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Is Anti-Semitism Ever Justified? Book Review

A Jesus For Christians, Jews And Atheists: A Look At James Carroll's 'Christ Actually'

A Jesus for "Christians, Jews And Atheists?" Let's add Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, and even the unchurched and truthseekers everywhere. Yes, Jesus belongs to everyone - it may sound glib to those who don't know Jesus, but it is true, and one of The Urantia Book's most comforting teachings!

This is a worthy article about a book that looks promising in this regard. Here's a good snip:

"A former Catholic priest and current Boston Globe columnist, Carroll wants his fellow Christians to recognize their error — certainly moral but also historical — in demonizing Judaism, the lifelong religion of Jesus and his early disciples. Yet one of this book's many valuable observations will surprise Christians and Jews alike: the divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe.

"So Judaism conceived a divine messiah, but science-steeped moderns can't accept the idea: provocative, but what's the point? Carroll's subtitle is "The Son of God for the Secular Age." Challenging orthodox Christianity, he discards fixation on creeds that the institutional church has spent centuries accreting, arguing instead that what counts in our secular times is imitating Jesus's compassion as recorded in scripture: mercy towards sinners, concern for the poor, and nonviolence. Carroll's role models include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian martyred by the Nazis, and the American Catholic justice advocate Dorothy Day.

Click to read the entire article

There are a couple of points in this article that will bear greater scrutiny for readers of The Urantia Book ... how close this author comes to helping build a bridge over the chasm of misunderstanding, guilt, and blame that has come down to even this 21st century on the Jewish people!

First, this idea of the Jewish messiah ... From the article:

"The divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe."

So true! Jesus was (and is) a divine being. He was incarnated into a Jewish society to Jewish parents, but he transcended his peoples' religion fairly early-on. I suspect that, had Jesus been born into any other religious milieu, he would have transcended it, also, because the religion that he came to establish was far and away better than any existing man-made religion of his day, or any day. But here he was, a Jewish baby, reared in a Jewish home - and it was to his father Joseph's people that he revealed his divinity; it was to them he offered his new religion. It was to fulfill their idea of the "messiah" that he tailored his teachings.

Click to read CONCEPTS OF THE EXPECTED MESSIAH from The Urantia Book, in which we read:

"The Jews entertained many ideas about the expected deliverer, and each of these different schools of Messianic teaching was able to point to statements in the Hebrew scriptures as proof of their contentions. In a general way, the Jews regarded their national history as beginning with Abraham and culminating in the Messiah and the new age of the kingdom of God. In earlier times they had envisaged this deliverer as "the servant of the Lord," then as "the Son of Man," while latterly some even went so far as to refer to the Messiah as the "Son of God." But no matter whether he was called the "seed of Abraham" or "the son of David," all were agreed that he was to be the Messiah, the "anointed one." Thus did the concept evolve from the "servant of the Lord" to the "son of David," "Son of Man," and "Son of God."

And Jesus was never able to fully divorce himself from these strong ideas. Following the wedding events at Cana, where the water was turned to wine, Jesus was sorely perplexed:

137:5.3 That night Jesus did not sleep. Donning his evening wraps, he sat out on the lake shore thinking, thinking until the dawn of the next day. In the long hours of that night of meditation Jesus came clearly to comprehend that he never would be able to make his followers see him in any other light than as the long-expected Messiah. At last he recognized that there was no way to launch his message of the kingdom except as the fulfillment of John's prediction and as the one for whom the Jews were looking. After all, though he was not the Davidic type of Messiah, he was truly the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of the more spiritually minded of the olden seers. Never again did he wholly deny that he was the Messiah. He decided to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will.
The second point that should be considered is this idea that the Jews have borne the brunt of the world's hatred and disdain for all of these centuries. The Urantia Book teaches that this should not be so, and must be rejected. Although the Jews who wielded the power to kill Jesus WERE responsible, this guilt does in no way carry down to any individual descendents of the Jewish religion or culture

From The Urantia Book:

175:2.1 The fact that the spiritual leaders and the religious teachers of the Jewish nation onetime rejected the teachings of Jesus and conspired to bring about his cruel death, does not in any manner affect the status of any individual Jew in his standing before God. And it should not cause those who profess to be followers of the Christ to be prejudiced against the Jew as a fellow mortal. The Jews, as a nation, as a sociopolitical group, paid in full the terrible price of rejecting the Prince of Peace. Long since they ceased to be the spiritual torchbearers of divine truth to the races of mankind, but this constitutes no valid reason why the individual descendants of these long-ago Jews should be made to suffer the persecutions which have been visited upon them by intolerant, unworthy, and bigoted professed followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who was, himself, a Jew by natural birth.
"Many times has this unreasoning and un-Christlike hatred and persecution of modern Jews terminated in the suffering and death of some innocent and unoffending Jewish individual whose very ancestors, in the times of Jesus, heartily accepted his gospel and presently died unflinchingly for that truth which they so wholeheartedly believed. What a shudder of horror passes over the onlooking celestial beings as they behold the professed followers of Jesus indulge themselves in persecuting, harassing, and even murdering the later-day descendants of Peter, Philip, Matthew, and others of the Palestinian Jews who so gloriously yielded up their lives as the first martyrs of the gospel of the heavenly kingdom!
"How cruel and unreasoning to compel innocent children to suffer for the sins of their progenitors, misdeeds of which they are wholly ignorant, and for which they could in no way be responsible! And to do such wicked deeds in the name of one who taught his disciples to love even their enemies! It has become necessary, in this recital of the life of Jesus, to portray the manner in which certain of his fellow Jews rejected him and conspired to bring about his ignominious death; but we would warn all who read this narrative that the presentation of such a historical recital in no way justifies the unjust hatred, nor condones the unfair attitude of mind, which so many professed Christians have maintained toward individual Jews for many centuries. Kingdom believers, those who follow the teachings of Jesus, must cease to mistreat the individual Jew as one who is guilty of the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. The Father and his Creator Son have never ceased to love the Jews. God is no respecter of persons, and salvation is for the Jew as well as for the gentile."

Just knowing the real story - the full story - of Jesus' incarnation and the life he led while in human form should help any seeker of any religious (or even non-religious) practice to discover that Jesus stands quite aloof and apart from any established religion on this earth - then or now.

The time is long passed when all of the children of God should know that they stand on an equal footing with God. No matter what our religious upbringing is, no matter what our gender, no matter our social status, all of us can rest assured that God loves all of his children the same.

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