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Why does my rabbi refuse to debate me whether Jesus is the Messiah?

by Rabbi Zalman Abraham


Library » Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Other Religions - Missionaries | Subscribe | What is RSS?


What gain is there in a debate regarding biblical interpretation?

Any debate requires premises that all debaters accept as truth, so that there may be some form of evidence that would be acceptable to all parties. In a debate between Jews and Christians, presumably the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament) would be considered valid evidence.

The debate would focus on how to translate or interpret words of the bible. Jews would suggest, based on their traditional interpretation, that Jesus in not the Messiah. Christians would contest that their interpretation suggests otherwise. The debaters would attempt to convince the other that their interpretation is superior.

To what end would this lead?

Throughout history, Jews were persecuted as a result of Judeo-Christian debates that led to no good and only incited anti-Semitic violence
History has shown that these debates only end up in a stalemate.

Both sides emerge frustrated that the other party refuses to accept their interpretation as valid truth.

If the debate involved a panel of judges that would elect as a winner the side that presented the most compelling arguments, this might result in a declared winner. However, such a jury could only prove the superiority of one debater’s convincing argumentative skills over his opponent’s. No further truth would be revealed in regard to the subject matter. For all intended purposes, they might as well have been debating whether a glass of water is half empty or half full.

Throughout history, Jews were persecuted as a result of Judeo-Christian debates that led to no good and only incited anti-Semitic violence. Why should your rabbi, or anyone for that matter, chose to involve themselves in a debate that could only cause tension between the two faiths?

In sum: Jews have nothing to gain in debating the legitimacy of Christian beliefs.

Disclaimer: in no way legitimizes the belief in Jesus as the Messiah. This article only describes the logic behind why Jews generally choose not to debate this subject.


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