One of these days I hope to get back to ELF–I still appreciate our walk through Eger together during an Apologetics track mentoring meeting. Hope your time there in Wisla is a blessing for you and your presence a blessing for others.
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Which is worse at Auschwitz, the atheist who can offer no redemption or the theist who can offer no reason? What of evil, is that the depth of human behaviour or a metaphysical force that God allows again for an unknown reason? Finally, were those pink triangles the result of human prejudice or scriptural prescription?
Jon – The atheist can offer neither redemption nor reason. The Christian can offer both. The Bible explains that there is such a thing as evil. The atheist has to deny that – claiming that it is only a chemical reaction. As Bertrand Russell said “Dachau is wrong is not a fact”. The pink triangles (note the secular atheists obsession again with sex – interesting how you refer to the homosexuals who were killed, not the millions of Jews, or the handicapped) were the result of human evil – they were not scriptural prescription – the Nazis hated the bible, thought that it was not progressive and scientific enough – (wonder where I have heard that before?).
If I might engage with what you say about evil? It’s a common question – if God exists why does he allow so much evil and suffering. I hear that your view of the truth that it could either be the depth of human behaviour or what God allows for an unknown reason.
I would suggest that both could have a part to play and there is a reasonable explanation for God to allow evil. Let’s say, for arguments sake that God does exist and that he could in a blink of an eye remove all the evil in the world. In an instant there would be no wars no rapes, no murders, no concentration camps. So the evil in human behaviour would cease instantly, only good would happen.
Unfortunately of course this would come at the cost of not being free to choose to do evil if one desires. So that freedom to choose is removed. So no good would be done thought human choice but by divine dictate. So the freedom to love or hate to do good or evil to “sin” or be righteous, is removed.
I think therefore it is reasonable to think that God allows the freedom to choose whether to do evil. I think it is incredibly freeing and humbling to think of it that way which then does leave one with the choices of what is done with that freedom and experiencing the consequences of such choices.
Firstly, God could reveal himself to mankind as he did regularly in the Old Testament. He could appear live on the World Wrestling Federation thus combining the benefits of modern global communications with his attested (though less than omnipotent) wrestling skills! I believe the Catholic Church calls this the “beatific vision”.
Humanity would still have the choice to believe whether or not they are saved by his atoning sacrifice. It is God’s narcisstic nature that prevents this.
Secondly, 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz. How many opportunities do you wish to afford the perpetrators? Clearly, God attaches more importance to the free will choices of the SS than the moral welfare of their innocent victims.
I appreciate your honesty. The holocaust always brings a dark cloud over my soul. Makes me ashamed of the human race. Faith believes in God, but sometimes trembles.
“Ultimately the atheist has no solution for Auschwitz. The Christian on the other hand comes through the darkest pain and the deepest blackness and is able to say – ‘there is good news – even for young atheists”.”
Whilst an atheist might not, a humanist does. Not a solution that can be written off as “don’t worry about what you are experiencing now in these gas chambers as the Zyklon B fills your lungs, you are going to a better place” (by the way, do the Jews who were killed there get a positive afterlife despite not sharing your beliefs in Jesus and the Cross?). A humanist wants to prevent this type of atrocity from happening. A humanist wants to people of this world to treat each other with respect and equality. A humanist recognises the value of positive human relations and acceptance of who each being is and wants to be (noting that we don’t accept harm of others), sees the stunning negative effect of making those who are different from us out to be less than us and strives for a world where universal education and human rights are the norm. It is only when we can see young people looking at each other across the world and not seeing any negative differences will we be able to start on the road to preventing events like the Holocaust.
I think that you are misinterpreting or rewriting history (as you often accuse me of). Nazi Germany was a Christian country. Hitler was a Catholic. Hitler’s anti-Semitism grew out of his Christian education. Austria and Germany were majorly Christian during his time and they held the belief that Jews were an inferior status to Aryan Christians. The Christians blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus. Jewish hatred did not actually spring from Hitler, it came from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany for hundreds of years. Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their Jewish religion. In his book, “On the Jews and their Lies,” Luther set the standard for Jewish hatred in Protestant Germany up until World War 2. Hitler expressed a great admiration for Martin Luther constantly quoting his works and beliefs.
“We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933
“The best characterization is provided by the product of this religious education, the Jew himself. His life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present- day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties– and this against their own nation.”–Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
We could, of course, just quote various things and various interpretations at each other here as you would point out things people have said that are not what the Bible actually means and I would again make the point that you are very confident about what the Bible means compared to so many other Christians and theologians since the time of Christ. I lack that strident confidence in what I know so I always want to read more philosophy and science.
We are atoms. The way our atoms are arranged is the current step that started at the beginning of the universe. Start again and you would very probably not have humanity or even the same universe. Nothing is guiding us and nothing has a fantastic obsession with bipeds in the middle east. But that does not mean that we have to accept blackness. From certain philosophical perspectives morality is different from fact but some scientists are beginning to argue that ethics could be objectively grounded in an understanding of neuroscience and how that impacts on human wellbeing. We are atoms that *know* we are made of atoms and we can learn lots more about who we are and what it means to be human. When we learn more about ourselves and each other, accept ourselves and each other then the likelihood of events like the Holocaust will considerably diminish.
Douglas, thanks for a very interesting post. I would love to meet with you one day to actually talk about this. I find this kind of communication very limiting…Anyway a few points.
1) I love your humanist faith…I am only sorry that it does not square with the reality of human sin.
2) Nazi Germany – now that is a subject I studied at Edinburgh University and for many years after. Nazi Germany was actually a secular country (Germany rejected its Christian connections with Bismarck) which largely had rejected Christianity. Hitler was no more a Catholic than Dawkins is an Anglican. He never attended mass, read the bible, prayed. etc.
3) You ARE right about Luther’s anti-semitism being used by Hitler. One of the more shameful aspects of Luthers life.
4) I am all too familiar with the quote mining that people pick up from atheist websites. All I simply ask is that you get the context (for example was he speaking to the Catholic teachers union?) and learn to distrust what politicians say in public and what they actually mean.
5) Your last paragraph illustrates both the bleakness and the blind faith of the atheist position. I am so sorry that that is all you have…
If you want a Hitler quote then this indicates more his position – Sometimes we also had interesting discussions about the church and the development of the human race. Perhaps it’s going too far to call them discussions, because he would begin explaining his ideas when some question or remark from one of us had set them off, and we just listened. He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour and your enemy. ‘Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,’ he once said. ‘We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind. (Until the Final Hour –p108)