March 16, 2005


Judeo-Christian values are larger than Judaism or Christianity (Dennis Prager, March 15, 2005, Townhall)

The combination of Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament) and Christian thought and activism – as worked out mostly in America and mostly by Judeo-based Christians – has forged something larger and more universally applicable than either Judaism or Christianity alone. [...]

The American Christian identified with the Jews rather than saw himself as simply superseding them.

These American Christians chose a Torah verse – “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” – for their Liberty Bell; learned and taught Hebrew; adopted the Jewish notion of being chosen to be a light unto the nations; saw their leaving Europe as a second exodus; had every one of its presidents take the oath of office on an Old and New Testament Bible – and while every president mentioned God in his inaugural address, not one mentioned Jesus.

Of course, most Protestant Christians who hold Judeo-Christian values continue to believe that there is no salvation outside of faith in Christ. But precisely because they do hold Judeo-Christian values, they work hand in hand with others whose faith they deem insufficient or incorrect (e.g., Jews and Mormons). So while they theologically reject other faiths, evangelical Christians are the single strongest advocates of Judeo-Christian values.

They are what can be called “Judeo-Christians.” Since they founded America, such Christians have recognized the critical significance of the Jewish text – the Old Testament – which forms the foundation of Judeo-Christian values. It provided the God of Christianity, their supra-natural Creator, the notions of divine moral judgment and divine love, the God-based universal morality they advocate and try to live by, the Ten Commandments, the holy, the sanctity of human life, the belief in a God of history and that history has meaning, and moral progress. All these and more came from the Jews and their texts.

But while the Jews provided the text, the Christians brought the text and its values into the world at large and applied them to a society composed of Jews, Christians, atheists, and members of other religions.

Those Judeo-Christian values have made America the greatest experiment in human progress and liberty and the greatest force for good in history.

And they are exportable. In fact, they are humanity’s only hope.

Nothing so clearly identifies an atheist as an American as when he tells you he can use his own Reason to arrive at your values.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2005 11:04 AM

There are other children of Abraham.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 16, 2005 6:07 PM

No, I use my reason to arrive at my values. If you choose to hold similar values, I won't charge you for such freeloading.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at March 17, 2005 12:15 AM

Ah, yes, and they sprang fullblown from your mind... you aren't just kidding yourself and conforming to the Judeo-Christian culture you grew up and live in?

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2005 12:18 AM

The one that said Jews and Protestants are going to Hell?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at March 17, 2005 1:38 AM

Yes, you're a fanatical protestant, picking at the margins that aren't pure enopugh for you but accepting everything else.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2005 7:01 AM

It's the other way around. To the considerable extent that our society is more decent than earlier iterations (like, less slavery), that's because Christianity has had to adopt secular morality.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at March 18, 2005 8:03 PM

Genocide, abortion, euthanasia...

Posted by: oj at March 18, 2005 8:06 PM