18 Apr 2010

An Un-Christian Argument for Anti-Semitism

Religious 14 Comments

When I was in grammar school we saw a video on intolerance. One of the guys being interviewed was a skinhead who said he hated Jews “because they killed Jesus.”

Of course any form of hatred based on collectivism is ridiculous. Yet this particular example has always struck me as an absurd justification for an actual Christian to hold, for many reasons:

(1) Jesus commands us to love everyone.

(2) Jesus Himself forgave those who killed Him.

(3) Technically it was the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus, and yet I don’t hear too many Christians saying they accordingly hate Italians.

(4) The whole point of Christianity is that Jesus died for all of our sins. Think about this famous painting, or the fact that Mel Gibson apparently raised the hammer in The Passion (which drove the first spike). The point is, Christian doctrine says that it was ultimately your sin (and my sin) that killed Jesus. So to blame a particular group for doing it–unless the group is “human beings”–is ridiculous.

SPECIAL REQUEST: I do not want to spend a lot of time cleaning up the comments. If you want to argue with my theology or Biblical understanding, that’s fine, but I am asking you guys to be mature with this one. I don’t want to hear about “schools forcing PC propaganda down kids’ throats,” and I especially don’t want to hear about other reasons people are anti-Semitic. My point is to address the profoundly un-Christian nature of this standard justification given by anti-Semites.

14 Responses to “An Un-Christian Argument for Anti-Semitism”

  1. Jim D says:

    Interesting…I didn’t realize Skinheads had theology, but then again, I used to assume punk rock had no depth either. The argument is probably just an excuse they hope will appeal to a large part of the population. I can only see two interpretations:
    We realize Christ had to die, but we hate whoever did it
    We wish Christ hadn’t died, and hate whoever did it.

    If it be the first, then why did he have to die? If the second, they would do well to remember the passage where Peter attempted to rebuke Jesus, to which he replied:”Get behind me…”

  2. Aristos says:

    You’re spot on, Bob. Jesus did not merely suggest that we love our fellows, he commanded it. Likewise, he is more than admonishes us to avoid hating others–he commands us against it.

    Your examples are quite adequate: He Himself forgave the Romans who had tortured and were killing him. And even if some Jewish leaders had encouraged Pilate to execute Jesus, this cannot condemn all Jews. In the end, as you note, Jesus died for all people’s sins, so it’s a moot issue.

    There is also something odd about the logic behind hating Jews as a people since the early Church was built by Jews whose conversions to Christianity put them at great personal risk. Saul was on his way to Damascus when he converted and became Paul. He would later die brutally under Nero’s purge. Besieds, there is no sense in condemning the race to which Jesus himself belonged, especially since that race includes all of the important founders of the faith.

    It’s no wonder that anti-semitism is so easy to knock down. The elevation of hatred is a simpleton’s ideology.

    But now I’m rambling. It boils down to these:

    Jesus says love all people.
    Jews are people.
    Therefore, Jesus says love Jews.

    Jesus says hate no people.
    Jews are people.
    Therefore, Jesus says hate no Jews.

    Good Christians do as Jesus says.
    Jesus says to love/not hate Jews…

  3. fundamentalist says:

    Excellent points! The Jews merely requested that Pilate murder Jesus. Pilate and the Roman army committed the actual murder.

  4. Daniel Hewitt says:

    I don’t think the skinheads have thought out their version of Christianity very well, since Jesus was not a member of the race that they consider to be superior.

    • Aristos says:

      We’re left wondering if the skinheads have thought anything out very well.

  5. Leo says:

    You forgot to include the fact that Jesus was a Jew on the list. Or half Jew half God, however you want to look at it.

    (Last part was meant to be humorous, and not a call for debate on Christology)

  6. Jim says:

    Here is a similar, but deeper argument.

    Christ forgives the Jews who were culpable for His death on the cross just as He forgives all sinners. Jews who accepted His forgiveness and were saved were assimilated into the broader Christian culture that developed as Christianity spread just as pagan cultures were. The only people who remained as identifiably Jewish were those who explicitly rejected Christ. Non-Christian Jews that continued to reject Him damned themselves just as surely as gentiles who continued to worship Apollo, Wotan, or Mithras.

    But in the case of the non-Christian Jews in the first century AD, this would seem to especially offensive because it amounts to admitting guilt for Christ’s death but maintaining that it was A-OK to have crucified Him. It is this continued and unrepentant rejection of Christ offer of salvation that’s really the problem. To know Christ and yet reject Him is the one unforgivable sin that Jesus preached against in Mark 3 and Matthew 12.

    One could further argue that this applies not only to Jews who were present at Jesus trial and crucifixion, but to successive generations of non-Christian Jews who accept as true the same historical accounts, prophetic works, and divine laws, which Christians accept AND regard as testimony to Chirst’s divinity, but who still reject Christ’s offer of salvation.

    However, even if we were to accept this argument, it’s not clear that it would be grounds to hate non-Christian Jews for the reasons you and others enumerate above.

  7. Matt Flipago says:

    Yes technically it was the roman government who killed Jesus. The Jews are just as responsible for killing Jesus as the people of the United States are for killing the people in the Philippines.

  8. Cody says:

    Right on, Doc.

    I was unaware there was real argument on this.

    As well, there is the consideration that Jesus and the holy family (<–Catholic), as well as most of the apostles, and much of the early church, were Jewish.

  9. fundamentalist says:

    “To know Christ and yet reject Him is the one unforgivable sin…”

    Which applies to most Americans and Europeans.

  10. David Nelson says:

    Murder is the unlawful taking of a human life with malice. Encouraging a murder is to be an accessory or accomplice. The Romans took the actions which the Jewish council encouraged.

    The Romans committed a unlawful execution. There was no lawful reason to execute, Pilate said that he saw no reason to kill him. Ordered Jesus scourged instead. He finally acquiesced out of impatience to the wishes of the Jewish council.

    Nevertheless, Jesus required it of himself that he be sacrificed. Sacrifice is where you voluntarily give something up. He gave his life in exchange for ours.

    And he commanded to love.

    Anyone who hates Jews, (or anyone else at all) no matter the justification for the hatred, is not a disciple of Jesus Christ.

  11. Jim says:


    “To know Christ and yet reject Him is the one unforgivable sin…”

    Which applies to most Americans and Europeans.

    That’s right, and all the more reason why even the argument I outlined still does not justify hating Jews. We are still commanded to love them just as we are to love other non-believers. The most important way we should be doing this is by sharing the Gospel with them, even if we are persecuted for doing so. That’s what’s really ironic about all this; watch how fast you get denouced for anti-Semitism once you start preaching the Gospel to Jews.

  12. Nico says:

    “So to blame a particular group for doing it–unless the group is “human beings”–is ridiculous.”

    Wouldn’t it be equally ridiculous to blame the group “human beings” for killing Jesus?

  13. kim says:

    there was a former skinhead on npr who said skinheads do “bible study” and their belief system is ” Satan as a man had sex with Eve, they had a child Cain, and Cain’s children became jewish and it is the job of the skinheads to pour the wrath of God on these people” These people need to read 2 pages from Genesis and they know they’ve got it all wrong. Christians should tell these people listen…go actually read the bible ….. “someone lied to you bro” and this wrath they are talking about? God poured wrath on Jesus Christ so we would have mercy that’s why he died and was resurrected . and “God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son”
    Their “christianity” is no christianity,nada , based onLIES, they are blind being lead by the blind.
    Christians, tell these people the truth from the bible…and “don’t hate” doesn’t cut it.
    and what the hell this isn’t about who killed Jesus, Jesus had to die and be resurrected so there is a gospel for people’s salvation…why are people arguing about romans and jewish people when the skinheads have it wrong since Genesis?. Jews were the chosen people and gospel was meant to include “gentiles”
    their argument is jewish people were born of satan…like tell these people hey…you got it all wrong because they have it all wrong and they are walking around spreading lies like islam- which denies divinity and resurrection of Christ. They have the facts wrong! this is what we should argue…for God’s word is the double edged sword. As a christian my heart breaks that people walk around with such misinformation.