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Rabbi's Refreshing Frankness: Raising Kids in Two Religions "Insane"
Today Show/NewsBusters ^ | Mark Finkelstein

Posted on 12/23/2005 5:44:48 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest

by Mark Finkelstein

December 23, 2005 - 08:40

What the Today show probably intended as a warm-'n-fuzzy holiday segment just veered wildly off course when a rabbi spoke some unvarnished truth.

The topic was "December Dilemma: Interfaith Holdidays," and dealt with the issue of celebrating the holidays in families with children where the parents are of different religions.

Footage was played of a family with a Jewish wife, a Christian husband and a couple of very cute daughters. They were predictably shown admiring both a menorah and a Christmas tree.

Back in the studio, David Gregory interviewed "The God Squad," Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman, who for years have made joint appearances to discuss religious matters.

When Gregory asked the rabbi if there was anything wrong with bringing the children of mixed marriages up in some kind of combo religion, I had the feeling he was anticipating [as was I], a PC response. Instead, he got a shot of candor right between the eyes:

"[Kids] have to know how to answer when asked [as to their religion] 'what are you?' If they answer 'both,' that's answering that Jesus is and isn't the Messiah, that Christmas is and isn't the birth of the Savior. That's insane. That's crazy. And it shouldn't be put on a child to have to make those kinds of decisions."

Bravo, Rabbi!


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: chanukah; christmas; faith; godsquad; mixedmarriages; parenting; postedtowrongforum
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1 posted on 12/23/2005 5:44:50 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: Behind Liberal Lines; Miss Marple; an amused spectator; netmilsmom; Diogenesis; YaYa123; MEG33; ...

Today Show/NewsBusters ping.


2 posted on 12/23/2005 5:45:43 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest

Frankly, I disagree.

It seems to be a nice compromise. And its probably better than providing them with no religion at all.

Raise a kid with no religion, Jewish or Christian, and might end up with a wacko like Bill Maher.


3 posted on 12/23/2005 5:50:01 AM PST by rcocean (Copyright is theft and loved by Hollywood socialists)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
Governsleastgovernsbest's Today Show/NewsBusters and Pookie's Today's Toons are the best recurrent threads on FR.   Definitely habit-forming!   glgb, thanks for your daily updates!
4 posted on 12/23/2005 5:50:34 AM PST by jigsaw (God Bless Our Troops.)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
I'm jewish, I celebrate chanukah and I KNOW that Jesus IS the messiah!

Baruch habba b'shem Adonai!

5 posted on 12/23/2005 5:51:26 AM PST by freedomson (Tagline comment removed by moderator)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest

If it's insane to raise children in different religions, and I believe it is, why then is it alright if God raises his children in thousands of different denominations, sects, etc.?


6 posted on 12/23/2005 5:53:03 AM PST by FNU LNU (Nothing runs like a Deere, nothing smells like a john)
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To: freedomson

I hate the holiday season because all of the holier than thou/ I know better than anyone else/ my religion is better than yours/ people are on full display.

Sadly, I have found that people do the most un-God like things in the name of God. Not just the Islamocultists, but Christians and Jews as well, in many other less obvious ways.

Also, I find that religion more often than not tends to separate people rather than bring them together.

Some of things I have heard said about Jewish people by "Chruch going people" would make even the most violent skinhead blush. I have also heard some things from some of my Jewish friends that make me just want to hit someone. I am Catholic but have many many Jewish friends.

I am not an atheist by any stretch, but believe G-D could never ever intended or hopes mankind would act is does in his name.


7 posted on 12/23/2005 5:57:37 AM PST by chris1
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
My parents got divorced when I was 8 years old because of religious differences, my father being a Christian and my mother being a devout Mormon. I was a Mormon first, but after my parents got divorced I spent some time in my mom's church and my dad's church. What I quickly learned was that the Book of Mormon and the Bible didn't agree and didn't teach the same things. I came to the conclusion that the Bible was correct and got saved at the age of 12.

In any case, mixed religion families are a Very Bad Idea. Such marriages frequently end very badly.
8 posted on 12/23/2005 5:57:56 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: governsleastgovernsbest

I always wondered about that. My friend is Jewish and he married a Christian woman who converted. I know they celebrate both now, although growing up, he always said that doesn't fly with him. I don't understand how you really do both with any real sincerity.


9 posted on 12/23/2005 6:01:35 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. Merry Christmas!)
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To: rcocean; All

Call it my logical streak, but as the rabbi said, it is impossible to believe simultaneously that Jesus is and isn't the Messiah.

Raising a child in two intrinsically different religions is as sensible as raising a child to be both a liberal and a conservative.


10 posted on 12/23/2005 6:02:02 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
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To: FNU LNU

Because the leaders of religions are no different than the worst politicians. At the core, the religions' leadership crave power and the ability to persuade no different than any politician.

It is only because the allusion of G-d's approval do these people get away with it.

My GF does matrimonial law. She says many Jewish couple treat each other worse than animals in the wild do. The same for other "straight" marriages in that sense.

The bottom line is that morality and spirituality, not the particular denomination, is what should be emphasized.

What I also find is that many people for some reason suspend all common sense and rationality when issues of religion come into play. Its actually amazing to see otherwise smart people believe the most ridiculous things just because the man in robes says so.


11 posted on 12/23/2005 6:02:18 AM PST by chris1
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To: FNU LNU
why then is it alright if God raises his children in thousands of different denominations, sects, etc.?

He doesn't. There is only one body of Christ. Denominations, sects, etc are man's invention.

12 posted on 12/23/2005 6:02:45 AM PST by meowmeow (Meow! Meow!)
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To: chris1
I am sorry that there are so many like that around, of course, there may not actually be that many, they just run their mouths incessantly that they are always heard. I don't understand how people can sit through church, listen to the Word and then spew judgment and hatred the other 6 days of the week. We aren't all like that, but sadly, the ones you don't hear about are the good ones because they don't run their mouths like idiots. I hope that we are the silent majority. :)
13 posted on 12/23/2005 6:07:25 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. Merry Christmas!)
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To: JamesP81

I think it largely depends on how adamant on or both of the spouses is about the religion issue.

For me, I am much more concerned that my children grow up to be patriotic and moral citizens that faithful churchgoers.

To me, the fact that someone goes to church means nothing. I see people who go to church every week screw people in business all during the week and yet hold themselves out to be good people.

I see many people who never set foot in a temple or church yet are the best people on earth.

I refuse to believe that God will accept the churhgoer who treats people like crap while ingoring the moral decent person who does not.


14 posted on 12/23/2005 6:08:11 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1
I am Catholic but have many many Jewish friends. I am not an atheist by any stretch,

Good Catholics are never atheists

15 posted on 12/23/2005 6:08:23 AM PST by fml
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To: rcocean
I agree with the rabbi on this one. It makes no sense to raise children in a household with two different religious influences that are mutually exclusive by definition. Providing a child with conflicting religious instruction in this context is worse than providing them no religious instruction at all -- because it trivializes and mocks two religions/cultures instead of just ignoring them completely.

Compromise could be acceptable in a religious context in some cases, but not when it involves two religions that don't share what would best be described as "first principles." Raising a child as both Christian and Jewish is like telling him that two plus two might equal four, but might also equal 73.

16 posted on 12/23/2005 6:09:14 AM PST by Alberta's Child (What it all boils down to is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.)
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To: JamesP81

I'm sorry for your family but glad you got out of Mormonism.

God Bless you.


17 posted on 12/23/2005 6:09:31 AM PST by bonfire (dwindler)
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To: meowmeow

Let me ask you a question - a serious one - there are probably well over a billion people who have never ever even heard of Christ, and billions and billions and billions more who came before us and never heard of Christ, where do they go and are they "saved"?????

This question has never been answered to me in a way that even remotely approaches something making sense.


18 posted on 12/23/2005 6:10:44 AM PST by chris1
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To: governsleastgovernsbest

"They were predictably shown admiring both a menorah and a Christmas tree."

When this is considered "equivalency," we're wrong from the get-go.


19 posted on 12/23/2005 6:13:50 AM PST by MajorityOfOne
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To: fml

I went to Catholic high school and college. I consider myself a moral person, but have left the "church" for many reasons.

I have found that religions are no different that political parties, only with far more deadly and harmful consequences.
Just look at history. Mankind, in the name of religion and God, has killed and maimed so many people.




20 posted on 12/23/2005 6:14:12 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1
Also, I find that religion more often than not tends to separate people rather than bring them together.

No kidding. Here's what the un-PC Christ actually has to say about this:

Matthew 10:34-35 : "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword."

"For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And man's foes will be those of his own household."

All the other "limitations" of Christianity that you point out may actually be the limitations of people who call themselves Christians but really aren't.

No true Christian would ever say anything offensive about Jewish people, but Christians are decidedly different than people who are "Church going". Going to Church is a cultural distinction. Being a Christian is a spiritual distinction. I hope you'll take the time to really understand the difference and actually hear the Message for what it is, not for what some "Church going" idiots tell you it is.

21 posted on 12/23/2005 6:14:23 AM PST by freebilly
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To: WV Mountain Mama

I'm with you. I have friends he's Jewish she's Christian and they decided to raise them Jewish till 10 then introduce Christianity. But when visiting our house one day their 7 year old daughter ran terrified and screaming when she saw a crucifix over my kids doors and they innocently told her what it was. They had to quickly reconsider their plans.


22 posted on 12/23/2005 6:16:23 AM PST by fml
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To: chris1

All I can say is I am sorry for your experiances. I have never felt that way - I see more good than bad.


23 posted on 12/23/2005 6:17:59 AM PST by fml
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To: chris1

Unless you plan on being the next Stalin, you cannot control what other people do or don't do in the name of God. You can only control what YOU do.

Religion WILL seperate people, but only when the focus of the religion is different. The vast majority of Christians get along just fine except when the focus of the church wanders into political correctness rather than the Word.


24 posted on 12/23/2005 6:20:33 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: chris1
Mankind, in the name of religion and God, has killed and maimed so many people.

C'mon-- Mankind in the name of other men's wives, other men's money, other men's property, other men's politics, other men's languages, etc, has gone to war with very little provocation.

Stop being so moralistic and biased against religion because your parents forced you to go to Sunday school. It's a lot more fun to stop complaining about "bad Christians" and start allowing Christ to work miracles in your life....

25 posted on 12/23/2005 6:20:48 AM PST by freebilly
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To: fml

No freaking kidding!!!!!!!!!!!! I have friends who are Jewish and their reaction to a crucifix is like Superman to cryptonite. I really don't get it. However, I think I actually do.

I think that many of the Jewish "leaders" fill the young ones with such distrust and such paranoia for these things that it actually develops into a nuerosis that can not be explaned but for any other reason. And when you question one about this, you get the most bizarre and illogical answers and responses.

Its divide and conquer, no different than any other political leader.


26 posted on 12/23/2005 6:21:42 AM PST by chris1
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To: Blood of Tyrants

"Unless you plan on being the next Stalin, you cannot control what other people do or don't do in the name of God."

What the F$%^ do think the whole WOT is about??????????

Serious, are you that blind???? In the name of God, many many people are trying to destroy us. Should we not try to control their actions as you say?????


27 posted on 12/23/2005 6:23:49 AM PST by chris1
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To: freedomson

If you believe Jesus is the messiah, you are a Christian. Why don't you just say that proudly? Just as people can convert out of Judaism, they can convert into it. It's not a racial thing, so what you were born is irrelevant. I know it's probably hard on your family. Maybe this is the root of your reluctance to say out loud that you are a Christian. Celebrating Hanukah and Passover do not make you Jewish. Your beliefs make you Jewish. Jews do not believe Jesus was the savior. You are a Christian. Stand up and be proud about it!


28 posted on 12/23/2005 6:25:17 AM PST by Inkie (Surround Fallujia and start shooting.)
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To: chris1
Some of things I have heard said about Jewish people by "Chruch going people" would make even the most violent skinhead blush.

Outside of the leftwinger churches, do any Christians actually say this? Because I ain't heard it...
29 posted on 12/23/2005 6:27:38 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: JamesP81

Me either. Ever.


30 posted on 12/23/2005 6:28:07 AM PST by bonfire (dwindler)
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To: freebilly

I just think that in most cases it has lost its relevance from the intended meaning.

Many Catholics have no clue that nowhere in the Bible does Jesus call for a Holy Roman Catholic Church with Saints and rituals entirely of mans' creation. Where did all these rituals come from? Where did all these things come from?

They are mostly a creation of man. As such, is there not a chance that man can be wrong?????



31 posted on 12/23/2005 6:29:35 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1
Let me ask you a question - a serious one - there are probably well over a billion people who have never ever even heard of Christ, and billions and billions and billions more who came before us and never heard of Christ, where do they go and are they "saved"?????

The Apostle Paul addressed the issue here.
32 posted on 12/23/2005 6:30:13 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: chris1

You (singular, not plural) cannot control other people.


33 posted on 12/23/2005 6:31:08 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: JamesP81

That's my point exactly. And that was a good passage. People can be very moral, very good towards their fellow man, very righteous, and act in an otherwise gracious way towards their fellow man, without being part of an organized religion.


34 posted on 12/23/2005 6:33:39 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1

Of course man can be wrong. We do our best and by God's grace we are forgiven.

There are many church's out there. If RC is not for you, why not pray and ask for guidance?

Sounds like you are desperate for God to enter your heart. Instead of ranting and chastising..... try opening up the Bible and your heart and start praying.

God can do marvelous things!


35 posted on 12/23/2005 6:34:20 AM PST by bonfire (dwindler)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Are we not trying to control the actions of religious fanatics who are trying to kill us in the name of God - YES or NO?????????????????????????


36 posted on 12/23/2005 6:34:33 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1
Let me try to answer that question.
Keep in mind that I am no theologian, only a Christian that has done a little investigation.

There is place, somewhere between Heaven and Hell, let's call it limbo.
People that have never had the chance to hear about Christ and make a decision for, or against, him being the Saviour of our souls go there until the last judgement.
At the last judgement everyone, even those in Hell now, will be brought before the throne of G*D and they will make their choice.
Confess and repent of your sins, believe in Christ and aknowledge him as your saviour or do not pass go, do not collect heaven, go directly to hell.

Everyone will be given a chance, even Satan.

37 posted on 12/23/2005 6:35:02 AM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Alberta's Child
I agree with the rabbi on this one. It makes no sense to raise children in a household with two different religious influences that are mutually exclusive by definition. Providing a child with conflicting religious instruction in this context is worse than providing them no religious instruction at all -- because it trivializes and mocks two religions/cultures instead of just ignoring them completely.

Its just a matter of opinion.

If the parents can't agree on which religion to teach it seems like a good compromise. I think Judaism and Christianity are NOT mutually exclusive but share a lot of teachings in common. Those items that conflict can be pointed out and discussed.

I'm interested as to why you think Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, other than of course the obvious, i.e. the divinity of Jesus Christ.

38 posted on 12/23/2005 6:35:59 AM PST by rcocean (Copyright is theft and loved by Hollywood socialists)
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To: freebilly
Teach them critical thinking, honest introspection and respect for the views of others and let them make up their own mind. I have no respect for a 'God' who is incapable of talking to someone who needs talking to. I had NO religion until the age of 29 and the Still, Small voice decided it was time to get my attention.

Teach 'em how to think critically (so as to keep them out of the clutches of liberalism/socialism or most any other 'ism that makes no sense) and then let the Lord do the rest. Of course, IMHO, ANY person that could even be slightly called 'educated' should read the Bible, Koran, Torah, Dhammapada and Baghva gita through in a good translation.
39 posted on 12/23/2005 6:36:13 AM PST by RedStateRocker
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To: bonfire

To be honest with you, I find it far more refreshing and enlightening to read the Bible, and passages from it, without going to church and having people tell me what I aM reading. I know what I am reading, and don't need people to tell me if I eat meat on a Friday (as an example of course), that I have committed a sin.

We as people commit many more serious sins we should focus on rather than breaking man-made rules with no real substance.


To me, the person who screws others as a course of practice in business is far far worse than someone who misses mass but is an otherweise decent person.


40 posted on 12/23/2005 6:38:17 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1

Gotcha and I agree.


So what are you so angry about?


41 posted on 12/23/2005 6:39:27 AM PST by bonfire (dwindler)
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To: rcocean

This inter-marriage trend is a big threat to the population size of Jewish Americans. (The other threat is low birth rates.) A lot of kids with Christian and Jewish parents don't idenitfy themselves as Jewish or Christian. These children of American Jews move from the Jewish category to the nothing category. The other problem is that Christians reach out to people in the nothing category to become Christian. Jews don't recruit.


42 posted on 12/23/2005 6:40:06 AM PST by Galveston Grl (Getting angry and abandoning power to the Democrats is not a choice.)
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To: chris1
Religion can be taken too far, of that, there is no question. Nevertheless, being in a church, a good church on a regular basis is good for a man's spirit, regardless of what anybody thinks. However, choosing church is like choosing a wife; choose wisely. Additionally, choosing no church family at all is not choosing wisely, unless there is literally no good church in your area, which I would really have trouble believing no matter where you lived.

The bottom line is that morality and spirituality, not the particular denomination, is what should be emphasized.

That Jesus Christ died for remission of sins should be emphasized first, morality second. Morality and lifestyle changes are pretty much automatic anyway if you truly have faith and love Christ enough to follow Him. Faith without works is dead. The good works are not your salvation, but the indicator of your salvation.
43 posted on 12/23/2005 6:40:36 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: rcocean

Don't leave out the fact that Jesus lived, taught, preached, was mocked, was crucified, all as a Jewish person. I don't ever remember him referring to himself as anything but a Jew.

For some reason, this fact gets glossed over all too often.


44 posted on 12/23/2005 6:40:43 AM PST by chris1
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To: chris1

I was addressing YOU personally in your relationship with God. As an INDIVIDUAL you cannot control what other people believe. I have NEVER once said that we shouldn't be fighting the WOT against the Muslims. I believe that there are certain Muslims groups that ought to be wiped off the face of the earth. Maybe you need to go to decaf.


45 posted on 12/23/2005 6:43:06 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: rcocean

You said: Frankly, I disagree.

It seems to be a nice compromise. And its probably better than providing them with no religion at all.
***

Sorry, I disagree. Your suggestion may work while the children are very young, but when one begins to actually learn about the tenets of one's faith, choices have to be made. I am Christian, so my views are slanted that way, but it seems to me that Christianity is the better choice in this situation, for at least a couple of reasons. First, but least important, is the social factor that Christianity is the majority religion in this country. That may help with some potential acceptance issues dealing with parents of different faiths. Second, Christianity is not, or at least should not be, antagonistic towards Judaism. The central figures of the Christian faith were Jews. Jewish traditions are not necessarily inconsistent with Christian beliefs. Celebrating Passover by a Christian isn't inconsistent with Christian beliefs, while celebrating Christmas as the birth of the Messiah doesn't comport with Jewish beliefs. Christians believe the Messiah has come, Jews are still waiting. And there are Messianic Jews, aren't there, who believe Christ IS the Messiah?

Anyway, sorry to disagree with your view on this.


46 posted on 12/23/2005 6:43:46 AM PST by NCLaw441
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To: bonfire

To be honest, this article touched off a nerve on a personal situation I have on my hands. It has brought out many ugly things in those around me who sadly are the closest.

Those closest to us often do the most damage and can be the most hurtful. It is very sad when people treat their pets better than even their own family and friends.


47 posted on 12/23/2005 6:43:55 AM PST by chris1
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To: JamesP81

I've never once known a Christian who had anything bad to say about Jews. All the anti-semitic comments I've heard have come from folks that were distinctly non-Christian.


48 posted on 12/23/2005 6:45:06 AM PST by Junior_G
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To: rcocean
I think Judaism and Christianity are NOT mutually exclusive but share a lot of teachings in common.

You're making the mistake of confusing moral teachings with religious doctrine. Religious doctrine often serves as the foundation of moral teachings, but commonality of moral codes of conduct is not an indication of a common religious basis. Most of the moral teachings of Judaism and Christianity can be found in almost any culture in the world -- even secular ones.

I'm interested as to why you think Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, other than of course the obvious, i.e. the divinity of Jesus Christ.

I'm confused as to why you insist on diminishing the most obvious difference between the two. That's the whole point . . . it's the most obvious because it's the one that makes them mutually exclusive. A child who is raised in a mixed Christian/Jewish household can't possibly develop even a cursory understanding of who Jesus Christ was without completely alienating himself from one of his parents.

49 posted on 12/23/2005 6:45:24 AM PST by Alberta's Child (What it all boils down to is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.)
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To: chris1

Hang in there, Chris. Keep looking UP!


50 posted on 12/23/2005 6:47:09 AM PST by bonfire (dwindler)
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