Nazism did not suddenly arise out of nowhere, but development moved in the
same direction for more than a century. The same development is possible today
When it comes to evil in society, it is, according to the Bible, a problem for all mankind. The world lies in wickedness
(1 John 5:19), and there is no one who is completely sinless. All have sinned and are incomplete, as it is written:
Nor is a Christian who is serious about doing God’s will and doing the right thing is completely free from sin. That is an unfortunate fact during this life. Evil dwells in us to some extent, and we cannot be completely separated from it. Paul highlighted this struggle between good and evil well, stating that he had the will to do right, but he did not always succeed in it:
This article is intended to study evil in society. One of the lessons demonstrated by history is that we learn nothing from history. This is possible also today. The mistake, in particular, is that modern people see themselves in some way different from people in history. It is thought that humanity is evolving all the time, and that today we are wiser and better than in the past.
How can this be known as a lie? We do not need to do anything else than to look at just a little bit of history. In the 19th century, development optimism prevailed in Europe like today. Humanity was thought to be going in a better direction, but what followed? The greatest wars and violence in history. Tens of millions lost their lives in either wars or persecutions by leaders. Well-known are e.g. the administrations of Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, as well as the numerous communist states where atheism has been an official doctrine. Indeed, communism based on atheism and Nazism ideology have been the worst causes of destruction. If these ideologies had not come to power and influenced people’s minds, the development of many societies would have become different and more peaceful. These societies would have avoided the many sufferings that these ideologies led to.
Thus, development leading to evil is possible even today, especially as the experienced generation of World War II is gradually disappearing. It takes only a few decades. So what happens when it is replaced by a generation that no longer remembers the teachings of the past? It is very possible that we will witness events similar to what happened in the 20th century.
So, in order to learn from the mistakes of the past, it is worth researching a little bit of history. One good starting point is the development in Germany before Nazism came power and won other societal views. What makes the development in Germany significant is that it was considered one of the most civilized countries in Europe. There were published e.g. more new works than in France, England and the United States. However, it did not prevent Germany from drifting into chaos and violence.
But why, in perhaps the most civilized state in Europe, Germany, did an ideology like Nazism come power? The reasons can, of course, be economic and social instability and other social explanations, but there are also deeper reasons behind them. In particular, the renunciation of Christianity, liberal theology, and the influence of the theory of evolution are important background factors. That is why we are going to look at developments since the 18th and 19th centuries. It is essential because no ideologies are suddenly born out of nowhere, but are usually based on a longer development. We will look at the currents that occurred in Germany. The development of this country involves e.g. the following points:
Liberal Theology and Bible Criticism in Germany. One of the main reasons why an ideology like Nazism prevailed in Germany was the currents that emerged in universities, one of which was liberal theology and biblical criticism. Germany was a leading country in the critique of religion, and there were several well-known theologians who questioned the basics of the Christian faith. They denied supernatural phenomena, the historical validity of the Bible, and attacked against the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. They were offended by the fact that Christianity was considered the heir to Judaism. Therefore, they seek to tie it to Westernism and a particular human race. They talked about the Aryan religion.
The development of the time 30-50 years before the Nazis becomes appearent very clear from a few quotations. The first is the statement of the anthropologist Max Müller from 1878, the second is from a book from 1891, and the third relates to Karl Marx, who stated that the critique of religion has been completed in Germany. The quotations show how the wave of apostasy began in Germany as early as in the 19th century.
Anthropologist Max Müller 1878: Every day, every week, every fourth year the most read magazines tell in a race like manner that the time of religion is gone, that faith is a hallucination or a sickness ravaging children and that gods have finally been revealed and removed as they have surpassed their time. (4)
Secondly, the attacks were merely cursory and dispersed during the old times; now they are periodically organized. The French spirit is roaring and wild, but not as dangerous as the German one... David Strauss and his like-minded people have caused much more disturbance amidst believers than those French babblers. Ever since the French spirit tried to dolorously go against Christianity during Voltaire, rejection of Christianity has gone through philosophy school of the German spirit and developed into a whole world view system, which has really tried to replace itself with Christianity. (Dr. C. Ernst Luthardt in his book, yr. 1891) (5)
“In Germany criticism towards religion has moslty reached its goal, and criticism towards religion is the prerequisite for all criticism.” (Karl Marx in the introduction of “Critique of Hegel”])
When there were several opponents of the Christian faith or Bible critics in Germany, the following is a list of some of the most important names. They greatly contributed to the loss of the Christian faith in Germany.
Johann Semler (1725-1791), Johann G. Fichte (1762-1814) and Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) were theologians who sought to separate the Christian faith from its Jewish roots and bind it to Westernness. Friedrich Schleiermacher has been considered the father of liberal theological thinking.
In the late 1870s, Julius Wellhausen presented his famous theory of the origin of the books of Moses. He concluded that they could not have been written by Moses, nor could the Old Testament in any sense be the word of God. Herman Günkel (1862-1932) shared Wellhausen's views and regarded patriarchal stories as fables.
David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874) was one of the most famous liberal theologians of the 19th century. He rejected the supernatural accounts of the Bible and considered them unhistorical.
Bruno Bauer (1809-1882) was one of the leading liberal theologians. He denied several basic things of the Christian faith, and his book he wrote destroyed the faith of Friedrich Engels (Engels was the second founder of communism with Marx).
When there were several well-known figures in Germany who had a negative attitude towards the Christian faith or other religions, among them were Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Ludwig Feuerbach. Their influence is evident in Georg Jung's letter, which also mentions the name of Bruno Bauer, who appeared above:
“If Marx, Bruno Bauer and Feuerbach together begin a religious-political critique, it would be best for God to surround himself with all his angels and surrender to the power of self-pity, for these three will surely drive him out of heaven. (D. McLellan: Marx before Marxism, McMillan)
A. Drews was one of the liberal professors of the early 20th century. He wrote the book Christ the Fable, in which he argued that it is a mistake to consider the historical Jesus as the starting point of the Christian Church.
Friedrich Delitzsch, who was influential in the early 20th century, did not believe in the revelatory nature of the Old Testament. He wanted to replace it with Germanic heroic tales.
Rudolf Bultmann was one of the most famous liberal theologians of 20th century Germany. His influence extends to our time. He considered miracles impossible and that there would be nothing supernatural. In addition, he stated in an article published in 1933 that "the Old Testament as such is not the word of God to us, and there is nothing announcement to us in the history of Israel."
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is known as a psychologist, but he was also an atheist and regarded faith in God as a delusion created by wishful thinking. He contributed to the change in worldview in Germany, just as Darwin had done a few decades earlier.
In the search for a reason for the rise of ideologues such as Nazism and Communism, purely economic and social instability reasons may be put forward. These are, of course, important factors, but they are not the only explanation, as previous quotations showed. It was characteristic of the period before and during Nazism that the Christian faith lost its significance, but atheistic worldview and morality won over the field in people’s minds (Atheism and the rejection of the Christian faith were also characteristic of Communism). In addition, huge crowds resigned from the church as a quote from a book, written in 1934, shows.
From time to time in many countries there have been masses of people leaving the church after a war. And so 305 000 people left the Evangelic church in Germany in 1920. This fleeing from churches has continued. In 1930, 59 225 people left a Lutheran church in Berlin alone, not to mention those Catholics and Jews, who abandoned their fathers’ belief… We do not need to get too much into the spreading of atheistic ideologies during the 20th century. It is enough said that the number of those, who publicly recognize or silently accept the absolute nonexistence of God, has tremendously increased. Some men, who are considered educated, claim that the modern science makes believing in God impossible. They either completely stop believing in God or state that “science requires new a new concept of God”. This denial of God begins in schools among children. In a few cities thousands of children of the age of 6 to 14 have, all the way from the lowest classes, walked the streets carrying the following stickers: “God out of schools”, “Take down God-superstitions”, Religion is a narcotic” etc. (3)
In Germany, therefore, the apostasy of the Christian faith took place long before the Nazis. One example of the development of time is Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), who was one of Germany’s most famous philosophers in the late 19th century. He was a student of theology but interrupted his studies after reading Darwin's book The Origin of Species. He was a fierce opponent of Christianity and proclaimed the death of the theistic God. He declared that there is no right and wrong and that there is no purpose in life. He is also known for his anti-Semitism and superhuman thinking. However, he himself suffered from incurable mental illness for the last ten years of his life.
Nietzsche's significance lies in the fact that he was Hitler's favorite philosopher. Hitler was a great admirer of this philosopher and distributed Nietzsche's books to his elite troops. In addition, Hitler frequently visited the Nietzsche Museum in Weimar and allowed to photographed himself when he was staring and admiring at the image of this philosopher.
The following statement gives a good picture of the significance of Nietzsche. It is from a book published in 1934, just five years before World War II. The author mentioned how Nietzsche's ideas were seen to greatly influence the outbreak of war:
But these men do not only deny God theoretically, instead, they consider having faith in God as being destructive for people’s happiness, and they have started to wipe out God awareness from human souls throughout. Nietzsche, a great German philosopher, who in many people’s opinion has contributed to causing war more than anyone, said: “The ideas such as virtue, mercy and compassion are harmful, as they stand for giving the power away from the strong ones to the weak ones, whose real job is to serve the strong ones. Remember that sacrifice, brotherhood and love are not the sense of virtue in the slightest, but merely inflicted repentances, which are meant to prevent you from being yourselves. Remember that humans are intrinsically selfish.” (4)
In Germany, therefore, the apostasy of the Christian faith took place long before the Nazis. Therefore, it is a false assumption that the Nazi ideology, which rejected the basics of the Christian faith and the principles of the Ten Commandments (Do not kill, do not steal, do not say false testimony of your neighbor…) suddenly arose from nothing and emerged like lightning from a clear sky. This almost never happens, but ideas must have a broad base of support before they can become politically possible.
We take quotations from Olavi Paavolainen's book Risti ja Hakaristi (1938), which was published just before the Second World War. It describes the 1930s and how the struggle against Christianity was characteristic of the Nazis, as it was of the Communists. Developments in this direction had taken place for decades:
Something incomprehensible, about the demon, is happening in the soul of the German people. Already during World War I, some English propagandists argued that Germany has never really converted to Christianity, but has always been pagan and “Germanic” under a weak Christian shell. The phenomena occurring during National Socialism seem to support this claim in an astonishing way.
… The struggle against Christianity in the Third Reich has reached such a scale and so many forms that it is practically impossible to describe it in the context of a single writing.
… The harsh censorship of the state had made it almost impossible for the inhabitants of the Third Reich to follow the church battle, and during this obligatory ignorance and the dispersal within the church, fierce anti-Christian propaganda has reached great proportions. The entire anti-Christian literature, from magnificent works of glory to numerous magazines and hundreds of thousands flyers, had seen the light of day. The great man of World War I, General Ludendorff, and his wife had declared that they would dedicate the rest of their lives to the eradication of Christianity from Germany.
… And commonly known are the verses of a Hitler-Jugend song: Wir sind die Fröhliche Hitler-Jugend, wir brauchen keine christliche Tugend - we are a happy Hitler-Jugend youth, we do not need any Christian virtues. (5)
Theory of evolution. It was noted above how liberal theology and anti-Godhood prevailed in Germany for decades before the rise of the Nazis. It was a matter of more than a century of development, so it was a long process.
What about the impact of Darwin and his theory of evolution? This theory, too, became accepted as early as the 19th century and had a profound effect on European societies. Darwin’s theory caused a revolution in philosophy, psychology, biology and politics. It changed people’s worldview and influenced Hitler’s thinking as well. Hitler believed in evolution and his attitude toward Jews and other ethnic groups can be connected in part to this belief. In his book Hitler’s Personal Security P. Hoffman wrote on this subject: “Hitler believed in a struggle according to Darwinian principles in human life, which caused that all people to try to control each other. Without the fight, they would decay and be destroyed… Even in the face of his own defeat in April, Hitler expressed his faith in the survival of the strongest and declared that the Slavic people had proved to be stronger. ” (6)
Darwin's theory thus changed people's worldview. It provided a scientifically seeming basis for atheism and rejection of God, but also for rejection of morality. There was no longer a permanent basis for morality because it had no connection with God.
What comes particularly to the human rights violations and injustices, the theory of evolution itself did not lead to these acts. Instead, this theory influenced people’s worldview so that they began to question the sanctity and value of human life. It involves e.g. the following factors:
The human boundary to animals was blurred. Evolutionary theory is based on the assumption that all current species of organisms come from a single stem cell. This theory is believed even though the birth of life has not been proven and no example of real species changes are known. There are no examples of species changes in Darwin's book The Origin of Species or in any other evolutionary literature. Not even bacteria have been found to change into other bacterial species, let alone into other species. Alan Linton, Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Bristol, has written on:
Throughout the 150-year history of bacteriological research, there is no evidence that the bacterial species has changed to another. (7)
How, then, did Darwin's theory - even though no concrete evidence can be found for this theory - affect the perception about man? In short, it diminished the value of man. Human life was no longer considered qualitatively different than other creations. It was thought that there was only a small degree difference between humans and animals, as humans were thought to have evolved from simple forms of organisms through gradual changes. As a result, it was difficult to draw the line between humans and other natural creations. Man himself was seen as a subject of constant change like all other nature. In the last hundred years, when inhumanities have taken place, there is a distorted image of man in the backround:
If it is difficult for you to believe that evolution is connected to the issues mentioned above, you will see the connection clearly after studying a couple of historical examples. In fact, I have yet to meet a single well-educated evolutionist who disagrees with me about the connection of these moral issues and evolution. They are not necessarily of the opinion that this is what should have happened but they do agree that people have applied evolution in this way. It is important for you not to misunderstand what I’m about to say. Of course, there were bad philosophies that go against God already before Darwinist evolution. People did abortions long before Darwin announced his popular view on evolution. However, people’s beliefs about their origins influence the way they view the world. When people reject God -- the Creator -- their attitude towards themselves, other people and our world changes. (8)
Race teaching and scientific racism. Secondly, when Darwin’s theory became accepted and man was assumed to be come from lower animals, it also led to the notion of the inherent superiority of certain races. It was thought that some races are innately more capable, intelligent, and better adapted. People were classified as valuable and less valuable based on race, ability to function, or other trait. This view, called social Darwinism, was common in the early 20th century. It was adopted in many countries. The theory of evolution thus provided a pseudo-scientific justification for racism and human inequality. It was no longer believed that the entire human race came from a single couple and that all human races have the same short life cycle. This notion was rejected because of Darwin's theory.
A good picture of how the view called social Darwinism, scientific racism, was common in Europe but especially in Germany, gives Richard Weikart. He wrote in his book From Darwin to Hitler that by 1890 “almost all influential Darwinist anthropologists and ethnologists - as well as most Darwinist biologists and popularizers - embraced scientific racism”. (9)
Historian H. G. Wells continues on the same subject. He wrote in 1924 how social Darwinist thinking and the rejection of godliness and morality came to power after 1859, when Darwin had published his book The Origin of Species. The quote shows how much Darwin’s works influenced people’s worldview and behavior. It doesn't matter what we believe about our origins:
Darwinism was a sudden surprise to official Christianity… The immediate impact of this great controversy… was quite damaging. The new biological science had not yet produced anything constructive that could have replaced the old laws of chastity. The result was a real loss of morality… Since 1859, there has been a real decline in faith. In many cases, the real gold of religion was thrown away with the worn purse where it had been stored for so long and could not be recovered. At the end of the nineteenth century, influential and mighty individuals believed their power was based on the ‘struggle for existence’, in which the strong and cunning overcome the weak and the confident. (10)
From De Beer’s work, Charles Darwin can also be seen how Darwin’s teachings were popular in Germany. They were applied to society and politics. Darwin himself found such thoughts silly. However, the theory he put forward contributed to the spread of social Darwinism in society:
Darwin's lack of historical consciousness undoubtedly led him to write his astonishingly naive letter to Baron von Scherzer: 'How foolish the notion of socialism and natural evolution there is in Germany.' It happened 26 december in 1879, and a year later he must have received a shock when he received a letter from Karl Marx asking him for permission to own an English edition of his book Das Kapital (Capital) for him. (11)
A couple of comments still show how Darwin’s theory led to social Darwinism in the society of its time. It led to a view where the sanctity of human life was questioned. Like this should not have happened, but since the theory of evolution offers no moral basis, it was one possible consequence of development:
It is clear that the path from Darwinism, Wagnerism, nihilism and even racism and anti-Semitistic Nazism was never simple and straightforward. Different pathways of course lead to different directions. However, despite the complexity, indeed one path led to Auschwitz. No matter how big the risks of ambitious ideology are, these risks should not weaken our determination to understand the processes and influences that, at least in one case, led to that end result. I believe that the fear of complexity is a poor reason to stop studying cultural history. (12)
Although we should be careful about depicting Darwin, who is responsible for the beginning of a secular period, as a human, we should be just as mindful of underestimating the importance of evolutionary thinking on doubting the holiness of human life. (13)
Developments in Germany were influenced by several people, but the most important of the names in the field of the theory of evolution was Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), who has become known for his social Darwinism and forged fetal images (He later had to admit his deception). He was the “apostle of Darwinism” in Germany and enjoyed enormous popularity among his contemporaries. His popularity and influence as a promoter of the theory of evolution in Germany and throughout Europe is illustrated by the fact that although Darwin's book The Origin of Species provided the basis for the theory of evolution, it was distributed only in small editions and in a few languages. Instead, Haeckel’s works were distributed in hundreds of thousands copies and over 30 languages. His most important book, Welträtsel, was sold in Germany alone over 100.000 copies in the year of its publication. Another characteristic of the spread of Haeckel's works is that his main work, Welträtsel (1899), was translated into Finnish earlier than Darwin's The Origin of Species, which had been written 40 years earlier. In addition, Darwin himself gave great value to Haeckel. In introduction of his book The Descent of Man (1871), he praised Haeckel's work as deeper and better than his own book. Likewise, the Englishman Thomas H. Huxley considered Haeckel a more prominent popularist in teaching the theory of evolution than himself.
One of Haeckel’s accomplishments was the materialist monism movement, which had thousands of members in German and Austrian cities. Haeckel organized this movement, in which it is was sweared that there is no God and no spirit, but only material things. Significantly, the monist movement spread to exactly the same areas as the Nazi National Socialist Party later.
Haeckel's considerable influence in early Europe has been well described by physiologist Max Verworn in 1921:
It is possible to argue without exaggeration that no scientist has had a greater impact on the development of the worldview of our time than Haeckel. (14)
The Finnish J.E. Aro has also described how Haeckel's teachings spread in Europe. He wrote in his book Kehitysoppi nykyisellä kannallaan (1907):
But the more ardent fighters than Darwin himself were his supporters, especially the just mentioned Huxley from England and Ernst Haeckel from Germany. The latter in particular has caused "Darwinism" to spread so rapidly on the European continent, although on the other hand, through his exaggeration, the struggle has also become more intense than usual and often moved far beyond the main issue itself. Undoubtedly, it is through Haeckel that Darwinism has become known to us in wider circles.
Haeckel’s influence has been described also by Pascual Jordan. His mention appeared in Haeckel's most important work, Welträtsel:
For the most part, thanks to this book, European unreligiousness has become one of the greatest spiritual forces of the 20th century.
It can therefore be deduced from the foregoing how far-reaching influence Haeckel had in Europe, especially in Germany and Austria. He was an apostle of evolution and irreligiousness, whose teachings influenced millions. Because of his influence, the Christian faith lost its significance and atheism got success.
However, Haeckel's influence was devastating in other ways as well. He was one of the leading opinion leaders who proposed a solution to the Jewish question. He was strongly anti-Semitic like some of the liberal theologians mentioned above. He contributed to the hatred of the Jews. Pauli Ojala has written on:
Haeckel was, I think, the first to present a program to solve Judenfrage. He did not yet mean elimination, but the expulsion of Jews from university chairs. For him, Jewish Christian altruism, the protection of the weak, was a decadent unnaturalness. There was no biological nuance in the Russian pogroms yet, while Haeckel launched the idea of human weeds. He accused the Jews, who written the New Testament, of poisoning the entire West with transcendent dualism and spoke for "monistic" atheism. Haeckel's Followers Jules Soiree and George Vacher de Lapouge (1854-1936) already demanded the direct elimination of Jews ... Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was a plagiarist by his history and mentality, and his slogan, "Politics is Applied Biology," was originally presented specifically by Haeckel. (15)
Haeckel's devastating influence was also manifested in the fact that he was one of the first to actively drive euthanasia to Germany. He was a scientist but represented a similar model that was later enforced by the Nazis. He suggested killing the sick and the weak, citing mercifulness just like the Nazis later. He also used an economic argument, which was used by the Nazis. We can understand how Haeckel was a major public influencer who was listened to and whose works were read, and it certainly influenced the Nazi worldview and thinking. In hindsight, one can speculate as to whether the Nazis would have failed to implement their euthanasia program if there had not been Haeckel’s books. The following quotations are from his works:
We must classify as tradition and dogma the broad belief that life should be maintained and prolonged in all circumstances, even if it has become utterly useless - a source of pain for incurable and endless annoyance to his/her friends. Hundreds of thousands of the incurable - moonstrucks, lepers, vermins, etc. - are artificially kept alive in our modern communities and their suffering is prolonged with care, without the slightest benefit to them or the community. How the huge amount of suffering behind these numbers for the disabled themselves, the amount of trouble and grief for their families - and what the public costs are! How much of this pain and cost would be saved if people dared to decide and release the incurable from their indescribable suffering through morphine overdose! ”(16)
Among Spartans, all newborn children were subjected to careful examination and selection. All weak, sick, or deformed were killed. Only perfect, healthy, and strong children were kept alive, and only these continued the race. "[Haeckel 1883] Cf. Hitler's policy:" Sparta must be considered the first National Socialist state. Exposing sick, weak, and deformed children to destruction was more decent, truthful, and a thousand times more humane than the vicious madness with which our day preserves even the most pathological object. "(17)
Euthanasia program. If we have to name things that the Nazis are known for, one of them was certainly the so-called a euthanasia program that eventually led to large-scale extermination camps. This program began at Hitler's behest and was carried out by a committee of physicians. It was chaired by Dr. Karl Brandt in addition to a few other experts.
Propaganda was also carried out on behalf of the euthanasia program. It prepared people for the acceptance of euthanasia. Newspapers and schools showed calculations of what the chronically ill and disabled pay for society. Similarly, in schools, children were shown a film in which a doctor entered a hospital room and gave a deadly spike to an elderly person. The doctor then closed the elderly man's eyes, turned off the lights, and left the room, calmly explaining, "That was the right solution - it was the only solution." The Nazis thought that the right to life had to be earned. If the person was not healthy, he was in the danger zone.
The circle of those to be killed was also expanded all the time. Initially, the euthanasia program only affected the chronically ill and the disabled, but gradually it extended to socially unproductive, dissidents and members of the wrong race. This expansion of the killable circuit is easy to grasp. Once the idea of the sanctity of human life had once been abandoned, it was easy to go further and further in the same direction.
However, the Nazi euthanasia program did not start from scratch. The seeds for development had been sown decades earlier. As noted, this matter was already raised by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) years before the Nazis, before the existence of the Nazi movement. He wrote about the legitimacy of euthanasia in his widely circulated books. The same idea was familiar elsewhere in university and intellectual circles. It all started with a discussion that some people’s lives are not worth living. It was a small spark that originated in the treatment of the terminally ill. It was explained that it is more merciful to end the lives of those who suffer and that it is also beneficial to society financially. We can hear very similar arguments today, so we are repeating the same debate that was going on then.
The following quote tells more about the subject. This comment is by American psychiatrist Leo Alexander. He participated in the war trials in Nuremberg and in 1949 wrote an influential dissertation called Medicine under the dictatorship. It was published in The New England Journal of medicine. Alexander noted that the change was happening little by little and originally gained strength from how to treat the terminally ill:
Everything started off as the doctors accepted the rudiment of euthanasia movement, according to which some people’s lives are not worth living. In the beginning this was the reaction towards the severely and chronically diseased ones. Gradually it began to include also the socially unprofitable and the ideologically and racially non-wanted people - - But it is vital to understand that the utterly inconspicuous inspiration, where this whole ideology got its momentum, was the attitude towards terminally ill people.
The second comment also suggests how euthanasia thinking was common even before the Nazis. The Nazis did not invent this thinking but it had been talked over before them in universities and intellectual circles:
Genocide of people in Germany did not begin from Nazis and Hitler. Already in the 1920’s psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and jurist Karl Binding wrote a book about finishing unviable life. It told about valueless people, and about life that is not worth living; and that the ending of life should be entitled by legislation. It was also discussed much about economical costs caused by taking care of patents like these. Both writers were leading intellectuals. A certain kind of spirit of the times was born (Fredrik Wertham ym. Inte bara Hitler, Provita Uppsala, p. 47)
One of the writers of Inte bara Hitler-book Per Landgren draws the following conclusion: “The fact that Hoche and Binding were valued academicians is also a clear example that the ideologies of German people were not at all temporarily being blinded. Nazism did not change science and medicine. Western science and medicine had already been corrupted and gave an inspiration for Nazism.” (p. 97) Probably, this kind of spirit of the times was caused by many factors like social Darwinism, liberal theology, abandoning the authority of the Bible and secularization generally. Already from the 1800th century philosophies had prepared the way for this kind of collapse of human value. The views of God and man had changed. It was not believed that the life of man would have unconditional and absolute value, which is based on the fact that God created man in his own image. (18)
Anti-Semitism. The three things that the Nazis are especially known for are the outbreak of World War II, the euthanasia program, and the strong anti-Semitism that eventually led to the killing of millions of Jews. Other groups of people, such as dissidents, Poles, Russians, Roma, were also killed by the Nazis - relatively more Roma died than Jews - but their killing was mostly targeted at Jews.
When the Nazis came to power, they did not immediately begin mass murders, but their first action was strong anti-Semitic propaganda, which appeared e.g. in Der Stürmer. It manifested itself in derogatory terms - cancer, parasitic plant, bloodsucker, fungus ... - and even ordinary Germans became negative towards Jews. Jews became increasingly inhuman in German people's mind. The following quote from the book Gestapo (Frank McDonough: The Gestapo - The Myth and Reality of Hitler's Secret Police) tells more about the subject:
Malevolent propaganda that had gone on for years and demonized the Jews by presenting them as physically disgusting big nosed demons, had influenced even those, who used to be very tolerant. Posters, movies and newspapers were full of this kind of Jewish resentment on a daily basis. Max Rainer recalled: “I could no longer grab a German newspaper. Jewish this and Jewish that. As if other topics didn’t exist. Newspapers were competing against each other on who had the best insults, threats and ridiculous content.” (19)
Hans Fritzsche, who held a high position in the Ministry of Propaganda, headed by Josef Goebbels, and head of the radio department since 1942, has taken a stand on the same subject, namely negative propaganda. He was interviewed during the Nuremberg trials in 1946 by Leon Goldensohn. In an interview, Fritzsche admitted that crime always starts with negative propaganda, not just when people are murdered. This is a good reminder of past decades. Negative propaganda is the first step to evil.
…I feel like there is religious demand – ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ – this principle has not been followed for two thousand years. I wish that in this tragedy’s darkness at least one spark of life would emerge. I mean understanding that a crime is not committed only after a person is being murdered. Crime begins with propaganda, even though it would be for a good cause. At that moment, when propaganda turns against another nation or a person, evil springs up. (20)
The second comment points in the same direction. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan was at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp watching the camp and its incinerators when he was approached by a rabbi with a series of tattoos tattooed on his arm. The rabbi had told him the furnaces, showing how meaningful the words are. It all started with slander, lies and slogans:
You have to understand this: these crematoria were not originally built of bricks, but of words! It all started with lies that were initially set in motion as jokes, slogans and arguments, so soon we Jews became impersonal, stripped of humanity, animal-like creatures, and anything can be done to animals! We didn’t notice what was coming until it was too late. (21)
However, it took eight years from the time Hitler came to power before the actual massacres began in the summer of 1941. What happened during that time? Some experts believe that the devastating development could have been stopped at the earliest stage - when the development was still at the level of speech. The direction, however, was that the rights of the Jews were being curtailed all the time. From the level of ridicule was gone further and further in the abolition of rights.
Susanna Kokkonen has described the development. What is peculiar is that when the development began with anti-Semitic propaganda and a boycott of shops, a similar development can be observed today. Many politicians are calling for a boycott of Jewish products. History repeats itself again and we do not learn from past events.
What can we say from all of the above? We can clearly state that the Holocaust was a process. It progressed through the first even hesitant steps towards the final goal. That goal would never have been achieved without a start. While contemporaries could very well only see a collection of confusing and independent events, in reality, events across Europe aimed at one and the same end point. Evil reaches its peak because of the first compromise ...
So if we want to understand the pre-Holocaust period and the actual years of the Holocaust through a simple and clear grouping of the nature of events, we could do it roughly like this:
1933-1938: Anti-Semitic propaganda, boycott of Jewish shops, legislation separating Jews from the rest of society;
1938-1939: Destruction of Jewish synagogues, vandalism and imprisonments of Jews
1939-1941: Jews no longer have any rights, transportation to east;
1941-1945: Murder of Jews in extermination camps. (22)
It is now good to move on to the time before the Nazis. It is interesting in itself that the Jews had adapted well to German society. The assimilation of Jews progressed faster in Germany than in any other European country. For example, between 1901 and 1905, fifteen percent of Jews were married to a non-Jew. In addition, about 40,000 Jews participated in World War I alongside the Germans. Many of them received a bravery medal.
Nevertheless, anti-Semitism was prevalent in German society as early as the 19th century, as also in Austria. For example, in 1890, there were more than 190 anti-Semitic parties in Germany. Many of them later stopped, but the idea was supported. One milestone was also the arrival of East Jews in Germany and Austria. For example, in Vienna in 1860 there were only 6,200 Jews, or 2.2% of the population, but in 1890 the corresponding figures were already 72,000 and 10.1%. These poor Jews escaped the pogroms that took place in the East, but they increasingly faced a similar attitude in the West as well.
What is worth paying attention to here is that anti-Semitism during the Nazis did not emerge from scratch but was preceded by a process of decades. The seeds for development had been sown almost a century earlier. It manifested itself to some extent in the media, in the activities of the political parties, and in the way liberal theologians sought to deny the Jewish roots of Christianity.
The following quotes tell more about this topic. They refer to Bruno Bauer, who was one of the most influential liberal theologians of the 19th century and who, along with another liberal theologian, David Friedrich Strauss, has made a decisive contribution to the events of history. The reason for this is obvious. For when it comes to the communist ideology that has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, it was born under the influence of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who wrote the Communist Manifesto. Both of them believed in God and Christ, but their faith was specifically destroyed by Bauer and another liberal theologian, David Friedrich Strauss (Richard Wurmbrandt Kristus juutalaisella tiellä , p. 99, and Satan ja Marx, p. 24). Evidence of Karl Marx's previous faith was e.g. the fact that his first written work was an explanatory work of the Gospel of John called “The Covenant of the Faithful with Christ”. Friedrich Engels also wrote Christian poems before losing his faith under the influence of these liberal theologians. Liberal theology can thus be seen as complicit in the birth of communist ideology and the millions of victims.
So here are quotes that deal Bruno Bauer and his contribution to the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany in the 19th century:
1840s was pivotal in the history of anti-Semitism: the German theologian and philosopher Bruno Bauer introduced the “Jewish question” in his political booklet Die Judenfrage (1843). His booklet gave rise to the need to resolve the Jewish question. New race theories fitting to nationalism strengthened anti-Semitism: with the help of this new race biology – or scientific racism – people started to endorse the idea that the negative traits of the Jews were characteristically inherited, stationary racial features. In 1870s anti-Semitism gained a lot of popularity as a political -and a social phenomenon in Germany as well as in other places, especially in East Europe. (23)
The question about the Jews’ position and their freedom was ingrained so deep, when coming to the 1840s that it got its own terminological definition; it became the Jewish question. The term Judenfrage was invented in Germany, but as a translation it quickly spread everywhere, where questions about the issues in freeing the Jews got many people talking. Theologist and historian Bruno Bauer (1809-82) got the reputation of a pioneer. Bauer used rather strong language, when referring to the Jews. According to Bauer, the Jews had always acted in a way that gave grounds for others to attack them. It wasn’t that Christians had attacked against the Jews, but that the Jews had attackd against Christianity. The grain in all this was the Jews’ efforts to rule the world. For Bauer the Jews were a caste of strangers, who had all the possible bad traits but not any good ones…
When anti-Semitism started to surface as a political movement in the 1870s in Germany, the word Semitism belonged in anti-Semitistic people’s basic vocabulary. The word already had a negative connotation. It was only a matter of time, when a countering concept would emerge that would be used to rebut the influence of Semitism that was deemed negative. In 1879 many things happed in the realm of anti-Semitism: many anti-Semitistic publications were published and the first anti-Semitic political party of Germany sprung to life. Germany and the whole world gained a new international word – anti-Semitism. (24)
What force, then, was behind Bruno Bauer's liberal theology and anti-Semitism, and what influenced the emergence of both Communism and Nazism? Bauer himself has partially revealed it. He realized that his teachings came from a bad source. It is quite obvious that he was dealing with a demon who enslaved his life and from whom his teachings came. It is evident from his letter to his friend Arnold Ruge on December 6, 1841.
”Wide audiences are listening to the lectures that I hold at the University. I don’t know myself, when I say words that mock God behind the platform. My words are so horrific that it makes children, who no one should ever insult, have goosebumps. As I utter the mockery, I remember, how piously I write sermons from holy scriptures and from the Revelation. In any case, the demon that takes over me everytime I rise up to give a lecture, is really bad and I am so weak that I have to succumb to it… My spirit that mocks God is only satisfied after I get licenced to openly preach as a professor for an atheistic system.” (Marx-Engels, Historic – critic complete edition, Publishing House ME Archiv Verlagsgesellschaft, Frankfurt a. Main, 1927, vol. I, 1).
TOWARDS EVIL TODAY. As stated, the lesson of history is that nothing is learned from history. The mistake, in particular, is that modern people see themselves in some way different from people in history. It is thought that humanity is constantly evolving and that today we are wiser and better than in the past.
However, such development optimism is a tragic mistake. It prevailed in the late 19th century, but it was stopped by the greatest wars and violence in history — at least for a short time. Now, decades after the previous wars, many have fallen into similar development optimism as people in the late 19th century. However, in modern times, there are very similar signs to those that appeared in Germany before the Nazis came to power. Here are a few of them:
RESPECT FOR LIFE OFF
- (Ex 20:13) You shall not kill.
- (Rev 22:15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie.
Perhaps the best known thing the Nazis are known for is the killing of people - especially civilians who did not take part in hostilities. It is estimated that they killed several million civilians, including women and children. It happened through gas chambers, shooting and other ways.
Then why did the Nazis kill people? One reason is that they considered the people they killed some kind of inhuman. To this they had been led by years of negative propaganda. After listening to propaganda for years, they saw fit to kill similar fellow men. They saw nothing wrong with it.
However, the lack of respect for human life did not remain with the Nazis. For, as there was a change in attitudes in society and in doctors at that time, the same has happened in modern times. It is evident in many examples:
Abortion is the first example of a lack of respect for human life. The mother's womb has become as a dangerous place as the Nazi's gas chambers. What they also have in common is that when the Nazis considered the people they killed inhuman, the children being aborted are considered also as such.
Indeed, the only point by which the evilness of abortion can be denied is that the fetuses to be aborted are claimed to be something other than humans. However, this is contrary to the biological knowledge that is known, because aborted children have exactly the same body members as we do: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands, feet, and other body parts. It is a lie to claim that this is not a human being. The next couple of quotes are related to this topic. Both refer to the same body parts we have:
One cannot perform abortion eyes closed. One must be sure that everything has come out of the womb and one must count that there are enough of legs and arms, rib cage and brain that is coming out. Then when the patient is waking up from their narcosis, and asks, whether it would have been a girl or a boy, my resilience has reached its limits and that is when I usually walk away. – If I perform a surgery, where I clearly kill a living being, I think it is folly to talk about destroying nascent life. It is killing, and I see it as killing.” (25)
I had a doctor colleague in the hospital, with whom I talked about abortion. He defended abortion as a woman’s right, and I, on the other hand, objected it as a violation towards a child’s life. One time in the middle of the night I caught him pale leaning against a wall and I asked if he was feeling ill. He told me that he was just performing an abortion, when a tiny leg detached from the thigh had dropped from the suction machine. He started to feel nauseous and groaned: “This is the job of an executioner.” (26)
Bernard Nathanson, who worked hard for the legalization of abortion, one of the three founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League, who ran the largest abortion clinic in the West and himself performed tens of thousands of abortions, has written on the same subject. He changed his mind and sees abortion always as murder. The advent of ultrasound imaging contributed to a change in his attitude:
In the end, I limited abortions to only those I thought had a compelling medical reason. This happened in the late 70s. I think rape and incest were compelling reasons. At that time, I wrote the book Aborting America. In my book, I listed many medical reasons that I thought to justify abortion. I did a few more abortions in 1978, then my last one in 1979. I had come to the conclusion that there was never any reason for an abortion. The living being in the womb is a human being, and we can no longer continue our war against the most defenseless human being.
After seeing the ultrasound image, I could no longer continue with the former model. But this "turn" of mine was purely empirical ....
The crux of the matter, as most abortion advocates define it, is whether the embryo - or later the fetus - is a "person." It is very important for them to focus the debate on that question, because there is no doubt that the early embryo is human. Its entire genetic map and all its traits are undeniably human. There is no doubt about its existence either: it exists, alive, it is independent and does not have the same essence as the mother, so it is its own whole. (27)
Newborns and young children. When Hitler came to power, it took 6 years before he issued an order requiring doctors to notify the Nazi regime of children born in 1936-1939 who had some congenital disability or illness. This order, issued shortly before World War II, resulted in children being taken out of the care facilities that cared for them and taken to special facilities for killing. Up to twenty children could be killed at one time. At the Nuremberg war trial, it was revealed that about 275,000 Germans had been murdered through this program. In addition to young children, the chapter includes older people with disabilities and the chronically ill.
When Hitler issued an order to kill people, it was entirely consistent with his racial thinking. According to it, a person’s value does not depend on his belonging to the human race but on the fact that he belongs to the right race and is healthy. The sick could be killed and this is exactly what Hitler's order aimed for with known consequences.
However, a mindset similar to that of Hitler has not been a thing of the past. Even Nobel laureates have suggested killing newborns if they are not healthy or unwanted. Such comments have been made by e.g. James D. Watson and Francis Crick. Their comments are quite similar to what was presented in university circles and by scientists (See Ernst Haeckel’s statement above!) years before Nazi came to power and what Hitler himself made. So history repeats itself. It is likely that such speeches and activities will increase in the future. This is basically a logical continuation of abortion. If a child in the womb is no longer considered human or valuable to life, why should children outside the womb be considered as such?
James D. Watson: If a child were declared alive only three days after birth, then all parents would have the opportunity to make the choice that so few are allowed to make under this system. The doctor could let the child die if the parents wanted to and thus avoid a lot of misery and suffering. I believe this is the only possible rational and loving attitude. (28)
Francis Crick: No newborn should be declared human until it has passed certain genetic tests, and if the test result is unsatisfactory, it should lose its viability. (29)
Euthanasia. We mentioned above about the Nazi euthanasia program. It was by no means their own invention, but the idea arose in university circles and by intellectuals. The Nazis put these ideas into practice.
Nowadays, there is also talk of euthanasia. It is already in force in a few countries and is the subject of debate in many other countries. Usually it means killing elderly and frail people - however on a voluntary basis. The arguments for this are also similar to those in early 20th century Germany. Then the matter was justified with compassion as in modern times.
However, legalizing euthanasia is always problematic, even if it is voluntary. It’s problematic morally (“Do not kill!”), but also because it actually increases suffering. It is due to the following reasons:
• In the case of afflicted patients, it is now possible to treat even severe pain and shortness of breath. If other means are not sufficient, it is possible for the patient to be anesthetized temporarily. Termonal care and pain relief for dying patients has also evolved tremendously in recent decades, although there is still room for improvement. In general, the biggest problem for patients is not physical pain but depression, loneliness and fear of being dependent on the help of others.
What is the impact of legalizing euthanasia? It is quite certain that it will increase the burden on thousands of people. They feel obligated to die as the atmosphere becomes encouraging to death. Especially if a person is disabled, he or she is not beautiful, he or she does not have many loved ones, or he or she receives expensive care, he or she may feel obligated to die. He may feel himself a burden to others. Such an atmosphere, to which euthanasia leads, is thus one reason for the increase in suffering.
• It has been found that the farther a person is from caring for dying patients, the more likely he or she is to support euthanasia. In contrast, the vast majority of physicians treating dying patients have not advocated euthanasia.
This is easy to understand because killing a patient is against traditional medical ethics and the Hippocratic oath. This oath affirms, "I will not give anyone any deadly poison... Nor will I give a woman fetal destructive substances."
Euthanasia also increases the burden on physicians in the sense that they are ultimately responsible for killing patients. For every time we talk about the right to euthanasia, it means that others - usually doctors - are obliged to kill. Usually, this means that the doctor kills the patient with a poison injection. Society places this burden and duty on doctors.
• When we look at the history of medicine in the West, it has been greatly influenced by the Oath of Hippocrates, the tradition built around it, and the ethical thinking that emerges from the Christian human image. They have contributed to the respect of human life from the very beginning, ie from the moment of conception. The most important principles have been to save lives and alleviate suffering as well as has been possible. Many philosophical circles now want to scrap this good and safe tradition, which has prevailed in the Nordic countries for decades, for example.
So what is the consequence of legalizing euthanasia? It has already been mentioned above how it increases the mental burden on thousands of people as they feel obligated to die. Second, it increases the burden on many physicians because they are ultimately responsible for administering the toxin injection.
However, euthanasia also contributes to an increase in distrust of doctors. The patient can no longer be as sure of the doctor's benevolent attitude toward himself as before. For example, in the Netherlands, where the practice is most advanced, more than a tenth of older people said they feared that their doctors would kill them against their will . Thousands carry a card in their pockets stating that they do not want to be killed against their will if they end up in hospital. In countries where euthanasia has not been legalized, people have much greater confidence in their doctors.
- (Matt 25:31-46) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?
38 When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?
39 Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you?
40 And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.
41 Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Going back to the time before the Nazi rule, the period was characterized by increased immigration of Jews to Austria and Germany. They fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe and moved to cities considered tolerant, such as Vienna, Berlin, and Munich. They were often poor, different in clothing and appearance, which reinforced people’s prejudices. However, they were looking for refuge in these big cities. In Vienna, for example, the Jewish population more than quadrupled in a few decades. However, the increase in the Jewish population caused that politicians, who were xenophopia, came to power. This was the case in Vienna and other cities.
What can be learned from history? At least the fact that mass immigration has its own dangers. If the economy goes in the wrong direction and massive migration increases, it may be exploited by xenophobic, openly racist politicians, as happened decades ago (The fact that some of these politicians say they support Christian values should not be misleaded us. Hitler also opposed abortion and homosexuality, but his life was totally against christian moral). This is very possible, especially if the economy goes into a downward spiral as happened in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.
What about Bible teaching on the subject? It says we must love the stranger and help the suffering refugees. The selfishness that was the sin of Sodom is not right and should be avoided:
- (Eze 22:7,29-31) 7 In you have they set light by father and mother: in the middle of you have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in you have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yes, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
31 Therefore have I poured out my indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed on their heads, said the Lord GOD.
- (Le 19:33,34) And if a stranger sojourn with you in your land, you shall not vex him.
34 But the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- (Eze 16:49,50) 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
However, massive immigration has its dangers, as noted. It would be best for rich countries to financially support poor countries and pursue a fair trade policy. It could mean that everyone would have the opportunity to live in their own country and not have to go looking for life elsewhere.
And what will happen in the future? It is possible that history will repeat itself again. At least the following prophecy refers to how xenophobia will grow and take more and more similar forms to how Jews were treated in Germany in the 1930s. Prophecy also refers to the collapse of morality and the Third World War. Some parts of this prophecy can already be considered fulfilled. That prophecy was given to an elderly woman in Norway as early as the 1960s. Well-known preacher Emmanuel Minos received the prophecy but kept it for decades because its fulfillment seemed unlikely. Today it is no longer that:
People will accept what they see and they will not have only one alternative to watch on TV; instead, they will have plenty to watch. The TV will work just as the radio. We will be able to switch from one show to another, and all of them will be full of violence. People will consider this entertaining. The worst imaginable murders and scenes of violence will be staged for people to see, and such behaviour will spread through society. Sexual intercourse will be shown on TV. The most intimate of things that should only be part of a marriage, will be shown onscreen. This will happen and you will see it taking place. The laws we now have will be broken and amazingly lecherous things will be shown to us.
People from poor countries will flood to Europe. They will also arrive in Scandinavia and Norway. People will not like the refugees being here, and they will be harsh towards them. They will treat them more and more like Jews before the war. This is when the debt of sin will be filled. This will happen right before Jesus Christ returns – and before WWIII. It will be a short war. Everything I have experienced about war will be like child's play compared to this. It will start like a regular war but it will spread and end with atomic bombs. The air will be so polluted that people will not be able to breathe, and this will happen on several continents. America, Japan, Australia – the rich countries. Water will be polluted. We will not be able to cultivate the land in these places. The people still left in the rich countries will try to escape to the poorer ones that are undamaged. They will be treated there like we treat them here, and they will not be willing to accept us. (31)
TOWARDS EVIL IN THE NAMES OF LOVE. When changes occur in society in the realm of morality, they are often justified by love, compassion, and human rights. This is well illustrated by the following examples where the "Do Not Kill" command is questioned:
• The Nazis justified their euthanasia program with compassion and love. It was explained that not all life is worth living and propaganda films were made for it.
• Abortion, or the killing of a child, is justified by human rights and thousands have marched for it.
What about sexuality? In that area it has often been possible to defend e.g. sex without marital commitment or that gender-neutral couples try to get children through fertility treatments. In the first case, the child may be born into a situation where he or she does not have a home ready. In the latter case, the child is instead deprived of the right to live with both of his or her biological parents.
In defending the characteristic new morality, there is often also a sophisticated use of language. When euthanasia is practiced in modern times, there is no talk of killing but of euphenism such as assisted death, easy death, valuable death, or good death. However, the previous cases are about killing a person. Moreover, when we talk about a good or valuable death, one actually means life. Life in the last moments can be good or bad, but death itself is the limit for everyone and it happens in an instant.
The use of language is therefore relevant and this is referred to in the following quotation. Euphenisms get us to be more sympathetic to matters than the direct words. It is a question of euthanasia:
In 2004, the British Euthanasia Association changed its name to Dignity in Dying. As of this writing, direct words such as "euthanasia", "suicide" or "mercy killing" were carefully avoided on their website. Instead, vague circular expressions were used, such as "dignified death with the least possible suffering," "the opportunity to choose and control our mode of death," "aid to death," and "the decision to end the suffering that became unbearable."
Not everyone has been convinced by this approach. A commentator for the Daily
Telegraph said: "It says something when an organization has to refer to itself
in a circular expression. The Euthanasia Association now plans to call itself
a Dignified Death. Whom of us wouldn't want to die with dignity? It’s not hard
to believe that promoters of euthanasia (indeed!) are afraid to say directly
what they’re actually driving, namely killing people. ” (32)
What happens when the Christian faith is abandoned? It is well known that atheists attack against the Christian faith. This has been done publicly by Richard Dawkins and other well-known atheists.
In reality, however, the target of the attacks of these individuals is not usually the Christian faith and its content, that is, what Jesus and the apostles taught. Instead, they have usually turned their attention to what is apostasy and where the teachings of Jesus and the apostles have not been followed. Atheists are therefore right in their accusations, but the fault is not in the Christian faith, that is, in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, but in people who do not honor and follow their teachings. Everyone knows that Jesus was perfectly good and righteous when He was on earth, and if one follows his example, then there can be no anger or wrongdoing toward others. There can be no anti-Semitism, no spiritual violence and no other injustice. Thus, a person who does wrong does not follow Jesus ’example or teachings. Another possibility is that such a person has not even come into contact with God. For example, Paul wrote: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived ... (1 Cor 6: 9).
What about atheism? Where does it lead? Its problem is, in particular, that it is difficult to justify any moral values on the basis of atheism and the natural sciences. It is difficult for an atheist to anchor the concepts of good and evil in any permanent if he does not take God into account. Thus Fyodor Dostoevsky, a well-known writer, once said: "If there is no God, everything is allowed. Western rationalism (rational doctrine) is associated with the seed of immense destruction. When there is no God or He has been removed, the yardstick of everything is man. After this all kind of evilness can be justified. Even the killing of an innocent person can be explained as morally justified and useful." (35). He was absolutely right, because if morality is based on man, it varies from person to person. There may be a big difference between the worst dictators and, for example, Mother Teresa.
Thus, atheism is more dangerous than, for example, Islam. It is more dangerous in theory but also the last century has shown it in practice. The leaders of Communism were openly atheistic, and the leaders of Nazism were either atheists or at least individuals who did not believe in the judgment after this life. If they had believed they had to answer to God for their actions, they certainly would not have been guilty of them. The thought of judgment after this life and belief in it prevents from doing injustice to others.
John C. Lennox: Marx was of the opinion that, "because religion is only an illusion of human happiness, its defeat is necessary for their true happiness." Atheism, then, lies at the very heart of the communist agenda. For this reason, many citizens of former communist countries, with whom I have discussed atheists' assurances, reject them mad and ridiculous. Haven't Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris ever read the Black Book of Communism, which shows that "communist rulers in support of their power by creating a system of government whose actual mode of action has been genocide?" They are estimated to have caused about 94 million deaths, of which 85 million are the responsibility of China and Russia alone. (36)
Alexandr Solzenitsyn: Over half a century ago, when I was still a child, I remember hearing many elderly people talking about the disasters that Russia faced like so: “People have forgotten about God; this is all because of it.” After that I have studied the Russian revolution for over 50 years; during that time I have read hundreds of books, collected personal stories and have written eight books myself to research those phases. But, if I were asked to summarize as shortly as possible the primary reason for the horrific revolution, which took ca. 60 million of our people, I could not say it any more clearly than to repeat: People have forgotten about God; this is all because of it.” (37)
Previous quotations were related to communism and its atheistic system. To this end, it is worth taking a prediction from the 19th century related to the development of Germany, as this paper has dealt mainly with the development in Germany. The prophecy is from Heinrich Heine's book (1834) Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland (History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany). It is a creepy description of what would happen in Germany in a hundred years. This prophecy really came true. When the Christian faith lost its influence, it was replaced by a Nazi ideology with no place for an almighty God. A similar development is very possible again in the West, as the Christian faith has lost its significance. If there is an economic recession as before the rise of Nazism, anything is possible. The following is a prophecy from 1834:
The Christian faith - which is its greatest achievement - has to some extent reduced the cruel love of the Germans for war, but has not been able to destroy it. If that restraining talisman - the cross - is crushed, then the frantic madness of the ancient warriors, the insane rage that the Nordic Bards have often talked about and sung, will once again ignite into flames. This talisman of mine is fragile, and once comes the day when it collapses miserably. Then the ancient stone gods rise from the forgotten crush and massage the millennial dust from their eyes, and finally Tor jumps up and smashes the Gothic cathedrals with his huge hammer. ... Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. ... When you hear a rumble like never before heard in world history, you know that the German lightning strike has finally hit. In that rumble, the eagles of the sky fall dead to the ground and the lions of even the most remote deserts in Africa hide in their royal caves. In Germany, a play is performed that makes the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll. (38)
1. Quote from Diogenes Alleni: Christian Belief in a Postmodern World, p.2
2. Toht. Chr. Ernst Luthard: Kristinuskon perustotuuksista, p. 2
3. L.H. Christian: Kylvöä ja satoa, p. 114,115
4. L.H. Christian: Kylvöä ja satoa, p. 124
5. Olavi Paavolainen: Risti ja hakaristi, p. 211, 214, 239, 290
6. Peter Hoffman: Hitler’s Personal Security, p. 264
7. Linton AE, Times Higher Education Supplement (20.4.2001), p. 29
8. Ken Ham: Valhe, evoluutio, The Lie: Evolution, p. 112,113
9. Richard Weikart: From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany, p. 114
10. H.G. Wells: Historian ääriviivat 1924, p. 746, 747
11. De Beer: Charles Darwin, p. 266
12. Steven Ascheim E.: In Times of Crisis: Essays on European culture, Germans and Jews, p. 111
13. Nick D. A. Kemp: ”Merciful Release” The History of the British Euthanasia Movement, p. 19
14. Richard Weikart: From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany, p. 11
15. Usko ja tiede, p. 33
16. Ernst Haeckel: Wonders of life, 1904, p. 118
17. Hitler's Secret Book, p. 18; Haeckel, The History of Creation, 1883, 1. p. 170.
18. V.R.: monisteita
19. Max Rainerin lausunto siteerattu teoksessa Burleigh, Third Reigh, p. 300
20. Leon Goldensohn: Nürnbergin haastattelut (The Nuremberg Interviews), p. 120
21. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan: Faith that Endures: The Essential Guide to the Persecuted Church (2006), Revell. USA
22. Susanna Kokkonen: Matka holokaustiin, p. 173,175
23. Antero Holmila: Holokausti, tapahtumat ja tulkinnat, p. 33
24. Eero Kuparinen: Antisemitismin musta kirja, p. 143,144,153,154
25. Suomen kuvalehti, n:o 15, 10.4.1970
26. Päivi Räsänen: Kutsuttu elämään (?), p. 146
27. Bernard Nathanson: Antakaa minun elää (The Hand of God) p. 109,111
28. was originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Prism, May 1973
29. Pasific News Service, January 1978
30. Richard Miniter, ”The Dutch Way of Death”, Opinion Journal (April 28, 2001)
31. Prophecy received in Norway and passed on by Emmanuel Minos
33. Cited in the article Finlay, I.G. et.al., Palliative Medicine, 19:444-453
34. John Wyatt: Elämän & kuoleman kysymyksiä (Matters of Life and Death), p. 204,205
35. Suomen kuvalehti 13/9.96 H Hakamies
36. John C. Lennox: Tähtäimessä Jumala (Gunning for God), p. 109
37. Jukka Norvanto: Raamattu elämään, Alussa 1 Moos 1-5, p. 34
38. Cited from: Eric Metaxas: Bonhoeffer, pastori, marttyyri, näkijä, vakooja, p.177
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!