|Written by||Brigitte Auer|
|Published on||November 4, 2011|
180 Film: You like Hitler? You don’t believe in God? Good chance you are pro-abortion then!
“Have you heard of Adolf Hitler?” – “No.” – “You don’t know who he is?” – “No.”
“He was kind of a president.” – “He had a moustache.” – “He was a communist leader in Germany.” – “An actor or someone.” …
Ray Comfort nearly had me there. And then he made me angry. Very angry. To the point where I’m actually not sure wheter to write a single sentence about this piece of election propaganda or just keep quiet – as bad publicity is still better than no publicity. To put my conclusio in the beginning: my biggest problem with this documentary is not the foreshortened editing Comfort makes in his and his believe’s favour, not the pseudo-logical take with which he lures his not quite eloquent interviewees towards his goal and not even the missing counter arguments or opposite opinions a fair and objectively weighed film would need. The point that (unfortunately) gets my emotions boiling over is that you can NOT compare abortion to the Holocaust (being the term he uses for what might be more correctly called the Shoah). It does not matter wheter you personally are pro-joice or pro-life (or anti-abortion if you will) – to call abortion a modern Holocaust is simply a cruel ridiculing of what happend to the millions of jewish, gipsy, homosexual, socialist, communist or in any other way different or defamed people who had to die or suffer during the Nazi regime. It was of course by far not the only atrocity in the cruel history of this planet, but to put the word Holocaust so easily in another context is mocking the destiny and memory of the dead and those who survived alike – especially when talking in the name of God.
So much for my initial emotional response. Let’s now revisit the path this film takes in terms of telling its story. Ray Comfort is a Christian preacher and also mentions to have jewish ancestry – wheter he tells the audience that to gain credibility for the cause to follow is uncertain. He starts by asking mainly adolescent people of different ethnic backgrounds if they know who Adolf Hitler was and gets mostly shockingly ignorant answers. Those who forget history are bound to repeat it, Comfort reminds the audience rightly. Of course we don’t know how many people the preacher really interviewed in the course of making this film, we don’t know the answers they gave and how many of those didn’t have a “180” – the change of heart he so famously advertises. But he managed to gain sympathy within the initial moments of the film. After diving a bit more into the history of WWII he offers thought experiments: if you had the possibility of killing Hitler, would you have done it and thereby prevent the killings of millions? And what if 30 years earlier there was the chance to kill Hitler’s pregnant mother? Would you still do it? These questions of consciense are not easily replied to aswell are those about to follow, for example if you’d rather kill or be killed yourself.
One of the things that produce a bitter reflux is that the only contrast given to those people who let themselves be stirred in the direction Comfort wants, are two neo-Nazis full of hatred who are not only morons (which they are to an extent I can’t depict in only a matter of words) but – and here’s the crux – they don’t believe in God. And to stress it more firmly they are the only ones in the film who really clarify not having faith in a higher power, whichever name you might give it. And so the feeling lingers that not only are those Nazis Atheists but that Atheists might be evil for lack of a moral code – the Ten Commandments to be precise. Of course our preacher does not put it in those exact words but by analogy of quoting Hitler about his low esteem for Christianity (in fact a misquote though not wrong in its content) and by those two human examples of the worst kind of non-believers we are led to feel that value of life and a sense of right and wrong are only possible if you believe in God.
After the first mind experiments the questions get trickier. Back to choosing your own life over the lives of others: you value human life, so what about abortion? Comfort asks the people if they think it’s a baby, a “life” one is killing in an abortion. Most of them admit they are not sure. So Comfort gives an analogy: you’re a construction worker and you’re going to blow up this building. There’s a possibility, there’s someone in there, but you just don’t know … Don’t be mistaken, those are valid questions, but Ray Comfort is not looking for valid answers. If he were, he would have interviewed doctors, scientists maybe even philosophers because it’s not a question of killing “life” as the definition of life, consciousness, connections of nerves etc. is given (or is up for debate if you beg to differ), but the equally difficult and important question of preventing a human being from, well, being. But while at this particular course of argumentation – and unfortunately Comfort doesn’t share his point of view on that subject – what about birth control? What about those billions, trillions, quadrillions of lives that didn’t have a chance to dip into existence? As mentioned before, it is propaganda and not documentary to deny the audience counter opinions and especially expert opinions. Ray Comfort is well prepared in answering raised concerns like being raped and pregnant as a result of that (“why should the child be punished for the crime of the father?”) or the possibility of a child born with disabilities. The interviewees are not prepared and are not really thinking that fast on their feet. In the end there is no answer what to do for example if the health of the mother were to be risked because of her pregnancy. Aborting a child is the path to hell (see mentioned Commandments) we learn. But is killing Hitler’s pregnant mother the answer to preventing the Holocaust, is it murder or even Holocaust itself then? Unfortunately Ray Comfort doesn’t give us the answer to that.
Documentary.net says: Make up your own minds about this film but bear in those same minds the concerns about the methods preacher Comfort uses to make ends meet.