Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hitler the Atheist

One of my pet peeves is when religious people bring up the Nazis as the example of how atheism leads to atrocities:

"And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord."

Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf


Blogger The back of the hill said...

I have no problem with atheists. I have a problem with atrocities.

Apparently being the pontif, or of noble birth, also leads to atrocities.
Being wrong does automatically lead to either atheism or atrocities.
Being utterly brick-headed, on the other hand.......

Torquemada? Not an atheist.
Gilles de Rais? Not an atheist.
Charlie Manson? Not an atheist.

Dzjenghiz Khan? VERY religious!


May 29, 2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Being wrong does automatically lead to either atheism or atrocities.

Oops. Freudy slip.

Insert 'not' in between 'does' and 'automatically'

Should read: Being wrong does notautomatically lead to either atheism or atrocities.

Pardon the erratum.

May 29, 2008 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, it's more complex than that. Lots of debate about what his true views on religion were. He may have been faking it. Still, your main point is correct.

May 29, 2008 1:29 PM  
Anonymous resh lakish said...

Dzjenghiz Khan? VERY religious!

Of course, he wrote songs for MBD.

May 30, 2008 8:40 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

Atheism does lead to atrocities. That the people who committed them claimed a religious belief does not mean they had any faith.

Many are the men of religion who have no faith and deep down don't believe.

Even priests and rabbis can in their hearts not believe in G-d and still function in their jobs because their jobs are not about faith, but about religion. Religion is the ritual framework we assign to a possible common faith, but the framework stands on its own even if you don't believe.

Those ritual frameworks become their own thing. Like other organizations of individuals, they often become possessed of a life of their own and as with other living things seek to conserve themselves, collect power and security to themselves, and defend themselves against perceived threats.

All this has nothing to do with faith. Religion does not necessarily imply any belief. I think we all know this or else why would our consciences be pricked enough to question our faith and the propriety of being a member of a given religion while having doubts in our faith?

May 30, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Anonymous was right; that was only one quote and, you'll note, taken from Mein Kampf - which was written while Hitler was in jail for the failed Beer Hall Putsch. He wasn't inpower yet, so he had to play the belief thing in order for the religous (read- Christian) leaders and voters. He made other statements in other speeches that would imply he did not believe. Including, I think, the accusation against Jews of bringing monotheism into the world, and this being one of the reasons why they ought to be exterminated.

June 01, 2008 4:41 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


Hitler's beliefs are not easy to pin down. He was certainly not a traditional christian, but I would be hard pressed to call him an atheist. He definitely believed in a God.

Read here and make up your own mind.

June 01, 2008 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitler's private statements about Christianity were often conflicting. Hitler's intimates, such as Joseph Goebbels, Albert Speer, and Martin Bormann suggest that Hitler generally had negative opinions of religion, although the historical validity of some remarks has been questioned, particularly the English translation of Hitler's Table Talk. Historian Ian Kershaw remarked upon the questionable nature of Table Talk as a source, stating "the `table talk’ monologues of the last months (the so called `bunkergespräche’) of which no German text has ever been brought to light must be treated with due caution." Atheist Activist/Historian Richard Carrier goes further, contending that certain portions of Table Talk — especially those regarding Hitler's hostility of Christianity — are poor mistranslations. Carrier states that Hitler was criticizing Catholicism in particular, while remaining entirely religious. Albert Speer confirmed the authenticity of Henry Picker's German transcripts, which was published in 1951 as Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier. Carrier states, "It is clear that Picker and Jochmann have the correct text and Trevor-Roper's is entirely untrustworthy."

Goebbels 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." Albert Speer 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?"

In 1941, Hitler praised an anti-Christian tract from AD 362, neo-platonist and pagan Roman emperor Julian the Apostate's Against the Galileans, saying "I really hadn't known how clearly a man like Julian had judged Christians and Christianity, one must read this...."

In 1941, according to the diary of Nazi General Gerhart Engel, Hitler stated "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."

Author Konrad Heiden has 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.

The fact is any individual with a mind to commit atrocities, such as Hitler, will find a reason or cause to commit said atrocities wether or not their Atheist's or their religious, Atheism and religion were mearly a bus Hitler used to reach his goals. Bad people would still commit atrocities even if Atheism and religion never came into dispute with each other. And anyone who seeks to blame either Atheism or religion for all the past and present atrocities committed by the human race, should take a look at how close that line of thought is too the way Hitler thought.

August 14, 2010 1:27 AM  

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