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A Serious and Sincere Question About Lina, TT, and Jesus


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So as we've learned in the last week (and I got behind on my homework following the drama... :oops: ) Lina and TT "practice Judaism" but still believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

Okay, so here's what I don't understand. If you essentially think that Judaism is correct and you don't believe that Jesus is God, what would lead to you believe that Jesus was the Messiah (other than the fact that you used to be Christian and never lost that belief?) Jesus didn't fulfill the requirements for the Jewish Messiah. Christianity, as I understand (and keep in mind, everything I have learned about Christianity has been through informal methods and I'm fully aware that I could be way, way off base), explains this by saying that Jesus will fulfill these requirements in the Second Coming. Fine. But it seems to me that it is impossible to believe that Jesus is the Messiah unless you believe in the Second Coming. Because, well, as FaustianSlip said in another thread the Jewish Messiah is supposed to bring peace and well, look around. And if you believe in the Second Coming, don't you inherently buy into the idea that the New Testament is correct? And if you believe the New Testament is correct, don't you believe that Jesus died for all your sins and that Jesus is God/the son of God?

I've read on this forum that there are some Christians who don't believe in the trinity and maybe even there are Christians that don't believe Jesus is God (?). I don't know. But fine.

My point is that there has to be some reason that Lina and TT believe that Jesus is the Messiah. If you are coming from the Jewish perspective (which I realize they are not) there is no reason that Jesus should be considered Messiah any more so than Menachem Mendel Schneerson or Shabbatai Tzvi or any other false Messiah throughout Jewish history. There is no reason, coming from a Halachic Jewish perspective that Jesus could be justified as the Messiah. He just seems to be a relic (and therefore, in my not so humble opinion an indication) of their belief in Christianity.

It's just they seem so concerned with coming at everything from a Jewish perspective, but if you come from a totally Jewish perspective, there is no reason that you would even consider Jesus as the Messiah. So how to they justify considering Jesus to be the Messiah?

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I think Lina wants to embrace Judaism but is a Christian at heart, and there is no way of getting around that. If there are any Messianic Jews lurking, please share. We won't bite.

A good example: she does not daven, the most Jewish of all Jewish behaviors. Setting apart sacred space in your life is at the heart of most Jewish mitzvot that are not interpersonal. She can't take time out of kashering her kitchen to daven... really now.

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I think Lina wants to embrace Judaism but is a Christian at heart, and there is no way of getting around that. If there are any Messianic Jews lurking, please share. We won't bite.

A good example: she does not daven, the most Jewish of all Jewish behaviors. Setting apart sacred space in your life is at the heart of most Jewish mitzvot that are not interpersonal. She can't take time out of kashering her kitchen to daven... really now.

Wait, what? She doesn't pray? That's not even good Christian behavior, and I should know, I was very lax in the prayer department and felt guilty on a regular basis. But not guilty enough to pray, it just felt like talking to the wall.

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My guess is that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah becuase that's what they've been told their whole lives as Christians. I know that's what I was told; you're pointed back over and over to the prophecies in Isaiah and elsewhere in the Old Testament that the Messiah will be born of a virgin and whatnot, and then you go from there.

Actually, since I was raised Christian and with the belief that Jesus was the Messiah (becuase that's what I was told), it's been really surprising to me to find out that he does't fit the Messiah criteria by Jewish standards. It's just sort of a given when you're Christian - not really something that was questioned by me or by the Christian people I knew.

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My guess is that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah becuase that's what they've been told their whole lives as Christians. I know that's what I was told; you're pointed back over and over to the prophecies in Isaiah and elsewhere in the Old Testament that the Messiah will be born of a virgin and whatnot, and then you go from there.

Actually, since I was raised Christian and with the belief that Jesus was the Messiah (becuase that's what I was told), it's been really surprising to me to find out that he does't fit the Messiah criteria by Jewish standards. It's just sort of a given when you're Christian - not really something that was questioned by me or by the Christian people I knew.

I don't disagree with your point, but Lina and TT have been repeatedly told that believing Jesus is the Messiah is not compatible with Judaism. You'd think they'd at least investigate that claim.

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IMO it looks like Lina want to do all the outward things that she can brag about, but the spiritual things like davening and really looking at why Jesus isn't the Messiah, Lina doesn't want to do because if she does she might have to confront the idea that either she doesn't believe in Jesus or that spiritually she isn't an Orthodox Jew.

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I'm going to say maybe because Jesus was Jewish, they want to be as Christlike as possible. Which still has problems, but I don't know.

Something along those lines. I lost the direction that I was going to go with that. So maybe someone could take that and run with it.

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In my unstudied opinion, where they are now is a result of working themselves towards Judaism from fundamentalist Christianity, and I've run into it before I knew about this particular blog.

They aren't Jews who decided Jesus is the Messiah but wanted to keep their Jewish practice as well. They're Christians who are constantly looking to be Better Christians, or Real Christians, and feel that practice and lifestyle are essential to that. And in their case they went the direction of "Judaism was good enough for Jesus, so it's good enough for me". They tend to reject Pauline doctrine (the epistles) and a few go as far as to say that Christianity is paganism, "Christ" is a pagan term, and that the only acceptable way to refer to Jesus is Yeshua, and he is the Jewish Messiah, so followers of him will follow the Law as the Jews did, and as they believe Jesus did.

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The Jewish definition of the Messiah is basically this, from Wikipedia (a bad source by some measures but a very comprehensive one):

In later Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, messiah refers to a leader anointed by God, and in some cases, a future King of Israel, physically descended from the Davidic line, who will rule the united tribes of Israel and herald the Messianic Age of global peace. In Judaism, the Messiah is not considered to be God or a Son of God... The term Messiah is derived from the Hebrew "Mashiach", which means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing future kings with oil. The Messiah is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.[7]

That is an overview. So why can't you be Jewish and Christian? Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan points out that:

To the Jew, the Messiah has a most important mission, namely to bring the world back to G-d, and make it a place of peace, justice and harmony. When Jesus failed to accomplish this, the early Christians had to radically alter the very concept of the Messiah. This, in turn, transformed Christianity from another Jewish Messianic sect into a religion that is quite alien to many basic Jewish teachings.

eta: so either you believe that the Old Testament is wrong, or you believe that the New Testament is wrong. Jews believe the latter.

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I'm not sure where I was told this, but I've heard it enough to think it's a pretty widespread Christian teaching, that basically Jesus does fulfill the prophesies but not in the way the prophesies were interpreted, which is *why* he wasn't accepted by most Jews as the messiah. Kind of like an Amelia Bedilia story, in a way.

In that light, I think it's easier to see how they could think differently from the bulk of Judiasm, but still feel secure in their belief--and it's not like they haven't heard their whole lives why he is the Messiah.

Also, of course it's probably a lot easier with Christian relatives (remember Lina is 19 and has lived away from home approximately 10 days total) to say they haven't abandoned Jesus.

In fact, *if* they can convince their local Orthodox congregation that they only believe the Things about Jesus that aren't blasphemy and convince their Christian families that they still believe in Jesus, it's all kinds of win. The cynical side of me wonders if the Messiah-not-God "solution" isn't textbook for Messianics since it seems about the only hope of explaining why someone with their backgrounds and blog topics would try to convert (and it sure took enough evading before they came up with it) but it's also not so far fetched that it couldn't alternately be the way it really is in their beliefs.

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so followers of him will follow the Law as the Jews did, and as they believe Jesus did.

I can understand this but why on earth can't they study history while adopting that kind of ideology? They just go on and on about non-ancient customs. And they are like kids in a candy shop or more likely a sketch comedy á la the Fast show: "This week I 'ave mostly been imitating Ashkenazim." "This week I 'ave mostly been learning Yiddish idioms."

I´ll get me coat.

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It is really an either-or thing. You can certainly interpret things in different ways, but the gist is: Christians have to believe that the gist of the Messianic prophesies was wrong. That all that stuff in the Old Testament about the Messiah bringing peace and stuff was unimportant. But that was the point of the Messiah. He was not supposed to be the son of God or a part of God or create a new afterlife for followers. This is the basis of the chasm dividing the two religions. Because Jews are waiting for a temporal Messiah and not for forgiveness of sins, Jesus is irrelevant to them. Because Christians believe the Messiah has come and he just came in a different way than prophesied, Jewish ways are irrelevant to them. It really is a chasm.

Lina is obviously in love with Jewish culture and lifestyle, which I rather am as well. But she could love Judaism, lead a Jewish life because she likes to do so, and not claim to be Jewish because the religion does not match her beliefs.

To look at this from a different perspective, why isn't she Muslim? It's that belief that Mohammed that is holding her back. You can be Muslim without that, right? Just slap on a niqab and call it a day.

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In my unstudied opinion, where they are now is a result of working themselves towards Judaism from fundamentalist Christianity, and I've run into it before I knew about this particular blog.

They aren't Jews who decided Jesus is the Messiah but wanted to keep their Jewish practice as well. They're Christians who are constantly looking to be Better Christians, or Real Christians, and feel that practice and lifestyle are essential to that. And in their case they went the direction of "Judaism was good enough for Jesus, so it's good enough for me". They tend to reject Pauline doctrine (the epistles) and a few go as far as to say that Christianity is paganism, "Christ" is a pagan term, and that the only acceptable way to refer to Jesus is Yeshua, and he is the Jewish Messiah, so followers of him will follow the Law as the Jews did, and as they believe Jesus did.

Exactly. But the problem is that A. they are claiming to have a Jewish mindset and B. this just proves that no matter what they think of the term, they are Christians with Christian beliefs, a Christian perspective, and a Christian worldview.

Why do they find the term Christian offensive? Doesn't it mean somebody who want to emulate Christ? Which is exactly what they are trying to do? (But failing miserably because Judaism today looks nothing like the Judaism of Christ's time).

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That all that stuff in the Old Testament about the Messiah bringing peace and stuff was unimportant. But that was the point of the Messiah.

Keep in mind that I'm certainly not an Old Testament scholar or any manner of apolologist or anything like that!

What I am saying is if you were told your whole life that the Jews rejected Jesus because they interpreted the prophesies to say he would bring peace and stuff but the words themselves could have been interpreted to mean that *or* what Jesus did back then--which I would assume is exactly what Christians like Lina and TT grew up hearing--the chaism has already been reframed into something a lot more convenient for these two, long before the first square of Shabbot TP was pretorn.

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I'm sure that Lina and Tony do not understand the problem with what they are doing. But that kinda shows their ignorance about Judaism. The fact that they are trying to be a little more secretive shows they are getting the idea that there is a problem, but they obviously think it is a small problem or that Jews are just being unreasonable.

Part of me feels bad for Lina because she obviously is very confused and has no spiritual 'home'. If I were a rabbi dealing with her, I would probably tell her to pray and ask for discernment. I don't think she is really open to the idea that she is wrong. Just reference how she responds to blog comments.

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I think that Lina + TT have all sorts of things they don't like about either Judaism and Christianity. So they pick and choose what they want and call themselves just what they want. It is easier that way. It seems to me that neither of them is prepared to follow any path that is too challenging. Hell, they couldn't even go very long without touching to get married.They both strike me as very immature. I don't know if this is because they are both young or if this is because they don't want to do anything challenging enough to make them grow or if they just like to play house and play Jew - or maybe a combination.

As someone who vacillates between atheism and agnosticism I am not as offended by their pretentious drivel as much as a devout Jew or Christian. I really just find them fun to snark on, but I can understand how someone who takes religion very seriously would be angry at Lina and TT.

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I'm sure that Lina and Tony do not understand the problem with what they are doing. But that kinda shows their ignorance about Judaism. The fact that they are trying to be a little more secretive shows they are getting the idea that there is a problem, but they obviously think it is a small problem or that Jews are just being unreasonable.

Part of me feels bad for Lina because she obviously is very confused and has no spiritual 'home'. If I were a rabbi dealing with her, I would probably tell her to pray and ask for discernment. I don't think she is really open to the idea that she is wrong. Just reference how she responds to blog comments.

This, on all counts this.

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I have been thinking about this today. I was trying to reconcile in my mind how they can combine their beliefs. If they don't believe Jesus is divine then they are ignoring the New Testament, and therefore are not Christians, according to many. If they believe Jesus wasn't divine but was the Messiah then they are having some issues with the Judaism aspect of it since Jews do not believe the Messiah has come.

Now I can see how they would be neither Christian or Jewish. As a Christian, this really blows my mind. I think she is sitting on the fence and eventually she is going to have to get on one side or other. Either that or deal with major cognitive dissonance. This whole things just makes my head hurt :doh:

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It is really an either-or thing. You can certainly interpret things in different ways, but the gist is: Christians have to believe that the gist of the Messianic prophesies was wrong. That all that stuff in the Old Testament about the Messiah bringing peace and stuff was unimportant. But that was the point of the Messiah. He was not supposed to be the son of God or a part of God or create a new afterlife for followers. This is the basis of the chasm dividing the two religions. Because Jews are waiting for a temporal Messiah and not for forgiveness of sins, Jesus is irrelevant to them. Because Christians believe the Messiah has come and he just came in a different way than prophesied, Jewish ways are irrelevant to them. It really is a chasm.

I think this is pretty close, emmie, but the bolded statements are not quite right to me (not a theologian but a lifelong Christian). My husband pointed to John 14 verses 15-25 as the definition of Peace as Christians understand it, but I don't think it is very convincing. I think partly this idea that peace is personal has to do with the Christian concept of free will-- The idea is that Christ allows us to have peace within ourselves while the world is in chaos, conflict, and sin. It's an internal process... and now I get to quote John and Yoko- "War is over (if you want it)"! 8-)

Just as with Jewish theology, there are a lot of nuances surrounding Christian belief that are not being addressed here in the thread. As an aside: The fact that throughout this thread people are referring to Jesus as God (without invoking the trinity) is actually a heresy (Oneness Pentecostalism) and is really insulting to Christians.

Edit: Coherent thought is not my forte.

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I can understand this but why on earth can't they study history while adopting that kind of ideology?

This. So This. If I was going to become a Jew or Christian or Mormon or become serously interested in any religion, the FIRST thing I would do is to research anything any everything I could about the history, customs, culture, ect, and not just "ooohh look they do that and it looks pretty kewl so I'm gunna do it too".

My ex husband is Wiccan, and while I had no interest in becoming Wiccan myself, I knew close to nothing about it and wanted to respectful of him, so I did alot of research and bought some books and EDUCATED myself about it so I could be respectful of his beliefs. I thought it was the very least I could do.

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I have two theories regarding Lina (TT hasn't blogged, so I don't know what goes through his head.)

1. Lina likes rules. Lots and lots of rules. This is evidenced by the fact that she has pined for a more controlling upbringing, vis a vis homeschooling, stay at home daughter, etc. Some people just crave structure and I think Lina is one of those people. Some people join the Army, Lina, it seems, embraced the mitzvot.

2. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? It isn't clear whether Lina started the Judaism obsession before she started communicating TT or after. My hunch is that Lina decided to latch onto the first guy to show an interest in her and has completely lost herself in the process. She went from fundy to frum in about 6 seconds, without really thinking about why. The only explanation is TT. He is the one who really needs to explain how they can practice Judaism and believe in Jesus at the same time.

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Guest Anonymous
As an aside: The fact that throughout this thread people are referring to Jesus as God (without invoking the trinity) is actually a heresy (Oneness Pentecostalism) and is really insulting to Christians.

Ehhh - it doesn't bother me in the least if someone says Jesus is God without including a speech about the trinity. I have heard devout Christians do it, and where I live where most people are raised in the Christian church even if they don't currently attend. I think most people know the theory and I can't imagine anyone that I know being offended by someone saying Jesus is God but not tacking on "oh, but the Holy Spirit is God too and they are separate but one."

Which is not to say that it isn't offensive to some Christians, just that it's painting with a broad brush to say it's insulting to all of us. I think most FJers are well versed in the basic tenets of Christianity and are making their point succinctly - not denying that Christians believe that the Holy Spirit exists.

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I agree that you can't really believe in Christ as Messiah without believing in the trinity.

In many ways, Lina's story is so similar to mine but with key differences. I was the child of a mixed-faith household. My mother is Jewish, but my father is a Christian. In addition to temple, I went to Lutheran schools, and sometimes to Catholic churches. I dabbled in Christianity and Catholicism, even marrying someone in the church. Then I became old enough to really think about what I believe--which would be older than Lina. I began attending a temple and talking to a rabbi, and really thinking about the issue. Jews have good reasons for not believing what they do, and I compared them with Christian and Catholic apologetics. I had this internal debate for like a decade over the issue and have come out on the other side as a firm Jew. I thank that first rabbi I really talked to, because he told me to pray and to beg God to show his path for me. I also talked a lot to a coworker who was UU.

The thought comes before the practice. Lina needs to decide where she stands and then make a decision on what religion to identify with based on that. You can't fake it until you make it. I encourage Lina to talk to a rabbi and a pastor who are both somewhat open-minded and then make her own decisions.

Of course, my husband has been such a sweetie about this; I doubt TT would be pleased if she said, "I'm not sure I believe the same things as you. This belief makes more sense to me than that one."

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Ehhh - it doesn't bother me in the least if someone says Jesus is God without including a speech about the trinity. I have heard devout Christians do it, and where I live where most people are raised in the Christian church even if they don't currently attend. I think most people know the theory and I can't imagine anyone that I know being offended by someone saying Jesus is God but not tacking on "oh, but the Holy Spirit is God too and they are separate but one."

Which is not to say that it isn't offensive to some Christians, just that it's painting with a broad brush to say it's insulting to all of us. I think most FJers are well versed in the basic tenets of Christianity and are making their point succinctly - not denying that Christians believe that the Holy Spirit exists.

This is probably true, but when we're lambasting someone else for not being clear about Judaism in her blog posts, it can be a bit confusing to see important Christian tenets being dismissed because "most FJers are well-versed". Saying that Christians believe Jesus is God is not a very good way of summarizing the faith at all, and the wording is quite disconcerting, and would be to most Christians that I know around here.

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