13 September 2017 | Judaism and Christianity differ in their views of the role of sin, including whether a person is born with sin and how a person renews himself after sinning.
- Christians believe everyone is born with sin, which they view as a serious deficiency for a human being. Sin is a bad thing that needs to be removed from one’s soul. The way a person removes sin in these forms of Christianity is through Jesus. Christianity holds Jesus as the only person born without sin, and believes God sent him to Earth to die for the sins of human beings The Christian view of the Messiah gives Jesus the spiritual role of acting as an intermediary between human beings and God. Christians can relate to God through Jesus, and Jesus can save a person’s soul if that person adopts this belief as his or her own. As Jesus says in John 4:16, “I am the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”
- Judaism takes a very different perspective on sin, repentance, and a person’s relationship with God. In Judaism, people are not born with sin. The Jewish morning prayers say that, “The soul that You have given me is pure.” Judaism also believes that sin is equivalent to failing to follow the mitzvot, or “missing the mark.” While not following the mitzvot certainly isn’t desirable, it isn’t necessarily as blameworthy or corrupting as expressed in some forms of Christianity. Judaism recognizes that everyone misses the mark during their lives, and the appropriate response is to repent through the process of teshuva.
- The concept of teshuva significantly diverges from the idea of repentance through Jesus. Teshuvah is a personal process. If a person sins against God, he or she must direct their prayers and pleas directly to God. Judaism doesn’t find an intermediary such as Jesus required or beneficial to a person’s relationship with God. Judaism often speaks of a “personal God,” holding the ideal to be a direct relationship between an individual and the Divine. In Judaism, the role of sin a how a Jew spiritually cleanses the sin varies significantly from Christianity.
* An excerpt from Idiot’s Guides As Easy As It Gets: Judaism