Sin, Atonement and Salvation

It is important to note that Judaism and Christianity differ on most major theological issues. One of the more obvious issues is the matter of sin, atonement and salvation.

Christian Belief

* Early Christianity latched onto a notion that the messiah was someone who would be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world.

* Christianity believes that we are born condemned and that without the practice of animal sacrifices Jews cannot atone for their sins.

This represents a blatant misinterpretation of the Jewish Bible.

Jewish standpoint

* The Tanach teaches that sin is an act, not a state of being.

o Mankind was created with an inclination to do evil (Genesis 8:21)

o We have the ability to master this inclination (Genesis 4:7)

o We can choose good over evil (Psalm 37:27, Deut.30:19).

We do not ascribe to the NT (New Testament) concept of the taint of “Original sin” making us intrinsically evil.

* God gave us a way to remove our sins.

o When sacrifices were required they were intended only for unintentional sins (Leviticus 4:1) and served as a means of motivating individuals to true repentance.

o Numerous passages, including Hosea 14, I Kings 8:44-52 and Jeremiah 29:12-14, inform us that today, without a Temple or sacrifices, our prayers take the place of sacrifices. In addition, we read:

The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17)

I desire kindness and not sacrifices, the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).