When Pope Benedict XVI visited Auschwitz a few weeks ago, he asked a question that millions of people have asked since those terrible days when Hitler ordered the annihilation of the Jewish people: “Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?”
In a very thoughtful article, Jeff Jacoby provides some answers to this provocative question raised by the Pope. Jacoby argues that the Pope believes that “the Nazis' ultimate goal was to rip out Christian morality by its Jewish roots, replacing it with ‘a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.’”
Jacoby said that “Hitler knew that his will to power could triumph only if he first destroyed Judeo-Christian values. In the Thousand-Year Reich, G-d and his moral code would be wiped out. Man, unencumbered by conscience, would reign in his place. It is the oldest of temptations, and Auschwitz is what it leads to.”
If I am not mistaken, there are many people today who are making a real effort to destroy Judeo-Christian values in our society. The secularization of America has also become the paganization of our society, where the Judeo-Christian values that made this country “a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere,” as Ronald Reagan emphasized in one of his speeches, are being eroded day-by-day.
“‘Where was God in those days?’ asked the pope. How could a just and loving Creator have allowed trainload after trainload of human beings to be murdered at Auschwitz? But why ask such a question only in Auschwitz? Where, after all, was God in the Gulag? Where was God when the Khmer Rouge slaughtered 1.7 million Cambodians? Where was God during the Armenian holocaust? Where was God in Rwanda? Where is God in Darfur?”
Good questions! But, how about the answers? In his article, “The Divine’s ‘silence’ — and the Pope's,” Jacoby offers a good answer to these questions, and in the end, I agree with him. Click here to read Jacoby’s answer.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary