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Hey, you guys! Chuck here!
Judaism is a really great religion! So much ancient wisdom! So many excellent teachers! As I’ve said before, I evaluate religions based on their resources not necessarily their beliefs. And Judaism has a lot of excellent resources for those of us looking to deepen our spiritual understanding!
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my belief about what God is comes from Judaism. The Kabbalists teach that God in his/her primary nature is the giver of divine love, God created a vessel to fill with divine love, and, when the vessel became ashamed because it had done nothing to earn God’s love, God allowed the vessel the opportunity to earn his/her love and that’s how we ended up in this whole mess! This is a really great explanation of God, it explains God’s motivation for creating us and it explains why a loving God would allow so much suffering! It’s become my go-to belief about God!
But, I’ve found another great resource within Judaism! Over the past few years one of my favorite things on the internet has been youtube videos of rabbis explaining why Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. In particular, I’ve enjoyed the series of lectures put out by Rabbi Michael Skobac presenting counter-arguments against Evangelical missionaries who unfairly single out the Jewish people. Rabbi Skobac does a magnificent job of parsing through both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and explaining how Jesus Christ absolutely fails to live up to even the lowest of Messianic expectations.
At this point, you’re probably thinking that this seems like a very bizarre thing for me to be fascinated with! I am a card-carrying Catholic, after all! But, remember what I’ve said in previous posts about how what you focus on becomes your reality? I grew up in a Christian culture, so for the first thirty years of my life I had been reading the Hebrew Bible with a particular filter. Christians are trained from a very young age to read Jesus into the Hebrew Bible. And then one day I discover this treasure trove of youtube videos of a rabbi parsing through the Hebrew Bible with a very different filter than the one I had been using all my life!
I’m not saying that Christianity isn’t true and Judaism is! They’re both really great religions that have a lot of excellent resources to offer! I just think it’s fascinating how these two traditions can read the same book and see two completely different realities! Martin Luther once said that he saw Jesus on every page of the Hebrew Bible! And he was reading the same Bible as Maimonides! Two very intelligent people can read the same book, one sees Jesus and one sees definitely not Jesus. Who do you go with? We’re all just hazarding a guess at this point!
People keep saying that one of the downsides to the internet is that people can too easily immerse themselves in information which confirms their biases! Well, the upside to that is that people can just as easily immerse themselves in information that challenges their biases, should they feel so adventurous! What better example of that can you get than a Catholic watching hours and hours of youtube videos of rabbis explaining why Jesus wasn’t the Messiah! This is a great time to be alive!