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Religion Ought to Be Divisive

Our beliefs set us apart from those who do not share them, and that's okay.

by
Walter Hudson

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October 13, 2013 - 7:00 am
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bible_fight

Last week, I took exception to the assertion by my PJM colleague Rhonda Robinson that “Christians Should Agree with Jews’ Disinterest in Heaven and Hell.” I pointed out that the blessed hope of eternal life in heaven alongside our glorious Lord fulfills the purpose of our lives. We exist to bring Him glory, and will do so either as examples of his undeserved grace or convicts under his perfect justice. That is the Gospel. That is the Good News. That is Christianity. So how could we Christians ever allow ourselves to become disinterested in it?

Robinson wrapped up her consideration of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus asking “Could We Restore America If Jews and Christians Accepted a Hyphenated Jesus?” She concluded:

The author has gone to great lengths to point out that Jesus was in fact an observant Jew, one whose life of walking in righteousness (whether you believe him to be the son of God or not) is worth emulating. Jesus of Nazareth will forever bind us together.

We can spend a lot of time arguing about differences, using that hyphen to divide us. Or we can choose to embrace it, to forgive the hurts of the past and face the future united. As Americans we face real enemies, both cultural and physical.

Isn’t it time we stopped trying so hard to simply make a point, and give our lives as Jesus did, to make a difference?

I’m not even sure what that means. Clearly, the Gospel purpose of Christ’s death cannot be what Robinson here references. Aside from atoning for the sin of mankind so that believers could be credited with His righteous life and avoid the eternal judgment of Holy God, what difference did Christ’s death make worth talking about? Why would Christians want to unite in spiritual congress with those who deny the foundational tenant of Christianity? Even if such ecumenical union could somehow restore America (whatever that means), why would we sideline the truth of salvation for a temporal end?

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Reminds me of the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia. All gods are the same God.

It is the same conversation you can have in a circle between people who do and do not believe in missionary work. If you believe that your religion is the truth, shouldn't you want to share it with everyone, especially people you care about? There comes a point where you respect someone else's conviction, if only because you recognize when you won't change their mind. But it isn't necessarily "respectful" to not talk about it, or only talk about your similarities. It is a lot more complex than that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why does having a commitment to your faith require an antagonism towards other faiths?
That is the path of Islam. If you are so determined to follow it, then how can you justify not also seeking to impose not merely the requirements of your faith, but your faith itself on others?
It seems you want to take a partial commitment anyway, you just want an excuse for being "merely" moderately exclusionary.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Any claim on truth is inherently antagonistic toward alternative claims. That does not mean a believer of one claim has to be physically antagonistic toward a believer of another claim. Unlike Islam, Christianity does not call on believers to violate the rights of non-believers.

Again, what's the point of "believing" something if you don't actually believe it? If you believe it, you can't also believe something which counters it. That's all I'm saying. I don't need to hyphenate Jesus to work with anyone of any faith in common political or cultural cause. I don't need to nerf my convictions in order to live in peace with those who do not share them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm talking about what you clearly demonstrate.
You insist on antagonism but shrink from accepting that inevitably leads to infringement.
Clearly you don't want "too much" antagonism in your antagonism.

And no, that is not all you are saying.
You are not merely stating that you do not need to hyphenate Jesus, but that others should not.

I think perhaps the deeper problem is that you are unsure of what you are talking about, particularly when you want to invoke "antagonism" to distinguish your beliefs from those of others.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'll thank you not to tell me what I'm saying. I know what I'm saying. If you insist on reading something different, there's nothing I can do about that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This only becomes an issue because Christianity and Islam claim universal validity. (The god of the Jews is universal, but the religion of the Jews is not.) Sometimes it seems as if the ancient pagans had it easier, when it was assumed every nation had its own gods. Who cared if you worshipped the sun by the name of Apollo, Belenos, or Amaterasu?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A powerful essay, and you are correct. Consistency and steadfastness are virtues, contrary to the opinions of modern thinking........

But the Jewish and Christian confessions are complementary and not antagonistic. Just ask our own David P. Goldman about the Star of Redemption. And there is Gilgul, an account of the afterlife and the World to Come in the mystical Jewish tradition - rather convoluted, but here it is:

http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380302/jewish/Gate-of-Reincarnations-Introduction.htm

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rosenzweig/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I contributed a long, long, long, viz. 3 part comment to your last article. Fundamentally I am in accord with you. However, you missed the intent of Rhonda Robinson by a mere 180 degrees. Mrs. Robinson is very much concerned with serious Christian mistreatment of Jews for centuries, just as I am from Germany. Mrs. Robinson sought APPARENTLY a means of reconciliation that appears as a Boteach hyphanation of Judaism and Christianity, a position which she rejects. This type of solution is not possible, as I commented more than once to various articles of the Robinson series. I note that she summarized her opinon on the matter in her last article quoting a certain Prof.lw which, perchance, t'is I!

The point is not that religions should not clearly set their boundraries and thereby bring out irreconciable differences. (Just ask Charlie Martin re my somewhat non-complimentary comments on Buddha(ism).). If you mean by "devisive", simply "differentiating" I can have no qualms. Alas, the term often enough includes being "antogonistic". Well, if I say your beliefs are wrong and my are right, I predict a certain "divisiveness", maybe even a sort of antogonism, but nothing serious, no threat to my life. But the "divisive antagonism" shown to Judaism over many and many centuries by Christians is a different matter-- all too often lives were taken. Mrs. Robinson seriously confronted this most regrettable "devisivenes" using Rabbi Boteach as a foil to present an apparent counter solution, one not acceptable to Mrs. Robinson, clearly seen in her quoting me!!! Her solution does not deny devisiveness (she prefers the idea of linking-arms in difference), but, please, no more Christian putting Jews in a ghetto (and we all know what a certain Adolf made of ghettos). This sort of "very antagonistic" devisiveness was the object of Mrs. Robinson's concern and she presented one Jewish thinker as a counter, one which she rejected!. The result is that you have fully misread her and thereby provoked a "devisive" feeling in me. You do not want to that, do you? So, get it right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm in agreement that religion should be devisive, that's exactly the problem...Jesus doesn't have anything to do with religion, but relationship. That's lost and long gone for most...now it's do good, change the world. Have you asked Him lately if that's what He wants?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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