p18 – This chapter starts out with a historical letter from one of the British soldiers who liberated the concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen. It is difficult to comment on this section because in no way would I want my comments to be read as about that historical time. My comments are about Bell’s interpretation…and he quickly writes something simply confusing.
p19 – Bell writes that “a concentration camp is designed to strip people of their humanity.” Then he writes, “it’s anti-human.” I don’t know whether I agree or disagree with the second of these statements. I haven’t thought about it, but I am inclined to agree. The first of these statements, though, is simply not careful enough. To claim that something was designed for a certain purpose implies knowledge about the intentions of its creator. I don’t know what the intentions of the creator of the concentration camps were, but I also have no indication that Bell knows. He makes a HUGE claim without citing any evidence. Again, this is sloppy and verging on the edge of being dangerous. At any rate, it is irresponsible. With great power (which Bell has) comes great responsibility (something that he seems to wield carelessly).
p19 – “And in the Scriptures, anything that’s anti-human is anti-God.” The problem is, the phrase “anti-human” is nowhere in the Scriptures. I’m not exactly sure what Bell means by it, in fact. This isn’t exactly a big deal, except that he labels it as a scriptural idea. To me, “anti-human” sounds like a humanistic idea. There are surely overlaps between humanistic ideas and ideas we find in scripture, but there are also important differences.
p19 and 20 – Bell tries to set up the distinction between people and not people by pointing out that people are created in God’s image and nothing else is, and also by pointing out examples in which people are regarded as things when we, who are empathetic, understand that they should, in fact, be regarded as the people. Bell again seems to blur the line between empirical evidence and truth. One is gathered through observation and the other is received through revelation. One says something about my perception of the world and may or may not have anything to do with things in themselves, and the other (revelation) is a bridge between us and God and because it partakes of God’s vantage point, says something about things in reality, and in this case, something pretty deep about reality, how God made people. Both avenues are fine to use and explore, but Bell leaves the lines blurred so both types of proof seem to stand on the same ground when they most certainly do not. This is dangerous: it leads me to think my perceptions and feelings about things hit on something true (they may or may not) and places the Bible on the same level as “how I feel about it.” Careful.