The Washington Post recently gave prominent coverage to a bizarre religion story, so wildly improbable as to raise serious doubts about the paper’s critical faculties. The piece also contributes to a potent modern mythology.
The story reported that “Colombian Evangelical Christians Convert To Judaism, Embracing Hidden Past.” It tells of a village with a strong evangelical church, of the sort that has become very popular in modern Colombia. In the 1990s, a minister visited Israel and felt the attraction of Judaism, and subsequently, many families converted to that faith. Now, if this were the whole narrative, that would be an interesting item, on which I would have a simple comment: if those people find fulfillment in that incredibly rich tradition, I wish them all success and happiness.
But oh no, there’s much more. Allegedly, according to the Post, these Colombians were so amenable to conversion because they were crypto-Jews whose families had spent centuries hiding from the Inquisition. When they encountered authentic modern-day Judaism, they were drawn by mystical forces, by reawakening memories: “what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors.”