God and the Holocaust

Jerry Coyne has an eloquent post here.  I especially like the part when he complains, "Collins doesn’t even have the decency to say that he doesn’t understand these things."  I wrote about the same topic after visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington D. C. two years ago--a devastating experience. Nobody should be allowed to write about the problem of evil without first steeping themselves in first person accounts of the the death camps.


Wayne said...

I wonder though, if the emotional charge of these examples, like Levi's prayer and your holocaust example, distort the argument for us to make it impossible to see through to the rationale behind the situation.

I'm ultimately on your side, I don't believe much, and mostly because of the problem of evil.

But lets turn the tables a bit. I'm creating a vaccine to cure some horrible disease that affects millions of rabbits. I grab a few rabbits and test the vaccine, on, necessarily needing to kill them to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine. The rabbits might think, what a horrible person, how could he bring me into existence just to infect me with a disease, try to cure me of it, then kill me to see if he's succeeded.

Now clearly, my scenario has a positive goal in mind. The Holocaust doesn't clearly have a positive goal in mind, but arguably, people say that the result is for great people to emerge from such a hellish crucible.

Levi, Frankl, Wiesel, Weiss, etc. were all products of the holocaust, and the world is better for their contributions.

Of course this all assumes that God couldn't have created these people without such a crucible, and he can, assuming he's omnipotent. But there might be something more valuable in the process of creation, than in the end result as well. Its the same as using a cheat code in a video game to get to the end... You lose out on the experience.

Jean Kazez said...

Wayne, The rabbit example is interesting. I'd like to hear that discussed ... by someone else, because I'm drowning in grading I need to do!