A Baleful Creed

Writing in the Australian newspaper on October 24, Greg Sheridan examines anti-Semitism and, as a convicted Christian, says this: “the biggest source of anti-Semitism throughout history is Christianity.” I’m insufficiently versed in the history of anti-Semitism to know whether this assertion is strictly true or not. At the same time, it is surely true that much anti-Semitism can be sourced to Christianity and the fanciful notion that the Jews killed Christ. I say fanciful not because the Roman authorities were directly responsible but because only small coterie of Jewish religious leaders were complicit not the population of Jews; and, of course, certainly not their descendants. Let’s not think all Persians and their offspring are as evil and mad as the current mullahs and their acolytes.

A good article I thought (if not quite deserving of the adoration evident in readers’ comments next day); that is, until coming across this comment:

“There’s religious anti-Semitism in Islam as well. The Koran, like the Christian New Testament, contains disparaging passages about Jews.”

Oh dear, false equivalence. Inadvertent? Hope so. Let me explain my reaction to Sheridan’s comment.

An article by Gareth Lloyd Jones on the website of Yad Vashem – the world holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem – is instructive. The article considers the extent to which antisemitism arises out of the New Testament. Too much stuff to cover so I’ll take what Jones describes as “one of the most belligerent references to Jews in all Christian Scripture, found in 1 Thessalonians 2:16, where the author states that they are the deserved recipients of God’s wrath…” 

This is the passage (NIV):

In their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”

A first thing to say is that the principal writer of the letter Paul was of course a Jew. His co-writers, Silas and Timothy, were also Jews, though Timothy had a Greek father. Ergo, Paul had nothing against Jews per se; his opposition was only to those Jews “who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone.”(The preceding verse 2:15).

A second thing to say is that Paul is a commentor. He refers to God’s wrath coming upon them as an historical observation (maybe the famine of AD46?), he doesn’t call for it, even if he appears thankful for it. And nothing that I know of in the New Testament calls for the persecution of any race or group by Christians on this earth. Nor is any race the subject of personal insult or regarded as sub-human.

Let’s not dispute that passages in the New Testament can be used by evil or misguided men for evil ends. They have been. But it’s not scripturally based. That’s why Christianity rid the civilised world of slavery. In contrast, take a few, non-exhaustive, extracts from the Koran in no particular order, Marmaduke Pickthall translation:

As often as they [the Jews] light a fire for war, Allah extinguish it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loveth not corrupters (Surah 5:64). Fight against those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah (9:29). The only reward of those who made war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom (5:33). So, choose not friends from them [disbelievers]…if they turn back to enmity [apostates] then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend or helper from among them (Verse 4:89). Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive (9.5). Mohammed is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (48:29). I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite their necks and smite of them each finger (8:12). Those who disbelieve…are a folk without intelligence (8:65). Fight against those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah…until they pay the tribute [jizya] readily, being brought low [read dhimmitude] (9:29). And look at 2:63-66, 5:59-60, 7:166 to see disobedient Jews turned into pigs and apes. And lots and lots more ugly stuff to be found and that’s before you get into the hadiths (the sayings and doings of M).

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44).

I think the biblical passage above speaks volumes about the difference between Islam and Christianity. One is a false baleful creed; the other, the truth, the way and the life. “Watch out for false prophets. They come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them” (Matthew 7:15-16). Want some fruits? Since 9/11 the religion of peace website has documented over forty-four thousand deadly Islamic attacks.

Some useful idiots like to distinguish between Islamism aka political Islam (bad) and Islam (good). There is no distinction between mosque and state in Islam. It’s all the same, as I explained here in Quadrant in December 2017. Distinguish between Muslims for sure, but Islam is Islam. Don’t be fooled for a second. They’ll want to fool you.

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October 29, 2023 8:33 am

“The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue: A Study in the Origins of Antisemitism” by James Parkes is a study of the first centuries of Christian antisemitism.

Mother Lode
Mother Lode
October 29, 2023 8:47 am

Jews were bound to be at least marginalised for not being part of the Christian community which happened to also be the community.

They will have been denied access to professions and institutions on the basis of specious reasons which seemed cogent enough at the time.

But I don’t think anti-Semitism can be said to emanate from the Bible or the Church’s creed. But the Bible could be used in an un-Christian way to advance other agendas.

My impression is that the outbreaks of persecution of Jews were driven by secular causes – scapegoats for plague or famine (by leaders to placate a panicked community), by kings and princes, even by Cardinals and village priests.

The anti-Semitism was not the sin of Christianity, but of Christians.

October 29, 2023 10:37 am

Whereas, in islam, “Jew-hatred” is CORE DOCTRINE.

The REAL “islamic radicals” are the ones genuinely abhorring such behaviour, both of them.

ALL the rest are straight-up,by the “book”, doctrinaire, observant muslims.

Trawl through the Suras in that book They clearly DEMAND the slaughter, forcible “conversion” or enslavement of all “infidels”; with “special sauce” reserved for Jews.

“And He brought down those of the People of the Book who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror in their hearts; some you slew, some you made captive. And He bequeathed upon you their lands, their habitations, and their possessions, and a land you never trod. God is powerful over everything. (33:26)

“The Prophet Muhammad will be fulfilled: Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him — except for the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews.”

In their own words:

“”Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

Ayatollah Khomeini.

“The spread of Islam is military. There is a tendency to apologize for this and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Koran that you must fight for the spreading of Islam.”

Dr. Ali Issa Othman: (Palestinian sociologist), quoted by Charis Waddy inThe Muslim Mind, Longmans, London, 1976

The filth-column, “fourth estate” in the “west” are KEY enablers of the Caliphate. Any suggestions to the contrary will be met with deep skepticism. I am about as Kosher as a pork chop, but I still “get it”..

October 29, 2023 11:27 am

Ergo, Paul had nothing against Jews per se; his opposition was only to those Jews “who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone.”

Paul’s argument is religious, not ethnic or racial (cf. Galatians 3:28).

If that amounts to antisemitism, then many of the Old Testament prophets (cf. Elijah) were antisemitic, which of course is nonsense.

At the stage of its writing (c. the early 50s), church and synagogue were not yet separate entities, and, as at Thessalonica (where there was a community of Hellenised Jews), Paul’s missionary endeavours would often begin in the local synagogue, which sometimes excited opposition and slander from local leaders. That provides the context for what he writes here – an intra-Jewish debate about the identity of the messiah (indeed, Saul/Paul has once been a Jewish persecutor of the Christians).

Elsewhere, in his letter to the Romans (chapters 9-11), written after 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes about how the promises of God to Abraham and his descendants according to the flesh will be fulfilled in the new covenant, i.e. through faith in the messiah Jesus and not the works of the law.

October 29, 2023 12:51 pm

Sheridan appears to be absolving islam of its responsibilities.
Yet Mohammed himself sets the scene for Arab islamic antisemitism

October 29, 2023 7:15 pm

@ Roger:

It can be a verb: to reign

As in the finale from The Who’s mighty “Quadrophenia album:


October 29, 2023 10:07 pm

Greg Sheridan a “convicted Christian”?

Would that any of us who profess the faith might be worthy of prosecution.

His support for homosexual ‘marriage’ and endless war would be exculpatory at trial.

October 30, 2023 7:03 am

I’ve been a Christian since April 1970, and before that a little lamb wending my way through Sunday School since the time I could walk.

I was always taught (from the Bible) to love the Jews, and never saw Jesus as anything but Jewish.

Which is just as well, as it turns out.

October 30, 2023 7:52 am
Peter Greagg
Peter Greagg
October 30, 2023 3:52 pm

Thanks Peter.
As we are made in the image of God, no one (or group) can be superior (or inferior) to any one else. I mean that in a fundamental sense, as in born that way.
If I may be so bold as to say that difference do arise though by the content of their character. But that is a different issue.

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd
October 30, 2023 4:21 pm

Jewish religious leaders were complicit not the population of Jews; and, of course, certainly not their descendants

God may have a different perspective when the Jewish leaders said the following:
“Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” – Matthew 27:25

In any case, if you are following the Jewish faith of today, not only has that been done away with through the New Covenant (where the veil in the Temple was torn in two), it is but a shadow of the original Jewish faith once the Pharasitic Jews rejected their Messiah and then wrote the Talmud (which has some very invective words to say about Jeses and Gentiles).

In relation to this current conflict, there are no “good guys”. What is happening between Israel and Palestine shows there are two evil sets of leaders on both sides, and innocent Israelis and Palestinians that are the victims of this war.

We should pray for peace and that the wicked rulers stop the slaughter.

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Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x