Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Here's another demonstration of the 'flexibility' of faith from the zealot side of the fence. The Jews and Muslim do 'believe' in Jesus because he is part of their history - he existed. And before anyone starts yelling, read on a bit.
Umm, the Muslims believe that Jesus existed, but they certainly not consider him to be the Son of God. They believed him to be the latest in a continuing series of prophets starting with Moses and ending with Mohammed. All of them were human, and none were to be worshipped.
While most Jews will acknowledge that a man called Jesus probably existed, most will also say that, historically, he was no different than any of the other hundreds of messianic figures running around at the time, that nearly everything he said came from the Jewish rabbinical tradition, that he was preaching only to Jews and never considered himself to be anything than Jewish, and that none of the miracles attributed to him (and the resurrection) actually happened and these stories were created many decades later, first by his mainly Jewish followers to build him up as "first" among messianic prophets, and then later by anti-semitic Christians (i.e., the Gospel of John) to give him divine attributes.
This is a far different thing than "believing" in him.
Jan Van Quirm wrote:The Jews (the important ones i.e. Herod and the law-givers) rejected Jesus the man, because, politically he was 'too soon' by about 30 years for full scale revolution (or, you could argue, too into passive resistance and anti-violence, which of course back then would have been too slow to work satisfactorily) and that is when is when the Romans seriously prodded buttock and began the first really purposeful racial persecution of the Jews, which was partially fuelled by the growth of Christianity and provided a good excuse for decimating Jerusalem and exiling the Jews from their own territories
Sorry, but I'm not sure where you're getting your history from but it's completely wrong. Neither Herod nor the priestly classes in any way wished to revolt against the Romans. They had been co-opted long ago and were experts in, as Jesus was supposed to have said, "giving Rome what was due Rome."
The first Jewish revolt of 69-70 CE was driven by groups of what were essentially competing groups of very strict orthrodox militia (who were not from the priestly classes) who were bent on getting rid of the Romans. They were driven by political motivations, as well as by the "messianic fever" that was highly prevalent during that time.
While members of the first generation of "Jews for Jesus" may have participated in the war, they were certainly neither the planners, organizers, or instigators of this movement, since they probably believed (as Jesus said in Mark) that Judgement Day was right around the corner, so why bother starting a war, when Jesus and God are going to take care of things?
No, the revolting Jews (and they were pretty revolting) brought the wrath of Rome down upon them all by their lonesome, and were penalized in the most traumatic way possible: by having the Temple, which served as the center of their spiritual life, destroyed and earning the emnity of the Romans. And still the Jews didn't learn their lesson and tried one more time a century later, when another generation of militias, led by Bar Kochba, whom many Jews believed was the actual real Jewish messiah, led the last revolt against the Romans (as popularized in the writing of the Roman Jewish apologist Josephus and that really bad mini-series, Masada).
As you said, Jesus was not to blame at all for any of this, for his influence was too limited (at least up until the time of the first rebellion) and no Jews considered him to be the messiah because he didn't fulfill its requirements (i.e., he didn't restore the Kingdom of Israel).
Indeed, one can make a very strong argument that is was the failure of the first Jewish revolt that enabled Christianity to truly emerge as a dominant non-messianic Jewish sect. Since no one really knows when the Gospels were written, one could conjecture that the first, Mark, was written right after the Temple was destroyed (since the narrative of Jesus's death mentions the tearing of the temple drapes, an prophecy of the destruction of the Temple that would ultimately occur. The destruction of the Temple basically removed one of the central requirements of Judaism--the requirement to make animal sacrifices and support the priestly classes. Without this center, Judaism become decentralized and localized. The priestly class was replaced with rabbis. Local synagogues replaced the central Temple as places of worship. Instead of turning to priests for religious guidance, groups of rabbis began to do it on their own, creating the Jewish Talmud and Midrash, which were then dessiminated throughout Jewish communities to provide religious standards. Thus, in this time many different sects of Judaism formed and competed for the loyalty of the now-disenfranchised population.
The Jews for Jesus were only one group among many, and probably would have never become more than a minority sect. The real reason why Christianity was able to spread like wildfire was because its main evangelist and entrepreneur, Paul.
He quickly realized requiring Jesus believers to follow Jewish tradition was a dead-end path ("What? I gotta give up pork and do WHAT to my tonker? Fuggedaboutit!") and, therefore, became the chief proponent of opening the religion up to anyone without requiring them to obey Jewish traditions. He was also smart enough to know that religions spread through franchising of holy sites, and went around the mediterranean establishing churches that would be 'centrally directed' by him through his epistles. He was also smart enough to know that preaching a message of 'universal love and brotherhood' was a much smarter (and safer idea) than the exclusionary and martyr-focused violence expoused by many Jews at the time (and note that Paul never attributed the idea of universal love to Jesus himself, and that the concept was not included in Mark, which was written first and therefore should be thought of as presenting a more accurate portrayal of the life of Jesus than the other gospels, which were written much later.)
Jan Van Quirm wrote:Islam was the first major rupture in Christianity, and also in Judaism you could perceivably argue, in that some of the Aramaic Palestinians and assorted desert tribes were finally united by their very own true prophet Muhammed and you have to admit that Muhammed was a lot more successful in his professional life than Jesus ever was, unless you read a lot of Dan Brown
Islam was certainly NOT a rupture in Christianity of Judaism, as this implies that everyone in the the middle east were either Christians or Jews and that all Islam converts were former monotheists. In fact, Jews and Christians were minorities in the Arab world, and most Arabs were polytheists who worshipped local gods. What Mohammed did was to start the Arab world's first religion that worshipped the God of the Jews and the Christians and acknowledge the Old Testament prophets and Jesus as his predecessors (but NOT Paul, interestingly enough), and his converts were largely those 'idol-worshipping' Arabs. Islam also flourished becase Mohammed lived a long and full life, and his followers were able to write down his messages from God that ultimately became the Koran either as he said them or shortly afterward.