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A shocking lack of knowledge about the Holocaust: How to build on a foundation of truth amidst a sea of lies

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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A recent survey revealed a disturbing trend with regards to awareness of basic facts about the Holocaust among young people in America. 

More than one of every ten people among the millennial and Z generations, for example, believe that the Holocaust was caused by the Jewish people rather than Hitler and the Nazis

Nearly one in five of those in New York, the state with the highest Jewish population in the country, believed that fallacy. 

Of those surveyed, 63 percent did not know that roughly six million Jews died during the Holocaust, while 48 percent of millennials and Gen Z failed to name a single Nazi death camp or ghetto from that period in history. 

Where is your foundation of truth?

Given that roughly half of young people reported seeing Holocaust denial and distortion online or through social media, the lack of knowledge against which they can test that misinformation is truly frightening. 

It points to a reality in which the number of those who have seen wrong information about the Holocaust online is probably far higher, but they just didn’t know enough to recognize what they saw as false. 

Whether it’s conspiracy theories, misleading headlines, or misrepresentation of facts, if we lack a basic foundation of truth then falling for lies and deception is inevitable.  

That’s why Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Mount with a parable about the importance of building our lives on the rock of his word rather than the sandy beaches of the world (Matthew 7:24–27). 

Remember, though: the way we build our homes on the rock is not just by hearing his words but by then putting them into action as well (Matthew 7:24). Both groups in his story heard the same truths, but it was only those who then acted upon them that were protected. 

If we want to live under the protection of God’s truth today, we must do the same.  

Spending time reading the Bible is a great place to start, but learning to go through the day in constant communication with the Lord is a necessary step as well. If we can get into the habit of believing something only after we’ve prayed about it, then we’ll stand a much better chance of discerning fact from fiction in our everyday interactions. 

So the next time you get ready to pull up social media or engage in a conversation with someone, take a minute to pray first and ask the Lord to help you distinguish the truth from the lies.

With your feet set on a firm foundation, the world’s lies won’t pull you under.

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