Many Christian missionaries make the claim that the Jews see G-d as cruel, and that in contrast, Jesus is merciful.
The first statement is a lie. Certainly, anyone who has read the articles on my site knows that Judaism is very emphatic that Hashem is merciful. (Before emailing me about this, read the articles on my home page.)
The second claim, that Jesus was merciful, is certainly not supported by the words of the Christian bible, as we shall see below.
Let us discuss the two claims in order. According to Judaism, no one can be more merciful than G-d. It is impossible. G-d is the most merciful of anything in the universe that exists, all of which G-d created. According to Judaism, it is heresy to claim that anyone or anything is more merciful than G-d.
What do Christian missionaries mean when they say that Jesus is more merciful? They usually don’t answer this one directly, because missionaries seldom answer any direct questions. The answer appears to be that supposedly “Jesus accepts repentance, and the Jewish G-d does not.”
However, that is also untrue. Hashem most certainly does accept repentance, and sacrifice is not necessary for forgiveness and atonement. (More about that in another article.)
Hashem forgives sins, and it is only Hashem who forgives sins, as it says, “I, I alone, erase your sins, for My sake, and I will not remember your iniquities.” (Isaiah 43:25) And also, it says, “I, I alone am G-d, and no one other than I is a savior.” (Isaiah 43:11) And it says, “I, I alone, comfort you; how can you, who are worthy, fear a person, who will die, a son of man, who is as short-lived as grass?” (Isaiah 51:12)
Statements of Hashem’s mercy are found all over the Torah.
“For Hashem is a merciful Power….” (Deuteronomy 4:31)
“For he is merciful, He will atone sin, He will not destroy…” (Psalms 78:38)
“And he prayed to Hashem, and he said, Please, Hashem …. for I know that You are a merciful and compassionate Power, difficult to anger, and has much kindness, and forgives evil.” (Jonah 4:2)
“The wicked should forsake his ways, and the evil person should forsake his plans, and return to Hashem, Who will have mercy on him, for He forgives abundantly.” (Isaiah 55:7)
“Hashem is merciful and compassionate, difficult to anger, and has much kindness.” (Psalms 103:8)
“Tear your hearts, and not your clothes, and return to Hashem your G-d, for He is compassionate and merciful, difficult to anger, and has much kindness, and forgives evil.” (Joel 2:13)
“Hashem has made memorials of the miracles He performed for us; Hashem is full of compassion and mercy. Hashem is good to all, and His mercy is on all His creations.” (Psalms 111:4-5)
And so on, all over the Torah.
And in our prayers, we say three times a day “Blessed are You Hashem, who is compassionate, and forgives abundantly.” (Amidah prayer, sixth blessing)
As to sinners, the Torah says, “He who hides his sin will not be successful, but he who confesses to Hashem and forsakes his sin, will receive mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Now let’s examine some of the things that the Christian bible records Jesus as saying. We will find that Jesus was cruel, very unforgiving, and full of a great deal of unrelenting anger.
Since there are so many examples in the Christian bible of cruel things in the name of Jesus, I will restrict the following quotes to the book of Matthew, the book that is placed at the beginning of the Christian bible, and therefore the first encounter anyone would have of Jesus in the Christian bible. So all quotes not otherwise accredited are from Matthew.
Jesus is quoted as having said: “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (8:12) Why doesn’t he just forgive them, and allow them into Heaven? Where is the forgiveness? Where is the mercy?
Jesus is also quoted as saying, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (10:33). How is that more merciful?
“And you, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell.” (11:23)
It is not explained why Capernaum was exalted to Heaven, (meaning that many miracles supposedly took place there), will be brought down to hell. Some christian students submit that the inhabitants of Capernaum saw Jesus’s miracles and still didn’t repent, at least in Jesus’s opinion. Therefore, Jesus considered Capernaum to be worse than Sodom, and therefore they would be destroyed and sent to hell. Even if true, where is the mercy in this? Why do many christians insist that only the Old Testament speaks this way? (Actually, the Old Testament doesn’t condemn any city to Hell. But illusions must be maintained, if you wish to “sell” a religion.)
“…but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (12:30) Notice that not only is this considered a sin, it won’t even be forgiven! This is reiterated again (in verse 32), “whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
And here’s a beauty; “but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (13:12) Of course, that one doesn’t even make sense. How can you take away something from someone who has nothing? But what does that matter in the face of strong blind faith? Christians are taught to have blind faith, The actual words written in the Christian bible are not as important as having faith.
It made sense, by the way, in the original Talmudic version that Jesus distorted it from, which was, “Whoever tries to take what does not belong to him, what he seeks he will not get, and what he has shall be taken away from him” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 9a).
What Jesus did there is to take part of the words and apply them to something else. What he applies them to shows yet more of his cruelty. The disciples ask him why he speaks in parables. He answers that it is to prevent the masses from understanding him. For the masses have nothing, that is, they do not know the ‘mysteries of Heaven.” Since they do not know those secrets, they have nothing, and therefore they shall be given nothing, and all their merits — although they have none — will be taken away from them.
Well, they have no merits, he says. And you know what, Jesus says that he will not even give them the chance to get any merits at all!
Jesus said that he spoke in parables so that the masses would not understand and perhaps gain heaven, because they had closed their own eyes and it was their fault anyway. “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (13:13-15)
In other words, if they would understand the parables, they might repent, and be converted, and he would heal them from their sins. And he does not wish that to happen for them. He cruelly denies them the possibility of repentance and conversion! (Not that he could really have granted it to them anyway, but the Christian belief is that he could have. In that case, he is cruel for refusing to do so!)
He and John the Baptist did a similar thing with the Pharisees. According to Matthew (3:7), the Pharisees came to John the Baptist when he was baptizing people, but he rejected them and refused to baptize them. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
Later, Jesus said that the Pharisees were to blame for not going to John the Baptist! “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (21:32) John never even gave them a chance, and Jesus still blames them! This is merciful?
What will happen in the future, asks Matthew? “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (13:41-42)
He repeats this again: “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (13:49-50)
No forgiveness, no mercy, for those he considers evil. But wait! It gets worse!
Who does he consider evil? Get a load of this! “Whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (5:22) In other words, just for calling someone else a fool, you will go to hell forever. This is being merciful?
“But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (6:14) While this seems somewhat logical and fair, it is not particularly merciful. In what way is Jesus merciful?
“That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (5:21) In other words, if you are not very righteous, says Jesus, you will not go to Heaven. No mercy, no exceptions.
But it gets worse! Look what Jesus says about the average person:
And Jesus spoke to them again with parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who made a wedding for his son, And sent out his servants to call the guests to the wedding: but they would not come. Again, he sent our other servants, saying, Tell the guests, Look, I have prepared a large dinner: I have killed my best animals for the meal, and everything is ready: so please come to the wedding. But they didn’t take it seriously, and continued whatever they had been doing before: one went back to his farm, another went back to selling his merchandise: And the rest of them took the king’s servants, and treated
them spitefully, or killed them. When the king heard about this, he was very angry, and he sent out his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, The wedding is ready, but the people who were originally invited were not worthy. Therefore, Go to the highways, and invite to the wedding everyone you find there.
So those servants went to the highways, and gathered together everyone they found, both bad and good people: and the wedding had a lot of guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who was not wearing a wedding garment: And he said to him, Friend, how can you come her without wearing a wedding garment? And the man was speechless. So the king said to the servants, Tie him up very tightly, and take him away, and throw him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
This is from Matthew, Chapter 2, verses 1-14
In other words, a simple man from the street, who did not expect to be called to the wedding, was suddenly brought to the wedding. Yet because he was not already wearing wedding clothes, he was punished! Many are called, Jesus says, but this man was NOT called. It is hardly his fault that he was not ready!
This parable reveals the horror of Jesus’ teachings. The people in the street had not been invited to the wedding, and they never expected to be there. They had no command, indeed, they had no reason, to be wearing wedding clothes or to get ready for the wedding in any way. Yet they were pulled in suddenly, unexpectedly. And for not being prepared for something they had no reason to attend, this man is punished!
And the meaning of this parable is that when the time comes, and someone is not ready for G-d, he will be punished even though he did not expect to be called! This is cruel in the extreme.
Jesus was not merciful. Jesus condemns everyone who does not believe in him.
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (25:11-13) Where is the mercy here? The statement here is that they did not deserve to go to Heaven. If only those who fully deserve it go to Heaven, how is that being merciful?
And then there is Jesus’ beliefs about marriage and divorce. How cruel it is to force a man and woman who are incompatible with each other to stay married to each other and not remarry (5:31-32). Moreover, he said that it is better not to marry (19:10-12). But if a man marries, and discovers that it was better not to marry, he must still suffer all his life in the marriage!!! This is kind? No, this is cruel!
Think about it. Jesus said that it is better not to marry. Yet nevertheless, he forbade divorce to everyone, even though not everyone can take it! It is hard to know which is crueler, to force men to stay single, or to force an incompatible couple to stay married. And if the woman leaves the husband, she may not even remarry, because Jesus says that this is adultery (5:32)! Jesus commits numerous cruelties with this ruling.
The very fact that such words were attributed to him by the very people who adopted him as god-messiah and brought him to the rest of the world as god-messiah, means to me that I don’t want or need to know anything more about him. His own believers and followers reported him as being cruel, and no amount of whitewashing by later Christians can change that.
By their account, Jesus was cruel, which in itself shows that he was not on Hashem’s side. According to his words, it is very difficult to attain Heaven. For he demanded that his followers love him more than their parents and children (Matthew 10:37); that they give up their entire lives and travel with him (ibid, 38-39); that they give away all their possessions and all they call their own (19:21); and that they never get divorced (5:32). His demands were utterly impossible, often abusive, and indeed, few Christians have ever fulfilled them.
As if those are not sufficiently difficult, he also insisted that you allow people to rob you, and even help them hurt you (5:38-41). Of course Christians don’t keep that! All of society would collapse if those rules were kept! In point of fact, Christians have been the biggest source of hurt throughout history.
The Christian bible insists that Christians sell everything they own, and give it all to the poor. Is this more merciful than Judaism? Judaism (i.e., the Law of Moses, the Hebrew Bible, Jewish Law, the Torah) in most cases prohibits giving away all your assets, because that would make you destitute and dependant upon charity yourself, forcing others to support you when you are capable of supporting yourself. Therefore, the Law of Moses commands you to give only a tithe, one tenth of your assets. At most you may give one fifth, except in case of certain emergencies. Jesus demands that you give everything away. Giving away everything you own is much harder than giving away only a tenth. Yet Paul claims that the Law of Moses is more difficult to keep than the Laws of Jesus. Not true, obviously. Jesus’ laws are cruel, unreasonable and wrong. Of course, very few (if any) Christians keep them, because they know those laws are impossible to keep.
Incidentally, many of today’s churches ask for tithes, i.e., a tenth of each member’s income, relying on the Law of Moses that they claim is no longer in effect! There is no real consistency in Christianity.
I think, all in all, the Jewish G-d is much more kind and merciful than the Christian “god.”