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I'm taking a few statements from Christian belief:

1) Christianity does not advocate reincarnation.

2) The Christian God is the one true God/Saviour.

3) God loves all beings.

So...if He is the one true, omnipotent, benevolent God, then He should help or save innocent people.

And since reincarnation is not a thing, only 'sins' from this life count. (So one can't blame a previous birth's karma like Hindus do).

On this basis why didn't God save the thousands of innocent young holocaust victims some of whom were too young or didn't commit significant crimes?

How do Christians justify their God not helping innocents who were mercilessly killed in World War 2?

closed as off-topic by Bread, curiousdannii, Eliran, Jishin Noben, Alexander Gegg Apr 24 at 22:45

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  • Were you talking about help in the sense of "getting them out of that terrible situation" or help in the sense of "providing an eternal home of peace and happiness for their souls"? – elliot svensson Apr 17 '18 at 19:31
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this belongs on Christianity SE. – MichaelK Apr 17 '18 at 20:11
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    @MichaelK Really? It seems appropriate for this Philosophy.SE. It's essentially asking how a Christian might respond to the Problem of Evil, a problem which is certainly falls in the domain of philosophy. – Eli Bashwinger Apr 17 '18 at 20:44
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    By some of these ideas of God it makes no sense that there is so much suffering in the world, but there are notions of God whereby suffering is not real and insofar as it seems to exist would be beneficial in the long-term. Every parent knows about 'tough love'. One solution is to say that suffering is unreal but must be suffered as real until we realise this, Then suffering becomes a motive for acquiring knowledge of Truth and Reality and thus the end of suffering. Many people attest to the effectiveness of this approach and speak of having acquired a suit of armour in respect of suffering. – PeterJ Apr 18 '18 at 14:48
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    Is this question, as phrased, any different from the standard Problem of Evil, which is "If God has traits A, B, and C, how could he possibly permit undesirable things X, Y, and Z?" If it is the same problem, would references to the countless musings on said problem be of use as an answer? – Cort Ammon Apr 19 '18 at 6:27
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If you are asking about what happens during natural life on Earth, Christianity doesn't say that God's help means a person will be successful, wealthy, and at ease. On the contrary, Christianity's major founders all suffered very much for their faith during natural life on Earth.

Christians believe that God will make perfect justice later. When they talk about salvation and being saved, Christians are most often talking about the afterlife, the state or place you go to when you die that is not here on earth.

Back to your question: there is no Christian doctrine that "these people will not be saved." Christian writing person William Lane Craig asserts that a person certainly might be saved through his response to knowledge that he has apart from special revelation (e.g. without reading or hearing about the Bible). (Link to Christian Particularism, "No Other Name" by William Lane Craig)

This was the condition of a fictional character in C.S. Lewis' allegorical fantasy, "The Last Battle" (book VII in The Chronicles of Narnia) named Emeth. Emeth was a follower of a different religion (with a real demigod) who was in the end accepted by Aslan, the God of this series.

Indeed, this was also written in the Bible where the apostle Paul talks about Gentiles (i.e. non-Jews) in their intuitive awareness of true morality:

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:14-16, NASB

Jesus gave strict instructions to Christians not to condemn other people, over and over again (Matthew 7, Luke 6:37). He even said that if you condemn a person, that is, if you hold another person's sins against them and withhold forgiveness from them yourself, that you can't receive his forgiveness (see the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9-15).*

As C.S. Lewis put it in his book "The Problem of Pain":

There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.

And as William Lane Craig wrote in "No Other Name":

Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God's unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ's person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have. Perhaps some will be saved through such a response; but on the basis of Scripture we must say that such "anonymous Christians" are relatively rare.

What about infants and children?

Here's what William Lane Craig said:

I think in the case of infants, our hope is simply that not having reached the age of accountability, God’s grace will be extended to them in the way that Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-15)

Link to William Lane Craig - Defenders Podcast Transcription - "What about babies that die?"

* Footnote: As Christian author David Powlison wrote in "Good & Angry", your forgiveness of somebody else between you and God is always required. But it is not always required, possible, or even safe(!) to restore a relationship directly with a person, which is the other kind of forgiveness. Somebody named Rick Thomas wrote about this distinction, naming the two types "Attitudinal Forgiveness" and "Transactional Forgiveness".

  • +1 Very nice answer. The links and references are definitely appreciated. – Eli Bashwinger Apr 17 '18 at 20:46
  • I could be wrong but I understood the OP to be asking why god is not saving the innocent from death and misery while being alive rather than asking what happens to them after death. – Muschkopp Apr 18 '18 at 10:29
  • That occurred to me, although the OP also wanted more information about a religion that doesn't talk about reincarnation. I will make some improvements... – elliot svensson Apr 18 '18 at 12:10
  • @Muschkopp It's funny you should mention that as I brought up that very point in my answer. – Eli Bashwinger Apr 19 '18 at 21:06
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J. L. Mackie argued something similar in 1955 that the evil empirically evident in the world contradicts the existence of a God who is omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent. Alvin Plantinga, a Christian philosopher, provided what is known as “The Free Will Defense” that Mackie accepted in 1982. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga%27s_free_will_defense

This would be one way Christians justify their God. Here is a video giving the details of this justification: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tLRO8_qRI

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As the two other answers suggest (Frank Hubeny's and Elliot Svensson's), there is, perhaps, some slight ambiguity in using the word 'save'. If by save you mean preventing their suffering and death, then one response available to the Christian is countering with a free will defense, most notably elaborated by Alvin Plantinga, which Frank Hubeny alluded to.

If instead you mean redeem or extend salvation to, which is the more plausible interpretation given your mention of sin and innocence, then one could deny the presupposition undergirding your question--namely, that God didn't save them. On this interpretation, the Christian might respond by saying, "Given the traditional conception of God as a perfect being which Christians endorse, God is wholly just or fair, so that not extending salvation to such innocent younglings would be unjust and therefore impossible for God to do." This might be deemed a more 'philosophical response', as it doesn't fully appeal to Christian scriptures (it appeals to scriptures insofar as scriptures affirm perfect being theology). Or a Christian might respond by appealing to scripture to explain how exactly one might receive salvation without knowledge of Christ, which Elliot Svensson has nicely outlined for us.

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Leibniz answer is that even a perfect, benevolent God can only make the best possible world. There are several different ways of looking at this:

  • If there are no victims, there would be no heroism. Which is more important? God may surely decide that heroism is more important.

  • There is a tradition in Catholicism of making an offering to God of your strength when you are suffering. For believers in that strain, suffering is not evil, it is an opportunity to value the least things in life, that cannot be taken away, and which you might never otherwise appreciate. The fact that not everyone is able to make that adaptation is also not evil. An opportunity is always good, even if you don't take it.

  • Had the Holocaust never happened, many horrible things might be more easily repeated in the future, and the future is very long. So the good that results may very well outweigh the evil that transpired.

  • We do not know how what we do here affects what might happen eternally, and even without the notion of reincarnation, there may well be greater benefits to suffering now than not doing so. The Gospels make reference to the poor and oppressed "laying up treasure in heaven" and points out that it is much harder for the rich to do well in God's eyes.

  • The rules of life are not fair in human terms, but human terms do not apply. Humans try to be fair to one another because they are incapable of treating every person in an optimal way. We do not know that fairness would be a human value if we had that ability, and we can assume that God does.

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Original Sin

The argument has a flaw

On this basis why didn't God save the thousands of innocent young holocaust victims some of whom were too young/didn't commit significant crimes ?

How do christians justify their God not helping innocents who were mercilessly killed in ww2 ?

The strawman is highlighted in bold.

Although the children are innocent in the sense they have never intended to commit no harm to a person. The vast majority of Christians believe that all children (with one/two exceptions) are all conceived with sin, so the death/suffering of the children would not be a fault on God's part.

Catholicism (majority) teaches this

If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers' wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,--whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. -Council of Trent session 5 decree 1 canon 4

But I said the "vast" majority believe this.

With the Westminister Confession we ca expect to pick up a bigger majority

I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.

II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.

III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

V. This corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, does in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

We can expect the same trend with Calvinism and Lutherism and other denominations.


Eternal Life

so...if He is the one true ,omnipotent,benevolent God,then He should help/save innocent people.

All Christians (that I know of) believe that God does help/save innocent people, maybe sometimes from temporal harm but always from eternal spiritual harm.

There is a litany of bible verses illustrating this, the most well known would be John 3:16

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

Another would be John 11:25-26

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes on me, though he have died, shall live; And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?

The term "innocent" can mean different things to different denominations.

  • +1 Although I like your position, it would be good to have references to point me to more information about your answer. The references help turn the answer into more than an opinion. – Frank Hubeny Apr 19 '18 at 11:46

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