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I am sitting still stunned after watching a riveting piece of drama. The BBC has taken one of the most dreadful parts of human history and made something wonderful out of it.
‘God on trial‘ tells the story of jews, wrestling with God, like Jacob before them. If you missed it, you can watch again for the next 7days by visiting the BBC i player- here
This programme was a master class of writing and acting. It is centred around a group of Jews in Auchwitz who have just been selected for the gas chamber. And in angry outburst, some of them decide to put God on Trial.
The charge- breach of the contract with his Chosen People, the Jews. And the arguments went backwards and forwards. Some angry and rejecting, others clinging to faith with all of their might. Here are a selection of some of the arguments
Jews had suffered before. The point is to be a good Jew- we are being tested. Punished for sins. sons deserted faith- forgetting the scriptures.
But why punish children and old people, and good Jews because of the sins of the bad ones? Why not punish HITLER?
But this covenant is with the Jewish people- it is not personal.
In time, things become better? God is a purifying surgeon– not a punishment, but a purification? Like the flood, or the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. Painful, but beautiful. A process necessary for the rebirth of Israel? A sacrifice? A Holocaust… you can hate the knife, but love the surgeon. there will be a holy remnant. they can finish the story.
Do not let them take your faith. Hitler will die but the TORAH will live. We must trust in God.
God gave us free will. We have to take responsibility for our own planet.
But there was the man who was forced to choose from one of his children- one to save. Free will? I do not want it.
“But he is here. I know he is here, even though I do not understand him. Snowdrops the first ray of sun. I felt him. That warmth. Maybe GOD is being gassed. He is suffering with us.
But who needs a god who suffers?
Maybe God needs us… maybe he is not strong after all without us
Were does all this evil come from, but where too does all this goodness come from?
The violent history of the Jewish people. God the avenging God. God who kills the first-born Egyptians, and destroyed the people of the promised land- to make room for the Israelites. Moabites, Amelakites- Is this God Just??? What was it like when God turned against these people? It was like THIS. God was not good- he was only on our side! Now he has made a new covenant with someone else!
WE cannot fathom the mind of GOd. THis will end…
BUt no no no no- this will not do- making predictions about the future. The covenant we have NOW- Psalm 81 the throne of david will last for all time and his descendants….
You have something in common with the Nazis! 100 thousand million stars. To count them 2500 years- just one galaxy! Yet all his focus is on ONE planet? One part of the planet- the Jews?? If he loved the jews so much- why did he make anything else?
It’s all about power and control. Each one with their own God.
Don’t let them take your God. He is your god, ‘even if he does not exist’.
And as brilliant minds chased ideas about God like lifelines thrown to drowning men, their appointment with the gas chambers drew closer. And in the end, they found God guilty as charged.
But then, at the end, one man cries ‘Now God is guilty- what do we do now?’
‘Now’ came the answer, ‘we pray’.
So did I.