Good Guy Jew (with commentary)

By: Dean Tersigni

While he's not as prominent as Scumbag Steve or Bad Luck Brian, some of you may recognize the "Good Guy Jew" meme which paints Jews in a positive light by comparing them to adherents of other religions (especially Christians) by pointing out that they don't complain about a war on Hanukkah or try to convert you. Here are some examples:

However, some of the captions gloss over important points. For example:

Because scripture is pretty vague on the topic of Hell, most of what people think they know about Hell comes, not from scripture, but from theologians. No two major branches of Christianity are able to agree on what Hell is like, how long people remain there, or even under what circumstances a person is sent there. But we're talking about Jews here, so let's focus on their version of the afterlife. According to Judaism, there are three parts to the cosmos: shamayim, erets, and sheol. God hangs out in the shamayin, or the sky, mortals live on erets, or the surface of the earth, and the dead reside in sheol, or beneath the ground. Christianity, being an off-shoot of Judaism, also has a three-part model, heaven, earth, and hell, but they made significant changes from their Jewish roots. For example, good Christians go to Heaven when they die to hobnob with people like God, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson (what do you mean, "he's still alive!"). But in Judaism, it doesn't matter how firm a believer you are, nobody goes to heaven, it's reserved for God and his angels alone! Instead, everyone, from the the most vile sinner to the most pious saint goes to sheol where they just sort of hang out in darkness for eternity. There's no endless torture, but there's no Internet either. Lame, right?

But, as we all know, immutable firm-as-stone religious dogma changes over time, and, as Jews became embroiled with their neighbors (Assyrians, Canaanites, Akkadians, etc.), their faith evolved. Further down the road, some Jews started to believe that the bad people in sheol would be segregated from the good people. After the Greeks conquered the Middle East, Jewish scripture was translated into Greek, and sheol was translated to Hades causing later Jews and Christians to start attributing to their underworld properties of the Greek underworld. But, the the idea of your worldly actions being judged when you die, and, if weighed unfavorably, your soul being cast into a lake of fire to be tortured by demons, is truly an original idea, at least, it was original when the ancient Egyptians came up with it, about 2,000 years before Christianity existed.

So, why won't a Jew tell you you're going to Hell? For the same reason an atheist won't tell you you're going to Hell, because neither believes Hell exists.

Christians have a long history of trying to prevent all women from having abortions and all scientists from doing stem cell research, they continue trying to ban the teaching of evolution, climate change, and birth control in all schools, and, at the same time, have been trying to inject their bible and Jesus into government. So, it's kind of nice to see a religious group who isn't trying to force their religion down your throat.

However, what this meme forgets is that Judaism is a minority religion in the USA, they don't even account for 2% of the population, so, even if they wanted to ban pork, lack of political clout would make it impossible. But things take a turn for the discriminatory when we look to areas where Jews have political power like the nation of Israel where Jews account for 75% of the population. There you will find all sorts of unjustifiable laws hindering the pork industry and old fashioned blatant sexism.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Sure, blame the Jews, like they haven't been through enough already!" But I'm not blaming the Jews. Yes, Jews in Israel have the benefit of passing arbitrary laws without having to consider just how disruptive they are to the lives of Christian farmers. But Christians in America have the benefit of not knowing that three-quarters of their bible, the Old Testament, is actually the Jewish bible, or that other minority religions like Sikhism even exist. But I'm not blaming Christians either; I don't blame any of the Abrahamic religions. Even when their scriptures demand the death of non-believers, most of their followers have found theological reasons to reinterpret or ignore those passages. I'm not even blaming religion, after all, if you think a society run by atheists would be perfectly egalitarian, it only takes five minutes of reading the comments in Reddit's atheist channel to disabuse yourself of that belief. No, I think the real problem here is simply a lack of empathy. Anybody who is in a position of authority, especially those who have been born into it, needs to try very hard to understand the point of view of others, particularly those who think differently than they do. Without a genuine attempt to see through the eyes of a another, how can anyone hope to treat them fairly?