“Judeo-Christian” is a term that should be banned from all thy mouths. There simply is no such thing. Thus sayeth The Vard.
When I thought about whether I wanted to write about this nonsense term, “Judeo-Christian,” I decided to do a Google search: *no such thing as judeo-christian*. I wanted to see what was out there, if the topic had been covered. Sure enough, BOOM. Up comes an article with that title by Yori Yanover, of The Jewish Press, “There’s No Such Thing as Judeo-Christian . . .”
“Darn. Somebody’s already done it,” I thought, ready to move on. But then I took a second, closer look. I realized the title actually said, “There’s No Such Thing as Judeo-Christian Values.”
Well! I thought. I’ll show him. I’ll go him one better: There’s no such thing as “Judeo-Christian.”
My interest in the topic was sparked by something else. A response to columnist David Brooks, who wrote, “Protestants, Catholics, and Jews did not get along, so a new category was created, Judeo-Christian, which brought formerly feuding people into a new ‘us.’”
Ira Stoll, writing for The Algemeiner, responded, “The term ‘Judeo-Christian,’ though perhaps useful as a political, rhetorical formulation to label the Jewish and Christian alliance against Nazism and later Communism, never really became a practically meaningful ‘us.’”
That’s true. I thought. But I was irked at the thought of Brooks getting away with floating this false idea into the ether: that the term “Judeo-Christian” had been invented because Christians and Jews didn’t get along.
That needs to be addressed. That’s not how the term “Judeo-Christian” came into being. It’s a false etymology and a false story.
The term “Judeo-Christian” was created to make Christianity palatable to the Jews. It does this by comparing the basic elements of Judaism and Christianity side by side, in order to make them look similar.
A missionary might say in response to a Jewish concept, for instance, “We have that, too,” and then cite a verse or practice in Christianity. The purpose of this is to reassure his prospect. It is like saying, “We are really just regular people, like you. We believe in the same things—we just do it in just a slightly different fashion.”
But this is a tautology:
If Christianity borrows from Judaism, then Christianity is like Judaism.
How do we know this is false logic? Because the underlying premise of one religion negates the other.
Judaism does not resemble anything else or share anything with other religions. That is because it is discrete from other things, and certainly other ideologies, or religions. It is distinct. Unique. It is also whole.
To suggest otherwise is an insult. Which makes the term “Judeo-Christian,” an insult.
When you borrow ideas from Judaism and add it to whatever you have, it is no longer Judaism. It also isn’t “like” Judaism. Judaism can’t be attached to things, cannot be a prefix. A thing cannot be “Judeo.” Therefore it cannot be “Judeo-Christian.”
There is no such thing.
I think that people in general, have a sickness. They need to find things in common, things that they “share.” This is not about making connections. It’s about needing everyone to be like you, because it’s really, really scary when they’re not.
“Finding things we share” is a symptom of xenophobia. We can’t stand it when anyone is different, so we have to find the ways that we are the same. Even if we have to invent those things, building towers of words that express false logic, phrases like “Judeo-Christian.”
This is wrong and also very sad. It is okay to be different. Though it does take courage to be an original. Which is exactly what faithful Jews have done for thousands of years: taken courage to remain original and one-of-a-kind. It’s how we made it through being hated and hunted, how we made it through the bloodshed.
It’s how we survived.
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