How to deal with misery? – Tomáš Halík

5 March 2019 in Lezing

Being preoccupied by happiness as we are, we barely know how to confront pain and sadness anymore. Tomáš Halík calls on us not to run away from misery, but to see it, touch it and be touched by it. To do so, he uses the Bible story of doubting Thomas, who first wanted to touch Jesus’ wounds before he was willing to believe. Come and listen to Halík encourage us not to run away from the misery that surrounds us.

Before he was able to touch Jesus’s wounds, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Usually, this story has been explained as if Thomas was asking for proof: he wanted first to see, and then believe.

Halík, however, gives the story a very different explanation. Through his wounds, Jesus showed Thomas the only place where we can really touch God: in the misery of the world. Only in this way can the resurrection be not a cheap happy ending, but a command: we should not capitulate to suffering, even if we cannot end it. This not only applies to big global issues, says Halík, but also for the hidden misery in the people around us, and for our own open wounds.

This interpretation brings Halík to a certain skepticism concerning religion. “I don’t believe in gods and religions anymore that merrily jump around without being touched by the wounds of the world. Religions that only have bling and charm to offer on the religious markets of our times.”

After his lecture, Tomáš Halík will discuss the topic in further detail with Radboud theologian Annemarieke van der Woude. What is the place of misery and sadness in our lives? And how can we best deal with them? Program manager Liesbeth Jansen will moderate the discussion.

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