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Dennis & Hugh: When Jewish and Christian Friends Talk About God

An interview with RJ Moeller about his March 17 "Ask a Jew" event featuring Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt in interfaith dialogue. Tickets still available.

by
Dave Swindle

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March 14, 2013 - 4:30 pm
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PJ Lifestyle: You’ve gotten the opportunity to get to know both Dennis and Hugh personality. So I’m curious, when you note their different personalities, how would you describe them? In what ways are they different and how can audiences look forward to enjoying their dynamic?

RJ: My dad always says that there are two types of people in the world: those who make it work, and those who make it interesting. Generally speaking, Hugh is the former and Dennis is the latter. Of course both men are thoroughly engaging and interesting and command massive audiences of captivated listeners five days a week. But Hugh, being more of the left-brained lawyer sort, brings to the table a different perspective and skill set that enable him to be master interviewer.

Dennis is utterly rational and logical as well, but possess an uncanny and creative ability to make every interaction with another human being feel like a conversation between old friends. Hugh wants to know the facts and Dennis likes to convey a larger philosophical reality. They work wonderfully together and the good-natured ribbing that transpires every time they’re in the same room (or on the same airwaves) is truly a treat for any audience.

PJ Lifestyle: I really like the way you talk about looking for someone to defend our common Judeo-Christian values rather than the fine points of your own doctrine. This is something that regular Dennis Prager listeners are probably familiar with, the way in which Dennis distinguishes between values and theology as two separate subjects. In his fantastic book Still the Best Hope: Why The World Needs American Values to Triumph, Dennis explains his approach to this subject. How would you describe your own understanding of Judeo-Christian values? And what more do you hope to learn at “Ask a Jew”?

RJ: I was raised in an evangelical Christian home by parents who had a deep respect for Catholicism and Judaism. As a pastor in the Chicago-land area, my father often organized inter-faith luncheons and meetings with pastors, priests, and rabbis in the community. So this type of interaction among members of various faith traditions is nothing new to me and, in fact, is something I’m passionate about. Theology and doctrine mean a great deal to me, and there are certain core beliefs that define who I am as a person and follower of Christ.

But we live in an imperfect world. Not everyone at my church agrees on theology, let alone everyone in my neighborhood or city. In the public square, values and the way someone conducts themselves as a result of those values are what matter most to me. The Judeo-Christian value system stems from the teachings (and God) of the Old and New Testaments. Basic presuppositions (i.e. “there is a God, and I’m not Him,” the reality of mankind’s fallen/sinful state, the need for moral order, the foundational importance of the family, etc.) that stem from this value system have shaped Western civilization for two millennium. America is a unique place, and our freedoms offer us a unique opportunity to peacefully work alongside those we disagree with when it comes to theology/doctrine, but who share our common vision of the “free and virtuous society.” I hope to learn more about what Judaism (and Jews themselves) think of Christianity in the United States and what causes so many of them to end up culturally progressive.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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I don't know if I would call Dennis Prager a "Jewish Scholar", but ever since High School he has been very good at articulating traditional Judaism (Orthodoxy or something close to it; I'm not clear where he is personally at the moment) to outsiders.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Will there be an audio MP3 file for downloading after the event? That would make a commute a little easier to handle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure. In the past some of the Prager-Carolla events have been recorded. Wouldn't be surprised if they do that again or sometimes in the future.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What makes them culturally progressive is the same thing that makes Christians culturally progressive: not practicing their religion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interfaith dialog in the civilized world = a fun and enlightening night out. The uncivilized world, not so much.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" I hope to learn more about what Judaism (and Jews themselves) think of Christianity in the United States and what causes so many of them to end up culturally progressive. "

Jews view Christianity as a historically oppressive repressive, bloodthirsty religion much the way both Christians and Jews view Islam today. The attempt at dialogue and, " interfaith understanding " is a new phenomenon brought about by the fact that Christians no longer have exclusive use of military power.
That Jews have become, " progressive ", is due to the repression faced by decades of Christian intolerance in the USA. Jews in other countries are far less liberal. Indeed those Jews who are the most liberal are those least educated in Jewish values and learning. Sadly they know little of Judaism other than bagels and lox for breakfast.
The assimilation of the Jewish community in the USA is a result of the false value formerly known as , " the melting pot ", as if homogeneity rather than respect for the differences of others is the moral ideal.
What is needed is not dialogue , as if explaining a religious dogma will act as some great preventative to hate. What is needed is simple human respect for another to worship as he pleases as long as your own right to worship is not impeded. You need neither approve or understand another's form of worship. That requirement is what stands in the way of mutual respect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would really differentiate Christianity as practiced for most of history from the post-Vatican II Church and many American Protestants going back to George Washington's letter to the Jewish community.

There really is a commonality of purpose between religious Jews and many Conservative Christians. Catholic practice is very close to the Noachide law. Much of the goodwill is isncere. Of course, we need to stay away from theological discussions and give no quarter to missionaries, as we have nothign to gain - we want Christinas to stay religious - and everything to lose.

It is true that historically, Christendom, from Pope to peasent, thought of Jews as evil people being punished by their sins, and made the prophecy self-fulfilling by putting Jews through every possible horror imaginable, leading to the myth of a "tolerant Islam", which was true only by comparision. And unfortunately, in many parts of the world (much of Eastern Europe) Christians still hold these beliefs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think I've ever read such bilge water in my life!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Miss Lolly you got it. I have heard this self-serving twaddle starting at Hopkins. One Jew even said of the likes of Menny Boy above: "Oy, no wonder people don't like Jews!"

He makes no sense, but he knows like many of his group that if you say something loud and long, people will mistake your confidence for knowledge.

To my knowledge there was never a pogrom in the US.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Menny Boy"? Many of his group? You are killing your own point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There actually was. Look up Leo Frank - the only time a white man was ever lynched in the South based on the testimony of a black one.

The Crown Heights riot would have been labeled a pogrom if it had taken place in Europe.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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