Christianity and Judaism are examples of religions present in the universe today. The question on the lips of many is which church Christ would take when he returns. The Jew would probably say Judaism while Christian would argue in favor or Christianity. However, they might both be wrong because we do not know who is telling the truth. The truth is that Christianity broke from Judaism meaning that every Christian is spiritually Jew as mentioned by the Vatican II who was agreeing with the words of St. Paul (In Cohen and Berlin 27). The argument is that when a Jew crosses over to Christianity, he is completed, but when a Muslim or Hindu becomes a Christin, he is converted. This research paper delves on the comparison between Christianity and Judaism and will dwell much on the aspect of conversion where Christians frequently evangelize to have more converts as opposed to Judaism.
The government has allowed its citizens to have a freedom of speech and free thought to make decisions that they feel are right. Choosing between Christianity and Judaism is hard for theologists because they have not yet concluded which religion is better than the other but only drawn their distinctions (In Cohen and Berlin 34). The thought of Greek philosophers, Aristotle and Plato, was used by Maimonides to express and interpret the Judaism theology. Christian faith has been understood through the same Greek philosophy and most notably St. Thomas Aquinas used Aristotle’s thought in writing his popular literature “Summa Theologiae” (Moore 78). The Bishop of Hippo, Saint Augustine, used the idea of Plato in his mission to interpret Christianity. There are many similarities as well as contrasts between Christianity and Judaism religion that will be discussed in the paper. These include their belief in God, the future, the Abrahamic Faith, faith and sin, the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament and Proselytism
Belief in God
Judaism and Christianity have a common argument about God. The two religions belief in one God who is the source of all creation and that He cares about the well-being of humans and all creation (Montville 246). God is just, and for that matter, he has provided guidance rules so that we may be righteous and do according to His will and intent. God is powerful but also merciful because he has given us free will and the power to be more like what we want to be.
Both religions believe in a future that is glorious and one that is without suffering. Judaism and Christianity are hopeful and convinced that suffering and evil will not always prevail but will be lifted from humans (Paget 177). The two religions have different names but there is a common term that both of them believe in and that is paradise. It will be a reward for all those who believe in God and live in Him; they shall live in absolute bliss under God’s unchallenged rule.
Both religions have a common background, and they believe that they are the descendants of Abraham and the promises God gave him are their inheritance. Judaism and Christianity believe that humans can and should communicate with God through various ways that God uses, for instance, revelations through prophets. God spoke to the people through the Prophets, and the revealed message is recorded in the holy scriptures of both religions.
Faith and sin
The two stand as the only religions that ask their followers to establish an intimate relationship with God through faith. Faith is the belief that an individual has towards a covenant, it is often compared to a marriage contract. Sin is seen as the complete opposite of faith meaning that it is a vice which causes divorce or a break of the covenant. For both religions, sin is not just moral, and faith is not a psychological game, but they are both spiritual. As mentioned earlier, God has given us a free thought and will to do what pleases us but followers of both religions are urged not to fall into temptations and sin.
Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament
The Jewish people believe that the Hebrew is a revelation of God to them. The Christian new testament is the Hebrew Bible but with additional books that were added by the early Christians. To distinguish the Hebrew Bible from the New Testament, they created, Christians refer to it as the Old Testament (Müller et al. 89). Christians in their bible study, view the old Testament as a prophecy that was said to the people and fulfilled in the New Testament. To the Jews, there is no scripture like the Old Testament hence in their presence; sensitivity is retained hence called Hebrew Scriptures.
In this case, Judaism and Christianity do not operate in a similar manner. Sanhedrin 105a is explained by Talmud who says that righteous Gentiles have a place in the new world and since the Jews and Gentiles are not in real terms from their historical background to date, the Jews believe they are the chosen group, and no other should be tagged along (Montville 251). That is thought to be among the first reasons why Jews do not proselytize. Christians on the hand believe that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again and live a new life of Christianity. They like winning souls to Christ because it is a commandment given to them by God through the Holy Bible, Matthew 15:24. When one becomes a Christian, he is supposed to act like Christ, bring as many followers as they possibly can into the kingdom of God.
Jews refrained from proselytizing due to complications of the historical, theological and psychological considerations which were different from Christianity. Since Jews are a generation of God, they want to retain their uniqueness throughout even in the eschatological times. Missionizing by the Jews was stopped because they believed that once they did, better chances people are obscuring them from finding their ultimate goal. The Jews wanted the Israel prosecutors to be punished by God for their deeds. The Sanhedrin has it clear that anyone who believes in God will be saved and on the final day he will be with Him in His kingdom (Peters et al. 164). To Jews, that meant that there would not be any difference between them and any other people.
The Jews continually condemned Christianity for their unstoppable and rampant proselytization. Despite all the mockery and pressure from the Jewish side, Christians found their peace when they realized the truth. The fact is spelled out in a text from the Nizzahon Vetus, a 13th-century polemic which points it out categorically that Jews are hiding in the fact that God chose them forgetting that they have to obey him (Lovat 121). The Jews removed themselves from the yoke of the kingdom of God so that they can fear no one, free themselves from God’s commandments and concerning themselves with worldly pleasures. The Jews regard themselves with physical and earthly satisfaction contrary to Christians who concern themselves with righteousness and losing everything for the sake of God. Christians should not be demeaned by the Jews, but they should hold on to their faith and adhere to God’s commandments. Jews realized that Christianity and other religions like Islam had involved themselves heavily with converting other and they refrained entirely from the affair (Paget 182).
Other reasons factor in when getting the difference between Christians and the Jews on proselytization. Proselytizing and politics have had a very deep connection. When new groups came to power, they coerced people to join their religion because once they are in the same faith, it would be easier to govern them (Lovat 157). Jews have not had this practice though there is one time in 168BCE, Jews were in power, and they forced Gentiles to convert to Judaism (Peters et al. 180). The Idumeans were forcefully converted by Maccabees however, it is written by Richard A. Horsley that the conversion of the Idumeans was not well effective. Except for that one incident, Jews have distanced themselves from proselytism because it seems to be directly linked to politics.
God used prosecutor of Christians, Paul, to change the perspective of the Jews but that made them harden the more. Paul was a big Jew, an attorney whom God transformed, and he became a Christian. He is the greatest known evangelist in the holy testament, having converted many people to Christianity and mentoring them until they are sufficiently stable (Moore 129). When Paul turned, several individuals who had been attracted to Judaism because of its class and social status reverted and followed Paul.
Christianity and Judaism have both similarities and differences. The paper has analyzed both and given precise and concise points with relevant examples. Jews believe there is God but they have a problem with the Holy Trinity which is believed to be God the son, Father and the Holy Spirit. There is eternal life or paradise for both Christians and Jews, however the means of getting to paradise are different in both religions. Christians say that one must be born again and has to be righteous to enter the kingdom of God. Jews on the other hand believe that they are the chosen generation and they will inherit paradise no matter what. The Jews did not advocate for proselytism because of their pride and selfishness. Christians know that proselytism is their way and by so doing, they are honoring a command by God himself. It is recorded in the Bible that Jesus Christ, the son of God came to earth for the sick, lowly and the sinners hence Christians try to be at the same level with Jesus by preaching good news to the poor and the rest of the world thus converting them in the process.
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Müller, Karl, et al. Dictionary of Mission: Theology, History, Perspectives. 2006.
Paget, J. C. Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians in antiquity. Mohr Siebeck, 2010.
Peters, F. E., et al. The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: A New Edition. Grossmont Library Catalog, 2010.
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