You may be wondering: What is a “consumer alert” doing on a blog that focuses on religion? Perhaps you never thought about it this way, but religion involves a transaction. There is an exchange taking place. The Christian missionary is encouraging you to give the
devotion of your heart to Jesus and he is promising you eternal life in return for what you have given.
I may have offended you by comparing religion to a financial transaction. You may be thinking that this is a crass, materialistic and inappropriate way to talk about religious worship. I am not planning to apologize. I see it as my duty to explain the truth as I
understand it. If this parable achieves the aim that one person attains one iota of clarity in this weighty issue, I would be remiss if I were to withhold it from him or her.
Let us get back to the transaction. The price you pay is the devotion of your heart, the return you are promised is escape from the fires of hell and eternal bliss – after death.
How can we demonstrate that this transaction is fraudulent? If the promised
return only takes place after death, how then can we be confident that the deal
is a sham? On the other hand, if the salesperson is not providing any tangible
proof that the deal is viable, shouldn’t you be suspicious?
We will use three different methods to demonstrate why it is that you should not get involved in this exchange. We will focus on the Jewish Bible, we will look at history and we
will look at some of the effects of this transaction here on earth.
The missionary claims that the Jewish Bible endorses and encourages the transaction that Christianity is promoting. This claim is demonstrably false.
But the Jewish Bible is a long and complex book! There are approximately 30,000 verses in the Jewish Bible and they are written in old Hebrew. How are we going to disprove the
missionary’s claim? (At the same time, you should be asking yourself: Is it really possible to substantiate the missionary’s claim from the pages of such a lengthy and complex document?)
Many studies of the Bible have been written to disprove the claims of the missionary. Some of these studies focus on those passages that the missionaries themselves have presented to support their claims. These studies have demonstrated that in many cases,
these very same passages turn out to be the strongest refutations to the missionary claims. Other studies focus on the broad scope of Scripture as a whole, demonstrating how the missionary claims have no basis in the total reality of the Jewish Bible.
In this brief study, I aim to focus on those passages in the Jewish Bible that speak of the particular transaction that we are addressing in this article – giving the devotion of
your heart in exchange for a future return. The Jewish Bible speaks at length
about directing the devotion of your heart. I want to bring to light a certain
teaching that the Jewish Bible repeatedly emphasizes concerning this very
The Jewish Bible emphasizes the question: Are you authorized to enter into this transaction?
One of the primary lessons of the Jewish Scripture is that the devotion of your heart is not yours to give away. It belongs to the God who created your heart in the first place.
Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 45:18, Jeremiah 10:16, Jonah 1:9, Psalm 86:9, 95:6,
100:3, Job 12:10, 35:10, Daniel 5:23 – are but some of the Scriptural
references to this teaching.
According to the same Jewish Scriptures that the Christian missionary is claiming as an endorsement for the transaction that he is encouraging – you are not authorized to enter into this transaction.
Let us now approach this transaction from a historical perspective.
Historically, the claims surrounding this transaction – i.e. the devotion of your heart in exchange for eternal bliss, have changed many times over. The same missionary who is
encouraging you to direct your devotion to Jesus will admit to you that many people in the past have mistakenly believed that they were going to heaven on the basis of their belief in Jesus – and they were dead wrong. Many Christians will agree that those who believed that faith in Jesus mandates that they persecute the Jewish people were not real Christians. In other words, people like Martin Luther – who was a fanatical Jew-hater, were not “saved” – despite the fact that they were fully confident in their eternal “salvation”.
If these people were misled in their belief that they had acquired eternal bliss on the basis of their faith in Jesus, how can you be confident that the same transaction is valid under
the new terms of the contract?
Our last analysis will focus on the effects of the transaction here on earth.
There are many side-benefits to this transaction that the Christian missionary promises to those who give their hearts in devotion to Jesus. These may include but are certainly not
limited to – faith healings, a sense of inner peace and joy, a feeling of cleansing from guilt, and a freedom from worry. No tests have been conducted to determine if these side-benefits are real or if they are simply the result of a placebo effect. The fact that adherents of many religions claim these same side-benefits as a result of whatever devotion that they may encourage – is a clear indication that we are dealing with a placebo effect and not with real medicine.
There is still one psychological effect that cannot be duplicated – and that is the satisfaction of your sensitivity to truth. There are many sincere and honest Christians who
have not examined the foundations of their faith. However, when they begin examining
the core arguments of Christianity such as the claim that Jesus is the Messiah predicted by the prophets of the Jewish Bible, they find that the Christian apologists could not satisfy their sensitivity to truth. As one former Christian testified to me: “I have found many great experiences as a follower of Jesus, but there is one experience that I could never find. No matter how much I tried, I could not fit Jesus in to the Jewish Bible. I was not able to satisfy my sense of honesty with the argument that Jesus is truly the Messiah predicted
by the Jewish prophets.” (This Christian ultimately left Christianity despite having been a follower of Jesus for close to 40 years.)
Please don’t take me at my word, but please don’t take the missionary at his word either. You owe it to yourself to examine the claims of the missionary first-hand. I encourage you to study the issue from its root.
You should recognize that all of Christendom acknowledges that a valid religious belief system existed prior to Jesus’ appearance. This religious belief system is the Judaism that preceded Jesus. All of the missionary’s claims rest on the assertion that the belief
system that preceded Jesus foretold the appearance of Jesus and mandates faith
in his mission. The scholars of Judaism throughout history have insisted that
not only is faith in Jesus not mandated by Judaism, but it is in fact the very
antithesis of the belief system established by God through Moses.
You owe it to yourself to study this debate. If you are a responsible person, you would not invest a significant amount of money without doing the proper research. Why is this
transaction different? If the missionary claims are false, then the devotion
that they are encouraging is nothing less than idolatry; the greatest sin
according to the Jewish Bible.
All I am asking of you is – step back and study the issue from its roots. Try and discover the authentic faith in God that existed before Jesus and study that belief system. Then
examine the claims of the Church in light of the mandates of the faith that it
claims to be based on.
Please study, explore and investigate – just don’t allow yourself to be snookered into a deal without knowing what you are getting yourself into.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal