We often hear it said that the twentieth century began as a period of optimism, but that the cataclysmic events of two World Wars tarnished this happy view of life and humanity. In reading through Laurence Rees excellent book 'Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution', I have been beginning to see the depth to which this statement goes. Rees seeks to write an historically accurate, non-hysterical account of what happened in Nazi Germany, with particular reference to the Death Camp, Auschwitz. The soberness of his tone only serves to reinforce more fully and tragically the horror of what happened in Europe less than a century ago.
As I have been reading some of the accounts of terrible inhumanity and suffering, one main theme has been pulsing in my mind: the authenticity of the book of Romans' analysis of human nature and fallenness. To my mind secular discourse struggles to explain two things convincingly - the complexity of the cosmos, and the wickedness of the human heart. I remember reading Bill Bryson's 'A Short History of Nearly Everything', and coming across occasion after occasion when he had to use the phrases such as 'by some miracle' to explain the origin of our world in all its glorious design and beauty. The same is true of Rees when he handles humanity's destructive and contemptible realities.
Over the next while I hope to post some thoughts about the relationship between events described by Rees in the Third Reich, and the picture painted by Paul in Romans about our rebellion from God. I think that, with me, you will see the undeniable logic of a gospel shaped view of humanity, and that we are a world desperately in need of a Saviour.