Taking God Seriously

“The church and the synagogue have too often stood in the way of the God-faith by opposing truth and ignoring the demands of justice.”

Surely this is one of Rabbi Olan’s most pointed and powerful radio sermons. The theme is the barrier that organized religion has often played in the search for truth and the righting of social wrongs. The intended audience seems to be religious leaders, and Rabbi Olan is clearly steamed! He makes some stinging comments, including:

  • “Organized religion has only too often stood in the way of man’s search for truth.”
  • “If faith in God depends upon denying facts and truth of nature as science reveals them, then only the ignorant will be religious.”
  • “The church was insensitive to the need for social progress and opposed most of the efforts to better the condition of human existence.”
  • “But how can one have peace of mind in the presence of God without feeling the shame and agony of a life lived comfortably while so many suffer and are miserable?”

Although Rabbi Olan admits seeing some signs of hope, he contends that many individuals and faith communities are not taking the God of creation, justice, and love seriously. Olan is deeply troubled by this situation, so he wages some Holy Trouble over the airwaves, bothering the consciences of his listeners in 1966 as well as today.

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to watch the scrolling-text video.

*Written by Tim Binkley.*