Kari and I went to see "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" this evening. It was a pretty powerful film that chronicles the life of a naive, young boy in Nazi Germany who befriends a Jewish boy his age in an internment camp. I highly recommend the film with the warning that it has a very sad ending. Here are some thoughts I have regarding the movie:
- Hate Spreads Quickly and Easily – it didn't take much for a nation of one race to despise a nation of another race. The hate literally affected the attitudes of people in all areas of their lives – not just their hatred of Jews. The same is true today. Angry people aren't angry at one thing; they're angry at everything. Their anger spreads like yeast into the attitudes of those they're around.
- The Absence of Free Speech Means the Oppression of a People – Nazi Germany sought to abolish free speech from the country in the name of patriotism. Unfortunately the absence of free speech is more dangerous that the free speech itself. It concerns me that there are efforts of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine in America – an oversight by the FCC that requires radio frequencies to give equal time to all political sides. While it sounds "fair," in essence, this causes voices to be silenced rather than voices to be heard. We must fight for free speech in America.
- We Can Learn a Lot from Children – Jesus told us that we needed to become like children. I think He meant that we need to observe the way they behave – their lack of worry or concern, their unconditional acceptance and trust – and put it into practice. There is no pretense in a child; things are so simple.
- We Cannot Know Good Without Knowing Evil – Unfortunately the presence of evil is required for the presence of good, just as the presence of sorrow is required for the presence of joy. If we cannot compare these things to their opposites then we cannot recognize or experience them at all. We know good because we have seen, and even experienced, evil. God allows evil because there must be a choice for good and because good cannot exist without its counterpart. God is good, and I am grateful for that.
- People are Easily Enticed – It was the fall of an economic system that brought on the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. The people believed that Hitler would change all of that. People's heart strings are often attached to their wallets, and when an economic crisis hits, they will turn to anyone or anything who promises to change the economic climate. Look at our current situation as a country, and be wary of anyone who promises to make things better for you. The answer to bad finances doesn't come from a government or a leader but from personal responsibility and wise choices. What happened in Nazi Germany only took place a few decades ago. Are people today truly different than the people of Germany at that time? Surely they weren't all bad people, filled with hate. They hoped that Hitler was bringing a strong future to their country and bringing peace to the world. Sadly, he did not deliver on those promises. Given the right level of need, could people in our culture be led to similar behaviors? Unfortunately, I don't think it's impossible.
That's a lot of stuff to digest. I actually could have written quite a bit more, but I'm not sure anyone would care to read it. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts. As I said, it's a sad movie, so be prepared.