Will the Real Nazis Please Stand Up?!! (Part 1)

Nazi Alter

Nazi Alter

1. Nazi Rejection of the Christian God
2. Nazi Rejection of the Resurrected Christ
3. Nazi Rejection of the Old Testament
4. Nazi Rejection of the Apostle Paul
5. Nazi Religion of Nature and Race
6. Nazi Plan to Destroy the Church

Part 1: Nazi Religion – Nature Worship, with Superficial Appeals to Christianity

Atheists often claim that the Nazis were a Christian movement because Hitler denounced Marxist materialism and made some public comments appealing to God and promising to promote “positive Christianity.”i You can trust a politician’s promises, can’t you? Nearly all politicians in the West give perfunctory honor to God. For some atheists, pointing to an instance where Hitler “named the name of Christ” is sufficient to prove that he was a Christian. But the logical fallacy of this argument is simple: Equivocation – using the same words as Christians but giving them a different meaning. That Hitler always spoke positively about Jesus Christ does not prove that he believed in Christianity or the Christian God because Hitler’s views of Jesus and God bear little resemblance to the traditional Christian views. Hitler spoke positively of Jesus Christ, but he often denounced Christianity in his private conversations. Hitler rejected the Christian view of God, rejected the Old Testament because it was Jewish (even though Christ endorsed it – Matt. 5:17, Luke 16:17, John 10:35), rejected the scriptures from the Apostle Paul because his message was internationalist rather than racist and nationalist, rejected the resurrection of Christ, rejected the deity of Christ, and rejected Christ’s Jewish lineage. Hitler’s “Christ” was a product of his own imagination: a completely mortal, anti-capitalist, anti-Semite Aryan. Hitler’s occasional pro-Christian rhetoric masked a secret plan by the Nazis to destroy the Christian Church. He wanted to return German religion to pre-Christian nature worship. The main source of Hitler’s ideology was Friedrich Nietzsche, who declared that “God is dead,” and Darwinian evolution in terms of races struggling against each other so that societal progress is achieved by the survival of the fittest race.

Although the Nazis made use of some statements of Luther’s where he harshly denounced Jews, the ideology that propelled Hitler and German intellectuals to believe in racism and to perpetrate the Holocaust against the Jews and others deemed less fit was Darwin’s evolutionary theory of survival of the fittest. Hitler considered the Christian ethic of charity to the poor and sick to be an ethic of weakness that ought to be rejected as contrary to the law of nature. Except for the overt-racism, Hitler’s fascism was a carbon-copy of standard twentieth and twenty-first century liberal political thought: socialist, pro-gun control, pro-abortion, pro-animal rights, anti-smoking, environmentalist, and vegetarian. The superficially Christian laws that Hitler promoted were actually a product of his racist ideology: He was anti-prostitution because it mixed the races; he was anti-abortion only when it came to Aryans. Hitler’s fascism, like fascism in general, was not right-wing political ideology but left-wing, as those terms are used in modern American political discourse. I will cover Hitler’s social policy in part 3 of this essay. I will answer the question in more detail of whether Luther is to blame for Nazism in part 2. Here I will concentrate on Hitler’s theology.

Nazi Rejection of the Christian God

Hitler denounced the barren materialism that is usually equated with atheism in our day in favor of a more mystical view, but Hitler did not believe in God as traditionally understood by Christians. Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s private secretary who was faithful to Hitler to the end (after Hitler’s suicide, he poured gasoline on the body), wrote that the Nazi “God” is an impersonal force of nature:

When we [National Socialists] speak of belief in God, we do not mean, like the naive Christians and their spiritual exploiters, a man-like being sitting around somewhere in the universe. The force governed by natural law by which all these countless planets move in the universe, we call omnipotence or God. The assertion that this universal force can trouble itself about the destiny of each individual being, every smallest earthly bacillus, can be influenced by so-called prayers or other surprising things, depends upon a requisite dose of naivety or else upon shameless professional self-interest.ii

God” as an impersonal force of nature is atheism as far as the traditional Christian definition of God goes. Bormann’s description of the Nazi God may seem to contradict this passage in Mein Kampf, where Hitler speaks of God as a creator and revealing his will to mankind, but that would be a superficial reading:

The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.”iii 

This all sounds very Christian until the terms are defined. Hitler does not define his terms here, but understanding this in context of other statements by Hitler and his close associates like Bormann, Hitler is using traditional language to talk about a pantheistic universal force. As Bormann’s quote indicates, as do others from Hitler’s close associates, Nazi leaders did not believe in a personal God; and they did not believe that Hitler did either. Although those trying to connect Hitler with Christianity have claimed that Hitler’s associates have misquoted or fabricated statements from Hitler in which he rejects Christianity, even if the quotes are not word-for-word accurate, it would be odd if several of Hitler’s close associates shared the same misunderstanding about the view of their ideological leader. Hitler’s use of some traditional language concerning God and Christianity also has to be considered in the light of the secret Nazi plan to undermine Christian churches without alerting them to it. As discussed in more detail below, the Nazis wanted Christians to think that they were on their side until they were in a position to destroy Christianity. At any rate, Bormann’s statement about the belief of National Socialists in general indicates that the personal nature of God was not an essential part of Nazi ideology. It was not a standard view among Nazis, and therefore cannot be said to be a driving force behind Nazi atrocities. Naturalistic evolution was the ideology that was the driving force behind the atrocities.

Hitler at Nietzsche museum with Nietzsche's daughter, Elizabeth Forster Nietzsche

Hitler at Nietzsche museum with Nietzsche’s daughter, Elizabeth Forster Nietzsche

Hitler was a big fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, a virulently anti-Christian philosopher. William Shirer writes: “Hitler often visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and publicized his veneration for the philosopher by posing for photographs of himself staring in rapture at the bust of the great man.”iv The photo to the right documents Hitler visiting the Nietzsche museum and greeting Nietzche’s daughter. Writes Shirer again, “That in the end Hitler considered himself the superman of Nietzsche’s prophecy can not be doubted.”v Hitler used some of Nietzche’s terms in Mein Kampf, and they were integrated into other statements of Nazi ideology. Nietzche’s defenders point out that the philosopher rejected racism, but no one can deny Nietzche’s anti-Christian views. The alleged weakness of Christianity was the main foil for Nietzche’s view that exalted the “will to power” and the “will to war,” which would produce the “superman.” Even if Hitler was not well-read in Nietzche’s philosophy, he could not have missed the anti-Christian thrust of his thinking and had to find some agreement with it to be such a big fan.

The Hitler Youth marching song, written in 1935, shows how the ideology in which Nazi followers were immersed was forthrightly anti-Christian:

We are the joyous Hitler youth.
We need no Christian virtue,
For our leader is Adolf Hitler.
He is our deliverer and intercessor.
No cleric, no evil-doer can hinder us,
For we consider ourselves Hitler-Children.
We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel.
Away with incense and Holy Water,
The Church can go hang for all we care.
The Swastika brings salvation on Earth.vi

Martin Bormann also said:

National Socialism and Christian concepts are incompatible. The Christian Churches build upon the ignorance of men and strive to keep large portions of the people in ignorance because only in this way can the Christian Churches maintain their power. On the other hand, National Socialism is based on scientific foundations. Christianity’s immutable principles, which were laid down almost two thousand years ago, have increasingly stiffened into life-alien dogmas. National Socialism, however, if it wants to fulfill its task further, must always guide itself according to the newest data of scientific researches.

The Christian Churches have long been aware that exact scientific knowledge poses a threat to their existence. Therefore, by means of such pseudo-sciences as theology, they take great pains to suppress or falsify scientific research. Our National Socialist world view stands on a much higher level than the concepts of Christianity, which in their essentials were taken over from Judaism. For this reason, too, we can do without Christianity.vii

Of course, like many in the twentieth-century who professed to follow the newest data of science rather than the old dogmas of religion, Bormann believed in the guided evolution of eugenics and state-directed economies as the way to shape the future of humanity.

Stewart W. Herman, Jr. was a pastor of the American Church in Berlin from 1936 to 1941, and he witnessed first-hand the Nazi campaign to uproot Christianity. Pastor Herman reports the following from a speech to a group of pastors to make sure they understood the Nazi doctrine of Race, Blood and Soil. It was given by Dr. Hans Kerrl, a Nazi lawyer friend of Hitler and appointed by Hitler as Minister for Church Affairs:

No, Christianity is not dependent on the Apostle’s Creed. . . . True Christianity is represented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party and especially by the Fuehrer to a real Christianity. . . . The Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation.viii

The Apostle’s Creed is universally considered by Christian churches to be the bare minimum that one must believe in order to be called a Christian, if more is not required. But the Nazis rejected even that bare minimum. They wanted to use the name “Christian,” but fill it with alien doctrines. William Shirer writes in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

What the Hitler government envisioned for Germany was clearly set out in a thirty-point program for the ‘National Reich Church’ drawn up during the war by Rosenberg, an outspoken pagan, who among his other offices, held that of “the Fuehrer’s Delegate for the Entire Intellectual and Philosophical Education and Instruction for the National Socialist Party.” A few of the thirty articles convey the essentials:

1. The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich: it declares these to be the national churches of the German Reich.

5. The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably….the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.

7. The National Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains, or priests, but National Reich orators are to speak in them.

13. The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany…

14. The National Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuehrer’s Mein Kampf is the greatest of all documents. It….not only contains the greatest but it embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and future life of our nation.

18. The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles, and pictures of saints.

19. On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf (to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.

30. On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals, and chapels…and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika.”ix

Goebbels statement in his diary reinforces Hitler’s anti-Christian beliefs:

We come back to religious questions again. The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. This can be seen in the similarity of religious rites. Both (Judaism and Christianity) have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed.x

Hitler says that he would have preferred that Germany had adopted a more nationalistic and militaristic religion than Christianity. He expressed admiration for the Muslim military tradition and directed Himmler to initiate Muslim SS Divisions as a matter of policy. The Bosnian Muslim division proved to be one of his most dedicated and hard-fighting.xi  According to Albert Speer, Hitler’s Armaments Minister, Hitler stated in private:

You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness…xii

The name of the country of Iran, known as Persia until 1935, is derived from the word Aryan. While the term Aryan is used a few times in ancient Persian writings, there is no clear basis for it being used as a racial designation. The name Iran for the county was deliberately chosen as a show of ideological support for the Nazi concept of the Aryan race. German Nazis tried to gain support in the country by flooding it with Aryan racist propaganda, and that has played into the hatred of Jews in modern Islam.xiii

Nazi Rejection of the Resurrected Christ

Hitler’s views of Christ were decidedly heretical. Hitler spoke of Christ as an historical person, but Hitler’s “Christ” was not the Christ of Christianity, but a mere man with anti-Semitic, anti-capitalist, mystic beliefs. Hitler denied the fundamental Christian doctrine of the resurrection of Christ:

Immediately after the death of Christ, whom the reactionaries crucified, they set about exterminating, at least imprisoning and depriving of their rights, all those who had accepted Christ before his death. Christ’s body was removed from the tomb, to keep it from becoming an object of veneration and a tangible relic of the great new founder of a religion!xiv

Denying the divinity of Christ and His resurrection, Hitler cannot be called a Christian. (This may seem obvious, but some internet “experts” on Hitler and Christianity think that it’s no big deal if a Christian denies Christ’s resurrection.)

Nazi Rejection of the Old Testament

Of course, Hitler also had to disconnect Christ from the Jews and the Old Testament — the Book of the Jews. In a speech on April 26, 1922 Hitler calls Christ “our greatest Aryan leader.”xv Christ, who was born to two Jewish parents that had descended from King David according to the Bible (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-37), somehow becomes the member of another race in Hitler’s mind.  Christ specifically endorsed the Old Testament as the basis of His ministry: Matthew 5:17, John 5:46, Luke 24:27. Once again Hitler’s Christ is not Christianity’s Christ. Dietrich Eckart, Hitler’s ideological mentor. Hitler ends Mein Kampf with a tribute to Eckart: “And among [our heroes] I want to count that man, one of the best, who devoted himself to the awakening of his – our – people, in his writings and his thoughts and finally in his deeds: Deitrich Eckart.” Eckart wrote:

The New Testament broke away from the Old
as you once released yourself from the world
And as you are freed from your past delusions
so did Jesus Christ reject his Jewishness.xvi

 Hitler believed that the Bible should be “purified” by removing the Jewish part, the Old Testament, from it, just as he wanted Germany purified of the Jews. This is not a view of traditional Christians. It is in fact, similar to the heresy called Marcionism, the belief that the Old Testament God was a different God than the one in the New Testament. Yet this heresy promoted by liberal German theologians at the time of the formation of the Nazi movement. Richard Steigmann-Gall writes:

As early as 1919 Hitler sketched out his basic worldview in an unpublished manuscript. The first section was on the Bible, under which heading Hilter noted: “Monumental History of Mankind—Idealism—Materialism: Nothing without a cause — history makes men . . . the children of God and men.” He concluded from these ruminations the first result: “Purification of the Bible — that which is consistent with our spirit. Second result: critical examination of the remainder.” This “purification” is almost certainly an allusion to the Old Testament, which both Eckart and Dinter claimed has to be removed from the Christian canon owing to its origins in Judaism. Although such a position brings into question the theological soundness of Hitler’s religious views, the idea of expunging the Old Testament from Christianity was not simply a nazification of Christianity. No one less than Adolf von Harnack, one of the leading Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, had conceived such an idea when the Nazi movement was still to be born.xvii

Liberal Protestant theologians like Adolf von Harnack influenced the early pro-Nazi movement by defending the Marcionite heresy. Steigmann-Gall writes that Adolf von Harnack’s book Marcion “influenced the growing pro-Nazi thrust of Kulturprotestantismus after 1918; more importantly, it predated and overlapped completely with Nazi attitudes toward the Old Testament.”xviii  Adolf von Harnack wrote that “Luther’s concept of faith actually is the one that stands nearest to the Marcionite concept.”xix Luther made sharper distinctions between the Old and New Testament than the Calvinists, but he was no Marcionite (see more on Luther below). Yet Hitler’s ideology required adoption of the Marcionite heresy in order to promote racist hatred of Jews while still claiming that Christ was on his side.

Nazi Rejection of the Apostle Paul

Not only was Hitler’s Christ disconnected from the Old Testament, he was also disconnected from the Apostle Paul, whom Hitler denounced as a “proto-Bolshevist,” presumably for being internationalist in his promotion of Christianity to the gentile nations rather than racially and nationally oriented:

The decisive falsification of Jesus’s doctrine was the work of St Paul. . . . For the Galilean’s object was to liberate His country from Jewish oppression. He set Himself against Jewish capitalism, and that’s why the Jews liquidated Him….The Jews, by the way, regarded Him as the son of a whore and a Roman soldier. . . . Christ was an Aryan and St. Paul used his doctrine to mobilize the criminal underworld and organize a proto-Bolshevism…. Christianity is an invention of sick brains. . . . The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem.xx

Hitler expressed his disgust for the Apostle Paul and the Christian doctrines he spread through the ancient world:

The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. . . . The Jew who fraudulently introduced Christianity into the ancient world—in order to ruin it—re-opened the same breach in modern times, taking as his pretext the social question. Just as Saul became St. Paul, Mardochai has become Karl Marx.xxi

Nazi Religion of Nature and Race

The Apostle Paul taught that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free, for you are all are one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28; cf. Rom. 1:14; 1 Cor. 1:24, 10:32, 12:13; Rev. 7:9). All people on earth are one family (Acts 17:26). The only use of the word “race” in the Bible is in terms of a foot race. It teaches that there is only one race, the human race. Not surprisingly, given his racist views, and reflected in Hitler’s rejection of Paul, Hitler believed in a race-based religion. This meant a preference for the nature worship of pre-Christian Germanic tribes over Christianity. Hitler did not believe in the Old Testament or most of the New Testament, so his “divine” revelation and authority was natural revelation and natural law, not Biblical revelation and Biblical law, as he expresses in these two quotes:

The peasant will be told what the Church has destroyed for him: the whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine, the shapeless, the daemonic. The peasant shall learn to hate the Church on that basis. Gradually he will be taught by what wiles the soul of the German has been raped. We shall wash off the Christian veneer and bring out a religion peculiar to our race. . . . But it is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood. xxii

Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.xxiii

In his book Dawn And Resurrection, Joseph Hromadka writes:

The liberal theology in Germany and in her orbit utterly failed. It was willing to compromise on the essential points of divine law… to dispose of the Old Testament… to replace the ‘Jewish’ law of the Old Testament by the autonomous law of each race and nation respectively. Liberal theology had made all the necessary preparation for the ‘Germanization of Christianity’ and for a racial Church.xxiv

Adolf Eichmann, one of the principle architects of the Nazi Holocaust, professed many of the same anti-Christian beliefs that Hitler has been shown to have. As told to Rev. William L. Hull, the minister assigned to him before his execution in 1962 for his war crimes, and in the presence of other prison officials, he said that he found God through nature, Buddhism, and philosophers like Kant, Nietzsche, and Spinoza.xxv He didn’t believe that Jesus died for sinners or believe in the New Testament.xxvi He believed that the Old Testament was “nothing but Jewish stories and fables.”xxvii He wrote to Hull, “I am not prepared to accept anything that disagrees with my naturalistic conceptions.”xxviii He was an ardent evolutionist: “But I do not believe that man was created by God. My belief is that man evolved from a protoplasm.”xxix

The Nazi Plan to Destroy the Church

As I have demonstrated in this essay, Hitler rejected orthodox Christianity and wanted to a more nature-based religion. He planned to use his power through the State to accomplish this:

[The] organized lie must be smashed. The State must remain the absolute master. When I was younger, I thought it was necessary to set about [destroying religion] . . . with dynamite. I’ve since realized there’s room for a little subtlety. . . . The final state must be . . . in St. Peter’s Chair, a senile officiant; facing him a few sinister old women . . . . The young and healthy are on our side . . . it’s impossible to eternally hold humanity in bondage and lies. . . . [It] was only between the sixth and eighth centuries that Christianity was imposed upon our peoples. . . . Our peoples had previously succeeded in living all right without this religion. I have six divisions of SS men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn’t prevent them from going to their death with serenity in their souls.xxx

But Hitler realized that he could not make open war with Christianity, at least until he was in a better position. He and others in the Nazi Party planned to undermine the Church secretly until it was too weak to resist open opposition from the Nazi State.

Hitler created the “Protestant Reich Church” in 1933, requiring the Church to promote Aryan racial superiority and expelling Jewish Christian pastors. In opposition, the Confessing Church arose and issued the Barmen Declaration in 1934, which denounced Hitler’s totalitarian rule and imposition of Aryan doctrine on the Church as contrary to historic Christian doctrine. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a famous member of the Confessing Church for having been executed for plotting to assassinate Hitler and aiding the escape of Jews to Switzerland.

Hitler’s plan to destroy the Church was further brought to light by the discovery in 1998 of the Donovan collection of documents, used to support the prosecution of Nazis at the Nuremburg Trial, particularly the document titled, “The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches.”xxxi The Nuremberg investigators concluded that influential Nazi leaders sought “a complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion tailored to fit the needs of the National Socialist policy.”xxxii But because of popular support for Christianity among the German people, this goal could not be openly pursued:

Considerations of expediency made it impossible, however, for the National Socialist government to adopt this radical anti-Christian policy officially.  Thus the policy actually adopted was to reduce the influence of the Christian Churches as far as possible through the use of every available means, without provoking the difficulties of an open war of extermination.xxxiii

On more than one occasion, Hitler made remarks consistent with his plot to undermine the Church while publicly supporting it. For example, he said:

If it’s possible to buy the high dignitaries of the Church with money, let’s do it. And if one of them wanted to enjoy his life, and for this purpose put his hand into the till, for the love of Heaven let him be left in peace. The ones we have to fear are the ascetics, with rings under their eyes, and the fanatics. . . . I’ll make these damned parsons feel the power of the state in a way they would never have believed possible. For the moment I am just keeping my eye upon them: if I ever have the slightest suspicion that they are getting dangerous, I will shoot the lot of them. This filthy reptile raises its head whenever there is a sign of weakness in the State, and therefore it must be stamped on. We have no sort of use for a fairy story invented by the Jews. The fate of a few filthy lousy Jews and epileptics is not worth bothering about.xxxiv

Likewise, Goebbels reports:

I put forward my complaints about the church. The Fuhrer shares them completely, but does not believe that the churches will try anything in the middle of a war. But he knows that he will have to get around to dealing with the conflict between church and state. At the moment, however, our own extremists are making things too easy for the churches. They are presenting them with cheap ammunition. The Fuhrer passionately rejects any thought of founding a religion. He has no intention of becoming a priest. His sole, exclusive role is that of a politician. The best way to deal with the churches is to claim to be a ‘positive Christian’. So far as these questions are concerned, therefore, the technique must be to hold back for the present and coolly strangle any attempts at impudence or interference in the affairs of the state. And this we shall endeavor to ensure to the best of our ability.xxxv

The Nazi platform promoted “positive Christianity,” but, as this I have shown, an investigation into Hitler’s beliefs reveals that “positive Christianity” is not Christianity in the traditional sense at all — it’s a Christianity without a personal God, without the Christ of the Bible, and without the Bible itself except for some passages in the Gospels distorted to fit a racist, nature-worshiping idolatry. “Positive Christianity” amounted to a few elements that the Nazis liked, according to their twisted interpretation of the Bible, and their rejection of the bulk of basic Christian doctrine. Bill Clinton, at a February 4, 1999 prayer breakfast, expressed the liberal “Hitler was a Christian” view, saying, “I do believe that even though Adolf Hitler preached a perverted form of Christianity, God did not want him to prevail.” Hitler’s worldview was not Christianity with some unorthodox elements, as Clinton implies. Hitler wanted to destroy Christianity and replace it with a completely different religion.

Hitler expressed some admiration for some aspects of Christianity, but even atheists do that. Practically every atheist can name his favorite verse in the Bible: Jesus’ statement that “Judge not lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1).xxxvi The important question is what ideology drove the Nazi movement. We’ve just seen that Hitler thoroughly rejected orthodox Christianity. The rationale for Nazi atrocities was a belief held in common by Nazis and modern liberals: Evolution. I will cover that in more detail in part 3 of this essay.

Dinesh D’Souza rightly points out that Hitler’s holocaust was not the culmination of Christian history and ideology, but a break from it:

Dawkins and Harris cannot explain why, if Nazism was directly descended from medieval Christianity, medieval Christianity did not produce a Hitler. How can a self-proclaimed atheist ideology, advanced by Hitler as a repudiation of Christianity, be a “culmination” of 2,000 years of Christianity? Dawkins and Harris are employing a transparent sleight of hand that holds Christianity responsible for the crimes committed in its name, while exonerating secularism and atheism for the greater crimes committed in their name.xxxvii

The uninformed atheist will probably retort that the Crusades and the witch trials were comparable to Hitler’s holocaust. That’s a gross exaggeration and distortion of the truth. I have collected the facts about those issues in another post.xxxviii Another popular retort is that Martin Luther’s harsh denunciation of Jews laid the foundations of Hitler’s antisemitism, but as I’ll argue in the next post, Luther’s opposition to the Jews was ideological and not racist.


ii Martin Bormann, quoted in Joachim C. Fest, The Face of the Third Reich:  Portraits of Nazi Leadership (Da Capo Press, 1999), p.132-33.

iii Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p.562, emphasis in original.

iv William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 100.

v Ibid., p. 101.

vi Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich, Penguin, 1991; and Gilmer W. Blackburn, Education in the Third Reich:  A Study of Race and History in Nazi Textbooks  (Albany, NY:  State University of New York, 1985), p. 85.

vii Quoted in George Lachmann Mosse, Nazi Culture (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2003), p. 244.  Other translations read:  “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.”

viii William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 239, quoting Stewart W. Herman, Jr., It’s Your Souls We Want, (Harper, 1943), pp.157-58.

ix William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 240.

x “The Goebbels Diaries” Translated and Edited by Fred Taylor (December 29, 1939), p. 77.

xi See video from The History Channel:  History of the Bosnian Muslim Nazi 13th SS Handzar Division, at AOL News.

xii Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, (Orion Publishing Group, Limited, 2003), p. 96ff.

xiii Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran: An Essay on Its Origin (Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1989). Also see Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, “http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/08/post-2.html.

xiv Quoted in Otto Wegener, Hitler — Memoirs of a Confidant, (1985) p. 316.

xv Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich:  Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 27.

xvi Quoted in Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich:  Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 30.

xvii Ibid., p. 27.

xviii Ibid., p. 41.

xix Adolf von Harnack, Marcion:  The Gospel of the Alien God, trans John Steely and Lyle Bierma (Durham, 1990 [orig. 1920], 135, 139; quoted in Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich:  Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 41.

xx Hitler’s Table Talk, trans. Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens (New York City: Enigma Books, 2000), p. 76, 142-44, from Martin Bormann’s stenographic record of Hitler’s conversations; from Kevin Davidson’s webpage “Was Hitler a Christian?” at http://www.davnet.org/kevin/essays/hitler.html

xxi Ibid., pp. 75, 314.

xxii Adolf Hitler, in Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction: Conversations with Hitler 1940  (Kessinger Publishing, 2004), p. 56 at http://books.google.com/books?id=PndurCstDZMC (Some have dismissed Rauschning’s book as fraudulent.  Although it can’t be considered a verbatim transcript of Hitler’s words, it is probably a fairly accurate description of Hitler’s views.  See David Redles, Hitler’s Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation (NYU Press, 2005), pp. 194-96, at http://books.google.com/books?id=WNC29FrtTq4C.)

xxiii Adolf Hitler, 10th October 1941, midday: Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations, ed. H. R. Trevor-Roper (Enigma Books, 2013), p. 41.

xxiv Madrus House, 1945.

xxv William L. Hull, The Struggle for a Soul (Doubleday, New York, USA, 1963), pp. 35, 83; quoted in Russell Grigg, “The Struggle for the Soul of Adolf Eichmann,” at http://creation.com/adolf-eichmann (accessed, January 1, 2011).

xxvi Ibid., pp. 30, 37.

xxvii Ibid., p. 23.

xxviii Ibid., p.77.

xxix Ibid., pp. 46–47.

xxx Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941–1944, With an introductory essay on The Mind of Adolf Hitler by H.R. Trevor-Roper (Farrar, Straus and Young, New York, 1953), p. 117.

xxxii  Ibid., p.6.

xxxiii Ibid., p. 7.

xxxiv Table Talk, pp. 411, 625.

xxxv Joseph Goebbels, “The Goebbels Diaries,” Translated and Edited by Fred Taylor (December 28, 1939), p.76.

xxxvi See my essay, “Judge Others. Jesus Said To.” at http://christianciv.com/blog/index.php/2015/09/08/judge-others-jesus-said-to/.

xxxvii Dinesh D’Souza, “Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history,” (11/16/2006), http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/answering-atheists/atheism-not-religion-is-the-real-force-behind-the-mass-murders-of-history.html. Also see his article, “Was Hitler a Christian?,” http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/was-hitler-a-christian.html.

xxxviii Michael H. Warren, “Myths About Past (Quasi-)Christian Civilization,” http://www.christianciv.com/MythsPastChristianCiv.htm.

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