Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lucia Compassion leads to the gas chamber

A couple of years ago when I was deep into the history of the German occupation of Poland during WW2, a German document from that period calling for a humane death for undesirables really struck me. How could people that were in charge of the mass killings of millions talk about being "humane"? Was it a way of assuaging guilt, or maybe it was an attempt at pacifying conscience and making the person feel better about themselves.

I was reminded of that document today by an article sent to be by Ignatius Insight on Compassion leading to the gas chamber. The article is based on the following quote:
"In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber."
For a logical walk through how compassion could lead to the gas chamber, read the article. It certainly makes sense to me.

Related Link: Compassion leads to the gas chamber ~ Ignatius Insight

6 comment(s):

Sam Finnemore said...

I'm intrigued, but that link is broken...

Psycho Milt said...

'Tis indeed.

It's got a stray quotation mark on the end of the URL, Sam. It may show up either as " or as %22 - strip that off and it'll work.

Robinson said...

I can't say I agree with this at all. The entire argument is grounded in the idea that somehow "living through Christ" is an essential notion that transcends discourse. At the risk of offending I don't believe it does and unfortunately many acts of suffering, including genocide, have been inflicted by those who have predicated their actions on "living through Christ". I'm not for one second suggesting that it is not a worthy discourse (and it has resulted in the relief of much suffering) but I would suggest that, like all other absolutist, narratives it is open to abuse. After all many of those who send others to the gas chamber spent their Sunday's in church.

I'm also interested to see that the line comes from Flannery O'Connor. I'm a great fan of hers but when it comes to the discussion of suffering any use of her work must also come with the disclaimer that she was a strong believer in the Schopenhauerian notion that the world is suffering and that this is ineluctably so.

Lucyna said...

Link is now fixed.

Robinson, can you give a specific example of genocide inflicted by those who have predicated their actions on "living through Christ".

For me, the whole notion of "living through Christ" was something incredibly foreign to me as someone raised Catholic. I had no idea what it meant until just recently.

Do you know what it means?

Robinson said...

Sorry Lucyna - Fair point, I guess I didn't realise the import of the phrase "living through christ" (I was also raised Catholic though have been unshackled for a long time now). I guess I meant those who profess to follow the teachings of Christ ie Christians. I would suggest that there were numerable examples of genocide during the crusades, as well as less systematic acts against Native American Indians and, more recently, comparable acts committed against up to 200,000 Bosnian Muslim's.

Again, I am certainly not claiming Christianity is a religion of genocide and I believe it has many merits. It's just its essentialism isn't one of them as it allows some to "other" non-believers and from that precept inflict suffering upon them.

dad4justice said...

robinsod ; The merits of faith are essential to explain various atrocious indictments committed by civilization's .

Godly hunger is a manifestation of spiritual health, which enables a clear conscience and power to smash the devil .

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