FAITH IN GOD OR FAITH IN HUMANITY: SOMETHING TO PONDER

β€Ž’I have known people who lost their faith in God during the Holocaust, and others who kept it. But that anyone can have faith in humanity after Auschwitz to me defies belief.’ (Dr Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi)

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A friend of mine remarked on this: ‘Being called after a grandmother who died in Auschwitz, and I see just what Jonathan Sacks means. Personally, I can doubt almost anything – not only God’s existence, but my own. What I cannot doubt is the fallenness of humanity. The big difference that being a Christian makes is that you know that humanity is redeemable.’ (Dr Ida Glaser)

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30 thoughts on “FAITH IN GOD OR FAITH IN HUMANITY: SOMETHING TO PONDER

  1. I think there is a dark side in some people, One can examine it and hardly believe it. Its something thats deeply disturbing. On the other side there is so much good in the world. I find the words of Ida Glaser uplifting, and thats what good people do, they lift the vulnerable out of despair.

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    1. I like that comment, Indigo: to lift the vulnerable out of despair – that’s compassion for you, and it’s certainly not only the preserve of Christians. I think Ida is talking about the whole Christian ‘thing’, of God’s forgiveness through Jesus being able to heal the past and offer a new sort of life, a redeemed life.

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  2. The big question for me in this interchange, is, “is it being a Christian that makes humanity redeemable?”

    I fully understand what Dr Sachs is describing. I do not subscribe to the blunt statement made by Dr Glaser. It must be something very personal to her.

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    1. No, I don’t think Ida means that ‘being a Christian’ makes humanity redeemable. She’s talking about the Christian belief that God in Christ can heal and cleanse the past in a person, and lead to a new sort of life, a redeemed life. So it is the person and work of Christ that makes redemption possible. It’s ours to appropriate, or not.

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      1. The inner thought that comes to mind is do not forget the example of The Good Samaritan. Christ’s redemption did not, in my view, directly or indirectly feature in that example of humanity.

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      2. Yes, this sort of thing was in my mind when I answered Tom concerning his comment on Einstein. There are many people who appreciate the wisdom of the parables and find them applicable in daily life. For the Christian, the parables aren’t divorced from the meaning of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, which we believe ushers in the possibility of redemption.

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      3. I thought there would be a Christian connection made. With all due respect, it does appear to be rather a contrived concept, which for ordinary people, might be clearer if relayed as parables and translated as such. It seems to be that element of the subject becomes unnecessarily complex and over-academic.

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      4. I’m not really clear about the points you’re making. When you say you thought that a Christian connection would be made, does that mean that you expected such a comment from me, or that you think a Christian connection ‘should’ be made? What concept do you feel is contrived? Which element do you feel is unnecessarily complex?

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      5. I expected such a comment about a Christian connection, whether it be from you or another firm believer.

        I think the concept you describe as the one underpinning why the belief would be as is, is unnecessarily complex. The story of the Good Samaritan is beautiful in its simplicity in my view, why contrive to create complexity where there is none required?

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      6. It’s a bit like cutting out a particular colour from, say, a patchwork quilt: we end up with the bit we like, but at the expense of the whole thing. It’s a reductive view.

        Non-believers do appreciate some of Jesus’ teachings and they have a stand-alone quality because of their universality. But for us, they are part of the whole identity of Jesus, who he is, what he has done for us, what the Christian faith is all about.

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      7. I do not see my view as reductive in any way. I just do not embellish it. It is an acceptance of what is seen, is what is; what is, is not necessarily fixed. And that is an acceptance of the fluidity of human nature.

        Teachers, philosophers are interesting, and I do not detract from what they can offer people.

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      8. Your view then is not reductive for you personally, although it is for the Christian faith as a whole, because it ‘reduces’ it to a series of moral stories.

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      9. I have a feeling that we may be talking at cross-purposes. I was talking about the Christian faith which of course to me is supremely ‘realistic’, but I guess your understanding of the term would be very different.

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  3. He appears to think that Humanity was responsible for Auschwitz, which is wrong. A small number of lunatics were responsible.

    I continue to believe that we can eventually sort the planet out, and have a future, once we have removed from power as many of the lunatics as is necessary.

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    1. Were they really lunatics? In what sense? When does a human being become a lunatic, and who decides? Does having power hold the potential for decreasing the humanity in people? If that’s so, then removing them from power will simply breed others with the same problem.

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  4. I can certainly understand Sacks’ comment…considering ‘who’ he is, his reference points and the obvious audience; Ida Glaser’s remark gels more readily with my own experience in/of ‘South Africa’….:roll:
    P.S. Would be interesting to hear Mandela’s comment on Sacks! πŸ˜‰

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