The people I used to go to church with called themselves Christians. They believed Jesus Christ, the historical person, was the son of God. They also believed that by saying Jesus Christ was there personal savior their lives were different and better than their lives had been prior to saying this little mantra. Outwardly it was hard to see much different. They lived in the same houses, had the same children, argued over the television, sped on the highway, cheated on their taxes. Some of them didn't even pay rent if they could get away with it. After all, getting into heaven isn't based on "works" as the church defined ethical acts, getting into heaven was based on saying "Jesus Christ is my personal savior."

Although they had memorized some verses from the bible, none of them had read the book cover to cover, in order. They had wonderful cases with fish on them, and sported big crosses as jewelry. Many of them wept and prayed at altar calls, and got quite emotional over their beliefs. The trouble was, their beliefs were so hard to pin down. IT was as if they thought "Christ" was the guy's last name, and not a word that could be translated as Messiah, or Chosen one, or the anointed.

It seems in the Old Testament the Jewish community had a history of charismatic leaders. The first famous leaders included Abraham, Moses, and Joshua. Later during the time of kings, there was King Saul and King David and the most famous, King Solomon. All of them were Jewish and led the Jewish people, as did Jesus, during his lifetime. While there are isolated stories of Jesus helping people outside of his religion, he did not preach to congregations of gentiles. He did not take his message to the citizens of Rome. He taught in synagogues, he spoke with rabbis and crowds of Jews. He lived and died a Jew without ever creating a new church.

In fact I thought it was odd when I first read the bible that the same people who apparently followed him everywhere and hung on his every word turned him and rejoiced at his death. It wasn't until I saw Mel Gibson's movie, the Passion, that I could see two separate groups emerge. It wasn't the "Jews" per se who killed Jesus. It was the subset of Jewish leaders, at the time, called Pharisees, who fearing loss of their control, resented the upstart. So when my Christian friends imagine that the Christians were for Jesus, and the "Jews" killed him, that just ain't right. That isn't even what it says in the bible. No one ever used the word "Christian" during the lifetime of Jesus.

Some of these people are afraid to read anything historical about Jesus. They fear being confused by the facts. I say if your faith is strong, you don't have anything to worry about. People have believed stranger stuff of less evidence. Look at the story about those golden tablets what no one but Joseph Smith saw. It hasn't held back the Church of the Latter Day Saints in way, shape or form. Faith doesn't need evidence. As Paul elegantly put it in the New Testament, "faith is the evidence of things not seen." It's like "anti-evidence" or counter-intuitive.

The question is, was Jesus Christ the Messiah for the Jewish people or was he the son of God? If he was their Messiah, you wouldn't know it from the Jewish faith today. They seem hardly concerned about this rabbi named Jesus. You do find Jews for Jesus here and there, and some convert completely to Christianity. My ex-husband had been raised Jewish and became Christian when he found out all his sins could be forgiven. That was very appealing to him. He quickly shed all his Jewish customs. We didn't keep kosher, or the Sabbath. We did not celebrate any of the Jewish holy days, despite the fact that Jesus himself admonished the people of his day to "know the scriptures." He obviously meant the Old Testament, because the New Testament, had not been written yet.

It's a funny religion that requires only one thing: to state Jesus Christ is my savior and then requires another thing and another thing and another thing. I mean what's up with having to go to church? I liked sleeping late on my only day off. I frankly would have preferred a Sabbath over Sunday. It starts Friday at sundown, and represents a healthy respect for the holy, something I never witnessed at a church. And what's up with having to sing? Having to dance? I heard a preacher actually preach once on the lack of participation in the church. What happened to all we have to say is "Jesus Christ is my savior"? The rules change minute to minute. It's very frustrating.

Some of the rules were very poorly defined. The church we went to made a show of accepting the ten commandments, except one day it was revealed none of them knew what they were! I pointed out that none of them were keeping them. If you did, you would certainly stop using the phrase "God bless you," as NOT taking the Lord's name in vain, in one of the ten. And who can say with certainty they have the power to bestow God's personal blessing?

If Jesus was the Messiah for the Jewish people, it would be true in one way: he managed to save what Jews he could, during World War II. The only reason ANY were saved, were because the nations involved in the conflict were "Christian" nations. Had they been Islamic, one can see that there's no reason the Muslim Allies would have freed Jews from the concentration camps. Had been Buddhist or Hindu, they might have, except we'll never know, because the Allies were Christian. Believing in Christ led them to believe freeing the captives from the concentration camps was the correct thing to do.