Essay on Modernizing Judaism and Christianity

Submitted By abarad
Words: 684
Pages: 3

February 15, 2013
Modernizing Judaism and Christianity Religions have been in existence since as long as we can remember. When a religion such as Judaism and Christianity have been in history for thousands of years, it is hard for them to change their ideals and beliefs to keep up to date with the modern world. Judaism is a proud religion and has been for ages. They believed in keeping to their own ideals and not affiliating with secular communities, until Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism helped the Jewish community answer the question, “How can I be both a Jew and a citizen of a secular state? (Esposito, 116).” By answering this question, Reform Judaism began the process of modernizing their religion. Christianity has always strict in its beliefs in that they strongly believed that other religions were wrong. This lasted until the Vatican II in 1962, where the church apologized for their past decisions and became more open towards modern ideals. Even though these two religions had different paths since their beginnings, both Judaism and Christianity had to come to terms with the changing world, and modernize their ideals. Judaism has been a rejected minority in Europe since the early days of Rabbinic Judaism. Jews were not offered citizenship in any of the Christian dominated states, until the French Revolution in 1789. In this era, there was a massive enlightenment in the Christian community about humanity. Instead of categorizing people in terms of religious identity, a new category was made to encompass both Jews and Christians, rational human beings. Thus, the beginnings of Reform Judaism developed. Reform Judaism began to make decisions on how to not lose sight of their Jewish roots, and also relate to the secular community. “As Reform Judaism developed, it showed a remarkable openness to secular society. (Esposito, 117).” Reform Judaism began to use the local languages in their synagogues, and sermons. Among other things, Reform Judaism rejected the literal meaning of the coming of the messiah, and replaced it with a belief that embraced the modern age. Finally, Reform Judaism established that they were not a people of one specific land referring to Israel, but a religious community. With all these new ideals, Reform Judaism laid the path to several other forms of now modern Judaism. Christianity dominated Europe for hundreds of years, and by no means made a lot of allies. There was a strong belief from the church of entitlement and rejection of other religions. In 1869 Pope Pius IX called the First Vatican Council. In this council, also known as Vatican I, Pius IX declared the pope to have all power when making new decisions on morals and faith.