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God on trial

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Initial post: 4 Sep 2008 01:14:10 BDT
Hello all,

I don't know if any one was watching bbc2 tonight but their was a brilliant drama on called god on trial, in which a block of Jews being held in Auschwitz and awaiting death, decide that god should be placed on trial for a breach of contract in regards to the covenant he held with the Jews.

Now not only was this a brilliant poece of television but it also raised some interesting points;

(For arguments sake lets say their is a god)

*Has this god fulfilled the criteria an all loving merciful being should?

*Is any one religioin the true religion? by that I mean, does god give favour to one more then another?

*Is god's track record and history that of one which evokes a being worthy of worship?

If you were sitting on the jury and god was on trial for letting down the human race, of neglect bordering abuse and gross misuse of power. Which verdict would you give, guilty or non?


In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2008 12:08:16 BDT
Guy Dalziel says:
I thought it was an absolutely excellent drama. It was only an hour and a half long so the amount of issues that could be brought up were limited, but the general idea was that because God had allowed the Jews to be enslaved by the Nazis he has broken his covenant with them. The drama brought up many issues about who God is and what he has done for the world, and as the man at the end quite rightly argued, God is not good.

At the end we get a small humorous moment, almost a poke at those who believe God is protecting them. The old man says "well I'm still here aren't I?", but of course those that weren't there couldn't really complain about it, they were dead. So we only ever see those who survived who claim it was because of God.

I vote God guilty.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2008 13:00:40 BDT
I too thought this was an excellent piece of work and hope it had good viewing figures - perhaps it should be shown on BBC 1 at a similar time !!

As the son of a german Jew who was taken out of Germany in 1939 and whos Gradparents perished in a concentration camp - I have long thought religion was the cause of these attrocities. Watching this, although harrowing in the extreme, reaffirmed my beliefd that it is not God that is guilty but that God does not exist. To beleive 9or worship) in a God who's actions as mentioned in the film including mass murder of inocent people (the Noah's ark story) and then to oversee such action as the Holocaust is clearly non sensicle.

I would refer anyone to the excellent book the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for further proof if it were needed.

Maybe this film and the God delusion need to become part of our national curriculum in schools as much as Religous Studies and then future generations can make up their own minds without the influence of religous zealots

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2008 19:29:55 BDT
Drew Jones says:
I've just watched it on BBC iPlayer:
It's available until 10:29pm Wednesday 10th September.

Besides it's technical excellence I felt it was balanced, engaging and interesting in it's issues.

To answer the questions given that situation I would have to say no to all of them and I would have found all-loving, merciful God guilty of the charges.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2008 14:25:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Sep 2008 14:25:46 BDT
I also thought the argument that if their is a god, he is not good was very clever and convincing (was the man who gave the speach the Rabhi?).

On a side note I always find it amusing when the no votes are cast for the add to the discussion votes, seems that some people can't bare to see their faith questioned. I mean how can the original post not add to the discussion? It IS the discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2008 17:02:38 BDT
I watched God on Trial and as a jew I can honestly say that I have never seen anything that has made me question my faith/belief in God as much as this amazing programme did. I can tell you that the man who played the Rabbi (Sir Antony Sher) is not a Rabbi, but he is jewish. He is also involved with the British Educational Trust and is responsible for taking British schoolchildren to places like Auschwitz to teach them about the Shoah.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2008 19:59:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Oct 2008 20:04:15 BDT
I have just found a video containing the arument put forth about god not being good. It's a very convincing argument and one that is well worth a watch not only for the excellent acting but the points raised.



In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2008 20:53:38 BDT
I saw it as well and told all my family about it- they sit in Germany so couldn't see it...would anybody have taped it by any chance? It's a big discussion in my family as we are from German Jewish origin.
To me the point wasn't about God being guilty, the point was that we choose how to react to each moment and we can choose faith. To me God means love and everything else was built around it.
I loved the discussion because it raises all these important and interesting questions about our philosophy

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2008 15:34:37 BDT
I have recorded it on dvd - if you want a copy let me know.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2008 12:57:10 GMT
I would love a copy if you still have any. Have been searching fruitlessly since seeing it.
Mrs Kate McConnell

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2008 16:51:36 GMT
JA Foxton says:
A BBC video of Christian monks fighting in Jerusalem. Actions speak louder than words?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2008 15:59:29 GMT
My email address is If you are happy to forward me your address I will post a dvd copy to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2008 23:48:09 GMT
E. K. Thomas says:
Billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God's throne. Some of the groups near the front talked heatedly - not with cringing shame, but with belligerence. "How can God judge us?" said one. "What does He know about suffering?" snapped a brunette. She jerked back her sleeve to show a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. "We endured terror, beatings, torture, death!" In another group a black man lowered his collar, "What about this?" he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. "Lynched for no crime but being black!" We have suffered in slave ships, been wrenched from loved ones, toiled till death gave release." Far out across the plain were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering he permitted in His world. How lucky God was to live in heaven where there was no weeping, no fear, no hunger, no hatred! Indeed what did God know about what man had been forced to endure in this world? " After all, God leads a pretty sheltered life," they said. So each group sent out a leader, chosen because he had suffered the most. There was a Jew, a black, an untouchable from India, an illegitimate, a victim of Hiroshima, and one from a Siberian slave camp. In the centre of the plain they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather simple: before God could be qualified to be their judge, He must endure what they had endured. Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth - as a man!

But because He was God, they set certain safeguards to be sure He could not use His divine powers to help Himself; let Him be born a Jew; let the legitimacy of His birth be in doubt so that no one would really know who his father was. Let Him champion a cause so just, but so radical, that it brings down on Him the the hate, condemnation and opposition of every established authority against Him. Let Him be betrayed by friends. Let Him be indicted on false charges, tried before a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let Him see what it is like to be horribly alone, to be completely abandoned by every living thing. Let Him be tortured and let Him die! Let it be a humiliating death.

As each leader pronounced his portion of the sentence, loud murmers of approval went up from the great throngs of people. But when the last had finished pronouncing sentence, there was a long silence. No one uttered another word. No one moved. For suddenly they all knew.... God had already served His sentence.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2008 01:10:54 GMT
Drew Jones says:
Nice story. If I was in that crowd I'd accept that that explains how God is qualified to understand pain but like some in the programme under discussion, I'd still demand to know why God permits people and himself to suffer which is a question touched on by your tale but also ignored by it. Why is pain and suffering even necessary to begin with? I'd also say that just because someone puts themselves through a similar painful ordeal doesn't justify putting others through another. It make that person sadistic and stupid not loving and just, especially if they carry on with the practice after seeing first-hand just how unpleasant it is.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2008 15:59:35 GMT
JA Foxton says:
This story is hardly adequate for the suffering which has occurred since the advent of Christianity but it completely ignores all the suffering which occurred prior to this. Nor does it seem to extend naturally to the suffering which other animals have had to endure.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2008 14:18:20 GMT
I think I must also concur with Drew and JAF in saying that, you haven't really adressed the issue of why the suffering is permitted in the first place. Its all very well and good to say God has suffered all these things itself, so if God knows how awful they are why allow its children to suffer them aswell? doesn't seem like the work of an all loving being and parent does it.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2008 09:53:27 GMT
Mr H says:

You've just demonstrated beautifully how the bible came about and why we should only see it as a collection of myths and metaphors.

Unless of course you were actually on the plain at the time? No, I didn't think so.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2009 15:54:57 GMT

I have been looking for this, if you still have it, it would be great if i could have a copy.

G. Hossack

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2009 17:23:05 GMT
Hi Mrs Ellis

I have only just discovered this amazing programme and am desperate to get a copy of it. I am an RE teacher and one of the things we have to study is the Jewish response to the Holocaust both during and after. Are you still able to do copies? It would be hugley appreciated. I can't get a copy from the BBC direct.

Jo Brown

Posted on 10 Mar 2009 21:04:39 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 16 Mar 2009 10:20:10 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2009 21:05:11 GMT
....Historian Paul Johnson points out that the relativistic morality of the Nazis grew out of the existential philosophical notion of obeying the "iron laws" that were created by the state25 instead of the absolute moral laws that were taught in the churches: "Hitler...appealed to the moralistic nature of many Germans...[who desired to live `morally' but did not possess any] code of moral absolutes rooted in Christian faith....Marx and Lenin translated [this philosophy] into a class concept; Hitler into a race one. Just as the Soviet cadres were taught to justify the most revolting crimes in the name of a moralistic class warfare, so [were] the [German] the name of race."26

Johnson also observes, in a frontal way, that if we cut "the umbilical cord [from] God, our source of ethical vitality would be gone....we humans are all Jekyll and Hyde creatures, and the monster within each of us is always striving to take over."27 In other words, morality without God is Macbeth's "tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"!

In states of relativism, it does not matter who the moral ethicist is or what his or her particular view is.28 All of these systems leave one in the moral abyss determined by those in power at the time. Whether it is Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and his relative utilitarianism (i.e., one should act so as to produce the greatest good for the greatest number in the end), or Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) and his relative situationism (i.e., everything is relative to the situation and the only thing required in any moment is love), or any other approach leaving the divine perspective out of the formula, we are left in the hands of those who have enough power to determine for us what is the moral truth at any given moment. Hitler and the Nazis, as well as most of the rest of Germany's population, certainly were convinced that their solution to "the Jewish question" was the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run (i.e., Bentham) and that they were carrying out the most loving acts of ethnic cleansing in that particular situation (i.e., Fletcher).


When our Jewish friend or colleague protests in a vehement moral outrage that there has been no God since the Holocaust, it is imperative that we lovingly remind him or her that such a moral outrage, if it is to be valid, must be grounded in the very existence of God, His transcendent law, and His absolute morality. Otherwise, it is ultimately groundless emotional ranting.

We must help our Jewish friend recognize, along with Elie Wiesel, that the consequences of denying God's existence are far worse than accepting it, even after the Holocaust. In fact, if there were no God, the Nazis could not have been held accountable for their evil deeds, for there only would have been deeds, not evil deeds. There can be public opinions and private viewpoints, but without God, there can be no legal or moral accountability for one's actions.

1.After Auschwitz: Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1966), 15153.
2.Richard L. Rubenstein, Auschwitz and Covenant Theology, The Christian Century 86 (May 21, 1969): 718.
3.Irving Greenberg, Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire: Judaism, Christianity, and Modernity after the Holocaust, in Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? Reflections on the Holocaust, ed. Eva Fleischner (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1977), 4142.
4.Seymour Cain, The Questions and the Answers after Auschwitz, Judaism 20 (Summer 1971): 263.
5.Jakob Jocz, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ after Auschwitz: A Study in the Controversy Between Church and Synagogue (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 23, 34.
6.Azriel Eisenberg, ed., Witness to the Holocaust (New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1981), 628.
7. All Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Version.
8. See Robert M. Hicks, Trauma: The Pain That Stays (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1993). See also Orthodox Jewish apologists Gershon Robinson and Mordechai Steinman, The Obvious Proof: A Presentation of the Classic Proof of Universal Design (New York: CIS Publishers, 1993).
9. Elie Wiesel, Night, trans. Stella Rodway (New York: Avon Books, 1960), 44, 7476.
10. Elie Wiesel, quoted in Emil Fackenheim, Richard H. Popkin, George Steiner, and Elie Wiesel, Jewish Values in the Post-Holocaust Future: A Symposium, Judaism 16 (Summer 1967): 29899.
11. Elie Wiesel, quoted in Alice L. Eckardt, Rebel against God, Face to Face 6 (Spring 1979): 18.
12. Elie Wiesel, Talking and Writing and Keeping Silent, in The German Church Struggle and the Holocaust, ed. Franklin H. Littell and Hubert G. Locke (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1974), 277.
13. See Norman L. Geisler and Frank S. Turek III, Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible? (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998). See also Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).
14. Moral philosophers explain that every evil power in history has employed two sets of tactics to perpetuate the moral wrongs that they have instigated. In Nazi Germany, there was one to condition the soldiers that the Jews really deserved to be exterminated (to force them to view the Jews as evil and as vermin), and another to condition the non-Jewish population that the Jews required deportation (to force them to suppress all questions about the fate of the Jews). See J. Budziszewski, Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 156; and What We Can't Not Know: A Guide (Dallas: Spence Publishing, 2003), 19297.
15. For the use of these conventions in the post-World War II tribunals and The Crystallization of the Principles of International Criminal Law, see Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972 ed., s.v. War Crimes Trials. See also Gideon Hausner, Justice in Jerusalem (New York: Holocaust Library, 1966); Adalbert Rckerl, The Investigation of Nazi Crimes, 19451978: A Documentation, trans. Derek Rutter (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1980); and Bradley F. Smith, Reaching Judgment at Nuremberg (New York: New American Library, 1977).
16. For background on these conventions, see Percy Bordwell, The Law of War between Belligerents: A History and Commentary (Chicago: Callaghan and Co., 1908).
17. Robert G. Clouse, ed., War: Four Christian Views (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1981), 23. See also Bordwell, 2849.
18. Grotius, Prolegommena, par. 28; quoted in Bordwell, 3031.
19. See C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 1739 (this section originally published as The Case for Christianity in 1942); C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: HarperCollins, 2001, originally published in 1944); and J. Budziszewski, Written on the Heart.
20. See Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Dont Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 16993.
21. Carey Kinsolving, For Christian Apologist, God Speaks in the Voice of Reason, The Washington Post, July 3, 1993, Metro Section, B7. See also Norman L. Geisler, The Roots of Evil (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1978).
22. Geisler and Turek, Legislating Morality, 20, 6364. See also Geisler and Turek, I Dont Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 176.
23. Kinsolving, B7.
24. Rubenstein, After Auschwitz, 20.
25. Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), 296.
26. Ibid.
27. Paul Johnson, The Quotable Paul Johnson: A Compilation of His Wit, Wisdom and Satire, ed. George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin, and Heather Richardson Higgins (New York: The Noonday Press, 1994), 20.
28. For an overview of approaches to ethics, see Norman L. Geisler, Options in Contemporary Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981).
29. See John M. Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1994).

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2009 23:42:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Mar 2009 18:06:59 GMT
Neutral says:
R Mathias wrote, "I have long thought religion was the cause of these atrocities". Actually it was racial theories based on genetics which drove the Nazis to the institute the holocaust. In addition, of course there was the forged "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which blamed Jews for being, well, Jews. Neither of these contributions were from religious zealots. Indeed, it was people zealously objecting to religion who suggested it, although ultimately racial theories and the Protocols were politically driven. I think you will find the national curriculum does allow people to make up their own minds. Finally, of course, underlying your contribution is the idea that God approved and sanctioned the Holocaust. If you have inside information from God on that point perhaps you'd like to pass it on.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2009 18:43:20 GMT
Neutral says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2009 11:46:34 GMT
We are left to wonder why there are no other replys. Was the article too long? Are they stumped? Bored? Have no answers? Hmmmm...

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2009 13:05:18 GMT
Neutral says:
Mrs Endicott

I suspect the reason is evident in the negative responses to the postings. On many posts people vote negatively because they do not like the content not because of what the content conveys. Such prejudice and bigotry is to be expected amongst people who think theirs is the only opinion which matters.
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Discussion in:  The God Delusion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  176
Initial post:  4 Sep 2008
Latest post:  20 Jun 2011

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
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