Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bonhoeffer, Liberalism & Totalitarianism

In our day, it is common on the internet for arguments to degenerated to the level of calling someone a Nazi. The name the fallacy has taken is "Reductio ad Hitlerum."

While not wanting to fall into that fallacy, I found this in the Memoir section of Deitrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship.

Both modern liberal theology and secular totalitarianism hold pretty much in common that the message of the Bible has to be adapted, more or less, to the requirements of a secular world. No wonder, therefore, that the process of debasing Christianity as inaugurated by liberal theology led, in the long run, to a complete perversion and falsification of the essence of Christian teaching by National Socialism....Thus, all kinds of secular totalitarianism which force man to cast aside his religious and moral obligations to God and subordinate the laws of justice and morality to the State are incompatible with his conception of life. --G. Leibholz, Memoir, in The Cost of Discipleship, (New York: Touchstone, 1959) p. 30.
This is not equating the morals of a liberal theologian with the morals of a National Socialist. Rather, speaking historically, the goal of their objectives were the same with regard to the future and use of Christianity: change it so it better fits this age. Of course they disagreed on what best fit this age, of course there are differences between the two visions. But for both Christianity was seen as malleable to the modern will of man.

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"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...