- Pathfinder

Reply To: Did any of the similarities or differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise you? If so, which/why?

James Diddams

I was not surprised to see that traditional/orthodox Christians and Jews both talk about a life of “decency,” or virtue as some would say. In the United States, social conservatism is largely driven by an alliance of Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews that, together, make up the intellectual strength of most of social conservatism. Protestants, for a variety of reasons, seem to do less writing on those subjects. I’ve had the privilege of reading many Jewish authors over the years explain the value of conservatism, like Yoram Hazony or Rabbi David Novak or Peter Berkowitz. There is a deep wellspring of wisdom that Christians in the United States, particularly the Founding Fathers (excluding Jefferson) who were exceedingly philosemitic and saw parallels between the United States as a covenantal nation with God and Israel. Both Judaism and Christianity speak a language of “human flourishing” as opposed to therapeutic emotivism; both religions push people to do what’s right, in an objective sense, as opposed to what subjectively feels good.