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God on Trial

By Edited Mar 18, 2016 1 0

A segment of the film

The video clip on which this article will be based is from the film God on Trial. Though it undoubtedly has its biases (and what does not?), it is an interesting concept and the apparent reality of the evil of the Judao-Christian God is evident. There is a human element to this film that is very prominent, and as a viewer to consider it in the context of the Holocaust it leaves me wondering why there are not more Jews (and by extension other people) angry directly at God for his apparent lack of action during this period of time.

As a human being, I try and look at the world objectively; though I only have a subjective pair of eyes. When I examine God, I try not to leave this sense of reason at the door in exchange for my phenomenological feelings. Let us examine the very nature of God himself through Biblical text:

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7, NIV)

We can acknowledge that God is both good and evil. Granted we are not exploring other variation of god and gods, but let us leave the conversation with the deity the clip from God on Trial is addressing. No one should enjoy perceiving human beings (much less other lesser animals) suffering at the hands of a deity who continues to actively punish the world for deeds of our forefathers. To punish innocent individuals while criminals run freely. The very nature of justice is perverted by a notion that God is real and is in control. 

A common philosophical question asked virtually any time god is considered in philosophical works is, if God is just, then why do we continue to suffer? I am often reminded of one of my favorite quotes with reference to God and his supposed “justified” actions:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
- Epicurus

The existence of God hinges on a variety of things. We cannot objectively observe God, nor have I experienced him phenomenologically in such a way that I can distinguish deity from physiologically or psychologically induced delusions. The sensation of stress on my conscious when I act unethically or immorally (by social and natural standards) can be interpreted by one individual as God pressing on the heart, though if we consider Occam’s Razor or honestly just rationally analyze the present scenario; we can be faced with the reality that this is in fact not an act of God, but rather an act of the body. The scientific evidence is abundant when considering the functionality of the body and brain, however many scientists are open to evidence of god if someone could willingly provide it.

In addition to this, I feel that existence is in many ways dependent on desire. We can consider our dearest enemies and our inherent desire to see them not exist. In some ways, when you escape the negative situation you have found yourself in, there is a feeling that this person has ceased to exist. I perceive God in the same light.

God was perhaps my dearest potential friend, yet how can I desire his existence (much less know he exists with certainty) when I have the knowledge that he is as cruel as he is loving? These things should not go hand in hand. This would be like explaining to a rape victim that her rapist is as loving as he is cruel because he thrusted slowly instead of quickly. There is no escaping the cold reality that a woman was raped in this scenario, even if so many of us desire to put the blame on the victim. I ask the omnipotent deity whom so many believe in fervently, what is good in you if so much is also evil?

Even if God does exist, he is not worthy of belief on the grounds that he is cruel. We may continue to act as if he does not exist. There is little to no evidence to support his existence. Scientifically, the evidence is null. Philosophically, we are treated to the same arguments again-and-again; and more often than not they begin with presumptions that God exists prior to even formulating a logical statement. And at worst, so many find themselves clinging to Pascal’s Wager and hoping to escape the negative eternal afterlife so many priests and followers boast about existing as a fear tactic alone.

The film "God on Trial" does a fantastic job of isolating the negative emotions that the Jews may have had while enduring the Holocaust. While the conversation that takes place in the film may not be historically accurate, it's conversation is worth hearing and at least considering regardless of your walk of life.



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