Thursday, May 18, 2006

Christianity and Sodas?

Yesterday, a friend and I were walking by the Crown plaza, when something caught my eye. We walked over to the people who were tabling and witnessed something that I thought was quite bizarre. The poster in front of the brown picnic table read, " Tell me why you are NOT a Christian, and I will give you a soda". The Intervarsity Bible Study group on campus was handing out sodas to students who approached the table and engaged in conversation about Christianity. They recorded the "interesting" answers and pleasantly gave away sodas, but it really made me think. When asked why we weren't Christian, my friend replied, "...Because I do not agree with people like you who proselytize". My hypothetical answer was much more sarcastic. The sense of superiority was felt all around, especially when we left; the group of students were laughing quite audibly. I was wondering if others thought these actions were a bit odd or if it was just me who felt strange?

7 Comments:

Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

Oh my gosh, I wish someone would have told me about this. You guys have to call me when stuff like this goes down; I love free soda!! Jay kay. No, but I totally would have loved to speak with them about why I'm not Christian. Where to begin?

Anyway, sorry if you felt like they were patronizing you. I hope your frind got that free soda at least.

Fri May 19, 12:16:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he enjoyed a lovely sierra mist, and the next day they were there as well, and I enjoyed another friend's pepsi. haha...

ps. wtf is w/those photos?

Fri May 19, 02:03:00 AM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

What photos?

Fri May 19, 02:56:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

I hate to say this, but how is what Intervarsity is doing, really any different from what Hillel does when they have free pizza in a sukkah, or what Chabad does when they have Tacos and Talmud? The food gets people to come, and holds them long enough to get a few words in. In a sense it is even worse when we Jews do it, as the chance to sit in a Sukkah or learn a bit of Talmud should be enough in and of itself.

Imagine if Hillel had a table where they gave out a free soda if you came and filled out a survey on what it means to you to be Jewish. I doubt you would have thought that to be strange.

As for the sense of superiority, perhaps they simply showed a sense of confidence about their faith that Jewish students often lack.

Fri May 19, 08:48:00 AM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

Well, Hillel doesn't challenge people and say "Hey, why aren't you like 33-38% of the world's population? You should be like us." I think that was the implication, but I may be wrong.

The organized Jewish community on campus provides food for Jewish students at events (although, obviously, they don't turn away non-Jews) but the purpose isn't to make non-Jews question their identities, it's to help Jews strenghen theirs. I think there's a big difference.

<3 Gut Shabbos, FB!

Fri May 19, 01:48:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

I was really just refering to the use of food to get people to the table. Also Chabad (or Aish, or Oorah, or even the JSN in Palo Alto), and to a lesser extent Hillel, do proselytize, but only within to Jews. Sure it is perhaps more subtle, but they want you to change your way for the ways of the Torah (however they might view it). While things may be less clear for group like Hillel, all the other orgs mentioned above have a clear idea of what is right and wrong, and of how a Jew should act.

I just don't get why we should be so bothered by what Intervarsity did. Keep in mind that to a religious Christian, being Christian is not an ethnic classification, something that we Jews might think. To a religious Christian, a Christian is someone who actively takes the teachings of Mr. J. into their lives. So your classmate John Smith who celebrates Chistmas by getting drunk on eggnog and buying his girlfriend underware from Victoria's Secret, and who last attended church when he was baptised 19 years ago, would probably be considered to be a non-Christian by Intervarsity Just as much as the Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.

Also, what was the point of telling them off? What did the friend or the Jews as a whole get out of it?

Fri May 19, 02:25:00 PM 2006  
Blogger gogalucky said...

i agree with fedora black--it sounds like exactly the kind of thing hillel and chabad do a lot. what about those pizzas in sukkot? that was probably have the reason i went in, but hey, i went it. and really, this is probably a lot BETTER than that--all they're asking is for people to come talk to them. so a non-believing christian could go up to the table and tell them, "hey, i'm not a christian because of the oppressive attitude that is encouraged" or something, and the group could explain how things have changed or are changing. don't we try to justify and explain our judaism to people all the time? when people ask me about israel, don't i explain how the issue is complicated, how there are some things many people don't know, how in the end i believe that what matters is what's happening now and much less what happened 50 years ago? i tell them that we can just put aside all the pain because we just have to balance it out and move on. and now we can look at the future and say, what is good for all people, what is good for us.

sorry, i'm getting off topic. :D but my point is, this is how you get people to understand. they want people to understand that christianity isn't just "evil" and full of propoganda and hate, and these days, especially in places like ucsc, you have a lot of people running around blaming social problems on the group "Christians", giving them a completely unfair and biased image in the eyes of the uninformed. i've had many conversations with members of the on-campus christian groups and i've always been impressed with how much they respected the fact that i was jewish and never once tried to "convert me anyways", or anything like that. instead we have philosophical discussions about god, and about the current attitude towards christians.

it seems to me like while many college aged jews are almost "coming back home", back to judaism, back to understanding their roots and heritage, many christians go through a completely opposite kind of process. i can give plenty of stories of friends of mine that have turned completely away from everything christian and now refuse to identify as christians at all. imagine we had as many jews doing that kind of thing. wouldn't we try everything to get them to understand?

because the fact is, i don't believe that all christians are oppressing and hateful. i've met so many who aren't and i have a lot of respect for their cause, because i can absolutely identify with it as a jew who fears that one day my people might disappear and change so much that their judaism is no longer recognizable.

Fri May 19, 03:38:00 PM 2006  

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