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There are many substantial and vital distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. Of course, there are many similarities as well, primarily because Christianity emerged from Judaism. However, the emergence was not a direct line. Christianity broke from Judaism, forming a new religion, so it is misleading, however comfortable the thought might be, to believe that the two religions are essentially the same, or to see Christianity as the natural continuation of Judaism. The differences between the two religions will be explored below. As a preface, it is useful to repeat Judaism's central belief that the people of all religions are children of God, and therefore equal before God. All people have God's love, mercy, and help. In particular, Judaism does not require that a person convert to Judaism in order to achieve salvation. The only requirement for that, as understood by Jews, is to be ethical. While Judaism accepts the worth of all people regardless of religion, it also allows people who are not Jewish but who voluntarily wish to join the Jewish people to do so. It is not really possible to summarize either Judaism or Christianity fairly in brevity, so further study is encouraged. Also, the formal positions of Judaism on various issues should be discussed with a rabbi. The beliefs described in this section are mainstream Christian and Jewish beliefs. Individual Christian and Jewish thinkers may differ, sometimes considerably, with the positions described here. It is nonetheless useful, even with all these limitations, to consider the differences. One book that is excellent on this subject is Judaism and Christianity: the Differences, by Trude Weiss-Rosmarin (Jonathan David, 1981).
Who died on the cross? Was it Jesus-the-god, or was it Jesus-the-human? If it was Jesus-the-god, Jews don't believe that God can die. If it was Jesus-the-human, then all Christians have in the death of Jesus was a human death, a human sacrifice. Jews believe that God hates the very idea of human sacrifice.
Deuteronomy 12:30-31, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, "for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. In Jeremiah 19:4-6, God tells us that Human sacrifice is so horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind to demand it from His creation, "They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind." We see the same thing in Psalm 106:37-38, and in Ezekiel 16:20. This means that God would not accept Jesus's death on the cross as a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. The very idea of that God would accept a human sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins is UnBiblical.