Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our Hands are Stained with Blood

I read this book last week, couldn't put it down once I started. The link above has some excellent reviews that I can't improve on. I could say just one thing...

Every mature Christian should read this book.

Sir Chuck of the Jewish heart


  1. Be careful not to fill any more guilty then you have to. A considerable ammount of anti-semitism was the "enlightenment's" fault, not the Christians. Racist(as opposed to religious) anti-semitism is post-christian; Christians would not be stupid enough to blame another's birth rather then his choice. Much other is simply the fault of Original Sin-there are some people that just desire someone to bully and the easiest excuse comes to hand. Much was the fault of the degradation of Christianity-it could result in superstition among the improperly taught. As for Martin Luther well he would say the same sorts of things about papists-if it's any comfort to anyone.
    But most important of all there is a school of thought going round that because there was an anti-semetic heresy in the Church that therefore the Church is at fault for the Holocaust and therefore Christianity is illigetimate. A lot of therefores. Besides ignoring the fact that a number of Christians helped Jews at that time and a greater number at the very least helped to destroy the Nazis.
    However what I have said just now must not be exagerrated. I say it was not as bad as some have made it.
    It was bad enough. For one thing anti-semitism is specifically forbidden in scripture (Romans 11:18-21). For another it is sin against charity to one's fellow man. As if that wasn't enough it is base ingratitude. Moreover it sullys Christ's name-some Jews are still raised with resentment of Christians.
    What does one do about sins in the past? Obviously one has enough to do with one's own sin. And of course whether people in the past have behaved atrociously in His name is not logically a problem-it is what one would expect. Still it is not pleasant to have bad feelings about a group one belongs to. So there you are.
    I think the Jews are partly wrong in saying only the person wronged can forgive. The reason is that a wrong done to someone is a wrong done to his community. Furthermore, cruelties done from anti-semitism are intended to be directed at the whole Jewish nation even if specifically directed at a single representative. For instance stormtrooper Hans beat-up, watchmaker Meyer and trashed his shop. In so doing he not only hurt Meyer, he hurt Meyer's family and friends. He also insulted all Jews by doing this as well as taking a little away from the right of the entire Jewish nation to live in security.To some degree he hurt Meyer's customers some of whom were perfectly willing to live at peace. He also hurt me as I am a philo-semite. He hurt me to as my grandfather, God rest his soul, had to go to France and fight in small part because of stormtrooper Hans. In other words though he sinned mainly against watchmaker Meyer, Hans sinned against a lot of people.

    By the way, just for the record the Khazar Empire apparently mentioned in the book(which is associated with the "not true Jews" story), was a most civilized and honorable state around the area of the Caspian Sea. It was ruled by an aristocracy of Turkish converts to Judaism. These of course would not be in direct decent from the Jews of before the fall of Jerusalem. Which is sort of in the "so what" category.

    Sir Jason

  2. Good points all, Sir Ja. Personally, I carry no guilt for what others have done; I had enough guilt of my own doings before renouncing it all and giving it to Christ.

    But it is eye-opening to see the extent of historical anti-Semitism to understand where the Jewish people are coming from.

    Also, the book highlights numerous examples of anti-Semitism in current media and government. It hasn't gone away, at all.

    But most important to me, the book gave me a basis upon which to relate to modern-day Jews. That was always a question in my mind. I have been chewing on Romans 9,10,and 11 for a long time.

    Sir C

  3. Anti-semetism is a very peculiar vice, it is hard to see how people are tempted by it. Part of it is anti-bourgeious. It is noticeable that the least anti-semitic Christians were the most bourgeois. Traditional "warrior, priest, serf" peoples have envied Jews for their literacy and outside connections; it gave them a power the locals did not understand but could not do without and hence jews were resented. In bourgeious countries Jews were competitors but they weren't alien(it's an interesting thought-do like people who compete hate each other more or do those who are alien from one another; there are examples of both). In England for instance anti-semitism was usually mere snobbery; the elites disdained Jews like they disdained every one but their Dear Little Selves. In Eastern Europe where there was less of a gentile bourgeious, the Jews took that function and in so doing became "the other".
    It is noticeable that the same type of conspiracy theories told about Jews are told about Americans, British, and Venetians(yes you can still find one or two websites that tell of the evils of the Republic of Venice!). Of course British and Americans have always if necessary had recourse to "let them hate us so long as they fear us". The Jews haven't had that until recently. That of course was one of the main reasons for forming the State of Israel though the Zionists would probably not have put it in quite that way.
    As a side note, the British in Palestine who favored the Arabs during the Mandate weren't usually motivated by classic anti-semitism. Rather they like many would-be benefactors had a peculiar "need to be needed". The Jews needed them less obviously then the Arabs-and were to be honest rather prickly about reminding the British of it. The British respected the Jews in Palestine but often couldn't quite bring themselves to like them.

    Sir Jason

  4. My first impulse is to be annoyed by the use of the word "our", as if I had traveled back in my time machine to join in those awful sins. Like Sir Chuck, my own sins and failing are plenty enough for me feel guilty.

    My more Christ-like nature, which shows up less that it should, tell me that things like this give Christians the opportunity to explain the difference between true Christians, those having the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and who obey the teachings of Christ, and phonies, who call themselves Christians but are care nothing for the commands of Jesus.

    Sir John

  5. Misguided zeal is often the reason given. Little need be explained about that simply because it is obvious.
    Another seemingly opposite reason is that there were simply more Christian nominals then Jewish nominals for there were no social encouragements toward being a Christian. And for a nominal in any case it could be most exasperating looking at people who really were trying harder then him to be righteous; even though they couldn't succeed either.
    And also any group that separates itself will gather rumors about it. Sometimes people use other people simply as a replacement for horror stories-they make up stories about Jews in the way they do about vampires except of course it is more harmful with real people. Moslems of course have their own stories about Christians as well as Jews(did you know that they used to think their was literal cannibalism at a Mass!). And Catholics and Protestants made stories about each other("be good or the Jesuits will get you...").
    Also much of it was simply a function of power. Jews very seldom had the power to persecute. They certainly did persecute at the time of Saul of Taursus-although the Khazar empire to it's credit never did; but then it was a trading people and trading people have a distinct disinclination to persecute-some of them are one's business partners. Certainly there were enough Jews who would have behaved that way if they had a chance. They were quite capable of fighting back with words(one rabbi claimed that all Jews that converted would be boiled in excrement in hell-gotta love the guys imagination). And of course they have sometimes said shocking things about each other in sectarian quarrels. Which means they are not always that different from us.
    To this day whenever religions talk about each other on the net they are often-most unchivalrous. I have heard quite annoying things about Catholics by Evangelicals and about Evangelicals by Catholics. I heard one poster say that Messianics keep the traditions only out of pride. Apparently he forgot "honor thy father and mother", and didn't realize that the main point of Galatians was "Don't get mesmerised by busybodies", not "thou shalt not wear a Yarmaluke". I have also heard some most annoying things on the net from Jews. The worst though are atheists any of whom actually argue that religion should be "abolished" because it "causes wars"(women cause people to kill each other too don't you know!). Interestingly I haven't heard all that much from Moslems. The one or two I would recognise on the net were too civilized to behave that way. However I am sure if I looked for annoying Moslems on the net I could find some.
    Besides proving that there are a lot of immature jerks on the net(which does not need proving), it does prove that that sort of thing is part of human nature. Interestingly Moslems used to treat Christians(and still do)more or less as Christians treated Jews in Europe(Moslems in Christian countries was a dead letter-by the time Europeans were militarily powerful enough to conquer Moslems religious persecution had become distasteful to most).

  6. The worst though are atheists any of whom

    That should be "many" not "any"