In this post we are going to look at two quote. One is by Elie Wiesel and the other is made by Harry James Cargas. The latter wrote the book Shadows of Auschwitz: A Christian response to the Holocaust and the former wrote the foreword to that book. We are attacking neither person and only looking at their words and point they are trying to make.
The Holocaust demands interrogation and calls everything into question…It is impossible to detach the Final Solution from its Christian context- E.W.
While the Holocaust does demand interrogation it does not call everything into question. It is important to learn how the event came to be, the reasons behind its existence and what could be done to avoid such events in the future, it is equally vital to identify the source of the event and not distort it by placing it in a category or the result of a belief which had nothing to do with the event. People may argue that the Nazis were Christian in some respect, they were not Jewish, Hindu, or of some other religious faith but to do so would distort and misapply the term Christian.
It is not impossible to detach ‘the final solution from its Christian context’ because there was no Christian context surrounding the Holocaust. Yes there may have been weak immature believers who did not have the strength to withstand the pressure of the Nazis and their agenda, and supported their extermination efforts or did little to block them, but that does not place the Holocaust in a Christian context. Yes Hitler was part Jewish but being Jewish is not being Christian so that argument does not place the event into a Christian context. Then, yes many prominent Nazis came from Christian families but that fact does not provide a Christian context either. There is nothing Christian about the Holocaust. It was not conducted under biblical commands, and if any were used they those verses were misapplied,nor has there been a time in the New Testament era where God told Christians to exterminate any group of people. The Crusades were not Christian either nor conducted within a Christian context.
To be Christian and placed in a Christian context the Bible must be obeyed correctly. The command ‘thou shalt not kill’ cannot be overruled because one person or a group of people dislike another. People say that the word ‘kill’ actually means ‘murdered’ well that is what the Nazis did to the Jewish and other unfortunate people who fell on the wrong side of the Nazi perspective. It was not a final solution but murder. it was not a terrorist act or a hate crime, it was simply murder. We cannot distort the event by using modern politically correct terms to make the event more palpable. For that reason alone the Nuremberg trials were justified. The Nazis on trial were basically being tried for murder and other illegal acts not because they were Nazis. BUt that is another issue for another day.
To be considered a Christian context, the people participating in the event must actually be Christian. AS to the Christian faith of the Nazis and other German people we cannot judge but their actions tend to place them outside of Christianity or in the category of being immature Christians who did not trust God enough to take better action.We cannot lump everyone who were not members of the Nazi party into the non-believer category because that would be wrong. Christians do make mistakes in judgment and behavior but those mistakes and errors does not cost them their salvation. Nor does it put a Christian context to a horrible event. Christianity becomes the excuse to justify the false application of blame.
The late Mr. Wiesel also talked about a ‘Christian guilt’ in his foreword to that book but that is another distortion. Christians are not to blame for the actions of others. They are only responsible for their own actions. Also the Bible tells us that the sins of the father are not to be paid by the son and vice versa. No Christian today has any guilt for what took place 70 years ago. They are only guilty of the infractions they make in their lives, their ancestors are responsible for their sins alone. This does not mean we cannot try to right some wrongs or help take steps to avoid another Holocaust, (though Christians will be the next victims in the next Holocaust, and that too is another topic for another day), we are to follow the Bible in participating in prevention of any crime.
Yet with that said, God’s word must be remembered. He tells us in Isaiah that his thoughts and ways are higher than ours thus when we analyze any action by Christian or unbeliever we must learn how to look at those actions through God’s perspective.Our human views are too restricted to get a clear picture on why people, especially Christians, act the way they do. To apply only human reasoning and justifications only clouds the issue and does not explain the behavior taken unless of course that behavior is clearly a violation of God’s word. To judge the Christians living during the time of the Holocaust is unfair and wrong, we are not privy to all the pertinent information that would explain their actions. God is thus we need to look to God before concluding anything about past actions or determining an ancestor’s eternal destination.
How does one explain that the killers came from Christian families and had received a Christian education- HJC
The word ‘killers’ here of course refers to the Nazis and other German people. The answer is quite simple. Coming from a Christian home and receiving a Christian education is no guarantee that people will not choose to follow evil. This change of character happens all the time. The founder of the Children of God was an evangelical minister before sliding into evil and founding his cult. You can check the many websites where former missionaries and pastors and other Christian workers reside and see how they have left their faith and stopped believing in God. Being from a Christian family or being educated in Christianity does not stop people from exercising their right of free choice and doing horrible things.
They may use scripture to justify their thinking or behavior but again such action does not place their deeds in a Christian context nor does it mean a Christian committed the offenses. Sometimes they are Christian but deeper examination than a superficial judgment is needed to assess the situation.
The Holocaust is not a Christian event nor was it conducted in a Christian context. It was conducted via hatred which is a sin and not a Christian virtue or teaching. There is no Christian guilt to be endured. Those who say there is, mislead and distort the issue, such accusations are probably motivated by their own hatred for Christianity and Christians. To find solutions to such events like the Holocaust you cannot falsely accuse a belief or group of people. Even if Christians were a part of the Holocaust, we can say they were probably not Christian because Jesus told us ‘my sheep hear my voice’ and Jesus never told anyone to kill another person no matter what faith they adhered to.