10.03 Nadir and Refinement (pps.5-7)

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The Holocaust shakes modern man’s confidence and many of his basic assumptions. While it may be philosophically true, and even possibly provable, that the death of one innocent is as great a philosophical problem as the death of several million innocents, it is the latter which unnerves the mass of humanity. It is the latter which opens the gates for a communal introspection and theological reassesment.21

For it is when the foundations of the entire community are still shaking, as opposed to the foundations of the immediate circle of a singular innocent victim, that the philosophical wisdom of the community is energized to creativity22

Many theodicies, including many Jewish ones, are so philosophically subtle or inscrutable that they are explicable only by suggesting that the perplexed inquirer study the entire body of works of the formulator and his sources, if not the bulk of the collected works of the Masorah (corpus of Jewish canon, explication, and authentic tradition). A theodicy, however, must be understandable and acceptable to most people in order to be effective. It is not sufficient for a theodicy to be simply emotionally intriguing to a few ivory-tower theologians. Abstruse profundities should not play key roles for a “people of the book,” which prides itself on its intellectual primacy. As man is a key protagonist in religion, the philosophy of man’s interaction with God should be within reach of man.23

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21 See Schulweis, Evil and the Morality of God, p. 106.

22 See Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy (New York: Bantam Books, 1967), p. 25. “The meaning of the whole is no longer comprehensible and goes beyond the comprehensible.”

23 See Hick, Evil and the God of Love, p. 8. “By what authority must we insist upon maintaining an unrelieved mystery and darkness concerning God’s permission of evil?”

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