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Running on Jewish Time

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Well, Why not?

[Installment the Third of the Jew and the University: cross-faith dialouge is inherently fraught with far too many awkard questions]

A hypothetical....

A set of curious bright eyes look at me with inquiring innoncence. The question still hanging in the slightly musty air of the classroom.

Its quiet, too quiet, too many ears, too many people.

I could hardly give her a quick and bloody history lesson on the exact nature of her god and church.

I don't think the top ten reason why the messaih hasn't come yet would go down too well, either.

I can't even use any my favorite lines about my uncle, the Jewish carpenter.
This is not good.

I can't let it seem as if I don't have a good reason. As if my Judaism is simply a matter of 'just born that way and never thought about it'

But its not even a question.....

I couldn't. I can't. I can no more stop being Jewish than I can stop breathing.

It defines and delinates the actions of my life, shapes the place for all my thoughts; it is the language of my soul.

Time is passing and the curiousity in her eyes is shifting into something else.
It's not like becoming Christian is a big deal or anything?

[Note on comments: How do you explain to a regular non-missionary christian why conversion is simply not an option, or even to a standard secular non-affliated American]


  • i've delt with that one before... and your right, they don't enjoy to hear it. (i know because i wasn't quite as thought out as you and usualy was quick to reply exactly what i thought about it.)

    if they wont stop when you tell them that they're wrong and you have no intrest in their prosylatizing then you really can't be nice to them, they're all about missionary work.

    By Blogger Halfnutcase, at 3:01 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • Tell them they don't understand Christianity (this will tick them off, but you will be right). Inform them that because Christ came, EVERYONE IS SAVED, and hence there is no need to convert. Furthermore, let them know that their Scriptures (Matt 25:31-46) illustrate the only necessary criteria for salvation of any human being (again you don't have to convert), and some self-satisfying declaration of faith in Christ is a moot point.

    Then ask them if they know the guy is dead...and that he was Jewish. If they're still contentious, tell them to go to South/Central America and be with the poor.

    By Blogger yakki, at 6:16 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • Yakki, very tongue in cheek and entertaining but I dont think that is the approach Masmida was looking for.

    I don't know how I would react on the spur of the moment. I'd probably be nswering something to the effect of... "It is a staple of our belief that G-d is one and that is a non-negotiable truth of our religion and so it deems your religion of the "trinity" absolete"... but somehow I really don;t feel like you wouldnt want to upset them like that. Maybe a tad harsh.

    By Blogger FrumGirl, at 7:45 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • Because you don't want to and this is a free country and you don't have to be Chrisitian.If you involve yourself into an argument you will never extricate yourself. Just ignore them. That is what the Torah advocates.

    By Blogger EN, at 10:48 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • This may seem off topic but it connects.
    In the movie 'the red shoes' there is a scene where the head of this ballet is asking a dancer why she dances. she answers him "why do you breath". he says "I don't know, it's something I have to do to stay alive, I couldn't be without it." she says, "and that is why I dance."
    of course they acted it out a lot better than I wrote it but it will do.
    I always remember that scene because I figure everyone feels like that about something. And for most Orthodox Jews it is their religion.
    If you asked those christians why they are christian they would have no answer. But you have many comebacks. Mainly with the same reason for why you breath. That may be a bit too deep for certain situations so you can always fall back on the obvious fact that no one in the world denies that the Jews got the Torah at Sinai. Every religion in the world is based off of this because at that time it was not even an argument and if you said anything against it no one listened. They may say that G-d changed His mind but they have no proof of it and once they say it outloud they will realize how stupid they sound.
    After all that, I agree with en. Although it would be nice to prove them wrong it is not neccessary and you are not demeaning the Torah in any way by ignoring them.

    By Blogger araya(uh-ray-uh), at 10:59 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • Masmida,

    Not on topic-- but I couldn't email you. I noticed that someone has been "hacking" my name as well on Frumandsingle's blog to. How do we stop this? It's happenned before, and it feels very violating.

    By Blogger Nice Jewish Guy, at 12:09 AM, January 06, 2006  

  • Araya: people deny lots of things. Documentary Hypothesis denied that the Torah was written all at the same time And that it was G-d's authorship (though DH is now considered obsolete). The truth is that no one has much of any truth when it comes to religion - because religion is inherently FAITH-based.

    en: though I like your approach, aren't intelligent people (and we'll give them the benefit of the doubt) capable of hearing semi-intelligent responses when they ask questions? You wouldn't necessarily have to prove them wrong (such as in an Argument setting), but is it OK for a Jew to help deepen someone else's faith (or question it..)? Why does the Torah teach us to ignore other people who don't believe in what we do?

    By Blogger yakki, at 12:28 AM, January 06, 2006  

  • I'm glad I'm not in your situation because I tend to get very confrontational when asked such questions. I used to have a co-worker that was Christian and would always bring up these topic until one day I got really upset and went on a 5minute tirade debunking Christianity as the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind, that left the whole office in shock...

    By Blogger David_on_the_Lake, at 11:11 AM, January 06, 2006  

  • Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Truth is I've done all of the above at some point or another.

    I've outright ignored people.
    I've gone on vicious tirades.
    I've smiled and shurgged and told people that Judaism came first and it was Christianity that needed to justify itself.

    What I want to do is find a way to answer that does as yakki says and helps the non-jew understand and get a deeper appreciation for their own sprituallity.

    There is so little of deep and adult religon in their lives, if they honestly ask then I don't want to shove them away.

    By Blogger Masmida, at 1:27 PM, January 06, 2006  

  • Did someone spoof you again over at "Frum & Single"?

    See here

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:27 AM, January 08, 2006  

  • nope, that was all me :)

    By Blogger Masmida, at 12:46 AM, January 08, 2006  

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