Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?

Muddling Towards Maturity links to a few articles by Jonah Goldberg, a Jewish author who wrote a lengthy history of fascism that was on the New York Times Bestseller list for several months. Since Goldberg is Jewish, I think it’s fair to say that we will get a unbiased answer to this question from someone who spent a lot of time studying it for his book.

Goldberg’s posts are here and here. He reproduces the FULL excerpts from his book Liberal Fascism that deal with the relationship between Hitler &  Christianity. I will be giving you excerpts from the excerpts, but you must click through to read the chapter.

So, let’s take a look at what Hitler actually did in his policies.

Let’s start with the first post.

1) Hitler wanted Christianity removed from the public square

Like the engineers of that proverbial railway bridge, the Nazis worked relentlessly to replace the nuts and bolts of traditional Christianity with a new political religion. The shrewdest way to accomplish this was to co-opt Christianity via the Gleichschaltung while at the same time shrinking traditional religion’s role in civil society.

Do you want Christianity removed from the public square? If so, then you are like Hitler.

Do you want to minimize Christianity’s role in civil society? If so, then you are like Hitler.

2) Hitler banned the giving of donations to churches

Hitler banned religious charity, crippling the churches’ role as a counterweight to the state. Clergy were put on government salary, hence subjected to state authority. “The parsons will be made to dig their own graves,” Hitler cackled. “They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable little jobs and incomes.”

Do you want to ban charitable contributions to churches? If so, then you are like Hitler.

3) Hitler replaced Christian celebrations with celebrations of the state

Following the Jacobin example, the Nazis replaced the traditional Christian calendar. The new year began on January 30 with the Day of the Seizure of Power. Each November the streets of central Munich were dedicated to a Nazi Passion play depicting Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch. The martyrdom of Horst Wessel and his “old fighters” replaced Jesus and the apostles. Plays and official histories were rewritten to glorify pagan Aryans bravely fighting against Christianizing foreign armies. Anticipating some feminist pseudo history, witches became martyrs to the bloodthirsty oppression of Christianity.

Do you want to replace Christian traditions and holidays with secular traditions and holidays? If so, then you are like Hitler.

4) Hitler favored the complete elimination of Christianity

When some Protestant bishops visited the Fuhrer to register complaints, Hitler’s rage got the better of him. “Christianity will disappear from Germany just as it has done in Russia . . . The Germanrace has existed without Christianity for thousands of years . . . and will continue after Christianity has disappeared . . . We must get used to the teachings of blood and race.”

Do you favor the complete elimination of Christianity? If so, then you are like Hitler.

5) Hitler favored the removal of mandatory prayers in schools

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished…

Do you favor the removal of prayer from schools? If so, then you are like Hitler.

6) Hitler favored the banning of Christmas carols and nativity plays

…and in 1938 carols and Nativity plays were banned entirely.

Do you favor the banning of Christmas carols and nativity plays? If so, then you are like Hitler.

7) Hitler abolished religious instruction for children

By 1941 religious instruction for children fourteen years and up had been abolished altogether….

Do you favor abolishing religious instruction for children? If so, then you are like Hitler.

(Now we are on to the second post)

8) Hitler opposed the ideas of universal truth and objective moral absolutes

…Just as the Nazi attack on Christianity was part of a larger war on the idea of universal truth, whole postmodern cosmologies have been created to prove that traditional religious morality is a scam, that there are no fixed truths or “natural” categories, and that all knowledge is socially constructed.

Do you oppose the idea of universal truth? If so, then you are like Hitler.

Do you oppose the idea of objective moral absolutes? If so, then you are like Hitler.

One more that Goldberg doesn’t mention

Hitler was against homsechooling and school choice. He favored compulsory government-run (public) schools.

“The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of innoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”

Do you oppose homeschooling and school choice? If so, then you are like Hitler.

Conclusion

It doesn’t rally matter what a person says in his public speeches, because politicians lie all the time in order to get votes from particular groups, or to maintain their popularity. We need to look at what policies a politician actually enacts to see what he really believes. For example, Barack Obama had a number of pro-life advertisements during his campaign, but he is the most pro-abortion President ever in his actual policies.

Adolf Hitler was a man influenced by two big ideas: evolution and socialism. His party was the national SOCIALIST party. He favored a strong role for the state in interfering with the free market. He was in favor of regulating the the family so that the state could have a bigger influence on children. And he favored the idea of survival of the fittest. His ideas are 100% incompatible with Christianity and capitalism, two ideas which fit together hand in glove.

How about you? Do you lean to the left in your politics? Did you vote for fiscally-liberal Democrats who redistribute wealth from “the greedy rich” to the deserving poor by government coercion? Do you believe in evolution?

Does your belief system ground inalienable rights, including the right to life, which would make mass murder irrational? Christianity says that all men are made in the image of God, for the purpose of knowing God. Do you believe that? Or do you believe that we are just bundles of molecules here by accident?

Further study

I did a series of posts a while back that asked the question: is morality compatible with atheism? Do concepts like moral values, moral duties, free will, moral accountability, and moral significance rationally grounded by atheism?

I did a comparison of a consistent authentic Christian, William Wilberforce, with a consistent authentic evolutionist, Adolf Hitler. These two are totally opposed in every way, because their worldviews are diametrically opposed. Another prominent Christian at the time, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, also opposed Hitler and was executed for his part in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

In another post, I asked whether Christians or atheists are more responsible for the mass murders of history. I did the body count and the analysis of worldviews to determine which worldview doesn’t oppose the murder of millions of innocent people.

In another post, I looked at the ideas that kill millions of innocent people, including economic theories, scientific theories and social theories. Is there a common denominator between these ideas that have killed millions of people?

Here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. His new book is called “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem”. To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture about the book. Here is a series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics?.(a PDF outline is here)

14 thoughts on “Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?”

  1. Hitler was not a Christian because everything he did was diametrically opposite to what being a Christian is all about. Nazism is the complete antithesis of Christianity. One could say that with or without the knowledge of his political stand though knowing it certainly helps. It always irks me when people point out he was an alter boy in the Church. As if, that is the biggest identity of being a Christian!! All they care is if you have Christian name, you are a Christian. For such people ‘Joseph’ Stalin is a Christian too. So is ‘Robert’ Mugabe.

    You know what I find really strange is that the RSS (a fundamental Hindu organization in India) preaches Nazism in the schools run by that organization and says they should adopt similar methods to obliterate Muslims and Christians from India. Oh and of course, Hitler IS a Christian, in their text books.

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    1. Hey Shalini, I did a search to see find some evidence of what you wrote and found this Boston Globe article.

      Excerpt:

      But human rights organizations in the eastern state of Orissa, which has the lowest per capital income in India, say the students are unwitting players in a political experiment driven by ancient Indian hatreds and partly funded by donors from the United States.

      They say the schools, run by India’s foremost Hindu nationalist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, are indoctrinating students with a militant version of “Hindutva” (literally, Hinduness): hatred of Muslims and Christians and a desire to turn India into a Hindu state, using violence if necessary.

      The National Council for Educational Research and Training in New Delhi, the government body that evaluates teaching materials, said the schools’ curriculum is “designed to promote bigotry and religious fanaticism” and has asked state governments to prevent the publishing and use of RSS textbooks.

      Yet the RSS and its allies, collectively called the Sangh Parivar, say they have enrolled more than 5 million students in about 30,000 Hindu religious schools across India.

      Sounds like Muslim madrassas, only for Hindus! Scary. I should write a post about this. It does seem like there are some parallels between Hindutva and Nazism. For example, they are both nationalist. I wonder if Hindutva teaches socialism (government control of the economy) as well?

      If you want to say more about it, please remember to include a citation from a respected source!

      Also, can you explain to me why they are calling this group the Hindu right? It seems to me that to be on the right-wing, you need to believe in free market capitalism and fundamental human liberties and rights. On the left, you find socialism and government control that that can violate fundamental rights and liberties. This is something else I need to post on – what does right and left mean? People may think that I am a nationalist because I am patriotic, but I am actually a globalist – I believe in free trade between nations. I am a global capitalist! The opposite of national socialist!

      I also wonder whether apologetics is widespread in India among Christians, or whether they are just preaching without evidence. One way to curb the rage of people towards your side is to hold a fair debate with people on the other side and to engage them and let them see the evidence of what you believe. This is what the first Christians did when they were being persecuted by the pagan, polytheistic Roman empire.

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  2. I am sorry. Next time I’ll ensure to mention a proper source to my claims. The problem is all that I state here is from leading Indian journals and I just mention them off hand. I can find the links, I hope they are authentic enough for you. Here’s where I picked that up: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2009/04/15/stories/2009041555871100.htm

    As for the definition of left-right in India, in economic terms they are quite unclear to a common Indian. I mean, I don’t think the BJP can be truly considered as a fiscal conservative. That’s because as I mentioned earlier India has a majority rural population which requires populist schemes like loan waivers and the likes, which the BJP would never oppose. This has got more to do with their Hindu ideologies.

    I don’t know whether you might know that the Congress in India started as a Socialist party. India had cordial relationships with the Soviet Union, and the Congress basically endorsed Soviet propaganda. As a matter of fact, India never got along with the US. Pakistan bought their F16s from US while we bought our MiG24s from Russia. It was only when Manmohan Singh, our current PM, took over as India’s Finance Minister that India embraced free markets. FYI, Congress is for free market capitalism whilst BJP is against it(Honestly, I think they oppose it only to have stand which is opposite to that of Congress).

    To tell the truth, both parties’ economic policies have never been quite clear to the common man, and I seriously doubt a hungry farmer would have ever cared to know. It’s in Indian villages that the elections are won.

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    1. Don’t apologize. I am only trying to encourage you to be more persuasive!

      (Honestly, I think they oppose it only to have stand which is opposite to that of Congress).

      Ha! LOL!

      My Indian co-workers tell me that there are no principled debates about economic policy in India. I tell them that there are no principled debates about economic policy in the USA, except on right-wing talk radio and in private conversations. Our journalists are completely ignorant, and our political debates are a joke.

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  3. As for the apologetics question, that’s another big issue. You really want me to explain what happens here?

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  4. Well, you’ll have to understand India is totally different from the US of any western state. I mean, not just the geographical difference, but the social, cultural differences.

    Lets just say, we take the example of Orissa. What exactly happened there was that, there were 2 tribal groups. They, both of them, were completely backward, most importantly in education. The rich upper class people, used these people almost as slaves and never allowed them progress in the society. That’s when a Christian missionary group (Catholic, from the reports I’ve read) intervened and offered them education and medical facilities. One of the tribal groups, willfully just took up Christianity and started progressing socially. Now that was a big hindrance to upper class, and they turned the other tribal group against them using Hindu fundamental groups. This is what actually happened.

    Now from what I said, you’d know there was no apologetic involved. They were dealing with uneducated people. In most parts of India, this is exactly what happens. Truth be told, there’s not much of apologetic in India, at all. And as for you suggestion, that opposite groups would accept if you give them evidence, you are talking about literate people aren’t you?

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    1. Yes! Apologetics works better when people listen to you, then run off and read books and watch debates to see if what you are saying is true. I could still make a case with illiterate people, but it won’t work as well because they can’t be convinced unless they can go and check it out for themselves on their own time, in their own library, and in discussions with their own family and friends.

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  5. What I don’t understand is when atheists complain that Hitler was a Christian? I say so what, was Hitler evil? And as an atheist, how do they know what evil is?

    I had a conversation about this just a month or so ago – very frustrating. A guy who used to be Catholic blaming God for the genocide in the Old Testament and compared it to genocide during the Holocaust. I simply asked him why genocide is wrong and he couldn’t answer.

    I don’t understand how this becomes an argument that becomes such a stumbling block to people.

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    1. This is the kind of lesson everyone who reads my blog must learn. Never accept any moral statement made by an atheist. Always challenge them to explain the foundations of morality, and whether those foundations are grounded by their worldview.

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  6. Re: Hitler was a Christian.

    Makes a lot of sense to me. Why wouldn’t a raving madman intent on the extermination of all Jews in turn worship a Jew?

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