Good morning:

I am amused by your blatant attempt to make it appear that Jews believe in Jesus Christ. If you and your members were not seeking an authoritarian source upon whom you can depend emotionally–the childish attempt to return to your mother’s womb where you don’t have to think for yourselves–realize that the reason Jews do not accept Jesus is that there is no real evidence that he ever existed1.

Certainly the Jews would have been the first to acknowledge any person with all the good” characteristics Jesus Christ is alleged to have had (ignoring the hostile and cruel aspects of the person described in the Gospels.) You’d see the Gospels for what they are–hearsay accounts written at various times in history by people who did not know this individual.2

Even your knowledge of the Hebrews is lacking because the god of Abraham was the “family tribal deity” and that (sic) at various times in biblical history, the “god” was a different one until finally the concept of monotheism was borrowed from either Zoroastrianism or the Egyptian Sun God. It was not original with the Hebrews.3

Perhaps what is most important is that you are all wasting your lives seeking an authoritarian source to tell you what to do, how to live, to remove the uncertainties of life. Jews do not depend upon the supernatural but have a responsibility to meet life without such a dependency.4

Other than one paragraph added to the work of the Jewish historian, Josephus, after his death, there is no reference to Jesus by writers contemporary with the period attributed to his existence5; no artifacts, friezes, works of art, or other items to substantiate that Jesus ever lived although such material exists confirming the thousands of other gods from as far back as Sumerian times.

You are just being used–exploited6–probably to give power and money to whoever founded your organization. Stop being such dumbbells, such sickies. Get psychiatric help. As a Jew, you insult the ethnic values to which I subscribe.

Jane Kathryn Conrad

I dare you to publish this letter. I don’t think you ever bring opposing viewpoints.7

  1. See quotes from independent sources: “…there is no real evidence that he ever existed.”
  2. Refer to article by Ruth Rosen: Certainly! But then again, no…
  3. Rich Robinson treats this in detail in his monotheism article: Monotheism of the Ancient Hebrews: Evolved, Invented, Stolen or Revealed?
  4. See editor’s personal perspective below.
  5. Again see “…there is no real evidence that he ever existed.”
  6. Again, see editor’s personal perspective below.
  7. See second paragraph of editor’s response below.

Dear Ms. Conrad,

As you can see, we’ve published your letter in its entirety. Not only that, but we decided to devote this entire issue to addressing points you raised! I realize this isn’t exactly an “equal time” situation. After all, we were able to consider your letter at leisure and a few of us pooled ideas to come up with the following reply. But since you invited us to print your letter, I hope you won’t mind our taking the liberty to answer.

I should probably add for the benefit of our other readers, we did not feel obligated to print your letter because you “dared” us. (Lest everyone think we can do likewise with their responses…we simply don’t have the space!) The fact is, many others have written in with questions and comments similar to yours. By responding to you publicly, we hope to address a number of people who are interested in the same issues. We welcome additional questions or comments from such readers.

I cannot speak for others, but I feel constrained to respond to one of your statements, “you are all wasting your lives seeking an authoritarian source to tell you what to do, how to live, to remove the uncertainties of life.” Of course, no one likes to be told that they are wasting their life. Our time here is precious and to most of us, it seems too short. To think of a person wasting what little there is seems…pitiable. But I was far from seeking someone to tell me how to live my life, and my motives were not exactly as you describe them.

It was 1971 when I heard and believed that Yeshua (Jesus) was the promised Messiah. I was working as a copywriter in an ad agency in New York. I liked my work; it was challenging, creative and I was successful at it. I also liked my leisure time. I had a spacious apartment, a rarity for most Manhattan dwellers, and it was often filled with a very interesting assortment of friends. I was busy with a number of satisfying pursuits: an amateur theater group, the local block association and, of course, a smorgasbord of events to choose from around town.

I’m giving you this background information, Ms. Conrad, because I want you to understand that I was quite content to direct my life without a cosmic commander telling me what to do. But when I saw the reality of God in the lives of some people, it wasn’t the sort of thing I felt I should ignore. I felt curious, and yes, responsible, to look into it. Had I desired to avoid uncertainties, it would have been easier to continue along the path I had chosen for myself.

Once I accepted that I was the creation and God the Creator, it seemed very natural to accept the fact that my Creator had a plan for my life. That being the case, I thought it appropriate to consider his plan. I found the Bible to be a reliable source. (I realize that is one of the fundamental differences between us.) The plan I found there was as follows:

God not only created people, but he also cares about us and wants us to have a relationship with him. When we fall short of his standards, it causes a schism between us. Since he is righteous, he cannot accept unrighteousness. Yet, he is also loving and gracious, and wants to forgive us and bring us back into a relationship with him. The sacrificial system described in Leviticus gives us an idea of how one not deserving of punishment (an animal, in this case) was provided as a substitute in atoning for Israel’s sins. But the prophets spoke of a Messiah, God’s anointed, who would be the ultimate deliverer. Unlike the animals which were sacrificed as mere symbols, the Messiah would triumph over death. And that is exactly what I believe Yeshua did.

God didn’t impose standards on me. He didn’t insist that I worship him or even acknowledge him. I chose to love him because he showed such remarkable love for me. Yeshua is proof of that. You think in terms of a negative authoritarian source…I’m thinking in terms of the Author of Life.

As far as being sick and in need of psychiatric help, what can I say? I suppose you intend to offend, but I don’t want to take offense. I can still remember what I thought about followers of Jesus before I believed. But I will say this: whether or not you consider Yeshua is your choice. You don’t need to draw conclusions about people you don’t know in order to justify not believing in him.

Last of all, have I been “used-exploited to give power and money to whoever founded [my] organization”? I think that probably belongs in the same category with the suggestion for psychiatric help. But I’ll just say that, if being used and exploited means making a decent living, at doing work that I thoroughly enjoy, for a cause that I fully believe in, then, I wish everyone could be exploited like me!

Ms. Conrad, we’ve tried to treat your letter in a good-natured way in the following pages. Thank you for giving us some interesting issues to ponder with you and the rest of our readers.

Sincerely,

Susan Perlman, Editor
ISSUES