February 23, 2005

UNIVERSALIZING THE PARTICULAR (via Jim Siegel):

The case for Judeo-Christian values: Part V (Dennis Prager, February 15, 2005, Townhall)

Judeo-Christian values combine the two religions' strengths -- the Jewish emphasis on moral works in this world with the Christian emphasis on keeping God at the center of one's values and works.

Another example is the American Christian's ability to remain God-centered and hold onto traditional beliefs while fully participating in modern society. This has not generally been the case in Jewish life. Over the centuries, God-centered and Torah-believing Jews retreated from mainstream society. They did so because: 1) anti-Semitism forced Jews into ghettos; 2) Jewish ritual laws increasingly restricted contact with non-Jews; and 3) Jews are a people, not just a religious group.

On the other hand, Jewish rituals have kept Judaism and the Jews alive while the abandonment of ritual (for example, Sabbath observance) has hurt Christianity. And Jewish peoplehood has ensured action on behalf of persecuted fellow Jews while Christians usually did little on behalf of persecuted fellow Christians -- as, for example, those many Christians terribly persecuted under Communism; the Copts in Egypt; the Maronite Catholics in Lebanon; and the Christians of Sudan.

In sum, despite whatever differences they have, Jews and Christians need each other and Judaism and Christianity need each other. The Judeo-Christian values system has become a uniquely powerful moral force. Among its many achievements is that it is the primary contributor to America's greatness.


One germane point that Mr. Prager ignores is that Christians, in particular Americans, have acted on behalf of the persecuted of every faith everywhere, because Christyianity is universalist rather than particularist. Thus America will liberalize Egypt, Syria and Lebanon in their entirety.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 23, 2005 7:39 AM
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