Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


AN ATTEMPTED ANSWER TO THE ATHEIST CLAIM THAT HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HATED THE JEWS FOR THAT REASON

In 1944 Hitler said, “I may not be a light of the Church, a pulpiteer, but deep down I am a pious man, and believe that whoever fights bravely in defense of the natural laws framed by God and never capitulates will never be deserted by the lawgiver, but will, in the end receive the blessings of Providence."

It is obvious we should take Hitler at his word but Christian scholars don't want us to do that.

One such scholar is JP Holding.

JP HOLDING ON HITLER'S BRAND OF RELIGION

The following is a review of Hitler's Christianity by Christian theologian JP Holding.

It argues that suggestions that Hitler was not a sincere supporter of Christianity but was paying lip service for a political advantage, or was a proper Christian or was in fact an occultist are wrong.

JP Holding rejects the notion that Hitler was a secret atheist or an occultist (the evidence that “he was an occultist is based on non-scholarly sources of no evidential value) or an orthodox Christian. He imputes Hitler with a heresy called positive Christianity. Hitler used the term but not as a religious label as Holding says. Yet Holding writes, "Positive Christianity was the professed faith of many Nazi leaders." Hitler may have made a mess of theology but his intention was to be an orthodox Christian and to appeal to other orthodox Christians and the Churches to be on his side against the Jews. He simply selected what suited him from Christianity. And all Christians do that for nobody can learn or practice it all. Steigmann-Gall is quoted as pointing out that Hitler had nothing good to say about paganism and is quoted as saying that positive Christianity did not refer to a system of religion or theology to which a person might be invited to convert.

Holding also wants us to think that Hitler had his own brand of Christianity called positive Christianity. That is nonsense – positive Christianity meant orthodox Christianity but Holding wants you to see it as a label for a new religion. It was a description not a religious label. Hitler in fact did not try to found a new Christianity. He just distorted the old one from an anti-Semitic entity and force into a bigger and more virulently anti-Semitic one. His theology did not result in new Churches but spoke to the existing Churches. They were involved in it more than he was for they were the theological and social powers and Hitler was not a theologian - he needed them to supply him with his religious expertise.

In the thirties, Holding reminds us that Hitler, speaking for himself and the Nazi regime, said that they "regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality." And Holding mentions how in 1933, during a Reichstag speech, that Hitler vowed that there would be no interference with the Churches and their "due influence" in education would be preserved. He clearly noticed that Christianity is about things other than faith and love which is why he did not fear it. He noticed it is a pile of holy hot air.

It is clear that the Nazis recognised Jesus Christ as God. Stressing Jesus as an anti-Jewish God worked well in their scheme.

Holding at least would admit that whatever kind of Christianity Hitler promoted it proves that faith in religion can distort and suppress the truth. For example, his Jesus was excised of any Jewish connections. Religion is based on faith and we all see dangers in faith and have met people with harmful faith but it can happen that faith itself can hurt the religion. If you lie down with dogs -

In 1926, Hitler gave the Nazi party the goal of doing Christian action. It seems he was more concerned about that than Christian belief.

Holding points out how Goebbels was expelled from the Church for marrying a divorced woman! He did not get even a slap on the wrist from the Church for his belief in the right he had to eliminate Jews cruelly.

Hitler loved Romans 13 for it said that God puts all governments in place and Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber wrote as follows to Hitler “As supreme head of the German Reich you are, for us, the authority willed by God, the legal superior, to whom we owe reverence and obedience.”  The text says no power exists except God sets it up.  As Hitler had a remarkable and unlikely rise to power you can only imagine the effect this text had on him and his followers.  His power was exceptional - no Roman Emperor Paul had in mind could compare.  Even if you just think of how medicine was good in Hitler's day and a disaster for the Roman Emperors that counts too.  Hitler must have thought about how Paul could write that way if Jewish politicians and clerics who had the power given by God murdered Jesus.  He probably decided that Jesus chose for that to happen to him to show how vile the Jews were and thus show that killing them and disempowering them was self-defence.

Holding observes that nude and gay theatre and porn began to get popular in the 20s but the Nazis suppressed these things harshly. That won them Christian acclaim.

Holding argues that anti-semitism until the Nazis was religious but the Nazis based it on racist grounds and used fake science to support their prejudices.  If he is right then religion is the reason for the success of the Nazi revised anti-semitism.  And the fact remains that Hitler was supported as a racist by the Catholics and Protestants.  So there is more than just fake science going on.  It does not matter what grounds the Nazis based their racism on, the theological racism of the Christian faith paved the way for them and they joined forces with such racism. For the Nazis all truth came from God which means that their use of racist science fits the idea of it also being an exercise in religious faith. Religion is not a bubble. And Holding overlooks the fact that religion and Jesus and the Christian faith were endorsed as racist by the Nazis. The Nazis simply took Christianity's anti-semitism a step further.

Holding mentions a group called German Christians and ended up with a quarter or even a third of the Protestant Church membership. He estimates it could have had 15 million Germans involved in it. In the 1930's, it started to get top influence in most theology departments in Germany. One of its preachers, Reinhold Krause attacked the Old Testament and the apostle Paul. He even hated the cross of Jesus for he seen it as Jewish! Some dropped the Old Testament in their services. Some German Christians according to Holding took a different approach. They used the Old Testament to denigrate the Jews. Holding tells us that they cherished the bits that had God condemning the Jewish people. Holding does not tell us that the violence commanded by God in the Old Testament and how the Jews made it their Bible which reflects badly on them and indeed should was part of the problem.

Holding quotes Bishop Ludwig Mueller, the bishop of the Evangelical Church of Germany, saying in 1934 that rather than Christianity having come from Judaism like a growth it appeared in opposition to it. "There is no bond between them, rather the sharpest opposition." The fact of the matter is that for decades after Jesus supposedly died, the place of worship for the Christians was the Jewish synagogue. They were excommunicated and only then did Christianity start to become a new religion. The Christians refused to sort things out with the Jews so the Church began as a bigoted sectarian division and created the idea of the Catholic Mass to which all were obliged to attend to on Sundays which erased the obligation to attend synagogue and respect the Judaism that Jesus would have loved and which he died for in the sense that he was trying to reform it but his religious enemies could not tolerate. So they had him killed.

Holding talks as if the only thing stopping the Nazis from implementing a Christian Holocaust was how unlike the Jews they were too numerous and a tiny minority is easier to destroy. That is rubbish for the Nazis showed no interest at all in killing Christians. The Christian faith's opposition to Judaism was the reason it was not in the firing line.

Hitler Youth seems to have developed an anti-Christian strain to the degree that members were told to see the clergy as traitors to their nation and the Christian heritage they had been raised in as bad. But that is more about political conflicts than religious ones. It does not prove that the Nazis were against Christianity as a religion. Holding confesses that Catholic Youth organisations grew under the Nazis which incredibly limited their activities to religious ones! Holding gives away a lot here. The Nazis plainly saw Christianity as no threat to their bigotry. No wonder Holding is able to tell us that the Catholic Church in Germany made a "constant affirmation of loyalty to the regime."

Holding states that the Nazi military wore belts reading God be with us and wore the cross. He says the military in Germany before their time did the same thing so they only carried on the tradition. But realising it was more than that he tries to make out that under the positive Christian heresy God and the cross did not mean truly Christian things! The fact remains that most wearing these things would have taken the traditional view. There is no test to see how many of these men believed the positive Christianity thing. These people were baptised as well meaning that as long as they intended to be Christian, no matter how warped their religious ideas were, they are to be classed as Christian. Holding dismisses what Hitler said in 1941, "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." He argues that Hitler did not profess a Catholic faith and that it is not usual for heretics and cultists and charlatans to call themselves mainstream believers.

Hitler said that the German state, “must declare unfit for propagation all who are in any way visibly sick or who have inherited a disease and therefore can pass it on.” (It is not realised by believers that Jesus must have had the same attitude if he thought sickness warranted him changing nature to instantly curing the people.) This scientific racism and Darwinist outlook had no effect until he combined it with Christian anti-Semitism.

Holding concludes, “It is not even remotely possible to blame authentic Christian faith for the horrors of Nazi Germany. If anything, the conditions demonstrate that it is only because of a weakened and undermined Christianity that such horrors were permitted, and not acted against by the confessing churches of mainstream Christianity.”