Chat with a secularist
|June 27, 2013||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
I guess I can delay the next couple of non-critical posts on Feminism and Naziism. For now, I have received a non-supportive email from someone claiming Hitler was, in fact, a Christian. He stated “Let me give you a little dose of reality” and then as evidence he gave these often quoted remarks from a speech of Hitler’s:
“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)
It is not difficult to respond to this sort of argument.
A. Since when do comments by a politician become “reality”? If a US president promises to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, that is not necessarily “reality.”
B. Since when do any of Hitler’s remarks constitute “reality?” He also said that he wanted peace, but the Jews were to blame for World War II; that he attacked Poland in self defence; and that FDR was the greatest war criminal of all time. More of Hitler’s reality. This “Hitler said so so of course it must be true” would not be accepted in any other area, except when it is useful for attacking Christianity.
C. Exactly what is a Christian? Someone who says something about Christ once in over twenty years of speechifying, and then never makes the slightest effort to follow any of Christ’s commandments? Someone who is a Christian should at least make a sincere effort to follow the teachings of Christ. I am an English teacher and can easily tell the difference between someone who is trying to learn but makes ordinary human errors on the one hand, and someone who couldn’t care less, makes no effort, is often absent, doesn’t do the homework, and doesn’t participate or pay attention in class on the other.
D. Does anyone want to claim that Hitler thought Jesus was God come to earth in human form, born of a virgin, raised in a Jewish family and milieu, who taught us the true way to eternal life with God? Does anyone think Hitler believed there would be a day of judgment, that he would stand before Christ to give account for his life, and that if accepted by God he would go to heaven, and if rejected he would go to a place of eternal punishment? If someone thinks that mentioning Jesus in a speech makes one a Christian they really should at least read the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus did not say “Blessed are people who mention me in a speech and then ignore everything that I say.”
E. There were a number of nineteenth-century thinkers who brought up new ideas unheard of in previous European history. Hegel, Fichte, Gobineau, Schopenhauer, Haeckel, and many others presented ideas basic to National Socialism, and not one of them believed in the Bible as the literal and divinely inspired Word of God. It was the modernist rejection of Christianity that brought forth the new ideas essential to National Socialist ideology.
F. The speech quoted above states that Christ was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. This means that, in Hitler’s sober and judicious opinion, Christ’s driving the money changers out of the temple was greater than his sacrificial death on the cross. Such a view has never been held by any serious Christian and instantly reveals that Hitler did not have the slightest idea of what Christianity was about. Also, saying that Christ died to fight the Jewish poison has nothing to do with any recognized Christian teaching.
Why do people look to Roman Palestine nearly two thousand years ago to explain Hitler, instead of to German culture in the immediately preceding decades? I can think of several reasons. One is, they do not want to admit that the secular mind “emancipated” from religion can be so horrendously wrong. This undermines the entire modernist project of building a better world without God. Secondly, they have hostility and in some cases even a fear of Christianity. The idea that there is a higher power to which they are subject, and that they will be held accountable by this power in the next life, and possibly sent to place of eternal punishment is deeply disturbing.
If someone were to say “I am a Darwinist, and I believe if the superior white race exterminates backward and inferior savages, that is natural, normal, and healthy. The law of survival of the fittest decrees that might makes right, the strong survive and the weak die. And we should not give too much medical care to the weak and the sick as that interferes with evolutionary law” – would any secularist accept that as a refutation of Darwin’s theory?