The story of Night tells of Eliezer’s experiences in the Holocaust. Elie’s faith in God changed numerous times. In the beginning, Elie worshiped God unconditionally. He remained faithful to God during the deportation of the Jews and even made a thanksgiving prayer after their sudden arrival at Auschwitz. Elie struggles to cling to his faith that has kept him alive in the course of the memoir.
Wiesel’s initial devotion to God and to his Faith undergoes a transformation in the face of his horrendous experiences, resulting in soulless and cynical atheism. But his faith survives to some degree in spite of overwhelming odds, and in subsequent years, may have revived enough to inspire the writing of this memoir. He was accustomed to being a child of faith. Eliezer has grown up believing everything on Earth reflects God’s power. His faith is grounded within the idea God is everywhere and his divinity touches and sees all aspects of life. As his studies educate him, God is good and God is everywhere in the world so the world must be good.
At the start of the book, Eliezer’s faith in God and his religion is absolute. His belief in God is unconditional, and he cannot imagine living without faith in his divine power. Elie’s faith started changing for the first time when he faced the risk of being burned together with his father. That marked the beginning of his doubts about God. However, as they approached the fire, he said, “May his name be blessed and magnified…” (Wiesel 43).This was an indication that although his faith had started changing, he still had faith in God. After Elie had gone to prison, it was difficult for him to sustain his belief in God in an environment that was strange. He reflected on how a God who loved his people allowed them to suffer. This made him think that having faith in God was not rewarding.
While at Auschwitz, Elie struggled a lot because he had a feeling of defiance towards God but his faith encouraged him not to be defiant. His faith started declining when he said, “Why should I bless His name? What had I to thank him for?” (Wiesel 31). Elie believed that God existed but doubted that he was just. While in prison, he had lost hope of attaining freedom. It was also during that time that he started to lose faith in God. Elie was isolated in prison because there was neither God nor man. As a result, he felt he had more strength than God. When he was forcefully made to witness a child who was well-liked being killed, he asked, “Where is God Now?” (Wiesel 72). His faith is shaken from his horrific experience from the Holocaust The hideous brutality and terrible evil he witnesses throughout the Holocaust, things he could never forget.
He can’t imagine the concentration camps and the unbelievable, revolting depravity that could possibly reflect God. He reflects on how God could be a part of such depravity and how an almighty God could enable such cruelty to take place. His faith is disturbed by the cruelty and selfishness he sees among the people around him. The horrors of the Holocaust caused Elie to reject God and question why an omniscient and omnipotent being would allow horrific events to transpire. He sees the Holocaust exposes the selfishness, evil, and cruelty of that everybody is capable of. If the world is so cruel and disgusting, he feels, then God either must also be disgusting and cruel or must not exist at all. Eliezer believed in God, and he experienced crises of his religion when he began witnessing the horrors of the holocaust.
Though this realization seems to eliminate his faith in God. He manages to retain some of this faith throughout his experiences At certain moments Eliezer does grapple with his faith, however, his struggle shouldn’t be seen as a complete abandonment of his religion. This struggle doesn’t diminish his belief in God. Rather, the Holocaust forces Eliezer to ask questions about the nature of good and evil and about whether or not God exists. But he asks these questions reflects his commitment to God. Only in the lowest moments of his faith, he turns away from God. When he says he has given up on God completely, his constant use of religious metaphors undercuts what Eliezer says he believes. Eliezer even refers to biblical passages when he denies his faith. When he fears he might abandon his father, he prays to God, and, after his father’s death, he expresses regret that there was no religious memorial.
Despite his dwindling faith, he never completely lost it. He did not see the reason why he was supposed to bless a God who had allowed the burning of many children. He also wondered why God had caused his people to go through continuous suffering. Elie questioned God and his faith numerous times throughout the book. However, this did not completely break him. He was able to come out of the holocaust with a stronger faith. At the end of the book, even though he has been forever altered by his Holocaust experience, Eliezer emerges with his faith intact.