Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Christian* friends are asking why I converted to Judaism

The joys and wonders of Facebook that you can find almost anyone with a full name, if it's not too common or with a full name and some information like where they live or went to high school or college.

So, I thought it would make a good blog topic. I also figured that it would save me the trouble of typing an answer over and over. Yes, my journey to Judaism is here on the blog but, it's not so straight to the point and it's not really written for that particular audience.

The Christian background is as follows. I was raised secular Catholic, but a religious Catholic grandmother lived with us. Around fifth or sixth grade, my older sister started going to a youth group at a Weslyan Methodist church in the area. It seems that some friends of hers were going, not that they were religious. I think one of them was forced to go by her parents.

Like many other younger sisters, I wanted to do whatever my older sister did. I wanted to hang out with her. I thought of her as cool by default. After all, she was the older sister. So, I started going to this youth group with my sister.

Incidentally, she did happen to start going when I was having some craving for religion and G-d in my life. So, she caved and I went to youth group with her and her friends. As time passed, she and her friends because to grow bored of the group and their dropped until it didn't exist. However, I continued to go every Friday night. I began making my own friends there and it became my thing, instead of hers. In addition to youth group, I would attend Pioneer girls (a sort Christian girls scouts group) and Sunday morning services. This was my journey to that religion.

Fast forward to a time when I was 20, almost 21 years old on summer break from the Weslyan Methodist college I attended. (Maybe at some point I'll blog the journey into and out fire and brimstone Baptist, but not today.) This is where the removal of that religion came into fruition.

I had been having some doubts but, mostly I put them out of my head. I found conflicts between the "Old" Testament and the "New" Testament. How am I supposed to believe an Eternal G-d could take such a limited form as a human being? I was aware that word used in Isaiah (which supposedly prophesizes the birth coming from a young woman/virgin) translates as young woman, not virgin. How about the big one. G-d can NOT change. If He does not/can not change his mind, what's with the changes made in this "New" Testament? Pastor says we still follow the Old Testament, but then he says I don't have to learn the kosher laws or keep Saturday as the Sabbath.

I found conflicts between the *New* Testament and the *New* Testament. How come there are two different genealogies given for J? How come Friday to Sunday is not really three days and three nights? How am I supposed to believe the Almighty kept this doctrine in tact if the math is wrong? If He didn't keep the doctrine in tact, perhaps this is not the truth.

There were probably even more thoughts that caused me to leave the other religion.

So, I went back to that college for one more semester and the following semester I started attending a state school.

I mentally evaluated what I believed in now that I was shedding my old beliefs. I decided that I didn't have any problems with the "Old" Testament. Somehow I found out that Judaism is from this religion. I knew one Jewish person, a college guy with ADHD that I knew from the ADHD online discussion boards (interesting side note that this was back when the internet was a baby and it was limited to providers like AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe.) So, I emailed him.

However, I didn't convert at that time. From that point until I started my conversion process, if I were asked my religion, I would either say that I didn't have or that my beliefs were Jewish, however, I never converted.

Now, I have converted to Orthodox Judaism. This is what's right for me.

*A note to those reading for this posting. It was difficult to come up with the particular balance for this particular post as to using Xtian vs. Christian and so on. I decided that since this post is written to my friends from college, rather than strangers, I would write this in the manner less offensive to them. Hope that my Jewish readers understand. We wil back to Xtian and Xtianity at the next post.

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