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Taiwanese convert learned wrong lesson from Christianity

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, TAIWAN — One of my Taiwanese college students told me this distressing tale about her English professor, and I have no reason to doubt her.

The professor, educated in the United States, is a convert to Christianity — having been born in a family that was nominally Buddhist and Taoist, as is the case with most Taiwanese.  

This particular professor, outwardly a  sweet woman who I have met on several occasions, uses some of her classroom time to tell her young charges about her view of life as a Christian. To the point where most of the students in her life tune her out and roll their eyes when she launches into one of  her religious  anecdotes about how Jesus saved her life from despair.

All well and good, of course. In a democracy such as Taiwan, where freedom of religion is the norm, anyone is free to speak about their religion or their religious experiences. Even in a college classroom. Within limits, of course.

Professor X — let’s just call her Professor X for now — has also told her Taiwanese students about the “perfidious Jews” who are evil and will go to hell when they die, stressing that the Jews claim they are “The  Chosen People”, and the good professor uses this false and biblically incorrect assertion to try to persuade her students that the Jews are not to be trusted.

Give me a break, please, Professor X. There are very few Jews in Taiwan, and most Taiwanese students have no idea what Judaism is or what Jews believe in. They just know that Anne Frank was Jewish, and they also know that Einstein was Jewish, and a few other scientists and econmists like George Soros. They don’t know that Jesus was Jewish.

Is this an example of a new kind of Asian antisemitism raising its ugly head? No, it’s just one college professor who doesn’t know her history or religion very well and just quotes from her Bible books.

If she studied Judaism, of course, she would know that that the Jews do not claim a “chosen” role with God — in terms of being superior to all other peoples, as if God chose them among all people to be His people — but that Jews merely used the term
Chosen People to mean that the ancient Hebrews felt that God had chosen them to have a special covenant with God. That’s all, Professor X. Stop your classroom prosletyzing. Its unbecoming in a democracy like Taiwan. Sigh.

With chosenness comes obligations to God, which do not bind other religious groups.

But try explaining this to Professor X in Taiwan, who tries to tell her students
 that the Jews are a perfidious people who did not accept Jesus as their messiah and therefore are doomed forever. Oi.

Bloom is an American expatriate living in Chiayi City

  1. yael
    March 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I have the same thing with a chritian English teacher who told the whole class that Hebrew is “an extinguished and dead language” while Latin is still in use since the holy books are written in Latin. They also say that Jews are not anymore the chosen ones etc. that really pxxx me off (I’m in Taichung). I can tell you 99.9% of Taiwanese don’t even know what is “jewish”. But at least there are someone to talk to comparing to the budhists & taoists….

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