Response to Coel Hellier’s blog “Nazi racial ideology was religious, creationist and opposed to Darwinism”
|November 30, 2011||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
Interrupting my series of blogs defending Martin Luther, I thought I would post my response to a long article on the subject of Hitler’s beliefs. The author claims he only wants to detach Hitler from atheism and from Darwinism, but numerous comments linking Hilter to Christianity and to Christians were made. The article can be found here http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/
In one of your messages you inquired about my trip. London is great, I also visited Berlin.
You said I gave you a lot to respond to, but your initial article was very long, and I could have written fifty pages in response. I do have as I said a whole book on the subject. There are a few extra copies of an earlier version to which a few changes were made. If you like, I will mail it to you – it covers all of these subjects in depth. But, I am sure you wouldn’t like the book, it is written from the basis of belief in the bible and explores these questions from a Christian vantage point.
I mentioned the fact that millions of Germans voted for the Communist candidates to the Reichstag, marched in Communist parades, called for the abolition of capitalism, and considered religion the opiate of the people, a trick used by the establishment to keep the people docile. They were out and out Marxists. Unless I missed something, you did not respond. Here is a clear and simple easily verifiable fact that contradicts your thesis – are you willing to deal with it?
These conversations can be endless, so I will make these comments and not write more – not that I am trying to have the last word. I’ll keep on your mailing list for a while and be glad to read whatever you might post. If you ask something specifically about Christianity I suppose I should respond.
You said to someone that the purpose was not to link Hitler to Christianity, but that is definitely the purpose of the No Beliefs website and also the Steigmann-Gall book, which sources you quote often. Also, you say if I remember rightly that Hitler was not mainstream Christianity, meaning he was still in some way part of Christianity. And, you continually refer to the 98% of people who claimed to be Christians, and also don’t want to accept that top Nazi leaders denied basic doctrines (you asked for evidence for my claim there).
When asked in a government poll about religion, “Protestant” or “Catholic” was a wise thing to say. The Nazis pursued the Communist party ruthlessly (have you read about this?) and anyone even suspected of being a Communist was liable to be beaten, tortured, and sent to a concentration camp. Saying “no religion” or “atheist” might lead to closer observation.
In the book “Hunting Eichmann,” by Neil Bascomb (I think that’s his name), it tells how a Protestant minister tried to evangelize Eichmann after his death sentence had been passed. Eichmann had no interest in that bible stuff, and was not concerned about repenting of his sins, believing in Jesus, and being saved. There are also detailed biographies of Heinrich Himmler. You will find that he had in interest in Hinduism (he liked the caste system), and German paganism. He was not interested in Christianity which was, after all, a Jewish religion. Bormann and Heydrich were openly hostile to Christianity. They changed Christmas to Yulefest so as to leave Christ out of it – just like secularists today.
Goebbels in his diaries (authentic, and accepted as legitimate) referred directly to Hitler’s hostility to Christianity. This is an important source S-G and Jim Walker (of the nobeliefs site) both ignore. This is because they are not interested in facts, but only want to attack Christianity. Anyone who reads the four gospels and sees anything of Hitler there is, in my view, incapable of rational thought on this subject. Jim Walker’s attitude toward Christianity is, in my view, one of hatred, ignorance, and fear.
You were not aware of Nazi persecutions of Catholics in Austria, and I suppose in Germany either. Shirer talks about the murders of Catholic political activists in the Roehm purge. John Conway’s book “The Nazi Persecution of the Churches” describes the problems of the Catholics in Austria in detail, and gives information about monasteries and seminaries arbitrarily closed by the Nazis. His book is not a whitewash either. He presents the well known fact that many “Christians” went along with Hitler, and he discusses in depth Germanic Christians who tried to combine National Socialism with Christianity. When S-G says Conway didn’t cover this it shows he either did not read the book, or was lying.
Catholics in Germany were also persecuted, fired, Catholic schools were all closed over time, the promises made in the Concordat with the Vatican were one more set of lies by Hitler. The Vatican protested numerous times against these violations, but it accomplished nothing. They did not excommunicate Hitler as this would have led to even fiercer persecutions and great damage to the church in Germany – not to mention the loss of many Catholics who, if they were forced to choose between the Pope and Hitler, would have gone with Hitler (if only to save their own necks). I am sure you have not read about the Hitler Youth member who tore a crucifix off the wall and threw it out a window into the street, saying “Lie there, you dirty Jew.” The Nazis were not ignorant of the fact that Jesus was a Jew.
About the Old Testament massacres, most people do not have any problem with the fiery destruction rained down on German cities in WW II in which hundreds of thousands of people were indiscriminately slaughtered, including of course infants. Most consider this justified and necessary to win the war – and does man have more power than God? Do we have the right to do this and not God? God is the creator of life, and he has as much right to take a life, or any number of lives, as you do to turn off a light switch in your own home. If because of their sins and to establish the Jews in their homeland, God decided the Canaanites had to go, he had that right, and the biblical Israelites were instruments of God’s anger.
This disturbs some on your side, but they have no concern at all for the much greater numbers of people massacred by atheists in our own modern era. Why is it that a comparatively small number of people massacred more than 3,000 years ago bothers you more than those massacred by secularists such as Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao? I suspect some people don’t really care about human life at all, they just want an excuse to attack religion.
Finally, on this point, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a onetime incident, once in the history of the world. So was the flood, which God sent to destroy the world because of its wickedness. These have never been emulated by Christians, who recognize we do not have that calling. The same for the massacres of the Canaanites – a onetime event in world history that no Jews or Christians have ever tried to repeat. We understand we are not Moses, we are not in that situation, and God has not called us for that.
I found many passages in Table Talk relating to science, showing Hitler to have had profoundly secular views. You ignored that point – unless I missed something you posted somewhere. People on your side have a consistent tendency to ignore contrary evidence. This is not detached objectivity. Also, the passage I quoted did not merely show that Hitler studied Darwinism in school, it shows that he argued in favour of it. Possibly (?) as a boy Hitler came to believe in Darwinism, but later scrapped parts of the theory he didn’t like (a common origin for all races for example) but kept the part he did like (life as struggle for survival in which the perishing of the weak was normal and healthy). Hitler was not a consistent thinker or a scientist, he picked up whatever agreed with him and ignored the rest.
By the way, there are you know theistic Darwinists. They say “Darwinism is a fact, we have the evidence and know how it works, it’s science – but God is behind it. He started it, and he is guiding it to some end.” So, the fact that Hitler made some theistic noises by no means detaches him completely from Darwinism.
Also, someone said in a post on your blog that Table Talk was the only evidence Christians use to show Hitler was not a Christian. This is completely false. People like to use some good quotes from that source, but there is much more to it than that, and in my book I do not at all rely on this source, though I do refer to it a few times. Other evidence: first, Hitler never at any time referred to any of the foundational teachings of Christianity, such as the virgin birth, the Trinity, Christ as God in human form, his sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world and his resurrection from the dead, his final return as God to judge the world, the need to repent of sins and be saved, or the bible as the word of God.
If you say those are not essential and one can be a Christian without them, then I can say that natural selection is not essential to Darwinism and one can be a Darwinist if they believe in the literal truth of the first chapters of Genesis. A big part of the debate here is caused by the fact that many of you people do not have any idea of what Christianity is. It is true of course, Christians themselves may differ, but the bible plainly teaches that thieves, liars, murderers, and evildoers will not go to heaven – no matter if they were baptized, go to church one occasion, or say something about Christ. “No murderer has eternal life” as it says in I John.
By the way, the supposed Catholic Hitler never went to mass, never went to confession, never said a word about the Virgin Mary the whole time he was chancellor.
About Hitler’s theism, I agree he was not an atheist, but his theism was of a very odd sort. Conway’s book “The Nazi Persecution of the Churches” has a detailed and long quote from Marin Bormann, explaining that the Nazis believed in God, but it was not the naive God of the Christians. It was a “god” that worked through natural law and was understandable by reason and science, without revelation. I encourage you to look at this book, find the lengthy quote by Bormann, and post it on your blog.
Hitler’s ideas emerged out a very distinct tradition of secular German philosophy that emerged in the 19th century. By the way, I wonder if you know that Hegel is often linked to modern totalitarianism, due to his belief that the state was the agent of the world spirit, and that people found their true freedom in obedience to the state. He has been consistently linked to both left (Communist) and right (Nazi) totalitarianism.
A few more points. Someone on your blog said that Churchill and FDR were Christians. Read a detailed biography of either of those men and find one place where they said “Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins,” or any other vital element of Christian doctrine.
About Naziism being a counterfeit religion, Hitler offered a new Chosen People (the Germans); a new promised land (Germany); a new concept of sin (racial impurity); a new means of salvation (eliminating sources of impurity in the German Volk); a new saviour (himself); a new system of ethics (life as pitiless struggle and might makes right). There is definitely a religious element – a counterfeit one, as Hitler understood people need something to believe in. The point has been made that the secularism and rejection of Christianity in modern Germany left the German people lost, confused, looking for certainty, for a cause to fight for, and Hitler met this need. Hitler and Stalin both knew how to manipulate religion to serve their own ends.
Two more points. I have read Weikart’s book “From Darwin to Hitler” and I think some people on your side don’t understand it. He plainly says that Darwinism did not CAUSE Naziism. He agrees there are many differences between Darwin and Hitler, many differences between Darwinism proper and Naziism, that many Darwinists are far from Hitler and sincerely reject him. He also recognizes that there were many factors behind the emergence of Hitler. This is plainly spelled out in the opening of the book, and you should not confuse his book with much simpler attacks by people who have not really studied the subject.
He does say, and he documents this thoroughly with many citations from primary sources, that Darwinism was popular in 19th century Germany, and believed in by an influential segment of the population. He then shows how these people did not merely stop with Darwinism as an explanation for the origin and development of life on earth. They went on from there, and tried to build an ethical and philosophical system, applying the truths of Darwinism to people and to human society. For example, they reasoned that traditional ethics based on Christianity were false and out of date; that life was governed by the rule of struggle – the strong survive and the weak die, and survival is the main ethic.
They reasoned that sick and weak people should be allowed to die, as that was natural, and too much medical care interfered with natural selection. They reasoned that some people were higher on the evolutionary scale than others, and hence superior to them. They argued that if Germany seized territory from weaker nations, this was justified by the natural law of survival of the fittest. Darwin’s leading proponent in Germany before WWI was Ernst Haeckel, a racist militarist imperialist who thought people with blue eyes were superior (no, I am not talking about anti-Semitism here, his views about the Jews are debated, but not relevant to my main point).
This is called “social Darwinism,” an attempt to apply a Darwinian ethic to human beings. You may dislike this, you can say it is not true Darwinism, that it is not science, but Weikart proves that there were people who had these views. He presents basic and well documented facts, which I am sure some people on your side will refuse to consider because they feel that Darwin must be protected at any cost.
Finally, imagine there are two atheists. Both of them agree there is no God; science is the only sure path to knowledge; there is no heaven, no judgment, no hell, pure atheists in every way. But, they don’t stop there. They then go on to try and decide how they should live in the world. One just wants to be a nice guy, enjoy life, have a good job and a family, he is a good neighbour and a good citizen.
Another says, “There is too much injustice, oppression, poverty, and exploitation in the world. This is caused by greed, selfishness, and private property. The solution is to eliminate private property, capitalism, and religion and set up a state of the workers. Of course, this has to be set up by force, and people who oppose it are enemies the happiness of mankind and it is justifiable to deal with them harshly.”
You may say that is not real atheism, but it comes from atheism and atheism is its starting point. Stalin, Lenin, and Mao were atheists, and the fact that they used various psychological means to win people’s devotion and strengthen their own power, or had certain economic or political policies, does not mean they were not real atheists. To put it another way, atheists have been some of the most vicious, brutal, cruel people in the history of the human race.
I appreciate your considering an opposing point of view, which is helpful for all of us.
This does not cover all points but this is long enough.