One of the best things about becoming Jewish is that the process has clarified for me very precisely what I love and what I dislike in Christianity.
What I love in Christianity is exactly what I love most in Judaism. Jesus distilled the most beautiful elements of Judaism and made them harmonize and inter-illuminate. He was an unsurpassed genius, and it was through him that Judaism became capable of producing modern humanity as we know and love it.
What I dislike in Christianity is where Jesus ends and Paul begins — the whole magic legalistic universe he invented and shoehorned his christized Jesus into — which is also precisely where it betrays Judaism.
I’m not one of those boring people who rejects Paul because he was mean, harsh or misogynistic. According to most experts, relative to the standards of his time he was above average in all the virtues good liberals prize most. He may have even helped advance liberalism, and for that outcome I am grateful, even if I find his methods distasteful.
No: my problem with Paul is that his worldview is poorly conceived and designed. It’s a hacked-together mess, lacking in plausibility and usability. If Paul’s concept of God is the only one you have available, it is a miracle if that doesn’t force you into atheism. The only part that’s any good design-wise is the sliver that reinforces what Jesus tried to teach.
To summarize: Judaism and Christianity overlap in Jesus’s teachings. Judaism and Christianity diverge where Paul started inventing his own religion.
A little something to upset everyone.