Friday, May 25th; 12:39pm Dachau, Germany – Hitler went to Heaven, and I’ll tell you why. Now I know that this is a very controversial statement, and I understand that some people may be upset or offended by this statement. I, however, am fully prepared to defend my claim. I understand that I may be entirely wrong, and I do not want to perpetuate the idea that this is the full truth and that everyone must believe what I do. This is merely an analysis of the unlikely revelation I had in the Carmelite Chapel on the grounds of the Dachau Concentration Camp in Dachau, Germany.
To begin, the feeling that I felt walking through the cold, dark iron gates of the camp was something that I cannot put in to words, but a feeling that I hope I never forget. My first thought as I walked in was, this place is huge; however, as I learned throughout the museum, the concentration camp was severely overcrowded and held about 5x its mass capacity of around 6,000 people. When we visited, it looked empty. I couldn’t imagine the place full. I couldn’t imagine the feelings and emotions of thousands and thousands of hopeless people. I couldn’t image the stench of death that constantly consumed the camp.
For someone who never shuts up, I was speechless. I walked around the barren, lonely remnants of the concentration camp for 3 hours in complete and utter silence. Like many others on the experience my mind was flooded with feelings, emotions, but most of all questions. Leaving Dachau, I still have about a thousand questions that remain unanswered as to how this event actually occurred, how they kept it a secret for so long, and how to stop this sort of atrocity from happening in the future. Over the pass week, we have learned every detail about how Hitler came to power, and how exactly he kept it a secret from the entire world. Despite knowing every logistical detail of the operation, it is still baffling that there was little to no resistance to it, and the voices of those who did resist were silenced so tactfully and so efficiently that no one from the outside world was exposed to the utter tragedy that was taking place. Also, from the inside, how did the S.S. soldiers who worked the camps come home to their families, eat dinner, and sleep well at night knowing that they killed hundreds of innocent people every single day? How did an entire country of people dehumanize and entire “race” of people simply because of their religion?
And there is the kicker. As soon as I began to think about religion, I spotted the small Carmelite Chapel and thought, “Well if I have some questions about religion, there is no one better to ask than the big Man upstairs Himself.” So, I strolled into the small, simple chapel and knelt down in the back pew to talk to God and ask Him a couple of the thousands of questions I had. This is where things got a little sticky, but I had an incredible revelation in my personal faith that I did not expect to have at Dachau of all places. I believe that Hitler went to Heaven. I came to this conclusion by asking God how He could let millions of His people die such merciless deaths, where He was during this time of great need, and what the point of it all was? I wondered what the ramifications of the event were religiously, and what was in store for those involved in the afterlife. I knew that since the Jews had suffered greatly during their time on earth because of their faith in God, that they would be eternally rewarded by a reunion with God in Heaven and a life of eternal happiness and joy. On the other hand, I wondered what the fate would be of those who horribly persecuted God’s people for their belief in Him and killed millions of His people. What happened to them? Now most believers will tell you that these people went directly to Hell and that there is no way to reconcile their souls from eternal damnation. I on the other hand have a different opinion.
As most do times of confusion with faith, I turned to the Bible for answers. In the Bible, I searched for a times when God’s people were subject to great persecution and death. One notable example of this is the worst and greatest moment in human history, Jesus’s death on the cross. Jesus and His disciples were persecuted because of their beliefs, and Jesus was sentenced to the worst, most painful death imaginable by His own people because of it. Among Jesus’ last breaths were the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In Jesus’ last moments on earth, He asked His Father for forgiveness and mercy on His people. The greatest atrocity ever committed by humankind, murdering our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, was the very source of our salvation. In regard to salvation, I believe that Jesus dying on the cross brought salvation for ALL people. During Pentecost, the disciples were blessed with the Holy Spirit. I believe that all people have the Holy Spirit inside of them, and therefore everyone has God inside of them. Genesis 1:27 says that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. Because of this all people are innately good, however, many people don’t act like it. Adam and Eve brought sin and death into the world, but they were still forgiven by God and went to Heaven. Jesus, Himself asked God to forgive those who murdered Him, God’s only Son. One verse that people love to use to say that only those who believe in Jesus will go to Heaven is John 14:6 which says, “No one can get to the Father except through me.” I think that this verse is often misinterpreted in a sense that Jesus is not saying that you need to believe in Him to be saved, but rather through His death and resurrection, He will grant salvation to ALL PEOPLE. All people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. Jesus does NOT discriminate. No one can lose the Holy Spirit from inside of them, no one can lose the salvation that Jesus granted them, and no one can do something so atrocious that it is unforgivable by God: not even bringing sin and death into the world, murdering His only Son, or murdering 6 million of His innocent people. This is how I came to one of the most unlikely realizations in Dachau: God forgave Hitler.
As for what the point of religion or being a good person is, I personally believe that organized religion is for fulfilment and not salvation. Jesus provided salvation for us by dying and the cross, and no matter how much we sin, we cannot lose the salvation that He won for us. Those, like myself, who participate in organized religion should not be doing so in hopes that it will grant us eternal life: Jesus has already done that for us. Those who participate in organized religion and truly live it out receive the reward of experiencing true, intrinsic happiness on earth and are fulfilled spiritually. Those who do not participate in organized religion may suffer greatly on earth because they will never be truly fulfilled because they are trying to fill a God-sized hole in their heart with material or other earthly things. However, in the end, we will all experience eternal happiness and joy when we are reunited with our Father in Heaven. No matter how much we may stray from our Father, He will never cease to love us, care for us, and call us home. Like how a child can never truly lose the love of their parents, God will never cease to love and forgive us for our transgressions, and therefore we will all be reunited with Him in Heaven. We are One Body, that makes up One Spirit, the Lord Our God.
Until Next Time,