Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Bonhoeffer, Metaxis

 Since I read this on Kindle, here is a link to my highlights and notes on Goodreads.

Here is a link to decent review of the book.

A major part of the book is documenting Bonhoeffer's deep theological challenge of living our faith in Christ. His question of "What is the church"?  is directly applicable today. Is the church a social organization of people that gather together on Sunday to be entertained, to be identified as "virtuous", "woke", etc or is it a set of committed, confessing, devoted followers of Christ who humbly seek to live their lives increasingly in his example of being wholly human and wholy holy (spiritual)?

The very troubling part of the book is how easy it is to map Nazi Germany to "America" today -- which is much the same as Nazi Germany not being "Germany". We are clearly no longer the Constitutional Republic that we were founded as. We are largely a fascist pagan state. Hitler killed 6 million Jews, our holocaust of abortion has killed 60 million babies.  

In Nazisim, the ideology of Fascism -- massive government bureaucracy, media control, church control, big business cronyism, the judicial system, education all collaborating to create creeping totalitarianism; was combined with nationalism, racism, paganism, and idolatry (for the swastika and the person of Hitler). 

Today, massive government bureaucracy, media, liberal churches, big business, the judiciary, the educational system, etc are combined in censoring ("cancelling") alternate views, paganism through "wokeism", and increasing idolatry through symbols like rainbows, BLM, the earth (environmentalism), masks, etc. covered here

So far we are missing the "strongman focus, our "Hitler", who the mass of the population worship. Is that a requirement?, or will worship of wealth, pleasure, etc, and the people who embody those (Musk, Bezos, Gates, etc) suffice? 

Some interesting quotes from the book: 

You cannot claim you believe something if you don’t live like you believe it. God is not fooled by our claiming to believe the words of some well-crafted statement of faith—or by our dutiful church attendance—any more than your neighbors are fooled by it, or the devil is fooled by it.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. God will not hold us guiltless.
God is the one who invented reality, and reality can only be seen truly as it exists in God. Nothing that exists is outside his realm. So there are no ethics apart from doing God’s will, and God—indeed, Jesus Christ—is the nonnegotiable given in the equation of human ethics:
Hitler must be called a Nietzschean, although he likely would have bristled at the term since it implied that he believed in something beyond himself. This clashed with the idea of an invincible F├╝hrer figure, above whom none could stand. Still, Hitler visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar many times, and there are photos of him posed, staring rapturously at a huge bust of the philosopher. He devoutly believed in what Nietzsche said about the “will to power.” Hitler worshiped power, while truth was a phantasm to be ignored; and his sworn enemy was not falsehood but weakness. For Hitler, ruthlessness was a great virtue, and mercy, a great sin.

Here in the early 21st century it is an important book for us to "read and weep" as we ponder it's message. Is our silence violence? 

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