Every day a train brings them to a little station. Carload after carload of people get out, thirsty and fearful. Some soldiers and guards are there to herd them in with shouts and threats. Soon the train goes away and all is quiet. Surrounding everything is a sea of grass — fields of farmland and meadows near the sky. It is almost peaceful, this remote corner of a forgotten part of the earth.
Inside the camp, an officer speaks. “You're here to work for our soldiers fighting at the front. Those who can work will be all right. We need masons, electricians, all the trades.” Pointing to a short man in the crowd, “What's your trade?” The man says, “Mr. Officer, I'm a tailor.” “A tailor? What kind of tailor?” “A man's ... no, for both men and women.” “Wonderful. We need people like you in our workshops.” Then he questions a woman. “What's your trade?” “Nurse,” she replies. “Splendid! We need nurses in our hospitals for our soldiers. We need all of you! But first undress. You must be disinfected. We want you healthy.”
Some hurry to obey, others hesitate. An impatient guard lets a dog go and it tears at a small girl's arm. In an effort to rescue her, a young man grabs a cane from a man close by and clubs the dog furiously. He is knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of the head. When he awakes, he is in a small room. An officer stands there and begins to question him:
Why did you try to help that little girl? Didn't you know it was futile?
She was innocent. It's not right to hurt an innocent child.
But it's not worth risking your life for something as worthless as a child.
Yes it is. Human beings are precious.
So. You think a human life has value?
Yes. Tremendous value.
An average human being is only worth two dollars. The gold fillings in their teeth and their eyeglasses are worth more than that. We get a few pennies worth of shoe leather from them or maybe a linen shirt, or a coat. Everything else is quite worthless.
I am not a materialist. Human beings are worth far more than their clothes or the chemicals that compose them.
How can you prove there is more to a human being than that?
My God says there is...
I don't believe in your God.
... and I know there is, too. I know it from deep within.
From deep within? You've been trained to think that way by your religion. It's how you've grown up. If you had been raised in India, you wouldn't think the way you do. You'd be worshipping a cow.
Man's conscience knows the truth. We know how we should treat one another. Every time we hurt another human being, our conscience tells us so. We sense it deep down inside.
No, men treat one another the way they do out of fear. Fear of being punished, fear of being hurt, fear of losing something they really want. Men will do anything if there is someone holding a gun to their head.
Some men won't. Some men care more about their conscience than they do about life itself.
Why? There is nothing greater than life itself. No one wants to die.
True. No one wants to die. But there is something worse than death. There is God's judgment. That is why He gave man a conscience, so that men could obey and not be condemned in the judgment.
That's just what you believe. I don't believe in God, or a judgment, or a conscience.
That is why you are the most to be pitied. You've been deceived and you don't even know it. All the lies you've swallowed have made you an enemy of the Creator.
I know when I've been lied to and I know when I haven't. I can judge that.
No you can't. You don't know the difference between the truth and a lie. Your conscience is no longer working properly. You've violated it and now your reasoning is leading you astray.
My mind guides me in all that I do. What I do makes perfect sense to me.
It only makes sense because you've pushed the truth out of your mind. You live by brute instinct, like an animal. You've given up the most precious part of your humanity.
I am not convinced by anything you say. I heard things like this all my life and it hasn't made me want to believe in what you say. But because you are different than most, I will let you live. All you need to do is agree to obey all the rules.
What are the rules?
The rules are simple: Do what you are told. Survive, no matter what the cost.
I can't live like that. It is not worth it. To obey your rules would destroy my conscience.
The world is like a death camp. Sooner or later we will all die or be killed. Try as we might to escape, our fate is inevitable; it is just a matter of time before it happens. Who knows when it will be our turn? One thing is certain, though: the only way out is through death.
Some people, like the officer in the story, feel pretty much at home in the death camp. In order to live in the midst of such hideous brutality, the officer had to learn how to deliberately force out of his mind the truth that was right there in front of his eyes. Most of us were like him. We were trained to ignore what we saw in our conscience. We learned how to go against what we knew was right, that basic, fundamental knowledge of how we should treat others. The media, other people, and our own selfish desires conditioned us to think it really didn't matter a whole lot if others wound up worse after having met us. Egged on to live as comfortably as we could, we did whatever felt good, even though we knew it was wrong. Someone had ruined our lives, so we went on to ruin others.
How easy it is to use others and to ruin them for life! How easy it is to exploit someone else for our own gain! Over and over again we do some of the most awful and detestable things to one another and never stop to think of the consequences. Like deadly snakes, we poison one another and deserve the destruction that comes upon us.
Didn't we turn our friends on to drugs? When they fell apart, we watched them waste years bouncing in and out of jobs, relationships, and mental hospitals. How could they ever trust us again? Didn't we look forward to going to college? It was touted as the way to have a comfortable future, living by the least sweat possible. We wanted all the leisure time we could get, but it only brought us further and further into the things that make us ignore our conscience. And along the way, maybe there was an unwanted child somewhere we fostered in a reckless moment of sexual desire or an abortion we caused to take place.
Society is full of people who are just like we were — cynical college professors who make it their lifetime work to convert young people to the same open minded stance they have and leave them as godless and as greedy as they are; homosexuals, insatiable in their lust, who constantly prowl about for some new young flesh to corrupt (this perversion loves to ruin people who haven't yet been ruined); used car dealers and advertisers who pass off shoddy products to a public that's been lied to so much they don't even know what is good; doctors who'll write out a prescription for any kind of drug people want to make them feel good, even though they know it won't really help them; or dentists who recommend expensive work to be done just to maintain their affluent lifestyle. We live in the midst of a godless system where honesty matters very little and selfishness reigns supreme. Isn't it clear why, when you go against your conscience and do such things, you deserve the punishment that comes upon you?
It's not hard for me to understand why so many people live this way. I did so for many years. Life seemed senseless and useless. All the work I ever did seemed like a waste of time. Even my fellow human beings seemed to be nothing more than highly evolved animals. I never really considered that they were made in God's image.
I could never figure out why people wanted to work so hard for money, since life was so short. The clock was ticking; time was running out. All that mattered to me was to have fun and enjoy my few short years in the death camp as best I could. Life didn't seem to be fair.
Perhaps as you read this, you feel that you are really like the young man in the story. Are you able to live like him? He lived by his conscience; do you? He treated others with respect; how do you treat others? His self sacrifice was heroic; what is your life like? Maybe at times you feel you could do something like he did, dying for something noble, for something you really believe in. But have you considered what that means, or what it would require? Day after day, you would have to consistently live by your conscience in every circumstance, without fail. Only then would you have the confidence in a life or death situation to choose what was right. Only then would you be able to hold fast to what you stood by faithfully without compromise. Can you live that way?
We couldn't. We found ourselves on a road that came to an abrupt end. Blocking our path was a huge rock. It was too high to go over, too wide to go around, and too deep to go under. We tried kicking it. It didn't move. We hit it with our fists. Nothing happened. We felt helpless, like being caught in the open in a sudden storm.
That's why we offer you this hope. If you have been living like someone in a death camp, if you haven't listened to your conscience or been concerned about God, there is hope. Even if nothing matters to you and your thoughts have only been on yourself and your own pleasure, there is hope. For all those who are miserable and desperate, there is someone who can save you from the death all around. It is our Master Yahshua. He saved us when we were helpless. He rescued us from the storm and brought us to a place of peace.