Jewish anti-Christianism

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The Passion of the Christ, well on its way toward becoming the highest-grossing film in history, has evidence on its side to suggest that it will actually decrease anti-Semitism (or at least the ways people have been suggesting it might lead to an increase in it).

I don't think the people who put together the website I just linked intended anyone to connect the first two items, but look at the second one in the light of the first one. Might it not be that the real reason so many Jewish leaders were opposed to the film was because Christians would seek to use it to evangelize Jews? According to my new conspiracy theory, it's not anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism that they were worried about. They were worried about those who oppose a Judaism that rejects Jesus in favor of a Judaism that accepts him as Messiah, thus exemplifying the behavior of the very people they think Mel Gibson portrayed unfairly. [By 'oppose' I don't mean politically or in terms of how we get along but in terms of religious truth.] The ironies of the first-century interaction between Christians, who saw themselves as the true heirs to Judaism, and the Jewish leaders, who saw the Christian Jews and their Gentile converts as illegitimate Jews in some sense (for not following the Torah, as they saw it), continue into the first century of this millenium (though the issues are different now).

It continues to amaze me that Jewish people whom I respect very much, including a professor who has greatly influenced my ethical thought and my teaching, will insist that someone who is ethnically Jewish but an atheist or who converts to Islam or Buddhism is still a Jew, yet conversion to Christianity is incompatible with being Jewish. This double standard has the force of law in Israel (at least in terms of citizenship), but it's assumed by most Jewish people in the United States. Christianity has its very basis in Hebrew Torah, prophets, and other writings. It sees itself as the fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures. Yet a Jew who sees Jesus as Messiah is seen as an illegitimate Jew by contemporary Judaism, even if this Jew continues to worship at a synagogue of other Jews who see Jesus as Messiah, maintaining clear Jewish worship traditions and cultural observances. This is the real reason so many Jewish people were opposed to this film, I think. They hate Jesus and everything he stands for.

Thanks to Josh Claybourn for the links.

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