[percy-l] "...to the gas chamber..."

Ken Armstrong armstron at ohiou.edu
Thu Mar 6 22:21:26 EST 2003


 Thanks for your apology to the list for the post. Do you really think it 
needs one? The Jews (not those banal Nazis) are responsible for the 
"effectiveness" of the holocaust. Christians do no evil (for then they 
wouldn't be Christian), though "evil cuts right through the heart of every 
man." And criticizing Christians for the things they do, therefore, "fuels 
animosity" toward Christ.

 Actually I was half-tempted to agree that your umbrage with Jim for the 
Christian crusade remark might (might: take a look at the latest issue of 
First Things with its declaration of the "just war" about to commence)be 
justified, but your concept of who is and isn't a Christian....you might 
take your own advice and "avoid generalizations that declare" Christians 
incapable of evil acts. "Not me but thee" doesn't cure that heart condition.

 Ken Armstrong

--On Thursday, March 06, 2003 8:46 PM -0500 "Parlin, Steven" 
<PARLINS at culver.org> wrote:

> Jim, if your "good ole anti-Semitic Christian Crusade" is a reference to
> the USA's escalating war-in-Iraq preparations, your comment is not only
> inappropriate -polemical?- but, well, a revelation of just the sort of
> frightful ignorance that makes such murderous action possible in the first
> place. Why? You quite simply fail to see that its not Christians preparing
> for war, but consumer-driven secularists who may or may not be slinking
> around behind a Christian veneer. Subsequently, your sort of rhetoric
> blurs otherwise clear distinctions and fails to accurately identify the
> true forces at work. It ain't the Christians. And, your rhetoric only
> serves to fuel malicious animosity toward that which may well be the only
> bastian of hope and sanity --Christ. Percy certainly thought so.
> Anyone who ever has perpetrated such crimes against humanity are by that
> very action NOT Christian. And, if you were simply making a generalization
> about the ostensibly "christianized" West (ie. the US), I reiterate my
> point about ignorance. Don't make such generalizations, for they are
> dangerous misunderstandings which not only free the true culprits from
> their culpability, but they also implicate the innocent, and in this case
> even the advocate. No authentic christian has ever knowingly sanctioned
> murder, else they weren't really Christian and thus cannot rightly be
> identified as such. People don't hate what they know to be Chrstianity,
> but they do hate misrepresenations of it --and your rhetoric is a grave
> misrepresentation.
> Moreover, you might also avoid generalizations that declare the Hebrews or
> the Arabs as "victims". Consult the account of Hanah Arendt (a jewish
> reporter) of the trial of Adolf Eichmann --Eichmann in Jerusalem; the
> Banality of Evil. There are no manichean forces at work in such crimes.
> Instead, evil cuts right through the heart of every man (Solzenhitzen) and
> it's our "sentimentality", our inclination toward self-fulfilling fantasy,
> not our faith that permits that evil to thrive. The truth is Eichmann was
> a dissapointment. He was not the monster everyone wanted him to be. 
Instead, he was a mouse of a man who had been lulled into a moral sleep
> by sentiment. Indeed, the effectiveness and the efficiency of the
> holocaust cannot be credited to men like Eichmann. No. That burden rests
> squarely on the shoulders of those jews who were complicitously (and in
> some cases quite agreeably) responsible for orchestrating the planning
> and organizing and book keeping.
> You make a concession in the end and assume some responsibility for your
> own participation in the problem, but that doesn't excuse your previous
> remarks. Avoid the sweeping generalizations. They're dangerous.
> I apologize to the list for any misdirection, but a rejoinder was in
> order.  SP
> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Piat [mailto:piat1 at bellsouth.net]
> Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 5:16 PM
> To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
> Subject: Re: [percy-l] "...to the gas chamber..."
>> The rare times I'm in the mall, two words go through my mind: kitsch and
>> despair (of course, kitsch and sentimentality go hand-in-hand). Gil
>> Bailie refers to shopping malls as museums of nihilism.
>> -DB
> Well I'll take the kitsch of a shopping mall over the sentimental
> nostalgia of another good ole anti-Semitic Christian Crusade any day.
> First the Arabs in the middle ages, then the Hebrews in WWII and now it's
> back to the Arabs again.  That's the trouble I have with Percy and
> O'Connor's example of the holocaust as an argument for Christianity or
> moral absolutism  -- it's not only ironic and in poor taste to say the
> least  -- it's a shell game.  The problem is not moral relativism,
> shopping malls, Arabs, Jews or even Christian anti-Semitism -- it's us:
> or in my case,  me, always blaming the other in the hope that this
> somehow absolves, protects or elevates myself.
> Best wishes,
> Jim Piat
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/hypermail
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/hypermail
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy

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