Since I’ve been at York I’ve been on a mission. I’m no longer studying just my faith and everything that comes along with it, now I’m studying other people’s faith and studying my faith like I’m standing outside of myself. So with this opportunity I decided that I was going to try my best to do just that. Force myself to look at my faith objectively, as if I never grew up with it. I wanted to see what separated my faith from everyone else’s, I wanted to see my I grew up with everyone telling me that what I was grown up to believe was right and everyone else was wrong. It is difficult to push aside all my experiences, and eventually I’m going to go back to them, because they are a major part of my faith. For now though, I’m on a mission, and I’ll share my findings, to see why Christianity is so special.
There were two significant moments today in school that stood out. A good one and a bad one. I’ll start with the good. I was sitting in my Sex and Violence in the Hebrew Bible class and we were talking about one of the worst chapters in the entire bible. Ok, it is the worst chapter ever. I was shocked when I read it. It took me by surprise and I grew up reading the bible. It’s Judges 19 in case you’re interested, I wont explain it, you have to read it for yourself.
My professor who is far from a professing Christian from what I can tell was talking about how much he loved this chapter. He loved it because most people who adhere to the Bible as their sacred text have no idea what to do with this chapter. In kid’s curriculum and in kid’s bibles, they just take out this chapter completely. He told us that he was excited to go through this chapter because of how rich of a story it was. He continued to tell us that he loved the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) because of how amazing of a story it was. He told us that every single verse is so full of information that it amazed him and he loved teaching it. He said that of all the chapters in the Hebrew Bible that he would only consider himself an expert on two of them. TWO of them, that’s it. You have to understand my professor. He’s one of the leading scholars for Old Testament scholarship around, he writes in text books on it and he knows so much information. Yet he only considers himself an expert on two of them. If that doesn’t say something for how much you can unravel out of the OT, then I don’t know what does.
This was exciting because it’s encouraging to know that the story that I have called my own all my life is this full and this incomprehensible. It’s a story that I’ll never be able to full understand yet brings so much to the tables.
The second one was in my intro to religion class and we watched a twenty minute video on Judaism and how all the different sects are having a hard time agreeing with each other and end up hating each other and needing protection against the violence that happens from each sect. There are Traditional Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and the list goes on. They all don’t like eachother. The video was about the possibilities of them living together under the title Judaism.
It sucked because this is all too similar of Christianities denomination split-ups. Sure maybe we don’t have violent outbreaks but we certainly aren’t fond of each other. We usually look down on each other thinking that we have the more complete gospel. I’m glad that the new generation and movement of Christians don’t care about this stuff. It looks like we aren’t all that different as I was told growing up. Our ‘religion’ has the same problems. It is also interesting to note that Jews under Christians have been persecuted more than any other people group. Christians hated Jews. It looks like we have a lot to account for.
With all that said, and one long day of classes and if I was keeping score I’d say we are at a 50/50 draw so far comparing my faith to all the other ones.