Monday, October 13, 2014

The Truth About Christianity

Christianity is a damnable lie, a contemptible lie, a lie that has been used as the excuse for the massacre of millions of Jews in the 2000 years since its inception. I say "excuse", because I will need to address the root causes in a future post, as it will be lengthy and will require much explanation. The roots of these slaughters are, in actuality, politics and economics, which parenthetically explains why the man I fondly refer to as my mentor, Prime Minister Netanyahu, majored in both. Filed away in the back of my mind all of these years has been the question of why he chose those two subjects in tandem, not that I expended any energy in an attempt to find the answer. However, I have now discovered the answer, and it makes perfect sense.
Nevertheless, Christianity has been the catalyst for the various pogroms, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust perpetrated against the true People of the Book all these many years. I will explain, but first let me say that I realize I will make many enemies with this post. I believe it was Sir Winston Churchill who said that if one has not made any enemies in this life, then one has not stood for anything. So, I accept my fate.
Oddly, two things led me to where I am at this point in my research, and at the outset I did not think one would lead to the other. The first, obviously, is my endeavor to learn the history behind what I am watching unfold in the Middle East today, the driving force behind everything I do every waking moment of every day. I am compelled to try and stop the horror I foresee coming, not that what is already happening is not horrifying. That search has led me to revisit things I studied many years ago, both to refresh my memory and to see if there were things I missed, which was inevitable. Any time one undertakes to study a given subject, the information that is absorbed is the result of whatever it is the student is attempting to glean at the time. I have been known to watch the same documentaries as many as twenty times, and each time I learn something I missed in earlier viewings. The second was my curiosity about my mentor's late father, Benzion Netanyahu, former professor emeritus at Cornell University. I checked out a copy of his book, "The Origins of the Inquisition", from the library and had only read the first four pages of the introduction when circumstances required that I put it away for the evening. The next morning was the beginning of the stunning revelations I am about to recount.
Before I continue, let me first promise this will not be a theological dissertation, although I must necessarily draw some basic evidence from religious text. But, I also think the reader should understand my motivation. I was raised by two uneducated racists. My mother was born and raised in Kentucky, having never gotten beyond the ninth grade; my father was born and raised in Missouri, and never went beyond the sixth grade, although he eventually acquired his GED in his 50's. So, I grew up hearing the usual stereotypes and racial epithets. Why did I not become indoctrinated? The answer is twofold. One, I grew up in the military. As a result, I was exposed to a wide variety of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and thus I was able to contrast what I heard at home with the reality I was experiencing. The second influence, perhaps the stronger of the two, I did not learn until I was an adult.
One of my ancestors was William Phipps, the first governor of Massachusetts. His wife, Mary, was almost hung during the infamous Salem Witch Hunts; he used his influence as governor to save her. I believe there exists within me a genetic aversion to mindless bigotry that has been present since my birth, to which my endless conflicts with my parents seem to attest. One such confrontation occurred when I was a pre-teen. Like most children that age, I had my favorite music, and I would play the same songs over, and over, and over, and over, until I am surprised I did not drive my parents completely insane. For the most part, my parents left me alone because my father was an amateur musician who once formed a band on one of his ships, so they encouraged my love of music. However, one Saturday my father had quite enough of my group du jour, and came bursting into my room growling, "Turn off that God-damned nigger music!" I started laughing uncontrollably. I could not stop. I laughed until my stomach hurt and tears were streaming down my face. My father stood there (for probably the only time in his life) completely speechless. When I finally was able to compose myself enough to breathe he asked, "What's so God-damned funny?" (I get my lady-like language from him.) I gasped, "That's KC and the Sunshine Band", to which he said, "So?!" I replied, "SO, he's WHITE." (Score one for the Master Chief's kid.)
With that little anecdote, let me dive into my argument. In tandem with Professor Benzion Netanyahu's book, "Origins of the Inquisition", I was watching a video series on the same subject. I mentioned I had only gotten to page four of the introduction when I was interrupted. The next morning, I started watching the documentary, during which a question arose in my mind, so I broke away and searched for another video, which I found, comparing Judaism and Christianity:
When the rabbi began comparing the New Testament (the Christian Bible) to the Tanach (the Jewish Bible), I was aghast, because during the years I spent in the Christian religion I had been through the New Testament more times than I could count (with the exception of Revelations). I had read the Old Testament through a couple of times, and had read Psalms and Proverbs every month for years. The rabbi began pointing out some discrepancies, and I immediately started cross-referencing. The results were astonishing to me. Until this point, even after I decided to convert to Judaism, I always respected Christianity as being a valid, albeit erroneous, religion. This date, I discovered the basic logical fallacy within the Christian religion: When using the Old Testament to support the New Testament, the King James Version (or a newer translation) is used, all of which are based upon the Catholic/Protestant interpretations of the Bible (something a new friend of mine told me is called "eisegesis"). Unless one attends seminary, one never goes into the Hebrew translation. So, I pulled up an online Tanach, started looking for myself, and here is what I found. What the rabbi does not say in this lecture is that Christianity explains the Gospel of John is longer and more detailed because John was closest to Jesus. Therefore, in the Christian religion, it bears the most weight, with alleged discrepancies between the four gospels dismissed as being differences in points of view.
I decided to turn to the Gospel of John; I am not sure why. But, as I began reading, I ran across some verses where Jesus was quoting the Old Testament, so I went back to the Tanach and was stunned at what I discovered. Here are but three of the verses that stood out to me:
John 8:17-18 "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."
John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods?"
John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil,...."
First, one cannot be a witness for oneself, and John 8:17-18 takes its Old Testament reference completely out of context. Here is Deuteronomy 17:6, as translated from the Hebrew: "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death;...." Clearly, a defendant is not going to testify against himself that he is guilty of an offense worthy of death, so he would not qualify as one of the two or three witnesses referenced in this passage. How can Jesus bear witness to his own claim? He cannot. Further, since there is nothing in the New Testament indicating that HaShem appeared in order to verify Jesus' identity, there are zero witnesses to this claim.
Psalm 82:6 in the Hebrew says as follows: "I said: Ye are godlike beings, and all of you sons of the Most High." This contradicts both John 10:34 and John 8:44. HaShem does not say "ye are gods" but rather, "Ye are godlike beings", and how can the people Jesus confirms earlier in John 8 are "Abraham's seed"  (verse 37) be of their "father the devil" when HaShem said they are all "sons of the Most High"? Which is it?
In order to drive this point home, let me point out one final passage.
Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:...." How can Christianity possibly reconcile this one verse with the clear contradictions above? Never mind trying to explain how the New Testament, again according to Christianity, abrogates the Old? There is only one explanation if one is to believe Christianity: God changed His mind. Yet, He said He does not. So, which is true?
At this point, I remembered a video I had run across the day before and saved as I was working on something different at the time. I pulled it up and watched in astonishment as my worst fears were confirmed by a man who converted to Judaism having once been a Christian minister:
When the speech ended I was livid, not only because I had been duped, but because my memory began flashing back to all of the times I have seen pro-"Palestine" rallies containing signs saying, "Jews! Christ Killers!". I remembered the same propaganda from the Nazis. I remembered all of the arguments I have had on Twitter on this very issue, and the question arose: How many times has that lie has been used as an excuse to murder Jews? So, I went back to YouTube and pulled up the following series on anti-Semitism, which discusses the first pogrom in Alexandria, 38 C.E.:
Then I went on to cover the history of the Sephardic Jews:
By now I was exhausted, but filled with adrenaline, so I pulled out Professor Netanyahu's book and began reading where I left off at page four of the introduction. By the time I reached page 17 of Chapter One, "The Jewish Question", my worst fears had been confirmed. While the above does not explain the hatred of Jews preceding Christ, the issue of Jew hatred was clearly fueled by Christianity post-Christ, and the atrocities are incomprehensible. On page 16, he makes a vivid point: "For when the Jews of Colmar--men, women and children--were pushed into one cave to be burned there together, or when the Jews of Strasbourg, two thousand strong, were all driven into a lighted pyre, there was ostensibly a justifiable reason for these outrages: The Jews were charged with having caused the Black Death." As we heard in the above series on anti-Semitism, such excuses have run rampant throughout the past 2,000 years: killing the Messiah; the Black Death; slaughtering Christians to use their blood to make matzvot; sacrifices in the temple where the flesh was eaten; "posing" as Christians while engaging in various plots; and the list goes on. Underlying all of these genocidal rages has been the teachings of Christianity. As I have said before, it is far more complicated; I will need to cover the complexities in a future post, but for now I will say this: In order to create a fire, one needs three things. Fuel (such as wood), an accelerant (such as oxygen), and a spark. In the past two millennia, the accelerant has been Christianity, and as a result millions, millions of Jews have been mercilessly discriminated against, driven from their homes, tortured, and slaughtered in ways unimaginable to the uninitiated. Millions.
In closing, let me tell the reader what led me to Judaism. Over the years, I had a handful of encounters with Jews, mostly superficially, but a couple of times I had some fairly in-depth discussions. I was intrigued by what they had to say, but not enough that I pursued it. After all, I thought I was on the right path with Christianity. One day, I was walking through a library when I passed a book whose title will give the reader a laugh. "Judaism for Dummies." The "Dummies" series is not as shallow as the titles make it sound. I began reading, and the first thing that struck me was when the rabbi who authored the book made the statement that one is prohibited from reciting a prayer in Hebrew unless he/she understands the meaning. I was hooked. I was hooked because up until that time I believed religion was a matter of faith. Faith was always my stumbling block in Christianity. Any time I had a question to which the answer was not readily apparent, I was told to have "faith". "Faith as a grain of mustard seed." I never liked "faith". I wanted to know. I wanted the assurance that I was correct. Judaism affords me that. Questions are encouraged; in fact, they are demanded. One is expected to know Torah, to know its precepts, to understand the traditions, to understand the teachings, and to understand the principles behind those things. Judaism is an extremely intellectual religion, and it has fed me like no other.
One last think I would like to point out. The reason I began to like Maimonides was because of something I read in another book, "The Book of Jewish Values", which is the Jewish equivalent of the Christian "Our Daily Bread". One day's lesson quoted Maimonides as saying, "B'tzedek tishpot amitekha". Judge one another favorably. That message hit home, not because it was new to me but because it was a precept to which I had adhered my entire adult life without realizing its root. In fact, I gave a little mini-lecture on Twitter during the last Gaza war because some of my Israeli followers were lambasting Prime Minister Netanyahu over his handling of the situation, and throwing in my face his decision to release prisoners (terrorists) during the so-called "peace talks". I leapt to his defense, and I was called any number of names, to which I responded by quoting Maimonides. I am on record as having disagreed with the Prime Minister's decision to go along with those releases, but as I have said repeatedly, I have studied my mentor for well over three decades, ever since he first hit the public eye, and while I have never had the honor of meeting him I believe I know him pretty well. I watched the Cabinet meeting the morning that vote was taken. I saw the horrified looks on the faces of some of the Cabinet members, but what haunted me was the look in the Prime Minister's eyes. He was in tears, and could not even hold his gaze into the camera. I have never seen him like that, and it disturbed me so much that I literally did not sleep for seven days, other than a couple of times when I passed out for two hours at a time from sheer exhaustion. I struggled to understand why he was doing something that I knew he did not want to do, that seemed to be so out of character for this man. At the end of that week, I still did not have the answer to that question, but I did understand this: Prime Minister Netanyahu is a man of character and honor. He always does what he believes to be right. He has the courage of his convictions. That is not to say he is always right; no one is. But, he strives to make the right decisions based upon his moral code. Knowing that, I made my peace with what he had done. B'tzedek tishpot amitekha.
I finish this post with an affirmation of my driving force, from Isaiah 62:1, quoted by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the close of his speech before the United Nations General Assembly this past September: "L'ma'an Tziyon lo eHeshe, u'l'ma'an Yerushalaim lo eshkot, 'ath-yeitzei chanogah tzidkah, vish'atkah k'lapith yivar." "For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still. Until her light shines bright, And her salvation glows like a flaming torch." 

Thanksgiving: A Lesson in Gratitude

I found myself becoming irritated yesterday as I watched people I know on social media talking about the various plans they had for today. ...