Donald Trump initiated a stir when he announced to protect “Judeo-Christian values” and ensure they are not threatened or attacked in any manner. This raised many questions regarding the meaning of Judeo Christians and how relevant it is in today’s modern era.
This provoked many as they considered it a term used centuries ago, so how did “Judeo-Christian” become a thing today?
With widely diverging meanings, the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ has been used in various contexts about faith, civilization, ethic, heritage, and tradition. The term was coined in Germany in 1831 by Ferdinand Christian Baur. However, the popular belief is that it was coined in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. As the term returns and is being acknowledged in the European regions, it develops into different political, philosophical, theological, and historical dimensions. Many books provide relevant and timely references to the term and its development.
Here we’ve discussed the term briefly along with its history so we can view how it developed over time.
What is a Judeo-Christian?
As the name suggests, it reflects the combination of both Judaism and Christianity. Having long historical roots, the term “Judeo-Christian” connects two faiths and invokes shared values. Some prefer the term as the reason behind the birth of western civilization.
While others believe Christianity was driven from Judaism, and both religions use Torah. In the mid-20th century, the citizens of the United States treated it to support traditional family values, portray common decency, and the dignity of human life. It is often used to differentiate a perceived threat of Muslim immigration and imagined Christian values.
Some leading Jewish journalists have identified the term to have ignored the fact that Jews often experienced harassment and mistreatment in Christian-majority European countries. In 2017, the term was negatively used by Donald Trump. He referenced Christians trying to kill Jews for centuries using the term ‘Judeo-Christian.’ This indicates that it is still considered relevant in today’s modern era.
You can learn more about the term by reading “The Judeo Christian Faith: Why We Believe What We Believe” by Dr. Al Garza.
The History of the Term: Judeo-Christian
The term in the United States was advocated during the 1930s by liberals, although it started in the late nineteenth century in England. However, it quickly lost its much-celebrated popularity among liberals, and Judeo-Christian went out of fashion. It turned into a tool to use for a benefit during the Cold War as an intermediary for Western qualities battling atheist Communism.
In 2016, Gene Zubovich, A researcher of the University of California, Berkeley, contended that fervent Christians embraced the term to include other religions, specifically Jews. This was important after their unsuccessful endeavors during the 1940s and 1950s to pass a revised constitutional amendment expressing that the United States “perceives the power and law of Jesus Christ, Savior, and Ruler of every nation.” The expression Judeo-Christian was then promoted by Rev. Jerry Falwell during the 1970s. The term started to get criticism for its usage around this time.
“The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition” is an essay published in commentary magazine in 1969, contended that it is generally incorrect to consider Judaism and Christianity a common custom. It was stressed in the essay that both religions have different traditions and values that their followers believe, and there’s no way they can be combined into one.
Yet, the social meaning of the expression kept on developing as the phrase got recognition with time. A few modern circles may laugh and scoff at it, but some generations were raised as Judeo-Christian and were taught to love God with whole heart, knowledge, and truth. The term stays popular and relevant among traditionalists today who do not support same-sex marriage and abortion. It was widely utilized during the 1990s as part of the battles of culture.
Jews believe that “Judeo-Christian” was a bone tossed to them by Americans to participate in their life. When you consider that there were not even 3% American Jews in the entire US population, it appeared to be a somewhat liberal move. The term made them part of American society, and they were not considered outsiders anymore.
Criticisms of Calling Someone Judeo Christian
The critics of the term “Judeo-Christian traditions” believe that it is generally misleading to discuss “Judeo-Christian values” in a unified manner. The term has no relevance to individuals of atheism or different religions. In some cases, these are considered widespread rules that structure the premise of present-day progress.
In contrast, others argue that the term is relevant to atheists, certain Muslim values, and individuals who follow a different faith. There is a strong criticism of Islam being part of the term’s development, as Muslims would contend that there are mistakes in the Hebrew Bible, while Christians don’t dismiss anything in it.
The researchers also highlighted that there are significant contrasts among Christianity and Judaism followers, and the term Judeo-Christian is not a common religious philosophy. Ideally, the shared qualities expressed by the term “Judo-Christian values” are misleading as both religions represent different traditions and spiritual beliefs.
The book “Rise: In Defense of Judeo-Christian Values and Freedom” by Brigitte Gabriel is a good read if you wish to learn about why many come in defense of Judeo-Christian Values and traditions.
Our Final Thoughts
The term Judeo-Christian was first coined in the eighteenth century in Germany, but it gained popularity after being widely used in the United States in the middle of the 20th century. Many were raised following the combined values of both cultures, and they strongly advocate it.
While others believe it isn’t right to talk about common Judeo-Christian practice, as its existence is perhaps imaginary. This group believes that Judaism will be Judaism since it rejects Christianity and Christianity will be Christianity since it rejects Judaism. There is no way both of these faiths can be combined into one as a unified tradition and belief.