Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Storm of War and the Battle for Truth

Highlights from Al Mohler’s “Thinking in Public” Podcast.

Audio: This is well worth your listen, and I emailed Al Mohler and I hope it will be reprinted and published widely. (After typos and omissions are corrected in the transcript.)

Andrew Roberts is the author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. (And other books also, but this one is the focus of this interview.)

Several things about this interview really struck me.

1. The combination of events and issues that led to the rise of Hitler and World War 2. And, especially noteworthy, is the comparison of the economic troubles of right now with the economic troubles of Germany before World War 2.

2. The statement “a feeling of hatred toward capitalism” - by the Germans in between World War I and World War II. (This is a solemn warning to leftists, marxists, socialists, anarchists, liberals, and the Occupy Wall street crowd.)

click on the picture in order to see all the text in it.
Note: I first saw this picture at Triablogue a few days ago. Brilliant!

3. The comparison between Hitler as a charismatic leader vs. Churchill as an inspiration leader, and that Churchill’s speeches are based on the power of argumentation and reason and truth, rather than Hitler’s emotion and oratory manipulation.

(This should be a solemn warning to people to not be fooled by someone who can sway crowds with oratory, like the Word of Faith heretics, etc. and politicians who are all packaging and externals but no substance.) See more on this issue of the greed and manipulation tactics of the Word of Faith heretics at the end of the article.

Kenneth Copeland, one of the worst heretics of the last 50 years.

4. The implications of the reality of our post 9-11-01 world in Islamic Fascism and Islamic terror; and I would add, the desire of many Muslims for the restoration of the Caliphate. The Caliphate was abolished in 1924 by Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the secular founder of the modern state of Turkey, precisely because he saw that the unity of the religion of Islam with the political and military power was a dangerous thing, and proof of that is that the Ottoman Empire joined Germany in World War I and the Caliphate was in power in Sunni Islam at that time; and also the historical facts of the friendly ties of Hitler with Haj Al Amin Housseini, the Mufti if Jerusalem in their hatred of the Jews, during the time of the Holocaust in Germany and World War 2.

If the Islamic Caliphate is restored, then the moderate Muslims would be forced to stand behind any call for Jihad, for even the modern and moderate Muslims admit that a legitimate Caliph can call for Jihad against the west, etc.

Haj Muhammad Effendi Amin Al Hosseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921-1937, meeting with Adolf Hitler.

5. That we must know history well in order to fight revisionists from their propaganda, like Christopher Hitchens and others who have trashed Churchill, and like Pat Buchanan, who thinks that World War II was an un-necessary war for America to get involved in and that the Holocaust was not as bad as it is reported to be. Sounds dangerously close to sentiments expressed by Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the President of Iran, and other Muslims associated with Hamas and Al Qaedah and Hezbollah types.

6. Understanding why most of Europe looks at World World II with a very negative feeling; even given the fact that the Allies won; it is still negative to the European psyche because of the sheer number and percentage of loss and carnage; whereas Americans look on it in a very positive light, the classic story of good winning over evil; and that the Allies did it by coming from behind and being the "underdogs". The contribution of the Soviet Union to the defeat of Hitler must not be underestimated.

7. The theme of knowing the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and understanding history from a Christian Worldview and truth is very important. A mind saturated and trained in the truth of the Scriptures will help us battle evil.

Here are some excerpts that really struck me. There are some typos in the written transcript, which I have emailed Al Mohler about; the worst is that the transcriber left out the word “not” in the following:

Al Mohler: Well, as we’ve said, you’ve now made the point once again that it did not have to happen this way; that there could have been incredible alternatives. What could have happened between the wars in Germany, in particular to have prevented this? And in other words, what could have prevented the rise of Nazism? Or to the contrary, why did it happen?

Andrew Roberts: Well, of course actually if one is to look at the true reason for the rise of Nazism you have to look here in New York, where I am at the moment, and Wall Street and the great Wall Street crash, and The Great Depression, and the inflation that hit Germany even harder than it hit your country. And that of course was the dynamic by which Hitler, who until 1923 was really only winning about 2.3% of the German popular vote, but by 1932 he was in a position to grant power, which of course he did, when he became Chancellor in January 1933. So it is very deeply concerned with the unemployment problem, and lots of economic factors, which are pretty rarely and properly, given their due. Many people talk about anti-Semitism, quite rightly of course. Many people talk about the Versailles Treaty, but one has to remember that on their own these would not have brought the Fuhrer to power, really also took this after sense of utter desperation, a feeling of hatred towards capitalism and of course also Bolshevikism in Russia, was much more reason, to make ordinary Germans feel that this fanatic Adolf Hitler was their savior.
. . .
“The moral perspective of history is absolutely indispensable.”
. . .

The embolding in the following was not left out, but I am just emphasizing it here:
Mohler makes some very insightful closing comments:

“I am very thankful for the view of leadership that is illustrated by the men Churchill and Hitler considered by Andrew Roberts in one of his previous works, it is really important to understand that distinction between charismatic leadership and inspirational leadership. A charismatic leader who can evince a personality and use all kinds of manipulative means in order to sculpt a public image and a brand or a persona, that could be lead to manipulate millions of people, versus an inspirational leader who does have undeniable rhetorical talents, as did Winston Churchill and an inflexible and indomitable will. But also the force of argument, and I appreciate what Andrew Roberts makes clear and that is it had to be won on the force of argument. Churchill’s point had to be not only more convincing, it had to be true. And it was upon the truth of that understanding of that world, and that understanding of Hitler, and that understanding of right and wrong, that there were those who were willing to fight a war, and to endure all of its carnage and all of its hardship and all of its terrors in order to defeat something that was even worse than the reality of war.
When we look at the study of history it is very important that we understand that it is not merely an academic discipline, though it is a very important academic discipline. It is an essential mechanism for understanding who we are. We have no idea who we are; we have no idea how to understand ourselves without putting ourselves in an historical context. Thus it is a matter of our very important intellectual stewardship as Christians that we intentionally do our very best to frame an historical understanding that is true and that is meaningful through the lenses of the Christian worldview. We look back at history not only as an event, lest we look back at it not only as a chronicle. We look back at it not only for crying out loud like did Henry Ford as one event after another. We look back in order to say, it could’ve been different. It did happen this way. Moral actors are responsible. Individually and collectively, history has its victors and its victims; and sometimes they are the right victors and sometimes they are the wrong victors. And it really does matter, it is very important that history is not just one thing after another, it is a moral test of human beings. It is indeed a diorama of Genesis 3 in fallen humanity. In reading a book like The Storm of War, and I very much hope that you will read it, will for Christians remind us that when we look at history and we consider the present, with the eyes of the gospel, we are to yearn for the kingdom yet to come. Human history underline as does perhaps no other knowledge the reality of the need for redemption.”
Another major typo:
Also, should have been - "It was not until 1941 that Hitler started believing Goebbels", not "stopped believing Goebbels", etc.

"Only in 1941 did he stop [sic] believing Joseph Goebbels, his propaganda minister’s statements that he was the greatest warlord of all time, and all of these victories came as a result of his willpower, as you mentioned."

Roberts actually said "started", not "stopped".

What is that famous phrase that many of us have learned? “Those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them”

By having pictures of Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen, I am not equating them with the evils of Hitler, but they have the emotional and oratory trickery of manipulating many people by mixing in some Scripture verses here and there, and promising people wealth and health (if they just give their money to them); and so the only parallel is the skill in manipulating crowds. It is obvious by the large crowds that Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, and other Word of Faith teachers generate, that, 1. these people are desperate and will 'accumulate to themselves teachers according to their own desires" ( 2 Timothy 4:3-4) and 2. These people do not read the Bible verses in their context, paragraphs, chapters, and the specific book that the verse is in in order to understand the author's intended meaning. They don't do good hermeneutics.

This makes these false teachers all the more dangerous for the "regular people" who are struggling in life; the masses and crowds who are desperate for jobs and money and healing.


Truth Unites... and Divides said...


Thanks so much for posting this. I, for one, would very much like to read a clean transcript of this interview.

“The moral perspective of history is absolutely indispensable.”

I totally agree. In fact, I'd affirm the following variants as well:

“The moral perspective of social policy and political decision-making is absolutely indispensable.”

Eg., the moral perspective of legalized abortion should be that it's morally wrong.

Eg., the moral perspective of gay "marriage" should be that it's morally wrong.

(Although I prefer Biblical arguments, Natural Law arguments will also suffice).

Ken said...

thanks TUAD,
Yes, indeed, western civilization needs revival, the gospel, and the effects of the gospel, moral transformation.

Let us pray for these things in humility and repentance.

2 Thess. 3:1-3

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Sorry Ken,

I reflexively thought James Swan wrote this post.

I really like the title of this post: "The Storm of War and the Battle for Truth".

As an aside, there are some people that I know who disdain battle/conflict/confrontation/argument/polemics (primarily women) and who might be tempted to say "Why do we have to battle for T/truth?"

It's hard to know what to say to such folks who are faint of spirit and (from my experience) who only become belligerent and indignant when challenged on their moral cowardice.