In a world that is full of misinformation and outright lies, I have tried to create a site that can provide accurate and rational responses to questions about life. We can explore the pressing questions about science, religion, government and society together. Of course, we can have some fun doing this as well.
"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall" - Thomas Paine
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Friday, October 5, 2012
Why does Israel exist?
Some Christian Zionists believe that the "ingathering" of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. The idea that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christian, as a means fulfilling a Biblical prophecy has been common in Protestant circles since the Reformation.
Christian support for the restoration of the Jews was brought to America by the Puritans who fled England. In colonial times, Increase Mather and John Cotton,among others, favored restoration of the Jews, but it was not until the early 19th century that the idea gathered impetus. Ezra Stiles at Yale was a prominent supporter of restoration of the Jews. In 1808, Asa McFarland, a Presbyterian, voiced the opinion of many that the fall of the Ottoman Empire was imminent and would bring about the restoration of the Jews. One David Austin of New Haven spent his fortune building docks and inns from which the Jews could embark to the Holy Land. In 1825 Mordecai Manuel Noah, a Jew who wanted to found a national home for the Jews on Grand Island in New York as a way station on the way to the holy land, won widespread Christian backing for his project. Likewise, restorationist theology was the inspiration for the first American missionary activity in the Middle East. As the demise of the Ottoman Empire appeared to be approaching, the advocacy of restorationism increased.
It was not just in the USA that this idea occurred. Ideas favoring the restoration of the Jews in the Palestine or Land of Israel entered the British public discourse in the 1830s, though British reformationists had written about the restoration of the Jews as early as the 16th century, and the idea had strong support among Puritan. Not all such attitudes were favorable towards the Jews; they were shaped in part by a variety of Protestant beliefs, or by a streak of philo-Semitism among the classically educated British elite, or by hopes to extend the Empire.
The role of certain Christians in supporting the establishment of Israel following World War II is well known; and it is really, is simply an example of self-willed fulfillment of prophecy.