To deal with a particular objection, once and for all: A question about the Jews

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
Hello all,

I keep getting myself into the same silly argument over and over with non-Orthodox people on another board I post on. I maintain, as it seems to me that it is right to maintain, that Islam does not worship the true God (the God of Christianity, which is the only God there is). I say Muhammad's "Allah" is a false God.

The non-Orthodox people who disagree with me always respond: "But what about the Jews? They reject the Holy Trinity, too, but surely they also worship the one God? Our Lord and Savior was a Jew, and we accept the OT prophets like David, Isaiah, Ezekiel and others, who were also Jews. Your view is inconsistent and wrong."

Honestly, I don't have a very good answer for this. I had an answer (maybe not a very good one, from an Orthodox perspective) when I was Roman Catholic that seemed to satisfy most of them, but now that I'm not bound by that anymore, I'm really trying to find out the Orthodox position on this. I just spent a half hour searching for "Pope Shenouda III + Jews" and "Coptic Orthodox + Jews" and many other combinations on Google...I got a lot of very strange and sometimes interesting results, but nothing helpful for answering this question.

I have watched various sermons on by Fr. Anthony Messeh, Fr. Paul Girguis, and others that say that Orthodox Christians don't worship the same God as the Jews, or the same God as the Muslims. I believe it (these other religions deny the Holy Trinity, after all), but I don't feel like I can explain it to other people when it is true that the Old Testament is accepted as the words of God, the OT prophets are accepted, etc. When I tried to make the argument last time that the Jews aren't worshiping the God who Christians are worshiping, one of these non-Orthodox people called me a "Marcionite heretic"! Ouch!  :-\

Please, a little help, preferably from a Patristic viewpoint...!

Endless thanks for your time and assistance, Tasbeha.


  • I dont know if I would say the Jews worship a different God, but I would say that the Jews simply failed to realize there God when they saw him. The Jews worship the same God as their prophets David, Isaac, Abraham.. those prophets worship our Lord Jesus Christ. So I think it would be best to say that the Jews Worship our God, but they don't know Him. They don't know who he is, what he did, or what his nature is (Holy Trinity). Out of ignorance they reject the same God they worship.

    As for Muslims, allah is NOT the true God, allah in my opinion is satan, whos dream was to be worshipped like God, and hes living out his dream through muslims who worship him as allah. His teachings are radically different then our Lord's teachings, allah is not mericful, not loving, not righteous... He is definitely nothing like the Father whom our Lord made known to us.
  • This is my personal opinion. Please criticize it, if there's anything wrong with it. (This doesn't apply to Islam only to Judaism)

    I cannot answer whether we both worship the same God with authority, and I don't think it matters  because even if we do, the jewish image of God are so distorted that its almost an afterthought The rest of my post is sort of as an even if. In other words even if we worship the same God. Whether we do or don't can be responded to by some of the much more knowledgeable members of

    Let's pretend we are video chatting, and you chose to get an incomplete monitor (even though there was a perfect one, completely free). You have a concept of me because in the point of the Jews you hear some of what I'm saying. However the image of me on the monitor is distorted and you can't see me clearly at all. In fact the image is so distorted I might put my sister in front of the webcam and you wouldn't notice.

    I could very well be wrong, so if someone more knowledgeable posts please correct what you think is incorrect.

    Please pray for me.
  •     They most definitely worship a different God. This is because God is The Holy Trinity. He cannot be separated. If you do not worship the Holy Trinity, you do not worship the one true God. Since they deny the 2nd person of the Trinity, they thereby deny God. God revealed Himself as a Triune God many times in the Old Testament (Use of the word "Us" in Genesis, appearances of God in the Old Testament being Christ, the Holy Spirit inspiring authors of the Old Testament and other figures, among many others).
        Obviously, the Jews were not under an obligation to worship Christ as the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity until He revealed Himself in the fullness of time in the incarnation. At this point, Christ Himself made it clear that He is God. Here is when the Jews were to believe and be saved as many (like the disciples) did. All who refused to believe, denied God.

    Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

    They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 1:4)

    ...but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block...(1 Cor 1:23)
        St. Paul says Christ is a stumbling block to Jews because they could not imagine God being crucified on the cross.
  • Whether they do or don't is a matter of words. For example, in my analogy you might as well be talking to someone else. You could only see 1/3 me you can't hear correctly what I'm saying, and you think its a problem with the setting of the monitor instead of the monitor itself. Or at least that's what I think. If there is a problem with it please correct me. Please!

    Please pray for me.
  • I agree with these posts. At some point the worship of God according to a false understanding becomes the worship of a false God.

    But as far as I can see much of modern Judaism is almost entirely ethical and ritual rather than spiritual. Most Jews seem to be just Deists rather than actually engaging with God on a spiritual level.

    We are all in danger of worshipping God according to a false understanding, which is why humility and faithfulness to the Orthodox Tradition is so necessary.

    Father Peter 
  • I have a lot of books on Jews: The International Jew by Henry Ford (the car guy) Against the Jews by St John Chrysostom The protocols of zion by cant remember.

    There are many different types of jews. After the temples destruction many sects of judaism began to die out, the pharisidical jews are now what we call the rabbinical jews. Now of course there are quite a few sects, all equally disgusting in my opinion. In my experience many of the jews are actually atheist, then you have the Zionists which are the worst of all. I know this would be considered "anti-semetic" but I dont really care. I dont hate jews, I dislike the actions done by many of them, for their selfish reasons.
  • Thank you everyone for your replies. Thanks especially to Father Peter for his reply. The people that I am locked in this silly argument with are mostly Catholics, so the words of a priest (even outside of their tradition) carry a lot more weight than mine or another layman's ever could. Doubtless they will still reply that we (I'm including myself here not because I consider myself Orthodox, but because I side with you and not with them) are wrong, and what about, for instance, Paul's preaching in Athens about the "unknown God" in the book of Acts...but whatever. There are only so many times I can make the same point over and over! It just pains me that I should have to remind people who present themselves as Christians that Jesus Christ is God not in any sort of conditional manner (e.g., not unless Muhammad and his followers disapprove; not unless the Jews disapprove), but since all time and for all time! I just don't understand where this attitude is coming from that says that any worship of something someone calls 'God' and uses similar vocabulary to describe is actual worship of the true God! It seems like the Holy Bible is very much against this kind of idea, but maybe I'm not as sophisticated as my detractors to understand what it's really saying and how defenses of Christ-deniers can be extracted from a book that is all about Jesus Christ being God.  ???
  • It does seem to me that most Jews do not have the relationship with the God they worship (some of them) that we desire with our own.

    And Jews would deny that Christ our God is God at all. I am not sure we take offence at this, rather have a sense of sadness. But if the Jews deny that Christ our true God is God at all then it does seem to me that their false understanding of God leads them to worship one (who does not exist) who is not the same God as ours.

    I see it a little like someone deeply respecting and honouring someone because they think he is someone special. If in fact he is not then can it be said they have respected and honoured THAT person at all, or only an idea of that person.

    What if the person they meant to honour was treated disrespectfully because they though he was someone worthy of condemnation. Again, in what sense would they be honouring the one they supposedly respected? All they were honouring was an idea of the man.

    The one they respected was not him, and the one who was him they dishonoured.

    This is not an exact argument, but it expresses something of my sense of how it is.

    For a Jew to truly know God he must renounce the error that Christ is not God and worship him as God. Christ is not an optional extra.

    The Athenians were commended for being very religious but St Paul used this to teach the truth and to build on their ignorance. There is no sense that the Athenians could safely reject Christ and worship the unknown God. The revelation of Christ makes all the difference and he HAS revealed himself to the Jews. Those who accepted him became Christians, at the least Jewish Christians. They did not and could not carry on as Jews without Christ.

    Seekers after God are found in all places. This shows us that God bears witness to himself among all who seek him. But it does not validate their false religions.

    Father Peter
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=10574.msg128826#msg128826 date=1296322673]
    For a Jew to truly know God he must renounce the error that Christ is not God and worship him as God. Christ is not an optional extra.

    Thank you! Thank you so much. This is precisely the view that I have tried to advance in my discussions with the Catholics and others who insist that the Jew, the Muslim, and others worship God, "however imperfectly" (I think they take this from the Catholic Catechism, perhaps? The wording is always the same or nearly the same, so it seems as though it must come from somewhere). I do not buy that for a second. My reply to that is that especially in Christianity, God has given us exactly the instruction we need to worship Him as He wants us to. In what other religion has God dwelt among us and given us explicit instruction from His mouth, including the warning that those who would deny Him among us will likewise be denied in the hereafter? That is not a feature of Judaism, or of Islam (the Qur'an is said to be from God's mouth, yet God does not dwell among the people; they consider that heresy, because their "god" does not beget), or of Buddhism, or of any other of the Christ-denying religions. It seems that these "Christians" who would like it to be any other way have a hard time with this warning, even as it comes from the mouth of the very Lord they claim fidelity to.

    And they wonder why I can't in good conscience be a Catholic! ::)
  • Read protocols of zion. Even if it is fictitious, what is contained in the book is clearly being used today.
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