Monday, October 28, 2013

The Absence of God

We’ve often noted two books dealing with God’s absence from human life:

The Hidden Face of God by Richard Elliott Friedman [Originally titled The Disappearance of God, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995] and The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth by Gerald L. Schroeder [The Free Press, NY, 2001].

Friedman takes a philosophical/theological approach while Schroeder takes a neurological position, both trying to show that God is ‘absent” from our lives but still exists.

Schroeder will appeal to those who like discussions of consciousness and Quantum Mechanics.

Friedman will appeal to those with a philosophical, Nietzscheian bent.

But do we really need Friedman or Schroeder to tell us that God is hidden or absent from human existence? God’s absence seems to be rather obvious, doesn’t it?

When the Hebrews called out to their God during the many assaults upon their communities, where was their God?

And when Jews were being slaughtered during WWII and subject to The Holocaust, did they not call upon their God to save them, but got no answer, no mercy?

And Christians who called for their God/Jesus to save them during the Roman onslaughts and decimation of Christian communities, men, women, and children alike, discovered that God/Jesus was nowhere to be found.

And God’s chosen messengers, Joan of Arc, Saint Lawrence, and Giordano Bruno, among other saints, also became aware that God/Jesus was not going to come to their rescue when they were being mutilated or burnt at the stake.

Today, when a Christian, Muslim, or Jewish person find themselves in a dire situation facing death, do they not beg God to provide surcease?

Do the Hindu Gods come to the aid of those, when in trouble, who worship that motley crew of deities?

God was manifest, it seems, for periods of time in antiquity, but often elusive and incorrigible even then.

That some (most?) persons think God is merciful and at hand when needed or at death shows the palpable ignorance of humankind.

One doesn’t need Mr. Friedman or Mr. Schroeder to enlighten us about the absence of God. It’s obvious from history and the human condition.

RR