Glenn Beck’s program on Friday, September 24, 2010, was devoted to the subject of Adolf Hitler, Christianity, and the nightmare that ensues when big government seizes religion in order to legitimize, even divinize, its socialist and totalitarian policies.
I have written about this myself, mostly in responses to atheists who want to foist Adolf Hitler onto Christians and Christianity. I have grown up reading that Nazism represented the threat of a conservative, right wing government. It’s a giant load of bunk.
To put it briefly, the communist Soviet intellectuals – and all leftist Western intellectuals influenced by them – created a false dichotomy between fascism and communism. Zeev Sternhall observed how study of fascist ideology had been obscured by “the official Marxist interpretation of fascism” [Sternhall, "Fascist Ideology," in Fascism: A Reader's Guide: Analyses, Interpretations, Bibliography, p. 316]. Marxism simply redefined fascism as its polar opposite in order to create a bogeyman: If Marxism was progressive, fascism became conservative. If Marxism was left wing, fascism had to be right wing. If Marxism championed the proletariat, then fascism had to champion the bourgeoisie. If Marxism was socialist, fascism needed to be capitalist. And the fact that none of the above was even remotely true was entirely beside the point.
“Nazi” stood for “National Socialist German Workers Party.”
As Gene Edward Veith points out:
“The influence of Marxist scholarship has severely distorted our understanding of fascism. Communism and fascism were rival brands of socialism. Whereas Marxist socialism is predicated on an international class struggle, fascist national socialism promoted a socialism centered in national unity. [And in fact, Both movements were "revolutionary socialist ideologies." Going on,] Both communists and fascists opposed the bourgeoisie. Both attacked the conservatives. Both were mass movements, which had special appeal for the intelligentsia, students, and artists, as well as workers. Both favored strong centralized governments and rejected the free economy and the ideals of individual liberty. [And finally,] Fascists saw themselves as being neither of the right nor the left. They believed that they constituted a third force synthesizing the best of both extremes” [Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, p. 26].
And if the Nazis didn’t represent the far left, they were at best the right wing of the extreme left wing.
Jaroslav Krejci demonstrated the inadequacy of the “unilinear imagery” of left wing versus right wing. He pointed out that the metaphor derived from the seating arrangements of the French Parliament following the Revolution. Politically, those seated on the right side favored an absolute monarchy. Economically, they favored government monopolies and a controlled economy. Culturally, they favored authoritarian control of the people. Those seated on the left favored democracy, a free market economy, and personal liberty [see Krejci, "Introduction: Concepts of Right and Left," in Neo-Fascism in Europe, 1991, pp. 1-2, 7].
Gene Edward Veith points out that these models simply break down in 20th century politics [see Veith, Modern Fascism, p. 27]. In terms of the model above, American conservatives who want less government and trust the free market would be on the left. Liberals who want more of a government-directed economy would be on the right. And so, while the Nazis would be “right wing” on this model, so also would the American liberal. Furthermore, the terms “liberal” and “conservative” are relative, depending upon what one has to conserve. The classical liberals of the 19th century, with their pursuit of free-market economics and resistance to government control, became the conservatives of the 20th century as they sought to conserve these principles.
And, to quote myself:
And just what on earth do liberals who call Nazism a form of conservatism even think Hitler was trying to “conserve”?
Adolf Hitler was a violent revolutionary out to overthrow the current system and impose his own radically different system in its place. He was hardly a “right wing conservative” in any way, shape, or form. Rather, Adolf Hitler was, as Jonah Goldberg accurately described him in Liberal Fascism, a “man of the left.”
Further, many American leftists embrace communism as though that somehow precludes them from guilt – even though many of their ideas and actions have been objectively fascist in spite of their rhetoric. But even aside from this fact, don’t forget that communism itself was the single most evil ideology in the history of human civilization.
Were Hitler and Nazism among the greatest evils in the history of the world? Of course they were. But actually, Hitler and his Nazism were only the third worse mass murderer in all human history, behind Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao, who were both communist leaders of officially state atheist governments.
With that said, let us discuss Hitler and Nazism in terms of Christianity.
Did Adolf Hitler package some of his public remarks as “Christian”? There is no doubt that he did precisely that at different times his rise to power, and even during his regime. But that hardly means that Adolf Hitler was a Christian believer. Politicians often have had clear and obvious reasons to say things that they didn’t really believe for political expedience. And it is obvious on its face that Adolf Hitler was a liar and the worst demagogic political opportunist in human history, and that Nazism was utterly evil and based almost entirely on lies. Thus, to cite the propaganda of such a regime as evidence that Hitler or Nazism were somehow “Christian” is itself both sick and evil.
Germany had at one time been the seat of the Protestant Reformation. But by the late 19th century Christianity in Germany had devolved into a near meaningless official state religion. And Germany was the LEAST Christian nation in all of Europe. The most prominent German theologians embraced a form of theological liberalism that disconnected the foundational elements of Christianity from historical fact, in what amounted to a sustained attack on the Holy Bible. The school of “higher criticism” attempted to undercut traditional views about the authorship, composition and legitimacy of the Bible. This project weakened biblical authority by assuming that the Biblical text and the events described were to be explained entirely in naturalistic terms, and rejected completely the possibility of supernatural revelation. And it was almost entirely an undertaking of German scholarship (just look at the names: Eichhorn, De Wette, Wellhausen).
The Germany that voted for Adolf Hitler was influenced by an academic elite that had a total hatred for orthodox Christianity.
Given the state of our own university intelligentsia, one of Hitler’s more terrifying comments is this:
“Nothing makes me more certain of the victory of our ideas than our success in the universities” – Adolf Hitler, 1930
And so, yes, Hitler tried to package his Nazism in a way that superficially “Christian” Germany would accept, just as the Marxist Sandinistas deceitfully packaged their godless communism into “liberation theology” in order to deceive the overwhelmingly Catholic population of Nicaragua to support them. As to the latter, the Catholic church said from the start that it wasn’t legitimate Christianity; but that it was a heresy. And the Cardinal Ratzinger who went on to become Pope Benedict even called the movement “demonic”.
“…it would be illusory and dangerous to ignore the intimate bond which radically unites them (liberation theologies), and to accept elements of the Marxist analysis without recognizing its connections with the (Marxist) ideology, or to enter into the practice of the class-struggle and of its Marxist interpretation while failing to see the kind of totalitarian society to which this process slowly leads.“
– (Author: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, now Pope Benedict XVI; written in 1984)
“Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.” — Pope Benedict XVI
And Hitler also packaged his hard-core of Nazism with a candy-coating of lies in order to fool the people. And the people were fooled indeed:
….Any opposition to Hitler is ruthlessly eradicated. Tens of thousands are imprisoned. Journalist Stephan Laurent dared to criticize The Fuehrer…..
“I am writing this from cell 24. Outside a new Germany is being created. Many millions are rejoicing. Hitler is promising everyone precisely what they want. I think when they wake to their sobering senses, they will find they have been led by the nose and duped by lies.”
Soon, the next wave of profoundly anti-Christian German scholarship took the next logical step in their attack against Judeo-Christian ideals which had stood for two millennium. Friedrich Delitzsch, a biblical scholar from the University of Berlin, published a work arguing that the Old Testament published a book arguing that the entire Old Testament was dependent upon Babylonian culture and mythology. Delitzsch concluded that:
“the Old Testament was full of deceptions of all kinds – a veritable hodge-podge of erroneous, incredible, undependable figures, including those of Biblical chronology…. in short, a book full of intentional and unintentional deceptions (in part, self-deceptions), a very dangerous book in the use of which the greatest care is necessary.”
But it soon becomes clear that the reason that Delitzsch believed the Old Testament was “a very dangerous book” was because it was Jewish, and Delitzsch was an anti-Semite first, and a scholar second. Delitzsch went so far as to argue the plain historical fraud that Jesus was not Jewish, arguing that there was some difference between “Jews” and “Galileans.” He also maintained an equally bogus distinction between Jesus as a warm humanitarian versus Jewish moral intolerance. Thus Delitzsch “de-Judaized” Christianity, and “contended that Christianity was an absolutely new religion, totally distinct from that of the Old Testament” [See Gene Edward Veith, Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, p. 53-54].
And so it became an easy next-step for Nazi propagandists such as Ezra Pound (who is also known as the godfather of modernism) to state that the Jewish religion began when Moses, “having to keep a troublesome rabble in order, scared them by inventing a disagreeable bogie, which he called a god.” And Pound concluded “the greatest tyrannies have arisen from the dogma that the theos is one, or that there is a unity above the various strata of theos which imposes its will upon the substrata, and thence upon human individuals.”
And Adolf Hitler could then state in his Mein Kampf that:
“The objection may very well be raised that such phenomena in world history [the necessity of intolerance] arise for the most part from specifically Jewish modes of thought, in fact, that this type of intolerance and fanaticism positively embodies the Jewish nature” [Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 454].
The chain began by German scholars was complete: Hitler argued that it was okay to be intolerant of intolerant people, and that the Jews literally epitomized intolerance.
And none of this was “Christian”; it was a project straight from hell.
Friedrich Nietzsche – a patron saint of Nazism – correctly pointed out the fact that:
“Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a growth on this soil, represents the counter-movement to any morality of breeding, of race, of privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion part excellence” [Nietzsche, "The Twilight of the Idols"].
And so, a good Nazi was a Gottglaubiger. Rather than putting “Christian” on personnel forms they wrote down “Gottlaubig” – representing a “vague pseudo-philosophical religiosity” – to indicate that, while they were not “godless communists,” they were most certainly not “Christian.”
So Hitler publicly said what he needed to say in speeches to deceive a mass population who had been bombarded with anti-Christian heresy and anti-Christian anti-Semitism, to bend them to his will. But to his inner circle he said very different things than what he said publicly. Hitler described to them that “after difficult inner struggles I had freed myself of my remaining childhood religious conceptions. I feel as refreshed now as a foal on a meadow” (Ernst Helmreich, “The German Churches Under Hitler,” p. 285).
What else did those closest in Hitler’s inner circle say about his “Christianity”?
“The Fuhrer is a man totally attuned to antiquity. He hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity. According to Schopenhauer, Christianity and syphilis have made humanity unhappy and unfree. What a difference between the benevolent, smiling Zeus and the pain-wracked, crucified Christ. The ancient peoples’ view of God was also much nobler and more humane than the Christians’. What a difference between a gloomy cathedral and a light, airy ancient temple. He describes life in ancient Rome: clarity, greatness, monumentality. The most wonderful republic in history. We would feel no disappointment, he believes, if we were now suddenly to be transported to this old, eternal city.”
Goebbels also notes in a diary entry in 1939 a conversation in which Hitler had “expressed his revulsion against Christianity. He wished that the time were ripe for him to be able to openly express that. Christianity had corrupted and infected the entire world of antiquity.” [Elke Frölich. 1997-2008. Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels. Munich: K. G. Sauer. Teil I, v. 6, p. 272].
Hitler also said, “Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.” [Hitler's Table Talk, Enigma Books; 3rd edition October 1, 2000, p. 343].
Author Konrad Heiden quoted Hitler as stating, “We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany.” [Heiden, Konrad A History of National Socialism, A.A. Knopf, 1935, p. 100].
Albert Speer – another Nazi who worked extremely closely with Hitler – reports in his memoirs of a similar statement made by Hitler:
“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?” [Albert Speer. 1971. Inside the Third Reich Translated by Richard Winston, Clara Winston, Eugene Davidson. New York: Macmillan. p 143; Reprinted in 1997. Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 0-684-82949-5].
Adolf Hitler sounds like an atheist to me. Certainly, Hitler was absolutely not a Christian. He cynically used Christianity like he cynically used everything else that was good; he took ruthless advantage of it as simply another means by which to package his lies to the German people.
The fact of the matter is that Fascism and Nazism were quintessentially hostile to Christianity, and even to monotheism.
When convicted Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows, “He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more; he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottglaubiger, to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death” [p. 252].
One of the leading experts on fascism, Ernst Nolte, defined fascism as “the practical and violent resistance to transcendence” [Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism: Action Francaise, Italian Fascism, Nazi Fascism, 1965, p. 429]. Fascism was anti-God, anti-supernatural and anti-transcendence.
Gene Edward Veith says:
“It is particularly important to know, precisely, why the Nazis hated the Jews. Racism alone cannot explain the virulence of Nazi anti-Semitism. What did they see in the Jews that they thought was so inferior? What was the Jewish legacy that, in their mind, so poisoned Western culture? What were the Aryan ideals that the Nazis sought to restore, once the Jews and their influence were purged from Western culture?
The fascists aligned themselves not only against the Jews but against what the Jews contributed to Western civilization. A transcendent God, who reveals a transcendent moral law, was anathema to the fascists” [Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, p. 13].
By killing the Jews, Hitler intended to kill the God of the Bible.
Of Protestant Christianity, Hitler wrote:
“Protestantism… combats with the greatest hostility any attempt to rescue the nation from the embrace of its most mortal enemy, since its attitude toward the Jews just happens to be more or less dogmatically established. Yet here we are facing the question without whose solution all other attempts at a German reawakening or resurrection are and remain absolutely senseless and impossible” (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 113).
Hitler talked about solving the “church problem” after he’d solved the “Jewish problem.” He said:
“The war is going to be over. The last great task of our age will be to solve the church problem. It is only then that the nation will be wholly secure” (Hitler’s Tabletalk, December 1941).
Hitler boasted that “I have six divisions of SS composed of men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn’t prevent them from going to their deaths with serenity in their souls.”
Martin Bormann, head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary of the Fuhrer, said pointedly:
“National socialist and Christian concepts cannot be reconciled. The Christian churches build on the ignorance of people and are anxious so far as possible to preserve this ignorance in as large a part of the populace as possible; only in this way can the Christian churches retain their power. In contrast, national socialism rests on scientific foundations” (cited in Ernst Helmreich, The German Churches Under Hitler, p. 303).
At a Nazi rally a speaker proclaimed: “Who was greater, Christ or Hitler? Christ had at the time of his death twelve apostles, who, however, did not even remain true to him. Hitler, however, today has a folk of 70 million behind him. We cannot tolerate that another organization [i.e., the church] is established alongside of us that has a different spirit than ours. We must crush it. National socialism in all earnestness says: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Nazism was pagan to its very core. Carl Jung (a onetime fascist sympathizer himself) described Nazism as the revival of Wotan, who had been suppressed by Christianity but now was released. Germany was being possessed by its archetypal god. (Odajnyk, Jung and Politics, p. 87-89). The Farmer’s Almanac of 1935, published by the Ministry of Agriculture, replaced the Christian holidays with commemoration days for Wotan and Thor. And Good Friday was replaced with a memorial for those killed by Charlemagne in his efforts to convert the Saxons.
In addition, at the very heart of the Nazi’s race programs and at the center of the Holocaust was the belief in atheistic Darwinian evolution. The principle rationale for the Holocaust was that the Jews were biologically inferior, and interfered with the Nazi scientists’ efforts to aid evolution by creating a master race.
Listen to these words and tell me who wrote them:
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
It was none other than Charles Darwin himself (Darwin, C.R., “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex,” , John Murray: London, 1874, Second Edition, 1922, reprint, pp.241-242). Charles Darwin literally predicted that someone would come along and extend his Darwinism to its logical conclusion – and thus literally predicted both the Holocaust AND the motivations FOR the Holocaust.
Charles Darwin spake as a prophet, and Adolf Hitler was the messiah who fulfilled the demonic prophecy.
But it wasn’t just the Jew that Hitler was willing to exterminate as being “biologically inferior.” Adolf Hitler – who had made the Holocaust of the “biologically unfit” and “sub human” Jew the centerpiece of his campaign to create a “Master” Aryan race – ultimately made his “master race” the victim of his hateful Darwinian views:
“If the German Volk is not strong enough and is not sufficiently prepared to offer its own blood for its existence, it should cease to exist and be destroyed by a stronger power.”
How is that not the World War II that Adolf Hitler started not being explained into a test of Darwinism that the German people had to pass to justify their existence? The simple FACT of the matter is this: that Adolf Hitler thought in entirely Darwinian terms. He decreed the Jew had failed the test of Darwinism, and believed that if the German people could not prevail in his war that THEY TOO should be exterminated.
Why is this so?
Gene Edward Veith points out that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection had implications far beyond biology. What must be true for nature must likewise be true for the individual and society. If nature progresses by competition, struggle, and the victory of the strong over the weak, then clearly all progress must come the same way (unless we are not part of the natural system, which would mean that we were the product of divine Creation). According to Zeev Sternhall, social Darwinism in Nazi Germany “stripped the human personality of its sacramental dignity. It made no distinction between the physical life and the social life, and conceived of the human condition in terms of an unceasing struggle, whose natural outcome was the survival of the fittest” [Sternhall, "Fascist Ideology," in Fascism: A Reader's Guide: Analyses, Interpretations, Bibliography, p. 322].
Similarly, Sternhall pointed out how scientific positivism “felt the impact of social Darwinism, and underwent a profound change. In the latter half of the [19th]century its emphasis on deliberate and rational choice as the determining factor in human behavior gave way to new notions of heredity, race, and environment” [Sternhall, 322].
Nazism was also a direct attack against Christianity and Christian humanity.
Friedrich Nietzsche blamed Christianity, which he described as a creation of the Jews, for the denial of life that was represented in Christian morality. Gene Edward Veith points out that, in his attack on Judeo-Christian morality, Nietzsche:
“attacked the Christian value of love. Notions of compassion and mercy, he argued, favor the weak and the unfit, thereby breeding more weakness. Nature is less sentimental, but ultimately kinder, in allowing the weak to die off. The ideals of Christian benevolence cause the unfit to flourish, while those who are fit are burdened by guilt and are coerced by the moral system to serve those who are beneath them” [Veith, Modern Fascism, p. 82].
Nietzsche, epitomizing the spirit of Darwinism as applied to ethics, wrote:
We are deprived of strength when we feel pity … Pity makes suffering contagious…. Pity crosses the law of development, which is nature’s law of selection. It preserves what is right for destruction; it defends those who have been disinherited and condemned by life; and by the abundance of the failures of all kinds which it keeps alive, it gives life itself a gloomy and questionable aspect” [Nietzsche, "The Antichrist"].
In short, the Christian ethic of compassion is a kind of sentimentality that violates the laws of nature, in which the strong thrive and the weak die out.
Speaking of this new, Nazi, anti-Christian, Darwinian view of morality and ethics, Reichmaster Alfred Rosenberg said:
“Justice is what the Aryan man deems just. Unjust is what he so deems” [Alfred Rosenberg, as quoted in Victor Farias, Heidegger and Nazism, 1989, pp. 205-206].
“Justice” for the Jew according to the Aryan mind possessed by Darwinism meant extermination as racially inferior and biological unfit to exist.
Thus, whatever you might want to say about whether Hitler was an atheist or not, his Nazism was inherently opposed to Judeo-Christianity, opposed to Judeo-Christian monotheism, and opposed to Judeo-Christian transcendent morality. The spirituality that resulted was intrinsically pagan, and inherently anti-Christ and anti-Christian.
And in stark contrast to Adolf Hitler’s big government totalitarian Nazi atheism, here’s what our religious founding father’s believed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A 1954 Air Force Training Manuel had this commentary on these great words which founded the greatest nation in the history of the world:
“The idea uppermost in the minds of men who founded the United States was that each and every human being was important. They were convinced that the importance of the individual did not come from any grant of the state, that the importance of the individual did not come from any position that he had achieved nor from any power he had acquired nor from any wealth he had amassed.
“They knew that the importance of man came from the very source of his life. Because man was made in the image and likeness of God, he had a destiny to achieve. And because he had a destiny to achieve, he had the inalienable right and the inherent freedom to achieve it” (FTAF Manual 50-1).
Thus the question, “If God doesn’t exist, who issues rights to man?” becomes profoundly important. Because the answer is, “Whoever has the power to issue those rights.”
It becomes the State which issues rights to man. And, welcome to come and crush the human spirit, next dictator.
Postscript: you can go here to see how this question about who issues rights to man is becoming increasingly important right here in the USA.