I deliberately chose the title of this essay because of the reaction it would create in the average person. In our society today, the average person will read the title of this essay and stop right there. They won’t bother to read it. They will simply allow their personal biases and preconceived notions to draw all their conclusions about what my essay is about for them. And, sadly, they will almost certainly be wrong. However, this does not apply to you. If you are reading this, you have already shown yourself to be among the few people left in our society who have not been conditioned to turn away from something just because of the words used to describe it. This makes you a rare person in our world these days: a person who seeks to learn and to try to understand. Therefore, let’s see what ‘Truth’ we can mine from the idea of the ‘good’ NAZI’s by asking a simple question:
Were there any ‘good’ NAZIs?
This is not such a simple question. It is not simple because it depends on what we mean by ‘good.’ I am prone to suppose the average person will think that ‘good’ refers to a person who would have opposed the ideals espoused by the NAZI movement. If so, then — by that standard of ‘good’ — it would be very difficult to image there were ‘good’ NAZI’s. This is because membership in the NAZI Party was voluntary. One had to be invited in to the NAZI Party or otherwise seek membership. Either way, membership in the Party was voluntary. This means, if a person were a NAZI, that person was — by their willing membership — embracing the principles and ideals of the Party. Unfortunately, not even this conclusion is as clear as it should be. This is because of another problem with our modern society: our propensity for make excuses.
A person so disposed might read my last paragraph and immediately object by arguing that a German may have been invited to join the Party and agreed to do so for fear of what might happen to them if they refused. Or they might object by saying that, just because a person joined the NAZI Party, that didn’t mean they agreed with everything for which the Party stood. An excuse maker might argue that a person would seek membership in the NAZI Party for the financial or political benefits that came with membership. But does fear or a desire for personal gain excuse a person from willingly joining their name to something thought to be as evil as the NAZI Party? There were plenty of people who refused to have anything to do with the Party and they lost their lives in the process. Which leads us to the question of whether or not a person who joins the NAZI Party out of fear can be ‘good’ while others were killed because they expressed moral objections to the Party and the things it represented? Put another way, is a coward just as ‘good’ as the person who dies for their beliefs? Or, can a person who joins for financial or personal gain be ‘good’ when others lost everything they owned for opposing the NAZI Party? Once again, either way we look at these questions, we come back to what we mean by the word, ‘good.’
Think about the notion of ‘good’ for a moment. If you were in Germany in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, and you hated the Jews, believed in the master race and German supremacy and were loyal to Adolf Hitler, then you would have made a ‘good’ NAZI. In such case, ‘good’ would mean that you did the things the Party demanded of its members. Therefore, one could argue that, in 1930’s and 40’s Germany, all NAZI’s were ‘good’ people. At the same time, if you found yourself in the NAZI Party, but you hated Hitler, secretly helped the Jews and thought the idea of a super race was ludicrous, then it would be difficult to see how you could possibly be considered a ‘good’ NAZI — at least, not from the Party’s point of view. Therefore, it could just as easily be argued that no one who opposed the NAZI Party was ‘good.’ Thus, the natural conclusion from all of this is that ‘good’ would seem to be a relative term that has a close association to how well a person’s behavior conforms to a given set of beliefs.
Now, before I go any further, I want to ask you to indulge me in a quick caveat:
As a believer, right and wrong are defined by God’s Word. Through the Scriptures, God has given us His commandments, his laws, His ordinances, His decrees, His judgments and His determinations. Thus, ‘good’ would refer to the person who accepts God’s definition of right and does there best to live accordingly. Now, please, understand that I am well aware of the passage where Jesus says none is ‘good’ but the Father, and that no human can be ‘good’ in the sense of perfectly obeying all of God’s ordinances from birth until death. I am going to ask you to accept that I am not trying to make a theological point about ‘good,’ but rather, I am trying to make a practical point about how to apply the notion of ‘good’ in the life of a believer. Therefore, if you will allow me this indulgence, let’s agree for the moment that a believer should understand that ‘good’ is linked to everything God has decreed as ‘right’ or moral.
So, if we are all OK with this, then let us ask ourselves once again:
Was there such a thing as a ‘good’ NAZI?
For me, B3A, and by my understanding of the Scriptures, I am forced to decide that, no, it was impossible to be a ‘good’ NAZI — at least, not from the point of view of God’s law.
So, of what use is any of this to us, today? Well, let’s apply our discussion to some more modern issues and see if it helps us see them in a different light.
Well, what if I told you that my answer to a question hinged on the meaning of what the word, ‘is,’ is? Would Bill Clinton’s infamous answer to a question posed to him during his impeachment process suddenly take on any new connotations for you? Perhaps not. If you are among the few who will read this far, then you may well have understood that President Clinton was being purposely deceptive in his answer and, if you knew he was being deceptive, then you might have also realized that deception while under oath or abut legal matters is against God’s moral code. Therefore, we can conclude that Clinton’s intentions at that moment were not ‘good.’ But what about those who are less obvious about their intentions? How does the question about the ‘good’ NAZI help believers be more discerning of the world?
Let me answer by asking this question: what does ‘America’ mean to you? Certainly, ‘America’ means different things to different people, even to the men and women who built this nation. However, nearly all of the founders would have said that ‘America’ stood for things such as individual rights and liberty, the rule of law, freedom of worship and of conscience and the right to pursue a moral and virtuous life. But what about today? When you hear someone talk about ‘America’ today, are they talking about these same things, or do they have a different understanding of what ‘America’ means? Once again, this can be difficult to determine, but much more crucial to understand than the average person will ever realize. To those who call themselves ‘Progressives,’ ‘America’ means a nation much closer to the model of Communist Russia. We know this because the founding fathers of the Progressive movement said so — clearly — and because modern Progressives have proudly and publicly embraced those founding fathers of the Progressive movement. They use the same words, but they mean entirely different things by them. So, can Progressives be ‘good’ Americans?
As a believer, I trust you have heard the warning that there will be those who are suddenly destroyed while they are in the very process of declaring peace and prosperity. I suspect that warning is the Biblical equivalent of what I am trying to explain. In fact, it is the very passage that inspired this essay. How could God destroy a people that was experiencing prosperity because they had achieved peace? After all, Scripture commands us to seek peace, and it promises that there will be blessings for those who make peace. So, if there is prosperity in the land because of peace, then why would God destroy the nation? Could it be because the people of that nation have a different notion of ‘peace and prosperity” than God’s?
You see, there are many people who speak the same language you and I speak. They even use the same words. They say they believe in the same things and want the same things as us — but they don’t! In reality, these people have very different ideas of what ‘America’ means, and they want very different things. To them, ‘good’ means something entirely different from what a believer should think is ‘good.’ These people are ‘good’ NAZI’s in the sense that they embrace and advance their concepts, but they are anything but ‘good’ according to God’s Word. Believers can know this because these people replace evil for good (see Isaiah 5:20-21). Just imagine what might happen if this nation were to embrace people whose ideology of peace and prosperity is based on the practice of murder, theft and slavery and who force the whole nation to worship them as gods. If you know the history of the NAZI Party, you may realize that this is exactly what the Party did to the German People in the late 1930’s, and the Party called is peace and prosperity. Look what happened to Germany after they turned away from God’s idea of ‘good.’ Now, ask yourself, what will God do to America if we follow down that same path?