Ger Tzadik (Sorta)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Giving Up Jesus Is Hard To Do

Actually, no it’s not. Not even remotely.

One of the strangest and yet most amusing things I have been told by numerous rabbis is that many people who decide they want to convert think they can keep believing Jesus was the messiah. Now, I think I can understand how some Jews can be twisted around by the cultural forces around them to turn to Jews for Jesus and think this makes sense. What I don’t understand is how a Christian can come to the decision to become Jewish and not consider how that fits with their current beliefs.

For me, this was never a problem. Every time I’m asked: “You do realize you have to stop believing in Jesus, right?” I have to look at the person like they’re an alien. Part of the appeal of Judaism for me is that I have never believed Jesus was the son of God made incarnate. Even from a very young age when I was certain of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the Son of God concept was so strange and abstract to me that I didn’t know what to do with it.

The issue for me is probably the same as it is for most Jews, I would think. The concept of a single God above and beyond the world precludes this whole…incarnation as man in the flesh thing, doesn’t it? Certainly the theology I was taught emphasizes that there is only one God. When I asked for explanations as to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the responses were less the impressive. Maybe I’m just too dense to understand how that’s supposed to work…but I doubt it.

So when I found out that giving up on the J-guy is something many Christians struggle with, I was fairly shocked. Again, not that someone can hold those beliefs dear, but that they haven’t already let them go by the time they make the decision to become a Jew. I’ve heard more than one tale of people who were already along the way to full observance of Halacha before this point came up, at which point they had to stop or at least pause for some time to consider if they could make the Leap of Faith.

Or more appropriately: Leave of Faith.

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