Sunday, December 2, 2007

What Church Services Have Taught Me About Prayer II: In response to some Questions

1)What benefit to you see in "ambushing" Christians? How is there any Kiddush Hashem in making them feel ignorant of their own religion? We as Jews should not be telling them how to worship any more than they should be telling us how to worship.

First of all, the people I talk to usually do not know that I am Jewish. More importantly, I do my best to do my “ambushing” in a friendly, non confrontational manner. For one thing I do not attack Christianity or any Christians. I do not see the world in terms of Jew vs. gentile. I see the world more in terms of people who believe in God in such a way that it affects their daily lives having to face off against the likes of Richard Dawkins and a highly sophisticated army of atheists. I believe that I am helping the cause of religion by pushing Christians to understand their own religion. I am not telling people what to believe. On the contrary I wish to strengthen their beliefs.

2) Why do you look to other religions for motivation? What do you perceive to be lacking your own religion? If you need motivation then leave Columbus and go to Eretz Yisroel or minimally the greater New York area.

I don’t see anything lacking in Judaism beyond the fact that religions are a lot nicer in theory than when you actually have flesh and blood human beings put them into practice. Studying Christianity helps me be careful not to take my Judaism for granted and it keeps me on my toes. As a Modern Orthodox Jew, a major part of my Judaism is my confrontation and dialectic with the world around me. Therefore, as a Jew living in 21st century America, I must come to terms with Christianity.
Judaism is my first concern. Believe me everything that I do to Christians on an occasional basis I do to Jews on a daily basis. And when I deal with Jews I get a lot more aggressive and less tolerant of foolishness. One should always be tougher on one’s own family and hold them to a higher standard.
Not having a large Jewish community is one the major drawbacks of Columbus though I do love the community here. I am actually planning on spending a year or two in Israel to finish off my degree.

3) How do you view the fact that you grew up in an "out-of-town" community such as Columbus and the education you received there as influencing your interest in Christianity?

The fact that I grew up in an “out of town” community has a lot to do with the kind of person I am today. It left me a lot freer to form my own understanding of Judaism than if I had grown up in New York. No one stuffed Judaism down my throat or threatened that I would go to Hell if I did not behave a certain way. I suspect that if I had grown up in a more “normal” Jewish community I would not be religious today.
I thank my father for raising me in Columbus it is one of the best decisions he ever made.
As to my interest in Christianity, probably the biggest factor was being a student of R’ Carmy at Yeshiva University. He got me into C.S Lewis.

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