should have failed, but it did not fail. By exploded, i don’t mean right away, off course not, but in the play of history it’s rise was inexplicable, quick, and had tremendous lasting impact on the world. People doubted and left Christianity for obvious reasons like persecution, and threat of violence, or because they preferred polytheism, or they were unconvinced of the arguments. I’m not here to make anyone accept Christianity. I respect the duty of Jews to their observance. The point is, many people have reason to accept him, that is not just based on their tradition. Sure, there were many people who didn’t accept him, most Gentiles don’t accept him, but nobody denies that he brought the knowledge of G-d to the world, even when they hate him. The point is, What is taken as acceptable evidence for Judaism, is not seen as acceptable evidence for Christianity, and if I grant the argument Jim made, that Christianity is false, Judaism has yet to convince of its own reliability because it has the same problems meeting Jim’s criteria.

  19. Jim says:

    Con,

    I’m sorry. I have been very busy yesterday, and it looks like today too. I did not want you to think that I was ignoring your question, though.

    Jim

  20. Pingback: Response to Concerned Reader | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

  21. Tsvi Jacobson says:

    CR….I have not been following the discussion, but I do have a question for you. Since you said that your faith is not based on the Christian Church or Jesus what is it based upon? You have me quite confused as to what is true evidence for CR.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      It’s not that I don’t care what the Tanakh or Christian bible says, my point is, Christian faith needn’t be based on blind faith, as it has a small degree of outside evidence, that’s all. Be well.

  22. Dina says:

    Con, in one of your comments (don’t remember where I saw it), you wrote that the rise of Christianity was inexplicable. What, pray, was inexplicable about it?

    Christianity spread through the Roman Empire fastest upon the conversion of Constantine, a man with a lot of power, as he was the emperor, you see. And Christianity was forced upon all the cultures. Pagans were persecuted out of existence. Heretics were persecuted out of existence. Jews were persecuted, but to use your word, inexplicably survived.

  23. Con,

    Let me put it to you this way.

    Let us say neither of us can verify our claims. Let us say they are purely faith claims.

    Now let us compare the two faith claims.

    Jews believe that God spoke to Moses in front of the entire Jewish people, their physical ancestors, and therefore accept the Torah as true.

    Christians believe whatever it is they believe about Jesus (he’s God, he’s the Messiah, he saves them from sin, etc.) based on his say-so and the the testimony of his followers who are not their physical ancestors.

    All we’re saying is, can you match your claim with ours? That’s all there is to it, really.

    That’s what your saying, but asking for us to match that unique claim is irrelevant since G-d is not confined by your premises. Nothing in scripture indicates that a national revelation has to occur in order for G-d to communicate with people. G-d communicated with Moses alone, before he left midian, just as he talked to Noah. You are confining Hashem to one set of possible actions.

    • Dina says:

      Exodus 19:9
      Deuteronomy 4:33
      Deuteronomy 4:35

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dina, that’s your traditional experience, and no outside source corroborates it. If Jim’s criteria serve as grounds for dismissing the Christian bible, why do you not require the same standard of evidence for Torah? That’s all I’m asking.

        • Dina says:

          Con,

          Are you talking to me or are you talking to Jim? I presented an argument with the hypothetical scenario that neither claim can be verified, and then I compared the two claims. Can you answer that argument?

          • Dina says:

            Con, by the way, you wrote, “Nothing in scripture indicates that a national revelation has to occur in order for G-d to communicate with people.” However, for people to accept the authority of Moses, which God granted to no other human being, national revelation had to occur. Here are, again, the relevant scriptures:

            Exodus 19:9
            Deuteronomy 4:33
            Deuteronomy 4:35

            For Jesus to come along and claim an even greater authority than Moses, national revelation would have had to occur.

    • Sharbano says:

      You have consistently missed the point. It’s NOT whether or not Hashem visited individuals. As Moshe said, “they will not believe me”. Torah Had to be given in a national revelation otherwise it wouldn’t be valid TO the entire nation. In addition it wasn’t by the words of Moshe himself that made it authoritative, unlike Jsus and Xtianity, but by G-d Himself entering the picture. THIS is what differentiates Judaism from Xtianity. Your comparing of the two depend on similarities that do Not exist and therefore are invalid whether you accept it or not.

    • Concerned Reader
      The two claims don’t match because the one is self-contradictory while the other is not – its that simple

  24. Pingback: Another Response to Concerned Reader | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

  25. Jim says:

    Con,

    My apologies on taking so long to respond to your challenge. The past few days have been busy. And I cannot guarantee I will be able to respond much for the next little while, as I have received some difficult news.

    Your questions have moved us entirely away from the topic, as you can see. The topic was whether or not Jesus’ words to “the Jews” in John are hateful or not. I showed that his indictment of them as “children of the devil” was not a loving rebuke, but an ugly maligning of those who did not accept his unsupported claims. You have changed the topic to apologetics in general without acknowledging that the Jesus of John is in fact being malicious and that the NT is preaching hatred of the Jews who did not accept the claims of Christianity. Do you now acknowledge that the NT preaches hatred of “the Jews,” except those very few who did follow Jesus?

    I am quite willing to discuss with you the criteria for accepting a prophet, but before we do, we should finish the discussion at hand. My writing here was not a proof of the falsity of the Christian religion in general. I was dealing specifically with John 5 and 8, because they contain Jesus’ outpouring of vitriol for those who rejected his proofs.

    Along those lines, no such parallel exists between Judaism and Christianity. The Torah does not attack the nations for not accepting the prophecy of Moses. I cannot think of one time where this is a source of criticism within the Torah or Prophets. They are criticized for their violence and arrogance. And their gods are mocked, that is true, but this is a different criticism than not accepting Moses as a prophet.

    It is not necessary to even know of Moses to know that the gods of idolatry are false. It is irrational to worship rocks, streams, mountains, or even the sun. People devoted themselves even to animals and humans. All such things, by their physical nature must be created. Imagining rivers and such to have power over their lives, they performed rituals to appease their gods, to win their favor with bribery, debasing themselves before objects created like themselves. It does not take revelation to see that such practices are false, just an active mind.

    The Torah is not exclusionist. It does not create a religion declaring itself to be the only way to God. It does not demand converts. The Torah honors the righteous of all nations. Nowhere does it demand adherence to Moses.

    Jesus’ claims can easily be contrasted to that of the Torah. He has presented a claim that demands proof, but he has none to give. While Torah is reasonable in condemning idolatry, Jesus’ claims are irrational, demanding that the Jews that already acknowledge and worship God come to him for life. The Torah refers one away from created objects, while the Jesus of John refers one to himself, a man. And while he preaches his exclusivist message, that one can only come to God through him, he cannot even show this to be true. His teachings not only violate the Torah he claims they fulfill, they violate reason.

    Jim

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