This is a guest post by Mum (Mrs. Anne Cooper)
Writing in The Jewish Chronicle (23 May 2013) Prof. Geoffrey Alderman says:
“Devotees of what is termed ‘interfaith dialogue’ need to ponder these conclusions [26% of the world harbours anti-Semitic feelings, rising to 74% in the Middle East and North Africa http://global100.adl.org/ ]. They need to ask themselves whether there is any advantage whatsoever to be gained by seeking an exchange of ideas – a reconciliation of dogmas – with belief systems whose foundations rest, at least in significant measure, on such hatred.”
Let us consider Prof. Richard Dawkins famous quote from The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006): “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
The Almighty is portrayed by Christians as a terrifying Judge Jeffries: no wonder they worship Jesus by comparison. Moslems see Allah as a despotic tribal chief whose lightest word must be obeyed absolutely, while being deemed compassionate and merciful. Both religions are heresies of Judaism, if I may use such an archaic word.
The error of Christianity and Islam stems from the fact their founding fathers interpreted Judaism through the eyes of their own cultures, European and Arabic respectively. But because it is indigenous to us Jews, we read our Tanach as family history. Because our innate character includes violent emotions, fierce temper and loud rants by our dear old Dad, we do not react in terror of His Wrath like Christians. We wait for it to calm down and it will all blow over. We know that we are loved.
Our Scriptures were written uniquely by Jews, for Jews. That is the great divide.
Perhaps, like Edward Lear’s Pobbles who are happier without their toes, Christianity and Islam should leave the ‘Old Testament’ to us. Their own texts will suffice.