- From New Testament to Old
- Linda Behrend
- After reading Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim's
thoughtful article, "Christianity and Judaism Can't Both
Be G-d's Word" I wrote the following words. My perspective
is one of an ex-Christian. I offer these thoughts to your
fine magazine. Linda
- Rabbi Ben-Chaim,
- As a seeker of truth, I turned from the
New to the Old Testament. I returned to G-d.
- Born to a Baptist mother and Pentecostal
father, I grew up with Jesus, a kind, comforting, holy man. At
14, I saw a movie about Hattie Moon, a Baptist missionary. Unlike
all my peers, I found her zeal terribly wrong. What right did
she have to change others to her version of Christianity or to
Christianity at all?! At 16, I visited other churches to learn
variations on a theme, much to the consternation of the Baptist
elders. Finding my Baptist dogma too narrow, I left the fold.
Organized religion didn't fit my needs. For years I didn't see
the mutual exclusivity of Old and New Testament. I practiced
inclusive religion, an oxymoron I soon discovered -along with
the cruelty of Christians. From Christian background, I grew
beyond its borders.
- One night I was trying to recite the Ten
Commandments. Surprising to me, I couldn't recall the first:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." In a moment
of epiphany, I was transformed: I came to see the golden calf
named Jesus. Christianity had usurped G-d with Christ, the most
blasphemous form of idolatry.
- Today, I found your article, learned Rabbi,
articulating so cogently the Christian fallacy. Up to this point,
I could define my faith by what it was not: I could no longer
be exclusive, as Christianity is at heart, exclusive to all who
don't follow Jesus. Now, I can define my faith in terms of what
I do believe: I believe in the Old Testament and see the New
Testament as sacrilege, putting Jesus above G-d, blasphemy at
- A pivotal point: Five years ago, I sat
in a circle of Stephen ministers: Presbyterian care givers in
training to"listen with love." I mentioned to the group
that I was practicing inclusive religion: I had a date with a
nice Jewish man. "He can't be that nice if he doesn't believe
in Jesus" was the snippy stab of one in the group. Astounded,
I sat speechless, mouth hanging open, still Pollyanna in my innocence
of such hatred. Not one uttered a word against such sanctimonious
slicing, including the reverend condoning the silence. Soon thereafter,
I left their fold, married that nice Jewish man, and am now living
happily ever after in natural harmony in New Ulm, Texas. The
revelation of such Christian idolatry burned my vision clean.
From my pastoral perspective atop this hill on G-d's green earth,
I can see the hypocrisy through the glass of illusion ever so
clearly. The truth lies in the Old Testament alone with the majesty
that is G-d in abstract as one. Thank you for your insightful
illumination and articulation.
- Christianity's Foibles in a Nutshell:
- Christ, historically speaking (Christian
dogma), died at 33, was resurrected.
- The apostles' stories, 30+ years later.
- 100-200 years later, Nicea, Constantine.
- 900 years later, Byzantine iconography
- the abstract becoming concrete.
- 1400 years later, the Renaissance: anthropomorphism:
Christ becomes man, soft, blood pulsing, physical, the total
transformation away from G-d.
- All the statues.
- All the human forms.
- All the New Testament, disappearance of
- All emotion and physicality.
- No rationality nor abstraction.
- Old Testament laws given to Moses, all
history washed away.
- Opposition to education, no need for it.
- Faith over fact. Paul's dogma over Moses'
- Buried most deeply, the First Commandment:
"Thou shalt have no other gods above Me."
- The human need to idolize, to give human
shape to G-d, the ultimate sacrilege.
- The ultimate blasphemy, "Life to
Christ - Death to G-d."
- The Christian legacy.