Thursday, April 24, 2008

G-d Questions From A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

G-d Questions From a Survivor of Jewish Child Sexual Abuse

The following questions were sent to me from a survivor. I'm hoping every survivor, parent or rabbi out there who reads this will post their answers in the comment section.

Many say G-d gave us the freedom of choice. I've heard over and over again that when someone sexually victimizes another they are choosing to do evil. My question and confusion is the fact that G-d gave those who offend the thoughts and ability to sexually abuse/assault others.

Why would G-d do that?

What kind of G-d would even come up with the idea of allow humans to do these sorts of things to children?

Do you ever wonder where was G-d while you were being sexually violated?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've come to believe we have no God. God would not let this happen to us! If he were a real GOD. He's made up!

April 24, 2008 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Sir Viver said...

In short, an aquaintance told me that the biggest difference between old time genuine judaism and modern day rabbi worship (aka as whoreship)is that in the times after the destruction of the temple in jerusalem the common jewish theologic thinking was somewhere along the lines that g-d is all good and all knowing and steers all that is done by mankind. EXCEPT the deliberate evil done by one man unto his brother with malicious intent. Orthodox jewish thinking (or lack thereof) today has it on good current authority and every day indoctrination that we may not question ANYTHING (a la christianity) and everything is caused by g-d.This is a dangerous aproach because it leads people to avoid questioning other peoples immoral acts and provides a sense of security for evildoers to hide behind as we rollover and take the abuse without daring to question ones motive for immoral actions such as rape theivery molestation muurder etc.
We must remember always that g-d is NOT the initiator of the molesters evil and perverted thaughts. G-d merely provided the choice for man to chose good or evil regarding his fellow man. The decision and resultant actions is by origination and act solely the work of man himself.
This answer is as important as the original question and therefore is worthy of its own blog post to benefit those in genuine search for authentic jewish thought.
As for the poster who concludes that "we have no g-d", I don't think that is logical and is a result of emotionaly charged challenges to understanding g-ds existance. Intelligent design of some flavor must be a likely explaination to the worlds complex existance. And being that judaism is the oldest major religion, I am more than comfortable as a jew to live my life believing in what our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob beleived in. Our questions should not be a source of irrational conclusions our something to shun (as is done by chareidim the world over) rather a starting point for a search to gain more knowledge from the primary sources of hashkafa as in the works of the Rambam. Ramban, Ohr Hachaim and the likes.

Sir Viver

April 25, 2008 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have come to the conclusion that there is no God. How can one believe otherwise when one contemplates the horrors some children are subjected to at the hands of their own parents -- Think of the thousands of children around the world who are sold into sexual slavery, brutalized and die a young death thru violence, AIDS drug overdose, or suicide These children never grow up to become survivors. God is completely absent thruout their short lives -- why should we believe God is present in ours? "God" is simply one's own inner strength to endure, the kindness one human being shows to another, or dumb luck to escape.

April 25, 2008 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Herstory said...

"The decision and resultant actions is by origination and act solely the work of man himself."

If this is true, can you explain the case of Malka Leifer? She's not a man.

April 25, 2008 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Viver,
I used to think much like you and but after years of witnessing unrestrained evil in the world, I am less optimistic than ever about the existence of God.I would be interested in how your construct of God and free will responds to the following dilemma -- Why would a "good/moral" God allow a system in which evil doers are able impose THEIR free will over innocent victims without restraint, thereby REMOVING the ability of children and others to exercise THEIR free will to end their victimization? I am thinking of thousands of children throughout the world who have NO recourse to legal authorities, moral adults or even weapons to stop their brutalization at the hands of another human being. It seems to me that is a fundamental, cosmic imbalance with absolutely no moral centre/presence of "God" as Judaism conceives God. If you could provide an answer, maybe I will be able to have the hope that God does indeed exist/care.

April 25, 2008 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. I am a survivor and I believe in God. I believe that we all have free will...Evil and Good are equel forces in the world, otherwise thier would be no free will and we would all be like angels, animals, or robots. Not to say that I understand God and that I do not get angry at God. I still have a lot of questions...But I believe that things happen for a reason and that I survived for a reason. I believe that God is all knowing and all loving. I believe that God cares about how we treat each other above all else. I have trouble believing that God cares whether I rip toilet paper on Shabbat, or drink milk five minutes or six hours after eating meat...That I have a lot of trouble with.

April 26, 2008 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Sir Viver said...

3:45 (get a name please) asks a very insightful question challenging the ancient and most relevant true torah approach I mentioned in my first post above. Off the cuff I can answer with the retort that indeed the complexity of the world we know of today, with its everincreasing evil and tortuous record of mankind over time, is consistent with the complexity of g-d's creating the world to begin with. Just as we have difficulty grasping detailed comprehension of the undeniable "Intelligent Design" of His universe by Him at the time of creation so must we come to terms & acknowledge & even accept our inability to fully comprehend g-d's, however temporary or prolonged, acceptance of evil against the unfortunate downtrodden perpetrated by beasts such as Eichmann or Dr. Mengele and the likes of Dr. Avrohom Mondrowitz who excelled in the molestation of children who were in emotionaly compromised situations to begin with, thereby amplifying the pain and suffering.

Admittedly, in this retort lies little comfort for those seeking some clarity amidst this seemingly chaotic and mad world (and jewish world) situation. And surely all this analyses and comparisons does little to heal the hurt, anquish, anger and doubt which permeates the thought process of one who is or was the object of anothers cruel and debassing actions. As a victim myself I will readily admit to the tortuous implications of child/teen molestation and betrayel. "Where is G-d?" echos in my brain quite often as well as on the web pages of the messiah of abused and molested individuals, the great one, UOJ. Yet the answer remains elusive just as it has remained so for the survivors of Hitler's Germany and for those subjected to other forms of beastial cruelty and inhumane treatment.

But all this is useless gibberish if it leaves us without an answer to the question posed by the questioner to my first post. So here I present to the public my humble assortment of thaughts and answers and I willingly submit to the approvals and critics of my anonymous friends. If I anger or hurt anyone with my words I take comfort in the knowledge of genuinely having tried to tackle the subject and perhaps even promote intelligent discourse of the subject matter:

1. Who says we need or deserve to have all the answers? Individual man may not be worthy of attaining the knowledge of g-d's ways. Yesharim Darkei Hashem can coexist with Nistarim Darkei Hashem. And if we choose to judge g-d for putting up with another man's insane and deadly actions, we will have to face the fact of our inability to fathom g-d's intentions. So, perhaps we are better off introspecting and trying to counter the vast darkness with a little light from OUR own actions until g-d deems worthy of liberating the world from evil and awarding those insignificant footsoldiers amongst us (however weakened and wounded we may be) with peace and spirit at ease. Till then we must beware of the trap of apathy to ones suffering and the suffering of others. We must do our part to create Tikkun Haolam and stop or stem the madness of evil in our times.

2. This will do for now as my time has run out tonight and I submit this lone response in the hope to add to this in a later time.

April 28, 2008 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Viver et. al.
It is gratifying finally to be able to grapple with the issue of God's existence with others who have stared into an abyss. I find it is an empty discussion to have with those for whom life has been good for the most part. I agree that, where there is darkness, one must light one's own match. And, I absolutely agree that it is OUR responsibility to bring "godliness" into the world by our own actions to respond and repair the damage that is done by the hands of evil-doers. HOWEVER, I guess this is where we part theological company: I cannot now or ever worship a God we say is omnipotent, omniscient and yet removes Him/Herself from the unremitting suffering of defenseless, innocent children. I can never accept that God has a "grand plan" which we simply cannot "understand" b/c human beings are too undeserving or imperfect. In fact, if the final conclusion is that "it's all for the good, we just can't know why", then I want no part of a God whose "grand plan" includes the unremitting rape,suffering, torture and death of body and spirit of numberless, nameless children (and adults,too). What kind of a "grand plan" is that?! To maintain faith that there IS (despite evidence to the contrary) a "loving, caring God", you may not feel you deserve an answer to all this suffering, but those who God has abandoned certainly DO. That is not to say that I don't think religion/belief in God isn't a "good thing" -- I actually do think that belief in God IS a good thing, because the best values of religion can act as a real force in bringing out the best in human beings, gives comfort to many who suffer, and motivates/organizes people to behave better than they would if they did not fear at least divine consequences. (And I count Judaism first among religions which espouse generally terrific values.) And I love being a Jew who goes to shul, prepares for Pesach, sacrifices to educate my child in a Jewish school. Yet, God as such does not exist for me personally. God to me is not the supernatural God of the Torah, but the incredibly good people who do incredibly good things just because it is the right thing to do -- whether it is always to smile and be pleasant to the minimum-wage- earning cashier whose had a hellava day (never mind, hellava life) or to put oneself at risk to save the life of another for no reward whatsoever. I think it comes down to this: you just choose to believe in God or you decide you cannot believe. The important thing is to ACT as if you are a God-believer, God-fearer whether or not you are -- and by that I mean morally and ethically, beyond reproach. I don't know what to call myself, so I'll sign off as--
Religious Atheist

April 29, 2008 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Sir Viver said...

Powerfull stuff, Religious Atheist. This discussion is a heady one and needs carefull tooling and tinkering with. And we still may never obtain the concrete answers.......

I wonder if others might have different angles to this lofty back and forth.

The much maligned Guide to the Perplexed, written by the great Rabbi and Thinker Maimonides, is said to touch on these issues. However, a reliable translation and commentary to this work is hard to find ever since other rabbis at his time denounced Maimonides for "thinking" to much. Wish I had the answers to all this readily available, but I dont! I'll mull this over a bit and hopefuly get back to you with some thoughts.

April 30, 2008 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Viver,
Guide for the Perplexed! Yikes! Now THAT's heady! Check out the Shlomo Pines translation, University of Chicago Press. Haven't cracked it open since grad school - let me know any relevant references! In the meantime, don't think any answers in the absolute sense exist. "Answers" are the conclusions we can live with! But it is always good to grapple with our found answers -- we may realize we have found new and different ones or have traveled full circle in our quest! Shabbat shalom...RA

May 02, 2008 3:12 PM  

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