Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Trap of Convenience

     I just finished the book The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg about the German concentration camp at Auschwitz. It was an excellent book, but one part from the novel stuck out to me like never before.

     Germany was a Protestant nation during WW2. I'd never stopped to think about it, but many Germans continued their regular routines of church going on Sundays, singing the old Lutheran hymns, and hearing the Bible read even while engaged in the actions of turning in their Jewish neighbors to be systematically slaughtered. Sure, there were some Christians who stood for true Christianity, such as Protestant Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Catholic Maximillian Kolbe, but the great majority simply went with the flow, even if that led to genocide.

     Although a novel, this was to me a convicting statement from the book. The background is a conversation in the concentration camp between the two men planning the escape, one a Jew, the other a French Protestant pastor arrested for harboring Jews.

     "Luc stopped working, straightened up, and looked Jacob square in the eye. "Because, Jacob, my Savior is a Jew," he replied. "A Jewish carpenter, come to think of it. The Bible teaches me to love the Jews. To bless the Jews. Haven't you ever read the Abrahamic covenant? Didn't God say that those who blessed the Jewish people he would bless, and those who cursed you he would curse?"
     "Of course I've read it," Jacob said. "I just didn't think the goyim (gentiles) did."

      "Well, we do," Luc said. "Some of us, at least. And anyway, if you ask me, the question shouldn't be 'Why are you, a Christian, here in a death camp, condemned for helping to save Jews.' The real question is 'Why aren't all the Christians here?'"

      Convenience is a hard taskmaster. It's very easy to become a slave of what's easy, what's convenient. Just ask thousands of German "Christians" who avoided eye contact with the Jews they were delivering to the cattle cars for slaughter. It is easy to fall into the trap of ease and comfort. It was easier to ignore the Jews than to help them, and so 6,000,000 Jews died, in a "Christian" country.

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