[R1304 : page 76]



The American Hebrew Free Thinkers' Association has just published an altogether notable utterance. It was brought out in reply to an article by a Jewish Rabbi, arguing that Jesus was either a myth or an impostor. This association appointed three of its number to examine this attack on Jesus and to report their views of it.

Their remarkable report states substantially that Christianity cannot be a fraud or delusion, because it has stood all tests, and has gone ever forward with giant strides until it is now the most liberal and progressive religion the world has ever seen—a religion adapted to every country and every people on the globe; that this progress is an occasion of wonder to the Jews themselves; that this world would have been in a sorry condition had not the religion of Jesus come into it; that Christianity broke down the Jewish narrowness and bigotry which sought only the welfare of the Jews and despised all others; that the Jews to-day enjoy the greatest benefits in those countries where the people live nearest up to the teachings of Jesus Christ; that his teachings, whether he be a myth or a reality, do without doubt improve all who follow them; that the Christian religion to-day shows no sign of weakness, but is all the time gaining strength while all other religions are declining before it; that Judaism itself alone remains immovable—a fossilized monument to God's truth, with a glorious record in the past but with little hope for the future; that the elaborate ceremonies of the old dispensation and the predictions of the Jewish prophets must have meant something; that the ancient Jews looked for a fulfilment of these at some future time; that the Jews of the present day do not look for the fulfilment of anything; that for eighteen hundred years not a Jewish prophet has arisen to oppose the claims of Christ; that as a consequence Christ must be believed by the Jews to have fulfilled the law; that the Targum, one of the best Jewish authorities, applies a part of Isaiah 52nd and all of the 53rd chapter to the Messiah; that the Pesekta, the Tanchuma, the Siphre, and other eminent books, are fulfilled in Jesus Christ; that though it is a common thing for Jews to say that Jesus Christ never existed, and is only a myth, a fable, yet there is good proof that he did live, and that he came at the very time when the Jewish nation was looking for the promised Messiah; that if Christ were God then his death and resurrection amounted to nothing, since God could leave his earthly body and assume it at pleasure; that with the light of two thousand years shining on Jesus they want something better (in opposition to Christ) than mere assertion; that as [R1304 : page 77] honest, free-thinking men they are in doubt; and finally, that if any one is able to prove that the Messiah is yet to come they would like very much to hear from him.

This paper, thus representing the Hebrew Free Thinkers, is signed by their committee, viz.: Meyer Rodefelt, Israel Pasner, Marx Levy. Selected.