FACTORS AFFECTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JEWS AND OTHER FAITHS
Date:Factors Affecting the Relationship Between Jews and Other Faiths
Religion is often believed to be a factor in global conflict. Most conflicts in the world are propelled by frictions of cultural identity, primarily based on religion. Significant violent attacks such as the 9/11 attacks support the notion that conflict worldwide is contributed mainly by religious differences. Nonetheless, religion is an irreplaceable source in promoting reconciliation and understanding, and it gives a basis for peacebuilding efforts. All of the major religions in the world always try to emphasize maintaining peace around the globe. Religious traditions have the resources that may help in promoting peace. Volunteers and religious leaders have proven in many instances to be in the frontline in the efforts of the society to resolve conflict, helping to promote peacebuilding by serving as intermediaries. Therefore, interfaith relationships are essential in reducing violent religious attacks around the world. Over half of the world's population believes in a particular religion, either Christianity, Islamic, Buddhism, Judaism, and others. Therefore, religious leaders worldwide must strive to uphold good interfaith relations to maintain the world's existing peace. Even though certain factors promoted the progress of interfaith relations after World War II, some factors delayed the process.
Factors that Promoted the Jewish Relation with Other Faiths After World War II
After the Second World War, the Jewish developed several dialogues with different religious traditions (Interfaith dialogue). Interfaith dialogue is the constructive, cooperative, and positive interactions among individuals of different faiths, humanistic, or spiritual beliefs, at both institutional and personal levels. Interfaith dialogue is different from alternative religions or syncretism because it invariably encourages understanding various beliefs and religions to enhance acceptance of other people instead of creating new beliefs. In the entire world, there are international, national, regional, and local interfaith programs. Many of the initiatives are informally or formally associated and signifies more extensive networks or federations. The primary purpose of interfaith initiatives is to promote peace between religions. Federations and governments believe that only peace among religions will lead to peace between countries. Interfaith dialogue forms a more significant role in peacebuilding and the study of religion. Thus there is a notion that peace between religions can only be brought about through dialogues.
Moreover, the Jews developed a dialogue between them and Muslims. The Jewish-Muslim dialogue has been in place since the beginning of the 17th century. The discussion aimed at interactions and exchanging opinions and ideas between the Jews, Christians, and Islam (Firestone, 2013, 224). The discourse created good interaction and relation between the two religions to reduce instances of religious violence attacks. In early Christianity, the Jews lived amidst individuals in the new religions and movements. The Jews were therefore divided among themselves on whether to join other movements/religions or not. To reduce religious conflicts, which can result in a greater religious war globally, Muslim and Jewish leaders decided to have a dialogue to increase the acceptance of new religions in society.
Furthermore, it has been noted that the Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been participating in a dialogue at the congregational and institutional level for years. First, they were engaging between lay communities and through clergy relationships. As Muslim society grew in various parts of the world, such as the United States, and as Muslim professionals became more involved in social and civil affairs, they were invited by the Christians to participate in the dialogue to enhance their interaction. The dialogue brought Muslims and Jews closer in a discission environment where the faiths could interact with one another and observe others' behaviors in the inter-religious settings. Besides, Muslims Religious leaders were also invited by the clergy leaders to attend their events. In places where Islamic centers or mosques and synagogue happened to be nearby, spiritual leaders of Jews congregations (rabbis) occasionally introduce Muslim religious leaders' contacts (Firestone, 2013, 230). Interacting with Muslim religious leaders was not direct as initiating interaction with Jewish and Christian religious leaders because of Muslim communities' unique conditions in the US. From the initial times of Islamic religions, Islamic centers and Mosques always do not have trained clergy. Sometimes their clergy are trained abroad, which causes them to struggle in communication, hardening the interaction process. However, the Jewish-Muslim dialogue greatly enhanced the relationship between the Muslims, Jews, and other Christians.
Furthermore, Jews initiated dialogue with other Christians known as Jewish-Christian dialogue. The purpose of the dialogue was to reconcile the two sister faiths, a significant development in the world since the twentieth century (Ariel, 2013, 207). The planned attempt of the dialogue between the Jews and Christians started towards the end of the 19th century, mainly on the liberal initiatives. Several clergy members of Jewish and Christians invited each other to talk in some of their congregations. The leaders' invitation to their respective congregations created a personal exchange between the Christians and progressive Jewish leaders. The purpose of the direct, systematic dialogue was to improve the relationship and enhance a trusting atmosphere between the two sister faiths which was a success. There has been an intellectual and social exchange between Jewish and Christian representatives that intended to enhance cooperation. However, Christian leaders were not interested in the dialogue and creating a peaceful atmosphere between them and Jewish by accepting each other's faith. They agreed to dialogue with the Jewish in the late nineteenth century. From their discussion, an atmosphere was created that showed appreciation to the two religions' faiths, improving their relationships.
Besides, interfaith dialogue has dramatically impacted the Jewish and Christian communities at large. The dialogue has also remained tremendously in priests, ministers, rabbis, academicians, and thinkers who chose to represent their traditions and communities. The dialogue sometimes left out countercultural, secular, conservative, dissenting, and popular voices in the community. Ironically, when the dialogue reached its peak, it brought extraordinary enhancement in the relation between the Jews and Christians. Besides, the dialogue also reached a standoff over the Jewish attraction with the country of Israel.
Moreover, the priority for the mainstream Christian churches was the reconciliation with Judaism in the mid-20th century. The Jewish religious leaders aimed at interacting with Judaism leaders to enhance their interaction and relationship (Efron et al., 2018, 424). In the twentieth century, the Jewish and Judaism faiths reconciled. Different leaders from Jews and Judaism invited their fellow leaders from the other faith community, which enhanced their relationship. The conflict which was previously prevalent among the two religious communities was significantly reduced in the mid-twentieth century. Christians and Judaism accepted the beliefs and existence of each other, creating a stronger relationship among them.
Furthermore, the Nostra Aetate issuance in early '65 enhanced the relationship between Christin Jews and Roman Catholics. Nostra Aetate drew people closer day by day. The relationships between different individuals from various religions became stronger. The churches examined their relationships more closely with the non-Christian religions like Judaism. Nostra Aetate had the task of promoting love and unity among all people, which upholds unity between nations. The declaration factored in commonalities in people and what drives them to fellowship. One of the factors that drew people together in the community of all the people was humans' origin (Sherman, 2015, 8). They believed that God created the whole human race to live on the earth's surface. Another factor is the humans' final goal, which is unity with God. People believed that God's providence, goodness manifestation, and His saving design are equally directed to all humankind up to the time when the chosen group will be united in the Holy city. The Holy City is that city blazing with God's glory, where nations will walk in God's light. From ancient times to date, humans joined religious communities such as Christianity, Islamic, and Judaism to find the answer to the unsolved riddle about man's condition, which has stirred their hearts. They try to find the meaning and purpose of life in religious setups. Religious beliefs also try to define good morals and sin to humans. One good moral is love to all human kinds, which several religious leaders have used to draw their congregations together and unite people. Nostra Aetate has campaigned for the equality of all humankind bring people of different religions together. Currently, people are trying to identify and accept other religions, creating a stronger relationship between them.
The Jewish and protestant Christians share a common belief about the God they worship and the existence of Jesus Christ. The existence of a common belief between religions has enhanced the relationship of those faiths. For instance, it has been affirmed that the true living God worshipped by the Jews is the same God other protestant Christians and even Muslim's worship (Paul, 965, 4). Similarly, the Jews and other Christians believe that God revealed Himself in Jesus, who was sent on the earth to die for humanity's sins. The church chosen by Jesus Christ has been imbedded in God's people by the His covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The common belief between Christians and Jewish portrays that Christians have not replaced the Jews. It is believed that God's reign is verified both by the existence of the Jewish and the Christian churches' proclamations about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Protestants Christians always acknowledge that the Jewish are already in a covenant relationship with God whenever they discuss (Sherman, 2015, 7). The shared beliefs between Jews and other Christians facilitated their interaction which promoted their relationship. The common belief about God being the father of all human kinds enhanced unity and love among people improving the relationship between different religions.
Factors that Promoted the Jewish Relation with Other Faiths After World War II
The progress of relation between the Jewish and Muslims were delayed due to the mistreatment of the Jews by Muslims. The relationship between the Muslims and other religious living under the Muslim rules occurred within constraints established by the Muslim law of Dhimma after the initial era of religious formation. The laws were protecting Muslim communities against other religions and beliefs. The Christians and Jews were protected but overpowered and were referred to as dhimmi communities. The Jews were protected by the law and held legal citizenship in the land but at a secondary social status. According to Muslim Laws, the Jews were allowed to freely worship unless the worship is conducted in a public place. However, they were entirely prohibited from evangelizing. The consequence of breaking the Muslim law was death. Religious dialogues, which could quickly turn to be a conflict, became a dangerous effort. Therefore, the Jewish Relationship with Muslims was delayed due to fear of harsh Muslim laws.
Besides, the Christians and Jews were only protected by the law only if they accept their inferior status. If they failed to acknowledge and show respect to the Islamic religion, the government would withdraw the official protections, leaving them exposed to other religions' possible mistreatments. Forcing the Christians and Jews (dhimmis) communities to participate in submissive behaviors concerning Muslims created a balance between inferior status and protection was achieved by. Dhimmis communities were required to wear identifiable clothing and even use specialized address forms (Firestone, 2013, 224). When Muslims felt that the Christians and Jews were not accepting their subordinate positions, they could be subjected to cruelty and brutality directed at them collectively or individually. Occasionally, accusations made by Muslims against Jews Christians were for crooked reasons and personal gains. The accusations would require a coordinated campaign and response by the Jews and the Christian community to protect and ensure their rights. In general, the Muslim community offered legal status for the Jews in the areas dominated by Muslims, which required the Jews to fully recognize and offer full respect to the Dhamma community. The fear of mistreatment from the Muslim community reduced proper interactions between the Jews and Muslims in dhamma communities. Therefore, the superiority and hostility nature of Muslims delayed the relationship between Jews and Muslims.
Moreover, the reconciliation between the Jewish and Judaism, which was a priority in the 20th century, became less critical at the start of the 21st century reducing the relationship between the mainstream Christians and Judaism. The Jews shifted their concerns and focus to dialogues with other faiths such as Islam deteriorating their relationships with other religions. Besides, the interfaith dialogue between the Jews and other religions was essential to other Christians, while others did not put seriousness in the dialogue. That is, the dialogue was not crucial to all Christian religious leaders (Prager, 2007, 61). . Besides, the reconciliation between the Christian community and Jewish has been fragile, with stubborn pockets of suspicions and bitterness still exist even though the interfaith dialogue has been a significant success. Not all Protestants, Catholics, and other Christian mainstream members have accepted the validity of Judaism and other religious groups. Therefore, other Christians have seen no need to change their attitude towards Judaism since World war II. Similarly, not all Jews have participated in the dialogue, and not all have accepted other religions' beliefs. Lack of belief and doubt about other religions have by a specific group of Christians and Jews have delayed their relations' progress. Whereas interfaith dialogue has been a significant boost in the remarkable improvement of the relationship between different faiths, the truth is that the correlation between the Jewish and other Christians has remained delicate due to lack of trust of particular fractions of the Religious groups.
Moreover, the difference in the ideologies and opinions in different religions delayed interaction between various faiths. For instance, Christians and Jewish religions believe in Jesus Christ being the son of God sent on earth to die for humans' sins (Saperstein, 1989, 41). Muslims, on the other hand, do not believe in Jesus Christ as a son of God. Instead, they believe in a mighty prophet Mohamed. Discussions between these two groups may sometimes lead to conflict as one party may be trying to explain to another about their faith. Therefore, it has been hard to develop a straightforward dialogue between Muslims and Christian communities without conflict. The fear of initiating a conflict that may disrupt peace in the entire world has made religious leaders fear getting into discussions with their fellow leaders. Therefore, the interactions between faiths have been minimized, reducing their relationships.
In a nutshell, the most considerable fraction of the world's population believes in a particular religion. Religion is believed to be a factor in international conflict. Therefore, to ensure peace is maintained globally, religions must first create a stronger relationship between their members by accepting others' faiths and beliefs. It is believed that there cannot be peace in the world if there is no peace in religions. From the end of the Second World War, some factors have promoted the relationship between different religions, which has dramatically promoted peace in the world. These factors include dialogues between different faiths and Nostra Aetate's establishment, promoting all humankind's equality. However, there have been some factors such as unacceptance of other religions' cultures and doubt about other faiths' validity, which delayed interaction between different religions.References
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