Sometimes the words of Jesus make total sense. Other times…
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:43-45b
When it comes to loving your enemies, what are you supposed to do when your enemy is Hitler? Hitler is an easy man to dump on. These days it’s popular to think walking up to a Nazi and punching him on the nose is totally fine. The contrarian music-icon Kanye West is being dragged over the coals for saying Hitler was a human being and brought something of value to the table. But you can’t say that in today’s climate. The mob won’t let you. Neither do the bots.
It might have been a person reporting my comment when I pointed this out. It might have been a bot. But the conclusion of the syllogism is hard to deny – at least from a Christian perspective.
Here is the argument
- All humans have some dignity
- Hitler was a human
- Hitler had some dignity.
The conclusion doesn’t commit you to much. It doesn’t mean that Hitler wasn’t a scum-bag. It doesn’t mean that Hitler wasn’t an evil, genocidal maniac. He was. It certainly doesn’t mean you support him or his agenda! It just means that he was a human too, created by God as an image-bearer. You share his basic humanity; capacity for creativity, rationality, personhood.
Jesus says that you should be able to look at the person who hates you and pray for them. If that person happens to be Hitler, you should be able to love him enough to want he best for him, even though he may be responsible for the persecution of a whole race of people, the death of millions, the slaughter of your own family, and eventually the taking of your own life. Thats radical! Too radical for Facebook to tolerate.
Should we wonder at this kind of radical love? Yes. Look at Jesus!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . . while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…Romans 5:8, 10
He was tortured to death, and still managed to say “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Is Hitler worse than Satan Himself? Look at this story in Jude, used by the servant of Jesus to illustrate how godly people should treat ungodly people. He reminds his readers of the tale of Michael the Archangel’s interaction with the best of all slanderers’, the Old Dragon himself, Lucifer the devil.
[E]ven the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.Jude 1:8-10
Assuming bots can do basic logic (and assuming it was a bot, not a person reporting the comment), what is the deal with the breach of Facebook’s community standards?
The predominant worldview in the west is Secular Humanism. One affirmation of Secular Humanism is that humans are inherently good – no one is downright evil. From this perspective, Hitler can’t have been human. He must have been a monster – something completely different than a human. Simply deny premise 2. Thus, we are free to slander Hitler.
Just watch out! “Woe to them!” says Jude 1:11. This is the way Cain – persecution of others that leads to murder, of nature red in tooth and claw, Balaam’s error – surrender to falsehood for the sake of worldly advantage, and Korah’s Rebellion – who stood in opposition to Moses and Aaron, both worldly and Godly authority, by asserting themselves with a sense of self-righteousness. It is not the way of Christ.