Thursday, 30 October 2008

Forgiveness might be the death of me

I have just had a meeting with my tutor regarding my project. He slated some of it, and praised other parts. He recommended I read Jewish Holocaust literature, as my project is focussed on a Jew during the war, it would be good to look at other, contemporary responses.

I haven't read anything yet. I have merely looked up books. I have occasionally glanced at their contents pages. And I feel sick. I have this feeling of being on the edge of something, and the moment I read that first book, there will be no going back. There will be no twee, 'we must forgive' type answer. I feel like I could lose my faith. The enormity of the horror of the Holocaust has never struck me properly, and I want to read, and understand, but mostly, hold onto my faith. I don't mind if it's shaken, but I will not accept it being taken from me.

So, friends, if you happen to be reading this, whoever you may be from the small number that do: uphold me. I want to hang onto Biblical truth, but I want to engage with the feelings and tragedies of the Holocaust. I am about to walk out into the unknown, without a light or a map, and only a vague memory of something good to keep me going. Help me.

3 comments:

Aaron said...

Humans have free will.

God is testing our faith despite these tragedies.


I dunno, find reasons for it. Yes, it was sad but can you really going to suddenly turn around and blame God for it? I don't think so.

Swandive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swandive said...

In response to the comment: It is nowhere near as black and white as that. For one, the Holocaust was not a mere tragedy; it was a horrifying display of unjustified torture, brutality, oppression and genocide at the foot of greed and power, when human beings both acted like and were treated like worthless animals. Where a man and his followers decided to take over the role of God. Yes, I also believe that we have free will and that no omnipotent being has overall control over our actions and faiths - ergo, the Holocaust was no 'fault' of anyone but the humans who brought about it - but when a being of whom so much of your trust and love is invested in 'allows' such barbaric acts to happen, there are bound to be doubts. Taking on this would be strenuous test of faith.

In response to the post: I do believe that involving the Holocaust literature will benefit you immensely. It would be difficult - it is hard-wrenching, gut-churning stuff, but it happened and it astounds me how few people recognise the true extent of the horrors of it. I've never read it with the intention of taking anything further from it than a knowledge of the hardships faced, and know that to reach a conclusion that is relative to your project will be agonising and take much, much deliberation. But what a great commitment to God it would be - to study in great detail the cold, harsh truth of human nature in the Holocaust and to come out the other end with your faith intact. Which you will. Don't hide behind your religion; use it to address these issues which are way beyond comprehension and, with God, work your way to an understanding. As with all relationships, the troubled times - those where you can almost find yourself at a lost, where you're fighting internal battles, blaming the other and their actions - in any relationships always strengthen and add all the more substance to it, and I don't believe that your relationship with God should be an exception to this.

I struggled greatly with the literature you would have to consult, but despite that I honestly believe that your tutor may in fact have a good thing here. Yes, you are standing on the edge of something huge and challenging, but to take the plunge would be beyond courageous and an astounding homage to Christ and his teachings. Not that you have anything to prove. And I am there for you every single step of the way, to hold your hand and pull you out if it comes too much. I do however, think you should continue to think long and hard about this.

Good luck x