I have just finished listening to an old episode of my favourite podcast, Unbelievable? With Justin Brierley. The episode was between a Jewish Rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, and a Messianic Jew, Michael Brown.
Listening to this podcast that was originally recorded in 2008, I must say, I was blown away by Shmuley Boteach. Listening to him talk about Christianity, one could easily make the mistake thinking he is a militant atheist! The two points that disgusted him (even though he apparently thinks highly of Christianity) were the atonement of Jesus and the aspect of hell. He couldn’t understand how someone could call a God loving if he chose to slaughter his own son,etc. I bet if Mr. Boteach read a book an atheism (for example, Chris Hitchens’ book), he would agree with a lot in it.
One thing, though, that always fascinated me about modern Judaism is that they firmly believe that there is no one way to God. In fact, the Jewish Rabbis I have heard of seem to take quite an offence to Christianity claiming we have “the only truth.”
A question that I struggle with on this topic of Modern Judaism and Modern Christianity is this: if the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity are the same (in theory), how can we show our Jewish brothers and sisters the way of Jesus? They don’t believe they need anything more because they follow the God of Judaism. The way Mr. Boteach characterized Judaism, it sounded more like a moral convenience than an actual religion. He says he doesn’t care about a heaven or anything, except living in peace and as a good steward on this earth. That’s great and all, but that is not how I see Judaism as portrayed in the Old Testament Scriptures, especially in Moses’ five books.
I really am quite ignorant when it comes to modern Judaism and its relationship with us Christians today, but Mr. Boteach sounded much more secular than religious. I would love feedback after on what your thoughts are after listening to the podcast. I would like to hear more thoughts on this intersection between Modern Judaism and us as Christians.