Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Christianity and Islam

Christian Idolatry


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

16 Adar II 5763
Please forgive me if i, as an american christian, am not supposed to submit a question. you see, i love Israel and her people. i am grateful for your time Rabbi should my inquire merit your response. the term idolatry is used frequently in many of Ask The Rabbi’s answers when dealing with christian practice, mentality, and spiritual development. as i read the questions directed to Ask The Rabbi on a regular basis i have felt hopeless had i been born a Jew. could facing the intensity of detail of Jewish Law day to day...become a form of idolatry?
I am sorry that you are feeling hopeless. Jewish theology teaches that righteous gentiles have a place in the "world to come"; in other words- the lives of good people whose ethics and actions are linked to the truth of the Torah- have transcendent eternal value, even though they are not Jewish and need keep only the seven Noachide laws. That said, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is ideologically idolatrous. Any doctrine that teaches that G-d is or was a human being or can take any other limited, wordly, created form is idolatrous by definition. Those who worship statues and icons are guilty of a more serious offense; but any belief that blurs the boundaries between the world- even the world of ideas and abstract truths- and its Creator is philosophically idolatrous. Still, gentiles who have these mistaken beliefs but continue to act ethically are entitled to respect and admiration. The commandments of the Torah in no way confuse the world with its Creator, the exact opposite is true. How Judaism deals with the concepts of Divine will or Divine wisdom (both intelligible and hence in a sense created ideas) goes beyond the scope of this e-mail. The responses on this web-site that emphasized the idolatry of Christian doctrine were in answer to queries we received where the intent was either missionizing (and if you truly love the Jewish people, you must recognize the importance of combatting the malignant influence of missionizing groups) or reflected the confusion of a Jewish questioner. It is not our purpose in any way to "convert" ethical, righteous gentiles, to Jewish practice. Continue to love Israel and its people and help us build a more ethical world that reflects the higher values of mankind.
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