Is Christianity a better religion than Judaism?
The evaluation of a religion as “good” and “better” raises the question of the criteria for this evaluation. According to the Christian faith Jews and non-Jews (“pagans”) are reconciled in Jesus Christ - it is therefore not a question of “better” in the sense of a devaluation of Judaism, or as if there was a competition.
We must take into account the deep connection between Christianity and the Jewish faith. Some examples for this are: Jesus is himself a Jew and initially believes himself to be called to gather together and unite the oppressed and dispersed people of Israel. Although they reject him, God remains faithful to the people of Israel. He withdraws neither their chosen status nor any promises, and St. Paul is able to say clearly about the Jews “Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised” (Romans 9:4-5) Furthermore, the disciples, too, were Jews and despite his conversion St Paul’s writings can only be understood taking account of his Jewishness. And finally, all Christian Churches have deliberately rejected any attempts at separating the Old Testament from the canon of biblical books and have stressed the unity of the Old and the New Testament.
To be able to give and appropriate answer to the question of which religion is “better”, we have to differentiate between God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and the Christian religion that responds to this revelation. According to the Christian faith, God’s revelation in Jesus Christ is final and cannot be surpassed. The Christian faith is of importance only through faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ and through faithfully following Jesus’s path. Christians know that they can never follow him completely. Conversations with other religions, Judaism as well as other faiths, can therefore enhance Christian understanding. It is not the case that Christianity is “better”, but that it is its reference to Jesus Christ that differentiates Christianity from Judaism: with regard to Jesus Christ the Jewish religion cannot be considered to be “complete” or “better”, because the vast majority of Jews rejects the interpretation of Jesus as the Messiah (the Christ), or does not believe it to be important for understanding God. This enables St Paul to stress God’s faith with the Jews, while wishing fervently that they would confess Jesus as Christ.
Further information can be found in the answers to questions 102 and 83.