If Blood Could Talk

(Article originally published in 2023)

In 1983 I was all in with the Messianic Jewish movement. This was a very personal journey. I never bought into the idea that I, as a Christian, needed to convert Jews to Christianity. Just the opposite was the case. I wanted to be closer to Jews so I could learn from them.

I took a trip to Israel as part of that personal journey. There were random leaflets posted on lamps and poles near the Temple Mount. Written in English, they said “Warning, the New Testament refers to rabbis and Jewish religious teachers as hypocrites and whitewashed tombs”.

I recognized the scripture they were quoting. I knew the quote was accurate. But I was convinced it did not mean modern rabbis who sincerely follow their convictions. This was a reference to insincere religious leaders. On the other hand, I instantly realized this was a reaction to the proselytization efforts of Messianic Jews. I wanted to tell them I did not want to change them – only to learn from them.

That was the first time I felt strange about identifying with the Messianic Jewish movement. A few days later it got worse.

In the old part of Jerusalem is a holocaust museum known as the “Chamber of the Holocaust”. After touring the horrendous exhibits, relics of disgusting unimaginable cruelty at the hands of the Nazis, I entered the adjacent section which consisted primarily of documentation. This was not documentation from the nazis in World War II.

These were contemporary documents. Page after page of modern, recent documents spouting the same antisemitic sewage that the Nazis were publishing before. But these were not my grandparent’s nazis. There were written and proudly signed by Christians. Most of them identified as “Reverend” so and so.

I struggled to remember any of the Christian leaders I had known over the years who had condemned the Church’s role in the holocaust. I knew there were good Christians who sacrificed their own lives to save Jews in the second world war. But these were good people who happened to be Christians. In many cases, they were going against their own Church leaders.

I had heard sermons about how bad the nazis were. But absent from those sermons was condemnation of the Church leaders who actively supported the Nazi movement. Nor have I ever heard anyone from the pulpit condemn the silent complicity of Church leaders who looked the other way while human beings were being tortured and murdered all around them.

I have never heard a sermon about the role of the Church in the promotion of antisemitism. The Church has never owned its guilt from the bullshit stories in the gospels that falsely claim, “all of the people” were screaming “his blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). Every subsequent generation of Jewish people have come into the world with this stupid lie hanging over their heads.

This false and hateful portrayal of an imaginary mob trying to persuade the reluctant Roman, Pilate to crucify Jesus, is only one of many examples of the hateful depiction of Jesus’ own people in the New Testament.

Through the years, the Church did its part to nurture antisemitism from the hateful remarks of the “great reformers” such as Martin Luther, to the quotations from the New Testament and from these Church fathers that were cited by Nazis to justify their actions.

These things were racing through my mind as I came out of the last exhibit area and into the gift shop in front of the exit. It was at that moment that I experienced something I never saw coming. This was the first time in my life I felt a sense of shame for my beliefs. I knew the lady at the gift shop was Jewish. I could not look her in the eye. I knew she saw me as a Christian.

That identification took me out of the group in the human race that includes Jews. It put me in the group with a two-thousand-year record of hating Jews. I was ashamed and embarrassed to be seen as a representative of that group. To this day, I regret that I ever did identify with them.

Do You Believe in Magic

Humans think in stories. Whenever we see or learn something new, we try to sort it into one of our existing stories. That is easy. The hard, unnatural seeming thing is to change the baseline story. For most people, changing a fundamental story is too difficult, too much work, and offers little reward.

Religion is always dependent on some fundamental story. Most of us never replace the stories that were passed down to us from our parents. I suspect that very few would ever second-guess the story they inherited without some emotional trauma or dissatisfaction with the status quo.

While I definitely had emotional trauma and dissatisfaction in my life, I want to think I would have been a seeker anyway. My path from Pentecostal non-denominational Christian to Messianic Jewish Christian, to Conservative Jew, and finally to agnostic atheist has been bumpy – but very interesting.

As a child, or a hurting adult, coping with life can instill a need to believe in magic. Looking back, most of my path was haunted by that need. Having been deeply involved in three different flavors of religion, I understand them as various combinations of magic, philosophy, and emotional distress.

The recipe changes depending on which set of stories drive things. For those not born into it, Pentecostalism almost exclusively attracts people who are suffering from some form of intense emotional distress. In my early years I noticed that people who migrated into the Pentecostal movement were almost always hurting. They suffered from alcohol or drug addiction, or from serious medical conditions for which magic seemed to be the last and only hope.

The transition from Pentecostalism to the Messianic Jewish perspective was not a big leap. Non-denominational Pentecostalism has less of a centrally controlled set of doctrines than most Christian groups.

Because the acceptable beliefs are already varied, I only had to abandon one Christian idea to move from Pentecostalism to Messianic Judaism. I already believed Jesus was not the same entity as his “Heavenly Father” to whom he prayed from time to time according to the New Testament. Letting go of the concept that he was also “God” made better sense to me. He was only portrayed as equal to “God” in the fourth gospel. He was never portrayed that way in the earlier synoptic gospels.

Because my studies had not yet brought me to the realization that the purported “messianic prophecies” were not fulfilled by Jesus, dropping the idea that he was “God” while accepting the story that he was the Jewish Messiah seemed more like a stage in my growth than a change in religion.

Eventually, after more years of studying these prophecies in Hebrew, I finally concluded that Jesus had in fact, not fulfilled these prophecies. But I still believed the Jewish scriptures were God’s word. The natural progression then, was to convert to Judaism.

It took about five more years to realize that the Jewish scriptures were not written by God. They were smudged with the same human fingerprints I had previously found all over the New Testament. My acceptance of all these beliefs had depended on the “Bible” as a product of divine inspiration. If there was no divinely inspired book, there was no evidence of communication from a supernatural deity.

For a more in-depth study of the historical context, check out my latest book, Revelation and the AntiChrist, now available at Amazon.

Meanwhile, click here to get a copy of The Second Crucifixion of Jesus. It contains a treasure trove of evidence and sources that you can use in your own quest to learn more about this subject.

As always, my goal is to introduce you to things you are not likely to find in other places. Watch this space for future updates.

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