Interestingly, when one talks about Hell and ‘eternal punishment’ with the average Evangelical Christian, more often than not, the subject of Hitler comes up. Old Adolf is seen, for some people quite rightly, as the epitome of evil (people conveniently forget (or, more probably, don’t even know!) about Stalin, who did even worse stuff than Hitler, because he was our ‘friend’ in the Second World War!), and therefore Hitler is everyone’s favourite candidate for someone who is certainly roasting in that alleged, terrible, fiery place. I will keep my own views on this to myself, but most of my regular readers will already be able to guess what I think 😉
However in this excellent post, the brilliant Jeff Turner – who is, in my opinion, a modern-day C.S. Lewis, and some of whose ideas on Hell I have published before – turns the Hitler idea around somewhat:
“Would it be “good news” if one of Hitler’s SS officers came and proclaimed that the Fuhrer had declared that all who do not pledge allegiance to “Team Hitler” would be vaporized in a concentration camp oven, but that if one would simply acknowledge their need for the Fuhrer’s mercy, and pledge their allegiance to his name and cause, that they could escape this fate, and instead live in a penthouse built atop one of his many death camps?
“No, for two main reasons: 1.) the only reason we would need Hitler’s mercy was because of his mercilessness. He had created the situation that necessitated salvation, and then, in an egocentric move, declared it available if only we would devote ourselves to him. That is not mercy, but egomania. And 2.) since he was such a merciless and cruel creature, our devotion to him would degrade us, and though we lived in a “saved” state, so to speak, it was one we would be forced to live out while knowing that those whose morals were stronger than ours were being vaporized beneath our feet. That would not be a true salvation, but damnation; not a heaven, but a sort of hell.
“Now, change the name of Hitler and the Fuhrer to the one many call “God,” the SS officer to the evangelist, yourself to the whole of humanity, Hitler’s death camps for hell, and your penthouse to heaven, and you’ll understand why I cannot, in good conscience, proclaim today’s “gospel” as “good news.”
“It’s terrible, terrible news.
“It’s terrible news about “God,” as well as the horrid creatures we would need to become in order to be truly devoted to him.
“This is no “God,” but a devil.
“The true God is seen in the face of Jesus: a Father, not a Fuhrer.”
Wow. Chew that over for a while…
2 thoughts on “Hitler, Hell and the Gospel”
Excellent comparison! The point is well stated.
Actually, God would still be worse than Hitler in this case: at least Hitler would only roast people for a matter of minutes (perhaps less): God would torture those who refused to pledge their allegiance for all eternity, it seems!