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San Diego State University Buber Philosophy Reflection Essay

For Buber, God is not an object of experience or reflection; nor is the divine an object which stands in relations to the person through laws and institutions. God, for Buber, is the Eternal Presence which exists in the “in-between” our relationships with the world, more specifically, through I-You relations.

When such relations are absent from the life of society, we are undergoing a period of the eclipse of God. In other words, whether God is present in our lives, Buber claims, has to do with our actions. We are the ones that are responsible for both, the Presence of God, as well as its Eclipse.

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Now, take the event we refer to as the Holocaust. For many Jews, especially those who survived, the Holocaust challenged their faith in the God of Israel. They wanted to understand how can a moral God use, or allow such immoral means to be used by and against his children?

Buber’s response was that the Holocaust does not raise any special questions regarding God’s responsibility for the event. The Holocaust, Buber suggested, was an event occurring during an eclipse of God (God was “hiding his face”). For many, Buber’s response was insufficient and underscores his lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the Holocaust, that is, that there is no God! That dignity cannot be acquired without power and secular politics! How can any rational Jew continue to believe in the God of Israel after the murder of six and a half million of his chosen children? Can a Christian still believe in such a God?

Attached you will find an article that deals with this issue. The article argues against Buber’s position regarding his response to the Holocaust. Your job is to analyze the argument of the article against your reading of Buber, as well as our discussions in class (8 Full Pages Times New Roman Size 12 Font Double-Spaced APA Format Excluding the Title and Reference Pages). Use the text to support your essay. Your essay will be evaluated on its coherency, correctness, and depth. Look and explain the following points:

1. Explain the differences between I-Thou and I-It relationships.

2. Explain Buber’s understanding of Divinity (key issue).

3. What makes one human?

4. Did the article present Buber’s position correctly?

5. What is Buber’s position? What do you think about his response to the Holocaust?

6. What is the basic argument of the article? Is the above criticism of Buber fair?

7. Did the article succeed in its argument? Why?

8. What is your position on the issue of the Holocaust vs. God’s responsibility? Should Buber have rejected his conception of God after the Holocaust?