Author Eric Metaxas speaks about German Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and his resistance to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer was part of a resistance movement to oppose Hitler, a move that ultimately cost him his life. Unlike most of the pastors in Germany in the 1930s and 40s, Bonhoeffer was not content to sit idly and do nothing. He joined an underground group of church leaders to form a non-registered, non-State-run seminary, and preached against the new Socialist party.[youtube]http://youtu.be/fogjhpQPpdA[/youtube]
It makes you wonder why more people didn’t resist Hitler, and it makes you wonder what people would do today if they were in the same situation as Bonhoeffer.
After the Nuremburg Trials, a psychologist named Stanley Milgram wanted to know what American students would do if they were in the same position as German officers like Adolf Eichmann. So he set up an experiment with students from Yale University where they were told to administer a lethal level of electric voltage to a person who they had been told had a heart condition and could be killed by the experiment.
The Milgram Experiment found that 65% of those involved in the test administered the fatal volume of 450 volts on the (actor) person they believed they were killing. Only one student refused to go over 300 volts. Please remember that a regular household electric socket is 110 volts!
If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:
- Please continue.
- The experiment requires that you continue.
- It is absolutely essential that you continue.
- You have no other choice, you must go on.
The point is, even highly educated people, from an upscale economic background, are capable of being persuaded to commit terrible ethical and moral atrocities. It is only when you have an Objective Moral Absolute, that is found outside of yourself, that you can consistently make the correct moral decisions. Increasingly, it is going to be imperative for people, especially young people, to know what they believe, why their beliefs are true, and have the courage to live out their convictions against all opposition. In this way, Dietrich Bonhoeffer serves as a great role-model for our day.
Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker.