Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hitler a Christian?

ChooseDoubt seems to think so.

That cracks me up. The guy goes to church and all of a sudden he's giving full assent to Christ's substitutionary atonement for his sins and a promise to repent of murder and stuff. ChooseDoubt is accusing Hitler of being not just a genocidal madman, not just a freak, not just pretty much the most worthily vilified person the world has ever known, but also a hypocrite! That's just piling on.

So, I have proposed this as a synthesis of what he's presented and the significant amount of conflicting facts out there:

Hitler was a madman who was heavily into a sort-of self-theistic mythological megalomania.
So maybe it's not a great idea to call him an atheist, I can see that maybe. It's worth a different discussion.
But just b/c Hitler appeared in churches doesn't make him a Christian. That's pretty silly. I myself have been known to frequent coffeehouses. That doesn't make me a French skeptic. It means I like what the coffeehouse provides - good coffee. Similarly, Hitler liked what going to church provided - psychological power over a religious populace.

12 comments:

Lucian said...

psychological power over a religious populace.

Ah, yes ... "the opium of the masses" ... say no more! :D

chooseDoubt said...

I just posted three links. Blow up at the evidence, not at me. Stalin was one of ours, an atheist. Hitler was one of yours, a Christian. What does it mean?

It means religious belief alone is not a perfect indicator of someone's morality. That tells us that religion, nor atheism, is the cause of morality. And that tells us that we'd better look at the facts - not the fantasy. And that tell us to look at the evidence. And that, finally, leaves a choice between reality based judegments and deciding on pure fantasy. It's amazing how these things chain together. All that from a silly little man, become a vicious, genocidal bastard who just happened to play for your team.

Stalin doesn't undermine my lack of faith like Hitler can undermine your abundance.

EgoMakarios said...

I read part of a book called something like Hitler and the churches, when I was bored once at college in the library. According to it, Hitler said "There is no God but Germany and no gospel but the will of the German people." Quote from memory.

John Morales said...

Fascism, communism, religion*.

Political and religious ideologies both are enablers for excesses, as history demonstrates.

* of whatever flavour.

Rhology said...

Matt M said:
What's interesting is that his references to Christianity differ depending on whether it's a public or private statement.

It's not only interesting but very telling as well.

CD said:
Blow up at the evidence, not at me.

Sorry, I missed the part where I blew up at all.
And you've presented some evidence. So did I. The rational thing to do is to change one's position to fit ALL the evidence rather than just some of it.

All that from a silly little man, become a vicious, genocidal bastard who just happened to play for your team.

Who pretended to play for my team. Remember, evidence. Did you even look at what I said?

Stalin doesn't undermine my lack of faith like Hitler can undermine your abundance.

1) Hitler wasn't a Christian, so this statement doesn't even get off the ground.
2) I'm sure he doesn't but it should give you pause.
3) I'm not sure what you mean by "abundance" but even if Hitler never made the statements he did about wanting to stamp out Christianity, etc, I see no reason to accept him as a Christian just based on the fact that he talked a Christian line sometimes and went to church and met with cardinals and bowed his head in prayer and such. Christianity includes the doctrine of the sanctification of the true believer, and someone who's being sanctified doesn't murder millions of people.


John Morales said:
Political and religious ideologies both are enablers for excesses

1) How do you define "excess" in your POV?
2) Are you saying you have no political nor religious ideology at all?
3) I'm sure you have at least some ideology; wouldn't you then agree that the CONTENT of the ideology is what matters, rather than the fact that one holds to an ideology?
4) What in Christian doctrine, if the hypothetically 100% consistent person held exclusively to the Christian worldview and always acted consistently with it, would lead to a violent excess as you seem to imply?



Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Rhology,
1) Wars, thought police, gulags/concentration camps, purges, torture chambers. All historically employed by the three I mentioned.
2) No.
3) No. How one interprets ideology appears more important than its contents.
4) See 3.

Re 3: How come there are Christians in the US Army (volunteers therefore) when, as I understand it, they should (a) not be killing (OT) and (b) be turning the other cheek and forgiving their enemies (NT).

Rhology said...

Hey John,

1) On what basis are these "excess"? (Not that I disagree, I'm just curious where you're getting that if not just personal preference.)
2) OK. Didn't think so, just wondering.
3) In terms of how people act, I can see what you're saying. Contents matter too, though, and I'm sure you agree.

Re re 3 ;-) - Christians aren't supposed to MURDER.
The 'turn the other cheek' thing refers to insults to one's honor (how do you get slapped on the right-cheek by a soldier who fights right-handed? If he backhands you), not military service. Romans 13 and 1 Peter are much more applicable to such questions.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

They're excesses because the responses are disproportionate to the perceived provocation.

John Morales said...

re: 3
Romans 13:9-10 seems relevant but 1 Peter?

Anyway, the question stands, unless it is not murder if you're ordered by a superior to kill someone? Like a soldier shipped to wherever might be?

Rhology said...

Hey John,

1 Peter 2 ("honor the king") in particular, but much of the book is on submission to authorities, though they persecute the church.
If you're ordered by a superior to MURDER someone, the Christian would be obligated to obey God rather than men. Combat is not murder, as I'm sure you would agree.

Michael Gormley said...

The Führer once told his secretary that during one of the regular beatings given him by his father he was able to stop crying, to feel nothing, and even to count the thirty-two blows he received.

In this way, by totally denying his pain, his feelings of powerlessness, and his despair- in other words, by denying the truth -Hitler made himself into a master of violence and of contempt for human beings.

The result was a very primitive person, incapable of any empathy for other people. He was mercilessly and constantly driven to new destructive acts by his latent feelings of hatred and revenge.

After millions had been forced to die for this reason, those feelings still haunted him in his sleep. Hermann Rauschning reports nocturnal paroxysms of screaming on the Führer's part, along with "inexplicable counting", which I trace back to the counting he did during the beatings of his childhood.

Hitler did not invent fascism; he found it, like so many of his contemporaries) prefigured in the totalitarian regime of his family. The National Socialist version of fascism, however, does bear unmistakable traces of Hitler's childhood.

But his early experience was by no means an exception. Thus, neither Gerhart Hauptmann nor Martin Heidegger nor many other celebrated intellects of the day were able to see through Hitler's madness. To do so, they would have had to be able to see through the madness of their own upbringing.

For Your Own Good: Hidden cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1983

Michael Gormley said...

Hitler's religious beliefs and fanaticism (quotes from Mein Kampf)

Hitler wrote: "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."

As a boy, Hitler attended to the Catholic church and experienced the anti-Semitic attitude of his culture.

In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler reveals himself as a fanatical believer in God and country.