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Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own
Some Jewish leaders are encouraging Jews to see Jesus as one of their own.
April 5th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.

As his followers' message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.

Mainstream Christian theology's position held that Judaism had been supplanted, the Jewish covenant with the divine no longer valid, because of the incarnation of God as Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Jews, for their part, tended largely to ignore Jesus.

That's changing now.

In the past year, a spate of Jewish authors, from the popular to the rabbinic to the scholarly, have wrestled with what Jews should think about Jesus.

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And overwhelmingly, they are coming up with positive answers, urging their fellow Jews to learn about Jesus, understand him and claim him as one of their own.

"Jesus is a Jew. He spent his life talking to other Jews," said Amy-Jill Levine, co-editor of the recently released "Jewish Annotated New Testament."

"In reading the New Testament, I am often inspired, I am intrigued. I actually find myself becoming a better Jew because I become better informed about my own history," she said.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, "Kosher Jesus," that "Jews have much to learn from Jesus - and from Christianity as a whole - without accepting Jesus' divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism."

And Benyamin Cohen, an Orthodox Jew who spent a recent year going to church, admitted that he's jealous that Christians have Jesus.

"He's a tangible icon that everybody can latch on to. Judaism doesn't have a superhero like that," said Cohen, the author of the 2009 book "My Jesus Year."

 

"I'm not advocating for Moses dolls," he said, but he argued that "it's hard to believe in a God you can't see. I'm jealous of Christians in that regard, that they have this physical manifestation of the divine that they can pray to.

"There could be more devout Jews than me who don't need that, but to a young Jew living in the 21st century, I wish we had something more tangible," he said.

The flurry of recent Jewish books on Jesus - including this month's publication of "The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ" by Daniel Boyarin - is part of a trend of Jews taking pride in Jesus, interfaith expert Edward Kessler said.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian New Testament scholars rediscovered the Jewish Jesus. They reminded all New Testament students that Jesus was Jewish," said Kessler, the director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England, which focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A generation later, that scholarship has percolated into Jewish thought, he said, welcoming the trend: "It's not a threat to Jews and it's not a threat to Christians."

For Jews in particular, he said, "It's not so threatening as it was even 30 years ago. There is almost a pride that Jesus was a Jew rather than an embarrassment about it."

Boteach agrees, writing in "Kosher Jesus" that "Jews will gain much from re-embracing him as a hero."

"The truth is important," Boteach writes. "A patriot of our people has been lost. Worse still, he's been painted as the father of a long and murderous tradition of anti-Semitism."

Boteach aims to claim, or reclaim, Jesus as a political rebel against Rome and to exonerate the Jews of his death. But Boteach's book has attracted plenty of criticism, for instance for blaming the Apostle Paul for everything he doesn't like about Christianity, such as hailing Jesus as divine and cutting his ties to Judaism.

"Paul never met Jesus, and Jesus certainly never would have sanctioned Paul's actions and embellishments," Boteach argues about the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament. "Jesus ... would have been appalled at how his followers would later define him."

"Jews will never accept his divinity. Nor should they," Boteach writes, in one of many instances of presuming to know what Jesus really thought and meant. "The belief that any man is God is an abomination to Judaism, a position that Jesus himself would maintain."

He cherry-picks the Gospels to to suit his arguments, writes in casual modern idioms (calling Pontius Pilate a "sadistic mass murderer" and comparing him to Hitler), and gets wrong the most basic details of the Passion story, such as the amount of money Judas took to betray Jesus.

Other experts in the field label Boteach's book "sensationalistic," and call him a "popularizer," but Kessler sees "Kosher Jesus" as part of the trend of Judaizing Jesus. Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, offered some support for Boteach even as he expressed doubts about the book.

"I understand what Shmuley is trying to get at there," he said, but added: "I don't think anyone has the right to say 'This is the definition of Jesus,' especially a rabbi. He's not ours to claim."

Levine, who teaches New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, also framed Jewish efforts to study Jesus in terms of mutual respect.

"Speaking personally as a Jew, if I want my neighbors to respect Judaism, which means knowing something about Jewish history, scripture and tradition, I owe my Christian neighbors the same courtesy. It's a matter of respect," she said.

She urged Jews to "become familiar with the material and make up their own mind as to how they understand Jesus."

Ironically, she added, Jews can understand their own history more thoroughly through studying the life of Jesus.

"The best source on the period for Jewish history other than (the first-century historian) Josephus is the New Testament," she said.

"It's one of those ironies of history that the only Pharisee writing in the Second Temple period from whom we have records is Paul of Tarsus," she said. " 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament' is designed in part to help Jews recover their own history."

But she also wants Christians to use it to understand Judaism more deeply, she said. While many Christian leaders acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, she said, not many know much about what that means.

"Many Christian ministers and educators have no training in what early Judaism was like," she said. "Not to take seriously first-century Judaism seems to dismiss part of the message of the New Testament."

Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, found that Christians were very interested in Judaism during the 52 weeks he spent going from church to church.

"Many Christians look on Judaism as version 1.0 of their own religion. Because of that historical relationship, they're interested in a lot of the theology of Judaism," he said.

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For his part, Cohen learned much that surprised him. "I was shocked when I went to church and heard them give sermons about the Old Testament," he said. "I had no idea Christians read the Old Testament."

"One week, I went to church and the pastor gave exactly the same sermon my rabbi did the night before about Moses and the burning bush, and the pastor did it much better," he continued.

Cohen came away from his Jesus year with a clear understanding of what he believes.

"People ask me all the time if I believe in Jesus. Do I believe he exists? Sure. Do I believe he's your God? Sure, I have no problem with that," he said he tells Christians who ask.

"I understand Christians' love for Jesus and I respect that," he said. "If anything, I learned a lot from them and did become a more engaged Jew, a better Jew, and I appreciate my Judaism more because I hung out with Jesus."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (2,641 Responses)
  1. Mark

    heh...2000 years after they had him strung up and killed, now they want to play both sides? guess they are starting to realize "hmm, i guess our messiah isn't coming...that must have been him then, oops"....now let's kiss ass like only we know how.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • AngryJew

      that is just mean.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls.

      But is it untrue?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  2. agentxyz

    Catholics don't even pray to Jesus. They pray to his mother for some reason

    April 8, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Mark

      yeah, that's one thing no one with a functional brain can understand... there is simply no indication in the bible that after giving birth to jesus, she was anything more than just a simple woman, who even had more kids later, since it is blatantly pointed out that jesus had brothers and sisters....i.e. jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56)...and many other verses.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  3. PRISM 1234

    Yeshua, the Anointed One, the humble servant who came as a lowly babe to humble parents, and grew up as a tender plant in the midst of a dry parched land, bringing life and truth... He came to His own but His own did not recognize Him The words of this song describe Hi life, and it mirrors the description of the life of suffering Messiah. of whom Isaiah prophesied....

    One Solitary Life

    April 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Cq

      How about Cyrus the Great, another "anointed one" mentioned in the Bible. Lots of people could be messiahs, but they were always understood as purely human. No room for demigods in Judaism. That was the Greek influence shining through.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  4. Fossilhund

    Mark Twain once said that man is the only animal who blushes-or needs to. I will paraphrase Twain and say man is the only animal with religion (tho I wonder about elephants; always a pleasant subject to dwell on)-or needs it. I do believe in a God who created the Universe. As to the nature of God, I haven't the foggiest. At one point, Moses asked God to allow him (Moses) to see Him (God). God told Moses "If you saw Me as I really am it would kill you". Sounds about right for a human trying to see the Power that created the Universe, black holes, galaxies, etc. Over the course of evolution some very brainy critters arose-us. We are the only animals on this planet capable of wiping out almost all life (some bacteria would survive; feh). We are "made" in the image of God as far as our capabilities in this respect go; it has nothing to do with physical appearance. Just some thoughts I've had for a long time. By the way, I am a Christian. I started going to church again after my father took his life with a .38; when he blew himself away he blew part of me away with him. I beat the medical examiner's to my parents' house. It has been very hard for me since then, but my faith has kept me afloat. Religion may not work for everyone, but it does for me.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Mark

      i sorry for your father....but i'd like to point out that some animals DO seem to feel ashamed, especially dogs, which few I had seen can downright feel ashamed after passing gas, granted not the smaller less intelligent ones, but I had seen this in a german shepperd and a beagle-lab mix...just a thought.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  5. AngryJew

    This is all nice but the Jews running Israel need to live Jesus' teachings and not just read them. They are already disobeying Moses law of "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not kill".

    April 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Mark

      well that's not entirely true. god did allow and in fact worked with the Israelites to kill and expel those who were occupying the land which god gave to them, but as far as thou shall not kill on an individual level, i'm sure everyone understands that.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  6. RynB

    How about we all stop trying to convert each other? Why don't we just respect each other and what the other one believes and leave it at that. Am I really in a position to tell someone else there is religon is wrong and they need to convert and take on my beliefs – no.

    I for one am taking the article in the spirit it was intended. I think it is really lovely that they have learned about Jesus and have learned more about Juidasim as a result. Living in area with a mixture of Judaism and Christianity has been wonderful, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  8. He is Immanuel

    April 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  9. jabby

    God is good. God is love. God is beautiful. And it is in a wonderful Way that God will reveal Himself to all men and nations on the earth, Jews and Gentiles,in these last days; and, that Way is Christ.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Where was god's love when he was ordering the murder of women and children?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  10. Muneef

    And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. 4:157

    Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.4:158

    ---

    They have certainly disbelieved who say, " Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary" while the Messiah has said, "O Children of Israel, worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord." Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. 5:72

    They have certainly disbelieved who say, " Allah is the third of three." And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. 5:73

    So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. 5:74

    The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. 5:75

    Say, "Do you worship besides Allah that which holds for you no [power of] harm or benefit while it is Allah who is the Hearing, the Knowing?" 5:76

    Say, "O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way." 5:77

    ---

    And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. 5:116

    I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. 5:117

    If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. 5:118

    April 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • James

      Ask and Jewish Scholar about the prophet Isaiah and his writings perdicting a messiah who will be betrayed by his own people.
      Too much coincidence. Orthadox jews analise EVERY WORD from the Old Testament except the book of Isaiah.
      Sorry, the Messiah came and you missed it. It's not some Rabbi in a crypt in Bensonhurst getting prayes faxed to his crypt.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Faithful

      Muneef – Tell me dear, when did you arrive here from the Planet ZOG?

      James – Graet post. Bless you.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Agree with you and the Quran testifies that Jesus was the Messiah...wasn't he betrayed by his own people..at least they tried so but was saved by GOD...

      April 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      Faithful.

      Am still at Plant ZOG as you call it...

      April 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • leo

      Muneef, The Bible predicted\prophesied\warned about another Gospel given by an angel, just like Mohamed recieved.

      Galations 1

      8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

      April 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Muneef, it doesn't matter where you are....even on the planet Zog The LORD knows where you are....
      And there in Yemen, He has a flock of His little (humble) ones, not in many numbers, but strong in faith in their Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. I read the monthly publication of the "Voice of the Martyrs", and they speak of God's little flock in Yemen.
      I know He loves your people and wants them to come out from under the bondage of Islam, which is a cruel master of their souls. There is no life for the soul in religion of Islam...... Just a false hope! I still pray for you and your people!
      .....and I'm glad you're still around!

      P.S. If you ever feel tug in your heart and soul, go to the "Voice of the Martyrs" and sees what hope and consolation Jesus Christ has brought to so many who are in those lands of the Middle East. Se what God has to say to your spirit as you read about them. Let Him show you....

      April 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Jem

      Thanks for sharing your scripture and interpretations Muneef. God is not a God of ignorance, he encourages learning. As a Christian (LDS) I would like to thank you for the words that you shared, someday I need to get around to reading the Koran.

      The fact is that Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the same God, and look to him to be their master. They don't all understand him the same, but all true adherents seek to serve the God of Abraham, and do so to the best of their ability. I find it hard to believe that the master looks kindly on servants who quibble and fight with each other while claiming to serve him, I wish everyone who posts would remain respectful and constructive.

      My View: In a sense we are all sons of God, as God breathed his spirit into Adam. Over time, the adversary of souls, convinced many people that they need not obey Gods laws (which were good and just). The same people who listened to that also listened to the daemons who told them that if there was a dry year, to sacrifice a child to Moloch would bring rain instead of repent and praying for the lords blessing.

      Because of this, God needed a people who would essentially be forced (for lack of a better term) to follow him. Abraham made a covenant with God, and even though people are people and often struggle against God, when they followed him his seed were blessed and lead to victory over those who worshiped false gods, cursed and slain when they did not. This is essentially the record of the Bible.

      Where Christ fits into the picture is as our mediator with the Father. To be perfect, their must be nothing wrong. To dwell with God, we must be perfect as God is perfect. Because of this, the wages of sin is death. This type of death is what we call spiritual death, or the separation of us with God, or us with perfection. Christ was born the Son of God, to a virgin so that no man could claim him but God. Unlike Adam and his seed (whom God also created), Christ did not sin and was therefore still worthy to be the Son of God. As my theology states it, he did not suffer spiritual death. Because he did not sin, he was not subject to the laws of Justice, and therefore could offer Mercy to those of us who were subject by suffering the demands of Justice on our behalf. Thus he became the debtor and owns the sins of all mankind, he can and will forgive those who strive to obey God's laws and forgive their fellow man.

      My Witness: There are a million scriptures from the bible that support these views, but I feel that is a good summary and that people should just read and learn for themselves. I would like to witness that when I pray to God in the name of Christ (my mediator with perfection, my mediator with the one who created my soul, who is by nature of what he is perfect and has the power to redeem me when I am not) that my prayers are heard and answered, and that I feel closer to God and closer to being called worthy to be his son, which I once was before sin caused the death of my soul.

      That is my witness in Christs name, the witness he has given to me. The end of my witness.

      I am glad that the Jews are learning more of and learning to embrace Christ. Hopefully all of us can continue to learn more about ourselves, the divinity within us, and what our missions are on this earth to bring to pass the salvation of mankind. I thank our Father God and know that no matter what the season looks like, he will prevail and will uphold those who love him as he has in times past.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      Jem. I find your words as Gems...and wish all think the same way you think..we are all from Adam and here we follow the teachings of Abraham worshipping the unseen GOD of Abraham..we as nations have our own prophets and Messangers of GOD to follow as an example and their teachings...the Holy Books are completing each other therefore we should study them..we should take the good and leave back the doubtful since it is true that the Demon whom we call Satan has thrown his words within to get us lost and divided.  
      ----

      And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. 22:52

      [That is] so He may make what Satan throws in a trial for those within whose hearts is disease and those hard of heart. And indeed, the wrongdoers are in extreme dissension. 22:53

      And so those who were given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord and [therefore] believe in it, and their hearts humbly submit to it. And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path. 22:54
      ----
      O you who have believed, when you converse privately, do not converse about sin and aggression and disobedience to the Messenger but converse about righteousness and piety. And fear Allah , to whom you will be gathered.
      58:9
      Private conversation is only from Satan that he may grieve those who have believed, but he will not harm them at all except by permission of Allah . And upon Allah let the believers rely. 58:10
      ---
      And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.41:36

      April 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      Leo.

      I do not know which Holy Book you refer to...Galations 1... Is it from the Torah or the Angeel (The Gospel) ? But kindly note that the Gospel which should have been written by Jesus as GOD dictated to him is not found and that what you have now are written by other than Jesus therefore might have included a lot of misunderstandings within since already contents are being disputed that are not tallying each saying a different thing...can refer to verses I quoted for Jem above.
      Our Prophet Muhammed has as well warned us as well of some one coming after him claiming to be GOD whom we call Dajjal and you call the Anti- Christ...and told that every Prophet has warned his people of such coming..so maybe Jesus was referring to the same...after all even during our Prophet life many came acclaiming to be the prophets of GOD (False Prophets) and actually uptodate we hear of some coming and claiming tobe Prophets of GOD or that GOD has spoken to them...! Among which there were high ranked politicians..which no need to name here...!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.
      Glad to hear from you again dear and I have all the respect for you... We in Yemen have people who take their religion as Jew,Christians and Muslims living together although became hard for them now that we have some foreign radical extremists sweeping the land making it difficult for all three moderate religions within Yemen..
      We all worship the GOD of Abraham the Jews have their Prophet,the Christians have their Prophet,the Muslims have their Prophet to follow their teachings as being their intercedes... As a Muslim in our daily GOD worship prayers we say our prayers good wishing all the Prophets of GOD and to the Righteous of people who believe in GOD. So you see we do have more respect to all Prophets of GOD while yours are rejecting our Prophet of GOD nor accepting our Holy Book although it was a continuity of the previous books which can be considered as incomplete with out it...since The Torah only contained the 10 commandments and the Gospel of Jesus is lost...those you have in hand are of many men said to have heard or assumed...read the verses I posted for Jem might you get to understand were things might got wronged... Regards.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Leo.
      The Holy Injil of Jesus is lost...so why shouldn't you think that Jesus was warning you of those came after his death and told that Jesus said this and that in their hand writing which are their own words and not the words of GOD since they were no Prophets or Messangers of GOD....?

      Any way for more understanding go through;
      Islamic holy books

      Islam speaks of respecting all the previous scriptures in their original forms. Belief in all the revealed books is an article of faith in Islam and a Muslim must believe in all the scriptures to be a Muslim. The four books are the Tawrat, Zabur, Injil and Quran. The Torat was sent to Musa (Moses), the Zabur was sent to Dawood (David), the Injil was sent to Isa (Jesus) and the Qur'an was sent to Muhammad.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_holy_books
      --–
      What are the Tawrat, Zabur and Injil?

      http://www.injil.org/Kalimatullah/revelations.html

      April 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  11. GodsPeople

    Jews need to accept Christ as the Messiah, not just as a "superhero." God intended for Jesus to lead the lost sheep of Israel back to His word, and to end the need for sacrifice for forgiveness. Jews never embraced this message because, frankly, the Jew bankers and lenders made more money the other way. This is why Jesus had to be crucified, and why we celebrate His resurrection tomorrow.

    April 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • reason

      Watch how anthropologists, archeologists and religious historians seeking the truth believe god evovled:

      April 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      I don't believe anyone requested atheistic input. I know I didn't. kthnxbai.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • What IF

      GodsPeople,

      This is a public forum. Anyone may respond.

      If you do not want opposing viewpoints, you can always go to a Christian-only web site, where they delete unfavorable posts and even ban dissenting commenters... or you can start your own.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • reason

      @GodsPeople, then you should consider yourself very fortunate to have received it. You may have a different perspective on how god came to be after watching the video above. You are fortunate I responded to you indeed!

      April 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @WhatIf: Sorry, I'm not going to run and hide. I know you atheists would love for us Christians to run and hide from you, but the fact of the matter is that you really don't matter. Nobody is scared of you, nobody really cares about what any of you think. I know there are very few times I'll bother to reply to a hatetheist like yourself, and frankly, I'm not entirely certain why I bother. I know you don't really have the higher intellectual capabilities I do, so you won't understand anything I say anyway.

      @"reason": I don't care what your video says, I'm not going to bother to watch it. I'm not going to change what I believe, because what I believe came to me later in life, and when Jesus actually entered my soul, I found a new way to live that was so unlike the highly sinful way of life I had previously led that it helps me know everything I believe is the Truth. Have a nice day.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • momoya

      Rum and hide?!? He.ll no! I want christians to try to defend their faith and realize that it is illogical..

      April 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Momoya: Read Descartes "Proof of God" and then tell me that. Not that it'll make a difference, since something happened to and you think it was God's fault. Don't blame God for bad situations, use those to grow in faith, not lose it.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • momoya

      GodsPeople, you should reconsider your pride.. You act like you know what you are only assuming.. There's no good proof for god, and you know it.. Why aren't people debating the existence of gravity, math, or chemistry?? Why are there so many different views about who god is and what he wants? What god would you believe in if you had grown up in Saudi Arabia, or India, or a thousand years ago?. You assume the dominant myth of your culture and time period is correct the way millions of other people have believed it about the dominant myth of their culture.. The facts and the stats aren't with you.. You're deceived.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Faithful

      Momoya – "Rum and Hide" is that drinking alcohol out of a leather goblet??????

      Sorry – That was mean but I couldn't help it! Just wanted you to see we Christians have a sense of humour!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @momoya: actually, I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is truth, light, love, and law. It is you who are deceived, deceived by the master of deception himself, Satan. What evil did he offer you for your soul? Wealth? Career success? Women? These are his usual ploys. Some of us are just able to see through it.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • leo

      Momoya, It is you that looks around and can't see the work of God. Yet you come here and Blaspheme our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

      It is so sad how the God of this world (Satan) has blinded you eyes and tricked you into falling away from salvation.

      What we see happening is the Great Apostasy which is the falling away from the Faith\Truth that we are told about in THessalonians 2.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • leo

      Israel will believe in the end when they see the Lord Coming in the Clouds, they will see him who they pierced and will be given grace and supplication.

      10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 11 In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  12. lztsat

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, "Kosher Jesus," that "Jews have much to learn from Jesus – and from Christianity as a whole – without accepting Jesus' divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism." To plagarise C. S. Lewis, if Jesus was all these other things but not divine, He was either a liar or a lunatic and not worthy of any regard whatsoever. The religious leaders of His day wanted to have him done away with because they recognized He was claiming equality with G-d (John 19:7), which is blasphemy if it's not true. If it IS true, as I believe and have staked my eternal destination on His claim, then there will be a day when we'll ALL need stand before Him and answer the timeless question first asked by Pilate (Matthew 27:22), "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" It's too important a question to treat scornfully.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Faithful

      Iztsat – What a lovely post! Bless you and have a Happy and Holy Easter.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  13. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Jesus changed my life

      You state that religion is not healthy for children....I strongly disagree based on my personal relationship with Jesus. Before I came to the point in my life where I accepted that Jesus died for my sins and was raised again, my life was a mess. I didn't care much about others, I had desires to do things that were not healthy for myself or others. There was no LOVE. I recognized there was no LOVE in me. I met other Christians and recognized something different. They did have LOVE...I was drawn to that. My journey led me to Christ. Living the Christian life is the true life. I do feel LOVE now. Our family is so close and so loving. We are raising our children in church and couldn't be happier. God comes into your life and family and brings peace, caring..all the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians. Please don't write off Christianity. It is real...and I would NEVER go back to the way I was before I accepted by faith Jesus. For all the Jews out there, Jesus loves you too. Please read the New Testament and find out more about it. Jesus said that those who seek me will find me. You can find Him.

      April 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • reason

      You talk about love a lot more than Jesus. You were lacking love for others, not Jesus.
      Most people can love without religion, apparently you can not.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Faithful

      Reason – Jesus IS love. When you experience the love, peace and selflessness that comes with accepting Him as God's Son – our Brother – the Mediator between God and man, you understand that.

      Jesus, the Divine Mercy, told St Faustina to tell us that – when a person is dying, if we say the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, HE will stand between the dying person and God His Father and plead for mercy for them at the moment of judgement. That is so far beyond what we deserve, it is truly Divine.

      Jesus IS the Son of God who, in human form, was sent to undergo horrendous suffering for our sins. If you can't believe it, fine, that's your decision. But I wish so much that you could. I'll pray the Divine Mercy novena for you.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. da99en

    "Jews will never accept his divinity. Nor should they," Boteach writes, in one of many instances of presuming to know what Jesus really thought and meant. "The belief that any man is God is an abomination to Judaism, a position that Jesus himself would maintain."

    Isaiah 9:6
    For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Matthew

      Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
      Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
      Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
      Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
      Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
      Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
      Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
      Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
      Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
      Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
      Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
      Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Cq

      da99en
      Isaiah 9:6 is mistranslated into the future tense. In Hebrew this child has already been born, which means that it cannot be referring to Jesus.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Cq
      Oh, How shortsighted you are!
      Can you not understand that God often speaks of future as of the past, or as of the present.... because He sees it from every angle. He's not limited by span of time.
      That's why to trust in our own understanding puts us in danger of damning our own souls.
      Because He, the God who created us and gave us life has designed it that way that in ALL things we NEED HIM!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • OhPlease

      "Because He, the God who created us and gave us life has designed it that way that in ALL things we NEED HIM!"

      It's brainwashed people like this that shows why this cult is so bad for our society.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "It's brainwashed people like this that shows why this cult is so bad for our society."

      Oh, that I may be washed by Him ...... not just my brain, but every fiber of my being... my heart, my soul, and everything that I am. May I be immersed this day in the knowledge of risen Lord who is more beautiful and glorious, and His worth more precious then all the wealth and splendor this beggarly world could offer.
      Only a wretched , blind and dead soul can not see His worth, and you dear one, must be one of them!

      April 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, PRISM 1234, speaking of washing, don't forget to wash your hands after all that bloody murder, rape, and animal sacrifice that your god demands that you do on a regular basis, e.g..

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      The bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      April 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • mandarax

      @Prism 1234: Nice how you called OhPlease "dear one" after casually referring to her/him as a "wretched, blind, and dead soul." Such false gentleness to cover up nasty, baseless insults. Such transparent self-righteousness. A cultish attempt to make people feel horrible about themselves so that they are more vulnerable to indoctrination. What a sleazy comment.

      April 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Ahhhhh!

      Prism1234,
      "Oh, that I may be washed by Him ...... not just my brain, but every fiber of my being... my heart, my soul, and everything that I am. May I be immersed this day in the knowledge of risen Lord who is more beautiful and glorious, and His worth more precious then all the wealth and splendor this beggarly world could offer."

      Ahhhhh! Was it good for you?!

      Sheesh, I wish folks would keep their lordgasms private.

      April 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • momoya

      "lordgasm" – LOL!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Bob, you don't get it, neither do many of you proud, self-absorbed people! God is not on trial by us, human "ants" he created... It's us who are on trial. It's bad enough that we've screwed up our own existence, and the whole creation is cursed because of our disobedience and rebellion...now, you think HE owes us apology, hm?.
      What if God in anger by the grief we caused Him, used the harshness of the Law(s) to display severity of what we did, to make an example of our wretched condition?!
      Christ Himself said that in the beginning it was not so.
      And when you say that the sacrifices preformed in the Old Testament should be done today, according to your view of Scripture, you are showing your ignorance, because Jesus Christ who came to this world to live among us is the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice that pleased the Father.
      So, for you who harp on the bloodiness of sacrifices of the Old Testament, and the "evil God" who demanded them, remember it's your and my sin that caused the bloodiness and the suffering, not just of our miserable hides, but of whole creation, including the innocent animals, which foreshadowed the innocent Lamb of God who offered Himself as a spotless lamb, for OUR sins. But the death couldn't hold Him, If you understood the severity of sin and what the consequences of sin are, then you may be able to understand the severity of the sacrifice that it took God to give to redeem us .Yet, the death couldn't hold Him, and EH offered Himself, in spite of knowing the suffering He would endure, because EH looked ahead, seeing the harvest of souls HE loved who would be saved because of His sacrifice. Bob, here is something you should ponder:
      The sacrifice that it took to save us, fallen human race was so great, so deep and unimaginable, so far
      beyond our human comprehension, that to spurn it and reject, it is in the eyes of the One who offered it such severe crime, that the Hell itself is the only fitting consequence. It's not that God wants it, BUT because His justice demands it!
      And here is something else to consider and ponder: That if God didn't do ever anything for us after we sinned and rebelled against Him, but left us on this earth to rot in our own misery, yet only provided the way of salvation to keep our hides out of that place of the damned, called Hell, it would be more then we could ever thank Him for throughout eternity.
      But those who come to Him, see His mercy evident every day in their lives, and He gives to them a promise of hope and future with Him, who loved us so much that He gave us His own Self in the Person of His Son that with Him, in Him and through Him we would be heirs of all things. This is love beyond co'mprehension!
      But you'll never understand these things until you look into your own heart and acknowledge that it is deprived and desperately wicked, no mater how cultured, refined and good it may seem to you.... Because if you, I and any of us human beings alive, would have been there as our first parents, we would have done the same as they did. It is in the hearts of all of us to rebel against God our maker, and do our own thing... until we bow down in our hearts and acknowledge our need for Him, coming to Him in repentance, seeking Him with our whole hearts.
      That's the story of fallen mankind, and you can kick, scream, and argue denying it, but this fact will not change. Neither will your responsibility toward your Maker, whom you will face, and who will judge you according to His standard of righteousness, not yours!
      I rather swallow my pride and acknowledge my own lacking and need for Him, then face Him with my own righteousness which is as "filthy rags' in His sight, apart from His righteousness imputed to me by sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, without whom there is no salvation.

      So, here you have It, the choice is yours, and don't blame God if you end up in the place where God didn't intend for any human soul to end up! You'll ahve very long time to regreat that you didn't listen to the words of written her by one of the mocked and ridiculed ones!

      April 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.......
      Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake, for so they persecuted the prophets before you. Rejoice and be glad...
      (Words of Jesus Christ)

      And if this is so, then where does this leave the cursed mockers and blasphemers?
      For them is reserved the outer darkness, in that place of the damned, called Hell, with THEIR father whom they loved and served!

      April 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Cq

      PRISM 1234
      Then God could have been talking about a child born in the past, relative to Isaiah, right? You trust the "understanding" that empowers your beliefs, and I wonder why you can't see that?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  15. Reality

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Only for the newbies–

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror like 9/11.

    - One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    - Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    - Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    - The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    - Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    - Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    - All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    April 7, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    April 7, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is delusional.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!"~*

      April 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  17. Nikki

    Great....swapping another controlling religion for another....lol

    April 7, 2012 at 5:43 am |
  18. DPatriot

    Thank you Jesus for going to the cross for us ..

    April 7, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • Bob

      How come an "omnipotent" "god" couldn't get saving done without all the dead-son-on-sticks hoopla? And for that matter, how can an omnipotent being sacrifice, when it could just pop up a new son or change history completely with less than a snap of its fingers any time it wants to?

      The answers are that the Christian god stories are fiction. Just a bunch of crazy tall tales that a lot of gullible people have fallen for, nothing more.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      April 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  19. Henry Tobias

    Boteach is a headline seeker and do we really have to accept everything anyone with only half a brain would write. Jesus was and is a Jew, but his 'teachings' were distorted by the Christian Church.

    April 7, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  20. b4bigbang

    Cq

    b4bigbang
    So. "God" is like a family company, and Jesus is just the vice-president in charge of Salvation, or something? However John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." spells out that Jesus is actually God, right? So, is Jesus actually God, or something less than God? Not really God or someone proper to worship?

    Cq, you're delving into what is quite probably the single biggest divine mystery of all time. This is a mystery that has divided actual believers for centuries and you expect to grasp it from a position of unbelief?
    Why waste your time?

    April 7, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Gotta go 4 now, but i'd love to hash a lot of stuff out with everyone later!
      G'nite!

      April 7, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Cq

      If nobody can "grasp" it then why do so many people believe that it's a real thing?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • mandarax

      b4bigbang has unknowingly stumbled onto the most fundamentally profound question regarding Biblical apologetics that has yet been put forth:

      "Why waste your time?"

      Nailed it.

      April 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.