When not always using them, they are not excused by ignorance or perversion, they are instead inexcusable because correct moral reasoning and preferences were and are at their hand (confer Romans 1:20).
Wrote Lita Cosner*:
Furthermore, criticisms of the Bible’s morality assume that humans have correct moral reasoning. But this can be easily disproved. Many times in history, humans in various societies have assented to things which we know to be horrific. For instance, in Nazi Germany, most people either thought that Jews were non-persons, or assented to the idea through inaction. Millions of people were killed as a result, but the people involved were, by and large, no better or worse than the average person today. At about the same time, eugenics was widespread in America, with great support from the intellectual elites, resulting in 60,000 Americans sterilized against their will (see America’s evolutionists: Hitler’s inspiration?). Psychological experiments reveal that the majority of people are willing to subject another person to pain and even danger if a sufficient authority commands them to do so, or sometimes if a large enough reward is offered. (See this discussion on the Milgram experiment in The Basis of a Christian Worldview).
- "Furthermore, criticisms of the Bible’s morality assume that humans have correct moral reasoning."
- As said, we have. Those who stifle them are inexcusable.
- "But this can be easily disproved. Many times in history, humans in various societies have assented to things which we know to be horrific."
- When in comes to active consent, this is inexcusable. Inaction can sometimes be justified, but active consent is inexcusable.
Voting for a part with a mixed bag in the promises, like one promise for economic betterments needed and not offered by the other party but one promise of implementing or authorising an atrocity contrary to the natural law is an act where someone should really abstain from voting, but those who nevertheless did vote could sometimes be indivisually excused by "they won't really do this" thinking.
- "For instance, in Nazi Germany, most people either thought that Jews were non-persons,"
- Not so. Berlin voted very massively Nazi but were generally Jew friendly. Bavarians generally thought Jews - remaining such even if having a chance to become Catholics - were bad persons, but they also thought, correctly, that Nazis or the ones responsible for such parts of ideology, were bad persons, and thus they did not vote Nazi.
- "or assented to the idea through inaction."
- Inaction in every situation does not mean assent. In some situations it does, but being oneself threatened, once the Nazis were in power and it was obvious that they WERE implementing such policies could in some cases be fear rather than assent.
It is also obvious that people hailing Nazis or Hitler with great enthusiasm were not expressing any direct assent to such an abstract an cynic and evil an idea.
They could be expressing "Hitler is saving Sudet Germans from Czech tyranny" (both Nazis and Austrofascists had felt bad about the Sudet Germans being oppressed by Czechs - a bit as if Wales started oppressing native speakers of English in revenge for Owen Glendower and ensuing centuries, though I am aware of no Czech counterpart to Owen Glendower, except perhaps Ziska, who was a heretic and a communist looter rather than just a Czech indepentist) or "Anschluss is allowing Germany to be one nation, rather than divided after 1870" or - most Jew-Unfriendly - "Nazism delivers us from Jewish Usurers" (but so did Austrofascism and without any atrocities, simply outlawing high rates of interest, not what the Jews wanted, but hardly a Kristallnacht either).
The people habitually involved in thinking "Jews are non-persons" (rather than at the most parrotting it for the fun of teasing a Jew) were pretty obviously people like Camp Guards or Doctors involved in sterilisation. The kind of man who can really calmly tell himself things like "looks like a person, walks like a person, talks like a person, but is a Jew" precisely as people can now say, if they are the same kind of guy say clamly to themselves "looks like a sane man, walks like a sane man, talks like a sane man, but is mentally ill" that kind of guy is not the kind of guy who shouts enthusiastically hurrah for anything, including even Nazis.
- "Millions of people were killed as a result,"
- Yad Vashem counts registered names of I think between 3 and 4 million people as dead. Or possibly between 4 and 5. But the grounds for the count is such that "dead or missing" would be a more appropriate terminology.
Some might - after mental remake in camps or after nicer stories - not any longer want to identify as Jews when Zionists and Jewish religious authorities called up any survivors to register.
- "but the people involved were, by and large, no better or worse than the average person today."
- If you mean people like those being Germans and not opposing Hitler and not saving Jews, I agree most were by and large no better or worse than the average person today.
But of such it would not be correct to say they lacked moral understanding and on many occasions not even correct to say they were involved in abusing the moral understanding they had.
If you mean people like those running the camps, they are much more like the people who these days fool themselves that a foetus is not a person or that a "creationist holocaust denier" (a category in which some place me, it seems) is not a sane person. In other words, they are people who like the Kantian Eichmann had a very specialised moral training, very far from the spontaneity of common people.
Thugs in SA also had a specilised training, though less so. So have any militaries and policemen. Usually but not always less britalising than those of SA thugs.
And then there are the people who disregard the rights of persons if they think the persons need a lesson. I have come across a few of them, by the way of being considered as mentioned, and I think the Camps were basically built by people thinking - not always on bad grounds - that the Jews needed a lesson.
- "At about the same time, eugenics was widespread in America, with great support from the intellectual elites,"
- From intellectual élites, thank you. That is precisely the word for people like Eichmann.
People who do not trust the moral reasoning and preference of the plain man. Because they are themselves élitist.
You may know that Calvinists are more élitist than Catholics (if not check up with Red Beetle and his "erudition is the Calvinist condition"), and also that some of them cowed in to Evolutionism - well, that is about the background for Tobias Portzschy. An Austrian from formerly Hungarian but German speaking parts of Austria, from Burgenland. His native town was Protestant, its only secondary high school (I think) was in this pretty confessional part of Europe a Protestant secopndary high school. Now, he supported sterlisation of Gipsies and, after being in gaol under the Austrofascists (who did not tolerate Nazi agitation, particularly after the July Coup in which a Nazi killed Dollfuss) became the new "expert" on the Gipsy question after the Anschluss.
- "resulting in 60,000 Americans sterilized against their will (see America’s evolutionists: Hitler’s inspiration?)."
- You have guessed what Portzschy preached. Ah, no. I mentioned it. Social Democrats in Sweden and possible Left Wing Parties in Canada supported such evil doings up into the 70's. And then you may have guessed why I am an Austrofascist and think Portzschy deserved his time in gaol.
A previous post on this blog refers to a tomb stone in Graz, one man who lost his life for the Nazi cause in the July Coup. He also was from the intellectual élite, he was a doctor of medicine.
Such do have for obvious reasons to unlearn certain normal human reactions, like squirming before a wound with lots of blood, pus, puke ... you get the idea, but the past 100 yers, they have been very severely overdoing it.
Anyway, one can safely count on both this medical doctor and Portzschy to have looked down on the usual Austrian Austrofascist as "uneducated Catholic rabble".
- "Psychological experiments reveal that the majority of people are willing to subject another person to pain and even danger if a sufficient authority commands them to do so,"
- A majority of people?
Or a majority of those willing to participate in such an experiment.
It is a bit like Kinsey. Are a majority of ordinary Christian people total kinks, or is it just a majority of those not indignantly refusing to fill in the questionnaire?
In both cases one can also count on some being jocular. Like a sane man being amused by some of Kinsey's question and agreeing to things he would never do in his real life. Or people similarily counting on the pain being a joke imposed on another volunteer. That is understanding (and in that context I hope correctly**) that it was playacting.
- "or sometimes if a large enough reward is offered. (See this discussion on the Milgram experiment in The Basis of a Christian Worldview)."
- Now, I have already been saying what I think of - thanks for mentioning it - the Milgram experiment.
The question of reward is another matter. It does not prove someone lacks moral reasoning and preferences that are correct in normal circumstances. It proves that being offered a reward is, after the fall, one of the occasions where a man will risk forgetting his normal morality.
Being very indignant against someone - for instance someone taken for a Nazi or - back to the 30's - for a Communist or a Wall Street Gambler or a Sexual Nutjob (a suspicion that lay heavy on some Jews for certain reasons, let us mention Marconi and Marx or Trotski and the supposed rapist and killer of a certain virgin in Georgia) is another occasion when moral reasoning may stand a bit still on most fronts in favour of considerations about what the guy in question deserves.
Including on fronts like "do I know he's guilty" or fronts like "is it my job to judge" like questions.
And intellectual élites did and do know how to exploit such rashness in order to produce real atrocities. That is one reason for opposing them.
In other respects I tend to agree with Lita Cosner's conclusion that the Bible is not an immoral book.
Update on Sudet Germans:
From wiki Germans in Czechoslovakia (1918 - 1938)
Early policies of the Czechoslovak government, intended to correct social injustice and effect a moderate redistribution of wealth, had fallen more heavily on the German population than on other citizens. In 1919, the government confiscated one-fifth of each individual's holdings in paper currency.
The Land Control Act brought the expropriation of vast estates, many belonging to German-speaking nobility or large estate owners. Land was allotted primarily to Czech peasants, often landless, who constituted the majority of the agricultural population. Only 4.5 percent of all land allotted by January 1937 was received by ethnic Germans, whose protests were expressed in countless petitions.
According to the 1920 constitution, German minority rights were to be protected; their educational and cultural institutions were to be preserved in proportion to the population.Czech soldiers, policemen and bureaucrats were stationed in areas formerly inhabited only by Germans.
Minority laws were most often applied to create new Czech schools in German districts, sometimes only for civil servants who had relocated to the area. Government contracts in the area were frequently carried out by Czech companies. The use of the Czech language in the German-speaking regions was actively promoted, which led, among other incidents, to a "sign war" between the Czech Hikers Club (KČT) and local Germans in the Krkonoše. German-speakers, owing to numerous subsidized local theatres, were required to open them to the Czech-speaking minority one night a week.
Sudeten German industry, highly dependent on foreign trade and having close financial links with Germany, suffered badly during the Depression, particularly when banks in Germany failed in 1931. Czechs, whose industry was concentrated on the production of essential domestic items, suffered less. By the mid-1930s, unemployment in the Sudetenland was at about five times the level of the Czech-speaking areas. Tensions between the two groups resulted.
Relations between Czechs and Germans suffered further when Sudeten Germans were forced to turn to the Czechoslovak government and the small loans bank (Živnostenská banka) for assistance. These authorities often made the hiring of Czechs in proportion to their numbers in the population a condition for aid. Czech workmen, dispatched by the government to engage in public works projects and border fortification in Sudeten German territories, were resented by local populations.
It may be noted that though the Sudet German Party was a branch of NSDAP, their adversaries were National Socialists too. Edvard Beneš who headed the Czechoslovak Republic up to Munich Pact was member and at last head of the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party (until 1925 called the Czechoslovak Socialist Party). It was about the same ideology as Nazism in economic issues and in its degree of chauvinism, not forgetting its anticlericalism. If they were enemies it is because they were rivals.
Note that both Czechs and Sudet Germans tended religiously to be Catholics with a Protestant minority. The conflict came about through emphasising nationality over Christian identity. A prime example of a war over language. Or rather, a pre-War.
* Is the Bible an immoral book?
By Lita Cosner
Published: 29 November 2011(GMT+10)
** There are horrid legends from the Balkans in which human sacrifice is committed by building workers and at first disguised to the victim as a joke.