Patterico's Pontifications

12/16/2010

“Oven Dodgers”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:24 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

A recent GQ interview with Winona Ryder reveals this disheartening tidbit about Mel Gibson:

“I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who’s gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!”

Now, Winona Ryder is not the best character reference, but it is getting hard to escape the conclusion that Mel Gibson is an all around bigot.  Which is a depressing thing.

I mean I can’t suddenly decide that Braveheart is a bad movie, even though obviously that colors how we look at the treatment of the gay prince.  Even now, it really isn’t a simple or even obviously anti-gay portrayal.  Yes, he is portrayed as a gay wimp, but there was genuine sympathy in that depiction  For instance, there is a scene when Edward the Longshanks throws the prince’s lover out a window.  The prince then tries to attack his father, only to be beaten.  The prince’s impotent anger, crying and humiliated, was a sympathetic moment in my mind.  I didn’t get the sense that Gibson, the director, enjoyed that humiliation.

And I have seen The Passion of the Christ several times, and I cannot see any clear anti-Semitism in it.  For me, I saw a movie that if anything portrayed Jews very well.  Jesus was portrayed not as your typical blond-haired, Aryan dude, but as someone looking Semitic, and being Jewish in culture.  (Some would say Christ was a Jew.  I would say he was as much a Jew as any Christian is—and in truth I think you could say that Christians are Jews, who just happen to have this additional belief that Jesus was the Messiah.)  And the only person ever identified as a Jew by name was Simon of Cyrene, who is given a very positive portrayal.  I never saw the supposed “hook nosed” Jews that some people claimed in that movie.  And indeed, if anyone was stereotyped, it was the Romans, known to us today as the Italians.  And more importantly, Jesus is seen forgiving his tormenters; are we supposed to do less?

I even thought, at the time, that Gibson had a profound answer the question.  He said we killed Christ.  Christ had to die for our sins, so it was us, our behavior, that made that death necessary.  That is a deep thought, a real insight, even if the person delivering it is profoundly flawed.

But as for anti-Semitism…  Perhaps there is a line in Aramaic that is untranslated that says, “damn the Jews” or maybe one of the prior drafts of the screenplay contains that line.  Or maybe the answer is something a little subtler.

You see I do believe that people who were Jewish killed my savior.  It’s in the Bible, and you are never going to convince me that this wasn’t true.  But it doesn’t lead me to hate Jews.  Why?  Because we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves only.  Some Jews back about two thousand years ago acted in a vile manner that probably doomed their immortal souls.  But the other Jews alive at the time, who had no part in it, did nothing wrong and bear no blame.  And as for their children…  it is wrong to blame children for the actions of their parents, or ancestors.  You are not your father, or your mother.  You are you and you are responsible for you, and for no one else.

(Indeed, that concept is written into the Constitution itself.  In the treason clause it states that there shall be no corruption of the blood.  That is a reference to the doctrine of holding the family of a traitor responsible for treason—one that was specifically denounced in the American Constitution, for what was considered the worst crime one could commit.)

So okay, that is how I think.  And that is why my belief that people who were Jewish killed my savior doesn’t result in me hating all Jews.

But what if you don’t think that way?  Imagine if you were an anti-Semite, who blamed all Jews for the actions of a few.  Then in your mind all you have to do is show some Jews participating in the murder of Christ to indict all of them.  And maybe that explains it.

But barring some stunning rebuttal, it’s pretty clear that Gibson has a problem with bigotry.  Which leaves me profoundly disappointed.  Mel, I thought you were a better person than that, and I am sad to discover you are not.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

112 Comments

  1. I used to enjoy Gibson and Winona’s work. Now, not so much.

    Comment by JD (96d86a) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:38 pm

  2. My aunt converted to Judaism before she got married. At the end of the wedding-in deference to my family-they stomped on a beer can.

    If anyone bears watching its those bloody Catholics. They did more to bring ill repute onto Christianity than anyone. Well, them and the Mormons.

    Comment by Pinandpuller (ac62c3) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:40 pm

  3. He always played dark tormented characters – now we know it wasn’t acting

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (25498d) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:41 pm

  4. This still doesn’t explain why Winona Rider stole those clothes. She should have been able to get at least 75% off in the first place.

    Comment by Pinandpuller (ac62c3) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:43 pm

  5. That the Jews demanded the Romans kill Christ is an excuse for anti-Semitism, not a reason.

    Comment by Richard Aubrery (59fa91) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:48 pm

  6. He always played dark tormented characters – now we know it wasn’t acting

    Comment by EricPWJohnson —

    Yes, this.

    Just as Tom Cruise is most effective when he plays someone who is kinda crazy, but very intense. Like that Knight and Day movie. Mel Gibson is a tortured soul who thinks of himself as righteous, and that’s why he portrays Riggs or that Patriot so effectively.

    Like JD, this crap has made it harder to enjoy his great work. Mel’s a fruit loop and a jerk, instead of a badass hero.

    I try to say this is no different than other losers who portray completely different identities, but I just can’t do it very. Jane Fonda movies are at one end (I will get pissed off if someone argues with me to watch one), and Mel’s somewhere in the middle.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:51 pm

  7. Pinandpuller

    bloody catholics? Mormons?

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (25498d) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:51 pm

  8. I guess I’ll never understand antisemitism, maybe I just don’t want to, the Jews were a vehicle for the
    fullfillment of Jesus’s message

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:51 pm

  9. I am one of the 8 people watching Olbermann.

    Comment by JD (96d86a) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:52 pm

  10. Am I the only one who would pay for MSNBC, but with JD’s comments in place of the normal news crawl at the bottom of the screen? He’s just practicing here for the big leagues.

    Comcast could have a real hit on their hands.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/16/2010 @ 5:58 pm

  11. and in truth I think you could say that Christians are Jews, who just happen to have this additional belief that Jesus was the Messiah.

    Allow me to dissent from that, for a reason that I think goes to the core of the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

    As I understand it, Jesus Christ is, for Christians, the fully realized revelation of God to humanity: mankind knows God through Christ, and all other revelations are adjuncts to Christ.

    (If I’m misstated something there, please let me know! Just think of me as doing my part to help this blog keep Christ in Christmas :) )

    For Jews, the fully realized revelation of God to humanity is the Torah, and mankind knows God through the Torah, and all the rest is adjunct to that.

    Logically, the “fully realized revelation,etc.” can be one thing or the other, but not both. It can be Christ, or it can be the Torah, but it can’t be both at the same time. A is A, as Saint Ayn was wont to utter, so it can’t be A and B at the same time.

    If you think that revelation is Christ, you’re a Christian. If you think it’s the Torah, you’re a Jew. If you think it’s both, you’re–confused.

    There are of course other differences, but if you sit down and analyze them they all flow from that primary difference: Jews look into the Torah and perceive one set of answers; Christians look at Christ and find another set.

    Comment by kishnevi (fb9343) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:02 pm

  12. I’m with narciso.

    I think Kishnevi’s comments are interesting, but I hesitate to define any of these things. There are so, so many different Christian ideas, and I think it’s quite personal.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:05 pm

  13. Richard

    well, maybe the real thing is that the death of christ was like a catalyst. but those who hate jews had some other character flaw that made it possible to have that catalytic reaction.

    Or maybe i am shoving too much logic into an irrational p.o.v.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (b8e056) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:08 pm

  14. “The final version of Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ now in theaters repeats all of the stereotypes and images surrounding the death of Jesus that have generated anti-Semitism for 2,000 years.

    Translated into plain English: the movie includes all the elements of the Gospel narrative which were used as an excuse for anti-Jewish bigotry by Christians for most of the last 2000 years. (Refer back to Aaron’s next to last paragraph and comment 5 for clarification is that sounds too harsh.)

    Not ever having seen the film, I can’t say if it deserves the charge of being anti-Semitic.

    Comment by kishnevi (fb9343) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:09 pm

  15. Not if properly understood, Jesus is about sacrifice, pure selflessness for the sake of our sins, a message that has been misunderstood for the better part of two millenia.

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:14 pm

  16. Again, I’m just going to cosign Narciso’s #15.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:17 pm

  17. Guys,

    I am asking you not to deal with or especially agitate william for a while. His conduct has reached a special category of inappropriateness.

    As a result I will put into the “penalty box” any comments responding to him, too.

    Don’t talk to him, don’t talk about him, pretend he is not here.

    And of course if you think I am going wrong on this, bring it up with Patterico. I am not deleting the comments, i am just putting them in the “penalty box” specifically so Patterico can overrule me if I go further than he would like.

    I can’t explain in detail what is going on, but his misconduct has reached a very serious stage, above and beyond any mere disagreement on viewpoints.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (b8e056) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:35 pm

  18. Roger that.

    Dustin – some evening I will do 2 straight hours of that, Olbergasm and MadCow.

    Comment by JD (07faa1) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:41 pm

  19. 1995-1996, not exactly the time of Ryder’s bost judicious decisions, from her IMDB, then again, GQ has a certain habit of trawling in garbage, certain
    examples come to mind

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:44 pm

  20. I thought the Romans who killed Jesus. That’s what it says in the book.

    I tried watching Gibson’s Passion. I got the message — Christ suffered. But that didn’t mean I had to, so I never finished the movie.

    Comment by Tully (62151d) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:53 pm

  21. I think another possibility on Gibson’s anti-gay, antisemitic nature is the evil of alcohol.
    Some people just cannot tolerate alcohol, to the point of it causing them to become boorish, mean, downright evil S.O.B.’s. I have known several people who are afflicted with this curse, and most of them were also alcoholics.

    The best thing to do is to counsel these people to abandon alcohol, and if they don’t, avoid them at all cost.

    Not an excuse, but alcohol actually modifies the way your brain works, and some people are very, very badly affected.

    Comment by nbindo (8b5ad5) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:56 pm

  22. some evening I will do 2 straight hours of that, Olbergasm and MadCow

    Masochist!

    Comment by kishnevi (fb9343) — 12/16/2010 @ 6:57 pm

  23. Not an excuse, but alcohol actually modifies the way your brain works, and some people are very, very badly affected.

    Comment by nbindo

    My completely anecdotal view is that alcohol reduces your inhibitions. Your character when you drink is already inside your psyche when you don’t, but often under control. The only couple of times I’ve drank to excess I wound up being way too generous and cracking dumber jokes, and rambling even more than normal. That’s what’s inside.

    People who beat their wives when they are drunk, or get really sad, or try to sleep with their associates… they had that in there before they drank. Are there people who actually get rewired enough by booze that they do things that weren’t there to begin with? Hey… it’s a big world out there, so probably occasionally this is true.

    It’s not my place to judge, but I think Mel just has this in his head, and usually has the sense to keep his mouth shut about it.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/16/2010 @ 7:04 pm

  24. you’d kinda think Winona would know better than to kick people when they’re down

    I still love her more than beans but still

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 12/16/2010 @ 7:14 pm

  25. This bit was better;

    * Yes, Wes Anderson shot The Royal Tenenbaums before her arrest. But let’s say, in this parallel universe, Winona doesn’t drop out of Godfather III, which creates a butterfly-effect ripple across the space-time continuum: Sofia Coppola doesn’t replace her, which means Sofia Coppola’s performance isn’t eviscerated by the press, which means she continues to act instead of pursuing a career behind the camera, and the adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel The Virgin Suicides falls to a fresh-off-Rushmore Wes Anderson, delaying Tenenbaums by two years. Winona plays Margot, obviously.

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/16/2010 @ 7:19 pm

  26. in truth I think you could say that Christians are Jews, who just happen to have this additional belief that Jesus was the Messiah

    That would be a very inaccurate statement. There are many differences between Judaism and Christianity that go far beyond the question of Jesus’ messianic candidacy. These include…

    * the nature of God
    * the nature of man
    * the nature of the Messiah
    * the nature of Satan and the angels
    * sin and atonement
    * the Mosaic covenant
    * the canon of the Bible

    With all due respect, to believe that Christianity is just Judaism + Jesus or that Judaism is Christianity without Christ shows an ignorance of Judaism.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/16/2010 @ 8:21 pm

  27. Alcohol use can bring up repressed memory and expose current biases.

    Maybe when Mel is drunk he parrots the nonsense he heard all his life from his dad… or maybe Mel believes it and he has adopted it as his own within his hidden, private mind.

    My dad often referred to catholics in a derogatory way, which I found a lot out of character… Later in life, I found out that in his hardscrabble, depression era Michigan factory town life, that there was huge competition for jobs between immigrants and often religion was a factor in hiring. My dad never drank a drop because alcholism runs in the genes, but I can only imagine what would have burst out if he’d have gotten hammered every month.

    Every once in a while a voice in my head says something I heard my dad say… I’m reading the paper, it mentions catholics… and boom… my dad’s picture shows up in my head and his voice is saying some nonsense… my uncle’s voice shows up with blacks (whom he despised, he felt they wrecked his neighborhood in Flint, MI)
    It’s not who I am, but every once in a while I hear an internal thing and go “whoa” I can only imagine what alcohol would do in that instant..
    Luckily I’m old, and haven’t dished the family secrets on race and religion while blitzed and on the record… yet.

    Comment by SteveG (cc5dc9) — 12/16/2010 @ 9:12 pm

  28. Oh… I am pretty sure my uncle’s beef with blacks is well founded in one sense… his neighborhood, which was once a well kept, thriving, blue collar, white, middle class gem is full now of abandoned homes and the crack and meth addled.
    90% black in a town run by black fools.
    He can’t see the forest for the trees… he doesn’t really dislike ALL blacks… just the scum that have taken over the neighborhood that he proudly retired into.
    He’s living out Gran Torino

    Comment by SteveG (cc5dc9) — 12/16/2010 @ 9:21 pm

  29. I have a tendency to accept 15 year old allegations from someone who actually committed a crime not so long ago, and who as the piece shows, hasn’t had that spectacular a career, as compared to the promise she showed in Heathers, which was Mean Girls 1.0.

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/16/2010 @ 9:22 pm

  30. imdw would probably get along well with Mel Gibson.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/16/2010 @ 9:58 pm

  31. If you read the Gospels, Christ taught love, patience and tolerance for the greater glory of God. Earthly actions can be forgiven, but not necessarily condoned, and the ultimate judgment is not ours.

    I don’t know the heart of Mel Gibson, and, for that matter, any other person in this world.

    Just saying in the spirit of the season.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let’s all hope for a joyous New Year.

    Comment by Ag80 (3d224f) — 12/16/2010 @ 10:06 pm

  32. There should be no place for bigotry of any kind. But of course, what do you expect from an Australian? They’re all children of criminals. Damn Australians.

    Comment by ID (3e1a46) — 12/16/2010 @ 10:33 pm

  33. I guess it was the recent GQ article that brought this up. Not my blog, but I’m not sure what is the benefit of more discussion on this.

    I doubt that there are many people who act out all of the thoughts in their minds and the desire in their hearts. This is because we know there are things which are wrong that pass through us. Sometimes we may contemplate them with longing desire, sometimes we almost physically jump in revulsion to get away from it. To hold the demons at bay and allow them to escape only under the influence of alcohol I don’t think condemns someone as an evil hypocrite or anti-semite as much as it is simply the reality of a heart and mind that can want to do good and at the same time is not free from evil.

    I believe I understand your point, Aaron, when you state, “I think you could say that Christians are Jews, who just happen to have this additional belief that Jesus was the Messiah“, but that is a lot to ask someone to digest.

    In one way it is not true, as the history of the Church as decribed in Acts has an explicit account of this issue. While all of the Apostles were of Jewish heritage, and they would have considered believing in Jesus as Messiah an extension/a clarified revelation of God’s Truth as first revealed in the Law and the Prophets, it was decided that Gentiles did not need to first become Jewish in order to be followers of Jesus.

    I think it would be truer (?) to say that a person of Jewish background who comes to believe that Jesus is the Messiah may still claim to be a Jew, though he/she would find ample debate on the subject from those who don’t believe Jesus was/is Messiah. (I believe I’ne heard such terms as “Messianic Jew” or “Completed Jew”- though by implication that would say that those who don’t believe Jesus was/is the Messiah are “incomplete” Jews, which I imagine is not a concept that most would appreciate.)

    The teaching of the New Testament, the vast majority written by men who would have called themselves Jews, is that Jesus was/is, as kishnevi puts it, the fully realized revelation of God to humanity . Jesus said in many different ways that the Law and the Prophets pointed to Him, that He was the fulfillment of God’s revelation to man. God had revealed Himself to Abraham, but gave further revelation through Moses and then the Prophets. The vast majority of the Jewish religious leaders and teachers would have said that was all of God’s revelation, (presumably except God’s revelation in the coming of the Messiah). This is why they had such a problem with Jesus. He claimed things that were blasphemous unless He was Messiah, and even then, there was the huge problem of His identifying Himself as being of the same nature as God the Father, which at first seems to be in conflict with the monotheistic nature of God, “even if” He was the Messiah.

    Aunursa believes, “There are many differences between Judaism and Christianity that go far beyond the question of Jesus’ messianic candidacy”. I guess I would propose that any perceived conflicts between Judaism and Christianity are caught up with the question of Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah. For example, you state there is a difference in the understanding of sin and atonement. This is true, but the difference is directly involved in Jesus’ claims as Messiah.

    And no, “the Jews” were not responsible for Jesus’ death any more than I am.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/16/2010 @ 11:33 pm

  34. ______________________________________

    And he was really drunk

    I suspect Gibson has his fair share of inner demons. And they can be labeled external ones, too, if he also has a history of being stone-cold sober and spouting off things similar to what he said to Ryder. But the full context of this one instance is his being “really drunk.”

    The essence of bigotry is when a person nonchalantly and casually says something that’s full of bile and pettiness. And when he or she says such things in an otherwise friendly, around-the-water-cooler setting. But when such a person is at a party, so drunk he’ll do any number of things he’d never do when fully alert?

    One could say that a guy must love homely women because he on occasion, when totally drunk, will go to bed with so-called brown baggers.

    Comment by Mark (3e3a7c) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:13 am

  35. you got all that on the word of Winona Ryder?

    Comment by Jones (72b0ed) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:44 am

  36. “There are many differences between Judaism and Christianity…”

    Personally, I think that’s a bunch of hogwash.

    If you keep and guard the Law, you’re a Jew. If you don’t, you’re not.

    As if you, or I, or anyone else had clue one what the nature of God is (and, as if it made any difference what our opinion is). When the priests and pastors and rabbis start bloviating on about that and all the other arcane baloney they like to fight and argue about (or burn each other at the stake when they’re in a really contentious mood)…my tired old eyes start to glaze over.

    Comment by Dave Surls (aa1816) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:26 am

  37. The only thing Mel Gibson does is he gets drunk and starts acting like an ass. That’s pretty much the extent of his crimes against humanity (except for one DUI, which is fairly serious, because someone can really get hurt if you smash into them with car…obviously).

    He gets hammered and can’t control his mouth. Easy to fix. He just needs to quit drinking.

    I have exactly the same problem. Mouth gets out of control when massize doses of vodka hit brain. I quit getting hammered at parties (which is the only time I ever drink). Problem solved.

    As for people’s injured feelings over Gibson’s rantings. Grow up. If I started freaking out everytime my right wing buds on the internet slammed on hippies (of which I’m one), I’d spend all my time sobbing and crying and whining that no one likes me because I’m a hippie, and the world is a horrible place, and I’m going to eat worms and die. Boo hoo, poor little me.

    Boring.

    Comment by Dave Surls (aa1816) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:57 am

  38. Some would say Christ was a Jew.

    Well, yes, of course he was.

    I would say he was as much a Jew as any Christian is—and in truth I think you could say that Christians are Jews, who just happen to have this additional belief that Jesus was the Messiah.

    Um, no. If your mother was not a Jew, and you weren’t converted by a duly authorised court, you’re not a Jew no matter what you believe. It’s like US citizenship; you don’t become a USAn by memorising the constitution and the Federalist Papers; you do it by being born in the USA or to an USAn parent, or by being naturalised by someone legally authorised to do so.

    On another level, no again: if you’re male and not circumcised, and you’re not at least trying to keep all 613 commandments, you’re not practising Judaism. If you believe those commandments have been abolished, or can ever be abolished, then you’re not believing anything like what Jesus did.

    And no, a Jew who believes Jesus was the messiah, as his disciples did, is not a Christian. Christians don’t just think he was the messiah, they think he was God. To Jews, that’s idolatry. Jesus and his disciples would have been horrified at such a notion.

    And that’s a key difference between Christianity and Judaism: Christians have invested the title “messiah” with all sorts of significance that it just doesn’t have. This addresses MD in Philly’s comment that The vast majority of the Jewish religious leaders and teachers would have said that was all of God’s revelation, (presumably except God’s revelation in the coming of the Messiah). No, there is no presumed exception. The messiah is just a person, not a God. His job is to bring peace and prosperity on earth, not to be a revelation of God. Jesus’ disciples, believing him to be the messiah, expected him to expel the Romans from the Land of Israel, become its king, bring all the overseas Jews back to live under his rule, ensure that they all studied and kept the Law, and inaugurate a permanent global era of peace and prosperity. And then to reign to a ripe old age and die, leaving his throne to his son, who would continue in his ways, and so down the generations until the eventual Day of Judgment. That’s all. No magic, no new revelation, no change in the Law, and certainly no “son of God”, except in the same sense that we’re all God’s children. And that’s what Jews are still waiting for.

    Now if someone were to tell you that he thinks that’s what Jesus was, a normal person who will one day rise from the dead to become a good king until he dies again, would you call him a Christian? Not by any definition I’ve ever seen.

    Comment by Milhouse (ea66e3) — 12/17/2010 @ 2:28 am

  39. #38

    Thanks.

    That’s a perfect example of what I mean when I use the term “arcane baloney”.

    Comment by Dave Surls (aa1816) — 12/17/2010 @ 2:44 am

  40. On another level, no again: if you’re male and not circumcised, and you’re not at least trying to keep all 613 commandments, you’re not practising Judaism.

    WRONG.

    You don’t get to say what Judaism is. You, nor anyone else, is an authority on that. No more than a Southern Baptist can say a Mormon or a Catholic is not Christian.

    The very most you can say is that some people do not live up to your preference for Judiasm. That’s it.

    Um, no. If your mother was not a Jew, and you weren’t converted by a duly authorised court, you’re not a Jew no matter what you believe.

    Absolutely wrong.

    You completely miss Aaron’s point. He wasn’t arguing that Christians are recognized as followed of Judaism by the conventions you’re talking about. That’s just obvious, anyway.

    He was explaining something more profound and interesting. The truth is that Christians are following the Torah, and when they believe that the messiah is Jesus, they are believing it is the messiah from the old testament, sent by the God of David and Abraham.

    It is an interesting thing the way some of mankind took the ideas of the old testament in a new direction, applied new revelations they believed, and now are this mass of different versions of Christianity.

    It’s pretty lame to dismiss that as ‘magic’. OK… we get it… you reject Christianity. You’re totally entitled to do that. But if Aaron thinks of himself as both a Christian and a Jew, that is completely his prerogative. It’s quite rational for him to do that.

    You say it’s not the messiah’s job to bring a revelation. How can you be so sure? So sure that someone who disagrees is automatically not compatible with Judaism?

    You can’t. You just made that up.

    Now if someone were to tell you that he thinks that’s what Jesus was, a normal person who will one day rise from the dead to become a good king until he dies again, would you call him a Christian? Not by any definition I’ve ever seen.

    If he’s a religious follower of Christ, then obviously he is a Christian. He may be some peculiar follower whose views are not in line with anyone else’s, but oh well. You don’t get to decide. It’s true that large numbers if Christians say other Christians are not Christian, and this is nonsense.

    If you believe those commandments have been abolished, or can ever be abolished, then you’re not believing anything like what Jesus did.

    Did you personally meet the guy? Did he tell you this? Why couldn’t a god abolish a commandment if he wanted to? It’s logically possible for rules to be correct at one time, and not correct at another, after all.

    It sounds like you’re attempting to say something critical about the New Testament, while also insisting your particular version of the Jewish Tradition is the only legitimate one.

    That’s simply an opinion, not a fact. So don’t pretend otherwise, because that’s just self gratification, and it really misses Aaron’s more interesting point entirely, rather than intelligently considering it on any level.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 3:10 am

  41. I separate the actor from the person. For example, Jane Fonda was in Hanoi on a 37MM gun while I was at DaNang, flying F4Es, yet I enjoyed her performance in Klute immensely. Of course she was playing a whore being stalked by a psychopathic killer. Perhaps the separation is not so great in her case.

    Mel Gibson also does well when he’s playing himself such as The Year of Living Dangerously, Air America or Die Hard. However, his pseudo historical films, Braveheart and The Patriot, quickly run afoul of the facts.

    In Braveheart, how can you fight the Battle of Stirling Bridge in a field without river or a bridge? Also, Longshanks wasn’t that bad a guy and the French princess would have been about six when William Wallace died.

    As for The Patriot, the most interesting character was Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, the Green Dragoon, who wasn’t really killed at Cowpens in 1781. He commanded the British at Glouster Point, across the river from Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. The custom was after a surrender, to invite adversary officers to the dine in the mess. The Americans did not ask Tarleton to join them. He asked if it had been an oversight. They told him it was not.

    On a bet, Tarleton seduced a famous British actress, Mary Robinson, and they stayed a couple for 15 years. He was elected to Parliament from Liverpool in 1790 but remained in the military. General Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, Order of the Bath, died in 1833.

    Comment by Arch (24f4f2) — 12/17/2010 @ 3:39 am

  42. Die Hard was Bruce Willis.

    Comment by Kfap (e7577d) — 12/17/2010 @ 3:52 am

  43. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not attempting to tell anyone what they believe, or who they agree with in those beliefs.

    That would be dumb.

    It’s the case that a set of beliefs, from Job through Moses onward to Rev Wright or Mother Teresa or Orthodox Jews, have been branches off from a common root.

    It’s good to look at that common root, and I think a lot of Christians are justified in viewing their faith as the current edition of the conversation between man and God that started in the Torah. They have the same relationship with those books and ancient believers that modern Jews have. There is no logical distinction, just because some think Jesus was the son of God and the answer to some predictions, and other think otherwise.

    As to whether any of these many commandments can be ‘abolished’ and someone be a legitimate followed of this tradition (a Jewish tradition, of course), I think reasonable people have different opinions.

    Mine is that God didn’t give the Ten Commandments to Adam… he gave them to Moses much later. A lot of people would say this was part of the plan, or people had to be ready. The same sort of explanation should be equally satisfactory for any other course changes.

    I’m not telling anyone else what to believe, but if Aaron considers his views to be an addition to the Jewish tradition, I think that’s pretty reasonable.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 3:59 am

  44. I separate the actor from the person.

    That’s healthy, Arch. With a few of Gibson’s movies, I enjoy them and like to do that too.

    With some actors, I’m just not as healthy as you are (seriously).

    Thanks for the interesting history lesson, btw.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 4:01 am

  45. Milhouse-

    I was using the word “revelation” broadly. If the Messiah came just as you describe, and he was sent by God, would that not be the revealing of God’s intent towards man? I did not mean that the Messiah would necessarily bring any “new” truth. If the Messiah came and established peace in Israel would that not be considered a miracle, a work of God? And in that sense a revealing of God’s interaction with man? That is what I meant. I see the question as to what that further revelation included to be a separate point. There I agree with you, that the message that came with Jesus was the idea that a mere man could not fulfill all of the promises made in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah.

    I used the word “presumedly” to indicate my limited understanding, especially in regard to what the Jews at the time might or might not have expected in terms of the coming of future prophets.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/17/2010 @ 4:55 am

  46. Kfap-

    You’re right; it was Bruce, not Mel. I was thinking about Lethal Weapon. As the children say, “My Bad!”

    It brings to mind three other excellent Mel Gibson films – We Were Soldier, Gallipoli and The Lighthorsemen. Gibson played Hal Moore in We Were Soldiers detailing the battle of the Ia Drang Valley. Like Gallipoli, The Lighthorsemen was another excellent Australian film about British misuse of colonial troops in WWI. The Brits sent Australian mounted infantry to Beersheba (in the Negev) without enough water to make the return trip.

    And, who could forget Chicken Run!

    Comment by Arch (24f4f2) — 12/17/2010 @ 5:49 am

  47. Arch does raise a valid point. The history in his movies are often pretty lame.

    Braveheart is a fictional movie about a real guy. we know virtually nothing about the real wallace, and almost every detail we did know was discarded. for instance, take that primus nuptum (sp?) thing. Yes that really existed. The pro-English excuse is to say there was no evidence that anyone actually applied the rule. To which i answer 1) it is an outrage even to assert it and 2) that just means we probably don’t have good reliable reports, but based on my dim view of human nature, it probably did happen. But here’s the thing. The rule was used in a totally different time period.

    And I could go on and on, but it literally starts to ruin the movie. just suffice to say that you don’t cite anything you see in the movie as accurate without getting independent verification. i remember once watching the movie with the commentary on, and within like 10 minutes, i said, “they are ruining the movie by telling me the truth.” So the idea that things like the scottish independence movement being inspired by this movie is just craziness.

    And don’t even get me started with the patriot. i was so looking forward to a mash up of braveheart and the Last of the Mohicans. Instead it was kind of a wash, a very weak movie. And as for history, you know all things being equal, they just shouldn’t have put it in the south, and lord, they should not have done something as lame as saying the hero has fields full of black people, who aren’t slaves, but free. Which was weird-ass crap on so many levels, i don’t know where to begin. And it makes the subplot of the slave fighting literally for his freedom smack of tokenism.

    which is depressing, because i really wish someone would make a revolutionary war movie as good as the classics of other wars.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 12/17/2010 @ 5:54 am

  48. Randall Wallace wrote Braveheart,(also Pearl Harbor) and Robert Rodat, who was part of the “Private Ryan” team, wrote the Patriot, so you can’t blame Mel for that, Mel played Benjamin Martin, the standin for Francis Marion, as a reluctant soldier, in a similar way, that he played Gen Moore, two years later, There has always been anguish, in many of his performances, but don’t blame Mel for things outside his control.

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:03 am

  49. I think Hollywood lefties have enough of their own bigotry problems to be pointing fingers at Mel.

    Comment by SGT Ted (5d10ae) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:15 am

  50. Another bad error in We Were Soldiers. The phrase “broken arrow” doesn’t mean we are being overrun. It means we have just had a nuclear weapons accident.

    Comment by Arch (24f4f2) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:16 am

  51. arch

    i always liked that line in the movie, broken arrow. Here’s a reasonable paraphrase:

    “I don’t know which is more scary. The fact we are missing a nuke, or the fact this happens enough that we have a name for it.”

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:19 am

  52. Relying on Wiki, one sees that this was also a Randall Wallace screenplay, so you can chalk it up to him as well.

    Comment by narciso (6075d0) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:29 am

  53. primus nuptum = primus noctum = “first night”

    Comment by Tully (62151d) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:47 am

  54. As you can probably tell, I’m a collector of war movies. Best one ever? I’d say Stanley Kibrick’s Paths of Glory, starring Kirk Douglas. Worst ever? Pearl Harbor.

    Comment by Arch (24f4f2) — 12/17/2010 @ 6:56 am

  55. Arch

    ugh, hated paths of glory. an indictment of war that is that harsh, cannot be fictional. They have to do something to get the audience to suspend disbelief. I couldn’t, not for one second, so the whole thing fell flat.

    But you are correct that alot went horribly wrong with pearl harbor, especially in the way it missed the entire point.

    but it had its moments. i liked how they made aflack dyslexic, for instance. that was a nice touch. And Cuba Gooding Jr. was excellent. Its just so much else was bad, bad, bad.

    the irony is that there was a history channel documentary called something like unsung heroes of Pearl Harbor, and you realized if they only filed THOSE stories, you would have had a great movie.

    i can’t tell what is best. i am bad at picking a best of anything.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 12/17/2010 @ 7:05 am

  56. MD in Philly: there is a difference in the understanding of sin and atonement. This is true, but the difference is directly involved in Jesus’ claims as Messiah

    Christian theologians cite Leviticus 17:11 to Jews to prove that blood is required for atonement. If Jesus were not the Messiah, would you interpret Lev. 17:11 differently?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 7:59 am

  57. AW, you’re about five year behind most of the rest of us.

    Comment by Kman (d30fc3) — 12/17/2010 @ 8:01 am

  58. Dave Surls: If you keep and guard the Law, you’re a Jew. If you don’t, you’re not.

    I wasn’t talking about who is a Jew. I was talking about what constitutes Judaism. Not all Jews practice Judaism.

    As if you, or I, or anyone else had clue one what the nature of God is

    According to Christian doctrine, God is a compound unity (specifically, a Trinity.) According to Jewish doctrine, God is an absolute unity.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 8:03 am

  59. Karl and AW each have creepy stalker-ish people.

    Comment by JD (913181) — 12/17/2010 @ 8:06 am

  60. Dustin,

    The fact is that many many Evangelical Christians DO SAY that a practicing Mormon or a Catholic is not a Christian. (See these links for just one example: http://carm.org/is-mormonism-christian, http://carm.org/are-roman-catholics-christian) And with all due respect, you’re not in a position to lecture a Jew on what he can or cannot say about Jews and Judaism.

    You say it’s not the messiah’s job to bring a revelation. How can you be so sure?

    Both Jews and Christians agree that the job requirements for the Messiah come from the Hebrew Bible. One can confirm whether revelation is part the Messiah’s job by studying the messianic passages in the Hebrew Bible.

    Why couldn’t [God] abolish a commandment if [H]e wanted to? It’s logically possible for rules to be correct at one time, and not correct at another, after all

    That’s true. However let’s suppose that God declared a certain commandment to be eternal. Would He later abolish that commandment?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 8:35 am

  61. “The Lighthorsemen was another excellent Australian film about British misuse of colonial troops in WWI. The Brits sent Australian mounted infantry to Beersheba (in the Negev) without enough water to make the return trip.”

    - Arch

    Man, I love that movie – I watched it when I was a little kid and loved it, and have been looking for it all over the place for years, and can never find it. What the heck’s the deal? I want to see that movie again… “They’re under the guns.”

    And Chicken Run is awesome, too.

    Comment by Leviticus (30ac20) — 12/17/2010 @ 8:52 am

  62. But of course, what do you expect from an Australian? They’re all children of criminals. Damn Australians.

    Mel isn’t exactly Australian – he’s originally from Peekskill, NY.

    Comment by Blacque Jacques Shellacque (e09322) — 12/17/2010 @ 9:00 am

  63. “he’s originally from Peekskill, NY.”

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque – At least he wasn’t picking his toes in Poughkeepsie.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 9:12 am

  64. aunursa, I think Lev. 17:11 could be left out of the Bible and the case could still be made for the necessity of blood for atonement.

    Not all Jews practice Judaism

    True, which makes it interesting in trying to understand “what makes a Jew a Jew”, as it were. Ok, so your mom is Jewish. Does that mean all Jews claim their lineage back to Sarah? Or where did the qualification of mom being Jewish come from? I’m not trying to be disrespectful or “funny”, I’m really curious. I’ve been under the impression that Jews sometimes discuss among themselves what makes a person Jewish.

    According to Christian doctrine, God is a compound unity (specifically, a Trinity.) According to Jewish doctrine, God is an absolute unity

    Of course this is correct. The question is whether one focuses on the shared beliefs concerning the nature of God, such as being one in essence, the Creator, the final moral authority, worthy of worship and obedience, etc., or focus on the difference in the understanding of what it means to be One God. And yes, I am sure that if Jesus was not believed to be the Messiah and not believed to have taught what is recorded in the NT, “Christianity” would not have a Trinitarian doctrine (of course, there would be no “Christianity”).

    A very brief commentary regarding the Trinity. When I turn on a flashlight I point a beam of light. In some way, I know the light beam is composed of “both” light particles and light waves, but I know that it is not true that if I had some kind of “supermicroscope” I would see little particles and little waves next to each other in the beam of light. I know that what is observable with light leads to the conclusion that it is both particles and waves, but I cannot conceptualize it the way I can conceptualize the difference between a big particle and a small particle. That is a picture of how I view the Trinitarian view of God. In one way I don’t understand it (of course, why should I expect to fully understand God), but I know that it is the best way of explaining what a Christian believes about God.

    FWIW, the New Testament records that the term “Christian” was first applied to the disciples of Jesus in a derisive manner by those who weren’t (whether Jew or Gentile or both I’m not sure).

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/17/2010 @ 9:37 am

  65. I don’t doubt Ms Ryder’s sincerity, or veracity as the story has a certain air of reality, but to wait fifteen years until it was safe to pile on raises some questions about her memory. I mean it’s not like she could use some publicity herself considering her last major role was fatal and she played Spock’s mom.

    Comment by Pat Patterson (56dc55) — 12/17/2010 @ 9:42 am

  66. Not all Christians believe in the Trinity, of course. That emerged centuries after the time of the gospels. I think those who think Jesus is God’s holy son are still Christian.

    I could come up with countless differences from one Jewish sect and another, or one Christian sect and one Jewish sect, or one Christian from another. They are all flowing from the same historical source, and it’s not possible to say which has the proper claim as the most legitimate tributary.

    Also, it would be just as valid for a follower of the Jewish tradition who didn’t think Jesus was the messiah to suppose a trinity for the coming messiah. Obviously such an idea would be unlikely to occur to most people.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 9:53 am

  67. MD in Philly: So then even if Jesus weren’t the Messiah, you would still maintain that blood is necessary for atonement. Which proves my point that the difference regarding atonement is a separate and distinct issue from whether Jesus is the Messiah.

    Regarding Jewish identity through the mother, it is inferred from the Bible, but not stated explicitly. Scroll down to the “Matrilineal Descent” section here: http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm

    Regarding the Trinity: First, the question is not whether Jesus is just the Messiah, but whether Jesus is God. Second, Christians cite such passages as Gen 1:26, Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 110:1 to prove the Trinity from the Hebrew Bible. If Jesus were not the Messiah, would Christians interpret these passages differently?

    Thanks for the flashlight analogy.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:00 am

  68. Dustin,

    Most Christian denominations would dispute the idea that one who denies Jesus’ divinity is a Christian.

    While Jewish denominations have differences, they are pretty consistent regarding the canon of the Bible, and theological issues such as the nature of God, the nature of man, and atonement for sin. Most (but not all) differences involve observance of the Mosaic Law.

    I’m unclear how a follower of Judaism could suppose a Trinity, or a divine Messiah. Can you point me to any (non-Christological) examples in which Jews viewed God as a Triune Deity — or expected that God would be born as the Messiah?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:10 am

  69. Most Christian denominations would dispute the idea that one who denies Jesus’ divinity is a Christian.

    Did you really think someone has to think Jesus is God to think he is divine? I don’t. Greek Orthodox Christians don’t, either.

    And you only think “While Jewish denominations have differences, they are pretty consistent regarding the canon of the Bible, ” because you have unfairly defined legitimate Jewish denominations to exclude Methodists, Baptists, and Catholics.

    I’m unclear how a follower of Judaism could suppose a Trinity, or a divine Messiah. Can you point me to any (non-Christological) examples in which Jews viewed God as a Triune Deity — or expected that God would be born as the Messiah?

    This is beside the point. The trinity came from people who were following Judaism in a direction others don’t recognize as Judaism. They read the Torah in a way others do not. Those who think the messiah was Jesus were referring to the messiah in the old testament, and are therefore followers of the Jewish tradition, and indeed some of them do propose the trinity.

    Personally, all I am saying is that it’s not for anyone to say that these people don’t have equal claim on the Jewish tradition.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:18 am

  70. aunursa – Do you believe that somebody has to participate in organized religion or belong to a specified denomination in order to consider themselves a Christian? Is the totality of an individual’s beliefs which causes him or her to label himself a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or something else, really a matter of what is inside rather than what third parties tell them they must believe?

    Just asking.

    Comment by Willie the Wanker (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:36 am

  71. Ooops

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:38 am

  72. Dustin,

    I don’t. Greek Orthodox Christians don’t, either.

    I stand corrected.

    Seriously, do the Methodist, Baptist, and Catholic denominations identify themselves as legitimate Jewish denominations? I was unaware of such claims.

    Dustin, in order to determine what is a legitimate form of Judaism — whether recognized or unrecognized, I would appreciate it if you would complete this definition: Judaism is…

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:42 am

  73. If Christianity was ice cream, what flavor would it be?

    Comment by aneurysm (e7577d) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:45 am

  74. Willie the Wanker: It’s not for me to define who is a Christian. Generally I defer to recognized religious authorities to determine the requirements for identity within a particular denomination or religion.

    Labels are helpful to classify people by belief. Would it be helpful or not helpful if I were to identify myself as a Messianic Jew — because I am a Jew who believes that the Messiah will come? Would it be helpful even if all others who call themselves “Messianic Jews” would reject me because I don’t accept Jesus as Messiah and other Christological doctrines?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:50 am

  75. Dustin, in order to determine what is a legitimate form of Judaism — whether recognized or unrecognized, I would appreciate it if you would complete this definition: Judaism is…

    Comment by aunursa — 12/17/2010 @ 10:42 am

    It’s a relationship between an individual and [the traditions, beliefs, writings, and deity] stemming from the Torah, the exodus, etc.

    It’s not for me to say, in other words.

    Now, I don’t mean to be obnoxious. I’m not saying anything could be Judiasm. I’m recognizing that it’s convenient for people to use the term ‘Jew’ to distinguish between people who follow your ways generally.

    All I am saying, again, is that Christianity is obviously a Jewish tradition because it is following references to the messiah from the old testament (that’s a fact, even if you dispute that Jesus is the messiah).

    Do Methodists, Baptists, etc see themselves as following the old Jewish traditional books? Of course they do. It’s their old testament. Granted, they believe there is a new testament, and they have different views on many of the numerous commandments associated with Judiasm.

    But Job had different views on the commandments from Moses.

    I think it’s legitimate to say ‘these are my beliefs, and those practices are not the same as mine’. And it’s not necessarily as legit to say ‘that person is following ideas that have the same historical source as mine, but he’s wrong, and I’m right, and therefore he is not legitimately following them’.

    It’s just a faulty project.

    Thanks for the respectful discussion, btw. I hope daleyrocks rewrites his comment that was vanished.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 10:56 am

  76. “Labels are helpful to classify people by belief.”

    aunursa – I agree. As you well know, though, not all members of any given religion believe in or follow all of their chosen religion’s tenets or doctrine. I personally resent being told what to do or believe in life. While not aimed at you specifically, that’s what I find offensive about these threads, people saying that you must believe x, y, and z to be ______. Complete crap in my humble opinion. People are free to pick and choose their system of beliefs. If they fit within mainstream theological frameworks, so be it. If they don’t, who the heck are _____ to tell me I cannot I consider myself a Jew, Christian, Muslim, or whatever.

    Again, just my opinion.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 11:16 am

  77. Dustin – I don’t think I had anything deleted.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 11:17 am

  78. Dustin, Christianity is obviously a Jewish tradition because it is following references to the messiah from the old testament

    While it’s clear that Christianity derives from Judaism, that’s different from saying that Christianity is a form of Judaism. By that reasoning you could argue that Islam is a form of Judaism. At which point the term becomes meaningless.

    Methodists do not consider themselves to be following Judaism: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=16&mid=7804
    Baptists do not identify as Jews: http://sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=655

    it’s not necessarily as legit to say ‘that person is following ideas that have the same historical source as mine, but he’s wrong, and I’m right, and therefore he is not legitimately following them’

    Two separate issues. 1. Whether or not a belief is true or legitimate is a separate issue from whether that belief is “Jewish.”

    2. I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to say that I’m right and someone else is wrong. Christians and Muslims constantly say that Jews don’t correctly understand our Bible. I disagree with them, but I don’t find it offensive or illegitimate for them to say it. That’s what discussion is for.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 11:40 am

  79. “I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to say that I’m right and someone else is wrong”

    aunursa – I think the difference lies in trying to as objectively as possible describe the tenets of a faith versus subjectively describing whether an individual is following them, which is more of a personal attack, but I could be wrong.

    Comment by The Zionist Conspiracy (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 11:48 am

  80. daleyrocks, You can consider yourself to be whatever you want. I’m not sure that I understand your point. Suppose someone tells me that he believes in the God of the Hebrew Bible. He also accepts the revelations of Mohammad, Joseph Smith, and the Buddha, and the divinity of Zeus and Apollo. In order to gain atonement, he worships the Buddha and celebrates Christmas. He tells me that he is following Judaism. Am I obligated to recognize him as a Jew? Am I allowed to say that he is not following Judaism?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 11:48 am

  81. “daleyrocks, You can consider yourself to be whatever you want.”

    aunursa – Is this a great country or what?

    It is obvious you don’t understand my point. Since Nancy Pelosi believes in abortion on demand and the Catholic church does not is she still a Catholic? She chose to make her religion public. I would say the matter is between her and her priest to decide or just a matter of her conscience, but definitely not you.

    “Am I obligated to recognize him as a Jew?”

    No, and I would hope that you have the common sense to refrain from expressing an opinion on someone else’s religious beliefs unless specifically asked by that person. It sounds like you would have a hard time doing that from your comments.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:01 pm

  82. My mistake, daleyrocks.

    I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to say that I’m right and someone else is wrong.

    I didn’t say otherwise. I’m noting the fallacy of a circular argument. People can say they are following Judaism, without agreeing with the long list of requirements milhouse listed. My definition of Judaism is valid and logical, and it doesn’t rest on a circular fallacy (These are the things you need to be Jewish, because Jewish people are these things).

    Here it is, though I just sloppily cobbled it together: It’s a relationship between an individual and [the traditions, beliefs, writings, and deity] stemming from the Torah, the exodus, etc. You have a very old set of stories and ideas that many people have taken in many directions, and all of them are clearly following from the same original cultural phenomena.

    . Christians and Muslims constantly say that Jews don’t correctly understand our Bible.

    Irrelevant to what I’m saying.

    don’t find it offensive or illegitimate for them to say it.

    That’s nice, but again, I’m not concerned with this.

    Two separate issues. 1. Whether or not a belief is true or legitimate is a separate issue from whether that belief is “Jewish.”

    That’s right.

    While it’s clear that Christianity derives from Judaism, that’s different from saying that Christianity is a form of Judaism

    Why? The circular definition? Explain this to me without an argument from authority.

    For example, it’s not clear that your Methodist link establishes that Christians are not following Judaism, but rather they seem to show reverence to it in a different way.

    I really like your way of describing this as different forms, and wish you hadn’t said this to explain what you don’t accept.

    Yes, all these many people who have read these same set of books and historically their philosophies diverged from a generally common nexus seem to be different forms of Judaism.

    As you intelligently note (and I did as well), it’s convenient to language to simply call them different things. Just as it’s convenient to Baptists to use a term other than Christian for Mormons, even though they are both forms of Christianity.

    I don’t object to that. Again, I’m not arguing what you’re “allowed” to describe people as.

    I’m actually arguing against someone saying what I’m allowed to describe people as. If someone views their Christianity as a form of Judaism, simply taken in a direction where they think the Messiah is Jesus, based on their faith in the Torah, that is a completely reasonable thing to believe and say. It helps to be clear about how we discuss this, which is why I like ‘form of Judaism’ better than just sloppily lumping them all in as Jewish.

    Anyone saying ‘you cannot be Jewish, because one must be meeting these conditions to be Jewish, because the Jewish do’ is making a fallacious argument.

    Comment by Alvin Greene (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:13 pm

  83. (“My mistake” referring to thinking one of his comments had vanished.)

    Comment by Alvin Greene (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:14 pm

  84. daleyrocks,

    aunursa – Is this a great country or what? — Touché!

    It’s not for me to say whether Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic. I would defer to the Catholic Church’s position on who is a Catholic.

    Suppose Nancy Pelosi recites the Rosary, worships at a Catholic Church, and prays for intercession from Mary. Then Mrs. Pelosi identifies herself as a Jew who follows Judaism. Are Jews not supposed to say that such practices place one outside the Jewish religion — because someone might be offended? What is a label for if we are not allowed to place a fence around it?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:14 pm

  85. LOL, I’m Alvin Greene.

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if he actually said that, though?

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:14 pm

  86. Alvin Greene, I think you need to check your sockpuppet name.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:15 pm

  87. aunursa – Still not getting it. Who the F*CK are you to determine whether someone is a Jew, Christian, Muslim or whatever? Who gave YOU the vision to see into their heart and the authoriteh to make that determination? This is not rocket science.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:24 pm

  88. Dustin,

    Whether one is a Jew is a separate issue from whether one follows Judaism.

    While it’s clear that Christianity derives from Judaism, that’s different from saying that Christianity is a form of Judaism

    A six-pointed star can be derived from copying a triangle, then placing the copy face down on top of the original facing up. The star is derived from the triangle, but it would be incorrect to say that the star is a triangle.

    If someone views their Christianity as a form of Judaism, simply taken in a direction where they think the Messiah is Jesus, based on their faith in the Torah, that is a completely reasonable thing to believe and say.

    It depends on the definition of Judaism. If I view Judaism as inherently messianic, is it reasonable for me to identify as a “Messianic Jew”? If I view Jesus as a loyal Jew who would have rejected traditional Christological doctrines that have been attributed to him, is it reasonable for me to identify myself as a “Christian”?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:40 pm

  89. daleyrocks, I don’t claim to see into anyone’s heart. I can, however, observe other people’s actions and their personal statements of belief. And I accept that labels can have specific meanings.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:43 pm

  90. aunursahole, maybe we can just tatoo numbers on their arms…oh yeah, that’s already been tried. Although, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

    Comment by anemia (e7577d) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:43 pm

  91. Addressing a few items. First, thanks aunursa for the link.

    As I understand what is being said, one can be Jewish but not be practicing Judaism; “Being a Jew” has to do with biological lineage (or official conversion), whereas Judaism is a religious belief (which can range from “Ultra Orthodox” to “Reformed”, and to “Reconstructionist”, I imagine- though I suspect at some point some on the Orthodox end of the spectrum might say that whatever some folks are “reconstructing” it doesn’t look like Judaism to them.)

    I agree with Dustin and daleyrocks that it is problematic to tell someone they aren’t what they say they are. And I also agree with The Zionist Conspiracy and aunursa that if a word can mean whatever one wants it to mean, then the word doesn’t really communicate anything. In aunursa’s example, it’s pretty much a logical contradiction to say one practices Judaism and worships another deity at the same time (those pesky Roman Emperors and Egyptian Pharaohs never figured that out). One can say that he/she is a Christian because they believe in the “Golden Rule” and they “live in the United States, where most people are Christian”, but they doubt if Jesus even existed, and if he did he certainly didn’t die and come back to life again. Now, in one way it is not up to me to say whether or not that person “is a Christian”, but what the person states as their belief system is simply not consistent with what the term “Christian” has meant over the centuries. I am not sure anyone would endure persecution “as a Christian” for being an American and believing in the “Golden Rule”.

    If a person called him/herself a Republican and believed that private property should be outlawed and that the President should be selected by the Cabinet every 4 years what would you say to that?

    A last question and a comment for now:
    If a person claims to be Jewish, but says there were no Abraham and Sarah to be descendents of, then what are they? I guess members of an ethnic group of uncertain origin.

    A number of years ago I heard of a tribe in the Southern half of Africa who were very dark/black complexion who claimed to be of Jewish descent and considered themselves Jews. (I do not know what their language was like). A number of them had genetic analysis done, and it was revealed that the Y chromosome among the tribe was relatively uniform and that it matched the typical Y chromosome of Jewish males.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:51 pm

  92. Perhaps it would be helpful to leave one’s personal religion aside, to help alleviate any preconceptions.

    For example, some say Mormons aren’t Christians. Is that their place to say? Why or why not?


    Labels can have meanings, but if someone is careful enough to say ‘form of Judaism’ or ‘Judaism with worship of Jesus as Messiah’, they are actually meaningfully working with the clunkiness of the language very well.

    But maybe it’s a mistake to give any respect to this label, which is, after all, not a valid argument in and of itself. If society said only Caucasians were people, it wouldn’t a good argument, because other folks share what makes something a person. What makes something a form of Judaism is not simply the label.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:51 pm

  93. LOL, I was Vick.

    I suck so much today. I nearly burned the house down trying to deglaze a pan. My dog tripped me when I was carrying lunch. And now I’m schizophrenic in the silly religious discussion.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:52 pm

  94. If a person called him/herself a Republican and believed that private property should be outlawed and that the President should be selected by the Cabinet every 4 years what would you say to that?

    The same as I would say of someone who said he was following a form of Judaism, but contradicted every element of it. This is a great test of my definition of Judaism, and my definition passes.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:54 pm

  95. dustin

    fixed, dustin.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:54 pm

  96. daleyrocks: I don’t understand the tension that this discussion seems to be gathering. In no way am I suggesting that a Christian or a Muslim cannot or does not have a relationship with God. And I get the peculiar impression that I would engender less antagonism were I to state my belief that a specific (e.g. Christological) doctrine is not true than if I were to state that such a doctrine is not Jewish.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 12:57 pm

  97. Whether one is a Jew is a separate issue from whether one follows Judaism.

    That’s an interesting issue, and I recognize it, and I’m not concerned with it. Not trying to be obnoxious, but racial Judaism doesn’t interest me. I just don’t care about someone’s genetics.

    I’m talking about people who personally have a relationship with the Talmud, and are following Judaism as a religion, all the way to whatever point they think about the messiah, commandments, etc, today.

    That other issue complicates things if you let it. I don’t. I really think it’s just a language error to say that someone who is a certain race is in the same category as someone who practices a certain religion. That claim is dogmatic.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:00 pm

  98. MD in Philly: If a person claims to be Jewish, but says there were no Abraham and Sarah to be descendents of, then what are they? If of Jewish lineage, then the person is a technically Jew who does not believe in the Jewish religion. Pretty confusing.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:02 pm

  99. Dustin: some say Mormons aren’t Christians. Is that their place to say? Why or why not?

    Do members of a group have the right to determine the goals and membership in the group? Or must recognition of the group identity be open to anyone who makes a claim?

    Mormons are entitled to state that they are Christians. And a Christian denomination is entitled to recognize or not recognize them as Christians.

    racial Judaism doesn’t interest me
    To clarify, Judaism is not a race. There are black Jews, Hispanic Jews, and Chinese Jews. No doubt you are referring to lineage.

    I’m talking about people who personally have a relationship with the Talmud, and are following Judaism as a religion, all the way to whatever point they think about the messiah, commandments, etc, today

    I’m a little unclear. While Jews have a relationship with God and read and follow the Talmud, how do Jews have a relationship with the Talmud?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:14 pm

  100. I don’t think it is an issue of judging someone’s heart we are talking about. We are talking about whether names for a religious belief means anything specific. If I say someone is “not a Christian”, that does not necessarily mean anything about whether the person is a nice guy or not, it means that he/she has said they don’t believe Jesus ever existed and thinks the Bible is all made up. Now, where one decides what is a core belief that is necessary or not is a very problematic issue, but at ends of the spectrum it should be pretty clear.

    Going back to the issue about the necessity of blood for atonement and the Messiahship claims of Jesus. They are seperate, but integrally related. The belief is while blood is necessary for atonement, the blood of “bulls and goats” is ultimately not adequate to atone for the sins of a person. For the Messiah to bring about peace through reconciling man to God, final atonement needed to be made.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:16 pm

  101. MD in Philly: Could God the Father, if He so desired, have chosen a different method of blood atonement besides sending Jesus to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world?

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/17/2010 @ 1:39 pm

  102. “And I get the peculiar impression that I would engender less antagonism were I to state my belief that a specific (e.g. Christological) doctrine is not true than if I were to state that such a doctrine is not Jewish.”

    aunursa – I have no real interest in your specific beliefs. They are yours. I think you would engender less antagonism if you actually tried to understand what the other commenters are saying. Keeping the discussion at the level of the religion itself rather than its adherents is less problematic. MD got pretty close in #91.

    Comment by daleyrocks (c07dfa) — 12/17/2010 @ 4:15 pm

  103. Comment by aunursa — 12/17/2010 @ 1:39 pm

    Discussing what God has done and what He has revealed is a great challenge to a mere man; speculating on what He could or could not have done is something else entirely.

    We would agree that God is just and merciful, He does not delight in the punishment of the wicked, yet a sinful person may not see His face and live, simply because the “brightness” is too great.

    The fall of man into sin was a greater tragedy than we can comprehend, it should not be surprising that to remedy that disaster requires something also astounding. Only one who is without sin can offer his life in ransom for a sinful man according to the Scriptures. God is God, He cannot make himself different than He is. He cannot stop being holy, He cannot stop being just. I don’t think it makes sense to ask what He could have done different unless He explicitly tells us.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/17/2010 @ 7:39 pm

  104. “I wasn’t talking about who is a Jew.”

    Well, I was, and as far as I can see, the only thing of any importance that makes a Jew a Jew is that Jews were chosen by God to keep and guard the law.

    Therefore, in my twisted view of the world, which I’m going to have to rely on, because God flat out refuses to talk to me directly (so far, anyway), anyone who keeps and guards the law is a Jew, and anyone who doesn’t isn’t.

    If you’re a Mongolian Yak herder who never heard of Abraham, Noah or Moses and you still somehow manage to keep and guard the law…you’re a Jew.

    If you’re a stinking sack of crap, like my namesake, David the King of Israel and you’ve heard the word, and you break the commandments anyway…you’re not a Jew anymore.

    You just drummed yourself out of the club, buddy. At least until you mend your wicked ways.

    Maybe that’s wrong, and maybe it’s right….but, it’s the only definition that makes any sense to me.

    Comment by Dave Surls (fce568) — 12/18/2010 @ 3:43 am

  105. A point;

    So an actor is a miserable human being whose political and or social opinions mark him as an imbecile. This is a surprise why? The job of an actor, especially a film actor, is to over-emote (so that it’s visible to the camera or across the footlights) at an instant’s notice. It doesn’t make for a well balanced mental outlook. The one thing I want to know about an actor is; can he act? My father may get his knickers in a twist about Jane Fonda’s politics, but the reason I don’t watch her films is I think she’s a lousy actress. Gibson can act. I don’t go to him for social advice or theology.

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (e4bd33) — 12/18/2010 @ 4:35 am

  106. If I stopped watching movies, reading books, buying goods because the actors, authors, or CEOs weren’t of the finest moral fiber, I’d have no movies, no books, and no goods.

    Mel Gibson a bigot. Jodie Foster a lesbian. Roman Polanski a rapist. I still like Mad Max, Contact, and Chinatown. I won’t even begin a list of vile authors.

    Comment by tehag (09d142) — 12/18/2010 @ 8:33 am

  107. You may want to consider giving up the internet?

    Comment by tegag (e7577d) — 12/18/2010 @ 8:43 am

  108. If you’re a Mongolian Yak herder who never heard of Abraham, Noah or Moses and you still somehow manage to keep and guard the law…you’re a Jew.

    I wish I had this level of clarity in my communicate, Dave.

    I agree with you.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/18/2010 @ 8:55 am

  109. I work here is done.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 12/18/2010 @ 8:55 am

  110. daleyrocks, After reviewing my comments, I am at a loss as to understand what I said that I should not have said. Did I refer to any specific person (other than a hypothetical House speaker?) If you would quote an example of an offending comment, and explain why it was hurtful, I would be very appreciative.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/19/2010 @ 6:14 am

  111. dave surls: If you’re a Mongolian Yak herder who never heard of Abraham, Noah or Moses and you still somehow manage to keep and guard the law…you’re a Jew. If you’re a stinking sack of crap, like my namesake, David the King of Israel and you’ve heard the word, and you break the commandments anyway…you’re not a Jew anymore.

    Fair enough. You and I have different definitions of the word “Jew”. For us to discuss who is a Jew would not be productive if we cannot reach an agreement.

    Comment by aunursa (69b3db) — 12/19/2010 @ 6:18 am

  112. How often do you argue with the voices in your head?

    Comment by aunutard (e7577d) — 12/19/2010 @ 6:44 am

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