Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Astounded. That's the word to describe my reaction to some of the comments defending Pastor Hagee and his statements about Jews being the agents of their own suffering. Astounded. Only someone who understands neither tanach nor Christianity could say something like this. "We Jews also believe we suffer persecutions in exile for our sins. That's what it says in the torah neviim and in our prayers. Nothing wrong with Xians believing in what it says in tanach."

Oh really? Does the Tanach say we'll be forever abused because we refused to recognize the saving powers of Jesus? Because that's Hagee's reading, a difference from our own that is essential, not incidental. When a man like Hagee says that Jews brought suffering on themselves he isn't speaking as the Deuteronomist (ie Moshe), in the spirit of וַהֲלַכְתֶּם עִמִּי קֶרִי. וְהָלַכְתִּי אַף-אֲנִי עִמָּכֶם בְּקֶרִי. He isn't attempting to tell us why we're in exile, or why God's face sometimes seems hidden. He is attempting to justify those who caused the exile, and those monsters who went to work when God and his face seemed to disappear.

A Jew who attributes the pains of exile to his own disobedience is engaging in theodicy, or a "a vindication of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil." A Christian, like Hagee, who attributes our suffering to our ongoing unwillingness to accept Jesus is not vindicating God. He is vindicating himself. Perhaps our theodicy white-washes God, but the Christian who makes use of our explanations is not white-washing God, but the sins of his father.

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