Say goodbye to the Inquisition

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has described the problem and the solution with great clarity:

To paraphrase Charles Dickens in the beginning of his Tale of Two Cities: These are the best of times, and the worst of times. On the one hand, after almost 2,000 years of exile and persecution, culminating in the Holocaust, we have returned to our homeland, to Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, to a Jewish army and a Jewish police force, and to the miracle of the ingathering of exiles, from the Ethiopian Beta Yisrael to the Indian Bnei Menashe.

But, on the other hand, we face the existential threat of Iran’s Ahmadinejad soon to be in control of atomic weaponry; we are threatened by Hamas in the South, and by Hizbullah in the North. Moreover, our staunchest ally, the United States of America, is being neutralized by what appears to be a hopeless imbroglio in Iraq. Europe is quickly becoming transformed into a pro-Muslim bastion, and Islam itself seems poised for world domination following a line of jihad-inspired Wahhabi fanaticism.

Yes, I truly have faith that to be alone with God is to be with a majority of One; but from a practical perspective, how can roughly 5.5 million Israelis plus another seven million Jews world-wide stand up to more than a billion Muslims?

Now it seems that thankfully God had provided the cure even before we diagnosed the disease. For the first time since the advent of Christianity, mainstream Christian leaders – Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant – have extended a hand to us Jews in friendship, a friendship with far-reaching theological and political ramifications.

And there are more than a billion Christians in the world. What is now happening on the worldwide geopolitical scene is much more than “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

In this case, the enemy (Christianity) of my enemy (radical Islam) is my cousin, if not my brother. After all, Christianity emerged from the matrix of Judaism, and the founder of Christianity was a Jewish teacher who – it would certainly appear from the Gospels – lived a Jewish life-style, replete with the Sabbath, festivals and kashrut. Hence there is every logical, historical and religious reason for there to be a rapprochement between us. — R. Shlomo Riskin, “In praise of Christian-Jewish interfaith dialogue” (the entire article is recommended).

It’s time to put the Inquisition behind us. There is simply no alternative.

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