Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evangelicals & Hedonistic Secularism vs. Judaism

Guest Post: Recipients and Publicity's comment to "Evangelicals - Mass conversion - not dialogue - is...":
To Jersey Girl, the Evangelical threat to the Jews is far less bad than the continuing slide of the bulk of America's Jews into the arms of secular life and sensory hedonism that is assimilation and intermarriage as witnessed by the way they are all fawning over Barak Hussein Obama to give him their hundreds of millions of dollars (all his big donors and advisers are assimilated Jews, with even the ultra Modern Orthodox Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer being a close adviser), not to mention blindly handing over their hearts and souls to their new "black Messiah from Chicago/Kansas/Kenya/Hawaii/Harvard etc", so that he can triumph and become president.

Just last night, one of Hollywood's biggest Jewish stars and symbols Barbra Streisand threw a party for Hollywood celebrities that raised $9 million dollars for Obama's campaign. In years gone by she did this for the Clintons. Jews love sleaze more than they could ever love Evangelical Christianity that would not tolerate such behavior. To boot, Evangelicals are the biggest gentiles Zionist around (as you well know) but the Hollywood crowed cares far less about Israel and is more leftist and pro-Arab in its leanings. They could care less if Israel would be wiped off the map. So keep your eye on the ball, and don't let that anti_Christian "Evangelical mantra" throw you off when the dangers are more primal and lustful that come from Hollywood and the "entertainment" industry.

It's not really an industry as such, it is more like a huge fantasmagorgic deception machine that charges money for creating optical illusions and deafening and blinding experiences that are actually more akin to the illegal drug "industry" than to anything else. Entertainment and drugs, Hollywood and Las Vegas, movies and music, sex and self-gratification have decimated modern Jewry far more than Evangelicals have.

The threat of crass secular immoral and amoral popular American culture is far, far worse than anything the Evangelicals can throw at the Jews. While the Christian threat coming from Esav is great, the HELLENISTIC threat coming from the spirit of Yavan (ancient Greece) is even worse!

The world's Jews are far more likely to fall into the dangerous embrace of the ideals of American democratized Hellenized society, with its pseudo-good high-mindedness than fall victim to the fire and brimstone preachings of fundamentalist redneck morons. For every Jew that becomes a Hebrew Christian there are a thousand or maybe ten thousand that become more deeply secular, assimilated and intermarried (many are also gay and weird).

Most intermarried Jews do not practice any religion, even though eventually studies by the NJPS show that many of their kids and grandkids (if they have them) will become Christians by default following the culture around them voluntarily to fit in with the surrounding society which is Christian and not because Evangelicals convinced them of anything.

Welcome to the American melting pot, that "melts down" Jews and Judaism. Without Torah and Mitzvos and the help of Avihem Shebashamayim, and of course miracles, Jews have little chance of making it against the forces that confront them in the modern world.

5 comments :

  1. I basically agree with RaP's assessment.

    While we shouldn't be naive about Christianity, the threat from secularism and hedonism is far graver and more immediate, both spiritually and materially.

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  2. Contrary to what most Orthodox Jews believe, Jews for Jesus are NOT going after assimilated Jews. They are going after the Orthodox.

    Evangelicals are changing Judaism. There is no such thing as a Judeo Christian heritage. Christianity is antithetical to Judaism, by its definition.

    And yet, it seems few American Orthodox Jews understand this anymore.

    American Orthodox Jews seem to believe that Evangelical Christians share our values and nothing could be further from the truth.

    Take the issue of abortion for example which Right Wing Christians would like to criminalize. Judaism does NOT ban abortion completely, nor do we allow indiscriminate abortion.

    Halachically, the fetus (a fetus becomes a fetus 40 days after conception BTW, before that, the fetus is "water") is a full-fledged human being - but not quite. In most circumstances, the fetus is treated like any other "person." And generally, one may not deliberately harm a fetus, and sanctions are placed upon those that purposefully cause a woman to miscarry. However, when its life comes into direct conflict with an already born person (ie the mother), the autonomous person's life takes precedence.

    Rabbi Eliezar Waldenberg a notable Posek allows first trimester abortion of a fetus which would be born with a deformity that would cause it to suffer, and termination of a fetus with a lethal fetal defect such as Tay Sachs up to the end of the second trimester of gestation.

    One of the most notable differences between Jews and Christians throughout history has been belief in a dead Messiah. Here again, Evangelical Christians have infiltrated our ranks to the extent that we are here on this blog arguing over whether or not a person who believes in the Second Coming of a dead Messiah is an acceptable shochet, community Rav, teacher or Av Beit Din.

    So many of our ancestors chose death by the sword rather than accepting such a belief and yet today, this is a fundamental object of faith for tens of thousands of members of one of the largest and most influential Hasidic sects.

    I would venture to go so far as to say that Chabad has become the DEFINITION of Orthodox Judaism in the eyes of most of the world, both Jewish and non Jewish.

    How is it, that the belief in a Messiah who died and will return to lead us to redemption became an accepted belief for so many tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews?

    I happen to know firsthand that anti missionary professionals were aware of Christian missionaries within the ranks of Chabad 15-20 years ago.

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  3. Jersey Girl said...

    Contrary to what most Orthodox Jews believe, Jews for Jesus are NOT going after assimilated Jews. They are going after the Orthodox.

    That J4J is willing to expend money and effort to proselytize Orthodox Jews is no surprise. That they would be very happy to convert Orthodox Jews to Christianity is self-evident. That they are actually succesful in converting properly educated Orthodox Jews, however, is highly dubious. There may be a few cases, but the numbers are minimal.

    On the other hand, how many young men and women from Orthodox homes and with Orthodox educations, have abandoned Judaism in favor of the "normal" secular and hedonistic lifestyle so common in today's world? How many ostensibly frum Jews have allowed these attitudes to take a dominant role in their lives?

    The secularist and hedonistic culture surrounding us is a much greater spiritual threat to the Orthodox Jewish community than Christian missionaries could ever hope to be. This is a threat that permeates into ever aspect of modern Jewish life. Every yeshiva, every shul, every family, without exception, is faced by this challenge. Even worse, the problem frequently goes unrecognized.

    Quite frankly, even the few cases of Orthodox conversions to Christianity are probably rooted more in a desire to enter the "free" life of the common gentile than in any meaningful commitment to Christianity per se.


    American Orthodox Jews seem to believe that Evangelical Christians share our values and nothing could be further from the truth.

    Yes, I can think of something even less true. Thinking that left-wing liberals share our values.

    No two belief systems share exactly the same values. If they did, they would basically be the same system!

    At the same time, most belief systems share some common values with others. You would be hardpressed to find any two systems with no overlap whatsoever.

    Amongst belief systems, some are closer to each other than others. Christianity shares a great deal of common values with Judaism. In fact, the bulk of the basic Christian value system is rooted in Jewish sources. Secularism, on the other hand, shares very little. It is rooted in a philosophy which is fundamentally opposed to Torah on every level.

    Take the issue of abortion for example which Right Wing Christians would like to criminalize. Judaism does NOT ban abortion completely, nor do we allow indiscriminate abortion. ...

    It is true that there are important differences between when halacha permits an abortion and the approach endorsed by many Christian groups. This, indeed, should cause us to look with caution on attempts to overly restrict abortion. Quite frankly, however, without a truly massive change in popular opinion in America, no such draconian abortion prohibitions are likely to occur.

    Christian organizations are very aware of this. For the most part, current efforts at restricting abortion are limited to very reasonable requirements that are well within even the most lenient of halachic positions. It is a near certainty that, outside of a revolutionary change in American society, medically necessary abortion will never be outlawed anywhere in the U.S.

    On the other hand, however, the strong pro-abortion position taken by the left-wing secularists is fundamentally antagonistic to Torah values in every way. It is rooted in a value system that attacks the most basic principle of all spirituality, the idea that human life has inherent significance.

    One of the most notable differences between Jews and Christians throughout history has been belief in a dead Messiah. Here again, Evangelical Christians have infiltrated our ranks to the extent that we are here on this blog arguing over whether or not a person who believes in the Second Coming of a dead Messiah is an acceptable shochet, community Rav, teacher or Av Beit Din.
    ...
    I happen to know firsthand that anti missionary professionals were aware of Christian missionaries within the ranks of Chabad 15-20 years ago.


    While I believe your analogy between Chabad messianism and Christianity has some merit, I think it is very unlikely that this development is the result of Christian influence. I suspect that the belief in a dead messiah arose in Chabad in much the same way it arose the first time, with the early Christians.

    While your knowledge of missionary activity in Chabad 15-20 years ago is intriguing, that would seem too late to explain the phenomenom, as Chabad messianism clearly has its roots in earlier developments in Chabad.

    It is possible that Chabad messianism arose hopes among Christian missionaries that they would be able to make some progress, motivating them to attempt to infiltrate the Chabad community.

    I do know that Christian missionaries have utilized Chabad messianism as "proof" that the belief in a dead messiah is a legitimate Jewish concept.

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  4. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 18, 2008 at 3:58 AM

    Jersey girl, it's not quite clear what you are saying via innuendo, ringing of false alarm bells and raising red herring arguments.

    That most active Christians, Catholic and Protestant, in the USA often share a common agenda with the Orthodox is nothing new.

    The Gedolim of the Moetzes Gedolei haTorah have always allowed and encouraged the Agudath Israel organization in America to co-operate with the Catholic Church on common concerns such as getting tax credits for school tuitions, that various funding should flow from the the government to all private schools, such as to yeshivas and Catholic schools and to support common briefs in front of the US Supreme Court. So by your words it may seem that the US Agudah rabbis are dupes of the Church and maybe setting their own people up for shmad? How ridiculous!

    Or that Orthodox groups welcome the positive support of Evangelicals for Israel, a position that is a lot better than Islamic charities and lobbies in the US that support Arab Americans (that you never seem to criticize!) and send tens of millions of dollars to support Hamas and the PLO so that they can buy arms and qasams to lob at Israel and train and supply suicide bombers not to mention giving all sorts of support to Al Quaidah and Islamic Jihad organizations, but that would be ok according to you since you never mention those real problems taking place right now, as instead, you keep on lobbing proverbial mud at the Evangelicals for trying to convert Jews.

    What planet are you on? Christians have been trying to convert Jews ( it's one of their so-called "mitzvas") since they realized that Judaism rejects Christianity and vice versa, and that they have tried either by the sword or the "word" to bring over the Jews to Christianity, yet after 2,000 years of tryingboth the proverbial carrot and the stick they have not managed to wipe out the Jews and Judaism is flourishing and that the state of Israel's birth and the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland (half the world's known Jews live in Israel) all have disproved Christianity's claims forever. The burial and obituary is done, all that's needed is atombstone that says: "Here lies Christianity. Born in the year 0. Passed away at over 2,000 years of age. Converted Billions but failed to convert the Jews." Or something to that effect.

    So Christians scream and shout, and huff and puff. They build Mormom palaces in Jerusalem or they send in teams of missionaraies but guess what, they are getting nowhere like rats spinning on wheels in a cage they are going nowhere quickly in spite of attracting some empty head former Jews to become apostates. That is to be expected in a free society in any case. Judaism has attracted many Christians away from Christianity too. Such is life.

    But your lowest blow is to smear Chabad yet again with all sorts of distorted assertions. Get this: For all its quirkiness and weirdness Chabad is still 100% Yiddishkeit and it has zero to do with Christianity. If some missionaries have infiltrated some places, it happens all over, especially in Israel with all sorts of stories about how missionaries sneak people into communities. But those people are almost always outed and caught. So quit tarring and feathering, the fear-mongering and deceptive argumentaion beacuse it does not become such a well-bread lady and take some pride that at the end of the day Chabad is doing more good than you imagine and the Evangelicals and missionaries are a more pathetic lot than you give them credit for.

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  5. I urge everyone to study the history of Pre Expulsion Spain, which sadly, is no longer taught in our day schools.

    In Spain, Jews enjoyed social freedoms and economic prosperity similar to that enjoyed by Jews in the US today. Because of the status enjoyed by Spanish Jewry, thousands of converts were drawn to join the Jewish nation.

    The Iberian peninsula was marked by a battle between Christianity and Islam for about 500 years before the completion of the Christian conquest in 1492. Many Jews under the influence of the Rosh (Rabbi Asher Ben Yehiel 1250-1328 who felt that Sephardic philosophy was too entrenched is Islamic thought)felt it better for Jews to live under Christian rule than the more open and permissive Moorish society.

    As the Christians gained in power, their intensive outreach efforts convinced hundreds of thousands of Jews to convert. There was no Reform or Conservative in Spain nor was any Jew "assimilated" out from the Jewish community.

    Many Rabbis and community leaders converted to Christianity (including the father and brother of Don Isaac Abarbanel). On the eve of the Expulsion, the vast majority of Spanish Jewry chose conversion to Christianity over exile. And the vast majority of those who converted fully and willingly assimilated to Christianity, lost to the Jewish people forever.

    Our family is fortunate to have access to letters and documents authored by my ancestors in pre Expulsion Spain (they are now in the museum of Bevis Marks, London). The words written then, ring timely and true to us today, as observant Jews in the US.

    For example, mentioned in one of the letters which was written by a father to his grown daughters (Naomi Ragen adapted the actual letter in the "Ghost of Hannah Mendes") is the influence of Catholic maids on children and the potential socialization to Christianity.

    We may "say it isn't so", but how can we deny the growing numbers of "kids at risk" emerging from frum homes? Ask any Rabbi who works with these kids and he will tell you that many of them harbor a skepticism towards Judaism that they say was instilled by their Gentile maids or secular studies teachers, etc. (One of the anti Missionary orgs, had a copy of a letter that was sent by a Protestant pastor to the women of his middle class congregations telling them to take jobs as maids in Orthodox Jewish homes in order to influence the children).

    Those who have studied the Kuzari know that Judah HaLevi regarded the influx of converts, along with many of "the proselyte's pious saint-like sub-prophetic inspirations" as a dire threat to the character of the Jewish people as a whole.
    (Introduction Daniel J. Lasker "Proselyte Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Thought of Judah HaLevi").

    Reflecting upon some of the changes in the norms and mores of Orthodox Judaism over the past decades (ie marked increase in rulings on tznius, bans of music, chumros etc etc) Halevi's admonitions seem to read current rather than past tense.

    There is no question that freedom and enlightenment is destructive to the Jewish people, (ie Emancipation of the Jews 1849 which began Haskala and birthed a 50% intermarriage rate in Pre WWII Germany by the 1920s) but we should examine why Jews in historically liberal Ottoman society, did not assimilate as have Jews emancipated in Europe and the US. I do not believe that we can discount the evangelical component of Christianity even as a factor in secular assimilation.

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