This totally violates my various fatwahs against long Corner posts, but it’s a snow day and religion stuff seems to interest many cornerites.
Dear Mr. Goldberg;
Enjoyed your column, as always.
A few points:
1) Judaism and Christianity are both based upon separation of Church and State. It is clearly stated, in Deuteronomy, ‘Your priests shall not be kings and your kings shall not be priests’. The religious authority was always to be separate from the civil authority. The tragic actions of the Spanish Inquisition were a direct result of the merging of Church and State by Christians, just as the abominations of John Hycranus and his successors was a result of the merge of Church and State by the Maccabees. Both were violations of the ‘constitutions’ of the respective faiths, i.e. their Holy Scriptures. It can be argued that the scriptures of Islam (Qu’ran and its commentary) promote merge of Church and State and are, according to Judaism and Christianity, wrong on their face.
2) Both Christianity and Judaism make it a point to have each person’s choice of their faith to be a conscious, individual decision. A young Jew must make a choice for themselves if they will become Bot or Bar Mitzvot, thus freely accepting the Yoke of Torah. Likewise, no one is ‘born’ a Christian. According to Jesus, each person must make a free choice to accept Him or not. In neither faith is there a ‘default’ position that if nothing is done, you are a member of the faith.
Not so in Islam. Qu’ran clearly states that Islam is a born attribute
(although converts are accepted). If you are born to Muslim parents, you are considered Muslim unless you specifically renounce it (in which case, you should be killed. Nice Choice).
3) On a more theological point. I don’t know if you are observant or to what extent (Orthodox, Traditional, Reformed?). I am a Messianic Jew, i.e. a Jew who has accepted the Yoke of Torah in the methodology of the Hasidic Orthodox and who also believes that Y’shua (Jesus, in Hebrew, like his ema called him) is the Messiah of Israel. As such, I can appreciate both the Jewish and the Christian perspective on these things. After all, the ‘New Testament was all written by Jews and, until about 160 to 180 AD, Messianic Jews outnumbered Gentile Christians.
You should know that there was a large number of Messianic Jews in Spain during the Inquisition. They believed in the same Messiah as the Catholics (Yes, I know this was before the separation of Christianity into Catholics and Protestants, but Catholics had the problem of Church / State merge, not the Protestants), but because they did not follow the same ‘Traditions’ (i.e. Sunday vs.. Saturday Sabbath, Kosher foods, etc) they were viewed the same as the ‘Heathen’ Muslims and burned.
If we are to accept the words of Paul, ‘If anyone preaches a different Gospel than the one I have given you, EVEN IF IT FROM AN ANGEL, he is of the devil.’. this may explain a great deal. Mohammed claimed that the Angel Gabriel appeared to him an commanded him to recite the Qu’ran. Either Mohammed was lying or he was telling the truth. If he was telling the truth than we was given a different ‘Gospel’ than the one Paul taught. How could this be. Wasn’t Lucifer the most beautiful angel before he was cast down? Isn’t Lucifer, which means ‘light bearer’, called the Prince of Lies? What better way to mess up G-d’s work than to give a false message, one that confuses historical fact and twists the Bible, to a group of desert people and tell them to spread it at the point of a sword.