Judaeo-Christian

My son Daniel pointed out to me a feature of Trump’s speech to the laughably named Values Voters summit which seems to have slipped by most observers. As summarized by Colbert King in the Washington Post

Telling a revved-up Values Voter audience that he is “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” Trump suggested to the crowd, which already thinks a “war on Christianity” is being waged, that invoking “Merry Christmas” is a way of fighting back.

But “Happy Holidays” is exactly an expression of Judaeo-Christian values, coined to embrace the Jewish Hanukkah as well as Christmas. In this context, King’s suggestion that “Happy Holidays” is secular misses the point. The majority of secular Americans celebrate Christmas (happily mixing Santa Claus, carols, and consumerism). They say “Happy Holidays” as a nod to religious diversity among believers, not because they feel excluded from Christmas.

Insistence on “Merry Christmas”, by contrast, is a repudiation of the claim implicit in “Judaeo-Christian”, namely, that Jews and Christians have essentially the same beliefs and worship the same god, and that the differences between the two are ultimately less important than the commonalities. On any interpretation of Christianity in which all who reject Christ (including, I imagine, most of us here at CT) are damned, “Judaeo-Christian” is a much more pernicious version of political correctness than “Happy Holidays”.

I haven’t got to a proper analysis of this, so I’ll turn it over to commenters.

36 thoughts on “Judaeo-Christian

  1. Let’s not be over-sensitive about Christmas. It has little to do with Christianity and is widely celebrated where Christians are few – in China and India for example.

  2. @Bob Nelson

    Usually, “Biblical values” preachers quote the Old Testament, the harsh, angry God of Abraham.

    That’s a misleading characterisation. The Old Testament is not a single homogeneous work, it is a heterogeneous compilation. In some parts of it God is represented as angry; in other parts he is represented in a radically different way; in still others he does not appear at all.

  3. @J-D

    I agree.

    I didn’t say that “angry God” fills the OT. I said that that God appears in the OT, and that many self-styled “Christians” prefer to cite that harsh, angry God, rather than the loving Christ they profess to follow.

  4. @Bob Nelson
    yeah Bob Mathew, Mark and John had no direct knowledge of Jesus are you serious? Have you observed what Luke says in his introduction?

    Why did Jesus talk up the perils of hell?

  5. Bob , Given your biblical illiteracy you would be hard bound to make a rational decision about it anyway!

  6. Debates with religious believers of all persuasions (faith reasoners) are quite fruitless. They are not open to empirical scientific evidence. Instead they prefer to give credence to assertions given by word of mouth or word of pen. Such claims, in the main, are not backed by any other kind of evidence. WRT to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the doctrine of revelation relies on a circular proof.

    Sadly, a significant number of (self-claimed) religious people use religion to bolster their own arrogance and sense of power. They and only they are right. From this position of arrogance and blind certainty they seek to dominate, exploit and dictate to others. Humble, thoughtful and tolerant religious people also do exist. They are far the preferable kind and often do do good works (measured by N.T. or humanist standards).

  7. Ikonoclast :
    Debates with religious believers of all persuasions (faith reasoners) are quite fruitless. They are not open to empirical scientific evidence. …

    True… but very misleading. Your “debate” will be “fruitless” if you hope to persuade with physical evidence. That isn’t how faith>/strong> works. Faith is not rational, so it is pointless to appeal to rationality to validate or invalidate it.

    A believer will equally truly state that “Debates with rationalists are quite fruitless. They are not open to inspiration.”

    “Faith” and “reason” are two completely distinct modes of thought, covering two completely separate domains. Faith is internal and inspired. It concerns the spiritual world. Reason is external and evidential. It concerns the physical world.

    Attempting to apply faith to the physical world leads to silliness (e.g. “creationism”), and attempting to constrain faith with physical evidence leads to equally silly positions like “I cannot prove that God does not exist, but I have faith that that is the case!”

    When we understand that a Venn diagram of the two modes of thinking shows two separate circles with no overlap at all… we may begin a real conversation!

    Sadly, a significant number of (self-claimed) religious people use religion to bolster their own arrogance and sense of power. They and only they are right. From this position of arrogance and blind certainty they seek to dominate, exploit and dictate to others. Humble, thoughtful and tolerant religious people also do exist. They are far the preferable kind and often do do good works (measured by N.T. or humanist standards).

    What you say is true… and symmetrically balanced by so many smug self-styled rationalists who dismiss all religious arguments without even listening to them.

    Such people are unbearably arrogant. Many of the finest minds in human history have dedicated themselves to thinking about God… only to be dismissed out of hand by self-proclaimed geniuses on the Internet!

    If you speak Chinese and I speak English, we must make an effort to understand each other. If you speak “rationalism” and I speak “faith”… we need an even greater effort!

  8. Mr Nelson made a number of statements. Each of them easily refuted. He could have only made them if he had not read the bible. He also made an allusion to a very old fashioned heresy.

    It was never a debate because of that. A shame. It is impossible to have a debate with someone who simply does not know about the topic.

    Quite trumpian actually

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