Theodicy and CPE : exploring the problem of suffering through the stories of Holocaust survivors / Frances Catherine Baur Bickerton.
This thesis describes the theoretical underpinnings, the practical development, and the presentation of two daylong Experiential Didactic Seminars for two groups of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Students at The Center for Holocaust Studies during March 2005. The Seminar was designed to explore this hypothesis: "Because of the uniquely inhuman yet political characteristics of the Holocaust, having an opportunity to hear the stories of Holocaust survivors will deepen the individual CPE student's sensitivity to suffering and his/her understanding of theodicy." The Experiential Didactic Seminar was planned with the help of a Professional Advisory Committee. The CPE Students and Supervisors were invited to the Holocaust Center in order to think about the theological question of theodicy ("Why does a good and loving God allow suffering?") and to develop a greater sensitivity to suffering. By listening to the stories of Holocaust survivors and having an opportunity to question them more personally, the CPE Students had an emotionally wrenching experience encountering those who suffered the horrors of the death camps or lost family members and friends because of the actions of the Nazis. The Holocaust survivors who participated in these seminars did so out of their commitment to prevent genocides from ever occurring again and to decrease all forms of hatred and bigotry including antisemitism, prejudice and intolerance.The Experiential Didactic Seminar consisted of a Pre-Test and a Post-Test, an introduction to the Holocaust, two presentations by survivors to the entire group, small group interactions with survivors, and an hour-long theodicy discussion. The theodicy discussion utilized Elie Wiesel's "A Prayer for the Days of Awe" as well as a Theodicy Grid developed for the Seminar. The Grid looked at four broad understandings of God and God's relationship to human suffering: God as immanent and suffering as purposeful; God, transcendent and suffering, purposeful; God, transcendent and suffering, random; God, immanent and suffering, random. The purpose of Wiesel's Prayer and the Theodicy Grid was to help the CPE Students recognize that others may have different yet valid ways of understanding God and suffering. The CPE Student assessment of the seminar was very positive.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:19:00
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