God On Trial ... and the Unchallenged Assumption

The first faulty assumption is the seed from which an uncounted number of equally questionable subsequent assumptions may come.  It may be a hypothesis without basis, a personal experience assumed to be universal, or the result of a misuse of logic, but once that false seed is taken as fact, the results can vary all over the map, with reliability about as secure as the proverbial snowball in hell.

I have just finished watching God On Trial, a dramatization of a trial, supposedly held during World War II by Jewish inmates in an Auschwitz barracks, regarding whether or not their god was guilty of breach of contract.  Said contract is the covenant which this god supposedly entered into with the Jews, making them his “chosen people.”  The arguments are powerful and compelling, and none more so than the last argument made, which comes out of nowhere and may be the most damning of any made during the hour and 26 minutes which comprises the presentation.

Yet there remains one assumption which really is neither tested nor confronted throughout their proceeding.  To me it seems that the participants of this trial, being all Jewish, take the existence of their god as a given, an automatic, an essential which may not be questioned or challenged.  They are so immersed in the idea of a god that the idea that their god may not be is never particularly addressed seriously.  Were they to confront this assumption and possibly deduce that there is no god and therefore no covenant, that the tyranny and pogroms they faced were not a test by their deity, but the acts of men acting out their desires and designs on other men, then the trial would collapse of its own weight.  Of course, with it would fall their faith as well and with that possibly the cohesion which was likely all that kept them alive in the squalor which comprised not just Auschwitz but all concentration camps.  Certainly they can be excused for not totally abandoning their faith under such duress.

Even then … listen to the last argument given here, and notice how close the speaker skirts to this idea.  He suggests that god may no longer be on the side of the Jews.  If that is true, if god has abjured his “chosen people,” then what kind of god is he at all … IF he is at all?


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Tags: Auschwitz, God On Trial

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Comment by Loren Miller on December 23, 2011 at 5:37am

Unfortunately, I have an answer for that one, Eric: they'd rather believe something crazy than go to hell, even though that "hell" is equally crazy and baseless.  They fail to THINK, to think for themselves, to draw their own conclusions rather than have them fed to themselves by someone with their own agenda.

Religion encourages this kind of laziness and dependency. Indeed, it is utterly reliant on it, and I doubt it could exist without it.

Comment by roland707 on December 22, 2011 at 9:55pm

Loren- I agree. I hadn't watched the clip when i posted that. Just watched it, and you're right. He never suggests that maybe there is no god. It's just assumed he's obviously there, must have just switched teams. Sad, people probably have this argument with themselves frequently. I don't know how they don't completely go bonkers trying to keep all of their beliefs straight. 

Comment by Loren Miller on December 21, 2011 at 10:58am

"Gott Mit Uns" - which the speaker in the video above cites and therewith wondering if their god has struck a new deal with someone else.

My question is simple: how does one strike a bargain with something that doesn't exist?

Comment by roland707 on December 21, 2011 at 9:11am

The Nazis wore belt buckles inscribed "god is with us". 

Comment by Loren Miller on December 19, 2011 at 2:59pm

If the god of the bible actually existed, I wouldn't trust him any further than I could throw a fit.  As reason, look at Job, who got put through the wringer because of a bet between god and the devil.  Regardless of how rosy things are on the other side, I will NOT be a trained pony for some jerk to show off.

Comment by matthew greenberg on December 19, 2011 at 2:33pm

powerful scene.  thanks Loren.  "god is not good".  the nazi's must have thought like Tony the Tiger - "heeeeeeeeeeeeeee's GREAT!"

Comment by Steph S. on December 19, 2011 at 2:24pm
Thanks for the post! If there was ever "proof" that god didn't exist it would certainly be the holocaust. How could a god let that happen?

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