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Hitler’s Theology
Posted: 03 January 2008 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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The point I am making in the claim that ‘christianity is to blame for WW1 and WW2’ is not about the specific theology of christian belief, but about the nature of all sorts of theistic religions in general.  It just so happens that the two main factions in these two Great Wars were in both cases groups of christian nations (Japan excluded).  Perhaps I wasn’t clear on that point?  What I am trying to say is that any theology based on adherence to higher moral authority, a provision that the followers not question their leaders, and a belief that this particular theology (theistic scripture and cosmic purpose) is the one true (chosen, superior) system of belief when operating at some level of efficiency will provide the framework for a war mentality in the general population.  If the allies had been jewish and the axis had been islamic, this very same claim would still hold.  I am quite aware of the historical events that led to the First WW and the Second WW.

What you have yet to do is give a shred of evidence to support your claim, please give me something to work with. It seems your argument is because the nations were “Christian” therefore Christianity caused the war.  That is quite an assertion.  Pertaining to your blind puppet idea, If you look at American History, there are many incidences where religious people stood up to the government and refused to go along.  First example that comes to my mind is J.W. refusing to pledge to the flag.  The early church certainly stood up to the Roman Empire.  I’m not getting it.  If you can’t give examples of what Christ said that would suggest causing mass violence than everything you say is simply white noise.  Until you give more than mere assertions I’m done.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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fletch_F_Fletch - 03 January 2008 12:30 PM

It seems your argument is because the nations were “Christian” therefore Christianity caused the war.  That is quite an assertion.

I found no such argument in CanZen’s post. His nut graph was in the passage you quoted: “Any theology based on adherence to higher moral authority, a provision that the followers not question their leaders, and a belief that this particular theology (theistic scripture and cosmic purpose) is the one true (chosen, superior) system of belief when operating at some level of efficiency will provide the framework for a war mentality in the general population.” In other words, the theology doesn’t necessarily cause war, but it damn well encourages and sustains it.

Without addressing Bonhoffer specifically, I acknowledge that Christians were among those both supporting and opposing tyranny. The question is why they did so. It’s likely that both sides saw their positions as fulfilling God’s wishes. It’s likely that the opponents believed that God opposed tyranny. That’s an extremely flimsy basis for such opposition, because there is no basis for the belief itself. Beyond the lack of evidence for the god itself, there is no evidence that such a god has any position regarding tyranny on earth.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Fletch, I don’t know what your problem is in grasping what I am trying to say (shut off that I-Phone).  In the previous post Carstonio points to the same paragraph that you do and says, “well said.”  Then you come along and get all confused?

Maybe you’re looking at this situation in an “all black or all white” perspective.  When I say that christianity is to blame for the wars, I’m am not completely crucifying christianity.  I know that just as much as christian theology can be used for evil purposes, it can also be used for good purposes.

I think you might agree Fletch that there are perhaps thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of potential Hitler’s out there in society, but they don’t get elected to high office.  Usually they are dismissed as completely deranged and viewed as potentially dangerous, so they don’t get to have control over a group of people.  Except where people voluntarily follow blindly, like James Jones or David Koresh, or to a lesser deranged way most of the televangelists that occupy the airwaves in America.  Notice that these are ALL religious phenomena . . . this is not just a blind assertion made by me.

If you want more than mere assertions, digest these . . .
Ireland . . . christian versus christian
Yugoslavia . . . orthodox christian versus catholic
        . . . orthodox christian versus muslim
Middle East . . . jew verus muslim
Beirut   . . . christian versus muslim
Iraq   . . .  sunni muslim versus shiite muslim
Chechnya . . . muslim versus orthodox christian


My final question for you Fletch, please spell out in more detail how a materialist or an atheist would devise an excuse to exterminate the jews from the tenets of his particular beliefs?  How would such a materialist sell this project to 45 million people that were required to bring the genocide about?

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Posted: 03 January 2008 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Considering the direction that this discussion has taken, I thought this might be of interest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_and_the_Occult

Whether Hitler was a christian or not might be up for debate, but he was certainly not an atheist.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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CanZen - 03 January 2008 01:41 PM

My final question for you Fletch, please spell out in more detail how a materialist or an atheist would devise an excuse to exterminate the jews from the tenets of his particular beliefs?  How would such a materialist sell this project to 45 million people that were required to bring the genocide about?

To be fair, anti-Semitism has a secular variant, expressed in the notorious “Protocols” forgery. This variant is really a conspiracy theory, and all such conspiracy theories are pseudo-religions in their attempts to explain suffering. Blaming the bad things in one’s life on a supposed cabal of Jews is not much different from blaming those things on Original Sin.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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“Blaming the bad things in one’s life on a supposed cabal of Jews is not much different from blaming those things on Original Sin.”

Or blaming the bad things in one’s life on Christianity.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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mcalpine - 03 January 2008 04:16 PM

Or blaming the bad things in one’s life on Christianity.

No, it would be more correct to say “blaming the bad things in life on a supposed cabal of Christians.” I’m saying that suffering is an inevitable part of life - we can reduce it but never eliminate it. I’m also saying that any religious or secular ideology that teaches simplistic explanations for suffering, or that promises an end to suffering, actually increases the amount of suffering in the world. That isn’t “blaming bad things on Christianity,” it’s blaming SOME bad things on SOME believers who seek to please their gods at the expense of their fellow humans.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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“I’m saying that suffering is an inevitable part of life - we can reduce it but never eliminate it.”

“That isn’t “blaming bad things on Christianity,” it’s blaming SOME bad things on SOME believers who seek to please their gods at the expense of their fellow humans.”

I’m not real hip with philosophy jargon, but isn’t this a non-sequitar?

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Posted: 03 January 2008 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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mcalpine - 03 January 2008 05:16 PM

I’m not real hip with philosophy jargon, but isn’t this a non-sequitar?

I see great potential for a new rhetorical gambit, the “non-sequitar-and-feather” or the “non-sequitar-and-feather-one’s-nest”. The possibilities are nearly endless.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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CanZen - 03 January 2008 01:41 PM

Ireland . . . christian versus christian
Yugoslavia . . . orthodox christian versus catholic
        . . . orthodox christian versus muslim
Middle East . . . jew verus muslim
Beirut   . . . christian versus muslim
Iraq   . . .  sunni muslim versus shiite muslim
Chechnya . . . muslim versus orthodox christian

My son informs me that there is some kind of kerfuffle going on among the Belgians, for the luvvapete.  Now, here you don’t have the slightest ethnic or cultural difference in question; I’m not even aware there is a religious conflict involved.  Rather, it seems to be based entirely on different languages:

Marie-Claire’s house is almost on the east-west frontier that officially divides the two main linguistic communities in Belgium.  In Belgium, all local politics has a national dimension.  This explains why there are no mains drains in Marie-Claire’s pretty, suburban street.  The Walloon, French-speaking commune that starts 300 metres down the hill to the south refuses to allow “Flemish” sewage to drain through its territory.

Bienvenue en Belgique; Onthaal aan België; Welcome to Belgium.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article3258714.ece

If that doesn’t make you despair of humanity, I’m not sure what would.

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Posted: 05 January 2008 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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CanZen says, I think you might agree Fletch that there are perhaps thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of potential Hitler’s out there in society, but they don’t get elected to high office.  Usually they are dismissed as completely deranged and viewed as potentially dangerous, so they don’t get to have control over a group of people.  Except where people voluntarily follow blindly, like James Jones or David Koresh, or to a lesser deranged way most of the televangelists that occupy the airwaves in America.  Notice that these are ALL religious phenomena . . . this is not just a blind assertion made by me.

You have yet to give anything that Christ has said that excuses or promotes what Hitler did.  This is a serious problem and you continued to ignore it.  Bonhoffer can look at a follower of Hitler and plainly say that they are out line in following Christ.  Your regard of right and wrong is “innate solidarity”.  Are we talking about your innate solidarity or Stalin’s?  The most you can say to Stalin is that your innate solidarity is different than his.  Is one being evil for rejecting “innate solidarity”?  What if my “innate solidarity” says God exists?

What you want to do is blame Christianity when two kids at a Catholic school are fighting in the playground.  And you wonder why I’m not biting with your assertions.  Yet there are other factors that could be playing a role, such as, fighting over a “your mom’ comment (national pride), bubble gum (raw materials), or one kid is just a jerk and since he doesn’t believe in God (materialism) feels no weight of accountability and decides to act on his “innate solidarity”.  Here is a real life example of “innate solidarity” acting out by one who is living his materialism out on others.  In Richard Wurmbrand, “Tortured for Christ” he discuses the life in gulags:

The Communist torturers often said, ‘There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.’ I have heard one torturer even say, ‘I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.

While we are on Gulags, Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” has had a very impact on me.  In his fourth part “The Soul and Barbed Wire” he declares the power religion played in not only getting through the Gulag but also fighting those who were in authority.  Hitler and Stalin shows one doesn’t have to be a Christian or blindly follow religion in order to kill 80 million people.  You don’t have to hold to a religion to blindly follow anyone.  It certainly wasn’t the intellectuals and the champions of reason who were fighting against Stalin in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  In fact the most fundamental Christian in Arkansas would be more against Stalin than the majority of professors in every Ivy League institution during the 1920’s.  You don’t have to blindly follow religion in order to be in favor of a Eugenics movement that caused over 50,000 forced sterializations in the United States.  Who was responsible in fighting the Eugenics movement throughout the early 1900’s?  Certainly wasn’t the scientific or intellectual movements, they went along with it all the more.

I am taking your assertions and putting them into logical conclusions.  You declare that I’m being too black/white and that its just the idea that religion causes blind conformity.  Well if this is true this is where the logical conclusion should go.  If religion causes blind obedience, which you say it does, than those who are Christian should blindly follow their religion.  And who is at the center of this religion?  Jesus Christ.  Therefore the people of Europe should blindly be following the teachings of Christ.  And this is why I demand reasons to back up your claims, what exactly is it that Christ taught that would cause such violence?  If they are blindly following of their religion than they should blindly be following Christ.  So I guess there not so blind after all and they certainly aren’t very good at doing any following.  My two examples in the middle of the paragraph are to show you that science and the intellectual movement can do a pretty good job themselves in blindly following or causing some serious problems.  The point is we all have the tendency to conform to the crowd.  Solomon Asch’s studies proved this very well.  Before you continue to talk about conformity please read the study. 

The problem I have with your assertions is that you want to only identify the worldview of bad leaders with their bad acts if that worldview involves any kind of belief in God, even if their actions contradict the teachings of their religion.  But when Hitler and Stalin, naturalistic atheists, believed that there was no God and no God that was going to hold them accountable for every evil deed than that would be an irrelevant detail.  According to consciousness Hitler thought of it as a human invention, and why not given naturalism, and why is one obligated to follow it given naturalism.  Hitler and Stalin were clearly acting on their atheism and thus their materialistic views kicked in.  I’ll repost the paragraph to again:

In such matters he (Hitler) shared with Stalin the same materialist outlook, based on the nineteenth-century rationalists’ certainty that the progress of science would destroy all myths and had already proved Christian doctrine to be an absurdity…Stalin and Hitler were materialists not only in their dismissal of religion but also in their insensitivity to humanity as well.  The only human beings who existed for them were themselves.  The rest of the human race was seen either as instruments with which to accomplish their purposes or as obstacles to be eliminated

Given atheism where is their assertions wrong.  You might not like them but your thoughts certainly have no grounds to override his thoughts.  And it is quite clear their thoughts came from their materialistic worldview.  Why you continue to deny this I’m not sure.  How is the above paragraph inconsistent given atheism? The Genocide happened because he saw himself as the center of the universe; that is his nerve endings are more valuable than your nerve endings.  When he looks at the human race as an instrument to serve his purposes why are you surprised to see him do such acts?

CanZen:
If you want more than mere assertions, digest these . . .
Ireland . . . christian versus christian
Yugoslavia . . . orthodox christian versus catholic
. . . orthodox christian versus muslim
Middle East . . . jew verus muslim
Beirut . . . christian versus muslim
Iraq . . .  sunni muslim versus shiite muslim
Chechnya . . . muslim versus orthodox Christian”

CanZen you certainly have proven to me that you don’t have to be a Christian in order to be a Fundamentalists; CanZen you show this fact very well.  If you want to make blanket statements like the one above feel free to so.  However, it shows that you want to ignore the multiple layers of history, culture, and resources involved in these conflicts.  Let’s just take the top one, Northern Ireland.  Two of my brothers were just over there and they have seen a complete decline in violence.  Have the IRA and UVF given up their arms because they ‘got rid of religion’?  You do know there are some pretty bloody people in your crew as well, here is a small list for you; Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Marx, Lenin, and Robespierre.  As stated before religion can cause people to do bad things but if you think not having a religion solves the problem there are 80 million people, just in this century alone, that disagree with you.  It’s all a means to an end, isn’t it?  Let’s go back to the Irish….In the book “Hope Against History: The Course of Conflict in Northern Ireland” Jack Holland makes it clearly known, within the first ten pages that religion was nothing more than a cultural identity.  So when you say Christian versus Christian in Ireland your not even close to hitting the mark. 

CanZen: My final question for you Fletch, please spell out in more detail how a materialist or an atheist would devise an excuse to exterminate the jews from the tenets of his particular beliefs

 

Again I think your making this extremely simplistic and I think your doing so on purpose.  I already laid out why people would have followed Hitler and it is much more complicated than a bunch of blond hair men yelling, “lets kill some Jews”.  Hitler saw the Jews as immigrants who were taking German jobs.  He saw Jews as Communists and Communists were his biggest political threat.  He exterminated Jews because he followed the early 1900’s Eugenic beliefs shared by the scientific community, not quite Christian in nature, that Germans were the superior race.  These are the reasons why he exterminated the Jews.  Yet what was the ultimate motivating in having him actually carry it out.  Well it wasn’t Jesus’ teaching but rather his naturalistic views.  When you believe that, “The only human beings who existed for them were themselves.  The rest of the human race was seen either as instruments with which to accomplish their purposes or as obstacles to be eliminated.”  It is quite easy to do nasty things as a means to an end.  And given his belief in materialism, if he would have not invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 where would he have been wrong?  He would have won and thus fulfilled his desires.  On the side you continue to tell me 95% of Germans went along with it.  Can I have some data to back it up?  If 95% of Germans were followers of Hitler why did he have to take such drastic acts in suppressing his people?  And why was the “Final Solution” not out in the open? On the side your also assuming they supported Hitler mainly because of his rhetoric against the Jews.  I’m sure taking a 30 percent unemployment rate to 3 percent and refusing to follow the Treaty of Versaille certainly helped is popularity rating.

CanZen says, How would such a materialist sell this project to 45 million people that were required to bring the genocide about?

That’s an easy question to answer, the French Revolution of 1789.  Those “Champions of Reason” could have learned a little from those English Protestants whose revolution gained the name, “Bloodless Revolution”. 

To close…..I’m not saying atheists are more violent than Christians.  I don’t drill my babysitter on their religious convictions before they watch my kids.  You don’t have to believe in God to be nice.  My point is violence is seen everywhere and violence has been justified by many different “innate solidarities” floating around.  I think the recent Belgium example above is giving us just another example of this.

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Posted: 06 January 2008 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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I want to begin my comments Fletch by attending to your second to last paragraph in which you say,
““On the side you continue to tell me 95% of Germans went along with it.  Can I have some data to back it up?  If 95% of Germans were followers of Hitler why did he have to take such drastic acts in suppressing his people?”“

I never said any such thing.  I merely stated that 95% of Germans in the 1930s were christians (the remaining 5% included jews, gypsies, and others).  My point was that in order for Hitler to “sell” his program, at least a majority of those christians would have been required to support him AND my main point being that christians are sheeple (they follow authority in their moral outlook, they do not question dogma or authority, and they are imbued with a deep sense of superiority - their god is the true one), thus it is only natural that they would behave like good nazis when required.  This is not an assertion pulled out of the thin air, it is basic historical fact (the sheeple part is a generalization so it doesn’t apply equally to each christian individual). 

This is where I see your sort of black and white mentality playing out Fletch, you misconstrue what I wrote and then accuse me via your miscomprehensions of saying things like “95% of Germans went along with it.”  When I claim that christians (or sheeple of any theistic persuasion) were essential to carry out Hitler’s agenda and that Germany was 95% christian, you jump to a completely false conclusion that 95% of Germans supported Hitler and then you pin me with that incorrect opinion.

I agree with your final paragraph, but as it pertains to christians as well as to non-christians.  Some will behave malevolently, without scruples, without a fair sense of moral justice, while others will behave as compassionate and caring citizens. But where you think that it is the theology that makes all the difference (for good), I think that theology can be used for good or bad and it all depends on the nature of the person involved. It depends on the true moral capacity of each person and that a morality based on following the dictates of a moral authority can only accidentally produce any good at all.

Again you ask me for examples of what Jesus said that would support the actions of Hitler’s regime.  In a sense, and particularly in a somewhat deranged mind, everything that Jesus said and did supports Hitler’s agenda.  If you can allow the scripture of the Old Testament a role in exemplifying the nazi program, then practically the whole book from cover to cover serves as a template. On this latter point consider, if you will, the idea of “A Chosen People” (a specific Semitic tribe in the O.T.) and imagine how that same sense of superiority plays out in the thesis of Aryan Supremacy.  There definitely is a primitive sort of eugenics at play in the Old Testament where god plays the role of purposeful designer, the advances in technology and an equally bizarre application of science allowed the nazis to play the role of god in the nazi testament.  If you want references to genocide, murder, world domination, slavery, and every sort of depraved human conduct, the Old Testament can be used as a template for the actions of Hitler’s regime.

Moving on to the words and actions of Jesus and how they serve as a directive or a formula for Hitler, one has only to consider the life of Jesus in the context of his time. First and foremost is how the actions of Jesus fly in the face of the prevailing Hebrew authorities.  If you do not consider the motivations behind the works of Jesus, but merely accept at face value the social consequences or implications of his actions, then Jesus becomes the symbol of a rebel.  He flaunts the rules of conduct as laid down by jewish tradition (working on the Sabbath, evicting the money-changers, admonishing the faithful for their public shows of memorized chanting, etc.).  Even in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus plays the role of a rebel announcing a new moral code that must replace the traditional jewish commands.  Of course it is necessary to completely disregard the content of the Sermon, and focus entirely on the context of the Sermon, to see Jesus as the jew-bashing, jew-threatening, jew-admonishing, figure of a rebel of that time and place.  This is what interested Hitler, since he was incapable of appreciating the content of Jesus’s sermons which he saw as entirely submissive and defeatist.  Hitler was probably incapable of feeling anything like empathy or compassion, so those aspects of Jesus’ message had no impact whatsoever on him.

Finally Fletch, it was after all the decision of the Jewish authorities that led to the death of the rebel, Jesus.  There is a long and documented history of how christians in all the various nations of Europe, especially during the dark ages (300-1200?), were filled with hatred and suspicion of the Jews.  This sort of cultural abuse of a particular people has its origins in the events of the New Testament and carries on as a particular sentence or a curse on those who played a decisive role in such a catastrophic (for christians) event. The madness of a sheeple mentality fanned by the flames of long held historical prejudices can play out as a genocidal atrocity in the hands of those willing to exploit the minds of submissive masses.

Why do you feel that I am so stupid (or otherwise mentally incompetent) that I would reason by way of your thesis called “innate solidarity?”  In fact Fletch, you are the one who keeps invoking the innate solidarity clause (all christians in Germany followed Hitler, because 95% of Germans were christians).  All I am saying is that the predominant mentality of christians/muslims/jews (to follow a moral authority; to not question dogma or leaders; and a sense of group-superiority) play favorably into supporting a charismatic madman into a position of power.  THis is not a black and white statement, it is a generalization.  This does not mean that the content of their scriptures cannot be interpreted in a better vision of human relations.  What it does say is that any theistic religion, if it is worth its dogmatic weight, appears to promote and encourage this sort of sheeple mentality.  There will always be a small number of theists who will be able to exploit the parameters of sheepledom, some become leaders who can fleece their flock in a variety of unscrupulous ways (the Pope, Jones and Koresh, Smith, Bakker and Roberts, etc.).  Naturally Hitler was not a christian (in the sense of an unquestioning follower of the mythology) but he identified with Jesus (he too felt that he was an agent of god), he was a supernaturalist (an occultist and a theist), and he was very adept at manipulating the sheeple mentality of the German public.  I acknowledge all the other economic, political, and social factors that led to WW2, but these were also expoited by Hitler for his own ends.  But his own ends were ultimately framed by his insane interpretations of christian theology.  Perhaps for me to blame christianity is too strong a stance, but from a non-theistic perspective the facets of theism loom large as the foundation of both World Wars (and for a variety of other wars that are still being faught).

Naturally theists would want to distance themselves from the looming madness, but from a position outside of the sheeple mentality, a theology (mythology) that allows and helpfully assists deranged humans to commit the most atrocious acts cannot be whitewashed over with a cleansing coat of paint.  Those theists who refuse to acknowledge the possible destructiveness of their convictions need to be awakened to the horror before one of their bretheren decides to hold the whole planet to ransom while his hand hovers over the nuclear red-button.

Bob

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Posted: 06 January 2008 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Fletch, I also want to comment on your statement above,

“” Hitler and Stalin shows one doesn’t have to be a Christian or blindly follow religion in order to kill 80 million people.  You don’t have to hold to a religion to blindly follow anyone.  It certainly wasn’t the intellectuals and the champions of reason who were fighting against Stalin in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  In fact the most fundamental Christian in Arkansas would be more against Stalin than the majority of professors in every Ivy League institution during the 1920’s.”“

What you are saying is correct, the difference between what you and I are arguing is that you are concentrating on the character and beliefs of the leaders, while I am trying to concentrate on the character and beliefs of the populace in our separate accounts of how certain human events unfold.  To my way of thinking, you are arguing in a vacuum, talking as if Hitler or Stalin personally murdered some 80 million people, and then trying to pin some version of atheism on them as their driving intention thus making atheism to blame for the horrendous carnage.  While I agree that the moral underpinnings of the leaders does have some impact, but we disagree whether they were theists or not, I want to examine the mindset of those who basically carried out the carnage for these deranged dictators.  I am examining the sort of group thinking that allows these tyrants to have power over the masses and why would these individuals (if they have any sense of moral justice) go with the group rather than stand up for their own conscience?  I realize that there is a group dynamics that “takes over” and rolls on like a bull on a rampage, but what kind of thinking promotes this sort of acquiesence to madness? It cannot be human nature, because you have yourself given examples of theists who broke the sheeple mold and stood up to the madness, but for me the one form of human organization that emulates the sheeple mentality is theistic religion.  And since theism (christianity) was the predominant organizational formula of 20th Century Europe, it stands to reason that the tyrants (of whatever persuasion they were theologically) exploited the christian foundations of their populations and accomplished deeds that would otherwise have seemed incomprehensible.

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Posted: 06 January 2008 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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fletch_F_Fletch - 02 January 2008 10:02 AM

. . .
I’ve read a lot of books on European history but I never read anything about Christianity being the main cause for two major wars.

Fletch, Bob has already adequately addressed this point, but I want to add one more author to the mix.

John Shelby Spong in The Sins of Scripture, Chapters 21 through 24, explains how the New Testament was structured in ways that resulted in almost 2,000 years of despicable and at times violent behavior toward Jews. Yes, anti-Semitism is rooted in certain New Testament scriptures. Hitler and his cronies may or may not have been Christians, but they certainly inherited their devout hatred from the editors and writers of the New Testament.

Spong is a retired Episcopal bishop, and has earned the highest scholarly credentials available in his field of study. He seems not to be an apostate and hasn’t changed his central views about Biblical meaning over the course of his prolific and generous writing career.

To summarize briefly, Spong describes a historical face-off between one group—reformers—within Judaism, following the death of Jesus. This reforming group, originally a Jewish cult, eventually branched away from Jewish hierarchy and became known as Christians. Bitter hatred against their opponent, orthodox Judaism, stubbornly remained with Christians, thanks largely to the scriptures that were chosen to be assembled into permanent (so it was hoped) holiness.

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Posted: 07 January 2008 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Well I made a lot points to justify my claims which you did not address, however I understand if you wont respond to each and every one of them, after all that would take time and that’s probably something both of us do not have.  Therefore I will make this quote very quick for the both of us. 

The quote below by Sozhenitsyn sums up everything that I’m trying to show.  Explotations will be done because the desire to exploit is in us all.

After Solzhenitsyn seen the oppression performed by the Bolsheviks he came to this realization,

“that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart. . . . Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains an unuprooted small corner of evil.”

This realization was permitted by the suppression performed not just by the Joseph Stalin but by the Bolshevik Party.  If there was a survey done in Russia in 1917 on who would consider themselves the most materialistic the Bolsheviks would come out on top.  I’m not sure how many examples I have to continue to give for you to realize that one does not have to have a theistic background to do terrible things.  The Five Years Plans wasn’t executed because the Communist party came from a religious background.  The Jacobins did not execute the Reign of Terror because they came from a religious background.  You certainly don’t have to hold onto a religion in order to like what is said in “The Prince”.  A prerequisite for Belgians to piss on each other isn’t the belief in God.  The followers of Mao’s Cultural Revolution or Great Leap Forward didn’t need religion as a prerequisite.  Mao, Lenin, Robespierre, and Stalin all needed followers to execute these followers were using materialism as their foundation.  At the time their acts certainly didn’t seem incomprehensible at the time.

I agree dogma can be used to justify and perform horrific acts.  However, it is quite clear that the “Champions of Reason” have also performed horrific acts.  What we have to do is understand the potential is in each and ever one of us.  Violence begets violence and religion or rational is often used to continue the horrific impacts that forefathers once created.  Yet when Christ says “Love thy Neighbor” this is something we must follow even if that means no longer buying shirts made in some third world country.  The Inquisition and what not are all examples of one contradicting the teachings of Christ.  When people who call themselves Christians but yet don’t act like Christians that is deeply embarrassing to me.  However, they have to claim they are acting in contradiction to the faith with is much harder than denouncing religion and simply doing whatever one wants to do.

“While I agree that the moral underpinnings of the leaders does have some impact, but we disagree whether they were theists or not..”

So you still think the Bolsheviks, Hitler, Mao, and Jacobins were not predominately materialists?

“I want to examine the mindset of those who basically carried out the carnage for these deranged dictators..”

You may want to start examining the Communist torturers,

“The Communist torturers often said, ‘There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.’ I have heard one torturer even say, ‘I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.”

CanZen says, “I never said any such thing.  I merely stated that 95% of Germans in the 1930s were Christians.”

Well if a leader lowered unemployment from 35% to 3% in a matter of three years and ripped up the Treaty of Versailles I think many atheists would have also supported him. What you need to do is prove otherwise, which you cannot do.  Also seems like a non-sequitar to me. We know the scientific community who followed Eugenics did.  On the side if 95% of the German populated actually attended Church the priests and ministers would have had a heart attack.  If you dropped out of school how can you blame the teacher on the material that you missed? 

This is not an assertion pulled out of the thin air, it is basic historical fact (the sheeple part is a generalization so it doesn’t apply equally to each christian individual).

Yes but you have yet to prove that most of Germany were actually Christians and a Christian foundation impacted their thinking. Also, that this same element would not have happened if the people did not hold to atheism.  Why do you continue to ignore the fact that the most committed Christians were the ones who opposed Hitler the most? And this is why your comment is nothing more than an assertion.  However, I do think the Bolsheviks followed Lenin and Jacobins followed Robespierre quite well.  I do know who opposed the Reign of Terror the most.  Do you?

CanZen, “But his own ends were ultimately framed by his insane interpretations of christian theology.”

For the last time,

“In such matters he (Hitler) shared with Stalin the same materialist outlook, based on the nineteenth-century rationalists’ certainty that the progress of science would destroy all myths and had already proved Christian doctrine to be an absurdity…Stalin and Hitler were materialists not only in their dismissal of religion but also in their insensitivity to humanity as well.  The only human beings who existed for them were themselves.  The rest of the human race was seen either as instruments with which to accomplish their purposes or as obstacles to be eliminated.”

[ Edited: 07 January 2008 06:01 PM by fletch_F_Fletch]
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