Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Proofs of God II

R. Jonathan Sacks, A Letter in the Scroll, pp. 223-224:

Can we really know whether faith is justified? Do we, citizens of modernity and post-modernity, not take for granted what Hume, Kant and Nietzsche labored to establish, that the existence of God cannot be proved? And do we not as Jews--always inclined to rationality, and now chastened and chilled by the Holocaust--have more reason to doubt than most? Yet I have to admit, even as a professionally trained philosopher, that I am unmoved by this whole trend of thought, rendered trivial by its own circularity. Of course it is possible to live a life without God, just as it is possible to live a life without humor, or music, or love; and one can no more prove that God exists that one can prove these other things exist to those who lack a sense of humor, or to whom Schubert is mere noise, or love a figment of the romantic imagination...

Jewish faith is not a metaphysical wager, a leap into the improbable. It is the courage to see the world as it is, without the comfort of myth [i.e. of competing gods - GS] or the self-pity of despair [i.e. the belief in impersonal and unstoppable forces - GS], knowing that the evil, cruelty and injustice it contains are neither inevitable nor meaningless but instead a call to human responsibility--a call emanating from the heart of existence itself

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