Refuting the Atheist-Hitler Myth

By Michael Sherlock

I am very tired of theists attempting to poison the well of atheism by erroneously asserting that Hitler was an atheist.  Even if he was an atheist, such a fallacious claim would fail to demonstrate that atheism (a lack of belief in gods) was responsible for any of the atrocities committed by Hitler.  Yet, as will be clearly and unequivocally established, Christianity played a pivotal part in the heinous atrocities committed against the Jewish people in World War II.

Hitler was a Christian.  This undeniable fact couldn’t be made any clearer than by his own confessions.  Yet, I will not merely present you with these testimonies, as damning as they happen to be on their own, but I also intend on furnishing you with a brief history of the inherent anti-Semitism of the Christian religion.  I will do so to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that Hitler and his Christian Nazi Party were acting in complete concordance with traditional Christian anti-Semitism.

To begin, here are just a few of Hitler’s Christian confessions:

“Besides that, I believe one thing: there is a Lord God! And this Lord God creates the peoples.”  [1]    ~Adolf Hitler

 “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out” [2]   ~Adolf Hitler


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83 COMMENTS

  1. Stafford Gordon Jan 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    “Gott mit uns” says it all.

    Actually “Gott mit uns” pre-dates the NAZIS but was certainly used with revised belt swastika buckles by them.

    Can I recommend the viewing of Nazi Artifacts, Mementoes, Badges, and flags, with their Xtian links here: http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

    Although Hitler’s inspiration for the Nazi swastika is uncertain, it may have been influenced by the swastika displayed at the Benedictine monastery where Hitler served as an altar boy. Whenever Hitler attened mass, he had to pass beneath the Benedictine swastika graven in the stone escutcheon of the abbey portal. Considering that Hitler once wanted to become a Benedictine monk, it is possible that this swastika stuck in his mind and later influenced his design for the Nazi swastika.

  2. Albert Einstien (sic) was an atheist too. If you google the word atheist under images you will find the most intelligent humans on display.

  3. Considering the fight against the Christian churches on part of Hitler’s adherents, it’s a bit hard (if one cares about facts) to see Hitler as a Christian. He was very good at “god talk” but so are many politicians who really don’t give two cents for religion. Even if he was an atheist, which I doubt, that does not say anything about atheism. Atheism is simply a statement that the supernatural does not exist. It says nothing about how one should live one’s life and gives no insights into a person’s thinking on other subjects.

  4. To me a couple of things about this debate almost never get mentioned is that Hitler could not have come to power without the support of a very large amount of Germans. While Hitler upon ascending to power clearly gained enormous ability to control things if he had not been playing on a base of anti-Semitism in the general population he would have never gotten to the position he did with the views he did.

    Likewise with Stalin. Naming states atheistic once a dictator is power is also ridiculous. Am I really expected to believe that upon Stalin declaring the Soviet Union an Atheistic state that all of a sudden every Russian Orthodox citizen became an atheist?

  5. Not only a Christian mythologist but also followed norse mythology and astrology. Hardly the atheist ideal.

    More to the point his collaboration with the arch fiddler Eugenio Pacelli (later Pious X11) contributed to the rise of Nazi power.

  6. It’s just not worth refuting. it’s like refuting the myth Martin Luther King was a white Icelandic woman. there is no such myth as far as I know but feel free to start one…

    In fact I think myth is too strong a word for what is basically a rumour put about by those with an interest in demonising atheists. the only refutation needed is “go read a history book, pick any that covers europe in the mid 20th century”

    If he was an atheist I’d be fine with that. The hollocaust was carried out not by Hitler himself but by catholics and lutherians, in some cases doing as he told them (so christians will follow anyone, especiall an atheist) or in many others, acting in a way that they believed would impress him, and in many instances actually horrified him by their brutality (so christians like to worship atheists and outgross each other in their acts of sacrafice)

    By using quotes alone it’s easy to prove Jesus was more of an atheist than Hitler but either way i’m happy if people want to insist that an atheist is someone who leads an army of christians

  7. Here are a few links to the history of the subject: –

    Hitler’s Christianity

    To deny the influence of Christianity on Hitler and its role in World War II, means that you must ignore history and forever bar yourself from understanding the source of German anti-Semitism and how the WWII atrocities occurred.
    http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

  8. david.graf.589 Jan 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Considering the fight against the Christian churches on part of Hitler’s adherents, it’s a bit hard (if one cares about facts) to see Hitler as a Christian.

    Hitler was a Catholic who was never excommunicated.

    There were parts of Christian churches which supported Hitler and parts which opposed him. There was certainly NOT a Christian consensus against Hitler, and many Christians were supporters of NAZI ideology.

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005206
    Historically the German Evangelical Church viewed itself as one of the pillars of German culture and society, with a theologically grounded tradition of loyalty to the state. During the 1920s, a movement emerged within the German Evangelical Church called the Deutsche Christen, or “German Christians.” The “German Christians” embraced many of the nationalistic and racial aspects of Nazi ideology. Once the Nazis came to power, this group sought the creation of a national “Reich Church” and supported a “nazified” version of Christianity.

    The Bekennende Kirche—the “Confessing Church”—emerged in opposition to the “German Christians.” Its founding document, the Barmen Confession of Faith, declared that the church’s allegiance was to God and scripture, not a worldly Führer. Both the Confessing Church and the “German Christians” remained part of the German Evangelical Church, and the result was a Kirchenkampf, or “church struggle” within German Protestantism —an ongoing debate and struggle for control between those who sought a “nazified” church, those who opposed it, and the so-called “neutral” church leaders whose priority was the avoidance both of church schism and any kind of conflict with the Nazi state.

    The most famous members of the Confessing Church were the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed for his role in the conspiracy to overthrow the regime, and Pastor Martin Niemöller, who spent seven years in concentration camps for his criticisms of Hitler. Yet these clergymen were not typical of the Confessing Church; despite their examples, the Protestant Kirchenkampf was mostly an internal church matter, not a fight against National Socialism. Even in the Confessing Church, most church leaders were primarily concerned with blocking state and ideological interference in church affairs.

    Before 1933, in fact, some bishops prohibited Catholics in their dioceses from joining the Nazi Party. This ban was dropped after Hitler’s March 23, 1933, speech to the Reichstag in which he described Christianity as the “foundation” for German values. The Centre Party was dissolved as part of the signing of a 1933 Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi governmental representatives, and several of its leaders were murdered in the Röhm Purge in July 1934.

  9. And as Reckless Monkey mentioned above, whilst Stalin might well have been an atheist, despite 5 years training as a Russian Orthodox (Christian) priest, it’s absurd to think that merely because of the Bolshevik take over in 1917, suddenly the rest of the Russian people became atheists, – the majority of them at that time peasants, not even workers, – reactionary to the core. The very Red Army that fought against Germany was mainly composed of Christians. Indeed during WW2, Stalin even courted the Orthodox Church for support in protecting the ” motherland”.

    Where was Jesus on the Eastern Front? (Great Patriotic War). Nowhere to be found, with some 20+ million deaths of human beings, the results of Christians fighting against Christians. Of course the motives for the fighting were not religious, but because of the fight for land and resources. There was to be no mere turning over of tables in the temple when it came to real warfare, which is both expensive and unbelievably horrific for those involved.

  10. I am very tired of theists attempting to poison the well of atheism by
    erroneously asserting that Hitler was an atheist

    I am very tired period of this entire argument. I am farther irritated that individuals continue to think that belief dictates our actions. Emotions dictate or belief and actions. Depending on your emotion stability you will take either the negative side of a certain perspective or the positive side. Religion in and of itself, is neiytth Hitler was very loosely a Christian and people want to jump to the conclusion that it is because religion is bad, evil and the reason that the world is in a bad state. That somehow religion is holding us back. I got news for you. Humans hold ourselves back and we will use any lousy excuse to go to war, divide and conquer. Again this tired old argument misses the forest for the trees. Hitler was motivated by many emotions. His emotional state dictated what he would believe and how he would act. Hitler was one man who did horrible acts. There are other people that do horrible acts and some that do it in the name of religion. I’m going to be very blunt. People can and are jerks! They don’t need religion only to be jerks. Hitler was a nothing. He had a casual belief in the church and hated Jews. I challenge you to take a much more in depth look at Hitler’s point of views. He was very much anti Christian but maintained a public relationship that was very much political. He actually did not like the power of the church. Mein Kamp, Hitler’s autobiography has rare mention of being Christian and the book is filled with hatred and racism. Hitler was a nothing, a nobody and a radical jerk! To use him as an example of horrible acts done in the name of religion is a disgusting perversion of truth. The guy sucked as a human being. That is it and that is all. I’m tired of Christians and Atheists trying to use this guy as a standing argument as to why religion is bad and or atheism is bad.

    We have an issue with some radical Muslims. Guess what, you can say that it’s their religion that is the problem, but how about a much more anthropological study of our human history instead of a boring, tired, and annoying argument which means nothing.

  11. Again, Hitler was good at “god talk” but he held little respect for Christianity itself having said in one of his table talks that it was a shame that Islam had not triumphed over Christianity.

  12. It is true that Hitler had a large measure of popular support, some but not all because it was dangerous to not to in the face of his para-military thugs. The same cannot be said of Stalin whom only needed the support of the Party. The Russian people soon learned that it was unwise to contradict anything Stalin said. If he decreed they were atheists then those with any sense of self preservation accepted that designation. It can be seen in societies from the US to the Islamic world that ambitious people will conform to whatever prevailing orthodoxy suggests survival and success.

  13. I am very tired period of this entire argument. I am farther

    I was on a hurry I meant further

    Religion in and of itself, is neiytth

    well I meant to say religion is neither good nor bad. People are emotional and act in very emotional ways and sometimes attach themselves to an ideal emotionally.

  14. Actually Einstein considered himself an agnostic and distance himself from atheists. Sorry to tell you that kind of mindset that atheists are more intellectual is a very shallow and dividing mentality. I know very intelligent Christians and agnostics.

  15. I agree, my comments relate to before they were in power (although it does show that those sufficiently religiously motivated to be good to stand up the regime was not high – I don’t blame them mind I probably would have kept my head down as well or tried to flee before their rise to power).

    Ideologies need to gain a certain amount of support before they have a hope of getting sufficiently powerful to be in a position to become dangerous to oppose. That time may well as you suggest in Stalin’s case have occurred before Stalin ended up in power but likewise his party had to overlook his tyrannical tendencies.

    I always (when young) found it hard to believe that such people could exist in civilised communities. Then I joined a club and became involved and met many a potential Hitler/Stalin but for circumstance and opportunity to allow, and plenty of willing sheep in the clubs membership willing to blindly follow. Petty stuff when looked at from outside but for me a vile illustration of a human tendency to follow blindly in much of the population for me. So I suppose my point is in defence of people like attaining power is not in dealing with them upon reaching power but in maintaining a level of skepticism in the general population sufficient to lock the door before the horse has bolted so to speak.

    I do maintain however (but would be happy to be corrected) that you cannot name a state atheist for the very reasons you mention, in the same sense that at the time of the inquisition it would be madness to name yourself as a non-believer. So the Soviet Union could be declared to be an Atheist state by Stalin but if 80% of the population where Russian Orthodox (but complying due to duress) that can hardly at the time to be considered such. Given a generation or two this might be the case, although I notice the Russian Orthodox church seems to be doing remarkably well considering until a short time ago we are supposed to believe that this was an Atheist state, where did all these Christians suddenly come from? And now we have Putin supporting the Russian Orthodox church in jailing Pussy Riot for Blasphemy. What you couldn’t call it then or now is a secular state.

  16. Hi IamSparta,

    I am farther irritated that individuals continue to think that belief dictates our actions.

    I disagree, yes emotion is involved but beliefs trigger those emotions. Let’s use the example of stem cell research being almost universally condemned by Christianity. Why? A blastocyst has no nervous system, no way of feeling pain and yet most religions consider this to range from morally problematic to outright murder. I would agree that emotion is clearly high in these cases but the reason that emotion is high is because they believe that ensoulment occurs at conception and you are therefore killing a baby. I can see their point in the case of very late term abortions but it is their beliefs that trigger their emotions in this case.

    Why does Islam consider murdering those who insult Mohamed a sin worthy of death as ably showed in Paris so recently? What triggered the emotion was a belief that this is the very worst thing you can do, their emotion is triggered at a much higher rate that Christians viewing the Piss Christ because one has a dogma that included a “turn the other cheek” ethos while the other preached horrible death for Blasphemy.

    In the case of Hitler he believed he was part of the Master Race and that Jews were responsible for a conspiracy that was attempting to undermine the superiority of the Arian race and diluting their bloodline. That most of the population held similar prejudices about the Jews (if not the master race stuff) clearly IMO enabled him to reach the level of influence he did (although Philoctetes disagrees with me somewhat on this – and he has a point I think, ‘see above’).

    The communists believed in their own brand of Marxim, a belief that was brittle IMO as support for Lysenco’s version of genetics against all the evidence to the contrary (and the killing and imprisonment of any scientist who objected) showed. Backing a belief (without sufficient evidence in this case) because Darwinian evolution smacked too much of capitalism for Stalin had catastrophic consequences.

    I’d agree with you that Stalin and Hitler were emotionally unhinged, but the beliefs they held did dictate their actions they were based on assumptions that dictated their specific actions. If this were not true we would not be able to define any group ever on the basis of their dogma.

  17. “If this were not true we would not be able to define any group ever on the basis of their dogma.”
    This is the root of the problem – defining someone as the member of a group, rather than an individual, and assigning any action of another member to all of the group.
    The corollary to this is that people define themselves as members of a group and act accordingly, seeing any criticism of a particular member as a criticism of the whole group and its dogma.

  18. Martyn,

    Agreed, religions and ideologies define themselves by their dogmas. Most moderates, as you say ignore many of the central tenants of their faith. I only have a problem with people who actually believe the central tenants of their faith.

  19. Hitler was very loosely a Christian

    Hitler was a devoted Catholic.

    Most people raised biblically manage to overcome their typically violent parenting. Catholic parenting products like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pol Pot and Timothy McVeigh didn’t manage to so however and they became disenchanted. They were all attuned to biblical violence developmentally. Emotional instability is a characteristic theme of violent Xian indoctrination, epitomized by Stalin who prayed his whole life.

    The psychiatric legacy of prestigious Jesuit schools such as the Catholic boarding school École Miche in Phnom Penh which Pol Pot attended is quite apparent. Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk considered Pol Pot’s Catholicism resembled that of Hitler. Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-il substantiate this effect through their xian missionary upbringing and Mugabe-like behaviour. American missionaries infused chiwŏn (righteous aspirations) into both of them via Kim Hyŏng-jik the authentic Christian patriarch of North Korea. Kim Il-Sung’s maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, his father attended a missionary school, and both his parents were very active evangelical Presbyterians.

    Augusto Pinochet, the Duvaliers of Haiti, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Ferdinand Marcos, Josef Mengele, Heinrich Himmler, Ante Pavelic, AKA ‘Butcher of the Balkans’ or Slobodan Miloševic (‘Xtian’ Orthodox Serbs) were all brainwashed by comprehensive xian (usually Catholic) parenting, schooling and priest-training(for some), and we can recognize the common pathogen at work. Goebbels was raised by Catholic parents and educated by Franciscans. Anti-Semitism is usually infused at the dinner table or school. Centuries of pogroms attest to the effectiveness of biblical hatred which has been infused early on developmentally.

    Hanns Kerrl, Hitler’s Reichsminister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, insisted Christianity furnished the essential foundation to Nazi ideology. He characterised Hitler as ‘Germany’s Jesus Christ’. Roman Catholic Klaus Barbie famously stated during his trial that: “When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent”.

    We can know them by their fruits” said Mathew 7:16

  20. The Holy Reich, by Richard Steigmann-Gall, gives a neat account of the religiosity (or lack thereof) of Nazi leaders.

    Hitler certainly believed in something he called “divine providence”, and further believed he himself had a close relationship with such entity.

    But in times when Jonah Goldberg passes as an intellectual, everything goes.

  21. Oops! Apologies for at least one correction to my last note.

    Pol Pot wasn’t a devotional Catholic like Hitler or Mel Gibson, but his exposure to Jesuits at a critical age influenced his thinking. He was from a wealthy and influential family and illustrates the intellectual amalgamation of Catholicism with Theravada Buddhism. Contempt for reason was infused developmentally – culminating in his genocidal hatred for intellectuals, naturally enough.

    For those doubtful of my claims about Stalin, fair enough. He was programmed by Gori Church‘s School initially, and distilled by the Tbilisi Priest’s Seminary. Stalin re-opened the Orthodox Church in Russia and his sister confirmed his belief in biblegod when she confronted him with his mythical books: “I said to my father: “But Christ didn’t exist!” and he answered “Oh no, Christ, surely existed.”’ Another family member, Artiom Fiodorovich Sergeev, testifies: Stalin habitually used “Thank God”, for example, ” God forbid! ” And “for God’s sake” Stalin itself quite often spoke. I never heard from Stalin of any bad word to address of church and belief. Stalin told his son Vasily that prayer to Jesus worked, because his mother had said so. English historian Simon Sebag Montefiore found that Stalin liked to quote long quotes from the Bible.

    In 1976 Prince Norodom Sihanouk said that Pol Pot “thinks that heaven, destiny, wants him to guide Cambodia in the way he thinks it the best for Cambodia, that is to say, the worst. Pol Pot is mad, you know, like Hitler,” similarly Catholic-raised.

    Religion appears to be a developmental disease.

  22. I have reviewed the article and the English version of The Table Talks certainly seems to be a slender reed on which to base conclusions and is undoubtedly unreliable. Unfortunately, the article does not reference the quote about Islam that I referred to. I have not been able to find another copy of the text online translated that does not tie back to the discredited version of Cameron and company. I’d like to know if that quote was fabricated as well. I suspect that it was.

  23. I have heard and read people say that Hitler was an atheist but I didn’t realize it had very much traction because it’s quickly rebutted with a quick Google search and those people seem to shut up pretty fast.

  24. Hitler was a follower of Madamn Blavtsky the spiritualist and medium. The the swastika came from Thors Hammer, the God of War. Hitler thought he could harness the power of Thor for his own evil agenda. For awhile he did.

  25. I often wonder how Christianity became so anti Semitic when it came from Judaism. Hence the title Judaeo-Christian. Just thinking.

  26. A fantastic article that was well written. I just have one comment to make: atheism is NOT, or at least not simply, “a lack of belief in gods” (a definition that would also fit agnosticism). One can only lack belief in things one has never heard of or know anything about. Atheism is a positive belief that God does not exist, or a disbelief that God does (the latter being the definition of atheism according to the Oxford English Dictionary). Therefore, atheism involves a presence of belief regarding God’s ontological status; describing it as a “lack of belief” is at best incomplete, at worst just wrong.

    The above notwithstanding, an excellent article that dispels the myth that Hitler was an atheist. Even if he was, Hitler was also a vegetarian – doesn’t make vegetarianism wrong!

  27. It is this attaching of labels that leads to trouble – judging people by the label associated with them, rather than their individual actions, generates the hysteria and paranoia that drives the sort of activity we have seen recently.

  28. Please, feel free to call it bad. The giant pile of corpses left in its wake give you every right to call it what it is.

  29. Sorry to tell you this, but he was an atheist. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be called an atheist. Albert Einstein was German. Just saying “i’m not a german” doesn’t make you not a german.

  30. IamSparta:

    I am very tired period of this entire argument.

    I quite agree, but when the (ususally Christian) apologists cite Hitler as an atheist, the charge has to be answered. Of course the charge is usually made to cast doubt upon the characters of non-believers. What was it that the Dostoyevsky character said in Brothers Karamazov: :”Without God anything is possible” ? That heavenly Father just holding back your evil impulses to murder, rape, steal, cheat and generally do down your fellow human beings.

    Impulses that this particular atheist has never felt.

    PS But YEC Kirk Cameron apparently feels them judging by his YouTube appearances ! Thunderfoot covered it but there is no time now to look for the link, as I am into editing time.

  31. Brian Jan 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I have heard and read people say that Hitler was an atheist but I didn’t realize it had very much traction because it’s quickly rebutted with a quick Google search and those people seem to shut up pretty fast.

    The sort of people who make these allegations are usually circular wish-thinkers who see their cherry-picked “faith” perceptions as wonderful – so atheists lacking it, must be everything and anything horrible!

    Good grief! They don’t do Google searches for real information!! You don’t need evidence, historical records, science, or facts, when you have “Faith” and evangelical faith-leaders, preaching their wish-thinking from pulpits, to guide you!!

  32. IamSparta Jan 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Sorry to tell you that kind of mindset that atheists are more intellectual is a very shallow and dividing mentality. I know very intelligent Christians and agnostics.

    I am sure you can find some outlying anecdotal examples, but when it comes to evidence about the top scientific minds, the position is clear!

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2012/05/26/atheists-are-more-intelligent-than-religious-people/
    A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God – at a time when 68.5 percent of the general UK population described themselves as believers. A separate poll in the 90s found only seven percent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God.

  33. Stafford Gordon Jan 9, 2015 at 4:41 am

    My point was Alan that that religious slogan along the swastika was adopted because Hitler demanded it; the origins of both are of course ancient.

    I agree – but I think that some of the other mementos, flags and badges on the link make the point more strongly.

  34. That he may have incorporated other superstitions into his twisted philosophy doesn’t mean he ever abandoned Christian superstition, nor that it was likely the primary influence in his spiritual beliefs.

  35. @Faylene

    I often wonder how Christianity became so anti Semitic when it came from Judaism. Hence the title Judaeo-Christian. Just thinking.

    Christian churches are anti Semitic because they say that the Jews killed Jesus through crucifixion. That Catholic Church only late in the last century removed an expression, “The Perfidious Jew” from its Easter liturgy. 2000 years after the alleged of Jesus.

  36. It’s a rejection of the claims of PEOPLE that any god exists (they define their god… we reject the claims due to a lack of evidence or a lack of rational, logical arguments).
    Is it a ‘belief’ if I don’t accept that 1+1=256? Is it a belief if I accept that 1+1=2? No… numbers/symbols are defined (I’m not getting into the odd stuff they teach in an esoteric college math class) and the resulting conclusions of the arguments just exist. Either as true or false. In more complex arguments, changing the conditions changes the conclusion. Some conclusions can’t be determined due to lack of accuracy or unknowns, so the best we can do is either guess or work out the best logical solution with what we have in hand. The god argument falls into this category. Belief comes into play when someone continues to claim the existence of such with absolutely no evidence. It bypasses logic/rationality.

  37. Just a couple of points. It’s said that even the most tyrannical of dictators requires a consensus of support. The very minimum being the support of his praetorian guard. I think it is probably significant that Stalin had 3 heads of the NKVD (Secret Police) shot during the 1930’s terror (and even Beria was also shot in the early ’50s. Stalin was clearly paranoid, probably psycotic, certainly ruthless but nevertheless efficient in that he held power long enough to die in bed and to be revered for no little time after. He may be virtually unique in history?
    Regarding the resurgence of the Orthodox church; I think it may well be that in the absence of positive prohibition it has become a safe focus of opposition where overt political opposition (to Putin) is still dangerous, especially as Putin appears sympathetic to the Church. Religiosity has proved to be a safe focus of opposition in the Islamic world where it has grown more organised, radical and violent.

  38. It is more useful to examine Hitler’s operational ideology than to quibble about whether he was a “devout Catholic [Christian].” Hitler saw Jews in delusional terms of “race.” Obsessed with virulent anti-semitism, he believed that Jews had inherited degenerate traits through intermarriage and had organized a conspiracy first to subvert the purity, strength and virtue of the master Aryan race through inter-breeding, then impose a Jewish-dominated world order on a mongrelized humanity. Hitler despised Slavic peoples in general and Russian Bolsheviks in particular as embodiments of Jewish racial inferiority, who must be exterminated or enslaved subsequent to Wehrmacht conquest and occupation of eastern Europe and Russia. The factoids supporting his delusion were the obvious Jewish origins of Marxism, and more immediately the prominence of Jews in Stalin’s regime (Trotsky, Molotov, et. al.)

    Of course Hitler was influenced by the shameful, brutal anti-semitism of European Christianity and, immersed in a Christian culture, he integrated and exploited his personal hate using the prevailing religion of his society. Nonetheless, Hitler’s orientation and his genocidal programs which exterminated two-thirds of European Jewry were pragmatically justified by Social Darwinism. He emphasized that his racism was “scientific.” His regime carried out murderous mandates of eugenics “euthanizing” thousands of patients in mental institutions regardless of race and sterilizing thousands of “feeble-minded” citizens to prevent procreation of the next generation of “idiots.” Racially he equated Jewry with “degenerate blood” which must be prevented from mongrelizing the master race. Politically he equated Jewry with Bolshevism (Communism), a Jewish conspiracy whose ambitions for revolutionary world domination must be eradicated root and branch through military conquest. (Ironically, yet not surprisingly he sometimes equated Jewry with western capitalism and finance -a common anti-Semitic stereotype.)

    Some will point to contradictions in Hitler’s belief system: his self-identity as a Catholic, quotes praising “muscular” Christianity, fascination with astrology and faith in his own quasi-mystical destiny. Of course Hitler like Isaac Newton was a man of his times. No one should be dismayed by the mix of scientific, pseudo- scientific, superstitious or religious beliefs roiling in the human mind of people immersed in a particular historical-cultural environment. We are all subject to the same ambiguous influences of our times.

  39. It’s rather usual, but wrong, to mix up under the label “christianity” very different religions, even if the main one is Roman Catholicism. During the night of St Barthélemy, only Calvinists were massacred… And Louis XIV sent only Calvinists to his galleys..
    Goering, Goebbels, Mengele, Hitler etc. were Roman Catholics.

  40. I feel like whether or not Hitler was an atheist is irrelevant, though I don’t believe he was. What people don’t realize is that NONE of what he did would have been possible without his overwhelmingly Christian Nazi sheep. And it’s because of their religion that these people were so willing to do something so evil. If Hitler was an atheist, he did what he did by exploiting the weak wills of Christians.

  41. Sweet ! But unfortunately Louis XIV wasn’t dumb enough to ask his worst enemies (a State into the State) cook for him.

  42. Josh: What people don’t realize is that NONE of what he did would have been possible without his overwhelmingly Christian Nazi sheep. And it’s because of their religion that these people were so willing to do something so evil. If Hitler was an atheist, he did what he did by exploiting the weak wills of Christians.

    You’re not getting that Europe was predominantly Christian in the 1930s and 1940s. Of course Christian anti-semitism played a role in the Nazi agenda, but so did German militarism, nationalism, and geopolitical ambitions to dominate Europe. Churches inside and outside of Germany, protestant and catholic, usually acquiesced and sometimes protested, but Nazism perpetrated atrocities on an unprecedented scale because the German people, especially the military, took a personal oath of loyalty to the fuhrer giving him a blank check to wage total war and genocide throughout Europe with the greatest war machine deployed in the history of the world to date. Hitler’s policy objectives were not to Christianize Europe but to establish German hegemony over the continent and create living space, an empire, for growing German Aryan populations cleansed of the degenerate influences of Jews, gypsys, Jehovah witnesses and other genetically inferior “races.” Going to the pragmatic substance of Nazi policies and crimes against humanity, one finds a pathological ideology much more akin to Social Darwinism, “the survival of the fittest [race]”

    Whatever approval some “Christian Nazis” gave to German aggression and atrocities, “Christian Anti-Nazis” pushed back in spades. The RAF pilots who decimated the Lutwaffe in the battle of Britain were as “Christian” as their opponents. Soldiers of Patton’s third army who liberated Buchenwald were as Christian as the SS executioners they captured. Good guys and bad guys, weak and strong alike were all Christian (with some exceptions) because the culture and people of Europe during this period were “overwhelmingly” Christian. The dichotomy, the vague blanket indictment is historical nonsense.

  43. Melvin Jan 11, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Whatever approval some “Christian Nazis” gave to German aggression and atrocities, “Christian Anti-Nazis” pushed back in spades. The RAF pilots who decimated the Lutwaffe in the battle of Britain were as “Christian” as their opponents. Soldiers of Patton’s third army who liberated Buchenwald were as Christian as the SS executioners they captured.

    This “pushing back”, was based on political/military alliances, not Xtianinty.

    The relationship of Xtians with NAZIs is explained on links from my earlier comment.
    https://richarddawkins.net/2015/01/refuting-the-atheist-hitler-myth/#li-comment-164747

  44. Incontestably true, but it raises the issue of the tolerance of their later war time opponents towards the Nazi anti-Semitic acts prior to the War – Kristalnacht and all that. Now its not my intention to knock Churchill but he shared the anti-Semitism and Eugenics outlook of the age in common with most of the Liberal establishment as well as the Nazis. I appreciate that “what ifs” are pretty futile historical analysis tools, but what if there were less appeasement not just of Hitler’s expansionism and rearmament, but also of the anti-semitic violence of his regime?
    There is a tendency to be tolerant of the intolerable when you share similar values. It is up to each individual to stand up to tyranny, oppression and bigotry by at least voicing protest. Something we liberals are constantly asking moderate moslems to do in the wake of islamic extremism in spite of our own imperfect historic record on the subject.

  45. Philoctetes Jan 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I appreciate that “what ifs” are pretty futile historical analysis tools,

    Yep! The biggie is: “What if the Japanese had not attacked Pearl harbour?”

  46. Yep! The biggie is: “What if the Japanese had not attacked Pearl harbour?”

    Well FDR resourceful and brilliant man that he was, would have found another way of forcing the issue. His Pacific oil embargoes were designed to provoke the Japanese and he made sure that the early build up to the attacks were not reported to the Chiefs at Pearl Harbour

  47. This “pushing back”, was based on political/military alliances, not Xtianinty.

    I agree with qualifications. Hitler attacked Catholic Poland -the counterpart to his own “beloved” Catholic Austria – for political/military reasons which had nothing to do with Christianity. Why emphasize the irrelevant tenuous theory that implies Hitler acted “because” of “his” Catholic upbringing by acknowledging the fact that Catholicism had conditioned its flock with anti-semitic prejudices? Why contrive a case based on the fact that Hitler was Catholic because he was born and raised Catholic? Doubtlessly he absorbed anti-semitic attitudes from the gentile European culture he was immersed in (Austria and Germany were hotbeds of religious and secular anti-semiticism by 1930. So was France.) He was also perversely ambivalent about Christianity because he hated “meek-and-weak” ethics emasculating pagan manhood. . Compassion for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, and the debtor was not his thing. He even tried to reimagine Jesus- much as he imagined himself – as an Aryan Christ committed to purifying the race through omnipotent will, ruthless strength, and warrior virtues.

    We atheists are trying to reduce history to self-serving sound-bites. The alliance between Christians in Germany with Nazism, and sympathizers and collaborators in other countries, does not imply that Christians per se were responsible for WWII. Hitler’s projection of German military power was consistent with a foreign policy to destroy civil governments (yes, largely Christian with the exception of nominally “atheist” Russia) on the continent and impose a Nazi empire which secured territory and resources for German hegemony. Hitler’s “racialist'”(sic) policies , the programs to exterminate or enslave Jews and Slavs were motivated by delusional “scientific” evidence, the toxic elements of racism and eugenics promoted by nineteenth century philosopher Herbert Spencer in Social Darwinism. Christianity though a contingent source of anti-semitic sentiment and persecution, took a back seat when Nazis systematically euthanized patients in asylums, sterilized the feeble-minded, and rounded up some 6 million Jews to accomplish genocide on an industrialized scale unprecedented in history.

    In fairness to Christians, I’m inclined to believe “apologists” who condemn Nazism as the antithesis of the moral and humanitarian ideals easily culled from core sources in their faith tradition. Many of those who fought the Nazis, putting their lives on the line, regardless of political/military alliances, believed they were fighting and dying to achieve the triumph of the highest ideals of “true” Christianity over satanic evil.

  48. Melvin Jan 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    In fairness to Christians,

    Christians love to pretend that abuses and unfairness are nothing to do with them. History however shows them collaborating with almost any regime which will give them power and influence.

    I’m inclined to believe “apologists” who condemn Nazism

    That is the source of conflicts between your perceptions and historical records. There is no doubt that NAZI propagandists promoted Hitler as “The New Luther”, or that the substantial numbers of “German Christians” marched in support of Nazism.

    http://nobeliefs.com/images/DeutscheChristenFlag.png
    The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a German Protestantism movement aligned towards antisemetic principles of Nazism. The DC were sympathetic to Hitler’s goal of uniting the individual Protestant churches into a single Reich church.

    The DC was first formed in 1931 and the flag was flown during marches and demonstrations.

    Similarly, that the Vatican State exists because of the collaboration of the Catholic establishment, with the fascist Mussolini dictatorship, or that similar deals on theocratic laws, were enacted in Spain as part of Catholic collaboration with Franco’s fascists!

    as the antithesis of the moral and humanitarian ideals easily culled from core sources in their faith tradition.

    Christian “traditions of moral and humanitarian ideals”, are mainly fiction preached to sheeples as nicey faith-thinkers.
    Evidence of such traditions, beyond the odd anecdotal example, and faith-thinkers’ revised stories of historical events, seem to be missing from accurate historical records of battling religions manipulating rulers and armies, while manoeuvring for power to enforce dogmas.

  49. Religion like any ideology is a dependent variable. People -embodied in historical-cultural-contingent forces – shape it to justify any interpretation, motive or action which serves compelling self-interest. (You noted this). It is convenient to talk about the influence of “Christianity” on Nazism and the atrocities it generated. It is just as convenient to talk about the triumph of Christian civilization over Nazi barbarism. Neither is “essentially true” but emanates from a situated point of view. Some Germans and other Europeans who affiliated with Christian denominations in the 1930s and 1940s believed Christian beliefs were consistent with Nazism. Other Christian nationals who opposed Nazism, whether infected by anti-semitic sentiments or not, believed Nazism, manifested in crimes against humanity, was an abomination in the sight of the Lord. Both opposing “Christian” camps produced copious documents to support their view. While it is true that Hitler’s racism was justified in part by a virulently anti-semitic interpretation of the Bible, it is a stretch to say that Christianity was the proximate cause of WWII. By 1930 racism and eugenics had been scientized under the rubric of Social Darwinism. Nazi genocide proceeded on secular grounds besotted with this “survival of the fittest” ideology.. Anti-semitic religious antecedents and conditioning played a role but did not imminently determine what the Nazi war machine actually did to the Jews, Slavs, and others. The einsatzgruppen firing squads and the SS overlords of the extermination camps saw their task in substantively secular terms, the unappetizing but necessary task of clubbing rats, exterminating degenerate gene pools which threatened the purity of the Aryan race. The Wehrmacht and SS didn’t care if their victims were devout practicing Christians or converted Jews. Thousands of Polish Catholic priests and soldiers, were deliberately executed in campaigns -Warsw was reduced several times over to rubble- reckless of the lives of hated sub-human Slavs. “Religion” played no role in these cases and, I suggest, played a miniscule role in the material enterprise of Jewish genocide.

    We atheists are subject to the same human condition; to the same forces which corrupt our aspirations under the pressure of a crisis. Today, there are Social Justice Warrior atheists who believe that their political, social and economic agendas are “essential” to atheism and justified on empirical scientific evidence. Dissenters hold “harmful” beliefs by definition and must be ostracized. Who could believe that we atheists could do such horrible things?…Sound familiar?

  50. You don’t think that some scientists might be biased against the idea of God because it means that there would always be “something” that they could not control for or measure?

  51. I think it would be fair to say that Christians have promoted anti-Semitism throughout much of its history but it would be unfair to say that Christianity itself requires its adherents to be anti-Semitic.

  52. Hitler despised the church hierarchy, the officer class, and the democratic press, but as a cunning politician he sucked up to all three until he no longer needed them.

    “On March 21, 1933, Hitler opened, in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, hard by the tomb of Frederick the Great, the First Reichstag of the Third Reich. In the body of the church sat the representatives of the Third Reichwehr. the symbol of continuity of German might, and the senior officers of the SA, and SS; the new figures of resurgent Germany. On March 24 the majority of the Reichstag, overbearing or over-awing all opponents, confirmed by 441 votes to 94 complete emergency powers to Chancellor Hitler for four years. As the result was announced, Hitler turned to the benches of the Socialists and cried, “And now I have no further need of you.”.

    Chapter V of Volume 1 of The Second World War by Winston Churchill.

    Churchillian revisionism? Maybe. But a good example given by one consummate politician of the tactics of another.

    I have nothing against politicians in general; most of them mean well.

  53. In fairness to Christians, I’m inclined to believe “apologists” who condemn Nazism as the antithesis of the moral and humanitarian ideals easily culled from core sources in their faith tradition.

    Alan4discussion seems especially troubled by this heresy against orthodox atheism and repudiates it with stinging sarcasm: Christian “traditions of moral and humanitarian ideals”, are mainly fiction preached to sheeples as nicey faith-thinkers.

    In order to clarify what Christian “moral and humanitarian ideals” were not a good fit for Nazism, the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 serves the purpose without appealing to supernatural inspiration. The Samaritans were despised enemies of the Jews. The parable conveys one of the most powerful, eloquent and dramatic moral directives celebrated in western civilization by humanists, conservatives and forward-thinking progressives alike.

    It is not necessary to reduce the complexities of history to the prejudices of ideological purity, to air tight compartments of either-or; good-bad, like-don’t like.

  54. Melvin Jan 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Alan4discussion seems especially troubled by this heresy against orthodox atheism

    orthodox atheism ?????????? What on Earth is that?????????

    and repudiates it with stinging sarcasm: Christian “traditions of moral and humanitarian ideals”, are mainly fiction preached to sheeples as nicey faith-thinkers.

    In order to clarify what Christian “moral and humanitarian ideals” were not a good fit for Nazism, the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 serves the purpose without appealing to supernatural inspiration.

    Nicey Xtian faith-thinkers, do indeed tell nicey stories, like that of the “Good Samaritan”. – especially when avoiding looking at the history of their actions.

    Meanwhile: – back in the real world, there are historical records, of Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, the marching of the Deutsche-Christens, Mussolini in close cahoots with the Vatican, with the RCC and Franco’s fascist theocracy, suppressing any humanitarian liberal thinking opposition they encountered.

  55. I suppose there had to be some good Samaritans

    This parable is a retelling of the golden rule displaying a specific case.

    ALL religious and philosophical ethical dogmas, 600 years older and more had this as a tenet.

    Jesus claims this a retelling of Mosaic wisdom, but the old testament renders it in the negative “silver rule” form (don’t be nasty to others), so JC was a bit late getting to this help others as you would wish to be helped.

    The Quakers are right. Its not Christians who got the message. Everyone has the message built in.

  56. Faylene Jan 9, 2015 at 10:49 am

    The the swastika came from Thors Hammer, the God of War. Hitler thought he could harness the power of Thor for his own evil agenda. For awhile he did.

    When it came to “Gods of War” his Catholic one of old Yahweh pre-dates Thor!

    Yahweh originated from a war-god tradition. Dr. Lloyd M. Barre writes:

    The earliest Yahwistic traditions reveal that Yahweh was a bedouin war god from the deserts of Edom and of the surrounding regions. His essentially warlike characteristics are demonstated by his name, by cultic celebrations of his mighty deeds, and by his ark.

    Prof. Mark S. Smith notes on p.144 of The Origins of Biblical Monotheism that

    Yahweh was introduced to the Israelites as a “divine warrior [god] from the south.” Indeed, “Yahweh and Baal co-existed and later competed as warrior-gods” (Ibid., p.33). This motif continued in the Israelite tradition: the tribal warrior-god Yahweh went to war against competing gods and nations on behalf of Israel.
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/the-bibles-yahweh-a-war-god-called-lord-of-armies-over-280-times-in-the-bible-and-lord-of-peace-just-once-i/

  57. david.graf.589 Jan 11, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    You don’t think that some scientists might be biased against the idea of God because it means that there would always be “something” that they could not control for or measure?

    Or just sceptical of claims totally lacking in evidence, and frequently presented as a tangle of irrational utterly inconsistent fallacies and self contradictions!

    because it means that there would always be “something” that they could not control for or measure?

    On a balance of probability, and common theist deity definitions, shouldn’t that be :-
    because it means that there would always be a “nothing” that they could not measure?

  58. Thanks one and all especially Phil for the videos. “good Samaritans” is hilarious.

    I’m trying to move away from bias that reduces complex persons and events from history to a TRUTH that privileges the tunnel vision of a-historical ideology. Atheism is defined as an ideology by many thoughtful people but not by me and you. Still, despite my veneration of Christopher Hitchens, “religion poisons everything” sounds like an opinion posing as fact that settles world history with a cliche and closes a discussion that must remain open.

    I’m persuaded by the scientific method that all phenomena emerge within the natural world, or put cosmically, the physical universe with no connection to anything “supernatural.” I’m attracted to Science because it practices a method whose findings never constitute the TRUTH but instead offer credible descriptions of how the world actually works, always subject to further research.

    It would certainly promote our cause if we could prove Hitler was a practicing Christian beyond cursory Nazified biblical musings; that Nazism was a cult of anti-semitic Catholicism and that the Third Reich was a theocracy. The Fuhrer, his Reich and his volk were indisputably influenced by the anti-semitic element of the Christian churches that constituted the religious culture of the times. Nonetheless, in my view the cumulative aggressions and crimes of WWII materialized from secular motives and causes. Genocidal anti-semitism played an especially nasty role in the psycopath’s master plan, carried out by the most powerful war machine in history, but because of “scientific racial” convictions rather than religious purposes. Yes, other nations stood by and did nothing because they had a gun held to their heads, and a few allies and Quislings collaborated feebly until, by 1942, Hitler stood alone hated and despised as the great satan by the “Christian” nations of Europe, The “Christian” United States and the key “atheist” nation of Russia.

    If Christianity had never developed anti-semitic doctrine; if European nations -even Germany – actually loved Jews for the national treasure they represented, Hitler, the reckless fanatical psychopath leading a militarized imperial super-power would have wreaked the same death and destruction between 1939 and 1945. Christianity did not “cause” WWII.

  59. It would certainly promote our cause if we could prove Hitler was a practicing Christian

    Nonsense. What cause? Our goal is simply to disprove the myth Hitler was an atheist. We’ve done that by showing how Catholic he was, simultaneously illustrating the Xian roots of Pol Pot, Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Robert Mugabe and other despots also often accused of being atheists.

    the psycopath’s master plan…If Christianity had never developed anti-semitic doctrine…Hitler, the reckless fanatical psychopath

    You offer no support for your diagnosis of Hitler, a self-professed Catholic. You don’t get to adjudicate his authenticity by denying his faith.

    Christianity did not “cause” WWII.

    No, it informed the characters of Hitler, Pol Pot and Mengele developmentally.

  60. The article says that Hitler was not an atheist. He was a Christian. It would be an understatement to say that Hitler was not “very” religious, and certainly not “very” Christian in the ordinary sense. I suspect Hitler never thought about religion at all unless we include psychotic narcissistic delusions about his own transcendent destiny to lead the German volk into conquered living space in Eastern Europe and Russia, a vast, abundently populate Aryan empire facilitated by the industrial scale extermination of inferior races, notably Jews and [Christian] Slavs. (Please don’t remind me of the Inquisiton, the Crusades, and the Westboro Baptist church. I take on board the point that human beings can commit atrocities/outages ‘in the name of” any belief system, religious or secular.)

    The relevant point is that we cannot create neat analytic categories which privilege our own viewpoint with circular arguments. Our goal is simply to disprove the myth Hitler was an atheist. We’ve done that by showing how Catholic he was, How Catholic was JFK? The attribution is opaque, hopelessly vague and abstract separated from historical context.

    Our goal is simply to disprove the myth Hitler was an atheist. We’ve done that by showing how Catholic he was, simultaneously illustrating the Xian roots of Pol Pot, Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Robert Mugabe and other despots also often accused of being atheists. If “our” goal was simply related to Hitler why throw in Pol Pot, Stalin and others as a kind of bonus? Why didn’t “we’ just stick to what “we’ are simply trying to prove?

    Here’s my speculation. “We” have an agenda or, if you will, a cause, that’s held captive to language that’s out to prove that Christianity has a toxic tendency to create tyrants especially inclined to mass murder and genocide. Woodrow Wilson shaped his foreign policy consistent with his pious Presbyterian conviction that God had chosen the United States to act as the exceptional nation, divinely and uniquely ordained with the virtue, power and will to make the world safe for democracy. (from Wikipedia) “Wilson made a plea for postwar union in May 1916; his speech recited the right of every nation to its sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom from aggression. “So sincerely do we believe these things”, Wilson said, “that I am sure that I speak the mind and wish of the people of America when I say that the United States is willing to become a partner in any feasible association of nations [The League of Nations] formed in order to realize these objectives”. Does Wilson’s peace-seeking Christianity, however misguided, resonate with Hitler’s perversely opportunistic form of Christianity?

    Finally we must become students of history, voluminous readers trying our best to understand persons and events in terms of holistic forces interacting with specific contexts and environments from multiple points of view knowing that we can never fully comprehend: George W. Bush launched the war in Iraq (partly) because he believed that he was carrying out God’s will to use U.S. military force to overthrow an insufferable tyrant and change a totalitarian regime into a benevolent democracy which would spread by example like wildfire to other countries in the Arab world. Guess who joined him? The atheist Christopher Hitchens.

  61. Melvin Jan 13, 2015 at 5:09 am

    The article says that Hitler was not an atheist. He was a Christian. It would be an understatement to say that** Hitler was not “very” religious, and certainly not “very” Christian in the ordinary sense**.

    “Ordinary sense”? – This sounds very like the “No true Scotsman fallacy”!

    I suspect Hitler never thought about religion at all unless we include psychotic narcissistic delusions about his own transcendent destiny

    Just like a multitude of ranting evangelical preachers and would-be messiahs then!

  62. I stand by what I’ve said based on cited evidence. The article said “he [Hitler] was a Christian.” No one needs to deny that he professed on occasion to be Catholic. 95% of the German people were Catholic or Protestant Christians. Like any politician he had to say “me too” to consolidate support. He toyed with fabrications of an Aryan Christ not born of Jews but of “God-as-Aryan” in his younger years, but came around to a pseudo-Darwinian view of the master race engaged in a “survival-of-the-fittest” struggle with Jews and other inferior races that the German volk were destined to win. Hitler explicitly imbued his “racialist” theory with scientific credentials. His regime practiced euthanasia of the mentally ill and sterilization of the mentally impaired consistent with Social Darwinism. But the article says, “he was a Christian.” So were the French the Wehrmacht conquered in a few weeks. So were the Dutch whose port city of Rotterdam he ordered to be bombed mercilessly killing 17,500 “Aryans” after the country surrendered to punish and terrorize the population into submission (it worked). So were the British that Hitler blitzed with the Luftwaffe, shifting the bombing raids from military targets to civilian targets to terrorize the population into surrender (it didn’t work). So were the Poles -almost all professed Catholics -whom he murdered along with Jews in the millions as Slavic sub-human vermin.

    You make the superficial analogy of Hitler with “evangelical preachers” because of his vociferous style of public speaking, fanatical message, and “faith” in the superiority of the German volk -its racially pure culture and manifest destiny to colonize Europe. Once more I go back the the article’s assertion that “he was a Christian.” Hitler never evangelized Christianity, he never preached the Gospels, he never advocated the conventional Christian virtues especially those relating to love, compassion, charity, kindness and humility.

    He was not a Christian in the consensus about Christian beliefs and practices. No one could credibly talk about Hitler in the same way she could talk about Billy Graham. To be sure, one can point out Christian “evils” in history: intolerance, bigotry, persecution, torture, murder, wars and hypocrisy. Those subjects are fair game but open to historical interpretation. I stand by my case that we cannot find language that pragmatically identifies Hitler-as-Christian where Christianity means confession of faith in foundational theological doctrines and divinely ordained moral commandments.

    In connection with “our cause,” “Hitler was a Christian” uses an analytic (nominal) category to vilify any member of the Christian faith tradition through association with “essential” evil and corruption. Hitler used similar rhetorical devices to identify Jews generically as “racially degenerate.” We can turn instead to effective methodologies when examining the complexities, the nuances; the diversity and ambiguities of historical phenomena confined within and across specific times and places. We can impart more intelligence and persuasiveness to our conversation by losing the snarky chip on the shoulder and deferring to robust but civil discourse.

  63. He was not a Christian

    Melvin, despite your unfounded speculation Hitler himself professed to Catholicism. That’s sufficient to identify him as an authentic Xian. Your pop-psychology account is arrogant and un-evidenced whereas Hitler’s behaviour resembled that of other genuine xian-raised despots I mentioned. And please Melvin, enough of the “we” because very few here would ascribe to your Religious Right ideology of population control for example.
    I realize you’re uninterested in the developmental precursors common to those I’ve mentioned. I included them for the benefit of those who are interested.

    JFK, Woodrow Wilson and Bush Jnr?

    Your infallible opinion as to who legitimately constitutes a ‘Troo Xian’ or an “orthodox atheist’ provide us with interesting insights I reckon. They seem to reflect your stained-glass view of history. Hitler’s Xianity precludes him being described as an atheist, that’s all.

  64. Melvin Jan 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Once more I go back the the article’s assertion that “he was a Christian.” Hitler never evangelized Christianity, he never preached the Gospels,

    He tried to set up a State Reich Church supporting NAZI ideology!!

    Some Nazis, such as Hans Kerrl, who served as Hitler’s Minister for Church Affairs, believed Christianity could be Nazified into “Positive Christianity”, by renouncing its Jewish origins, the Old Testament and Apostle’s Creed, and holding Hitler as a new “Messiah”. Hitler himself believed that in the long run, National Socialism and religion would not be able to co-exist, but was prepared temporarily to restrain some of his more radical instincts out of political considerations.

    Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness of the German people—their attitudes, values and mentalities—into a single-minded, obedient “national community”. The Nazis believed they would therefore have to replace class, religious and regional allegiances.[5] Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany’s 28 existing Protestant churches. The plan failed, and was resisted by the Confessing Church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany

    There were in the power struggles, with conflicts both in the churches and in the NAZI Party, so there is no clear position in the earlier stages.

    he never advocated the conventional Christian virtues especially those relating to love, compassion, charity, kindness and humility.

    You seem to be presenting a combination of the “No true Scotsman fallacy, and stuff you have just made up!

    He was not a Christian in the consensus about Christian beliefs and practices.

    What “consensus of Christian beliefs and practices”? There is no such thing!
    It is a feature of “faith-thinking” and ink-blot interpretation, that any ideology or belief can be projected into the bible and called “holy scripture”, or Christian values”!
    Hitler was baptised a Catholic, he became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth, at one point he even wanted to become a priest, and he was never excommunicated!

    No one could credibly talk about Hitler in the same way she could talk about Billy Graham.

    They both seem to have been passionately preaching their personal ideologies to large admiring crowds who were easily persuaded to follow them!

  65. Alan4: You may be interested in reading about the Cult of Reason celebrated in the Temple of Reason, including a tricked-out cathedral of Notre Dame, from 1793 to 1794 in revolutionary France:

    From Wikipedia: **Opposition to the Roman Catholic Church was integral among the causes of the French Revolution, and this anti-clericalism solidified into official government policy in 1792 after the First French Republic was declared. Most of the dechristianisation of France was motivated by political and economic concerns, but philosophical alternatives to the Church developed gradually as well.

    “There is one thing that one must not tire telling people,” Momoro explained, “Liberty, reason, truth are only abstract beings. They are not gods, for properly speaking, they are part of ourselves.”[2]
    The overarching theme of the Cult was summarized by Anacharsis Clootz, who declared at the Festival of Reason that henceforward there would be “one God only, Le Peuple.”[3] The Cult was intended as a civic religion – inspired by the works of Rousseau, Quatremère de Quincy, and Jacques-Louis David, it presented “an explicit religion of man.”

    Robespierre denounced the Hébertistes on various philosophical and political grounds, specifically rejecting their perceived atheism. When Hébert, Momoro, Ronsin, Vincent and others were sent to the guillotine on 4 Germinal, Year II (24 March 1794), the cult lost its most influential leadership; when Chaumette and other Hébertistes followed them four days later, the Cult of Reason effectively ceased to exist. [Robespierre founded a short-lived replacement Cult of the Supreme Being] Both cults were officially banned by Napoleon Bonaparte with his Law on Cults of 18 Germinal, Year**

    When we are talking about the past (or any topic) our understanding is advanced by incorporating multiple points of view and assessing language that gets at illuminating descriptions of beliefs and practices. Sound bites that ossify our perceptions of history into the tunnel vision of ideology compromise intellectual integrity. I try and often fail to incorporate observations that Hitler was “religious” into my comprehensive view of the man -his life and times. “He was a Christian” is valid with respect to his nominal profession “I am Catholic.” There is more compelling evidence that the profession should not be taken at face value. “Christianity” is not credibly perceived as Hitler’s foundation of Nazism. The quote taken from your comment above more accurately describes Hitler’s frame of mind regarding religion: **Hitler himself believed that in the long run, National Socialism and religion would not be able to co-exist, but was prepared temporarily to restrain some of his more radical instincts out of political considerations.

    Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness of the German people—their attitudes, values and mentalities—into a single-minded, obedient “national community”.**

    In one sense Hitler entertained the “religious potential” of Nazism serving political purposes in a civic secular religion, in another sense, frustrated with religion as a superfluous annoyance, he believed it would wither away. Both viewpoints should be qualified by many other inputs (Hitler’s transcendentalism, superstitions, etc.) It’s complex not simple.

    Relevant to the material above all belief systems -whether religious or secular or more realistically a combination of both – are subject to developing schisms, perceived heresies, and cults. The atheist “movement” has developed its own schismatic cult, The Cult of the Social Justice Warrior.

    (Note: I use the term “consensus” with respect to Christianity to refer to a community which substantively “talks about” their beliefs and practices in a common language conveying intersubjective agreement. The Catholic liturgy, the Eucharest for example, chanted in unison by congregations represents such a consensus. Perhaps a more familiar example of Christian consensus is the frequent reading of Paul’s “Love Letter” at weddings and other Christian services: And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind…)

  66. A great great…. grand-father of mine was sent to Louis XIV’s “galères”. His wife and children left their field (all they had) and fled (walking) to Germany. Just to be free to think by themselves. Only one, the youngest of the children, reached Germany.

  67. Melvin Jan 13, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    (Note: I use the term “consensus” with respect to Christianity to refer to a community which substantively “talks about” their beliefs and practices in a common language conveying intersubjective agreement.

    I tend to look at a consensus as having a depth of meaning behind the words, beyond the superficial PR image. Xtians have been killing each other for centuries over differences of interpretations of biblical texts.

    Many chant words in church services which are totally detached from what they do in life!

    The Catholic liturgy, the Eucharest for example, chanted in unison by congregations represents such a consensus. Perhaps a more familiar example of Christian consensus is the frequent reading of Paul’s “Love Letter” at weddings and other Christian services: And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind…)

    . . . . . With a lot of US sub-prime mortgage salesmen chanting this stuff in church on Sunday, and then selling exploitative dodgy loans to poor people who could not afford them on Monday morning!

    That’s where a depth of perception about religions is needed.
    The regularly repeated glorious niceyness, and cherry-picked deluded self images, don’t match the realities!
    Hence the preached fairy-stories about Hitler being an atheist, and members of particular churches by virtue of their membership, being “more moral” than the rest of the community!

    I was given a Johova’s Witness booklet in the street today.
    The first half was about corruption in government and how this could be eliminated by people in government having Jesus on the brain and biblical trooof in their thinking.
    The second half was utterly dishonest lying about science, and pretending that evolution cannot happen! – It’s the nature of “superior” circular “faith-thinking” for the self image to be utterly detached from reality !

  68. It’s hard to argue with your frustration though I believe it’s wrong to paint all believers with the same brush. I’ve appreciated the discussion.

    For mature atheists -and the growing next generation of youthful skeptics and non-believers -the better part of wisdom may lie in a longer-term strategy of engaging opponents in robust but civil debate. Evolving under advances in science education and secular humanism, the die-hards may lose their fangs while their offspring are won over out of the cradle. Less snarling and flying fur will facilitate the transition. Despite temporary setbacks, like the recent insurgence of Islamic fundamentalism, time is on the side of Science, reason and humanism. By 2100, I foresee an aging minority tenuously affiliated with religion and losing a grip on belief in gods and the supernatural.. Hopefully, by then the world will be a better place.

  69. It’s weird that atheists should be debating whether Hitler was a Roman Catholic or not. This is something we should ask the Pope about. I did, but didn’t get a reply. Obviously, since Hitler was baptised, he became a member of the Church. This is superstitious nonsense but it’s their criterion, not ours. I suppose you must become an ex-Catholic if you convert to another religion. Hitler never did. From a rational, as opposed to a superstitious point of view, you can quit by coming out as an atheist. Hitler never did. So, the argument is fruitless. Hitler was a Roman Catholic but it’s mainly of importance because the traditional Christian anti-Semitism was part of the package.

    What the adherence to the Christian faith of the vast majority of Germans and British demonstrates is how morally useless Christianity is.

  70. Hitler’s beliefs were inconsistent, opportunistic and New Agey. Dawkins is basing his case on partial evidence from Hitler’s public speeches which were opportunistic. His attitude to Christianity remained opportunistic at most. He needed every ally in Germany he could get to defeat the three Allied super-powers. Hitler believed in blind evolution and not a personal deity.

    Dawkins has ignored what professional historians say.

    Alan Bullock; Hitler: A Study in Tyranny; HarperPerennial Edition 1991; p 219: “Once the war was over, [Hitler] promised himself, he would root out and destroy the influence of the Christian churches, but until then he would be circumspect.”

    Wheaton, Eliot Barculo The Nazi revolution, 1933–1935: prelude to calamity:with a background survey of branch.”the Weimar era, p. 290, 363, Doubleday 1968: The Nazis sought “to eradicate Christianity in Germany root and

    Bendersky, Joseph W., A concise history of Nazi Germany, p. 147, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007: “Consequently, it was Hitler’s long range goal to eliminate the churches once he had consolidated control over his European empire.”

  71. vilma #82
    Dec 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Hitler’s beliefs were inconsistent, opportunistic and New Agey.

    They were certainly opportunist.

    Dawkins is basing his case on partial evidence from Hitler’s public speeches which were opportunistic.

    As with the close association of the fascist regimes with Catholicism of Franco in Spain and Mussolini in Italy, Hitler, although brought up as a Catholic and having been a Catholic alter boy, sought association with the German Protestant churches – such as the Deutsche-Christens who marched in support of him.

    His attitude to Christianity remained opportunistic at most. He needed every ally in Germany he could get to defeat the three Allied super-powers.

    Hitler’s association with German Christian churches was back in the 1930s in the days of appeasement with England, a non-aggression pact with Stalin, and a policy of neutral non-involvement in the USA – long before the powers lined up in war!
    His propagandists were promoting him as “The New Luther”!

    Hitler believed in blind evolution and not a personal deity.

    Hitler promoted the propagandist pseudo-science of Social Darwinism creating an ” Aryan Master Race” as “God’s highest life form”!

    This was propaganda and had nothing to do with the scientific theory of “Darwinian evolution by way of natural selection”.

    Hitler did fall out with some churches later in disputes over his policies AFTER they had support him becoming established in power.

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