Why Christians, Jews, and Everyone Else Better Take an Interest in Heaven and Hell
Furthering a PJM inter-faith dialogue on Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's Kosher Jesus.
October 6, 2013 - 3:00 pm
In her ongoing reflection upon Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, my PJM colleague Rhonda Robinson asserts that “Christians Should Agree with Jews’ Disinterest in Heaven and Hell.” In her quest for inter-faith unity, she drags Christianity back down to Earth.
Boteach explains that “Jews do not follow Judaism for the purpose of reward in the afterlife.” Honestly, neither should Christians. And I would venture to say, most don’t.
It’s easy to see where that is the perception. That’s what most evangelists preach: the infamous knock on the door, followed by “if you die tonight where would you go?” style of evangelism.
Those who honestly seek to follow Christ, do in fact live out what Boteach is trying to say that true Judaism is, by bringing more light into the world. Some of the best schools, hospitals and outreaches have been started and flourished by Christians living out this very principle.
When asked by Christians “Do you know where you’re going?” Boteach’s response is worth noting,
My worship of God is not about me. It’s not about saving myself from hell. I’m not here on this earth to spend my life accruing virtue so I get some divine reward. I don’t worship God so it ultimately benefits me. I do it because I want to be in a relationship with Him. I do it because it’s right. And I do it to make this world a better place. I love God unconditionally and unequivocally. Not because I expect anything in return.
Most Christians I know could have said the very same thing.
How wonderfully pious.
Let us dare to ask some essential questions. Why should anyone worship God? Why should anyone love Him? Why should anyone want to “be in a relationship with Him”? What’s the point? Boteach asserts that he loves God “because it’s right.” But where’s he getting that from? Why is it right? Why would not loving God be wrong?