Animals and Auschwitz!

Dr Carl Wieland

February 1998

I remember reading in the newspaper a few years ago about a terrible thing someone had done: keeping a child chained in a dark room for years.

I have asked many Christians this question: when you read such things, and have an understandable response of anger, what word pops into your mind concerning the person capable of doing such a thing? The majority say, ‘What an animal!’

But I know of no animal that regularly does to its own kind the sorts of things that people seem so often to do to each other (as almost any daily newspaper tells us).

So why do we use words like ‘animal’ and ‘beast’ to describe a person who does atrocious things? I suggest it is because our society (and thus our language) has been ‘evolutionized,’.

If we have Adam in our ancestry, then we all have the tendency to do all kinds of bad things (‘there but for the grace of God go I’) because of our inherited sin nature. The whole reason Christ came to die for rebellious sinners is ultimately because of the disobedience of the first Adam.

But, as Ken often says, ‘If we have ape in our ancestry, then the first Adam is a myth.’ Evolution has permitted people to blame our tendency to do evil on ‘leftover aggressive animal instincts’; in other words, people have not yet evolved far enough.

Even words such as ‘bestial’ and ‘savage’ are loaded with these same evolutionary overtones. Our society sees the answer to evil as further evolution being needed (biological, social, cultural). But no animal ever organized an Auschwitz for its own species—this monstrous evil was carried out not by some ‘primitive’ culture, but by the government of what had been called one of the most ‘civilized’ nations on Earth. In fact, evolution was the excuse for Auschwitz—eliminating the ‘unfit races.’

The events of 1930s Germany highlight the danger when churches, subtly influenced by the spirit of their times, depart from the absolutes of the Bible. In a book about the Christian Church under the Nazis, historian Kurt Schmidt shows how Biblical truths—previously held by the majority in the Church—went against the ‘common cultural knowledge,’ reinforced by ‘scientific authority.’

Hitler preached that his (theistic evolutionary) ‘god’ had made a separate, ‘superior’ race, and thus it was a ‘holy duty’ to ensure the purity of its ‘blood,’ to enable a ‘nobler evolution of these forms.’ Racially mixed marriages, said Hitler in Mein Kampf, would conceive ‘monstrosities between man and ape,’ rather than ‘images of the Lord.’ However, the Bible teaches that as descendants of Noah’s family, we are all closely related; there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ or ‘master’ race. This tension between Scripture and popular ideology led to pressure within the German church to ‘reinterpret’ the Bible, particularly in Genesis.

Hitler wanted his National Socialist State to run parallel with Christianity. The unity he sought, however, was threatened by any notion of absolute values. So he began to push his concept of ‘tolerance’ for the ‘higher goal’ of unity. Anyone who stuck to the absolutes of Scripture was accused of intolerance and divisiveness, which allegedly sabotaged the ‘greater good’ of a harmony within the Church, and between Church and state. Since God instituted evolution, it was said, and if the highest result of evolution was the Aryan race, surely it was ‘God’s will’ that this race be allowed to propagate uncontaminated. It was only a short step from there to label Christians who believed in Biblical authority as ‘subversive.’

Today we see similar pressure by many evangelical leaders on believers to be more ‘tolerant’ for the sake of ‘unity.’ Of course, these leaders are not promoting totalitarianism and racism as Nazi Germany did, but they are urging the Church not to insist on the absolutes of the Bible and to adopt ‘true religion’ for the sake of the acceptance of the Church by the rest of society.

In 1930s Germany, many churches capitulated, even banning non-Aryans from carrying out any church duties. The compromise extended to many Christian publications, even theological faculties. A bishop urged the German people to show ‘God’s love to the Fuehrer,’ for it was he, ‘not the Jew,’ who had been merciful to them.

Biblical faith was derided as ‘Jewish Christianity,’ and to overcome this element would mean being ‘just like the first-born of our faith, Jesus Christ, taught and lived.’ Today, those undermining the authority of the Bible in churches similarly claim that their ‘liberal’ view reflects Christ’s life and teachings, while accusing Bible-believers of ‘worshipping a book.’

Under the Nazis, this compromised faith was actually called ‘positive Christianity.’ Today in Australia, major public attacks on our ministry, even though led by avowed atheists, have cunningly appealed to the Church for support in the name of ‘good religion.’ Rising to the occasion, some archbishops have condemned belief in a literal Genesis as ‘bad religion.’

The only ones who resisted the contamination of the Church in 1930s Germany were those who knew what they believed, and regarded these beliefs as absolutes. They were progressively marginalized as fringe and radical elements. Today we see similar pressures on believers. Even within conservative evangelical circles, speaking out on Genesis as absolute truth increasingly involves paying the price of unjustified attacks.

Amazingly, there are even ministries that currently claim to defend the Bible against evolution but accept 99% of what evolutionists teach, then re-interpret the Bible to make it somehow ‘fit.’ When we have pointed out some of the inconsistencies and lovingly sounded a warning (see ‘Warning’ article on p. 4), the attacks labeling us as ‘intolerant,’ ‘divisive,’ and ‘opposed to Christian unity’ have come in thick and fast.

However, we praise God that as our message and materials spread more and more via grass-roots Christians, a major groundswell is building up. Many Christians are realizing that they have been lulled into believing that upholding the vital, foundational doctrines of Genesis is a ‘side issue.’

The increasing attacks should not surprise us. The increasing volume of mail world-wide attesting to the blessings of the Answers in Genesis ministry and its resources, and the many people brought to Christ through a vital, unashamed defense of Scripture, encourages us daily!


Dr Carl Wieland

As quoted in A. Spaeth, ‘Die Judenfrage’, Factum (a German conservative evangelical magazine) January 1997 pp. 34–39.

Published: 28 February 2006