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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q17.7 TOC Q17.9 >

Question 17.8:
Are the key Christian beliefs derived from Judaism?


Let's look at some of these beliefs:

  1. The coming of G-d as man. This belief is clearly pagan in origin. It's Osiris, or Zeus who are gods who appear as a man. There is no basis for this in Judaism.

  2. Children carrying the sins of their fathers. In truth, Children de-facto carry the sins of their fathers. Aside from this being a verse, it's a psychological fact. Someone raised by parents who habitually sinned in some way has that "baggage" with them even though the act isn't the child's. Someone raised by pickpockets isn't going to see the evil in it that you or I would.

  3. G-d as the father of the Jews. In the Torah, in Exodus, the Jews are called "My firstborn". Note that this does not imply that Jews alone are the children of G-d. A firstborn child is given the most responsibility and for that has the greatest potential for privilege if they are met. Much as the Jews have more commandments to fulfil, but have a special covenant with G-d if they do. (And are punished worse if they don't.)

  4. The concept of the sprit or the angel of the Lord. G-d has a Will, in the sense that G-d is not understood as a blind force or law. In that sense of "spirit", this is a Jewish belief. If that's what you mean by "spirit", I'd agree.

    As for Angels. Angels exist in Judaism. They all serve G-d. With no free will. An angel must complete its mission in the same way as a rock dropped above the ground will fall. In fact, natural forces like gravity are themselves mediated between the Will of G-d and the physical action by an angel. As the Talmud says it, "not a blade of grass lives without an angel standing over it saying 'grow! grow!'.

  5. The concept of a trinity. Not Jewish at all. Judaism has an indivisible G-d, which is incompatible with the trinity. Judaism teaches that every person has three parents: a mother, a father, and G-d, but none of us are deified. It's not "natural" that the child of G-d be a god. What early Christians did was take the Canaanite and Phoeician trinity of Ba'al, Asheirah and Moloch (Ba'al, Ishtar and Marduk), which later became the basis of the Greek and therefore the Roman pantheon and grafted that into Judaism to appeal to the polytheistic non-Jews of the Middle East. They also changed a religion that was about law, self improvement, decisions, and man's struggle to redeem himself, and made it about G-d, turning to G-d for salvation from man's inherent fallibility (the original sin).

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2004 Daniel P. Faigin <>