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Hitler’s Theology
Posted: 01 January 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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In Sam Harris’ book, “Letter to a Christian Nation” he says(pg. 40):  “And Hitler’s atheism seems to have been seriously exaggerated” (he then quotes Hitler during a speech he made in 1922):

“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! Was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison….as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”

Yes Harris is right and this speech did in fact come from the mouth of Adolph Hitler.  The problem is Sam Harris let out a very important fact. The reason why he made speeches like the one above was due to the fact that the Reformed Church in Germany, and many Catholics, were resisting Hitler.  The above speech was nothing more than political talk; if one is confused about how this is done tune into the next Democratic/Republican debate.  The problem is Sam Harris let out a very important fact.  Many Christians weren’t biting because they knew his interpretation of scripture was way off and they knew Adolph Hitler was far from being a Christian and was in fact a serious devout atheist.  On the side I certainly do find it hard for Sam Harris to truly believe that Hitler wasn’t anything but a devout atheistic naturalist.

If you would like to read up on one of the most famous and well historically documented books on Hitler I suggest Alan Bullock, “Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives”.  Just to warn you this book is over 1,000 pages with a very small font.  The second book I read and use as a source is “A Mighty Wind”, this book was written during Hitler’s gain to power, in 1935. 

Hitler makes this comment in 1941 as many Christians were continuing their fight against euthanasia. 

“The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity.  Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child.  Both are inventions of the Jew.  The deliberate lie in religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.  Bolshevism practices a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, only to enslave them….The decisive falsification of Jesus’s doctrine was the word of St. Paul.”

Hitler specifically had this to say about Protestants, “They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.  They have neither a religion they can take seriously nor a great position to defend…..taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of human failure.”


Hitler in fact considered the conscience to be a human invention and religion was used in order to create a conscience.  According to Bullock he also denounced any concept of pagan mythology, which was growing among his ranks.  Hitler clearly wasn’t a Christian, this point is very clear.  However, is he the atheist that everyone makes him out to be?  Here is a quote from Bullock’s book taken from page 386:

“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.”


To say that their atheistic outlook did not play a role in their systematic killings of millions is very far from the truth.  Both Hitler and Stalin took a worldview where everything was formed through matter, time, and chance.  Their ethical behavior was firmly built on these beliefs.  Hitler certainly saw no reason to follow one’s conscious given the circumstances of naturalism. 

This leads me to my final point and it deals with Christopher Hitchens.  I was watching a debate between Hitchens and another man defending Christianity.  During the debate Hitchens said something to this affect.  Pertaining to morality most people will do good acts regardless to whether they hold a religion or do not.  However, religion has the tendency, for some people, to do really bad things, things that they would not have done on their own rational.  I completely agree with Christopher Hitchens on this point.  People general stay in line and try not to break too many norms.  And when a group of people get together, most of the time this is done through religion, people end up doing really bad things.  This is all true.  However there are two other components that need to be added.  The lack of religion can also cause certain people to due really bad things.  The point isn’t whether its religion or not the point is if you get a large group of people together large offensives will be made; if you need an example begin reading at the top of this post.  While religion can cause people to do really bad things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done religion can also cause people to do really good things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done.  For instance, Dr. Alvin Johnson made a speech in 1935 discussing the rise of Hitler.  The speech is paraphrased by George Shuster,

“In New York, Dr. Alvin Johnson-who cannot well be accused of enthusiasm for the Christian Churches-told a distinguished gathering that the idea of freedom could be saved for mankind only by those who believed strongly enough in a religion to be willing to die for it.  Catholics like myself, who had fancied that Protestantism was too weak to offer effective resistance to a powerful dictatorship, were immensely pleased and heartened by the willingness to accept martyrdom which characterized not Lutheran pastors merely but their followers as well.”

Many Christians would give their lives in Nazi Germany in fighting against Hitler.  In fact the opposition that risked their lives was well over 10,000 by 1935.  There were thousands of Bonhoffers.  Opposition to Hitler meant nothing less than death.  To find out how the Protestant Church and many Catholics in Germany fought Hitler I suggest reading, “A Mighty Army: Hitler verses Established Religion”.  Thousands of acts were done not only because they wanted to do good acts but because their religion aspired them to do great things.

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Posted: 01 January 2008 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Well Fletch, it seems to me that Sam Harris does indeed understand that Hilter had a bizarre and unique interpretation of christian scriptures and christian theology, but in spite of these differences from the church christianity of his time, (Roman Catholic or Lutheran or Calvinist), there is no doubt that Hitler believed that he was indeed a servant of god (in that bizarre megalomaniacal way of his).  Now of course we understand that you would want to distance your own religion from the man most notorious in the 20th century for immoral and inhuman behaviour . . . we all want to accomplish that feat!

Unfortunately for your side, Hitler wrote and spoke a lot about his weird christian beliefs, but he did almost nothing to promote what you describe as his “devout atheism.”  To make matters worse for the christians in this debate, consider the following:

” It is hardly ever mentioned that in the 1930s Germany was an overwhelmingly christian country, and only in a nation of sheeple could someone as inhuman as a Hitler rise to absolute power.  Sheeple follow blindly and do not question authority . . .  perfect!  Also rarely making the news is the fact that those thousands of Germans who carried out the insane orders of the Furer were ALL christians.  They forced the Jews, the gypsies, the homosexuals, and the atheists out of hiding; they crammed them onto the concentration camp trains; they tortured and demoralized these innocent men, women, and children; they shot the weapons; they turned on the poison gas; they stoked the fires and dug the mass graves.” (This is from my own post in the Politics and Organizational Issues section of this forum under “Nazis and their . . . “)

In your effort to cleanse the christian conscience of the bloody stains of Hitler’s legacy, you conveniently forget that it was devout christians who carried out the immoral orders of their dictator.  In fact, we do not actually know if Adolph Hitler ever killed (by his own hand) another human being, although we suspect that he took his own life.  It is rumoured that Hilter did once shoot a dog, but it took the devoted handiwork of thousands of committed christians to torture, maim, imprison, poison, mutilate, and kill millions of innocent people on his behalf.  Think about that for a moment.  The people in the concentration camps were primarily Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and atheists . . . hardly a christian among them.  No Fletch, the christians were the ones who carried out this most horrendous and atrocious spectacle of human depravity.

Now you think that if you can fudge the books a little and revise the context of certain quotes, you can make Hilter look like an atheist.  You know, ultimately that strategy hardly makes any difference, because it was millions of devout christians who committed all those incomprehensible crimes against humanity.  And that’s the most important fact of history.  You have probably stopped reading this by now because you know in your heart that your own bretheren’s hands are the ones with the actual blood on them.  The First and the Second World Wars are the two episodes in recent human memory where christians were pitted against christians in the most horrific and outrageous slaughter in the history of the planet.  That is your legacy, how you live with that kind of deathly stain on your conscience is impossible to understand.

Bob

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Posted: 01 January 2008 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Good post, fletch.  I’ve read a number of books on Hitler which pretty much agree with what you say.  Hitler was first and foremost a nut.  Trying to pin him to any preexisting ideology only shows ignorance and personal bias.  He was all things to all Germans; he said whatever he had to say to ingratiate himself with his audience.  His appeal to the vast majority of Germans came from a) his promise to restore Germany’s honor after the humiliation of surrender in WWI; and b) his promise to defeat the threat of communism and gain territory in the East.  In fact, most of his speeches espoused a twisted form of Social Darwinism, in which he compared the Jews to bacteria and parasites which had to be exterminated to preserve German racial purity.  The Jews and the communists were inextricably entwined for him.  Had the war in the East gone better, he would have destroyed both the Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany, just as he did every other institution which posed the slightest threat to his complete power.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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CanZen:

I never made the claim that Christians in Germany didn’t go along with Adolph Hitler.  In fact I alluded to the fact that they did in my post. 

“And when a group of people get together, most of the time this is done through religion, people end up doing really bad things.  This is all true.”

So it appears your doing nothing more than a strawman.  Yes Christians can also get sucked into things like power hunger, social Darwinism, governmental conformity. 

Canzen says, “Now you think that if you can fudge the books a little and revise the context of certain quotes, you can make Hilter look like an atheist.”

 

For the one quote I actually cited the page number.  Would you like me go back to the library and check out the book again and cite the pages for the other two quotes.  Please provide evidence that I “fudged” the books.  A lot of claims nothing being back up here.  If you don’t like one of the leading historians on Hitler and his viewpoints take it up on him not me.

“The First and the Second World Wars are the two episodes in recent human memory where christians were pitted against christians in the most horrific and outrageous slaughter in the history of the planet.”

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.  Please give reasons to your assertions, did you read this from a book?  What is the name of the book?

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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fletch_F_Fletch - 01 January 2008 05:33 PM

While religion can cause people to do really bad things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done religion can also cause people to do really good things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done.

I cannot imagine anyone here disagreeing with that basic contention. However, the issue is why theistic religion provides motivation in both directions. The reason is that it defines “good” as whatever supposedly pleases a god or gods, instead of whatever leads to increased happiness and reduced suffering among one’s fellow humans. Both groups of people honestly believe they are doing good. This motivation is not an absolute one - some believers place varying degrees of value on happiness and suffering independent of their theistic beliefs. Put another way, the desire to please deity corrupts different people’s moral senses to different degrees.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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fletch_F_Fletch - 01 January 2008 05:33 PM

Both Hitler and Stalin took a worldview where everything was formed through matter, time, and chance.  Their ethical behavior was firmly built on these beliefs.

Leaving aside the question of whether those men believed in chance, the plain fact is that “chance” is nothing more than a straw man created to bash science. Nothing in the universe happens by chance. That doesn’t mean that some intelligence is guiding all events. That means that every event is caused by a specific series of previous events, and if any of those events were different then the outcome event would be different.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Is Hitler really a good figure to bring into the Christian/Atheist debate? He seems like more of an exception to the rules than than a clearcut case. Was he Christian? Was he Atheist? Does it really matter? He had his own ways of doing things which included twisting the doctrines of others. Neither Christians nor Atheists accept his beliefs, methods, or actions. It’s fair to say that most people with a nanoparticle of humanity do not accept Hitler’s views. Hitler remains the perennial false analogy.

The best way to end the Hitler debate is to say that Hitler was neither a Christian nor an Atheist. He clearly had his own agenda which likely included practices and beliefs from multiple standpoints. He’s too complex to tag a single ideology on besides “Hitler.” In the end, to compare Hitler to ideologies that clearly do not reflect his views, and this includes modern Christianity and Atheism, gains us very little.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Whoops… sorry for the double post… could a mod delete this one? Thanks!

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Posted: 02 January 2008 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Ewomack, good point. I generally reject the idea of dragging Hitler into any debate for Godwinian reasons. I also reject the idea that he represents an analogy for anything but plain tyranny.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Thanks for you reply Fletch.  I did not purposely overlook that quote from Bullock on page 386, but I took it in the context of the times.  The Rationalists and Materialists of the 19th Century were no atheists.  The progress of science that would replace religion was in fact a reference to scientific inquiry actually revealing the mind of god.  Most of the scientists and philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries were theists or deists of this persuasion (Auguste Comte).  Even Darwin’s work (1869) did not suddenly change people into atheists, most remained theists with the fervent hope that the progress of science would reveal the “mind of god” and thus lead to the irrelevancy of all churches.  This sort of thinking still prevailed well into the 20th Century . . . scientist/philosophers like Ernst Mach and Edmund Husserl were still deists.  It wasn’t until the Logical Positivist movement in the late 1930’s that the “mind of god” idea fell away (Carnap, Frank, Ayer).  Also, one must remember the incredible influence of writers/systematizers like Georg Hegel (1820), who dreamt up the notion of a World Spirit that was consistently progressing to a state of perfection and incidentally the Germans (The Weimar Republic) seemed to Hegel to be reaching the ultimate state of perfection of the Geist.

To claim (even from the Bullock statement) that Hitler was an atheist is to jump to an erroneous conclusion.  Let’s face it, Hitler’s extreme anti-semitism does in no possible way come from his supposed materialism or even from any kind of rationalism, it can only come from a certain reading of christian theology or a warped reading of Hegel’s “The Phenomenology of the Spirit.”  You seem to be implying Fletch, that Hilter’s inhuman beliefs are related to some sort of Social Darwinism, and there is no doubt that the influence of this weird philosophy did have an impact on his ideology, but again it is christianity that we find at the foundation of Hitler’s madness.

On the other front, how christianity is implicated in the World Wars . . .
You say,
“” I never made the claim that Christians in Germany didn’t go along with Adolph Hitler.  In fact I alluded to the fact that they did in my post.”“

Yes, you did allude to it, but only in accommodation of how Hitler used references to god and to religion in his speeches to convince the gullible christians. (It is interesting that in all those instances where you (or your sources) read Hitler referring to god, you interpret those writings as a deliberate attempt by him to get the christians on his side but exposing nothing about his true beliefs; yet when you read a reference in his writings to the philosophy of materialists then you suddenly mark Hitler with the ‘atheist’ label . . . very strange?)

Then you add,
““Yes Christians can also get sucked into things like power hunger, social Darwinism, governmental conformity.”“

Oh those poor gullible christians, why are they so easily manipulated?  Germany was 95% christian in 1935, so who else besides them were “sucked into things?” This is the point of my attack, namely, that it takes a mindset common to christian believers that makes the most atrocious activities possible.  You seem to be willing to excuse the christians on grounds that they were bamboozled by a smooth talking, diabolical leader.  Poor buggers!  The larger point is that it is christian theology and christian belief that allows christians to shove innocent children into trains that are taking them to concentration camps, it is the machinations of christian belief that allow a believer to turn the poison gas valve that will instantly murder 300 innocent women.  And to turn the tables from the Axis to the Allies, it is christian belief that allows pilots to send hundreds of conventional bombs over downtown Tokyo killing more than 80,000 civilians in one such raid (March 10, 1945). Even while the blood is evidently on the hands of christians, they are excused of their murderous treachery because some kind of mad materialist managed to confuse them and re-order their priorities. But if you take things more seriously it becomes clearly obvious that it is the kind of morality espoused by christian belief that makes war possible.  This morality is based on following commands, not questioning authority, and a sense of arrogant self-superiority (or group superiority).  With this kind of moraity it is a proven fact (see WW1 and WW2) that when the blood of your victims is still on your hands you can be absolved by pinning the guilt on a higher authority.  Oh that god idea is a powerful absolver of responsibility every which way you look at it.

You blithely remark that you have never read anywhere that christianity is to blame for the two World Wars, but of course you are reading this history as told through the glazed eyes of other christians blinded by the blight of their own superiority.  It’s the easy route to simply lay the blame at the feet of Hitler or Mussolini and to act as if they are solely responsible for the deaths of millions of people.  The two world wars were indeed the clash of two different readings of christian theology, in spite of all the other excuses dragged out to absolve the religious of any responsibility.  In that famous retelling of the Allies and the Germans stuck in their trenches in France during WW1 at christmas eve, the allies began to sing “Silent Night” and when the Germans heard this plaintive human response they came out of their trenches, put away their guns and started to sing the German version in harmony with their enemies.  People take this as a sign that christianity can overcome hatred and defeat weapons, I take it as a sign that these two enemies, caught in the grip of mortal combat, come out of their foxholes to express the common root of their deranged madness.  Like two condemned creatures might want to expose their deepest secrets, they find to their own horror that they are both compelled to murder each other for the same song “Silent Night!”

Bob

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Posted: 02 January 2008 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Carstonio, you make an excellent point.  The fact that religion can be used to prompt people to do both good things as well as horrific things is concrete evidence that it is NOT a basis for a justified moral perspective.  You say,

““the desire to please deity corrupts different people’s moral senses to different degrees.”“

This implication here is that everyone does have an innate moral sense, but instead of appealing to these human passions, religion corrupts them for a different end.

Bob

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Posted: 02 January 2008 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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CanZen - 02 January 2008 04:13 PM

This implication here is that everyone does have an innate moral sense, but instead of appealing to these human passions, religion corrupts them for a different end.

I don’t claim to know whether the moral sense is a product of biology, social conditioning, or both. I merely acknowledge that the moral sense exists.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Hey Bob,

My main point was to show how Sam Harris made a poor historical comment by suggesting Hitler was a Christian.  Do you atleast agree with that?

“To claim (even from the Bullock statement) that Hitler was an atheist is to jump to an erroneous conclusion.”

Given your extensive first paragraph you never show why this is an erroneous conclusion to make, especially when Bullock makes it himself.  I’m not sure what exactly you define as an atheist to be, I address it to someone who does not believe in God.  So what specific beliefs, besides not beleving in God, must one have to be an atheist?  Nevertheless in the book “The War Path: Hitler’s Germany”, It specifically states Hitler felt religion should die on its own accord. Hitler felt materialism was the only framework in looking at the world.  I’m sorry Bob but I’m not getting your point and your first paragraph, while filled with impressive data and names, doesn’t show why I’m making an erroneious conclusion.  Notice I never said a materialist has to believe in Hitler’s remarks, I’m simply saying he was a materialist and took his materialism to meet his own needs and desires, as Bullock said. 

Let’s face it, Hitler’s extreme anti-semitism does in no possible way come from his supposed materialism or even from any kind of rationalism, it can only come from a certain reading of christian theology or a warped reading of Hegel’s “The Phenomenology of the Spirit.”

Hitler’s actions did certainly come from his materialism. I’ll start out with your assertion.  So when Joseph Stalin went after Jews and was beginning to make a very extensive purge before he died, this was based on the Christ’s teachings?  Since Christianity is based on Christ I am interested to hear what specific things did Christ say that conformed to Hitler’s actions?

You seem to be implying Fletch, that Hilter’s inhuman beliefs are related to some sort of Social Darwinism, and there is no doubt that the influence of this weird philosophy did have an impact on his ideology, but again it is christianity that we find at the foundation of Hitler’s madness.

Please give reasons for your assertions.

Yes, you did allude to it, but only in accommodation of how Hitler used references to god and to religion in his speeches to convince the gullible christians. (It is interesting that in all those instances where you (or your sources) read Hitler referring to god, you interpret those writings as a deliberate attempt by him to get the christians on his side but exposing nothing about his true beliefs; yet when you read a reference in his writings to the philosophy of materialists then you suddenly mark Hitler with the ‘atheist’ label . . . very strange?)

I take his private writings to be much more closer to his heart than his public writings, wouldn’t you?  Also, from what I read I simply have gotten a consensus, from all the writers, that Hitler hated Christianity.  This simply is the conclusion many writers that I have read came up with.  Considering all the quotes they gave I have no reason to think otherwise.  How is this strange?

Oh those poor gullible christians, why are they so easily manipulated?  Germany was 95% christian in 1935, so who else besides them were “sucked into things?”

After reading “A Mighty Wind” I simply don’t see it your way.  There was a great number of people, largly the most devout Christians, who went against Adolph Hitler.  Many of the leading scientists in Eugenics were certainly sucked in with Hitler. 

This is the point of my attack, namely, that it takes a mindset common to christian believers that makes the most atrocious activities possible.  You seem to be willing to excuse the christians on grounds that they were bamboozled by a smooth talking, diabolical leader.  Poor buggers!

The problem with your statement is those who were very strong followers of Christianity were the ones that fought against Hitler.  See Bonhoffer for an example.  You act as if 95% of Germany were Christ followers who prayed on their knees everyday and looked at everything through their deeply grounded view of Christ.  I have no reason to buy that, considering the church attandence at the time.  So one needs a Christian mindset to create a Hitler.  That is an intersting assertion.  How about this following mindset could this do anything in making an atrocious activity?  “Whatever I do on this earth ends when my last breath is taken.  In fact everything my senses are aware will aultimately end.  Because of this fact I will serve my own desires and perform acts that benefit me the most after all everything is pointless when I die.”  Could this worldview create some scary events?  Because it has.   

The larger point is that it is christian theology and christian belief that allows christians to shove innocent children into trains that are taking them to concentration camps, it is the machinations of christian belief that allow a believer to turn the poison gas valve that will instantly murder 300 innocent women.

Yet another assertion.  Reasons please. 

And to turn the tables from the Axis to the Allies, it is christian belief that allows pilots to send hundreds of conventional bombs over downtown Tokyo killing more than 80,000 civilians in one such raid (March 10, 1945). Even while the blood is evidently on the hands of christians, they are excused of their murderous treachery because some kind of mad materialist managed to confuse them and re-order their priorities. But if you take things more seriously it becomes clearly obvious that it is the kind of morality espoused by christian belief that makes war possible.

Yet another assertion.  It seems your talking mainly about Nationalism from your above comment.  Not sure I understand your point could you back it up with some reasons for the claim? It seems as if your saying before Christianity no war, because of the Sermon on the Mount plentiful amounts of war began?

This morality is based on following commands, not questioning authority, and a sense of arrogant self-superiority (or group superiority).

Another assertion.  So Christians follow blind authority?  My students have a sense of arrogant superiority if they own an I-Phone, is this the kind of thing your talking about?

With this kind of moraity it is a proven fact (see WW1 and WW2) that when the blood of your victims is still on your hands you can be absolved by pinning the guilt on a higher authority.  Oh that god idea is a powerful absolver of responsibility every which way you look at it.

Okay I’m not sure if talking with you will do any of us any good.  You obviously belive in two things:
1.  There is no God   2. And I hate him

Since it is a proven fact please tell me how WWI and WWII were caused by Christianity.  I thought WWI was about Nationalism and WWII about German revenge for the Treaty of Versailles, show me where I’m wrong.  What I’m thinking right now is this….If the French Revolution of 1789 comes around again you will be the first one coming after me.  If you truly feel this way it won’t take much for you to eradicate religion through any means possible.  I guess those good Christians such as Robespierre caused the Great Purge.  Your not going to tell me Robespierre was a Christian are you?   

“that it takes a mindset common to christian believers that makes the most atrocious activities possible”

No it simply takes getting kicked in the balls after you lost a war and had to face the Treaty of Versailles, on top of that having a 30 percent unemployment rate.  Also dealing with an influx Jewish immigration.  Whenever the economy is bad who always gets blaimed?  The minority group and the poor.  Jewish immigrants in Vienna made up only 12 percent of the population yet made up 1/3 of the poor neighborhood.  As we can see with what is happening with Mexicans when the economy goes the immigrant is to blame.  Now most Germans probably favored kicking the Jews out as many Americans are in favor of kicking Mexicans out of America.  I’m not sure if most Germans knew anything more horrible than expulsion was going on.  We do know how Hitler hid his “Final Solution” plans from the public.  As mentioned before, let us not forget Joseph Stalin was about to do a great purge against Jews right before his stroke, Stalin certinaly didn’t do this for Christian reasons.

You blithely remark that you have never read anywhere that christianity is to blame for the two World Wars, but of course you are reading this history as told through the glazed eyes of other christians blinded by the blight of their own superiority.  It’s the easy route to simply lay the blame at the feet of Hitler or Mussolini and to act as if they are solely responsible for the deaths of millions of people.  The two world wars were indeed the clash of two different readings of christian theology, in spite of all the other excuses dragged out to absolve the religious of any responsibility.  In that famous retelling of the Allies and the Germans stuck in their trenches in France during WW1 at christmas eve, the allies began to sing “Silent Night” and when the Germans heard this plaintive human response they came out of their trenches, put away their guns and started to sing the German version in harmony with their enemies.  People take this as a sign that christianity can overcome hatred and defeat weapons, I take it as a sign that these two enemies, caught in the grip of mortal combat, come out of their foxholes to express the common root of their deranged madness.  Like two condemned creatures might want to expose their deepest secrets, they find to their own horror that they are both compelled to murder each other for the same song “Silent Night!”

You say numerous times that it is so obvious that WWI and WWII were caused by Christianity.  Yet you have yet to give me a reason for your assertion.  While your paragraph is long it in no way shows how Christianity caused WWI or WWII.  However, the Silent Night story is touching.  What you forgot to leave out and what I was taught was the fact that the German and British generals specifically told them not to do this, nevertheless they did.  It was as much a defiance against their Generals and low moral as anything else.  However, the order was made that any soldier who tried to do this again for the next Christmas would be shot.  Look the soldiers didn’t even know who Archduck Ferdinand was and couldn’t care.  The soldiers knew it was a pointless war and when this awarness is found throughout both sides you will see things like this happen. 

Please give me some rational explanation for your thoughts instead of mere assertions.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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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.

The point I was making about certain early materialists not always being atheists seems to have missed its mark as well.  If a person believes that discovering the laws of science and the accumulation of scientific knowledge are, in fact, revealing the mind of god, those scientists/philosophers are theists, so how can they be atheists as well? I realize that they are not traditional christians, just as Hitler was certainly no longer a practising catholic, but they still believe there is a god and that scientific progress reveals the mind of that god.  Of course they no longer believe in the regular christian mythology; Jesus is the son of god, there is everlasting life in heaven, etc., but they are definitely some sort of theists. Both Hitler and Stalin are examples of this sort of theistic ideologues, add to that they were hardly scientific and were actually very superstitious, and you have a better picture of the madness of them both.

Now you say that Hitler’s anti-semitism came from his materialism . . I guess you’ll have to explain that before I can comment on it.  I thought he simply hated jews just like some vast majority of christians did in early 20th Century Europe and for a long history before that time.

Even if Hitler believed that religion should die on its own accord, this does not mean that he did not believe in a god.  Many people retain their theism even when they fight to destroy or to remake the prevailing religion of their time and location.  Jesus comes to mind as an example . . . or Calvin or Luther. 

I am certainly not sure how either Hitler or how Stalin interpreted the bible, all I know is that Hitler was a devout catholic in his youth and Stalin at age 18 was in a seminary on his way to becoming a priest.  There is plenty in the bible that would appeal to deranged persons who formed their beliefs around cruelty and hatred, perhaps both of these men read what Jesus said (in the sermon on the mount or elsewhere) as being too meek and submissive, so they mostly ignored those parts of the New Testament (as believers continue to cherry-pick their passages today, as you do in your mention of the Sermon on the Mount leading to war???).  I have no knowledge other than the quote you give from Hitler where he chooses the story where Jesus throws the money-changers out of the temple as an example of how Christ faught with the authorities in the same way that Hitler vows to fight .  This passage could indeed serve Hitler well in hating the Jews (money-lenders) and the subsequent clashes that Jesus had with the Jewish authorities that finally led to his death. Those are the sorts of passages that people like Hitler and Stalin adopted as their theology.  IN the same way that you Fletch can pick out all the compassionate, comforting, and cozy passages in the New Testament as the abidiing theology of Jesus, some other person can pick the most brutal, abrasive, and destructive as theirs.

Even after these two men rejected the church-sanctioned religion of their day, they were still heavily influenced by their version of christian scripture that they had devoted their early and formative years to acquiring.  Obviously theirs is not going to be the Fletch-sanctioned version of christian belief, so you will not refer to it as christianity, but from my point of view it’s all the same ball of wax.  You will have to ask Hitler (and later on Stalin) what “specific things that Christ said” conformed to their actions, but I am quite sure that they would’ve had some surprising answers for you on that account.

On the point about Social Darwinism, I agree that it influenced Hitler, but it was his own assertion that he was an agent of god that gave him the audacity to act as if he was doing god’s work in everything that he undertook to accomplish.  It was his insane belief that he had been specifically chosen by god, that gave him the authority to order the genocide of an entire people.  Now obviously this is not as if christianity (as it was practiced by normal people then and now) provoked this sort of immoral behaviour, but his madness came directly from christian theology . . . mangled and mutilated as it became in his deranged head.  You seem to be of the opinion that it was materialism that drove him into his aggressive demeanor, but there is nothing in pure materialism that could possibly accomplish such a horrific feat.  But if you let a mental case believe that god is telling him what to do and that he has been chosen by god to bring about a particular purified promised land, and then you allow him to become dictator of a country . . . .guess what happens?  Genocide and WW2!

Hitler hated christianity, you say.  I totally agree with that.  He hated the kind of christianity that was practised by the sanctioned churches because it glorified the meek, the mild, and the submissive Jesus and then asked the believers to become like that Jesus.  For Hitler, Jesus was a kick-ass ninja who verbally bashed the Hebrew authorities, got in the face of those who had the power, and who elected his own moral code that subverted the existing commands.

You say, ““Many of the leading scientists in Eugenics were certainly sucked in with Hitler.””  But have you actually checked to see how many of these scientists were not christians or at least not theists of some persuasion?

You also say, ““So one needs a Christian mindset to create a Hitler.  That is an intersting assertion.  How about this following mindset could this do anything in making an atrocious activity?  “Whatever I do on this earth ends when my last breath is taken.  In fact everything my senses are aware will aultimately end.  Because of this fact I will serve my own desires and perform acts that benefit me the most after all everything is pointless when I die.” Could this worldview create some scary events?  Because it has.”“

You are talking about what makes a tyrannical dictator, but your little rationalized monologue is a pretty weak persuasion.  I’m talking about what makes a whole population (millions of people together) gullible enough to fall for the rantings of a nut and his “I am an agent of god delusions”?  The problem isn’t with the nut, if people are led by common sense and common decency the nut will be locked away or reduced to a beggar, but it’s the precise christian theology that Hitler hated so much that made it possible for him to become their dictator.  Perhaps he sensed this mental lapse in the German sheeple and he took adavantage of it . . .  and it worked!

Another point to be made here, let’s say that the majority of Germans in 1930 were materialist theists or atheists, how likely do you think that Hitler would have come to power?  If you ask me Fletch, it would simply have been impossible because atheists do not blindly follow authority (moral or political), they tend to question everything, and they are not superstitious or deluded by rhetoric.

You also write,  ““So Christians follow blind authority?  My students have a sense of arrogant superiority if they own an I-Phone, is this the kind of thing your talking about?”“

I said that christians blindly follow authority . . you’re the one that poked out the eyes of god!  And yes, exactly Fletch, except that your I-Phone is connected to the Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe, the Big Kahuna . . .  and you think the students are arrogant!  You believe that you’ve got a direct line to god, almost reminds me of Hitler in that weird, unsettling way.

Finally, you say, ““You obviously belive in two things:
1.  There is no God 2. And I hate him “”

This last bit is pure gibberish and makes absolutely no sense.  I don’t hate god, hey give me that I-Phone of yours for a second!

Bob

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Posted: 02 January 2008 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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BTW Carstonio, I think you are correct about the innate moral sense and I acknowledge it as such.

Bob

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Posted: 03 January 2008 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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CanZen, thanks for the compliment.

CanZen - 03 January 2008 02:27 AM

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.

Well said.

CanZen - 03 January 2008 02:27 AM

  If a person believes that discovering the laws of science and the accumulation of scientific knowledge are, in fact, revealing the mind of god, those scientists/philosophers are theists, so how can they be atheists as well?

Dumb question - what do people mean by “the mind of god”?

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