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Christianity vs. Judaism: Which do you believe?

Religion is the belief and worship of a higher being that is greater than oneself. The two most prominent and well-known religions are Judaism and Christianity. Although, both religions share similar beliefs, there are many differences between the two religions, one major difference is determining who the messiah if of the Jewish nation. Unlike Christianity, there are two ways for a person to proclaim themselves as a follower of Judaism. In order to be a Jew, there are two determinants that are considered. The first determinant to becoming a Jew is being born into the religion through one’s parents, which is also known as one’s ethnicity. If not born into the religion, one can make the committed decision of choosing to follow the Judaism religion and theology thus resulting in becoming a Jew. Once becoming a Jew, it is important to familiarize oneself with the major and main difference between Christianity and Judaism. Christians, followers of Christianity, believe that Jesus was the messiah. On the other hand, Jews, followers of Judaism, believe that Jesus was not the messiah. Although decades have passed since the initial conservation of this controversy, this debate is still relevant and remains to be the topic of discussion in the present-day era.

In order to understand both point of views from the Christian and Judaism standpoint, not only is it imperative to understand what a messiah is and the responsibilities the messiah had to uphold but it is also imperative to understand the contradictions between the Christian and Jewish theologies. In Christianity, Christians view God as a harmony of three -God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Christians also believe that is was possible for Jesus to be a physical form of God that was sent to be their messiah.  

A messiah is the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation. As previously stated, the Jewish nation was suffering from many atrocities. These atrocities were so severe that the people were in desperate need of a deliverer. According to the Holy Bible, the atrocities that the Jewish people needed deliverance from was: The Holy War, the absence of God’s glory in the people, desolation, plants without harvest, a curse on the people and land, and ultimate terrorism (Isaiah 17). With no one else to turn to for deliverance, the Christian theology believes that the deliverer from these atrocities was Jesus; Jesus was their messiah.

Christians believe that Jesus was the messiah due to their belief system of the five key pillars of Christianity. The five pillars of Christianity are: (1) Jesus’ virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), (2) Jesus being the heir to David’s throne (Isaiah 9:7), (3) Jesus establishing a third kingdom (Daniel 2:44), (4) Jesus being referred to as Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14), and (5) Jesus being crucified with criminals (Isaiah 53:12). Alongside believing that Jesus was the messiah, Christians also believe that Jesus died on the cross for everyone’s “sins” which resulted in the door of salvation that many Christians walk through but believe that they are not worthy to do so. Furthermore, Christians believe that no middle person is necessary to get to God and that Christians should be welcoming and open to all types of people within their social circle.

On the other hand, Jewish theologians have expressed and acknowledged their beliefs and contradictions that do not coincide with the Christianity belief system. Unlike Christians, Jews believe God as only being one form but having multiple personalities, thus, believing that there was not a possibility of Jesus being God. Jews believe that Jesus was a prophet (a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God; a seer, soothsayer, or fortune teller) and that he was able to provide miracles, signs, and wonders. Another difference between the Jewish and Christian theology is that Jews believe that a “middle man” is necessary to get to God. They believe that in order to get to God, one must go through a spiritual teacher, priest, or rabbi and while going through that “middle man”, Jews also believe that Jesus provides a direction and example for “how to” approach God. Furthermore, Jews do not agree with welcoming all types of people into their inner circle as Christians do; they believe that their “table” is only open to special people that are welcome to sit and break bread with them.

These contradictions furthermore prompt Jews to believe that Jesus was not the messiah. These negations that Jews believe that support Jesus not being the messiah are: (1) Jesus never established a temple ( Ezekiel 37: 26-28), (2) Jesus did not gather Jews back to the Holy Land (Isaiah 43: 5-6), (3) Jesus did not usher in world peace (Isaiah 2:4), (4) Jesus is not a descendant of David ( 1 Chronicles 2), (5) Jesus was never called Emmanuel, (6) Jesus was not considered a prophet, (7) the virgin birth of Jesus could have been mistranslated, (8) Jesus did not spread universal knowledge of God, and so forth.

Overall, both religions have valid arguments to support their beliefs. As a result of both religions being very passionate with their beliefs and ideologies, many Christians and Jews have accepted the fact that the two religions will not agree on whether Jesus was the messiah or not. In spite of their differences, however, both religions do believe and acknowledge that Jesus was a real person that had special qualities.

Giana Levy is a freshmen Journalism major at Clark Atlanta University and serves as an editorial writer for HerCampus CAU. She plans to use her work as a writer to inform the public on current events and give new perspectives on various topics.
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