Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

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Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Rian » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:50 pm

With a nod to Godwin's law :D I've been thinking about starting up this topic here for a while, so I'm finally doing it since marcuspnw is back and we can run the CL as it was intended to be run again - with a mod from both "sides".

I made some kind of a statement on the main forum along the lines of Hitler deserves some level of love and respect and it was greeted with what I would not classify as productive discussion :D so I'm starting up the topic here in the CL.

Basically, I feel that every person deserves some basic level of love and respect, even Hitler. Does anyone agree, and if so, what does that look like to you?
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:42 pm

I would put it this way. Suppose we had captured Hitler at the end of World War 2. We would have put him on trial. If someone had just walked in and shot him they would rightly have been court martialed. Therefore we can see he deserves the respect implicit in universal justice. Love however is not a matter of desert. It is like forgiveness and as Rupert Giles once said forgiveness is not something people deserve; it is something they need.
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby marcuspnw » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:34 pm

Rian wrote:With a nod to Godwin's law :D I've been thinking about starting up this topic here for a while, so I'm finally doing it since marcuspnw is back and we can run the CL as it was intended to be run again - with a mod from both "sides".

I made some kind of a statement on the main forum along the lines of Hitler deserves some level of love and respect and it was greeted with what I would not classify as productive discussion :D so I'm starting up the topic here in the CL.

Basically, I feel that every person deserves some basic level of love and respect, even Hitler. Does anyone agree, and if so, what does that look like to you?


Hi, Rian. Could you explain what you mean by basic level of love and respect? Why do you believe everyone deserves this?
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Chapabel » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:14 am

I would say yes and no. Respect is earned. The things he did, does not deserve respect at all. He did deserve love though. One of the hardest concepts for me to come to grips with is the fact that God loves everyone. God loved Hitler just as much as He loves Billy Graham or me or anyone else. Jesus died for Hitler's sins just as He died for my sins. Loving Hitler now is a mute point since he has entered eternity and is no longer here to receive any kind of love. So my answer would be respect...no. Love...yes, while he was alive.
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:38 pm

That's interesting Chap. The Bible does not seem to me to say that God loves people because they deserve it but in spite of the fact that they do not.
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Rian » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:21 pm

marcuspnw wrote:Hi, Rian. Could you explain what you mean by basic level of love and respect? Why do you believe everyone deserves this?


It's hard to explain; it's kind of a process of many years of thought. I'll just throw some thoughts down for you here.

I grew up as a "good girl" pretty much; was pretty sheltered and never got into much trouble. As a child, you tend see things in black and white, and I categorized people as "good" or "bad". Although I grew up going to church, I didn't become a Christian until my mid-teens. That was when the concept of God loving every person first really came together for me, although I still saw people generally in terms of "good people" and "bad people". While in college, I ended up in a legalistic Christian group and that concept was reinforced (although not overtly). Legalism is a cold, killing thing, and although I learned some good things, I thank God he brought me out of it (although I also thank Him he let me go into it because I learned about it from the inside. I don't think God's purpose is to give us a trouble-free, pain-free life; I think it's that He walks this life with us, including its pain-filled and troubled times, and redeems it).

In those years since college, God has grown my heart a lot. I'd say my major character flaws are laziness :D and self-centeredness, and I'm so grateful at how much God has opened my heart up to love others more. Often this has happened though pain; in my 20's, I contracted the illness that took away my good health, and every day is physically a struggle and filled with pain, and I've had to give up things that I love, such as hiking in Yosemite, my favorite place on earth (think of a bad case of the flu you've had, with fatigue and pain - that's what I feel like every day, and I have to push through it every day). Having to deal with that issue got rid of a lot of my pride, and pride is certainly a love-killer. It softened my heart up and let love quietly grow and grow (this probably sounds kinda stupid, but it's hard to put into words!).

Anyway, eventually I lost that black-and-white viewpoint and saw people as basically just the same as I was, even the Hitlers of the world. Who knows how I would have reacted in his place? Who knows what pains and heartaches and difficulties they've had the made them make that horrible decision, and who could say that I wouldn't have acted the same way? I think there are many, many Hitlers in the world right now, and the only reason we don't hear of them is they don't have the power that he had. IOW, there could be a grandma somewhere that is just like Hitler except she doesn't have the power base he did so she can't affect millions. Does that make sense?

So basically, if God loves me, and I believe He does because I see it in His word and in His actions on the cross, I can see how He can love anyone. And I think that everyone is created in the image of God - we all love, create, will, laugh, cry, desire, get angry - and we are inherently beautiful because we were created by a master artist, and I can just see it - I can see beauty in everyone. And it's a tragedy when we go wrong. I think of a person that has done terrible things as a masterpiece that has been damaged, not as something bad. So I've heard some people on the board here talk as if there are people that are beneath our love and respect, and I think that's wrong. I think everyone deserves love, and everyone deserves some level of respect, because we don't know their lives and what has happened that we can't see and that might have made us act the same way. I also think that we have a meaningful amount of free will (which is an incredible and amazing gift) and that our brave and courageous and loving actions earn us or make us lose respect, but that even in the worst person, there is some amount of respect that they deserve, especially because we can't understand what they've been though and there could be many, many good and difficult choices they've made that we don't see. I've told my kids many times that if they see me make a little white lie and they see someone else make a blatant, terrible lie that they can't rightly judge between us because they can't see everything about us. I was raised in a stable home and taught good principles, and what if that other person wasn't? Perhaps they refrained from telling an even worse lie, and that was a greater moral effort than me refraining from telling a worse lie. Does that make sense? IOW, I think it's easier for me to act rightly because of my background, so anything wrong that I do is rightly judged more harshly than someone doing the same wrong thing from a more difficult background.

I hope some of this made sense - let me know if I need to explain it some more.
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby marcuspnw » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:08 pm

Rian wrote:
It's hard to explain; it's kind of a process of many years of thought. I'll just throw some thoughts down for you here.

I grew up as a "good girl" pretty much; was pretty sheltered and never got into much trouble. As a child, you tend see things in black and white, and I categorized people as "good" or "bad". Although I grew up going to church, I didn't become a Christian until my mid-teens. That was when the concept of God loving every person first really came together for me, although I still saw people generally in terms of "good people" and "bad people". While in college, I ended up in a legalistic Christian group and that concept was reinforced (although not overtly). Legalism is a cold, killing thing, and although I learned some good things, I thank God he brought me out of it (although I also thank Him he let me go into it because I learned about it from the inside. I don't think God's purpose is to give us a trouble-free, pain-free life; I think it's that He walks this life with us, including its pain-filled and troubled times, and redeems it).

In those years since college, God has grown my heart a lot. I'd say my major character flaws are laziness :D and self-centeredness, and I'm so grateful at how much God has opened my heart up to love others more. Often this has happened though pain; in my 20's, I contracted the illness that took away my good health, and every day is physically a struggle and filled with pain, and I've had to give up things that I love, such as hiking in Yosemite, my favorite place on earth (think of a bad case of the flu you've had, with fatigue and pain - that's what I feel like every day, and I have to push through it every day). Having to deal with that issue got rid of a lot of my pride, and pride is certainly a love-killer. It softened my heart up and let love quietly grow and grow (this probably sounds kinda stupid, but it's hard to put into words!).

Anyway, eventually I lost that black-and-white viewpoint and saw people as basically just the same as I was, even the Hitlers of the world. Who knows how I would have reacted in his place? Who knows what pains and heartaches and difficulties they've had the made them make that horrible decision, and who could say that I wouldn't have acted the same way? I think there are many, many Hitlers in the world right now, and the only reason we don't hear of them is they don't have the power that he had. IOW, there could be a grandma somewhere that is just like Hitler except she doesn't have the power base he did so she can't affect millions. Does that make sense?

So basically, if God loves me, and I believe He does because I see it in His word and in His actions on the cross, I can see how He can love anyone. And I think that everyone is created in the image of God - we all love, create, will, laugh, cry, desire, get angry - and we are inherently beautiful because we were created by a master artist, and I can just see it - I can see beauty in everyone. And it's a tragedy when we go wrong. I think of a person that has done terrible things as a masterpiece that has been damaged, not as something bad. So I've heard some people on the board here talk as if there are people that are beneath our love and respect, and I think that's wrong. I think everyone deserves love, and everyone deserves some level of respect, because we don't know their lives and what has happened that we can't see and that might have made us act the same way. I also think that we have a meaningful amount of free will (which is an incredible and amazing gift) and that our brave and courageous and loving actions earn us or make us lose respect, but that even in the worst person, there is some amount of respect that they deserve, especially because we can't understand what they've been though and there could be many, many good and difficult choices they've made that we don't see. I've told my kids many times that if they see me make a little white lie and they see someone else make a blatant, terrible lie that they can't rightly judge between us because they can't see everything about us. I was raised in a stable home and taught good principles, and what if that other person wasn't? Perhaps they refrained from telling an even worse lie, and that was a greater moral effort than me refraining from telling a worse lie. Does that make sense? IOW, I think it's easier for me to act rightly because of my background, so anything wrong that I do is rightly judged more harshly than someone doing the same wrong thing from a more difficult background.

I hope some of this made sense - let me know if I need to explain it some more.


I think I understand. Your experiences and beliefs have led you to these conclusions.

Humans have basic rights even if they commit monstrous acts and I would treat them fairly but I don't feel compelled to love or respect them. People have rights because they are humans and we desire to live in a civilized society.
So Rian, if you want to love and respect everyone, then go ahead. You are well within your rights and I would defend your choices.

But I don't think of love or respect as substances so I don't understand what a minimal level would be. Love and respect are emotional behaviors; they are actions and feelings. We generate them or we don't.
When someone expresses the strengths or depths of those feelings, I understand those descriptions as communicating the intimacy and longevity of a relationship or expressing need or desire.
Hitler was loved and respected. Some still do admire him. Stalin was a father. He is respected by some. Ted Bundy was loved by his parents, etc. People can do evil and still engage in loving, respectful relationships.
But I would disagree that we are mandated to love or respect everyone and as you say, we experience some type of free will or desire to have the right to choose and decide for ourselves.

I'm not convinced that the Christian God loves everyone. One can cite verses like John 3:16 (although the word is translated as world not humanity) but there are Biblical passages such as Romans 9:10-18.
I'm also uncertain that Christians are bound by duty to love universally.
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Re: Does Hitler deserve love and respect?

Postby Chapabel » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:11 am

Moonwood the Hare wrote:That's interesting Chap. The Bible does not seem to me to say that God loves people because they deserve it but in spite of the fact that they do not.

I wasn't speaking on God's behalf. I was speaking from a human position. God loves all people regardless. Humans deserve love from other humans.
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