Hugh Fogelman & John Stone


The mass genocide of millions of Jews all over Christian Europe required enormous participation by huge numbers of people, both Catholic and Protestants. Less than seven decades ago in Christian Europe, millions of people who considered themselves to be Christians participated in Hitler’s “Final Solution” as perpetrators, collaborators, or silent bystanders. In Christian seminaries there are still some who can remember the Holocaust; they are teaching a new generation of pastors.  With the passing of each generation, the horrors of the Jewish extermination program ― Hitler’s “Final Solution”― which spread from one end of Europe to the other, looses some of its horror and impact. Will these new pastors feel the hurt, horror and tears of the past or let the horror escape, just like the terror of the Christian Spanish Inquisition and the crusades?

As history has revealed, the mystery mythological religions that were rampant in the Greek and Roman world at the time of the New Testament Jesus apparently became the medium after which Christianity patterned itself. It led to the beginning of the deification of Jesus, which ultimately let to the Nicean Creed in the 4th Century.

The Roman Emperor Constantine was steeped in mythology before he “politically” converted to Christianity as a mechanism to solidify his vast empire. Constantine and his council at Nicaea, knew all about the religions of Eleusinian, Dionysiac, and Orphic (Greek); Isis, Serapis, and Osiris (Egyptian); Mithra (Persian); and Adonis or Tammuz (Syrian). All these religions offered man a salvation through faith and sacrament. Devotees conquered sin by obtaining a state of ecstasy or enthusiasm in which they became united mystically with their virgin birth man-gods.  

As Christianity grew, the moral messages (i.e. Sermon on the Mount) attributed to Jesus were lost as the “mystery” of his person became the prime focus. The Church boldly staked its future on “spiritual theology” (knowing that it could never be proven otherwise) rather than historical facts, of which they had none! As Christianity became more Hellenized, it spread more rapidly ― after all Christian salvation was easy, just “believe.” By the year 300 CE, the clergy had become a distinct class organized on a hierarchical basis of deacons, presbyter, and bishops.  

The war of the Christian Church against the Jews began with the Church Fathers’ relentless attacks on those Jews who stubbornly refused to accept Jesus as their savior. Despite the Christian belief that Jesus’ death was necessary and predestined, they denounced the Jews as a “condemned race; those who killed god ― committed deicide.”  

Because of the growing power of the Church, Christian theology and the Church Fathers were to become more and more obsessed with Jewish guilt. Origen echoed the growing hostility and blasted the Jews in his sermons. Justin Martyr along with Hippolytus was obsessed with the belief that the Jews were receiving and would continue to receive God’s punishment for having murdered Jesus. The teachings of the Fathers were handed down throughout succeeding generations in Christendom. 

As the Church came into power in the 4th century, it turned on the synagogues with even greater intensity. Jewish civil and religious status was deteriorating, thanks to the influence the bishops had in the political arena. Laws were passed denying Jews from entering various professions; denied them of all civil honors; and their autonomy of worship was being threatened. Christians felt that this growing evidence now supported their belief in divine punishment. Chrysostom considered to be among the most beloved and admired in Church history wrote:

“The Jews sacrifice their children to Satan – they are worse than wild beasts. The synagogue is a brothel, a den of scoundrels, the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults. The Jews have fallen into a condition lower than the vilest animal. The Jews had become a degenerate race because of their “odious assassination of Christ for which crime there is no expiation possible, no indulgence, no pardon, and for which they will always be a people without a nation, enduring a servitude without end.”  

At another time Chrysostom was quoted as saying;

“I hate the Jews because they violate the Law. I hate the synagogue because it has the Law and the prophets. It is the duty of all Christians to hate the Jews.”

The scary part of all this, besides of the slaughter of Jews throughout history by Christians, Chrysostom’s Homilies were used in seminaries and schools for centuries, as model sermons, with the result that his message of hate was then passed on to succeeding generations of theologians. 

And then there were the Crusades; "onward Christian soldiers," slaughtering Muslims until the streets ran deep with blood. According to the History Learning Site70,000 Muslims were killed in the first crusade in 1076 CE.

In the light of history, one can not help but wonder if the events of this last century have had any impact on today’s Christian theology students who will be tomorrow’s pastors and teachers? As the foundational teachings of the faith and the writings of the Church Fathers and “great Christian theologians” are studied, are they accepted uncritically as indisputable authority?

As students graduate from Christian seminaries, will they go on to teach large number of Christians who will be even less informed about what the Christian bible and the early Church Leaders actually said and wrote about the Jews and Judaism?  

As these new pastors stand in their pulpits ― as these new missionaries go out onto the world and talk about “the Jews;” the Pharisees;” the crucifixion of Jesus; the evil Muslims; and the early Church ― will they no longer be thinking about how the Holocaust came about, the Inquisition or the crusades? Will they remember the legion of hate and murder by their predecessors, all in the name of Jesus?

Will these new pastors and teachers continue the anti-Semitism and also the Muslim hating that was handed down to every Christian generation since the New Testament was canonized in 397 CE? 

Will it ever end? Probably not!

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Steven Weinberg


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