Thursday, April 10, 2008
Passover Seder on 19th
As a non-Jew and an atheist, I have never attended a pesach seder but I have great respect for Judaism (note the flag that I fly on all my blogs) so I thought that I would like to attend one. The local Lubavitchers do advertise a seder so I thought I might go to that one. Alas! They are of course very strict so, even though I explained that I knew something of the teachings of their Rebbe, their person in charge told me as politely as he could that it was for Jews only.
He got a bit incoherent when I pointed out that the Rebbe preached love but that did not sway him, of course. As the Lubavitchers are very fundamentalist, I think we might perhaps conclude that we see the basic difference between Jewish love and Christian love there. Jewish love is for Jews and Christian love is for all mankind. Exclusivity is a feature of many religions so I support their right to be exclusive but I don't think it is wise -- as I have pointed out at some length elsewhere
There are not many Jews in Brisbane so I think I have now missed any chance of attending a seder this year.
Although I have been an atheist for all of my adult life, I did of course grow up into a Christian milieu -- with its characteristic devotion to outreach and proselytization -- so the attitude of the Lubavitchers was rather shocking to me. Nonetheless I should not have been shocked. There were gnostic sects of Christianity in the distant past and there are some survivals of that into modern times (Masons, Exclusive Brethren etc.).
But anyway, I think I may renew my contact with my Christian roots this Sunday by going to a service at my old church -- Ann St Presbyterian. Just the smell of old French-polished wood will make me feel good as I walk in there -- and the handshakes at the door won't hurt a bit either.