What is meant by the term, “Holocaust ideology?” It encompasses these propositions. The Nazi government formulated a master plan to murder all the Jews of Europe. This master plan was primarily carried out with the use of homicidal gas chambers in six concentration camps in Poland, and with mobile gas vans on the Eastern Front. In addition, planned, forced starvation and mass shootings were also employed as instruments of mass murder. Finally, approximately six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis.
Another of the standard claims of the entire package called the “Holocaust” is that Western Christendom created the climate of opinion that made the alleged mass murder of six million Jews possible. Accordingly, European Christianity is to a large extent responsible for this horrendous massacre.
Not only is this a major theme of standard works on Holocaust, such as Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews, but it has been a major theme of many Holocaust conferences in the past. For example, this theme played a prominent role in the “Remembering the Future” Conference at Oxford, England, in July 1988.
Establishment Holocaust intellectuals never tire in pointing out that Lutheran Christianity in Germany was a major force behind the rise of virulent anti-Semitism “that led to the Holocaust.” Martin Luther himself is accused of being one of the major figures in the pantheon of intellectual demons who conjured up anti-Semitic hatred in Germany.
These are serious charges that are leveled against Western Christianity. Before one can evaluate the charge—“Western Christendom is to a large extent responsible for the Holocaust.”—we must first determine if the mass murder of six million Jews actually occurred.
But this is not the only way in which the Holocaust ideology affects Christianity. There is a way in which the Holocaust issue affects world Christianity, and not just European Christendom. A quite popular, avant-garde school of philosophy claims that “God died with Auschwitz.” According to this line of thought, a morally perfect, omnipotent God that deeply loves all mankind would never allow something as horrendous and monstrous as the Holocaust to take place. But the Holocaust did occur. Hence, the God of Christianity probably does not exist.
The Jewish theologian, Amos Finkelstein: “The admission that God—or ethical theism—died in Auschwitz because Auschwitz defies all meaning calls, we are told, for a radical change in the most fundamental premises.”
The Christian theologian, Robert McAfee Brown: “This is the crisis of belief that the Holocaust forces on us. For who, whether Jew or Christian, can believe in a God in whose world such things take place? The perennial mystery of evil, the source of our greatest vulnerability as believers, reaches unique expression in the Holocaust. No theodicy can encompass this event so that is wounds are closed or its scars healed. It forever precludes easy faith in God or humanity. Both are placed under judgment, and a verdict or acquittal may not be lightly rendered, if at all, to either party.”
(Finkelstein’s and McAfee Brown’s statements also imply that the Holocaust doctrine is a challenge to even Jews that believe in God, but a discussion of how it affects theistic Judaism is going beyond the bounds of this short essay.)
According to influential Jewish and Christian thinkers then, the whole Holocaust ideology destroys, or could destroy, the very credibility of the Christian religion or a belief in God. Let us continue with this theological speculation in relation to the Holocaust.
The ardent Jewish-Zionist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Elie Wiesel, has claimed that “the sincere Christian knows what died in Auschwitz was not the Jewish people but Christianity.” The Catholic theologian and Gentile-Zionist, Harry James Cargas, has cast a sympathetic glance upon Wiesel’s claim. For he has written: “The Holocaust is, in my judgment, the greatest tragedy for Christians since the crucifixion. In the first instance, Jesus died; in the latter, Christianity may be said to have died.”
If I understand Wiesel and Cargas correctly, their argument goes something like this. It is not conceivable that a religion which is directly inspired by God could be responsible for something as horrendous and monstrous as the Holocaust, the mass murder of millions of Jews in gas chambers and by other means. But the Holocaust did occur, and Christendom inspired it and is largely responsible for it. Hence, Christianity is probably not inspired by a morally perfect, omnipotent Being, or this Supreme Being may not even exist.
Clearly then, the whole Holocaust ideology represents a direct challenge to the credibility and the very existence of Christianity and a belief in God, as a significant number of intellectuals and laymen give credence to this “God-died-with-Auschwitz” theology.
The Holocaust ideology has created a major crisis of faith among contemporary Christians and other believers in ethical theism. The speculations of theologians like Finkelstein and McAfee Brown are simply expressions of this crisis. In order that Christians may successfully deal with the crisis of faith that the Holocaust ideology has created, it is necessary to first answer the most obvious question: Did the Holocaust actually occur? In order to answer this question in a truthful way, one must examine and evaluate both the traditional and revisionist views of the Holocaust in a fair and objective manner.
But in contemporary mainstream society, this is not possible. The Holocaust ideology can be used to discredit and disprove God’s existence, and attack and undermine the Christian religion. Yet, it is not acceptable in our Western mainstream society to attempt to show the Holocaust ideology is not true. According to the prevailing mores, it is “evil and immoral” to disprove the Holocaust ideology.
Indeed, according to the prevailing mores that reign supreme in academia, mainstream society, and in mainstream Christian circles, it is morally wrong to even attempt to argue the revisionist viewpoint. This was stated many years ago by the Lutheran theologian, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, in Christian News. In regard to the piles of bodies found in some concentration camps at the end of WWII, he stated: “It is immoral to argue that these people [the Jews] were the victims not of an extermination program, but of disease and malnutrition brought on by the total collapse of Germany.”
Even more generally it was recently reported in the news that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, has said “that Holocaust denial is tantamount to ‘sacrilege.’”
In other words, it supposedly violates Christian morality to reject the traditional view of the Holocaust and argue that revisionism is correct.
To put the “Holocaust” beyond the realm of rational critique, to make it sinful and immoral to debunk it, is tantamount to elevating it to the status of a sacred dogma. Yet, the Holocaust ideology is a human interpretation of history created by human officials and historians, and is propagated by human ideologues and their sympathizers. There is nothing “sacred” about the Holocaust ideology, it was not in any way sanctioned by the Supreme Being. God did not hand down the doctrine of the “Holocaust” to Moses on Mt. Sinai along with the Ten Commandments. One could cogently argue that to endow a totally human doctrine with an aura of holy, religious sacredness is, according to Christian morality, to engage in idolatry. How so?
In Exodus 20, we read: “I am the Lord thy God…thou shalt not have strange gods before thee.” In a word, in contemporary Western society, the Holocaust ideology is before the concept of God. You can use the Holocaust ideology to “disprove” and discredit the concept of God, but it is “evil and immoral” to attempt to disprove the Holocaust ideology.
There is no commandment in Scripture that says: "Thou shalt believe in the Jewish Holocaust ideology." However, there are statements in Scripture that command the Christian to search for truth. In John 8: 31-32 it is stated: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." In1 John 2: 21, we read: "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." Finally, to illustrate the point, let us quote Exodus 20: 16: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
These statements clearly imply that they who follow the words of the Bible will search for truth and reject lies. A Christian does not find the truth about the alleged Jewish Holocaust by blindly accepting what the Zionist influenced mass media tells him. The real Christian strives for the truth. He gives the revisionist and traditional view of the Holocaust a fair hearing, and then attempts to determine where the truth really is. The “Holocaust” is an ideological interpretation of history that is propagated world wide by various power elites. It is to be evaluated with the same set of rational-scientific methods that historians and political scientists apply to other doctrines of this nature.
In recent years, the Holocaust ideology has been used in a developing assault upon the Islamic religion. Consider this example. In the January 8, 2006, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, the ardently pro-Zionist writer Edwin Black made this statement: “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shot to the forefront of Holocaust denial with his rabble-rousing remarks last month. But it’s more like self-denial. The president of Iran need only look to his country’s Hitler-era past to discover that Iran and Iranians were strongly connected to the Holocaust and the Hitler regime, as was the entire Islamic world under the leadership of the mufti of Jerusalem.” The implication here is that Iranians and Muslims are also “guilty of the evil mass murder of the Jews.”
The very same arguments that we have seen in this essay used against Christianity could very well be used against the Islamic religion. For example, Muslims believe that God is absolutely good and perfect, and He directly inspired the Islamic religion. So the argument then proceeds. Islam could not be inspired by an infinitely good and perfect God, because its followers are connected with something so horrific as the Holocaust.
My ultimate point here is this. The Holocaust doctrine is a theological attack upon and a threat to both the Christian and Islamic religions. Christians and Muslims must deal with this theological threat in an honest and forthright manner by giving the both the revisionist and traditional views of the Holocaust a fair hearing, as is consistent with the teachings of both the Bible and Koran.
- Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews: Student Edition (Holmes & Meirer, 1985), passim.
- ibid., pp. 13-15, passim.
- Francois Furet, ed., Unanswered Questions: Nazi Germany and the Genocide of the Jews (Schocken Books, 1989), p.296.
- Dimensions of the Holocaust: Lectures at Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill., 1977), p. 49.
- Quoted in Harry James Cargas, A Christian Response to the Holocaust (Denver, Col., 1981), p.31.
- Ibid., p. v.
- See Christian News, March 13, 1989, p. 10; Paul Grubach, “A Response to Dr. John Warwick Montgomery: Exterminationist Fallacies,” Christian News, April, 10, 1989, p.14.
- Archbishop of Westminister Labels Holocaust Denial as “Sacrilege.” Online: http://www.totalcatholic.com/universe/index.php?news_id=652&start=0&categ
Additional information about this document
|Title:||The Holocaust Ideology, A Theological Threat to Christianity and Islam|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 2007, 7 p.m.|