Otseng,otseng wrote:I have a theory I'd like to present and discuss. I'm not sure if anybody else has presented this idea before, but I've not come across it elsewhere.
The question I was wondering is, "Why did God allow the holocaust?" If one believes that God has a purpose for everything, then was there a purpose to it?
And I think there was. Prior to WWII, the Jews had been scattered across the world with no homeland for almost 2000 years. What would be the one of the most significant things that all Jews would've desired to have? I think it would've been to go back to the land of their fathers and call it home. But, there was not much international support for this. But, I think the critical turning point was the holocaust. That had generated international sympathy for the Jews and turned the world to support the idea of a nation of Israel. So, each Jew who died in the holocaust did not die in vain. Each played a part in eventually giving what the Jews had desired for a long time, their own land to call home.
I personally would err on the side of caution on this particular issue.
It is understandable that Christians may want to see some justification for the Holocaust, as with any atrocity, after all:
Normally, as with any indescribably horrible and unexplainable event in human history, Christians do tend to ascribe it to part of God's plan -- for at least in that way it has some greater purpose. It is an effort to make sense of terrible things, and from my point of view completely understandable.Romans 8:28 wrote:And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
But I personally feel uncomfortable when the position is shifted from saying "it's part of God's permissive will (allowing man to act out of his own will), or it's part of God's greater plan" to the stance of: "it was God's will" or worse "it was God's will because [insert reason here]."
Concerning the Holocaust, Pastor John Hagee has advocated this view -- that it was God's will -- and that it was for the soul purpose that Israel would be established to fulfill end times prophesy, etc. Now I won't get into the things Hagee has said concerning Jews -- some of which is quite horrible. But what I do want to discuss is this whole issue of "justifying" the Holocaust.
While I personally see the Holocaust as a horrifying period of genocide brought about by human nature, nationalism, and cultural anti-Semitism, among many other factors which make notions of "influences of Supernatural Evil" quite redundant -- my issue has nothing to do with the fact that religious people, including Christians try to understand horrible things by attributing them to being part of God's plan. While I disagree strongly, and while I feel that no one can know or should attribute anything to God's intent, I don't have a problem with other people doing that. I mean if the Jews are "God's chosen people," as it is believed, then it's almost impossible to think believers won't rationalize what happened in a narrative that involves God's plan.
When people take that extra step, to claim that "the Jews did not die in vain because now there's Israel -- all thanks to God." is very much politicizing the issue. It's very much ascribing racial and cultural favoritism to God. And I feel it's wrong.
The modern State of Israel, [never to be conflated or confused with the Kingdom of Israel] was founded by Jews (Zionists, Orthodox, and Secular) [never to be confused with Israelites] via war. But before their country was established, the Jewish people living in Palestine who had fleed Europe were living there primarily because other nations, like the United States, barred a certain number of Jewish immigrants from entering. Many Jews had no where else to go.
Many Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism, a secular ideology which sought to establish a Jewish Nationalist State; they felt that the human act of establishing a Jewish nation was blasphemous because that was supposed to be God's job. A number of Orthodox later changed their minds after Israel was established in 1948 however.
The Jews who had fled Nazi Germany were now refugees in a densely populated country that hadn't been theirs in 2000 years. Many Arabs, Christians and Muslims (and Middle Eastern Jews), had long been living in that area before the European Jews ever arrived. They had also long desired to have a state of their own, ever since WWI -- to escape the authority of the Ottoman Empire.
There were Arab Towns and Villages all over Palestine. Only a small Quarter in Jerusalem lived a significant number of Jews, who very much looked like the rest of the population - ethnically and culturally.
And there was a lot of violence on both sides during the time before the State of Israel. Radical Zionists would kill Arab villagers and an angry native population would attack Zionist camps and settlements.
Surrounding Arab nations did declare war on Israel after the UN partitioned the land in 1947, giving a great deal of territory to the Jews (who's population was far lower than the ratio of land allotted to them), and far less for the Arab Christian and Muslim population. Yet Zionists won and established a state -- that was only after 750 natives were driven into diaspora -- many of which now reside in the occupied territories or in Lebanon as unwanted refugees. While 1948 is known as the day of Israeli Independence for Jews, and as a sign of the second coming for Western Christians -- it is known as the "Nakba" or disaster for Palestinians. During this period 400 villages were destroyed. The map was redrawn, major cities in Hebrew, other Arab villages not included. The land suddenly transformed from Palestine into Israel in only a matter of years.
After Arab States declared war on Israel in 1967, Israel gained a lot of territory, of which was reserved for a Palestinian State. They occupied those areas for many years and in time have given back Sinai to Egypt and have ceased occupying Gaza (though a flotilla and air restrictions remain in place).
The leader of the Palestinian Authority has appealed to the UN, just as Israel did in 48, for statehood based upon 67 borders. This is due to decades of failed peace talks with Israeli administrations that did not see compromise where Palestinians saw it. Palestinians feel that it is a compromise to give Israel all but 23% of all of Palestine (that's based on 67 borders).
But currently, the Israeli government financially supports the construction of illegal settlements by fundamentalist Jews in territory that does not belong to the State of Israel and never has. Not only this but walls are being constructed, not just for the purpose of security, but also to "claim" more and more land -- often dividing Palestinian farms in two.
The West Bank is currently occupied by Israeli Soldiers -- and as of today, the majority of Palestinian refugees living meager existences in camps in neighboring countries (many of which still have the keys to their houses in Israel) are forbidden to return to Israel because the government fears that a large influx of non-Jewish people (cultural or religous) would undermine the "Jewishness" of Israel. I personally don't understand how that attitude is compatible with modern democracies but okay...
And this is why there has been conflict and political terrorism in the region. This has no doubt created a lot of hatred between both groups, and has caused people to label Jews or Arabs as "evil." It doesn't mean that all Palestinians have participated in violent action, or that All Israeli soldiers have killed indiscriminately, though there are many cases in which this happens. It's sad that whenever Israel retaliates against terrorists, they manage to cause a lot of collateral damage. It's also shameful that the Palestinians living in such horrible conditions feel forced to resort to bombs and violence when they have no political rights.
But this is the reality.... and this is why I think it's a mistake to say it's God's will for one wronged people to wrong another. Or to evoke the Holocaust at all. The Holocaust was its own tragic event -- it really doesn't justify what happened after it.
I also feel it is a mistake to say this conflict has always occurred and always will -- or that Arabs are the enemy of Jews, etc. This thinking, along with unquestioning support of right wing Israeli political administrations and actions, has no doubt prolonged the conflict. If this wasn't such a huge issue today, our government wouldn't have vetoed Palestinians appeal to the UN for statehood.
And while all Israeli administrations have claimed they want peace and a two state solution, their idea of a two state solution is very different from what many Palestinians want.
The Israeli government, the current one, simply wants peace -- they don't really want another state... they want to continue building settlements and claiming land that belongs to Palestinians.
The Palestinians want a two state solution, but they don't want a demilitarized occupied state that is forced to accept Israel's violation of its territorial sovereignty. They want a stop to all these settlements; they want the wall to be gone, and they want East Jerusalem to be their capital, which has been predominately Christian and Muslim for over a thousand years.
The Israeli government wants Jerusalem to be its eternal capital. (after 1967, the Morrocan Quarter of the city was demolished to make way for a huge open plaza in front of the wailing wall. The Jewish Quarter of the City had been the smallest, second to the Christian and Muslim Quarters. By Quarter, I mean homes. Now only Jews are allowed to live in the Jewish Quarter - but the idea that Eastern Jerusalem has always belonged to Israel is nonsense.
And here we are today, still waiting for a resolution to the conflict. Both sides need to compromise, but it's kind of unfair to think that both sides will equally compromise when it's the U.S. backed State of Israel vs. Palestinians with no state.
But we shall see. I hope peace happens; I hope a two state solution is established. Only time will tell.