Though mankind can construct a fantasy to explain our origin and propagate it in places like The Natural History Museum, we have a harder time skirting around our moral outrage at the atrocities committed by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. I made my third ever visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and, more than ever, I was dumbfounded at how anyone could perpetrate torture and treatment like the European Jews received at their hands. Words like “wrong,” “immoral,” “evil,” “wicked,” and “barbaric” flow freely from the mouths of the visitors who see pictures or watch videos of the organized pogroms and the aftermath of the death cities they called concentration camps. Witnessing such depravity makes it easier to understand how men could take an innocent man like Jesus and be hardened enough to have Him crucified. It also helps us appreciate how necessary that sacrifice was.
Hitler, if he worshipped anything, worshipped the occult. He seemed not to truly acknowledge the existence of God, using His name only as a shield to defend his dictatorial policies. His regime is an extreme example of what men, apart from God, are capable of doing. With no sovereign standard to submit to and no transcendent truth to believe in, men become their own gods and write their own laws. They so often do so without regard for the welfare and lives of other people. They do as they please and what pleases them so often destroys them but also others.
Jesus warned of such a mindset in Luke 16, speaking to the Pharisees, saying, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (15). He warned on another occasion that “what comes out of a man defiles a man” (Mark 7:20), including “evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, [and] foolishness” (21-22). When men try to negate the nature of God and escape the existence of God, it leads to the perishing of people and the harm of humanity. The answer is simple, if demanding: “‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm” (Joel 2:12-13). Either way, it’s a matter of the heart! May our hearts get right and stay right.