It’s very, very hard to speak of God’s existence and of human history going according to a divine plan after the Holocaust. In 1945, Theodore Adorno famously said that it’s absurd to write poetry after the Holocaust, and it seems equally absurd, post-Holocaust, to write theology as well.
The Holocaust pretty much killed off the traditional God hypothesis. No contemporary religious apologist should be taken seriously who cannot offer a sane account of the Holocaust as part of a personal God’s plan, and there really is no sane account of this on traditional theistic terms. Whatever is said about the Holocaust and God tends to run pretty quickly to the grotesque and morally repugnant. The Holocaust poses difficulties for theology that are more than just the traditional problem of suffering.
Christians have an especially problematic issue here because the Holocaust was the fruit of Christian antisemitism percolating in Europe for millennia. And the New Testament is full of antisemitic tropes (the Jews were responsible for the death of God; Jews are of the Synagogue of Satan; their hearts are hard; their leadership is corrupt; the Antichrist will be a Jew; God destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD because Jews crucified Christ; Jews spread malicious rumors that Jesus never raised from the dead; Jews were the chief enemies of Paul’s preaching; Jews that don’t convert are going to hell; Jesus supersedes the Jewish law; the temple priests of Jesus’s day were vipers, etc.). Hitler just plucked the low-hanging fruit from the Christian tree of historic Christian antisemitism. It was its logical extension put into a nationalist and bureaucratic context. And a tree is known for its fruit.
How then can anyone use the New Testament, after the Holocaust, as an authority for whether an afterlife exists–or for anything else for that matter? If the New Testament has shown itself so disastrously wrong about the Jews in tone and content–and its subsequent historical effect upon Jews has been so pernicious–how can one any longer seriously appeal to it?
Here’s a book by some Christian intellectuals wrestling with this very issue: