Faith Beyond Certainty

If humans have agency, how can we believe that God still plays a role?

Many of our social, political, and cultural leaders speak in a rigid language of faith in which God acts unfettered in the world. Yet Judaism is quite skeptical of this notion, wrestling deeply with the question: if humans have agency, can we believe that God still plays a role? How can we be blamed for immoral acts if God controls our free will? These questions transform the notion of faith away from a dogmatic creed to a belief in a relationship and process.

In this three-part series, God in an Age of Certainty and Instability, Joshua Ladon explores Jewish faith today: we live in a paradoxical moment where certainty and instability feel simultaneously rampant. War, climate catastrophe, political partisanship, economic uncertainty, antisemitism – the list is long – create legitimate fears about our lives and our futures. Yet our leaders (political, religious, societal) speak in absolute soundbites. And through our digital technologies we feel like the ultimate protagonists – powerful, invincible, in full control of our destinies. To catalyze an engaged, robust, pluralistic Judaism, we require fluency in Jewish God-language. Our study of faith will serve our souls while inspiring us to strengthen society.

Other sessions in the series:

This program is part of Ideas for Today, curated courses by Hartman Institute scholars on the big Jewish ideas we need to think better and do better.

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