Adolf Hitler

The Accusation

What motivated Adolf Hitler to exterminate millions of  human beings? Some people say, the Christian faith. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a leading Jewish critic of Christianity, lists the Holocaust in a series of atrocities committed by followers of Jesus "in his name:"

  • “It is unjust to hold Jesus accountable for the millennia of anti-Semitism perpetrated in his name.  . . Jesus never urged crusaders onward as they marched through Europe massacring Jews. . . And what he certainly did not do was put the Zyklon-B gas into the crematoria of Auschwitz.”
  • (Boteach, Shmuley (2011-12-07). Kosher Jesus. Gefen Publishing House. Kindle Edition.).

Brandenburg Gate

Is this perception accurate, that the Nazis acted in the name of Jesus? Another:

"In his Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, John Toland wrote of Hitler's religious position at the time of the 'final solution:' 'Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god — so long as it was done impersonally, without cruelty.'" (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 311).

You would think Darwinians would be embarrassed to mention Hitler, but these people know no embarrassment. This accusation, that Adolf Hitler was a devout Christian whose crimes were motivated by zeal for Jesus, is oft repeated by the New Atheists. Is it accurate? Given the unimaginable evil that Adolf Hitler wrought in the world, melding him to those you wish to discredit might seem a beautiful polemic strategy. And the case starts promisingly enough: Hitler was baptized and raised in a Roman Catholic home. Where it starts to falter is when he becomes able to speak for himself.

Was Hitler's war against the Jews religiously based? Against this claim is the inescapable fact that German Jews facing annihilation could not save themselves through conversion, a historic escape route from religious persecution wherever found. The Caesars spared those Christians willing to offer a pinch of incense to the pagan gods, Muslim conquerors have spared those Hindus willing to recite the Shahada; but baptism was no escape route from Hitler's Holocaust. Adolf Hitler did not much care what a person's religion was, rather he cared about racial background, which is unaffected by present belief or confession. This focus on race was normal for nineteenth century European antisemitism: "[Austrian Georg Ritter] Schonerer was an uncompromising racial antisemite. 'Religion's all the same, it's race that is to blame,' was one of his typically catchy slogans." (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 44). The concept of 'race' was the last word in the 'scientific' biology of the nineteenth century, as the reader can verify by checking the sub-title of Charles Darwin's magnum opus. They went back to the grand-parents:

"A week after the boycott, on 7 April 1933, the La for the Restoration of a Professional Civil Service added Jews to Communists and other politically unreliable individuals in state employment as targets for dismissal. 'Non-Aryan' civil servants, defined in a supplementary law on 11 April as people with one ore more 'non-Aryan, particularly Jewish' grandparent, were to be retired, unless (on Hindenburg's explicit insistence) they were war veterans or had lost a father or son in combat, or had been in the forces before the First World War." (Richard J. Evens, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 437).

It is apparent this definition would include persons who neither self-identify as Jews, nor would be considered as such by the Rabbis, nor who practice Judaism, under its umbrella. Far from recognizing baptism as a valid means of changing group identification, it stubbornly insists upon 'deconverting' those who converted to Christianity, even in prior generations. How would it play out with an 'Aryan' who converted to Judaism, like Elizabeth Taylor? I don't know, but it's not a religious definition. Religion is irrelevant.

How is a 'Jew' defined, by Jews? Certainly not as 'non-Aryan,' for the same reason there is no group which defines itself as 'non-white.' In modern-day secular Israel, many of whose inhabitants are atheists or agnostics, a 'Jew' as defined under the Law of Return nevertheless cannot be a Christian: "Judge Silberg (for the majority) held that the Law of Return was a secular enactment. For its purposes, a Jew was defined not according to halakhah but as Jews in general understood the term: 'The answer to this question is in my opinion sharp and clear — a Jew who has become a Christian is not deemed a Jew.'" (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p. 539). Plainly this definition, in Rufeisen v. Minister of the Interior, 1962, is anything but secular! Neither is it racial. Converts of any racial background are counted as Jews. But atheists are at no disadvantage, contrary to the ten commandments. The Nazi definition was racial, not religious. This 'race science' and 'racial hygiene' is bad science, not bad theology. These categories have nothing to do with Christianity. If anyone should apologize for finding 'favored races,' and disfavored ones, it is those who hold today the same underlying premises which led to these inhuman conclusions.

Hitler scapegoated the Jews for the German loss in World War I. The Jews, he said, had stabbed the German armies in the field in the back. And how had they done this? Jewish socialists like Rosa Luxemburg, emboldened by Lenin's success, tried to parlay widespread disenchantment with an endless war into the downfall of the government and its replacement by a socialist regime. Fall the government did; the Kaiser abdicated, but a brief but vicious civil war between the Marxist revolutionaries and the 'Free Corps' led to a different outcome than in Russia; the Germans were not about to submit to Bolshevik slavery without a fight. But Jewish Marxists were by definition atheists. Who is to blame for what Jewish atheists do? The mostly religious inhabitants of the Jewish ghettos of Poland and Russia? Why? 'Race' has never been a rational category for which a meaningful definition can be given, not in twentieth century Germany, nor in its present-day use by the U.S. Census.

It is surprising that patriots searching for an explanation for Germany's defeat in the first World War did not take notice of the widespread desertions on the part of the German soldiery occurring at the close of that conflict. One should not overlook the obvious. Nor is it apparent why the millions of true-blue ethnic Germans voting for the Communist Party, at least up until the point when Hitler outlawed it, were not more of a threat to the future of Germany than the very small number of Jews who held similar sentiments. In the election that brought the Nazis to power, the two parties that followed an officially Marxist line, the Social Democrats and the Communists, garnered more votes than did the Nazis. What these voters wanted was wrong, not just 'mistaken' but a grievous moral wrong; the world had seen enough of Bolshevism by that time to know it meant mass death. In the event, the eastern part of Germany did end up going Communist, but only after Hitler had reduced the prosperous land he inherited to a smoking ruin, with scarcely a surviving German Jew in sight.

Thankfully, Social Darwinism is an extinct political position; after the Holocaust, no one will admit to believing it, nor advocate it in public. But it did once exist, and flourished, not only in Germany but in Great Britain and the United States as well. And there remains an abundance of evidence as to the religious convictions of the Nazis. They were religious in their own way, though nothing so conventional as Christianity. How best to describe their faith? Was it a new sect or variant of Christianity, or is it better categorized as neo-Paganism? While showy devotion to the old pagan gods seems more like play-acting than a serious belief or commitment, and from the standpoint of uninvolved spectators in the German populace probably just appeared laughable, Nazism was what it was, and it was not Christian.

When challenged to defend their claim that Adolf Hitler was a devout Christian, the atheists substitute a different accusation, namely that those Europeans of the day who were Christians, whether through cowardice, inertia, complicity, or indifference, failed to do what was in their power to stop Hitler. This latter accusation carries substantial weight, but it is different from the initial indictment. Cowardice cropped up at epidemic levels in 1930's Germany; as Adolf Hitler systematically transformed democratic Germany into a one-party police state, what did people do? Stage a mass strike? March in the streets? No, they stampeded to join:

"Many civil servants did indeed rush to preserve their jobs by becoming members of the Nazi Party, joining the army of those who quickly became known mockingly as the 'March Fallen'. . .Between 30 January and 1 May 1933, 1.6 million people joined the Nazi Party, dwarfing the existing Party membership, a Gadarene rush that illustrated as few other things did the degree of the opportunism and sauve qui peut that were gripping the German population." (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 382).

Nazi electoral success peaked at 37.4% in the Reichstag election of July 1932; in no free election did they win a majority of the popular vote. Had the German people, who included in their number not only nominal Christians, adherents of the 'liberalism' promoted by the state-run clerical establishment, but real believers as well, been willing to stand up for their convictions, they could have stopped it. Part of the problem, though, is that their political convictions were all over the map. The political spectrum ran from monarchists on the right to Communists on the left; the people who actually wanted a democratic republic, as anything other than a way station, were in the minority.

How responsible were German Christians for these horrors? No doubt historical anti-Jewish agitation by Christian preachers like Martin Luther contributed to the German public's callousness to the plight of the Jews under Hitler, but Christian preaching was not what moved or motivated the Nazis. The Nazis promoted a de-Judaized form of Christianity, the 'German Church,' with its Aryan Christ: "In 1930, Alfred Rosenberg's book The Myth of the Twentieth Century sought to give a spiritual foundation to Nazism. Rosenberg declared firmly that Jesus was not a Jew. Jesus's noble teachings had been corrupted, first by the Jewish Paul, and later by the cynical churches, especially by Roman Catholicism." (The Great and Holy War, Philip Jenkins, p. 211). This effort to accommodate Christianity to Germanic culture was not a new direction; it was what liberalism was reaching for all throughout its course. Adolf von Harnack had already bent German Protestantism in the anti-Jewish direction of Marcion. But the Nazis, though they pushed this racist tendency, were not adherents of the 'German Church.' They were neo-pagan bystanders.

When it came time to assess blame, after the German defeat in World War II, at first it fell on Hitler, dead by suicide, and his henchmen, many of whom stood trial for war crimes. Then the penumbra of blame for the appalling mass killing of unarmed civilians was expanded, quite fairly, to include all those Germans who passionately welcomed Hitler's dictatorship and who worked to bring it in. Then the circle widened yet further to include all the Germans who passively acquiesced in the Nazi power-grab, doing nothing to forestall Hitler's atrocities. This was no doubt fair as well; but at this point those pointing the finger were on a roll and could rest at no natural stopping point. To expand the circle of blame beyond this perimeter, even to draw in all Christians in the world, becomes grotesque, because it sucks into the drag-net American G.I.'s who, at great personal sacrifice, fought to bring Hitler down. Some critics display a childish ingratitude, seeming unaware that it wasn't Jewish atheists who ended Hitler's misrule. Looking to those brave men who gave their lives to defeat Nazism, what more do these critics expect, no, demand, them to have done? Those Germans who voted for Hitler can answer for what they did, or what they thought they were doing. But people who never had a vote to cast in any German election cannot plausibly be blamed for Hitler's rise to power. And to blame men who gave up years of their lives to fight Hitler, or lost an arm or a leg, or even their lives, in the struggle, sails far beyond my comprehension. There are 'good guys' in this story too.

To restore the focus where it belongs, on the initial charge: what was the Nazis' religion? Were their murders indeed motivated by their purportedly vibrant Christian faith, as is alleged? I think the answer to that question has to be 'no,' based on the Nazis' own testimony. Although German Christians must bear the blame for a long history of ill-will and murderous misbehavior against Jews going back to Peter the Hermit, that's just not what the Nazis were talking about. The 'science' that led to the classification of Jews as a degraded race did not even exist until the nineteenth century. The pillars of this world-view do not rise out of the Bible, rather, it is the same thing they keep foisting on us today. Hitler took to heart the Darwinian world view. The 'Aryan' Germans classed the Jews as a lower race for much the same reason as the English Charles Darwin classed the Irish as a lower race: because it's always the classifier who is of the higher race, the people the classifier hates who are lower. It was that way from the start.


By the Nazis' own ideological writings, they espouse a pagan nature mysticism with more affinity for the racist Social Darwinism of their day than to Christianity. It involved a certain amount of substitution: instead of the Bible, Mein Kampf. They had big plans for the churches of Germany:

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

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

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

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

    • "The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany. . .

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

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

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

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

  • (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer, p. 240).


Adolf Hitler was politically astute enough to maintain some public distance between himself and the Neo-Pagan ideologues of the Nazi Party, at least so long as he still needed popular support. But he was not far from them at heart. On the one hand he put out the 'welcome' mat for Christians to enter his movement: "The most devoted Protestant could stand side by side with the most devoted Catholic in our ranks without having his conscience disturbed in the slightest as far as concerned his religious convictions." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 8778-8779).) On the other hand he plotted the destruction of the Christian churches, or rather the substitution of alien content for the gospel proclamation. After Hitler's death documentation became available showing that Hitler had approved grandiose plans to wean the German churches away from Christianity and into the Neo-Pagan fold: "...under the leadership of Rosenberg, Bormann and Himmler, who were backed by Hitler, the Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists." (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 240).

Like fellow dictators Kim Il Sung and Josef Stalin, Hitler even offered himself as an object for worship. School children in Cologne were instructed to recite the following 'invocation' before meals:

"Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, bequeathed to me by the Lord,
Protect and preserve me as long as I live!
Thou hast rescued Germany from deepest distress,
I thank thee today for my daily bread.
Abideth thou long with me, forsaketh me not,
Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith and my light!
Heil, mein Fuhrer!" (George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture, p. 241)

This is 'religious' to be sure; however, it would make Christians uneasy. The early Christian martyrs perished rather than offer worship to Caesar, a mere man. Hitler's ambition transcended secular politics: "Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it. It is more even than a religion: it is the will to create mankind anew." (Adolf Hitler, from Rauschning, Hitler Speaks, p. 242, quoted in Hitler's Racial Ideology: Content and Occult Sources, by Jackson Spielvogel and David Redles). The spirituality represented by Nazism is not concerned with worshipping God; rather, like Madame Blavatksy's new faith, it is more about becoming gods.

Some took offense: "Oskar Kusch, the commander of U-154, destroys a photograph of Hitler in an outburst of iconoclasm, shouting 'We don't worship idols here.' Shortly afterwards he is denounced by his second in command, Ulrich Abel, who was a judge before joining the Navy. Accused of sedition and defeatism, Kusch is executed immediately." (Video Documentary, U-Boats: Hitler's Sharks, Part 3, 'The Sound of Drums,' presented by Eduardo Estrella Suanzes, a Pacific Media Production, 44:06-33). These attitudes and activities are 'religious' to be sure, but the classification they belong under is not 'Christianity.' The evolution of a new race of gods was not invented by the church in any form.

Selective Breeding

Hitler's central perception that 'Nature' was a machine set up for the purpose of selective breeding was, of course, not original with himself. Credit must be given to Charles Darwin. This paradigm led to the murder of blameless retarded children, and ultimately to the Jews as well, considered a degraded race; these were the worthless and useless "excrescences" which a healthy society must prune away, in the interests of improving the breed:

  • “No, the sentimental attitude would be the wrong one to adopt. Even in those days I already saw that there was a two-fold method by which alone it would be possible to bring about an amelioration of these conditions. This method is: first, to create better fundamental conditions of social development by establishing a profound feeling for social responsibilities among the public; second, to combine this feeling for social responsibilities with a ruthless determination to prune away all excrescences which are incapable of being improved.
  • “Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation – which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred – and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development. ”
  • (Hitler, Adolf . Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 635-642). Kindle Edition).

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Where, after all, does all this come from?

"In striving for this it must bear in mind the fact that we are members of the highest species of humanity on this earth, that we have a correspondingly high duty, and that we shall fulfill this duty only if we inspire the German people with the racial idea, so that they will occupy themselves not merely with the breeding of good dogs and horses and cats, but also care for the purity of their own blood." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 10036-10039).  Kindle Edition.)

"The Weltanschhauung which bases the State on the racial idea must finally succeed in bringing about a nobler era, in which men will no longer pay exclusive attention to breeding and rearing pedigree dogs and horses and cats, but will endeavour to improve the breed of the human race itself." (Hitler, Adolf). Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 6400-6402). Kindle Edition.)

If your answer is 'the Bible, of course,' then you must never have read it. There's nothing unfamiliar about these views. If Darwinian atheists like Richard Dawkins were capable of feeling shame, they would keep quiet about this man. He took their ideas and built a society around them. It was a horror. People who are not familiar with the New Atheists may be surprised to learn the levels to which intellectual dishonesty can descend: they make this man the center-piece of their case against Christianity, claiming he was a Christian. In reality, he is proof against the idea that, if matters of ethics are under discussion, the Darwinians should be let into the room. Else this is what we get:

"We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. . .Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed." (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, Chapter 5).

Pagan Nature Mysticism

Richard Dawkins speaks longingly of a future religion of the pale blue dot: a religion based, not on Bronze Age myths, but on Darwinian evolution. Where has he been? They already had that; it's called Nazism, and it didn't work: it left a great big pile of dead bodies that needed to be swept up, by religious folk by and large.

While it is difficult to fix the boundary between lunatic fringe and mainstream in a political movement which was all lunatic fringe, the general tenor of Nazi ideology was in favor of the old Nordic paganism and against Christianity:

"'The German people is no longer blinded by illusions as at the time of the Reformation. It has come to recognize not only Judaism, but Christianity too, as foreign to its genius.'-- Der Blitz, January 12, 1936." (quoted p. 6, The War Against God, edited by Carl Carmer).

There's no way around it, Judaism and Christianity are flat-out foreign religions, whose central figures are foreigners. I would have said, 'furriners,' except Germans do not talk like that. Unfortunately confining one's spiritual quest to a made-in-Germany religion leaves one with Odin and his crew. Sometimes there is a trade-off between quality and domestic content.

"But today a new faith is awakening: the myth of the blood...Then in place of the Old Testament stories of cattle breeders and the exploitation of prostitutes, we shall have the Nordic sagas and fairy tales, at first simply recounted, later assuming the form of symbols." (Alfred Rosenberg, Myth of the Twentieth Century, 1932, quoted p. 6, The War Against God, edited by Carl Carmer).

The reader wading along through the clotted, turgid prose of Rosenberg and his ilk must wonder why the Nazis couldn't do better. They did have depth on the bench; Martin Heidegger, a world class philosopher, was on their team. Yet they made very little use of him. Perhaps they couldn't understand what he was saying, a common problem.

"'The teaching of mercy and love of one's neighbor is foreign to the German race and the Sermon on the Mount is according to Nordic sentiment an ethic for cowards and idiots.'-- Hans Hauptmann, Bolshevism in the Bible (Nazi textbook), 1937." (quoted p. 28, The War Against God, edited by Carl Carmer).

The Nazis are sometimes accused of anti-intellectualism, but one of their key constituencies was university students. They found it refreshing the way Hitler discarded the stodgy bourgeois conventions their parents kept trying to push on them, like civility in political discourse.

"'If Jehovah has lost all meaning for us Germans, the same must be said of Jesus Christ, his son...He certainly lacks those characteristics which he would require to be a true German. Indeed, he is as disappointing, if we read his record carefully, as is his father.'-- E. K. Heidemann, 'What the Christian Does not Know about Christianity,' September, 1935." (quoted p. 105, The War Against God, edited by Carl Carmer).

No, the trouble really will start when they find out He is disappointed in them. This new pagan nature mysticism, a hot-house plant springing up under Nazi care, lacked coherent definition, but owed its martial character to Charles Darwin's conception of nature as a theater of struggle: "Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows." (Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, p. 258). This martial tone follows throughout. The Nazis also took from Darwin and his successors their preference for racial eugenics. This was not a question of over-enthusiastic followers politicizing science; Darwin's paradigm, which he borrowed intact from Thomas Malthus, was political before he borrowed it. Not only was the political component, Social Darwinism, not original with Hitler, but the idea of combining it with a revival of pagan nature mysticism was not original either. Religious veneration directed toward nature was already a feature of existing occultism: "The silent worship of abstract or noumenal Nature, the only divine manifestation, is the one ennobling religion of Humanity." (Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine, SD p. 381, Kindle location 36477).

This bellicose Darwinian war of all against all was not invented by the Nazis, but was taken off the shelf by them as a standard product: "A variety of authors, scientists and others contributed to the emergence in the 1890s of a new, tough, selectionist variant of Social Darwinism, one that emphasized not peaceful evolution but the struggle for survival. A characteristic representative of this school of thought was the anthropologist Ludwig Woltmann, who argued in 1900 that the Aryan or German race represented the height of human evolution and was thus superior to all others. Therefore, he claimed, the 'Germanic race has been selected to dominate the earth.'" (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 34). There you have Science speaking, for sure! They said it was, at any rate, nor have today's biologists rejected the underlying paradigm. These people sent up an endless surge of purple prose describing this unending war:

".  . .the numberless followers of Darwin reduced the notion of struggle for existence to its narrowest limits. They came to conceive the animal world as a world of perpetual struggle among half-starved individuals, thirsting for one another's blood. They made modern literature resound with the war-cry of woe to the vanquished, as if it were the last word of modern biology. . .
"In fact, if we take Huxley, who certainly is considered as one of the ablest exponents of the theory of evolution, were we not taught by him, in a paper on the 'Struggle for Existence and its Bearing upon Man,' that,
"'from the point of view of the moralist, the animal world is on about the same level as a gladiators' show. The creatures are fairly well treated, and set to fight — whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no need to turn his thumb down, as no quarter is given.'

"Or, further down in the same article, did he not tell us that, as among animals, so among primitive men, 'the weakest and stupidest went to the wall, while the toughest and shrewdest, those who were best fitted to cope with their circumstances, but not the best in another way, survived. Life was a continuous free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence.'" (quoted in Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, A Factor of Evolution, p. 11).

This was nineteenth century science. It was not misrepresented. Science is not nature's self-revelation, but is a cultural product. Adolf Hitler was not the creative mind behind all this, but only a clever adaptor; perhaps, one could say, a man with eyes open, unlike the timid Huxley, unafraid to draw the consequences. Other components of Hitler's doctrinal witches' brew, like the revival of paganism, racial antisemitism, and militarism, also had a substantial history before he picked them up. It is foolish to pretend that Social Darwinism did not exist, or that there were no people in Germany and elsewhere committed to the idea that Charles Darwin was a great scientific discoverer, who were at the time promoting eugenics and the elimination of racially unfit persons from the population. And Charles Darwin was the first of the Social Darwinists; the people who came after him did not misunderstand or misuse his work. Race war is baked into the product. Even Richard Dawkins can see that the finished product as offered by Hitler is unattractive, so he is bound to try to pretend it is a work of great originality. It's not original at all. It's cobbled together of the same components as is his own world-view. Richard Dawkins is trying to peddle to a weary world the very same product: Darwinian evolution combined with 'pale-blue-dot' nature mysticism. But this is just what Hitler offered to the public:

Adolf Hitler


As with Richard Dawkins' longed-for 'Pale Blue Dot' religion, the Nazis' paganism incorporated a generous dose of scientism: the idea that the scientific method is not only useful, but is an all-purpose guide to The Truth. Martin Bormann was faithful to Hitler till the end, sprinkling gasoline on the bodies after Hitler's suicide. As Bormann, one of the men closest to Hitler, said publicly in 1941, 'National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.'" (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer, p. 240). This true believer puts it this way:

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

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

  • “No one would know anything about Christianity if pastors had not crammed it down his throat in his childhood. The so-called loving God by no means reveals the knowledge of His existence to young people, but amazingly enough, and despite His omnipotence, He leaves this to the efforts of a pastor.  When in the future our youth no longer hear anything about this Christianity, whose doctrine is far below our own, Christianity will automatically disappear.

  • “It is also astonishing that prior to our own era nothing was known to mankind about this Christian God and even since then the great majority of the inhabitants of our earth have known nothing about Christianity. Because of this, according to the arrogant Christian dogma, they are damned from the outset.

  • “When we National Socialists speak of a belief in God, by God we do not understand, as do naive Christians and their clerical beneficiaries, a manlike being who is sitting around in some corner of the spheres. Rather, we must open the eyes of mankind to the fact that in addition to our unimportant Earth there exist countless other bodies in the universe, many of them surrounded, like the sun, by planets and these again by smaller bodies, the moons. The force which moves all these bodies in the universe, in accordance with natural law, is what we call the Almighty or God. The assertion that this world-force can worry about the fate of every individual, every bacillus on earth, and that it can be influenced by so-called prayer or other astonishing things, is based either on a suitable dose of naivete or on outright commercial effrontery."

  • “[...] Any influence that would impair or damage the leadership of the people exercised by the Fuhrer with the aid of the NSDAP has to be eliminated.  To an ever increasing degree the people must be wrested from Churches and their agents, the pastors. Obviously, the Churches, from their standpoint, will and must defend themselves against this loss of power. But never again must the Church regain an influence in the leadership of the people. This must absolutely and finally be broken.

  • “Only the Reich leadership, together with the party and the organs and associations connected with it, has a right to lead the people.  Just as the harmful influence of astrologists, soothsayers, and other swindlers has been suppressed by the state, so it must be absolutely impossible for the Church to exercise its old influence.”

  • (Martin Bormann, Reich Leader, 1942, 'National Socialist and Christian Concepts are Incompatible', From Kirchliches Jahrbuch fur die evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, 1933-1944, pp. 470-472, quoted pp. 245-247, George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: A Documentary History).

They put off their final show-down with the churches until after the war: "It's a dirty, low thing for the Catholic Church to continue its subversive activity in every way possible and now even to extend its propaganda to Protestant children evacuated from regions threatened by air raids. Next to the Jews these politico-divines are about the most loathsome riffraff that we are still sheltering in the Reich. The time will come after the war for an over-all solution of this problem. Only one can be the master in the state, either the Church or the state itself." (The Goebbels Diaries, edited by Louis P. Lochner, p. 168). For the Nazis, however, there was no 'after the war.' One can't know whether the churches would finally have discovered a backbone once they were slated for conversion into Nazi indoctrination centers. One can be certain, however, that meat-eaters would have discovered theirs: "An extended chapter of our talk is devoted by the Fuehrer to the vegetarian question. He believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also." (The Goebbels Diaries, edited by Louis P. Lochner, p. 215).

If not Christianity, what, then, was the Nazi's religion? Nature as the object of awe and wonder and the sole moral sanction:

"In contrast, we National Socialists call upon ourselves to live as naturally as possible — that is, in keeping with the laws of life. The more thoroughly we know and attend to the laws of nature and life, the more we adhere to them, the more do we correspond to the will of the Almighty. The deeper our insight into the will of the Almighty, the greater will be our success." (Martin Bormann, Reich Leader, 1942, 'National Socialist and Christian Concepts are Incompatible', From Kirchliches Jahrbuch fur die evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, 1933-1944, pp. 470-472, quoted pp. 245-247, George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: A Documentary History).

The "will of the Almighty," in case you haven't picked up on it by now, is the survival of the fittest.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Other streams converged to make up this muddy flood, including atheist Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the Superman. Atheist Friedrich Nietzsche perceived the Bible as the spark that lit a slave rebellion:

"The Jews—a people 'born for slavery,' as Tacitus and the whole ancient world say; 'the chosen people among the peoples,' as they themselves say and believe—the Jews have brought off that miraculous feat of an inversion of values. . .This inversion of values (which includes using the word 'poor' as synonymous with 'holy' and 'friend') constitutes the significance of the Jewish people: they mark the beginning of the slave rebellion in morals." (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 108, Section 195, Natural History of Morals).

What is he talking about? As all atheists know, the Bible is a book championing the interests of slave-masters, not slaves. Only, not if you read it. Had the law of Moses been scrupulously followed, debt slavery should not have existed at all within nation Israel:

"If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. . . And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. And then he shall depart from you -- he and his children with him -- and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers. For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God." (Leviticus 25:35-43).

Every 49 years Israel was to hold a year of jubilee.  At this time, farmlands that had been sold were reclaimed by their original owners, debts were remitted, and anyone who had fallen into a condition of servitude was liberated.  Every 49 years the deck was reshuffled and economic inequities that had built up in the meantime were drawn back to the starting point.  For many years after the Civil War, African Americans celebrated the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation as 'Jubilee Day'.  We have a sort of rolling jubilee built into our own law code, in the form of bankruptcy law.

Although they themselves were not necessarily atheists,— as here explained, many of the Nazis celebrated a neopagan veneration of Dawkins' pale blue dot,— there is one nineteenth century atheist who found a special place in their hearts. Friedrich Nietzsche was important to the Nazis because he pioneered a frankly non-egalitarian morality. He despised the concept of equal rights, blaming Christianity for it: "The poison of the doctrine of 'equal rights for all' — it was Christianity that spread it most fundamentally." (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 618). Nietzsche, incidentally, deployed none of the hysterical rhetoric against paganism that was his customary response to Christianity: ". . .pagans are all those who say Yes to life, for whom 'god' is the word for the great Yes to all things. . ." (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 640). Maybe he mistakenly thought paganism was dead, or, as he realized, some paganism was profoundly inegalitarian; he says of the Hindu Law of Manu: "Not to forget the main point, the basic difference from every kind of Bible: here the noble classes, the philosophers and the warriors stand above the mass. . ." (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 641). No kidding, the Hindus have a caste system! As an atheist, he was in no way beholden to the sentimental concern for others' welfare that motivated, for example, the Christian abolitionists. This adjusted the temperature on the atmospherics for the Nazi project.

Nietzsche celebrated strength and found weakness contemptible: "What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? Everything that is born of weakness." (The Antichrist, Friedrich Nietzsche, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 569). He claimed his view reflected the "current scientific outlook," namely, "We no longer derive man from 'the spirit' or 'the deity;' we have placed him back among the animals." (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 579). And nature, of course, was an arena of struggle, or so it had become to the "current scientific outlook" of the nineteenth century.

Hitler took from Nietzsche the "aristocratic principle," that the strong are the good and the weak are contemptible:

"The Jewish doctrine of Marxism repudiates the aristocratic principle of Nature and substitutes for it the eternal privilege of force and energy, numerical mass and its dead weight." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 1181-1182).)

Though they perhaps overstated the degree of synergy, there certainly was an element of convergence between the atheist Nietzsche's thought and their own:

"Consciousness is only a tool, a detail in the totality of life. In opposition  to the philosophy of the conscious, Nietzsche asserts the aristocracy of nature. But for thousands of years a life-weary morality has opposed the aristocracy of the strong and healthy. Like National Socialism, Nietzsche sees in the state, in society, the 'great mandatory of life' responsible for each life's failure to life itself. 'The species requires the extinction of the misfits, weaklings, and degenerates: but Christianity as a conserving force appeals especially to them.' Here we encounter the basic contradiction: whether one proceeds from a natural life context or from an equality of individual souls before God. Ultimately the ideal of democratic equality rests upon the latter assumption. The former contains the foundations of a new policy. It takes unexcelled boldness to base a state upon the race. A new order of things is the natural consequence." ('Nietzsche and National Socialism,' by Alfred Baeumler, quoted in George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture, p. 100).

The Nazis conserved that element in Nietzsche's thought that assigned a positive value to possessors of health, strength, and success, and a negative one to those afflicted by sickness, weakness, and failure. To the former belong praise and honor, to the latter contempt. Who has ever thought otherwise? Think, the Beatitudes.

Me, Too
Animal Barn
God a Jew
A Peculiar People
Jesus the Messiah
Pagan Revival
Slave Morality
Platonism for the People

Eyre Crowe, Slaves Waiting for Sale at Richmond, Virginia

To Nietzsche, "To will liberates, for to will is to create; thus I teach." (Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 318). To get down to practical cases, Adolf Hitler believed the Germans lacked lebensraum, 'living space.' He thought he espied under-utilized land to the east, and thus sent his tanks off to clear arable land for use by the German race. The problem was that there were people living there already! Eastern Europe and European Russia were thickly settled. Not to worry, those folks belonged to an inferior race, so it is righteous to run them under the tank treads:

"Destroying the Jewish population was the first step towards rooting out the Bolshevik state. What was to follow was a gigantic campaign of land clearance and colonization, which also involved the 'clearance' of the vast majority of the Slav population and the settlement of millions of hectares of eastern Lebensraum with German colonists." (The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze, p. 462).

The Nazis' ultimate plan for the Slavic race was slaughter, dispossession, and reduction to slavery. Their homeland was to be taken away from them and given to the Germans. This was a very Nietzschean thing to do. If the strong are entitled to plunder the weak, why not? But Christianity does not think that way. Of course, the atheists assure us that the Bible is pro-slavery. And so what were America's Christian abolitionists thinking? Didn't they know the Bible endorses slavery? Today's atheists are convinced that it does. They might be less convinced were they ever to read it. They might even begin to think that Nietzsche was on to something. He bemoaned the loss of "privileges:" "And let us not underestimate the calamity which crept out of Christianity into politics. Today nobody has the courage any longer for privileges, for masters' rights, for a sense of respect for oneself and one's peers — for a pathos of distance. Our politics is sick from this lack of courage. . .Christianity is a rebellion of everything that crawls on the ground against that which has height. . ." (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann, p. 618). Where does he find this? For more resources on slavery, the Bible, and Christianity, see:

I don't know whether it was Nietzsche's preaching of the 'superman' that caused him to conclude that commonly conceded ethical norms did not apply to him, but Hitler was a moral monster. Not only did he do all in his power to exterminate European Jewry, he assigned very little value to civilian life in general: "On 22 September 1941 Hitler had ordered that 'St. Petersburg must be erased from the face of the Earth' and 'we have no interest in saving lives of civilian population.'" (Stalin and the Scientists, Simon Ings, Kindle location 4839). The depraved indifference to human life the Nazis showed in their treatment of Russian prisoners of war finds no parallel:

"Of the 1.95 million Soviet prisoners of war who are thought to have been employed in Germany after November 1941, less than half survived the war. As many as a million Soviet prisoners may, therefore, have died after they were designated as potential contributors to the German war effort. This is in addition to the 2 million who had starved to death over the winter of 1941-2." (The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze, p. 523).

These people were worked to death and starved to death with no human compassion shown them. This man, Hitler, demonstrably believed what he said he believed.

Was Adolf Hitler a Christian?

Hitler's contempt for Christians and the Bible was genuine and well-attested. Of Roman Catholic upbringing, he remained, however, a theist in some sense, who seems to have had a vague religious faith, attributing his escape from Stauffenberg's bomb to "Providence." (Colonel Stauffenberg had placed a briefcase containing a bomb at the Fuhrer's feet, then hastily departed. Not owing to any break in the course of nature, but simply because somebody found the clumsy briefcase to be in the way, it had been moved before exploding, and Hitler survived.) He spoke to the nation: "The bomb planted by Colonel Count Stauffenberg exploded two meters to the right of me...I myself an entirely unhurt, aside from some very minor scratches, bruises and burns. I regard this as a confirmation of the task imposed upon me by Providence..." (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer, p. 1069). Accordingly Steven Pinker describes him as a Deist: "Hitler himself was a deist. . ." (Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now, p. 65 of 146, Part III, Chapter 23). Whether he was a Deist depends on how you define it. Classical Deists believed in a Creator God, while Hitler was a fervent evolutionist.

When his secretary asked him why he hadn't married, she found his answer to be an "expression of personal megalomania." According to her, the Fuhrer used to say: "'I am an instrument of fate, and must tread the path on which a higher Providence has set me.'" (Hitler's Last Secretary, Traudl Junge, p. 107). This concept of 'Providence' is a religious idea, though not necessarily a Christian one. According to her, he thought Christianity outdated:

"He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbor and your enemy. . .We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.'" (Hitler's Last Secretary, Traudl Junge, p. 108).

Like Nietzsche, Hitler considered this "Providence" to favor the strong over the weak:

"...I may be no pious churchgoer, but deep within me I am nevertheless a devout man. That is to say, I believe that he who fights valiantly obeying the laws which a god has established and who never capitulates but instead gathers his forces time after time and always pushes forward---such a man will not be abandoned by the Lawgiver. Rather, he will ultimately receive the blessing of Providence." (Adolf Hitler, in his June 26, 1944 speech to industrialists, quoted by Albert Speer, p. 555, Inside the Third Reich.)

Hitler viewed human history as a directed process, as the opening lines of Mein Kampf demonstrate: "It has turned out fortunate for me to-day that destiny appointed Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Location 252).) History as a goal-oriented process, whether the underlying paradigm be pantheism, paganism or Hegelianism:

"At that time my lot in life seemed to me a harsh one; but to-day I see in it the wise workings of Providence. The Goddess of Fate clutched me in her hands and often threatened to smash me; but the will grew stronger as the obstacles increased, and finally the will triumphed." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 503-505). Kindle Edition.)

Again, "He who is not capable of passionate feeling and speech was never chosen by Providence to be the herald of its will." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 1849-1850); "Nations that make mongrels of their people, or allow their people to be turned into mongrels, sin against the Will of Eternal Providence." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 5191-5192). Kindle Edition). Whether 'Providence' is the same thing as the oft-invoked 'Nature,' hypostatized as a willing, devising agent, is not expressly stated but seems like a safe bet.

In his autobiography, Hitler explains that he had not been raised an anti-semite:

"To-day it is hard and almost impossible for me to say when the word 'Jew' first began to raise any particular thought in my mind. I do not remember even having heard the word at home during my father's lifetime. If this name were mentioned in a derogatory sense I think the old gentleman would just have considered those who used it in this way as being uneducated reactionaries." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 979-982). Kindle Edition.)

Hitler first began to hate the Jews upon his discovery of their disproportionate representation in the ranks of the Marxist leadership:

"I recalled to mind the names of the public leaders of Marxism, and then I realized that most of them belonged to the Chosen Race – the Social Democratic representatives in the Imperial Cabinet as well as the secretaries of the Trades Unions and the street agitators. Everywhere the same sinister picture presented itself. I shall never forget the row of names – Austerlitz, David, Adler, Ellenbogen, and others." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 1128-1132).Kindle Edition.)

Incidentally he did not have to go to Vienna to observe this phenomenon, had he emigrated to the United States, he would have seen the very same thing: "Many of these younger radicals aligned themselves with communism during the Great Depression and World War II, the heyday of both the Communist Party and Jewish women’s involvement in its work. . .CP historians estimate, moreover, that almost half of the party’s membership was Jewish in the 1930s and 1940s, and that approximately 100,000 Jews passed through the party in those decades of high member turnover." (Jewish Women's Archive, Article, 'Communism in the United States.') Hitler posits that Marxism, were it ever triumphant, would exterminate the human race. This is a gross over-statement,— Marxism triumphant would lead to the impoverishment, both physical and spiritual, of the world, but not its extinction, nor do the Marxists themselves intend that outcome,— but it leads to his conclusion that, "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." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 1188-1189). Kindle Edition.)

Believing as he does in a 'Providence' displaying will and intentionality, indeed in creation as the willful act of some agent undefined but presumably more than a figure of speech, Hitler cannot fairly be foisted on the atheists. An accurate description of his religious affiliation would be 'Neo-Pagan.' Though there is undeniably an element of play-acting and artificiality in the Nazis' re-enactment of ancient pagan Teutonic rituals, issuing in a religion as authentic as 'Kwanzaa,' they did sincerely believe that way lay health, while Christianity was sickness. You cannot make these people Christians in spite of themselves. Certainly Adolf Hitler was no Christian, and his movement no celebration of Christianity. He thought ill of Christianity, preferring Islam for its warrior spirit:

"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?" (Adolf Hitler, quoted by Albert Speer, p. 96, Inside the Third Reich.)

The "meekness and flabbiness" to which Hitler objected in Christianity fell straight from the lips of its Founder:

  • “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
  • (Matthew 5:39).

Our own "War President," George W. Bush, deals with such troublesome verses mostly by ignoring their existence.

While they obviously think there is somebody out there so naive as to believe Hitler was a Christian, the New Atheists are obliged to give a nod to the mountain of evidence that he was not:

"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 the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. . .
"The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.
"When all is said, we have no reason  to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunized against the disease." (quotations from Adolf Hitler's Table Talk, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 312-313).

The accusation under which European Jews fell slain in the Holocaust was this claim that they were responsible for Bolshevism: "The sufferings of the Russian people under Bolshevism are indescribable. This Jewish terrorism must be radically eliminated form all of Europe." (The Goebbels Diaries, edited by Louis P. Lochner, p. 101). Certainly the Russian people did suffer terribly under this scourge, but the claim that either Christianity or Judaism is responsible for Red atrocities skates over some thin ice, including the very vocal atheism of the Bolsheviks. However, there is a germ of truth to the accusation which cannot be overlooked either. The Nazis celebrated some very grotesque things, like Social Darwinism. But some of the things they hated were horrifying in their own right. They were not mistaken in their abhorrence for Bolshevism.

The explosive growth of European anti-semitism in the years leading up to the Holocaust owed a great deal to the accusation that the Jews were behind Marxism. These accusations were exaggerated,— there never was a time when 95% of the Bolshevik leadership were Jews, as they used to claim,— but neither was there ever a time when the demographics of these movements tracked with the demographics of the larger society. The same patterns can be seen in the history of the U.S. Communist Party, in which Jews were over-represented. The percentage of the Jewish population in the United States at the time, when this group made up 2-3 percent of the American population, was higher than in pre-war Germany, but no one proposed mass reprisals against the subscription list of the 'Daily Worker.' These ideologies, dreaded by the larger society, one could almost say by design made a special appeal to this sub-population, which thus took on the lineaments of a 'fifth column' ushering in an unwanted future.

Some of the appeal the 'Daily Worker' held out to low-income Jewish workers was probably status-related. Recent immigrants are a low-income group, and Jewish emigres from areas like Czarist Russia, which had established nearly an apartheid system of restrictions on where the Jewish population could live and what professions they could pursue, could scarcely have been high income. 'Normalizing' this population against others would have reduced the discrepancy in ideological commitment versus the native-born population. But probably, too, features of this particular ideology, with its secularized millenium,— human history ending in bliss, a circumstance not hitherto recorded in human history, yet advertised as 'scientific',— may have evoked nostalgia for discarded religions in those susceptible.

Running down a list of the names of members of the 'Weather Underground,' no one is surprised to see a disproportionate incidence of Jewish names; and the American response to the problem, to isolate and prosecute those individuals who conspired to commit acts of violence, is undoubtedly the correct one. Justice does not lump the guilty with the innocent. Did some German Jews conduct a campaign of low-level violence, an ongoing reign of terror, against their neighbors during the Weimar period, in hopes of inaugurating the Workers' Paradise? The correct response is to prosecute the individuals involved, neither to kill them along with their aunts and uncles nor to lionize them nor to pretend they were motivated by idealism nor to deny they ever existed.

They hoped to achieve what the Bolsheviks in Russia had accomplished, who had found it possible to seize power by applying a fairly small amount of violence against a hapless liberal democracy with limited public support, which, as in Germany, had fallen heir to a state whose traditional autocracy had collapsed in troublous times. In Germany the formula didn't work, in part because the Nazis fought fire with fire. The Nazi romance with violence did not develop out of a fondness for order, but took on a life of its own, blooming into the love of the moth for the flame; they were not happy, in the end, until they had destroyed not only Germany, but had left much of Europe in flames. Hitler commanded the evacuating German troops to burn Paris on their way out, but some impulse of sanity or humanity stayed their hand.

The violent criminals belong in jail; those who promote an evil and inhuman ideology by legal means, deserve infamy. Neither group of German Marxists deserved remorseless murder. Nor did the 'Jewish Communist' meme take the trouble to distinguish between those who actually were and those who weren't. The present-day situation of American Muslims presents a comparable example to the situation of Jews in the Weimar Republic. First of all, they are a tiny group; the idea that 'Sharia,' Islamic law, is just around the corner, is a fantasy. Thirty or forty years ago, there was no organized 'Islamophobia' nor any great public interest in this exotic foreign religion.

One stunningly murderous terrorist attack birthed 'Islamophobia,' which came roaring into life after 9/11 and has proved a profitable venture for many internet entrepreneurs. President Trump rode this wave to electoral success. Reason protests that the vast majority of American Muslims are law-abiding, productive citizens, but the human potential for scape-goating and demonizing outsiders is always available to be energized by any perceived threat. The threat is not imaginary, but the overblown response is unjust and irrational. One must hope that in this case it will not lead to tragedy. American Muslims are a tiny slice of the population, as were Jews in twentieth-century Germany: "The Jewish population of Germany fell from 525,000 in January to just under 500,000 by the end of June [1933, in consequence of emigration]; and that was merely the fall amongst those who were registered as belonging to the Jewish faith." (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 439).

Just as today's 'Islamophobes' insist that all Muslims are jihadis, and that those who say they are not are practicing taqiyya,— they are lying to you, so Hitler, in a conversation with physicist Max Planck, insisted that all Jews were Communists: "'The Jews are all Communists and these are my enemies.'" (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 424). If indeed the Jews were all Communists, then the Holocaust would have been a case where the harm which people had intended to work on others,— because Communism is a politics of mass murder, gulags and resettlement camps,— fell upon themselves instead. However, it is certainly not the case that all Jews were Communists! It is true, here as well as there, now as well as then, that Jewish politics skew to the left. They used to say that, "Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans" (saying ascribed to Milton Himmelfarb). But that is a far cry from saying they are all Communists.

Neither are all American Muslims jihadis. Certainly it is foolish to keep insisting that the terrorists have 'hijacked a peaceful religion;' when in its history has Islam ever been a peaceful religion? And the terrorists' interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadith, far from being strained and incredible, often seems more lucid and natural than that of their 'moderate' rivals. But their interpretation is not the only possible interpretation, and most American Muslims do not share it. And so, instead of worrying about dangerous things like drowning in the bathtub or falling off a step-ladder, people think they have to 'protect' themselves by punishing the entire population, most members of which are no more terrorists than Hitler's Jews were Communists, with a 'travel ban' that does not discriminate between peaceful folk and terrorists. One hopes it goes no further.

There is a dark tendency embedded in the nature of fallen Adam, which will eagerly consent to affix blame for any unwelcome state of affairs onto an indicated target, however unlikely. See in this case how a suitably helpless homeless man is pointed out by an ambitious mountebank named Apollonius of Tyana, who sics on the mob to destroy him. When you marry this pre-existing evil tendency to the 'race' meme introduced by nineteenth century 'science,' then the potential for harm rises exponentially:

It is difficult to parse the ethical consequences of a group being 'more likely' than others to commit certain kinds of misdeeds, i.e., to foment revolution, though not all members of the group do so. Consider the case of young African-American males, more likely to be shot by the police even if they are just standing there not doing anything. This group does commit certain kinds of street crime at a rate higher than others, and the fact that they receive a heightened degree of police scrutiny might be related to this fact. It is not hateful or irrational to go fishing where the fish are. How often do you hear of the police shooting a Chinese-American young man? About as often as a you hear of a Chinese-American youngster mugging a pedestrian.

True, most of this discrepancy dissolves upon analysis. If you are comparing the crime rates of high-income white people with low-income Black people, you are not comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. Income and education are known factors implicated in rates of offending. Do high income, well-educated Black people commit crimes at a higher rate than high income, well-educated whites? That would be a true comparison to show a racial discrepancy, if there is one. While there are some high income thieves who set a high bar, or indeed establish high water marks for the record books, like Elizabeth Holmes, high income people do not generally have a high crime rate. If the crime statistics are normalized for income and education, the racial discrepancy is whittled down to size. Still, the cop on the beat is not encountering a 'normalized' population, but the un-normalized, discrepant one which is out there.

Now this particular young African-American male, it may be, has mugged no one, and so as far as he is concerned, the crime rate counter must be set back to zero; he cannot be punished for crimes committed by other parties. But simply discarding an acknowledged statistical fact might leave the police officer looking like a monster, rather than someone just playing the odds. Of course visiting mass death on all members of a group, some of whom have misbehaved in ways that might merit a reprimand or even in extreme case a jail sentence, has leapt the bounds of the moral universe anyway.

It is not right to punish the innocent along with the guilty. German and Russian Jews were more likely than ethnic Germans and Russians to be Marxists; but Ayn Rand, a Russian emigre who had lived under Bolshevism, devoted her energies to campaigning against Bolshevism. If Ayn Rand had stayed put and fallen into the maw of the Holocaust, where would have been the justice in killing her because Jews were more likely than ethnic Russians to support Bolshevism? It is a demographic fact that has no bearing in her case. That they proceeded on this basis shows how this pathology grows and feeds upon itself, leaving rationality far behind.

Freudianism was another insult to German sensibilities; and no, it is not 'science,' it is quackery. Like Bolshevism, it is a 'theory-of-everything' which does not appeal indifferently in the same proportions to all population groups; it was never a hit with 'evangelicals.' It has a history, but not in medical science. When Sabbatai Sevi in the seventeenth century claimed to be the Messiah, Nathan of Gaza rose up as his prophet, justifying his claims. Sabbatai seems to have been bipolar; during his manic phases, he would make wild claims, even asserting deity, but during his depressive phases he would withdraw from human companionship. After he apostatized in favor of Islam, one might have expected Nathan of Gaza to do his best to forget he had ever heard the name; but, very much to the contrary, he doubled down, explaining that, in order to rescue the sparks of light imprisoned in creation by the breaking of the vessels, as taught by the Kabbalah, Sabbatai had to plumb the depths of immorality.

So when Sigmund Freud came along, having established a pseudo-medical school that proclaimed sexual immorality as the key to happy and healthy living, because 'repression' caused neurosis, there was already a pre-established constituency which had long believed salvation lay in antinomianism. But it's not like there were many Gentiles in that group; mostly they had never even heard of Sabbateanism. Carl Jung's defection rankled so painfully because Freud realized a 'medical' tendency of entirely Jewish composition was not very convincing. Why was this 'scientific discovery' more obvious to Jews than to other demographic categories? Of course it never achieved 100% of a fan base among Jews, nor did Gentile acceptance remain at 0%; it's an exaggeration to claim that this grotesque mythology was a 'Jewish plot' to undermine the west. But there was a differential.

And on and on it goes, through modern art and many other things the German lower middle class disliked. Of course we do not deal with intellectual tendencies we dislike by killing the people who espouse them; the 'blonde beast' does that. If you accept Hitler's 'struggle for existence' paradigm, then the ultimate strategy for the winners is to kill the losers, and then fill the earth with their offspring. They took this seriously. They did think that moral qualities were inherited, and thus one promotes morality by killing the people disposed toward immorality. If it turns out that a propensity to commit murder is itself immoral, this approach does not work very well.

These developments in thought ought not to be reported as 'break-throughs' or 'discoveries' because they never were that; Freudian psychotherapy, when put to the test, never demonstrated any cure rate at all. After the insurance companies pointed out that they only had to pay for therapies that work, America has pretty much rid itself of it. But Europe, and especially France, never yet has rid itself of this pure quackery, which has indeed taken on a heroic profile, precisely because the Nazis hated it. It is better to let good speech serve as remedy for bad speech, than to suppress these ugly and grotesque distortions by violence, if only because that approach actually works, whereas violent repression embeds them and makes them immortal. It must regretfully be acknowledged that several of the things the German people hated, like Bolshevism and Freudianism, are not lovely things. As they slip ever lower down into the dust-bin of history, who could miss them? Of course, Hitler also hated altogether lovely things, like democracy.

It is a difficulty to ponder, how a movement which began by defining itself in opposition to Bolshevism, ended up difficult to distinguish from it. Stalin's Russia had much in common with Hitler's Germany, including one-man rule, suppression of dissent, and state planning of the economy. The name of the movement was 'National Socialism,' and they did more than flirt with the reality behind the name. Even more bizarre, a revolutionary movement whose disproportionately Jewish leadership drew comment at the start, ended under Stalin, at the time of the 'Doctors' plot,' back in the Tsar's domain of antisemitism.

Like Saturn devouring its children, the revolution demanded a steady diet of show trials, and the founding generation of Bolsheviks did not enjoy a normal life expectancy. Some people prefer the category 'totalitarianism,' to reflect the similarities as well as the differences. That period of European history is a hall of mirrors, a true conundrum. Communist mythology preferred to make Nazism into everything Stalinism was not; Hitler was supposed to be a creature of the industrialists in a last-ditch effort to stop the revolution. But German capital did not really support Hitler until he controlled the police apparatus, leaving the brown shirts free to shake the capitalists down. They then supported him, as enthusiastically as people do when they are shaken down. Starting from seemingly opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, many European societies of the day ended up in almost the same dark place, with insuperable restrictions of personal civil liberties. But Christianity cannot be the key to unlock the mystery, when Social Darwinism has left its finger-prints all over Nazism:

As far as modern art is concerned, the damage had already been done, long before Hitler, by foolish people who insisted that the artist is a ventriloquist's dummy who speaks, not on his own behalf, but on behalf of the 'Zeitgeist' or 'das Volk' or some other vaporous and largely imaginary entity. Have his employers not the right to say to their amanuensis, 'No, no, you got it wrong, that is not what I was thinking at all!' But personally, as an artist, I have always wondered why I am imagined to be working for 'das Volk' when they have never given me a nickel or a dime; don't they know that involuntary servitude is unconstitutional? Who are they anyway? And whoever they are, why don't they Americanize their name? In twentieth century Germany, there were still plenty of artists who wanted to pursue the kind of academic art that was popular in the nineteenth century, and many people who would have enjoyed looking at their work; it is bad enough the modernists begrudged these people the right to a livelihood, they should not have returned the favor. One should say, rather, with Mao, 'Let a hundred flowers bloom.'

Racialism is one of the unlovely things Hitler liked, indebted to the Social Darwinists. To paper over the obvious contradiction between Dawkins' own Hitler quotes and the New Atheist thesis that Hitler was a Christian, Richard Dawkins floats the preposterous hypothesis that Hitler experienced a "deconversion" in 1941! One problem here is that the New Atheists have convinced themselves that no difference between religions can be anything other than trivial and inconsequential. How else could their fundamental syllogism hold valid: 'Nineteen Muslims hijackers flew airplanes into the World Trade towers, therefore Christianity is false'?

Hitler was religious after a fashion: he was, perhaps, a neo-Pagan. Aha, they say: he was religious, therefore he was a Christian, or he might as well have been! This is a distinction they cannot draw, because the only categories they can bring to bear in analyzing 'religion' are 'more' and 'less:' if you are more religious, then you are a jihadi. Perhaps also they are following the lead of writers not quite clear on the difference in meaning between 'Christian' and 'Gentile.' The New Atheists cannot make any distinction between a man who falls prostrate between the "Goddess of Destiny" and a Christian, because their enterprise stands or falls with the assertion that such differences are meaningless.

Nobody over the age of 50 is likely to fall for the notion that Hitler was a Christian, because the night torch-light processions the Nazis loved so well, which were pagan to the core, are too firmly imprinted on the memory of the older generation. When the Nazis came in, Christmas was out, the winter solstice was in: "And the racial experts of the party already spoke reverently about renewing the myth. The traditional festivals had to take a back seat. Christmas developed into a feast of the winter solstice. The Hitler Youth no longer sang Christian Christmas carols, but 'High Night of Clear Skies.'" (From 'Herne 1933-1945:' Die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, edited by Hermann Meyerhoff, excerpted p. 377, George L. Mosse: Nazi Culture). But, they say, there's a sucker born every minute, and likely they are aiming at the young.

While Hitler's own commitment to Christianity was negligible, still, many of those who willingly followed the Leader to national ruin were nominal Christians, and remained so through it all. The Patriotic German Church was willing to sell its soul to Hitler in the name of patriotism. Germany's state-controlled Lutheran Church was so weakened by decades of liberalism that it provided very little resistance when the Nazis pushed on it. Like a post hollowed out by termites, it collapsed with a touch. How can a religion which acclaims a Jewish rabbi as God transition to anti-semitism? The liberal German church had already gone over so far into Marcionism that what little distance remained was easily traversed.

How did it ever come to the point where Hitler and his henchmen could proclaim a 'German church'? Because it had been heading that way for more than a century. That was the work of the 'Enlightenment.' Friedrich Schleiermacher announced that the basis upon which the church rested was not events in first century Palestine,— who cared about the activities of known foreigners,— but the lived experience of contemporary Germans. Hitler agreed. How could the church discuss discarding the Old Testament? Because they had been heading that way for a long time; Julius Wellhausen discredited Moses' law, representing it as a late forgery, long before any Nazi made it official by tossing it. Should anyone question why government is dictating to Christians what they must believe? Wasn't that the whole point of Bismarck's Kulturkampf? Wasn't governmental control of religion the great lesson of the French Revolution? Is it any great surprise that, if you depart from God's way, you will end up in Hell?:

Adolf Hitler cannot join the ranks of the twentieth century's atheist mass killers, because he was a theist entranced with the occult, not an atheist, but he was certainly no Christian either. While he did not indulge in the open and vitriolic anti-Christian rhetoric of the Nazi ideologues, like Alfred Rosenberg, this seems less a matter of conviction that a cautious political pose. There were still many Christians amongst the German electorate, and the way to prevail, or even to receive 37.4%, was not to poke a stick in these people's eye. In a similar vein, Senator Bernie Sanders has just made it plain he does not want to see any committed Christian holding any appointed government job; when he was running for President, did he campaign on any such plank? Would his youthful voters still have loved him if they realized this man did not want to see their aunt or uncle ever hold a government job? You keep quiet about things like that. Still they did not hide their light under a bushel. The Nazis were religious in their own way, but the correct category is 'Neo-Pagan:' there are forces operative in our world of such grandeur and power as to excite wonderment, principally the endless eternal struggle of organisms to survive, and these forces, lightly personified, as 'Nature,' 'Fate,' 'Providence,' become properly the objects of religious devotion to 'Wiccans' and other pagan revivalists. The Nazi propagandists turned out by the yard breathless invocations of these forces of nature, endued with a numinous aura. Richard Dawkins is on a quest to find the very same thing: the religion of the pale blue dot. While some of his associates seem to have wanted to resurrect the old Teutonic gods, I don't think Hitler was quite that crazy: he was a committed Darwinian evolutionist who worked up his preconceptions into the finished form of a vague nature mysticism.

Karl Marx V. I. Lenin
Bhagat Singh Mao Zedong
Pol Pot Enver Hoxha
The Derg Che Guevara
No True Atheist Why?
Tu Quoque Prince of Tyre
Atheist Armies Jim Jones
The French Revolution

Eternal Struggle

One striking divergence between Nazi political thought and Christianity is the conviction that "struggle" is, not a necessary evil which sometimes cannot be avoided, but the entire purpose of life:

  • “The movement ought to educate its adherents to the principle that struggle must not be considered a necessary evil but as something to be desired in itself. Therefore they must not be afraid of the hostility which their adversaries manifest towards them but they must take it as a necessary condition on which their whole right to existence is based. They must not try to avoid being hated by those who are the enemies of our people and our philosophy of life, but must welcome such hatred.”
  • (Hitler, Adolf . Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 5574-5577) . Kindle Edition).

As the Nazis themselves were well aware, this is not the message of the Sermon on the Mount. This discordant theme is struck over and over:

"They were brought back into the world of everlasting struggle, where one creature feeds on the other and where the death of the weaker implies the life of the stronger." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 10507-10508). Kindle Edition.)

'Nature' is a theater of battle, and if you have been paying attention, 'Nature' is God. Who is to blame for this? Charles Darwin. There is no other responsible party at whose feet to lay the moral burden of having invented this abomination. The mythology of an endless struggle for existence, whose outcome is the survival of the fittest, is his baby. Ever notice how the loudest voices of the 'Hitler was a Christian' chorus belong to the New Atheists, all of them enthusiastic followers of the very man responsible for this moral horror? They have, in the years since, tried to sweep Social Darwinism under the rug, by redefining the unit upon which 'Natural Selection' works from the races and peoples who Charles Darwin quite naturally and naively thought were at issue, to the conveniently invisible 'Selfish Gene.' Or they have explicitly, and irrationally, taken a stance of human exceptionalism. They have done everything in the world but take responsibility. The Nazis did not think it possible for a people to live without religion, and so they invented one. The building blocks of this new world-view were not new: they are boiler-plate Social Darwinism. Oddly enough, the very people who are trying the hardest to reposition Hitler, as a Christian, are those who share his world-view.

Responsible Parties

In the immediate aftermath of the Third Reich's collapse, the victorious allies looked to punish those responsible for the killing fields of the twentieth century. They put the highest ranking Nazis who survived on trial at Nuremburg. (Unfortunately one colossal butcher, Josef Stalin, was standing right beside them on the winning side and suffered no scrutiny.) As the years went by, the ripples spread out further, as those Germans who passively watched Hitler's rise to power acknowledged a degree of guilt. Although Hitler never won a majority in any free election, neither did the people rise up to overthrow his tyrannical rule. Of course, the Nazis were quite efficient in stamping down any such stirrings in their infancy.

At some point, however, the ripples expanded beyond reason. Why would anyone demand that African Christians beg pardon for Hitler, when Hitler, no Christian, thought that Africans were apes and didn't mind saying so:

"From time to time our illustrated papers publish, for the edification of the German philistine, the news that in some quarter or other of the globe, and for the first time in that locality, a Negro has become a lawyer, a teacher, a pastor, even a grand opera tenor or something else of that kind. . .It does not dawn on the murky bourgeois mind that the fact which is published for him is a sin against reason itself, that it is an act of criminal insanity to train a being who is only an anthropoid by birth until the pretense can be made that he has been turned into a lawyer; while, on the other hand, millions who belong to the most civilized races have to remain in positions which are unworthy of their cultural level." (Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Kindle Locations 6795-6802). Kindle Edition.)

What's next: demanding that the Gypsies apologize for Hitler? There is no justice in blaming other victims, not to mention those who fought on the other side and at great personal sacrifice brought down the Third Reich, for this man's crimes.

The mind-set of some of these accusers is reminiscent of Hitler's own. Recall, his case against the Jews was the 'stab-in-the-back.' Some German Jews had attempted to establish socialism in the confusion and anarchy of the period of the winding down of the war. Certain specific individuals were likely guilty of various offenses, such as murder, treason, etc. This much is a historical fact. That Germany's involvement in the war ended in this way probably contributed to the extremely disadvantageous peace settlement. Widening out the blame cone, diffusing accountability onto all German Jews, is what the Nazis did; that was their schtick. You come up to the brick wall, though, that it simply isn't fair to blame all members of a group for the misdeeds of a few. German Jews were not all Marxists, much less revolutionaries. A higher percentage of them did gravitate toward this pole of political dialogue than did ethnic Germans. But 'a higher percentage' doesn't get you to mass reprisals.

Adopting the 'public health' meme of 'racial science' enabled the Nazis to make an end-run around this verdict of justice, the refusal of the blind-folded lady to punish these people over here for what those people over there did. Is it not self-evident that punishing those Jews who had been awarded the Iron Cross in World War I for the 'stab-in-the-back' was patently unfair? Even President von Hindenburg realized that soldiers who had sacrificed for their country cannot be punished as traitors. If there ever was any 'stab-in-the-back,' is it not apparent that loyal Jewish war veterans cannot be held accountable for it? Ah, yes, but. . .and here the Nazis donned their white coats. Typhoid Mary never committed any crime; yet she was confined against her will, for decades, to Brother island in New York Harbor. It wasn't 'fair,' it didn't have to be; the populace was entitled to protect itself from someone who menaced its well-being. Adopting the public health model of 'contamination' boosted the righteous anger of that generation of veterans to the next level. In their minds, it was no great loss to Germany when certain individuals with Jewish surnames ended up getting shot in the tumult of 1918; had they succeeded, socialism would have ruined Germany as it had Russia. Bring in 'race science,' and the discovery is made that killing them all would be even better. The best corrective is, not to adopt the heroic model of socialist history, nor to mistake the quack Freud for Galileo, but to avoid blaming some people for what other people do.

In the long and sorrowful history of antisemitism, Christians have much to answer for. Looking back to medieval times, it is shameful to see Christian theologians who might be expected to know better endorsing the old accusation that the Jews had enriched themselves through usury. Thomas Aquinas' response to Margaret of Flanders shows no awareness whatsoever of the principle underlying the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, that is, equal protection under the laws. Whatever revenue exactions her greedy heart desired should have fallen equally upon all those long-suffering souls unfortunate enough to be her subjects:

  • “Now, following the judgment of this sort of restraint, you can in accordance with the customs of your predecessors make an exaction upon the Jews, only if, however, nothing else stands in the way. For it seems that, as far as I was able to conjecture from those things which you subsequently asked, your doubt mostly concerned this, that the Jews of your land seem to have nothing except what they acquired through the depravity of usury. And, hence, consequently you ask whether it is not licit to require something from them, and to whom the things thus required are to be restored.

  • “On this matter therefore, it seems the response should be this, since the Jews may not licitly keep those things which they have extorted from others through usury, the consequence is also that if you receive these things from them neither may you licitly keep them, unless perhaps they be things that the Jews had extorted from you or from your ancestors hitherto. If, however, they have things which they extorted from others, these things, once demanded from them, you should restore to those to whom the Jews were bound to restore them.”
  • (Thomas Aquinas, Letter to Margaret of Flanders).

Christians have much to answer for, but not for Hitler. He is not one of ours. If we must apologize for Thomas Aquinas,— and will the Jews then apologize for Leon Trotsky and Bela Kun?— then the people who need to apologize for Adolf Hitler are those who share his world view. The correct response to the Holocaust cannot possibly be to pretend that Adolf Hitler, with his cruel ideology of blood, endless struggle, race, and the survival of the fittest, was a Christian. The people who still believe that ideology ought to drop it. It is obscene that they keep trying to blame others for damage done by their own ideas. No one else need apologize for the harm done by beliefs they do not hold. Much of what's written on this topic is incoherent. Did the Nazis do things as were also done by the mobs of the Middle Ages, for completely different reasons? So too did the Hutus do things like what the Turks had done to the Armenians. Therefore the Turks are responsible for the massacre of the Tutsis? This does not follow. In a sense, the same party is responsible for all these things: the old Adam. In some cases they have no other linkage.

The tendency 'guilt' has to spread and widen should be resisted, because this is precisely the logic which led to the Holocaust. Certain people have committed crimes. These crimes were inexcusable. Therefore, all persons who share demographic characteristics with the criminals and themselves criminals. Well, no; this is the logic of a lynch mob. People can answer for what they did, or encouraged others to do, not for what people do with whom they share demographic features but who are not otherwise under their control. See: 'The 'Red Terror' in Russia was awful, those who participated or wished such a misfortune to fall upon others are evil; some of these people have Jewish surnames, therefore. . .' If it's not right then, then it's not right ever

The atheists allege that Hitler was a devout Christian and that thus Nazism and its consequences show the terrible evil of Christianity. As already seen, this is not very credible. Pervasive intellectual dishonesty is one of the problems with the 'New Atheist' authors. Another atheist argument centering around Hitler is the so-called problem of evil: how is it that, in a universe governed by a good God, Hitler rose to power and was able to work his will on the world:

"I observed a march of ten thousand brown-shirted storm troopers through a Bavarian summer night. Our family travels exposed me to squads of the Waffen-SS in their black uniforms with skull-and-crossbones caps. Such experiences sketched the background of my youthful life and for me, as for many others, presented an inescapable challenge to the existence of an all-powerful God of love." (Anthony Flew, There is a God, p. 13).

Inescapable? Or is the God of love also a God of judgment? Nothing happens in this world which does not fall within God's permissive will at a minimum; but if what God permits, and what God ordains, fall within Biblical parameters, then what we see happening in the world is consistent with Biblical expectation, of a good, and also judgmental, God. Can a loving God not judge His creation? Are the two divine characters incompatible?

Hitler's indictment against the Jews, the 'stab-in-the-back,' as has been seen, was not entirely fanciful but is not ultimately just or well-established; the Jews were not all Bolsheviks, nor were all Bolsheviks Jews. Why did God allow such an injustice to stand? Why did He allow people to be punished for a crime they did not commit? He could have strangled Hitler in the cradle but did not. It is difficult to fathom but it seems He gave the people of twentieth century up to their own desires. He let them have it their way. It would have been somewhat out of character for the largely secular Jews of Germany to call out to God for redress against their injustices. They had put their faith in the Enlightenment, in the French Revolution. As the lived experience of the twentieth century shows, God does not always attend to the well-being of atheists with close or loving attention. Nor do they much care about Him. Perhaps there is a certain degree of mutual aloofness there.

It is not clear against whom the atheists are directing their complaints. Do they really want to protest when the immutable current of evolution brings to the fore an especially murderous, i.e. successful, tribe? If willingness to commit murder conveys a survival advantage on those possessing it, on what grounds do they lodge a complaint? That was the ground Hitler stood on, and they share his basic paradigm, though he did not share their squeamishness about drawing the consequences. But, especially once the large Jewish populations of eastern Europe were added to the concentration camp stream, theists, practitioners of exotic religions like the Kabbalah and even traditional Jews, entered the mix. What about these people? Why were they allowed to suffer? And indeed, even murdering en masse adherents of Bolshevism is not just in the slightest degree,— in other words, even if the Nazis were right on the money about who these people were, which they were not,— if the people were committed to using non-violent means of bringing in their workers' paradise. Of course, as everyone knew, the radiant presence of the workers' paradise would not ultimately be compatible with long life-spans for other categories of people, like the family farmers, the kulaks; it never was. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. And God has been heard to entertain the thought, "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." (Proverbs 26:27).

However, even though it is difficult to mourn for the actual Bolshevik victims of Hitler with a full heart, or with a full-throated wail, and even though 'Jewish Bolshevik' is not an empty category, many people were done to death by the Nazis who were not Bolsheviks at all. The Jewish political spectrum was displaced to the left, but it was not squashed all the way to the wall. While there were few German or Russian Jews nostalgic for the Tsar or the Kaiser,— and why on earth would they have been?— once you enter the middle part of the political spectrum, you begin picking up adherents. There is a cluster, a wad who remain bunched somewhat disproportionately at the far left, more so than in other groups. But those individuals can answer for their misdeeds, no one else need do so. There seems to be a flaw in the human mind, which allows 'African-Americans commit muggings at rates higher than other groups,' to shade insensibly into 'All African-Americans are criminals.' Here, 'A higher percentage of Jews are sympathetic to Communism than others,' a true statement, as true in America as in Weimar Germany, becomes Hitler's 'All Jews are Communists.' Showing a slightly different demographic drift across the political spectrum cannot have been a punishable offense, and why individuals whose political convictions were middle-of-the-road, similar to their ethnic German neighbors, should have been punished at all is really insanity. There can be no thought crimes, and if there were, the charge cannot be brought against people whose motto is, 'Maintain the status quo.'

Extending guilt for misbehavior to all members of a group, whether it be blaming 'Christians' for the Holocaust or blaming 'Jews' for Bolshevism, is not a legitimate legal maneuver. Or if it is, after all, correct to blame all Jews because some Jews played leadership roles in the Russian Bolshevik regime and in the abortive German socialist uprising, then this is where we came in; this is Hitler's allegation against the Jews. How can it be wrong to shift blame in this instance, but right to shift blame for the Holocaust onto the Christians of the world? Assigning mass guilt to an entire population group for actions committed by a few is either legitimate, or it is not. In the case of the Holocaust, the 'brain trust' who conceived the project vocally despised Christianity. It's safe to say the Bolsheviks did not think much of Judaism either. Let those who are guilty of atrocities answer for their crimes, not all persons who resemble them in some respect.

So why does God allow injustice, either on this monumental scale or in individual cases?:

I don't know why people like Richard Dawkins feel they have to make Adolf Hitler into a Christian to have grounds of accusation against the church. All available evidence suggests the man was not, in fact, a Christian, any implication to the contrary being no more than disingenuous politicking. But there are other questions they could ask, to which the answers come not so readily. Were there confessing Christians in the ranks of the Nazis? How did these people reconcile their faith with what they were doing? Did antisemitism have a long history in Germany, a long history tied up with Christianity, the crusades, and Martin Luther? Was the 'modern liberalism' of the German church in the 19th century all about discrediting the Old Testament and prying it away from the New? These questions are worth asking.

The two main fascist political movements of the twentieth century, Nazism and Italian Fascism, did not wholeheartedly embrace Christianity. But then there's Francisco Franco in Spain, who was both a fanatical Catholic and a fascist. Time and again I'm struck by the intellectual slovenliness of the New Atheism project; information on these points is easy to find, they just don't bother. Instead of breathlessly announcing that Hitler was a Christian,— he wasn't, really, — explain to people that Francisco Franco was as despotic as Hitler, and not only a self-described Christian, but accepted as such by a major world church. Part of the reason Franco kept his distance from Hitler,— Spain was neutral in World War II,— is that he mistrusted him, as an unbeliever. And there are Christian fascists of the present day. Some of these people describe themselves as NeoNazis; others get fitted out with that tag by others, when they find out what they're about. With what justice?:

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