But didn’t Hitler grow up to be Hitler?

The quondam next Hitler

Low hanging fruit today, but here’s Televangelist Pat Robertson’s advice to the mother who just lost her baby:

As far as God’s concerned, He knows the end from the beginning and He sees a little baby and that little baby could grow up to be Adolf Hitler, he could grow up to be Joseph Stalin, he could grow up to be some serial killer, or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease. God sees all of that, and for that life to be terminated while he’s a baby, he’s going to be with God forever in Heaven so it isn’t a bad thing.

Look Lady, on the bright side, at least you’re child wasn’t the next Hitler. I think Rev. Robertson might have borrowed from this video.

5 thoughts on “But didn’t Hitler grow up to be Hitler?”

  1. What? That doesn’t even have any internal consistency; if God could see that Hitler and Stalin would grow up to be Hitler and Stalin, and allowed that to happen*, why would he decide that her baby was worth stopping?

    Not to mention the insensitivity it takes to suggest to a woman who’s just lost her baby that it was probably going to grow up to be a mass-murderer, so it’s better that it’s dead.
    * On the other hand, maybe Hitler was allowed to live because God knew he would grow up to be the person who would rid the world of Adolph Hitler.

  2. For centuries, many of the world’s greatest religious thinkers have struggled with theodicy, and none has produced a compelling explanation. While it is possible that a Pat Robertson in a room full of religious thinkers, or George Will in a room full of climate scientists, might produce an insight that astounds and amazes everybody else in the room, I’m not thinking that the odds of that happening are very good….

    Did Pat Robertson just make an inadvertent case for euthanasia — more than that, for proactive euthanasia based upon prenatal screening that indicates that, if born, a baby will die of a hideous disease? If he were capable of composing an internally consistent argument, I would love to hear him explain his ‘thinking’ about why God would choose to spare some babies that pain, yet inflict short and horrible lives on others.

  3. Interesting point Aaron–it seems the operative feature, for whatever it’s worth, is knowledge. Since God knows what will become of some child in the future, then God has justification (on some kind of greater good approach?) for aborting, I mean, allowing the child to die. I suppose there’s also the question as to whether God knows these things counter-factually (If allowed to live, then x would the next Stalin, a job reserved for someone else, etc.). I’m not even sure (because I’ve not thought about it) that God would know counter-factuals as counter-factuals (I’ll have to think about this). I can imagine some saying such knowledge is obviously had by God;, but, on the other hand, part of the difficulty of this question concerns our inability to fathom the way God knows things (all in a single instant). If only Robertson had elaborated!

  4. The part of Robertson’s response that precedes this excerpt is also noteworthy. He effectively says that anything bad is the fault of people and everything good is God’s doing. In his view, God does not cause medical malpractice. (He also says that we have come to learn this over time, but how did we learn this? Did God reveal it to only the special people? I missed the memo.) This leads me to infer that it must be the fault of humanity that we let Hitler be born and live when he did.

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