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The Challenge of Having Faith in God Today

Powerful Essays
The Challenge of Having Faith in God Today

In Elie Wiesel’s book Night, one character professes to have “more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He’s the only one who’s kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people” (77). After all they have gone through in their rich and lengthy history, Jews have every right to feel angry toward God for not keeping His promises. God told them that they were His chosen people; but who would feel privileged to be a Jew if being “chosen” meant having to live through Auschwitz? For many Jews who lived through the Holocaust, their faith in God will never be the same. The question that many of them ask is “Why?” Why the gas chambers? Why the Jews? “Why has God apparently forsaken us?” Many survivors feel great anger towards the God of their ancestors, and through this anger they try to understand the “whys.” For many, this is the only way they can live after what they have been through. Through anger, survivors can assert their presence: “To overwhelming death one must respond with overwhelming life…” (Greenberg 330). In a post-Holocaust age, a logical and reasonable way for many survivors to relate to God is through anger and controversy rather than through a passive acceptance of God's will.

Elie Wiesel is probably the best known Holocaust survivor alive today. He has written several books about his experiences in the concentration camps and his reflections on the Holocaust. Wiesel’s work is known for the hard questions that it poses, and the sensitive issues that it discusses. Wiesel himself is an excellent example of how the Holocaust destroyed or at least significantly altered the faith of many of its victims. Before he was deported, the 15-year-old Wiesel wa...

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... Otherwise, how do we know that He is listening to us? Or how do we know that He cares about what happens to us? How do we even know that God did not hang on the gallows of Auschwitz?

Works Cited

Brown, Robert McAfee. Introduction. The Trial of God. New York: Schocken Books,

1979. vii-xix.

Greenberg, Irving. “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire.” Holocaust. John K. Roth

and Michael Berenbaum, eds. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 1989.

“The Book of Job.” The Harper Collins Study Bible. NRSV. London: Harper

Collins Publishers, 1989.

Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. New York: Avon

Books, 1981.

Mauriac, Francois. Forward. Night. by Elie Wiesel. New York: Bantam Books, 1960.

vii-xi.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1960.

Wiesel, Elie. The Trial of God. New York: Schocken Books, 1979.
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