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Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

One of the strangest things I have heard from atheists is the assertion that Christianity is somehow connected to the fascism, such as the fascism that existed under Adolf Hitler. Two posts by Jewish author Jonah Goldberg from National Review supply us with the facts to set the record straight.

Let’s start with the first post.

Here are some of the points:

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

5) Hitler favored the removal of mandatory prayers in schools

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished…

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

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

7) Hitler abolished religious instruction for children

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

And now 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.

Practically everything this man believed was 100% anti-Christian. But he fits in fine on the secular left.

Conclusion

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 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 with capitalism as well. Christians value individual rights and freedoms, small government and the autonomy of the family against the state. The commandments about not coveting and not stealing are incompatible with redistribution of wealth from those who produce to those who “need”. The differences are clear and significant. The Bible favors voluntary charity by individuals and churches. It does not favor redistribution of wealth by a secular government to equalize life outcomes regardless of personal responsibility.

Ignorant atheists and their myths

In a recent debate between Matt Dillahunty and David Robertson, Dillahunty made the claim that Hitler was a Christian, because in a campaign speech, he told a Catholic audience that secular schools were bad, and religious schools were good. Dillahunty thought that this meant that Hitler was a Christian. Robertson asked him when those words were spoken, and whether they formed the basis of any POLICY after Hitler was elected. Dillahunty didn’t know, because he just cited the quotation without knowing anything about the context, or about the historical period. Robertson informed him that the words were spoken in a campaign speech, prior to Hitler’s rise to power, and that nothing in Hitler’s policies ever took the words seriously after he came to power. It was the equivalent of Obama claiming to support natural marriage, then legalizing same-sex marriage once elected. He lied in order to be elected. This kind of ignorance is very prominent in the atheist (“secular humanist”) community, which survives on mythology which is never subjected to rational inquiry. Here’s another good example of this ignorance.

Incidentally, Dillahunty later said, in the same debate no less, that he “didn’t know” if the Holocaust was morally wrong. Right – because on atheism right and wrong are meaningless concepts, rationally speaking. They are reduced to personal preferences only, where each opinion is as valid as the opposite opinion, since there is no objective standard by which to judge different opinions. That’s why atheists can’t make moral judgements about anything, they just have preferences, like their preference for certain foods and certain clothes. Very important to realize this when talking to atheists, because they use moral language to describe their personal feelings and opinions.

Whenever I hear atheists speculating about whether Hitler was a Christian, I immediately know that they have not investigated anything very carefully, and are merely being insulting. It’s not worth having a conversation with people who are stupid AND insulting.

Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

One of the strangest things I have heard from atheists is the assertion that Christianity is somehow connected to the fascism, such as the fascism that existed under Adolf Hitler. Two posts by Jewish author Jonah Goldberg from National Review supply us with the facts to set the record straight.

Let’s start with the first post.

Here are some of the points:

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

5) Hitler favored the removal of mandatory prayers in schools

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished…

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

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

7) Hitler abolished religious instruction for children

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

And now 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.

Practically everything this man believed was 100% anti-Christian. But he fits in fine on the secular left.

Conclusion

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 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 with capitalism as well. Christians value individual rights and freedoms, small government and the autonomy of the family against the state. The differences are clear and significant.

Was Hitler a Christian? Is Nazism similar to Christianity?

One of the strangest things I have heard from atheists is the assertion that Christianity is somehow connected to the fascism, such as the fascism that existed under Adolf Hitler. Two posts by Jewish author Jonah Goldberg from National Review supply us with the facts to set the record straight.

Let’s start with the first post.

Here are some of the points:

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

5) Hitler favored the removal of mandatory prayers in schools

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished…

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

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

7) Hitler abolished religious instruction for children

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

And now 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.

Practically everything this man believed was 100% anti-Christian. But he fits in fine on the secular left.

Conclusion

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 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 with capitalism as well. Christians value individual rights and freedoms, small government and the autonomy of the family against the state. The differences are clear and significant.

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)

How childhood experiences shape our view of religion

I have a very good friend named Rick Heller who blogs at several places, including Transparent Eye. Rick is not a Christian, but he is fairly familiar with the relevant evidence pro and con, except on the resurrection of Jesus. I was browsing on Transparent Eye the other day and I found this post about a childhood experience that turned Rick away from religion.

Excerpt:

Even when I was religious, I always found the glorification of God to be a lesser form of spirituality. As an Orthodox Jew, I disliked the text of the Yishtabach prayer (though I liked the tune)

May your Name be praised, our King, the God, the great and holy King, in heaven and on Earth. Because, our God and God of our forefathers, you deserve song and praise, lauding and hymns, power and dominion, triumph, greatness and strength, praise and splendor, holiness and kingship, blessing and thanksgivings now and forever.

It seemed to me that the Rabbis thought that God had a self-esteem problem, and His ego needed massaging. Even as a religious person, I thought these prayers were inferior to the Psalms, which often expressed delight and gratitude rather than the obsequious praise of the courtier.

In life, I can think of two reasons why you might flatter someone. First, the person might be insecure, and out of compassion you might say a little white lie that makes them feel better. Second, the person might have power over you, and you tell a lie in order to elevate them in the hopes of reciprocity, that they will elevate you, or at least not punish you.

This sucking up to God seems to me like the flattery of the poweful. The extravagent praise of the Yishtabach prayer strikes me as something done to propitiate a powerful and potentially dangerous Being that could destroy you.

Does God need our glorification? A mature person does not need constant praise (though a heartfelt thank-you every once in a while is appreciated).

Let’s take a look at his concern and see if we can find a solution.

The problem of forcing religion on children

Now, I have a different view of worship than many Christians. I think it’s better to worship God in the public square, not just in church. I believe in worshiping with theological truths and with publicly available knowledge, such as describing the scientific discoveries that led to our knowledge of God’s role in creating the universe. And I believe in talking about God’s worth to non-Christians, not just Christians.

Surprising as it may be to many Christians, as someone who was not raised in a Christian home, I really struggle with the church. Unlike Rick, I enjoy ascribing worth to God. I think that voluntary worship is best, because you make your own case based on what you know about God from your own study. But I also think a prayer like Rick’s may be appropriate, but only after you convince yourself it is true.

I want to go on to make a general point about the way religion is presented to young people.

A lot of people who have religion crammed down their throats at a young age end up either rebelling or just going through the motions until they leave home. What I noticed about Rick’s post is that sounds like he was being made to do things that he didn’t want to do. Can you imagine what would have happened if he told the church elders or his parents that he was uncomfortable mouthing these parrot-praises?

This is the problem. Church elders and parents are long on ordering people around, and short on answering questions. They don’t try to convince you of anything, they just demand visible behaviors. Rick might be willing to say that prayer, but first he deserves to be convinced. It is not enough to just pressure him into mouthing the words. He needs to persuade himself that the words are true, by studying the facts!

The problem is that parents and the church won’t lift a finger to present religious truth claims the same way as truth is presented in the classroom, the lab or the workplace. Children know when they are being told fairy tales. We need to give them public knowledge! Show them some debates! We need to put in the same effort into persuading people about religion as we do about any other area of knowledge.

I once exchanged e-mails with a fundamentalist Christian who explained to me how her approach to atheist’s questions was to quote the Bible to them. I asked her whether it might not be better to appeal to scientific or historical evidence, instead, since atheists don’t believe the Bible. Naturally she cited a Bible verse to me, in order to justify her not having to answer anyone’s questions.

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4)

Now the thing is, this woman had no idea what this verse was saying. She was just trying to justify being lazy. But every serious Christian knows that Jesus is predicting his own resurrection in that verse! That is what the sign of Jonah is: 3 days in the tomb and then out of it. So Jesus is saying, you guys are going to get a historical event, and it’s going to be done right in front of you as a sign to prove my claims.

This is exactly how the early church presented the resurrection (e.g. Peter in Acts 2:14-41). Non-Christians were supposed to form their opinion of whether Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, or not, based on a historical event. The whole Bible is chock-full of examples of faith founded on fact! But you would never, ever know that by watching parents and churches present religion to children.

I hereby apologize to sincere atheists, agnostics and deists for these experiences. But guess what? Authentic Christians like William Wilberforce agree with me on this.

What would William Wilberforce think?

Well, take a look for yourself, from his own writings:

Look at the facts. Do cultural Christians view Christian faith as important enough to make it a priority when teaching their children what they believe and why they believe it? Or do they place greater emphasis on their children getting a good education than on learning about the things of God? Would they be embarrassed if their children did not possess the former while basically being indifferent about the latter? If their children have any understanding of Christian faith at all, they probably have acquired it on their own. If the children view themselves as Christians, it is probably not because they have studied the facts and come to a point of intellectual conviction but because their family is Christian, so they believe they must be Christians also.

The problem with this way of thinking is that authentic faith cannot be inherited. When Christianity is viewed in this way, intelligent and energetic young men and women will undoubtedly reach a point where they question the truth of Christianity and, when challenged, will abandon this “inherited” faith that they cannot defend. They might begin to associate with peers who are unbelievers. In this company, they will find themselves unable to intelligently respond to objections to Christianity with which they are confronted. Had they really known what they believe and why they believe it, these kinds of encounters would not shake their faith one bit.

I fear for the future of authentic faith in our country. We live in a time when the common man in our country is thoroughly influenced by the current climate in which the cultural and educational elite propagates an anti-Christian message. We should take a look at what has happened in France and learn a lesson from it. In that country, Christianity has been successfully attacked and marginalized by these same groups because those who professed belief were unable to defend the faith from attack, even though its attackers’ arguments were deeply flawed. We should be alarmed that instruction in authentic faith has been neglected, if not altogether eliminated, in our schools and universities.

Is it any wonder then that the spiritual condition of our country is of little concern to those who don’t even educate their own children about true Christianity?  Their conduct reflects their absence of concern, not only for the state of Christianity in our own country, but also for the need to communicate the message of Christ to those in other parts of the world who have not heard this truth.

This is the guy who stopped slavery in the UK, folks. My advice: let’s do whatever Wilber says.

In a forthcoming post, I’ll look at another childhood experience that causes problems for people. It turns out that bad views of economics can be traced to childhood experiences, just like bad views of religion.