Monday, August 18, 2008

The Gift of the Jews

Thomas Cahill in “The Gifts of the Jews” states:

The Jews gave us a whole new vocabulary, a whole new Temple of the Spirit, an inner landscape of ideas and feelings that had never been known before. Over many centuries of trauma and suffering they came to believe in one God, the Creator of the universe, whose meaning underlies all His creation and who enters human history to bring His purposes to pass. Because of their unique belief - monotheism - the Jews were able to give us the Great Whole, a unified universe that makes sense and that, because of its evident superiority as a world-view, completely overwhelms the warring and contradictory phenomena of polytheism. They gave us the Conscience of the West, the belief that this God who is One is not the God of outward show but the “Still, small voice.” of conscience, the God of compassion, the God who “Will be there,” the God who cares about each of His creatures, especially the human beings He created “In His own image,” and that He insists we do the same.

1 comment:

John Fraser said...

This reminds me of a debate I heard recently on the U.K. radio program "Unbelievable?" between a Jewish rabbi (Shmuley Boteach) and a messianic Jew (Michael Brown). Boteach acknowledged his gratitude that Christians had spread the knowledge of God around the world when the Jews had failed to do so, even though at the same time he wanted Christians to give up the idea that Jesus was God incarnate and basically revert to Judaism!

We certainly are indebted to the Jews, as the NT clearly affirms in multiple places. But thank God that through Christ he opened the way for us Gentiles to have access to his promises also!

Of course, we could go on to talk about how monotheism ultimately provided the rational basis for things like modern science (an orderly and rational universe that was the product of a rational mind), and that when science loses that rational foundation it is left with no support whatsoever. Oh, the folly!