The most typical conflict that we face in our modern world is the frequent clash between the scientific and religious minds. There are many observations and examples that we face everyday that make us either stop and think deeply, or shut down the ports of scepticism and evidence based logical thinking, but the most striking of all observations in this conflicting part of the human mind, is the relationship between man and God or the divine being or beings that we call with different names.In his recently published book, the American writer

Shalom Auslander gives a Jewish account on his odd and conflicting relationship with God and his different manifestations.

(Foreskin’s Lament: a memoir), is the title of his autobiographical novel, on his upbringing in a small ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Monsey-New York, and the “theological child abuse” he suffered during his childhood and early teens, which even now as he became a secular Jew, and distanced himself from his religious family and community, keeps haunting him.The first time I heard about

Shalom Auslander is through listening to his reading of part of his book on the radio and podcast show (This American Life) which I mentioned in a previous post.Shalom Auslander writes his story with God, in a very dark comical style, not forgetting that he might be crossing lots of lines in the process. He writes about the contradicting God of the

Old Testament (Torah), the one that is easily offended and easily pleased, the god that enjoys punishing people for “silly” reasons, but in the same time finds solace in more “silly” rituals. He goes along writing about the development of this weird relationship with god in the mind of a child, since its first day of his existence in this world, especially if it is a male child where you don’t become what you are religiously until part of your body you were born with is severed, the foreskin, or circumcision, an act that is found in other monotheistic faiths namely Islam and some Christian sects, and pagan and aboriginal societies.Along his dark and rough journey, Auslander reminds us and himself that he is still afraid from God, he fears his punishing sense of humour, which is reflected in the style of writing, as we laugh out loud on some passages but in the same time find ourselves scared from the “blasphemous” thoughts behind them and the striking similarities in our faith in a world that reeks with all sorts of religious extremist fundamentalism.

This is a book not for the easily offended reader; it doesn’t apologise for its “misdeeds” and certainly is not an anti-God/anti-religion account. It is simply a recklessly brave, dark, divine comedy, written for the purpose of psychological healing from the side effects and complications of growing up in a religious society.

I guess at the end we have to surrender to the fact that we will never get over this everlasting and un-concluded dual between religion and reason, between the human and the divine, until the day we will be either lamenting ourselves or lamenting God..!