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Faith and Doubt

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The Bible begins with God's creation of the Earth which is 'without form, and void, and darkness (is) upon the face of the deep' (Genesis 1:2, King James Version). God's first action is to create light and dispel the darkness. Darkness and night therefore symbolize the world without God's presence. The world without God is the world without hope. A lot of people all over the world depend on religion. They pray to God for the strength to get through hardship. But sometimes, human feel a doubt about existence or justice of God, especially when they are in unbearable poverty, sadness or adversity. Through Elie Wiesel's experience of the Holocaust, he loses his faith in God.

The Holocaust created a void in the soul of many of those who survived. Elie Wiesel is one of those people. Before the Holocaust, he cannot imagine questioning his God. He had been one of the most devout Jewish children. When being asked by Moshe the Beadle why he prays, Elie replies, "Why did I pray? What a strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?" (Wiesel Pg. 4). His belief is omnipotent, benevolent God is unconditional, and he cannot even imagine living faith in a divine power. Wiesel's faith is a product of his studies in Jewish mysticism. His faith is grounded in the idea that God is everywhere, all the time, that his divinity touches every aspect of his daily life. Since God is perfect, is good, is everywhere, the world in Elie's mind at that time must therefore be good. But the whole world started to become shrouded in darkness of war. In the camps, Wiesel's faith was not shaken immediately, or even quickly. He believed that God at least had a good reason for punishing the Jews. He thought it must be a test. Whatever had happened, he had faith that it was for their good, or one of God's greater plans. And so Elie was indoctrinated without incident into the camps, it was 'joy', believing that if his faith endured, everybody would be saved. But soon, the delusions faded and Wiesel began to doubt God.

It was not easy for Wiesel to doubt in God, or he would not have held on to his faith with such tenacity. But sooner or later, as hard as he tried to hold on, he was finding it hard to believe in God and what He was allowing to happen. Finally, he awoke to the idea that he was 'alone - terribly alone in the world without God'. No longer was Wiesel convinced himself that the Jews were all some part of the greater plan. No longer was Wiesel believed the rumors of peace and safety. He started wondering "Why should I bless his name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powered and Terrible, was silent. What had I thank Him for?" (Pg. 33). The suffering Elie sees and experiences during the Holocaust transforms his entire worldview. When Elie witnesses the agonizingly slow death of the Dutch Oberkapo's pipel, a young boy hanged for collaborating against the Nazis, Elie is asked, "Where is God? Where is He? Where is God now?" (Pg. 65), and he heard the voice within him answers, "Where is He? Here He is - He is hanging here on this gallows" (Pg. 65). The destruction of his faith in God of his childhood was complete. No longer did His name bring cries of praise from Wiesel, God seemed unworthy in the face of His worshipers to accept their worship. "And I, the former mystic, was thinking: Yes,



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