Friday, July 11, 2014

Hitler and Stalin: Do We Really Believe in "Judge Not"?

I need to emphasize right at the beginning of this post that I am inclined to believe that Hitler and Stalin will not be in the Celestial Kingdom. However, I have to leave open the possibility that they will - simply because I believe deeply in the concept of, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." It's much less about their eventual fate and much more about my current condition. It's not what becomes of them; it's what "I am and become". It's staying open to accepting that which I can't see - and, in some cases, what I can't imagine.

I don't know what caused people like Hitler and Stalin to be who they were - and I personally have to remember that simple fact.

We talk all the time about those who are not accountable being saved from their lack of accountability. We apply it without reservation to children and the mentally disabled, but we often are less willing to apply it to the "perceptually disabled" - those who have ears and eyes to hear and see but can't do so in the way we want. The best example I know is the psychopath.

We readily admit that there are people who appear to have been born without a conscience. If, in fact, that is true, then I include that condition in the same category as someone who is born "retarded" (the accepted term from my youth), like one of my cousins. The foundational reason why we exempt my cousin from accountability is that he lacks the ability to understand, independently and internally, the difference between right and wrong with regard to most things. In "Mormon-speak", his "obstacle to accountability" can be described as a result of "Adam's transgression"; hence, we teach that he is "redeemed" despite his inability to understand, since his limitations were not of his own choosing and are outside his ability to control and change.

Perhaps Hitler, Stalin, Dahmer, were just like my cousin - except that their unchosen disabilit(ies) were manifested in evil instead of gentleness and love. Maybe they lacked the ability to feel the type of remorse that leads to repentance. Maybe they are examples of the need for opposition in all things - and, as opposite ends of the same condition, merely represent the touching points of an eternal round.

I have no idea about each individual person, but I like the idea that all of us are on the same circle when it comes to accountability (that all of us are sinners and fall short of the glory of God and, thus, need salvation and redemption) - since it means all of us are more alike than different when all is said and done. That belief helps blunt my natural pride and helps remind me that I'm not really "all that" - except in the eyes of a loving Father.

1 comment:

Molly said...

It's funny that I was just thinking about this concept the other day. I think Hitler and others who committed great evil CAN be saved. But since they will be the same person in the next life (although without any handicaps, as you describe), I don't know if they will be humble enough or willing enough to repent.

At least, that's how I justify their future as very dim stars in the Telestial realm. I don't want to share a street in heaven with Pol Pot!