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Brian Kay

Sunflower Reflection 2.0

Visiting Buchenwald was certainly an eye opening experience. Something,
however, that resonated with me was when our tour guide told us that the mass
executions that took place on the front were completely voluntary and that there
were no records of any SS soldiers being reprimanded for refusing to take part in
such activities. This fact further supported my prior discernment to withhold
forgiveness from the soldier in Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower.
Robert Mcafee Brown disagrees with my position. In his response, Brown
states that he would have acted as a facilitator for divine forgiveness, urging the SS
man to “throw himself at the divine grace of God.” I wholly disagree. Why would one,
in Wiesenthal’s position, compel a dying officer of the SS to pursue a relationship
with an absentee god? He simply wouldn’t. Due to the treatment of the Jews, many
had lost their faith entirely, I certainly wouldn’t be an exception to this trend. I feel
that if I were to be put into the shoes of Wiesenthal, I would know in my heart that
god was either on leave, or as many post-modernists have said, “God is dead. “ This
may be a jarring sentiment, however, the evil and inhumane tortures that the Jews
were subjected to would result in such atheism. After all, the Jews were God’s people
biblically. How could a mighty and benevolent God that is meant to show eternal
compassion and grace allow something such as this to happen? I believe that any
decision motivated by faith is completely debased by these events. I hold to my
decision to abstain from answering the monster in front of me. “If you gaze long into
the abyss, the abyss also looks into you,” and so it goes with evil.