Prominent Yale Professor Argues That Jews Should Care about Future of Christianity in Europe

( [email protected] ) Mar 25, 2015 03:24 PM EDT
Prominent computer scientist and Yale University professor David Gelernter wrote a column stating the case on why the Jewish people should care about the fate of Christianity in Europe.

Prominent computer scientist and Yale University professor David Gelernter wrote a column stating the case on why the Jewish people should care about the fate of Christianity in Europe.

In his article for First Things, Gelernter argued that Jews should care about the role of Christianity in Europe, given that there was "a fundamental change in relations between Judaism and Christianity." He elaborated on the experience of his "mother's father," a rabbi who became friends with a minister in a church next to his synagogue in Brooklyn.

"Despite these admirations and friendships, the church as an institution angered him his whole century-long life," Gelernter wrote. "The twentieth was a century that centered, after all, on the murder of Jews. His best friends among non-Jews were not ministers but pre-Cultural Revolution liberals and progressives who hated anti-Semitism-and tended to dislike and distrust Christianity, too."

Although Jews historically did not trust Christians since the days of the Roman Empire, Gelernter contended that the events of World War II, along with the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, changed that attitude.

"Naturally, Jews are among the leading historians of the Reich," Gelernter wrote. "As for non-Jewish historians, many or most are liberals-and the anti-Christian biases of liberalism grow louder all the time."

Gelernter claimed that the Nazis hated the concept of Christianity, even though German Christians failed to rise up against them, and practiced "state paganism" instead.

"They saw it as a form of weakness, as a Jew-concocted poison that had helped ruin Germany," Gelernter wrote. "Hatred of Christianity fed hatred of the Jews."

Gelernter's overall point was that many Christians have changed their attitude toward Jews since the dark days of World War II. He also managed to draw a line between criticizing the Israeli government and being outright anti-Semitic.

"Certainly you can oppose the Israeli government and (I suppose) dislike Israel itself, yet not be an anti-Semite," Gelernter wrote. "But you cannot oppose Israel with a toxic ferocity reserved for it alone, lie about Israel casually and constantly, yet not be an anti-Semite."

The computer scientist argued that Christianity was a "dialect of Judaism," adding that Jews should proudly own to it.

"Judaism has a message that every last human being needs to hear-but was unsuited to deliver it," Gelernter wrote. "Christianity was the chosen vehicle."

Gelernter argued that the link between Christianity and Judaism is inherently Jewish thanks to Jesus. In his opinion, Christianity was "the most important gift mankind has ever received."

"The story of the intermediary sent by God to man who was tortured to death by pagans but would not and could not remain dead, who could be killed but never die, is the story of the Jewish people," Gelernter wrote. "For Jews, Jesus is klal Yisrael, all Israel in the form of one man-Jesus is the Christian name for 'the Jewish people.'"

The Yale professor concluded that Jews and Christians shared the same natural enemies.

"Why should a Jew care whether Christianity lives or dies?" Gelernter wrote. "Because he must care whether the message of Judaism lives or dies, whether the mission of Judaism fails or succeeds."

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