Friday, July 14, 2023

"Judeo-Christian": Why I Use This Phrase


Why I Use the Phrase "Judeo-Christian"
 It's Not Why Some May Think


I use the phrase "Judeo-Christian." When I use it in a published piece, at least one disgruntled reader will shoot me a grumble of protest. "Judeo-Christian" is a controversial phrase. Since it raises hackles, why do I use it?


First, let's look at the controversy. "Judeo-Christian" is so controversial that a 368-page scholarly book has been written about the history and usage of the phrase. Chicago University Press went so far as to call it "dangerous" and a "linguistic battlefield." I guess that makes those of us who use the phrase warriors. Professor Mark Silk suggests that the phrase is "neo-fascist." Others call it a "dog whistle myth for the far right."


After Donald Trump used the phrase "Judeo-Christian" in 2017, Meredith Warren, Lecturer in Biblical and Religious Studies, University of Sheffield, insisted that she could read Trump's mind, and expose to the world Trump's hidden, nefarious intentions. Warren's mission, as is so often the case in Woke rhetoric, is to take something positive and poison that something positive in the minds of the audience. "It might seem neighborly, even pluralistic, to include Judaism in a declaration of purported Western values," Warren warns. You simple-minded people, she seems to say, you fall for a phrase that seems "neighborly" and "pluralistic" but really isn't. I'm here to tutor you in Woke Think.


Let's not slide right past Warren's use of the words "purported Western values." "Purported" means that Warren doubts that there is any such thing as the West, and, if the West really does exist, it does not have distinctive values. Anything distinctive about the West is probably bad, and not a real "value" that anyone should cherish.


Warren continues. Trump's "'Judeo-Christian values' are about protecting Christians at the exclusion of others … It is only now that a new demographic of Muslim immigrants … have reached the West that Jews are being included … on someone else's terms."


Warren is insisting that Jews have always been excluded from American life. This news will surprise everyone from Haym Salomon to Philip Roth, from Louis B. Mayer to Louis Brandeis. It might also surprise Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and their three children, who are all Jewish. Warren insists that the phrase "Judeo-Christian" was invented by Christians without the participation of Jews. It is used "on someone else's" – that would be Christians' – "terms." This is false, as we will see, below.


Warren knows Trump's real thoughts, feelings, and intentions. When "Trump uses the term what [he] really implies is an 'us-versus-them' division between the West and Islam. This is not about the inclusion of Jews in the values of these nations, then, but about the xenophobic exclusion of an 'other.'" Warren insists that Donald Trump, who has had public and apparently mutually beneficial relationships with Jews and Muslims for decades, engaged in hate-filled dog whistles when he used the phrase "Judeo-Christian."


Warren identifies, on Twitter, as "Dr. Meredith 'Land Back' Warren." She further identifies as a Native American who wants her "land back" from Americans of European descent. In photos, Warren appears to be of European, not Native American, ancestry. Warren acknowledges some European ancestry, which she identifies as "settler." A normal person, unaware of the dog whistle Warren is sending, might breeze right past Warren's use of the word "settler" to damn her own, English ancestors, and her own blood.


"Settler" is a Woke ethnic slur used to demonize all European-descent diaspora populations, wherever they are found. Native Americans are "indigenous," and "indigenous" is a privileged identity in the Woke caste system. In Warren's case, the term "indigenous" is inaccurate. There were people living in what is now Canada when Warren's Cree ancestors arrived. These vanished people are virtually nameless. They are dubbed the paleo-Eskimo, though they were different from more recently arrived populations. After what is now known as the Eskimo, aka Inuit arrived, the Paleo-Eskimo completely disappeared. By Warren's own value system, today's indigenous Canadians were "settlers" on land that "belonged to" the now vanished Paleo-Eskimo. And note that the Paleo-Eskimo have disappeared completely, whereas there are more Eskimo alive today than when Europeans first arrived. The "indigenous" Canadians Warren privileges may have been more efficient at physically and culturally erasing those occupying the land before their arrival than were Europeans.


Warren, a published and prize-winning scholar, participates in the historically revisionist Woke fiction that rejects evolution and the theory that Native Americans arrived in the Americas via a land bridge from Asia. Rather, Native Americans have always lived on "Turtle Island." More recent arrivals, European-descent "settlers," can only ever be seen as categorically different, that is as alien, genocidal, invaders. Warren rewrites history and participates in ethnic hatred, even as she condemns the phrase "Judeo-Christian" as a "problematic" exclusionary "dog whistle."


And there's more. The phrase "settler" is used to justify a genocidal approach to Jews living in Israel. Both history and genetics reveal that Jews have had a continuous presence in Israel for millennia. The Woke ignore that reality, and insist that Jews are "settlers" and Muslims are "indigenous." There is no factual support for this position. Judaism predates Islam by a thousand years. The ancestors of today's Palestinians were relatively recent arrivals. Historical revisionism is used to justify the call for Israel to cease to exist. Warren, a Woke woman who, ahistorically, condemns the phrase "Judeo-Christian" as intolerant of Jews, uses a Woke, anti-Semitic dog whistle, "settler," that is used to justify a racist ideology, a false history, and a genocidal agenda against Jews living in Israel.


In short, look twice when someone tells you that the phrase "Judeo-Christian" is problematic. There may be an agenda behind their condemnation that is not immediately apparent. The speaker may be revising history. And those who insist that they are protecting Jews from the big, bad, threatening Christians, may very well be wolves in sheep's' clothing.


Those "problematizing" the phrase "Judeo-Christian" travel back, linguistically, to its first usages. In the early nineteenth century, the prefix "Judeo-" might be used to describe Yiddish as "Judeo-German." It was also used to describe those early followers of Jesus who had been born Jewish but came to be members of what would become a new religion; thus, they were "Judeo-Christians." Eventually "Judeo-Christian" came to describe a posited worldview, cultural heritage, or ethical system first introduced to the world by Jews, inherited and shaped by Christians, and currently shared, to a limited but important extent, by Christians, Jews, and all participants in Western Civilization, no matter their provenance or their belief system. The Judeo-Christian tradition is frequently cited as one of the pillars of Western Civilization, along with Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment.


Anti-Semitism, along with other race hatreds, began to rise dramatically in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anti-Semitism was rising even as Christian piety, certainly among the elite, was decreasing. In the new language of scientific racism, fueled by social Darwinism, Jews were characterized as a "race" apart from Europeans and others. Other groups were similarly suddenly distinct "races." A 1924 US immigration law was supported by racists like Madison Grant who categorized Poles and Italians, for example, as members of distinct and inferior races. These diabolical trends would culminate in Nazism and the Holocaust. Nazis mass-murdered not just Jews, but also Poles, Soviet citizens, and Serbs, all members of so-called inferior Slavic races, and members of another so-called inferior race, Gypsies, as well as so-called racially worthless handicapped people and homosexuals.


In the 1930s and during World War II, Christians and Jews used "Judeo-Christian" as a form of resistance to murderous anti-Semitism at home and abroad, among Nazis and the KKK. These good people emphasized the many features that Christians and Jews share. The most important feature they shared during those cataclysmic years was their committed resistance to Nazism and their willingness to sacrifice blood and treasure to stop it.


According to Mark Silk, Professor of Religion in Public Life, Emeritus at Trinity College, "Ground zero of this means of affirming a shared religious basis for Western values was the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York — the site of the large convocations of liberal academics and intellectuals held annually from 1940 by the Conference on Science, Religion and Philosophy in Their Relation to the American Way of Life, Inc. Organized by Lyman Bryson of Columbia Teachers College and Jewish Theological Seminary's [professor, provost, president, and chancellor] Louis Finklestein." As Silk points out, Jews played a significant role in advancing the phrase "Judeo-Christian," and they did so as part of a serious struggle against genocidal anti-Semitism. Contemporary Social Justice Warriors like Meredith Land Back Warren irresponsibly distort history and intentions when they erase this beneficent history of the phrase.


Silk reports that "Judeo-Christian" remained a popular tool of ideological warfare after World War II. Upon defeating the Axis, America entered another epochal conflict, that between freedom and capitalism in the West and totalitarian communism in the USSR and China. The Judeo-Christian tradition was opposed to Marxism. President Eisenhower referred to the Judeo-Christian tradition as a necessary foundation for Western values, the values that were at odds with communism.


Times, and attitudes, changed. Some not all Jews came to hear in "Judeo-Christian" an anti-Semitic phrase. For these people, the phrase erased the distinctiveness of Judaism. The phrase, to their ears, signaled Christian "hegemony" and Christian "supersessionism." Supersessionism is a theological concept. In this belief, the covenant between God and the Jews has been passed on to a "new" Israel, that is, Christians.


Some Jews came to feel that the US posed a new challenge to Jewish existence. American Jews, as opposed to their Ashkenazi ancestors, were less likely to follow the 613 commandments and many folkways that so distinguished Jews in the Old Country. Most American Jews trace their ancestry to the lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In those lands, for much of their history, Jews had their own official bodies regulating group member behavior. They spoke a different language, Yiddish, than non-Jews. They wore distinctive clothing and hairstyles. They worked in different fields than non-Jews. Marriage to a non-Jew might be followed by a period of mourning for the "lost" community member.


American Jews, by contrast, typically eat, dress, wear their hair, and speak like other, non-Jewish Americans. In 2020, Pew reported that, "Fully 42% of all currently married Jewish respondents indicate they have a non-Jewish spouse. Among those who have gotten married since 2010, 61% are intermarried." "Jews in U.S. are far less religious than Christians and Americans overall," Pew reported in 2021. Some call assimilation and lessened religiosity a "Silent Holocaust." There is a Jewish folk expression, "You are not Jewish until your grandchildren are Jewish." Assimilation to mainstream culture threatens that duty. A phrase like "Judeo-Christian" could be heard as the last straw of assimilation. "No," those Jews who don't like the phrase will protest. "We are not part of some melting pot identity. We are our own thing, separate from you."


There are Christians who protest the phrase as well. Just like the Jews who don't like the phrase, these Christians want to emphasize the differences between Judaism and Christianity. Some Christians who protest the phrase are clearly anti-Semitic. Some Gnostic Christians in the early days of Christianity wanted a divorce from the Old Testament. Their position is denounced as a heresy by mainstream Christians.


Some who protest the phrase are themselves atheists who insist on perpetuating invidious and inaccurate stereotypes of the Old Testament as irrational and its God as vengeful, as opposed to the God of the New Testament, who is stereotyped as a warm and cuddly Hippie figure. Richard Dawkins, one of the leading New Atheists, typified this approach when he wrote "The God of the Old Testament is … jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."


In response to ignorant attitudes like Dawkins', scholars like Dennis Prager and Dr. Jordan Peterson have disseminated very popular explorations of the truth of the Old Testament. One YouTube viewer offers praise of such material. "Watching JP's lectures has been one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. His explanations have fundamentally changed the way I see the world. I am now a better man because I have regained the most valuable thing a human can have in their life: meaning." Of course not all atheists reject the phrase "Judeo-Christian." Douglas Murray, who identifies as an atheist, said, "The more atheists think on these things, the more we may have to accept that the concept of the sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive Judeo-Christian civilization."


Recent years have seen a new phenomenon. Ever since the sixties counter-culture, it has been cool to be oppositional. The most recent manifestation of leftist, oppositional chic is Woke. "Christian" has become an insult, along with "white," "hetero," "American," "cis-gendered," and "male." In Woke environments, being a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, American, Christian male is the lowest possible life-form. There are Wokesters among both Christians and Jews. These folks do everything they can to dress their religion in Woke-friendly costumes. There are Christians who insist that Jesus was a socialist and that Mary, his mother, in the Magnificat, expresses a Che-Guevara-like revolutionary call. Similarly, there are Jews who revile the phrase "Judeo-Christian" for a new reason. These Woke Jews do not reject the phrase on theological grounds. Rather, they reject it because they adopt the Woke position that Christianity is uncool, and they want to be as far removed from Christianity's uncoolness as possible.


Perhaps the height of this attitude was reached by actress Sandra Bernhard in 2008, when she, during a performance at Washington DC's Theater J, criticized then-vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Palin was a punching bag for the Left. Obscene and misogynist language was used to denigrate Palin's speech, her appearance, and her children, including a mentally retarded child. Bernhard's anti-Palin rant was perhaps the most extreme example of anti-Palin rhetoric. Bernard said, "Sarah Palin jumps on the s--- and points her fingers at other women. Turncoat b----! Don't you f------ reference Old Testament, b----! … You stay with your new Goyisha crappy shiksa funky bulls---! Don't you touch my Old Testament, you b----! … You whore in your cheap fuckin' New Vision cheap-ass plastic glasses!"


Bernhard insisted that a Christian woman, Sarah Palin, had no right to "my Old Testament." Many Jews in ancestral shtetls would not certify Bernhard as a scriptural scholar. She is a lesbian, and her public behavior is often controversial. She posed nude for Playboy. In 1995, on TV, in she spat in the face of Christian and conservative Republican John Lofton saying to him, "If I had you, you'd be an abortion."


A more recent, less controversial, but equally Woke rejection of the phrase "Judeo-Christian tradition" comes from James Loeffler, the Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History at the University of Virginia. In an August, 2020 piece for The Atlantic, Loeffler objected to "conservative Christian" readings of the concept of human rights, as voiced by Mike Pompeo. Loeffler quotes Pompeo as saying that "America's understanding of human rights" emerges from "fundamental moorings of the Judeo-Christian tradition on which this country was founded." Loeffler scoffs. "That tradition never existed"! Loeffler insists. It's "mythical." It's just a "political invention"! "An ecumenical marketing meme for combatting godless communism." What appears to be so embracing, so tolerant, is in fact just another big, fat, American scam! It is really wickedly exclusive not Woke and inclusive. "Muslims, Native Americans, and other non-Western religious communities, but also atheists and secularists of all persuasions" are all left out in the cold, bitter air of American intolerance, preceded by "centuries of Christian anti-Semitic persecution," and later in the same article, "thousands of years of persecution." Oh, yeah, and what about "America's postwar quest for global primacy in a decolonizing world."


"American Jews viewed their 'Judeo' hyphen as little more than a fig leaf masking an unabashedly Christianist agenda," Loeffler writes. Loeffler chooses to use "Christianist" instead of "Christian." If being a "Christian" is bad, being a "Christianist" is even worse. Worse yet is an "unabashed Christianist." "Judeo-Christian" which seems to imply brotherhood, is really anti-Semitic. And not just. "The phrase appears with regularity in rhetorical attacks on Islam." The "Christian" part of "Judeo-Christian" is really the problem. "The catchphrase has failed to shed its Christian religious residue. Living through an unprecedented era of anti-Semitism, American Jews no longer wish to play the role of guest stars in someone else's theological drama."


To Loeffler, The Atlantic, and its elite readers, the "Christian religion" is a bad thing that, like a stain on underwear, leaves an undesirable "residue." And Loeffler attributes todays' "unprecedented" "anti-Semitism" to Christians. This is false; the anti-Semitism in Europe is largely a product of recent Muslim immigration. Violent and sometimes deadly anti-Semitism in the US is disproportionately a product of socioeconomic and race-related factors; for example see the 2019 Jersey City terror attack that left six dead. The assailants were believers in the Black Hebrew Israelite myth. According to this ideology, America's blacks are the real Jews. Those who identify as Jewish today "stole" Jewishness from black people. Black Muslim Louis Farrakhan is a major proponent of this anti-Semitic ideology.


The idealogues who object to "Judeo-Christian" because it is not Woke are anti-Western. In the past, they would have been the relativists who said, "All cultures are equally worthy. The West should not be chauvinist." They have since jettisoned that relatively anodyne position. They've adopted a newer, more toxic stance. The West is just plain bad and BIPOC, who, in this version, are ahistorically excluded from the West, are superior. BIPOC stands for "black, indigenous, people of color." The same people who reject "Judeo-Christian" will tell you that the Enlightenment was nothing special, or, worse, that it oppressed BIPOC. In 2018, Jamelle Bouie, now a New York Times columnist, insisted that colonialism, slavery, imperialism, and racism can all be blamed on the Enlightenment. He cited major scholars in his indictment. They will also tell you that the Ancient Greeks didn't originate anything that hadn't already happened in Africa. These folks don't object to "Judeo-Christian" because it's too Christian or somehow, in some hidden way, secretly an anti-Semitic dog whistle. They hate the phrase because they want to end Western Civilization and replace it with a Marxist Utopia.


I use the phrase "Judeo-Christian tradition" because it is an accurate phrase that refers to a real phenomenon. To those like Sandra Bernhard who insist that a Jewish person like herself has nothing in common with a "goyisha Shiksa" like myself, I must say, sorry, you are wrong. Of course there are obvious differences between Bernhard and Palin, or Woody Allen and Matt Walsh. But when we use the phrase "Judeo-Christian" we aren't comparing Bernhard and Palin, Allen and Walsh. Rather, we are talking about vast world cultures and their impact on human perceptions and behavior over the course of thousands of years.


Christianity accepts Jewish scripture. From the Vatican: "The sacred scriptures of the Jewish people are a fundamental part of the Christian bible … A perennial manifestation of this link [between Christians and Jews] to their beginnings is the acceptance by Christians of the Sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people as the Word of God addressed to themselves as well. Indeed, the Church has accepted as inspired by God all the writings contained in the Hebrew Bible." This complete acceptance of another faith's scripture is remarkable. It isn't reflected in other world religions. Hinduism does not accept the Qur'an. Buddhism doesn't accept the Bible. Islam does not accept the Rig Veda.


Sarah Palin inherited the Old Testament from Jews, who passed it on to non-Jewish converts, over the course of two thousand years. Christians believe in the truth of the Old Testament. Christians feel themselves to be bound by the Ten Commandments. Jesus was a Jew. His followers were Jews. The authors of the New Testament were Jews, with the possible exception of Luke, who may or may not have been a Hellenized Jew. The New Testament authors wrote in the tradition of the Old Testament. The New American Bible, like other Bibles, is replete with footnotes connecting New Testament texts with parallels in the Old Testament. See, for example, Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, a central Christian text. Footnotes refer the reader to parallel texts in the Old Testament books of Psalms, Isaiah, Exodus, and Deuteronomy. The final New Testament book, Revelation, is notoriously difficult to understand. That is because it, line by line, word by word, cites material from the Old Testament, predominantly the book of Daniel, but also Ezekial, Psalms, and Isaiah. Without an understanding of those works, the Book of Revelation is incomprehensible.


As I wrote the above paragraph, I could hear my friend Alex objecting. Don't call the Hebrew Bible the "Old Testament," Alex will say. But that's the conventional term for the material and any use of a different name will obscure more than it clarifies, I respond. Alex will then go on to point out that the sharing of material has not prevented Christians from persecuting Jews. I never said it did, I insist to Alex, who is present, right now, only in my imagination, but who will surely raise all these objections if this piece is published. To Alex I say, yes, Alex, Christians have persecuted Jews. We acknowledge that, we repent, and we are doing everything we can to prevent persecution's recurrence. There have been Christians working, for millennia, against persecution of Jews, from Gregory the Great to Bishop Cosmas to Wiktoria Ulma. Further, to Alex, and to anyone else who argues that persecution erases any shared cultural heritage, I submit the following analogies. Americans and Englishmen fought a bloody war and committed atrocities against each other. The violence of the Revolution did nothing to change the fact that both spoke English. Anyone studying the history of English would not rule out British or American English because of violence between the two populations. Protestants and Catholics managed to kill between four and twelve million people during the Thirty Years War. That slaughter does not change the fact that Protestants and Catholics share significant portions of their cultural heritage. To subsume Protestants and Catholics under the one word "Christian" is no attempt to rewrite history, to sweep historic wrongs under the carpet, to turn Protestants into Papists or to wrest rosaries from Catholics. It is merely culturally accurate.


Christians and Jews share Genesis. Given that Genesis is so well known, it may be assumed to be a standard creation text, similar to other creation texts around the world. Cultural relativists insist on this; Genesis is just like various Pagan creation stories. This is nonsense. Genesis is unique, argued the late Bible scholar Yehezkel Kaufmann. Kaufmann pointed out that Pagan creation stories include a feature that is absent from Genesis, that is, "a realm of being prior to the gods and above them, upon which the gods depend, and whose decrees they must obey." Genesis gives us something found in no other creation myth: an omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving God who creates everything that exists ex nihilo and declares his creation "good." This God creates the ancestors of all human life on earth. Jewish commentators on the Adam and Eve story insist that it renders all humans equally dignified. Nathan Ausubel paraphrases that interpretation thus,


"Why did God create only one Adam and not many at a time? He did this to demonstrate that one man in himself is an entire universe. Also He wished to teach mankind that he who kills one human being is as guilty as if he had destroyed the entire world. Similarly, he who saves the life of one single human being is as worthy as if he had saved all of humanity. God created only one man so that people should not try to feel superior to one another and boast of their lineage in this wise: 'I am descended from a more distinguished Adam than you.' He also did this so that the heathen should not be able to say that, since many men had been created at the same time, it was conclusive proof that there was more than one God. Lastly, He did this in order to establish His own power and glory. When a maker of coins does his work he uses only one mould and all the coins emerge alike. But the King of Kings, blessed be His name, has created all mankind in the mould of Adam, and even so no man is identical to another. For this reason each person must respect himself and say with dignity: 'God created the world on my account. Therefore let me not lose eternal life because of some vain passion!'"


Further, God, alone among all his creations, created the human being in His own image. Genesis gives us the roots of individuality and human rights. The rest of the Old Testament reflects this emphasis on the value of each individual human person, as a unique individual, not merely a resource for his or her tribe, or a representative of an archetype. There is no other ancient literature that so consistently respects and captures the lives of named, average men and women. Greek literature gives us individuals, but they tend to be beautiful, powerful royalty. In the Old Testament, even a slave woman, Hagar, has a name and a personality, as does a starving widow, Ruth, and a mother, Hannah, who misses her absent son and makes him a little garment every year, guessing what size will fit him as he grows out of her sight. As a woman I am especially amazed by Leah, a woman less attractive than her sister, who is identified as the first person in history to praise and thank God. These are average women, and they have names and personalities. In other ancient material, women are archetypes, like Corn Mother, or royalty, like Sita from the Ramayana.


If you turn back the clock and erase the Old Testament, Western Civilization never develops. What would replace it? Myths like the foundational creation myth of Hinduism. In the Rig Veda, Parusha, the Primal Man, is sacrificed. From his mouth, the Brahman is created. From his arms, the warrior caste. From his thighs, the merchants. From his feet, the servants. Untouchables did not emerge from this body; they are outside of the human moral universe, and are subjected to uncounted abuses.


The individualism so typical of the West is not a feature of Hinduism or Buddhism. In those beliefs, individualism is an illusion and the goal is to overcome that illusion and to lose the self as a droplet loses its individuality when it enters the ocean. In Hinduism, the route to that liberation is dharma, carrying out the tasks assigned to a given caste. In Buddhism, the route is meditation. In simple language, the Judeo-Christian tradition is different from the Hindu-Buddhist tradition.


Anyone objecting to the term "Judeo-Christian tradition" would benefit from reading the Twenty-Four Filial Exemplars. Confucian-influenced tales prize the self-sacrifice of children to their parents, including abusive step-parents. A naked boy lays on a frozen river to melt the ice and acquire carp to feed an abusive step-parent. This is virtue. A man quits his job, travels to his birthplace, and consumes his father's excrement as part of health care for his ill father. He prays to the gods, offering to die in his father's place. This is virtue. Other children slice off bits of their own flesh and feed it to their parents to improve their parents' health. This is called gegu and in Confucian literature it is virtuous. Confucian values contribute to ordered, law-abiding societies in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. Confucianism is very different from the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Some advance the term "Abrahamic" as a Woke-approved replacement for "Judeo-Christian." They like it because it is "inclusive." Note that they do not like it because it is accurate, because it is not. In response to a question from me, Islam expert Robert Spencer wrote to me in July, 2023, "'Abrahamic' is misleading and useless as a classification for Judaism, Christianity and Islam because Islam lays claim to exclusivity and claims that the teachings of Judaism and Christianity constitute twisting and adulteration of the original faith of Abraham. In the Qur'an (60:4), Abraham says that there will be enmity and hatred between him and his people forever until they worship Allah alone. This enmity applies to the Jews and Christians who fondly assume they can achieve some accord with Muslims based on their shared Abrahamic origins."


Again, the New Testament was written by Jews (with the possible exception of Luke). It was written in the land of Israel. It makes constant reference to the Old Testament; in fact it is incomprehensible without the Old Testament as key. Its main character, Jesus, was an observant Jew, descended from King David.


Nothing like the above can be said about Islam or the Qur'an. The Qur'an we know is in Arabic; there is debate about the language of the original material from which the Qur'an was compiled. The Qur'an was initially embraced by Arabs who had little cultural or genetic relationship to Jews of the land of Israel. The Qur'an is unstinting in its condemnation of Jews and Christians. The Qur'an takes bits and pieces of pre-existing Jewish, Christian, and Pagan material, garbles that material, and uses it to support a new religion, Islam. This new religion is very different from Judaism or Christianity. One must read the entire Qur'an to understand how completely it diverges from the Old and New Testaments. It is not, by any stretch, in the same category. Muslims recognize this. Modern Muslims condemn the entire Bible. Mere possession of a Bible is against the law, or at least highly dangerous in several Muslim countries.


One way to illustrate how a tradition impacts a population is to look at rates of female survival, as shown in sex ratio, and rates of female genital mutilation, child marriage, female literacy, honor killing, and fertility rates. On these objective measures, Muslim countries score poorly. They are frequently named among the worst countries on earth for women. Features other than Islam may not link these "worst" countries. Afghanistan is an arid, landlocked, and mountainous country in Central Asia. Sudan is on a coast in Africa. Yemen is on the Arabian peninsula. Malaysia, a humid island nation where female genital mutilation is increasing rather than decreasing, is in Southeast Asia. The feature that links these diverse countries is not language or history or terrain. It is Islam. By objective measures, Islam damages the lives of women and girls in a way that the Judeo-Christian tradition does not. The phrase "Abrahamic" should not be used to sweep the ugliness of gender apartheid under the rug. Further, largely Hindu and Muslim India, and Confucian-influenced China have "lost" one hundred million females to various culling methods like sex-selective abortions. There are no comparable statistics from nations influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition.


"Judeo-Christian" means something. It doesn't mean that one is an anti-Semite or a philo-Semite. It doesn't mean that one is a xenophobe, an Islamophobe, or a fascist. "Judeo-Christian" is an accurate term that reflects a significant cultural trend that has existed for millennia. The term doesn't even convey that that cultural trend is superior, or inferior to any other cultural trend. Woke "problematizes" that which it hopes to erase and replace with Marxist Utopia. We don't have to knuckle under to that. To do so would be to abandon the best features of our shared Judeo-Christian tradition.


Danusha Goska is the author of God Through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery



1 comment:

  1. We must not be surprised that the left wing always tries to divide people. That is what they do best. And then the left wing keeps telling us that nations and religions don't really matter because "all people are basically the same".

    Go figure.

    Your arguments are good, but don't expect the leftists to think logically.


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