So many people had problems with the Jewish religion over the years, while at the same time I have always heard them referred to as the chosen people - where did these problems start?
This is a very interesting question, one which has a multitude of potential answers. I'll only attempt to give one or two.
I don't know how biblically knowledgeable you are, but here goes.
Your question hinges on a misunderstanding. If you study the Tanakh (the "Old Testament" to Christians) carefully you will find that the "Jews" are not the chosen people. Let me explain briefly. Abraham was chosen by Elohim ("God"). He passed on the promises to his son, Isaac, who passed them on to Jacob, who became known as Israel. Israel is the chosen nation. Israel had twelve sons, who became the twelve tribes of Israel. Under King Saul, all twelve tribes were united under one central monarchy. After Saul's death at the battle of Mount Gilboa, the kingdom split into two, the northern House of Israel and the southern House of Judah. A few years later, David (a type of the Messiah) reunited the tribes forming one united kingdom again. However, following the death of Solomon (during the reign of Rehoboam), the northern tribes rebelled again and broke away forming their own separate kingdom, the Kingdom of the House of Israel. The southern kingdom remained loyal to ...