The Schismatic Relationship between Christianity/Judaism
I am not from either culture, but perhaps this distinction can give me an objective perspective. The early church, according to the Gospel of John, was a dispute almost exclusively among Palestinian Jews. Jesus preached to the Jews of Judea and Samaria, his followers and disciples were Jews, and his persecutors (as well as those of Paul, Peter, Barnabas, etc.) were also mostly Jews. This was a schism that occurred within Jewish culture in Roman times. Jesus was a spearhead against the Jewish traditions of his time– his mission to the Gentiles was peripheral during his lifetime, only later did his followers (a) promote his role as a Saviour of all of Mankind, and (b) completely remove the Abrahamic laws from the Christian church. Jesus launched an intellectual assault against the Jewish priesthood, very similar to Buddha’s assault on Hindu brahmins, or Muhammad’s on the Quraysh merchant ruling class.
Either way, to accept Jesus means to separate yourself from Jewish traditions and hierarchy. No community likes their roots to be uprooted, and Jesus declared war on institutional Jewry — so I’m very sympathetic to the idea you cannot be a Jew and for Jesus. No more than you could be a Buddhist and a Hindu, or Muslim and a hedonic pagan.
(I don’t mean to infringe on anyone’s freedom, if you want to worship Krishna and deny the existence of the soul — or Allah and the idols that preceded him, I would like to research you extensively. But they are parallel, non-mutual ideologies. )
Its very interesting that Christianity co-opted the Old Testament as holy, considering their religion is centered on the ministry of Jesus (as described by the apostles). Christianity is supposed on the premise that Christ supplants the Abrahamic law, that our salvation lies in the personality of the Messiah. The gospels are a testimony of the Messiah, so why would the early Christian religion carry the baggage that they so eagerly discarded in the ideological wastebin?
(The answer is about an early conflict with the Jews regarding the validity of Jesus’ mission as predicted in the Old Testament. For Christianity to include the Hebrew Bible is making the very clear argument that “We’re based on these earlier prophesies, even if you don’t think so.”)
Interestingly, a new book about Bonhoeffer, the German Protestant theologian who was executed by the Nazis smuggling six Jews to Switzerland, describes how the Nazi regime wanted to remove the (Jewish) Old Testament from the Christian canon. Bonhoeffer headed the largest non-state-sanctioned church in the Third Reich, and refused to remove the Old Testament from the Scriptures, believing they were inextricably tied. The New Testament, according to Christians, fulfills the Old.
I personally think including the OT was a polemic choice.
Speaking of polemic, this is how most debates about religion tend to be.
Phillip K. Dick co-opting the fish
Osho once said Christians should not take up the symbol of death (the cross) but a symbol of life (like the fish). — Read VALIS by Phillip K. Dick sometime. The main character suddenly founds out that the fish everyone has on their car actually means something else.
Integrating this Shalom Baptist Church event a bit more, the entire reason for including Passover into a Christian holiday is to co-opt Judaism, and proclaim Christianity as the fulfillment of Jewish prophesy.
As mentioned before, Christianity rejects the laws of the Old Testament as the key to salvation, and introduces the personality of Jesus as the path to salvation. Therefore, Christianity should drop the Old Testament and any pretenses to Jewish heritage.
The fact that Christians believe Jesus fulfills Jewish prophesy, has no bearing upon Jewish heritage — because Jesus transcends and supercedes Jewish law. You are a different religion, even if you believe you are the fulfillment of the Old religion. You are not the old religion, you are another religion. You cannot be more right than somebody else about their own religion.