Christians and Christianity:
The Difference and an Apology
I am very guilty of a haughty tone that sounds like condemnation toward Christianity and that too often translates into the mind of the hearer as hatred for Christians themselves. And I apologize for that, but believe me, I have been humbled many times because of it.Humbled enough? Probably not.
Christianity is truly what I say it is, a paganized, Pauline spinoff of Jewish faith that in many ways perverts that biblical faith. But Jews themselves are not without their own assimilated interpretations and convenient breaches of biblical faith. That is because we are all human working out our lives individually and collectively and we do what we do to survive, and understand our predicament.
Evyonut (Ebionitism) is an approach to Yahwism (the biblical Hebrew faith) that is reformative and utopian. In other words, it is not Truth of all Truths, but an attempt to do something better within a biblical framework. Most if not all religious movements start this way, and this is how what we now call Christianity started also. There's nothing wrong with that. And many, many Christians, aside from doctrine and form, still are just looking for a better way to live individually and collectively in the world. If I have a problem with that, I am projecting problems of a different nature into that situation---in other words, I'm just being an ass. That's a personal problem, genetic burden, psychological deficiency, or age related problem. . . whatever.
But we do disagree with official Christian doctrine, its interpretation of scripture, its worship of a man or belief in a divine man, or that the historical sources for many of its practices are either biblical or inspired. We disagree with Christianity as a belief system and want something better. But each of these things are ideas, not necessarily people themselves.
We all know each other, talk, pass each other on the street, work together, and hopefully help each other. Yet, we do come into conflict because, in our case and for many Jews, we live in your Christian society and it seems to be totally in disregard to our most cherished beliefs. No doubt you would feel the same way if tables were turned. In such an environment it is hard not to take an occassion to disrespect Christian belief and take a defiant stance against Christian confinements. Presenting those confinements imposed upon us is an act of provocation that you may not even be aware of because you see it as normal. But the idea that your understandings are the normal ones often excludes anyone else's understandings as normal. What we cherish is trampled as unacceptable and not good. That is offensive. We are good and normal according to our religion and the God of Israel.
We will be scrupulous over the things we will eat and it is to us a sign of belief in God. Many of you ridicule this, yet say you believe in the same God. We observe the biblical Sabbath; you brush it aside and deny us employment if we hallow it. We observe divinely commanded holy days; most of you think they are nonsense, make fun of them, make them sound like oddities, or make us feel like burdens when we take off work. Yet they are commanded by God. If our children will not participate in school religious activities, they are handled as freaks and outsiders. But their participation in such activities can be seen by us as a denial of God. We are expected to answer questions in the terminology of your religion, a different religion. (Are you saved? Meaning to you something to do with a man who became God or vice versa---a totally foreign and incomprehensible idea to us.) And when we cannot answer, it is because we are supposedly "lost," "blinded," and damned to eternal flames, and aside from your religious doctrine, inferior to you. If we answer we believe in God, you make it a question of believing a man was God. Talking with most of you can be very frustrating.
We face discrimination because we disagree with many of you. And in much of the past under the rule of Christians and the ubiquity of Christian Society we were killed for disagreeing. The Holocaust in Nazi Germany was just the more recent mass murdering of Jews. There have been many that have occured for 2000 years of Christianity. We have been designated as Christ-killers, Anti-Christ, which to most Christians means "anti-God" and "killers of God." Christian persecution of Jews was justified by these preposterous beliefs and others. We have been slandered as being in league with the Christian devil and blamed for all of your problems and deficiencies whether natural or man-made.
If we point this out, protest, stay true to our faith, speak of our faith in the way you are able to speak of "being saved," or criticize Christianity in return, we are hateful, fanatical, weird, and cultish. Put yourselves in our place. All religious groups are cults. You often sound the same way to us.
But we are the People of God. He chose us, and we chose Him. Our religion is twice as old as yours, and without our sacred heritage there would be no Christianity at all. Your Bible would be very small, and without a Jewish man as your savior, there would be nothing at all.
But everyone, according to our belief, belongs to God. And not all Christians are the same, just as all Jews are not. Some put themselves in each other's place, and not all Christians purposely hurt or kill Jews. But it is part of Christianity that all people should accept "Jesus Christ" as "saviour" and a God and that the Christian doctrine should dictate life.
But this is totally incompatible with Yahwism (the biblical Hebrew Faith), and no matter what anyone tells you, to make a Jew a Christian is to murder a Jew. It places a Jew on a spiritual death row for denying God. It is not an act of love, but an act of the most venomous hatred imaginable. And as long as Christians have the goal of killing us spiritually or physically, hindering us or ridiculing for believing in God in the way He commanded us, there will be misunderstanding and sometimes hard feelings.
Just the same, you are humans like us, aside from any religious stance, just trying to make sense of life and death and our time on earth. We have no desire to kill you, put you in concentration camps, or damn you to hell fire because you understand life differently than we do. Let's pray together, and perhaps one can keep a humane and helpful perspective if the other will.
I have Christians in my own family particularly because I am a convert. I get very angry and frustrated with them at times--and I'm sure the feeling is mutual--and I have Christian friends and acquaintances, but I do not hate them and I do not want them to hate me. But people come here to this website to find out what the difference is, what Ebionites are about and why. And this brings up historical and doctrinal conflicts that we inform readers about. Sometimes individual Christians internalize Christian docrine so strongly that criticizing that doctrine is bound to be taken as an attack on that individual. We can't always help that from happening. We will differentiate the two religious stances, and we will defend our beliefs just as you might. So I am sorry that this state exists and that it is sometimes argumentative or offensive to you. I probably do not know you personally, so please do not assume that any criticism is personally directed toward you or a personal and purposeful attack on you.