Okay, so it’s not apologetics per se, but here are two of the twentieth century’s most notably passionate children of ideology — in stark contrast.
Observation of these two contemporaries in time and culture presents a stunning case in the power of ideology. Both were massive personalities and passionate fighters for the cause they held dear. One died for what (or rather WHOM) he believed, the other killed for what he believed and ultimately consumed himself.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyr, Lutheran pastor, theologian and author died at the hands of his brutal Nazi captors just days before WWII ended. He acted on his deep convictions about life, meaning, ethics, faith and it cost him his life.
But he holds a place so rich, so endearing, it is almost breathless to consider.
Heinrich Himmler, Nazi politician, police administrator, and military commander who became the second most powerful man in the Third Reich, was captured by Allied forces near the end of the war and took his own life by suicidal poisoning. He acted on his deep convictions about life, meaning, ethics (eugenics) and faith. It cost the life of millions.
He holds a place so haunting, so dark, so tyrannical, it is synonymous with evil itself.
How could these two be so close in terms of the culture in which they were raised, and yet so vivid a contrast regarding the effect of their lives?
Always, the beautifying or brutalizing power of ideology.
Bonhoeffer is emblematic of this reality — transcendent thinking does not equal irrelevant thinking. Few thinkers of the twentieth century model relevance more than Bonhoeffer. While you and I might not agree with every position he took, few can emulate his courage. He thought “outside the box” and followed his faith and thought with action — the action of a lion-hearted hero, yet gentle as a lamb — unless your name was Adolph.
But like Himmler, our own culture’s love-affair with destructive ideologies will consume us as well in the brutal end.
“…that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…and having done all, TO STAND” -Ephesians 6:13