Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Suffering and Tragedy by Shumley Boteach

The Fed-Up Man of Faith by Shumley Boteach
"Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light" (Dylan Thomas)
From the beginning of the book, that line of poetry ran through my head as the summation of the entire book. Finally, on pg. 110, I found that the author of this book quoted it as well.
Rabbi Shmuley argues in this book that suffering is not redemptive, nor is it deserved due to sin, but rather, suffering just sucks, and we should fight against it. Using Job as an example, along with Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, meaning "one who wrestles with God", Rabbi Shmuley argues that we should challenge God, and His actions when they are less than righteous and fair. In the face of suffering of other people, we should fight for their rights, challenge God, and work to end the suffering of other people. We may chose to accept our own suffering, but we should not ever seek to justify the suffering of others theologically.
I like the rabbi's definition of religion as "the subordination of our self-centeredness to God's higher purpose." He tells us that the answer to suffering is that we demand that it end and that we act to do so. We need to help the poor and those who are suffering and not simply accept suffering as a good or redemptive thing.
I enjoyed this book, and for the most part, agree with what the author says in it. And I love that poem by Dylan Thomas. I highly recommend this book. It will definitely give you some things to think about.

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