Thursday, June 28, 2007

For the Good of Humanity

The Following is taken from The Karios Journal, June 2007. It is worth contemplating. We live in an Orwellian age where language is abused and history is forgotten. Let us not forget that there is nothing new "under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9).

On December 26, 1946, Brigadier General Telford Taylor stood before an American military tribunal in Hitler’s Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. Seated before him were 23 Nazi prisoners, all on trial for crimes against humanity. In many ways it was an unlikely group. These were not Hitler’s generals or even common Nazi soldiers. Most of them were doctors, including some of the most eminent and respected physicians in all of Germany. In his opening statement, Taylor—the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials—described their crimes: In the name of science, these men had performed a ghoulish series of medical experiments on human beings, some of which resulted in death, and others in permanent injury or mutilation. The doctors’ defense against these charges was uncomplicated. They had done their experiments, they said, for the good of humanity. Besides, their subjects were already condemned to die, so why not use them to learn how to alleviate the suffering of others? No one was impressed. After an eight-month trial, the court pronounced its verdict.1 Sixteen of the defendants were convicted of war crimes; nine of those were sentenced to prison. The rest were hanged.2

The full horror of Nazi atrocities was not uncovered until Allied troops began liberating the concentration camps in 1944. What they found literally stunned the world: dungeons, gas chambers, medical laboratories, and hundreds of reams of paper cataloguing the hellish experiments the Nazi doctors carried out on their “subjects.” They immersed them in freezing water, inflicted simulated battle wounds on them, injected them with malaria, exposed them to mustard gas, shot them with poison bullets, amputated their limbs and then tried to reattach them to another person. With the freezing water tests at Dachau, they intended to learn how best to reverse the hypothermia of German pilots who were shot down into the frigid waters of the North Sea.3

The Nuremberg tribunal recognized from the outset that the Nazi experiments had certain possible uses. The data collected from them might very well be used to alleviate human suffering or even to save people’s lives. No one, however, argued that the experiments were therefore justified. They had been conducted on human beings without their consent, so regardless of any medical benefit which arose from them, the experiments should never have been done. But the Nazis were blinded by scientific ambition and national self-protection. Fanatically bent upon advance, utterly ruthless as to the means or instruments to be used in achieving their goals, and callous to the sufferings of people whom they regarded as inferior, they were willing to gather whatever scientific bitter fruit their experiments might yield.

Perhaps no historical event has elicited such a unanimous verdict from all peoples of the world. The Nazi experiments were base and heinous crimes for which no amount of scientific data could ever atone. Even so, the lessons of Dachau, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz seem to be on the verge of being forgotten. Many are now clamoring for a new round of lethal experiments on human beings—in the form of embryonic stem-cell research. The logic is the same as it was in 1940s Germany: We have much knowledge to gain from their deaths. One advocate of embryonic stem-cell research stated it callously—speaking of unborn human beings, he said, “We have a tool [here] that is a near-miracle. It would be a criminal waste not to use them.” It does not require much to imagine those very words, in the clipped cadence of a Nazi doctor, ringing off the walls of Dachau.4

Footnotes:

1 “Opening Statement of the Prosecution by Brigadier General Telford Taylor, December 9, 1946,” United States Holocaust Museum Website,
http://www.ushmm.org/research/doctors/telford.htm (accessed May 4, 2005).

2 “Sentences,” Ibid.,
http://www.ushmm.org/research/doctors/sentence.htm.

3 “Crimes Committed in the Guise of Scientific Research,” Ibid., http://www.ushmm.org/research/doctors/research.htm.

4 See also Kairos Journal article, "Nazi Racial Cleansing: the American Link."


16 comments:

Craver Vii said...

That piece was brilliantly done.

Trevor Holloway said...

Wow! It is sad and scary how blind cultures can be to the repetition of history. This piece was really thought provoking and just reinforces the centrality of the cross if cultures are to be truly transformed. Thanks for all the great thoughts and insights that you bring to us in all your blogs!

ChosenRebel said...

One of the things I don't want to do in my blog is just parrot my own thoughts but rather, post worthy comments from my reading and other blogs that I might run across.

I see two main traps in "blogging" (there are probably many others).

1. The blogger can become enamoured of their own words and press. To blog is to invest in our own egos. Always a risky investment even if it might periodically be valuable.

2. Blogging is time consuming. My family, my flock, my neighbors generally need more face time with me than my computer screen does.

So on this blog, I try to quote others often, leave room for others to comment, and keep my comments brief and mostly at the pastoral level.

Llama Momma said...

"The blogger can become enamoured of their own words and press. To blog is to invest in our own egos. Always a risky investment even if it might periodically be valuable."

I find this is a struggle not just with blogging, but with all published writing. I'm always asking myself: am I writing this article just to see my name in print? Make thirty bucks? (Um. Yeah. I need to branch out to higher paying markets!)

Knowing what God wants me to do with my writing is a struggle.

Right now I'm working on a fictional piece from a christian worldview for a secular market.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

just letting you know that I am praying for you this morning.

ChosenRebel said...

Thanks for the prayer. I need it. In every area of my life, I need prayer.

Lamma Mamma: Early in my marriage, I discussed with my wife, the idea of writing all my books under pseudonyms. That way there would be no ego invovled with the whole "fame" thing and no problem if in anyway my life became a scandal. She wisely said that our ego's weren't escaped so easily and that a better tact would be to be vigilant in prayer.

She was right. Everyday is another day to step on our ego's so that He might increase. Now, as I get older I see my diminishment everyday yet God remains almighty. Age is a great humbler. Youth is the age of hubris. Keep writing. You have talent. Remind your self everyday that we are to do all things, even eating and drinking, for His glory. Then write for that end. God will keep you humble.

Llama Momma said...

Thank you for the encouragement and admonition.

Llama Momma said...

On this same subject, I've been reading Vinita Hampton Wright's "The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life." One passage in particular struck me, and applies to this conversation:

"When you are attentive to the spiritual dynamics of your life, you don't do something just because you can. You don't create a work of art simple to create a sensation. You do it because the time is right. You do it because your own growth requires it. You do it because you have discovered a new way to see something that might help others see it too. You do it because the community of which you are a part needs for you to do it. That doesn't mean that the community is always ready for it; sometimes the Spirit uses art to upset us and make us search ourselves. But the artist who follows the spirit is sensitive to doing the right work at the right time."

my time said...

"I see two main traps in "blogging" (there are probably many others).

1. The blogger can become enamoured of their own words and press. To blog is to invest in our own egos. Always a risky investment even if it might periodically be valuable.

2. Blogging is time consuming. My family, my flock, my neighbors generally need more face time with me than my computer screen does."

Well said!! I couldn't have said it better myself. But what if you know someone who tries to justify blogging when indeed you see what it's doing to them and time is passing by. Some face-to-face time with family and egos . . .my oh my, those egos! Confrontation doesn't seem to work.

So now what?

ChosenRebel said...

The first answer to every question to every problem a Christian faces is:

1. Pray. Everything starts here. Pour out your soul to God. Ask for wisdom. Pray for humility yourself. Ask for God's conviction to fall upon the person making ill-conceived investments.

2. Go and gently confront. Sounds like you have done this.

3. Engage the body. Take a friend and confront again with your concerns, observations. Make sure that you ask lots of questions.

4. Keep praying through it all and remember to respectful at all (this means, ALL) times. Always looking at the beam in one's own eye that might mute the effort to confront the person with their speck.

Praying for you. Others might want to chime in here for our brother/sister's benefit.

ChosenRebel said...

A couple of other thoughts: Unless blogging is your vocation ...

1. You are blogging too much if you wake up in the morning wondering how many people have responed to your latest witicism.

2. You are blogging too much if your family thinks they can only recognize you from behind (your computer screen getting your eye contact more often than them).

3. You are blogging too much if you comment on more than three blogs a day.

4. You are blogging too much if you write page length essays more than three times a month.

5. You are blogging too much if you lose sleep rather than fail to blog.

6. You have a problem with blogging if you leave all compliments to your blog up and delete all criticism.

7. You have a probelm with blogging if your employer is not getting your full work week because of your frequent visits to the blososphere.

8. You have a problem with blogging if your blog is a delight in self revelation.

9. You have a problem with blogging long before you know you have a problem with blogging.

my time said...

Now, here's one for you . . .
What if they justify it by saying that they are reaching out to the non-believers? That they are trying to witness with what is being blogged. The blog posts are good but it's the self_____(you fill in the blank) that concerns me; such as #8. Why did they ever invent the "blog world"?

I don't know, am I over-reacting? What are your thoughts on this?

ChosenRebel said...

I don't know if you are overreacting but you are expressing a lot of frustration. I will say this: Marriages have been lost over such an attitude and justification, ("I'm reaching out to unbelievers. It can't be wrong.")

Anybody want tojoin the conversation?

my time said...

Yes, there has been frustration but I believe it's more of a hurt feeling than anything else. It's too exhausting to get angry and I try to be careful to keep my attitude in check over this for fear it would turn bitter. I certainly don't want that to happen.

Just looking for some advice (and prayer to change MY heart on this matter). Thank you. :)

Llama Momma said...

Confrontation is always tricky. But if there is genuine concern that things are out of balance, it is the loving thing to do.

I love the concrete "you are blogging too much" list. It's so easy to become out of balance when it comes to media. (TV and internet.) It just sucks you in if you're not careful, and you look at the clock and think "Holy cow! Has it been an hour?" (Not that I've experienced that PERSONALLY, mind you. Um. Right.)

I'll add to the list a few of my own safeguards:

You are blogging too much if you turn to your computer first thing in the morning, rather than God's word.

You are blogging too much if you feel compelled to "catch up" on favorite blogs when you should be working. (Paid or unpaid!)

You are blogging too much if you find yourself telling your family, "In a minute..." so you can finish reading/writing/commenting on a blog.

This isn't just a blogging issue or even just an adult issue. I see it in my kids too. When I allow them "too much" screen time, their behavior falls apart. Suddenly, they don't know what to do with themselves without someone else entertaining them.

And so we all turn it off for a few days. No TV, videos or computer (except for work-related for my husband), and we reconnect and restore balance to the insanity.

Being Christ-driven and not Media-driven takes deliberate effort, and I don't know anyone who does this perfectly.

In my own life, it's a matter of priorities. How much time is in my day? How does God want me to use that time?

ChosenRebel said...

Bravo! Good comment and additions to the list