Friday, January 16, 2015

Hitler and religion: Was Hitler Catholic?

Text by apologist Dinesh D'Souza (; Wisdom Quarterly
(Monty Python's Flying Circus) Can satire go too far, or is Hitler's silliness fair game? "I am not a racialist, but -- and this is a big but..." After all, it's not the Catholic Spanish Inquisition.
No atheist: The Fuhrer (bad dictator) was a nominal Christian, but not a "real" Christian?
Hindu-Aryan myth, Neo-Nazis
Leading atheists are arguing that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime were theist and specifically Christian.

Christopher Hitchens in God Is Not Great depicts Hitler as a pagan polytheist -- not exactly a conventional theist but still a theist. Atheist websites routinely claim that Hitler was a Christian because he was born Catholic, he never publicly renounced his Catholicism, and he wrote in Mein Kampf, "By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

Nazi or Christian symbolism?
Atheist writer Sam Harris writes that "the Holocaust marked the culmination of...two hundred years of Christian fulminating against the Jews" and therefore "knowingly or not, the Nazis were agents of religion."
How persuasive are these claims? My New York Times bestseller What's So Great About Christianity has the full story and the requisite citations, but here's the condensed version. Hitler was born Catholic just as Stalin was born into the Russian Orthodox Church and Mao was raised as a [Chinese Mahayana] Buddhist. These facts prove nothing as many people reject their religious upbringing, as these three men [probably] did.

Banner of white supremacy with "Holy Spirit"?
From an early age, historian Allan Bullock writes, Hitler [like most youth] "had no time at all for Catholic teaching, regarding it as a religion fit only for slaves and detesting its ethics."

How then do we account for Hitler's claim that in carrying out his anti-Semitic program he was an instrument of divine providence? During his ascent to power, Hitler needed the support of the German people -- both the Bavarian Catholics and the Prussian Lutherans -- and to secure this he occasionally used rhetoric such as "I am doing the Lord's work."

To claim that this rhetoric makes Hitler a Christian is to confuse political opportunism with personal conviction. Hitler himself says in Mein Kampf ["My Struggle"] that his public statements should be understood as propaganda that bears no relation to the truth but is designed to sway the masses.

The Nazi idea of an Aryan Christ [rather than the North African Jewish Jesus of history] who uses the sword to cleanse the earth of the Jews [and other "undesirables"] -- what historians call "Aryan Christianity" -- was obviously a radical departure from the traditional Christian understanding and was condemned as such by Pope Pius XI at the time. [But then there was "Hitler's Pope," named Pope Pius XII, a Catholic pontiff who supported the Nazis and their worldwide imperial mission, but let's not mention him.]

I'm cool and everyone's gonna like me! (EO)
Moreover, Hitler's anti-Semitism was not religious, it was racial. Jews were targeted not because of their religion -- indeed many German Jews were completely secular in their way of life -- but because of their racial identity. This was an ethnic and not a religious designation. Hitler's anti-Semitism was secular.

Hitler's Table Talk, a revealing collection of the Fuhrer's private opinions, assembled by a close aide during the war years, shows Hitler to be rabidly anti-religious.

He called Christianity one of the great "scourges" of history, and said of the Germans, "Let's be the only people who are immunized against this disease." He promised that "through the peasantry we shall be able to destroy Christianity."

In fact, he blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. He also condemned Christianity for its opposition to evolution.
Hitler lived in Argentina (FBI).
Hitler reserved special scorn for the Christian values of equality and compassion, which he identified with weakness. Hitler's leading advisers like Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, and Bormann were atheists who hated religion and sought to eradicate its influence in Germany.
In his multi-volume history of the Third Reich, historian Richard Evans writes that "the Nazis regarded the churches as the strongest and toughest reservoirs of ideological opposition to the principles they believed in." Once Hitler and the Nazis came to power, they launched a ruthless drive to subdue and weaken the Christian churches in Germany.
Recognizing the absurdity of equating Nazism with Christianity, Christopher Hitchens seeks to push Hitler into the religious camp by portraying his ideology as a "quasi-pagan phenomenon." Hitler may have been a polytheist who worshipped the pagan gods, Hitchens suggests, but polytheism is still theism.

Good Pope Francis is from Argentina.
This argument fails to distinguish between ancient paganism and modern paganism. It's true that Hitler and the Nazis drew heavily on ancient archetypes -- mainly Nordic and Teutonic legends -- to give their vision a mystical aura. But this was secular mysticism, not religious mysticism. More

1 comment:

Gregor G. said...

Maybe Hitler was a superstitious atheist, and the Nazis were setting up a neopagan religion, but what actualy matters is the fact that he was put to power by the christians, and supported almost until the end of the war by the catholic pope.