Jump to content


Photo

The Holocaust


  • Please log in to reply
74 replies to this topic

#1 fmissing_*

fmissing_*

    Eta

  • Non-Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 145 posts

Posted 01 November 2007 - 05:40 PM

I read an interesting question the other day, posed by an atheist. Granted, it's a leading question, but it's still thought provoking:

"Can [Christians] condemn the Holocaust and at the same time maintain there was a higher, greater good that resulted from it?" Why or why not?"


The obvious insinutation being that if we condemn the Holocaust, we condemn God's Plan. If we claim there was a greater good, we appear to be supporting the Holocaust. What might a response look like and how should it be worded?

#2 The Budster

The Budster

    Lambda

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,158 posts

Posted 02 November 2007 - 07:24 AM

Your question is relevant, because we believe that "God rules in the kingdom of men, setting up over it whomsoever he will." That means that God put Bush Jr. where he is today, and the Iraq invasion has a place in God's plan. Some might say that it's therefore improper for a believer to criticize anything that Bush might do. But bring your question into it: suppose we lived in Nazi Germany. Would it be wrong of us to criticize the Holocaust? God forbid.

I think the key is in Christ's words: "it must needs be that offenses will come--but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" God may put evil men in power, and allow them to do evil things, and He may harness their deeds to further his plan. But that doesn't justify the evil deeds, or imply that we should condone them.

There's another way to look at it as well. Suppose your mother dies, and you pull through the loss by moving out on your own, getting a job and finding a wife. You can say that good came out of your mother's death. But you would never say, "Boy! I'm sure glad my mother died!"

--Len.

Edited by Netsach Yisrael, 02 November 2007 - 07:26 AM.


#3 R2D2

R2D2

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,273 posts
  • LocationNSW, Australia

Posted 02 November 2007 - 05:12 PM

That's a good and challenging question Fmissing. However, I do think we can condemn it because it came about as a result of man's sinful, evil thinking and deeds that were already in existence.

I have heard of people saying that it was wrong to help the Jews escape because it's working against God's plan and I think that is misguided and frankly lacking in compassion for those who suffer.

#4 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 07 July 2008 - 01:22 PM

I read an interesting question the other day, posed by an atheist. Granted, it's a leading question, but it's still thought provoking:

"Can [Christians] condemn the Holocaust and at the same time maintain there was a higher, greater good that resulted from it?" Why or why not?"


The obvious insinutation being that if we condemn the Holocaust, we condemn God's Plan. If we claim there was a greater good, we appear to be supporting the Holocaust. What might a response look like and how should it be worded?


The answer is simple: we condemn the Holocaust because it was an attempt to destroy God's chosen people, the Jews.

It did not result in a "higher, greater good"; it resulted in the death of 6 million people.

The state of Israel was reborn as a result of foreign policies that were already in place long before the Holocaust. As early as the 19th Century, the British had already stated their intention to recreate the Jewish homeland in the words of the Balfour Declaration.

The state of Israel was not reborn as a result of the Holocaust; it was reborn as the culmination of a British statement of purpose that was later adopted by other states and ultimately voted upon by the United Nations.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#5 Paidion_*

Paidion_*

    Zeta

  • Non-Members
  • PipPip
  • 75 posts

Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:22 PM

God is not the author of moral evil. He does not manipulate events so that people will commit moral evil in order to bring about "a greater good." Thinking that He does is an inadequate attempt to explain "the problem of evil" which has engaged the deepest thinkers of all ages. As for me, I would rather leave "the problem of evil" unexplained than to commit such a great blasphemy against the character of the ONE who is pure love.

#6 Jeppo_*

Jeppo_*

    Theta

  • Non-Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:19 AM

As for me, I would rather leave "the problem of evil" unexplained than to commit such a great blasphemy against the character of the ONE who is pure love.


And there's the rub. You may be able to seal off some part of your moral consciousness & proclaim that 'evil' in the world can't have anything to do with the ONE, but for some of us that doesn't cut the mustard.

This thread began with the issue of the Holocaust, yet the vast amount of suffering in this world has never been caused by humans. At least a million people die each year from malaria, many of them children in Africa. ( source) I won't bother to go into details about other illnesses or natural disasters, but on the face of it the world seems like a pretty hostile place to live.

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.

Edited by Jeppo, 12 July 2008 - 11:20 AM.


#7 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:54 AM

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.


How so? Because He gave humans the chance to live in a much nicer world and they freely chose to mess it up?

I don't recall Hitler and Stalin giving people any choices at all.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#8 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 12:23 PM

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.

The age old objection to God. Well - see how you like it when the shackles are put on when Christ returns!

#9 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 12:28 PM

Richie, that was not a constructive comment. :doh:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#10 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 12:41 PM

Why not?

#11 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:09 PM

Because it sounds like the old "You're gonna get yours when Christ returns!" line.

Which is not helpful.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#12 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:13 PM

No, what I mean is that God has given man the great gift of freewill and man has thrown it back in God's face, caused all sorts of problems with it and then blamed God for the trouble he's put himself in. Thankfully God is going to sort out the mess man has caused by sending his Son to clean everything up. Only during that time man will lose his freedom. Satan will be bound for a thousand years, those who don't go to Jerusalem to worship will suffer drought or plague, and men and women will have to learn the lesson that freedom is not something you play with but need to use it with the utmost responsibility.

#13 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:40 PM

OK, that sounds more encouraging.

:)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#14 Jeppo_*

Jeppo_*

    Theta

  • Non-Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:42 PM

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.


How so? Because He gave humans the chance to live in a much nicer world and they freely chose to mess it up?

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God? That may be the biblical answer, but I'd be very surprised if any thoughtful Christian was satisfied by it. I can't believe that explanation satisfies you either, but I know you are honour-bound to give it.

It also poses another problem: if God is omniscient then He knows the outcome of every situation before it has happened. He knew Adam & Eve were going to make a mess of things before he even started - so why go ahead and let it happen? It's a bit like the painter getting angry at the painting for not being good enough.

#15 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:49 PM

OK, that sounds more encouraging.

:)

No problem. I am trying to put together my exhort for tomorrow and am quickly looking at BTDF while my mind goes blank and offering short comments that require more info.

#16 Jeppo_*

Jeppo_*

    Theta

  • Non-Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:51 PM

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.

The age old objection to God. Well - see how you like it when the shackles are put on when Christ returns!

Oh dear. The irony about this is that only a Christian could make this kind of hateful statement. I'll forgive you though ;)

#17 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?

Well who else's fault is it?

That may be the biblical answer, but I'd be very surprised if any thoughtful Christian was satisfied by it. I can't believe that explanation satisfies you either, but I know you are honour-bound to give it.

I am a thoughtful Christian and it satisfies me wholly. What is wrong with it? Who else is to blame for man's suffering than the things that man has brought on himself?

It also poses another problem: if God is omniscient then He knows the outcome of every situation before it has happened. He knew Adam & Eve were going to make a mess of things before he even started - so why go ahead and let it happen? It's a bit like the painter getting angry at the painting for not being good enough.

If you read the Bible and sought to understand it you wouldn't make statements like this. The Bible explains the value of suffering and the discipline of God thoroughly. It is for our eternal benefit that we live in a fallen world. God let it go ahead and happen because he knows that trials and suffering are good for us. That people reject God because of suffering is up to them, but if only they would turn to him he would save them. It's very simple and man is without excuse.

And God doesn't get angry when people sin, like we would get impatient. He does display righteous anger but it's not something we should seek to understand from a human perspective. If you tried to understand God instead of criticizing him from the feebleness of human reasoning then you'd be more open to accept that God is true and every man a liar.

#18 Richard

Richard

    Omicron

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6,197 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:55 PM

If you choose to believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator who has brought this hostile world into being, then He certainly makes the likes of Hitler & Stalin look like boy scouts.

The age old objection to God. Well - see how you like it when the shackles are put on when Christ returns!

Oh dear. The irony about this is that only a Christian could make this kind of hateful statement. I'll forgive you though ;)

Hateful? What is hateful about it? You and Ev seem to reading strange things into what I say. :unsure:

#19 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:39 PM

So the millions of children who die through illness & natural catastrophes are simply the victims of man's disobedience to God?


By extension, yes. Of course in practical terms, they are simply victims of perfectly natural processes which occur every day.

Are you upset when an octopus eats a mollusc, or a bird eats a worm, or a fox eats a mouse? No, but you are upset when a natural disaster kills humans because you are human also, and you can relate to them. We have a tendency to view natural disasters as things which shouldn't happen - when in reality, they are things which are indeed supposed to happen, in accordance with the well known laws of nature and physics. (For the sake of argument, I leave aside the fact that some natural disasters are the result of man's interference with nature).

If there was no God, who would you blame for natural disasters?

That may be the biblical answer, but I'd be very surprised if any thoughtful Christian was satisfied by it.


Why?

I can't believe that explanation satisfies you either, but I know you are honour-bound to give it.


It satisfies me perfectly. I would not give it if it didn't.

It also poses another problem: if God is omniscient then He knows the outcome of every situation before it has happened. He knew Adam & Eve were going to make a mess of things before he even started - so why go ahead and let it happen?


Parents all over the world choose to have children despite knowing that they will be disobedient one day, so why be surprised when God does the same?

God created all things for His pleasure, with the aim of reflecting His glory in living, personal beings which had achieved a state of perfection. He knew in advance that the process would not be a smooth one; but why should this deter Him?

He could have created perfect beings with no free will, but that would defeat the purpose. He could have created perfect beings with free will (and possibly did, if this is how the angels came into being) but for reasons of His own, He chose to create imperfect beings with free will. We may speculate about His motives for doing it this way, but I am not sure that we can know them exactly.

None of this makes Him, equivalent to Hitler and Stalin. I don't recall Hitler and Stalin offering too many salvation plans, do you?

It's a bit like the painter getting angry at the painting for not being good enough.


On the contrary: the painter has only himself to blame for the painting, since the painting can make no decisions or take any actions relevant to its current or future state. By contrast, humans possess free will, and are permitted to shape their own destiny.

A consequence of free will is personal responsibility, Jeppo. Even Sartre insisted on this, and he was a hardcore atheist.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#20 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:40 PM

Hateful? What is hateful about it? You and Ev seem to reading strange things into what I say. :unsure:


"See how you like it when the shackles are put on when Christ returns!"

It does have a touch of the old :witchhunt: about it.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users