love versus the bible cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Christianity’s Antisemitism

Jesus says to Christians, "The difference between me and you is you use scripture to determine what love means and I use love to determine what scripture means."

This popular cartoon of mine “Love Versus the Bible” is its second iteration. The first showed Jesus talking to his male contemporaries.

Jewish friends informed me that it felt antisemitic. I intended for Jesus to be talking to random men, but it conveyed that Jesus’, and by implication Christianity’s, interpretation of scripture was more loving than the Jewish one.

Acknowledging it could indeed communicate this, I swiftly deleted and redrew it with Jesus addressing modern Christians.

This startled me into realizing Christianity carries a latent and often explicit antisemitism. 

I’ve read theologians discussing antisemitism present in each others’ work. I read Martin Luther’s disdain for the Jews. I read modern Evangelicals. I witness Christianity-fueled antisemitism online. And, alas, I have written and drawn things tainted with it.

Antisemitism is real and Christianity is involved.

Now I read with suspicion New Testament passages that speak disparagingly of the Jews. The earliest church’s frustration with the Jewish response to Christianity’s Christ is written into the so-called teachings of Jesus and the earliest biblical accounts of the church’s history to make them look bad.

Judaism and Christianity are two different and valid religions. But Christianity claimed ownership of the Jewish scriptures and narrative by co-opting them into its scriptures and narrative, making the “Old” Testament a lesser precursor of its “New”.

This will be disturbing to some because:

  1. It acknowledges the validity of other religions;
  2. It questions the transmitted words of Jesus; and 
  3. It throws into question the received history of the church.
  4. It exposes Christianity’s antisemitism.

I think Christianity has a lot to do in this regard.

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