Scientists have never seen an electron, physicists have never laid eyes on a quark, but they know these things are real because they can look in their microscope and see things happening – things that could not happen if they didn’t exist, a rabbi told guests at Ed Landreth Auditorium on Tuesday.
This same theory can also be applied to the existence of God, Rabbi Harold Kushner told guests at the 11th annual Gates of Chai Lectureship.
“I am convinced of the existence of God because everyday I look around and I see things that could not happen without him,” said Kushner, who was guest of honor at the event.
“Everyday I see ordinary people do extraordinary things,” Kushner said. “I see human kindness and miracles, and I know that he exists.”
Kushner talked about his son, whose fatal illness inspired the 1981 book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”
“If someone had come to my wife and I before he was born and told me that we were going to have a son that would become so ill and everything we would go through, I wouldn’t have believed we could handle it,” he said. “I would have said, ‘Please don’t test us in that way.'”
Kushner said he felt the grace of God that gave them the strength to survive.
“Once I was able to say that God didn’t make this happen, then God was on my side and not the side of the illness,” he said.
Rachel Cristol, member of the Gates of Chai program, said she enjoyed the speech.
“He was absolutely marvelous,” she said. “For the Jewish people, the Christians and even for the atheists.”
James Nader, whose son and daughter-in-law attend Brite, said he left a meeting early to attend the event.
“His visit has a different significance for all the different groups here,” he said. “I read his first book over ten years ago. I appreciate his perspective on life.”
Before the Lectureship, Kushner held a student discussion with a small group of Brite Divinity students where he answered questions and blessed the students before he left.
Chris St. Clair, a youth pastor and third year master of divinity student, asked several questions about how to differentiate religious teachings between adults and children.
“I like how he answers your questions with more questions,” he said. “He uses a lot of metaphors and stories. It makes you think.”
Kushner closed the evening with a book signing outside the auditorium.