Discussion on the ways in which Alice Eckardt, Emil Fackenheim, and Irving Greenberg expresses their sentiments on religious truth
One can no longer consider affirmation on the whole truth because whatever was considered sacred and impossible was made possible. Difficulty arose in determining the actual cause of the holocaust, since it occurred in a nation which was considered to be highly civilized and advanced whereby majority were Christians (Eckardt 1987, 28).
This is a clear indication on the fact that the religious point of view which could have been used to divert holocaust from the Germany church experience, was never implemented. The Shoah experience indicated loss of practical Christianity revealed through the actions of the faith community where the congregation is no longer reminded a bout religious standard of living.
There is representation of complete loss of knowledge concerning the past which compels individuals towards performing strange actions. Few individuals took the initiative of going contrary to the beliefs of their superiors, hence giving necessary support to those in need. This revealed that despite the belief that those in authority are more knowledgeable concerning the truth, acting on pressing situations becomes a mystery.
Those outside authority pursued the course of helping their threatened neighbors amidst threats from their superiors irrespective of differences in race and beliefs (Eckardt 1987, 33).
Apart from the Gospel and their belief system, the Jews managed to reinforce and defend their sovereignty through military power instead of religious belief. Realization dawned that it is through political influence and state not only religion that future occurrences of holocaust could be prevented.
The teaching on contemptuous issues was ignored amongst Christians and Jews. This could be depicted from the hostile nature of the Jewish clergy which presented them as corrupting force amongst Christians in Germany.
According to German society the Jews became major force contributing towards destruction of biblical truth like the rock of Peter i.e. the Catholic Church; they were seen as sole causes of the evils of capitalism as well as communism. The church claimed to posses the only way through which people could be forgiven, the only sure grace and salvation.
However, such claims are not considerate of humility in regard to the plan of God towards mankind. This has since led to the emergence of both true and false believers leading to denial of basic human principles, hence leading to vices such as racism and anti-Semitism. There is widespread denial of equality within human circles (Eckardt 1987, 32).
It is not in order to grasp the whole issue on holocaust from social science perspective. Holocaust crisis could not only be understood in the western perspective, but also calls for necessity to indulge historical mind since this enables individuals to conceptualize the reality behind the whole occurrence (Emil 1970, 291). The Shoah resulted into sharp split amongst the Jewish community, this dictated on their nature of behavior.
For example, an American Jew in the current time practices Universalism depending on their status within the society. This differs from other Jews within the contemporary society who are concerned about secularism as the only source of freedom. This deems contrary to their traditional beliefs which were fully dependent past religious background.
Finally, there is the Jew found within the extremes of being an American and Israelite who believes in being at freedom in the modern world as compared to their lives during holocaust. The holocaust inspired the rise in academically inspired atheism and agnosticism which grants the Jews opportunity of being men-in-general (Emil 1970, 292).
The Jews demand to live as Jews in accordance to God’s word, met furious resistance from various quotas.
Judaism belief claims and maintains that God is omnipresent. The assertion contradicts his belief that God was absolutely absent at Auschwitz which led to development of principles contrary to moral will (Emil 1970, 291). The existence of the Jews in the contemporary society is characterized by universalism whereby they consider themselves to have attained status of equality within the society.
They are as well indulged in secularism which they consider as the source of their freedom, this is a great contradiction to their past tradition which was purely laid on religious foundation. The idea allows them to participate in political and social processes within the society which is a contradiction to the moral traditions.
They consider themselves no longer bound by God’s biblical moral principles. The author considers the present generation to be at crisis of moral extinction following the catastrophe which befell the Jews years ago (Emil 1970, 292).
The coming of anachronistic Jewish secularism presents means of blindfolded kind of worship. The Jewish became so much obsessed by Auschwitz which gave them alternatives to God of secularism which could either be universal or particular.
In this case all the ideals to progress and reason could not be fathomed; this is since according to Auschwitz the ideals have led to tribalism and finally justified necessity.
There is a very big division amongst the Jews, those who are religious and those professing secularism. This brought about authentic and unauthentic Jews; the Authentic being those who still profess Jewish moral laws and the other group comprising of those who are out of their Jewishness (Emil 1970, 175).
God delivering His people meant setting them free from any human oppression thus guaranteeing better lifestyles. Every human being should live in accordance to the realization that God created man with some sense of value and therefore should ensure his redemption from evil bondage (Greenberg 1975, 305).
However, historical events described in the bible made Christians believe so much in eternity paying less attention to contemporary lifestyles. Lack of moral absolutes within the society was experienced during the Holocaust where six million Jews were exterminated.
The event was quite harsh towards human existence placing lots of questions on the truth about God’s existence and effectiveness of His moral absolutes. Christians have taken these issues normally and continued their lifestyles as if nothing happened. Failure of both Christianity and Judaism to confront such like matter of heavy magnitude towards human existence renders their teachings obsolete (Greenberg 1975, 306-307).
The killing of the Jews attracted many controversies about religious beliefs to the extent that talking about a God who loves and cares was seen as an absolute mockery.
Christians present during the time of Holocaust could not extend their hand of help to the Jewish community, since they allowed the rules of the nation to supersede their ability to do right. This made Christianity seem to be a religion which is hopelessly and fatally compromised. They could only give support to the Jews who accepted conversion to Christianity and not all.
Consequently, the same Christians through the Vatican provided ways of escape to criminals who performed such atrocity (Greenberg 1975, 309). Christians took this occasion as a payback time for the crimes Jews committed against Jesus; this is contrary to Christian belief which forbids revenge missions.
It presents complete controversy towards biblical teachings. The actions present modern human culture with the belief that moral restraints were broken by unlimited evil existing within the world (Greenberg 1975, 310).
Present technological and scientific inventions led towards creation of great awareness of unlimited knowledge on freedom. This resulted into disastrous kinds of leadership which only lead human towards death campaigns, this asserts the removal of absolute truth. Humanistic revolt led to creation of awareness that human dependence upon God and nature is no longer necessary.
The argument has been reinforced by the existence of professionals from various fields which considered human reasoning sovereign to God’s. The coming of democracies locked out several victims who could have been saved from the rule of Auschwitz through the rule of universalism.
The loyalties which were accorded to human existence were challenged through the Holocaust; this led to such utterances by Richard Rubenstein who said “We learned in the crisis that we were totally and nakedly alone, that we could expect neither support nor succor from God nor from our fellow creatures” (Greenberg 1975, 318).
The Shoah led to total breakdown within the circles of secular absolute where man has currently considered secularism as one of the alternatives to religion since it provides freedom of choice on the kind of faith one requires. The source of such philosophy is considered to be philosophy and science amongst other contributors.
The value system has so far provided Jews and Christians with favorable ideologies focusing more so to the Lord of Science and Humanism rather than the Lord of History (Greenberg 1975, 320). The belief in moral urgency have also led to mass decamping from divine presence of God, making people to resist absolute authority from cultural regimes (Greenberg 1975, 321-322).
Do You Think That It Is Necessary For Religious Persons To Give Up The Claim To The Whole Truth Or The Final Interpretation?
The belief is that while other races like Arab, Russians and Indians have the right to exist, on the contrary the Jews are expected to earn their right to live. Other states have been advised to avoid what is referred to us war of aggression, while the nation of Israel is referred to as ‘aggressor’ for the purposes of fighting for their rights.
The Jewish are expected to follow other people’s beliefs in order to survive, however it is important to realize that it is their belief in Religion which has brought them this far. Therefore there is no need for Religious leaders to give up claim on final interpretation (Emil 1970, 177).
This is since the society we live in, is characterized by dominance of what is considered superior over inferior. The culture of dominance has brought about inequality, social, spiritual injustice and poverty within every aspect. Life is intrinsically sacred, meaning that within the web of life where we live, every creation has got its own level of intrinsic beauty and value.
The occurrence of holocaust was crucial since it provided humanity with opportunity of learning important lessons on human inclination towards morality. There should be no giving up since morality has got religious origin, and the answers concerning life have got their origin in religion.
God purposed that human being should live at peace with one another and environment as a whole; it is therefore unethical to end an innocent life for the purpose of satisfying self worth.
Only deep love that God instilled in us can stop us from destroying innocent lives and running away from Godly principles which guarantees eternal peace. This therefore justifies the reason as to why religious persons should not give up their claim on moral absolutes.
There are so many life predicaments that could be traced back to the Shoah experience. It caused great damage to cultural beliefs within the society, making the Jewish community to live under guilt and condemnation owing to human actions. Struggling for the justice of the oppressed brings clearly the image of God in us working for the good of others; it fulfils nature’s principle on justice and peace for all.
Spending our lives in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, serving the underprivileged within the society brings out clear and pure conviction on our identity as moral beings.
Eckardt, Alice.1987. The Holocaust, Church struggle and some Christian Reflections, 27-38. Great Britain: Pergamon press
Emil, Fackenheim. 1970. The commanding Voice of Auschwitz, 168-182. NY: New York University Press
Greenberg, Irving. 1975. Cloud of smoke, Pillar of Fire, 305-341. New York: City College