Friday, June 5, 2009

Hitler and Atheism

Occasionally, when a Christian encounters an atheist and an atheist is pointing out all the evil done in the name of Christianity, the Christian will point out all the evils done by atheists from men like Hitler, Stalin and Mao (it is even one of the debate points atheists prepare for). The atheist will undoubtedly respond with the following: 'Hitler wasn't an atheist, and Stalin and Mao didn't do there deeds because they were atheists. I'm not going to debate the morals of the latter. You can be an atheist and be's just highly inconsistent especially if you are a natural materialist.

I do want to just point out that Hitler was no friend to Christianity. Richard Evans, in his book The Third Reich at War, writes:

Hitler’s hostility to Christianity reached new heights, or depths, during the war. It was a frequent theme of his mealtime monologues. After the war was over and victory assured, he said in 1942, the Concordat he had signed with the Catholic Church in 1933 would be formally abrogated and the Church would be dealt with like any other non-Nazi voluntary association. The Third Reich ‘would not tolerate the intervention of any foreign influence’ such as the Pope, and the Papal Nuncio would eventually have to go back to Rome. Priests, he said, were ‘black bugs’, ‘abortions in cassocks’. Hitler emphasized again and again his belief that Nazism was a secular ideology founded on modern science. Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition. ‘Put a small telescope in a village, and you destroy a world of superstitions.’ ‘The best thing,’ he declared on 14 October 1941, ‘is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science.’ He was particularly critical of what he saw as its violation of the law of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. ‘Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of human failure.’ It was indelibly Jewish in origin and character. ‘Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilization by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society.’ Christianity was a drug, a kind of sickness: ‘Let’s be the only people who are immunized against the disease.’ ‘In the long run,’ he concluded, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together.’ He would not persecute the Churches: they would simply wither away. ‘But in that case we must not replace the Church by something equivalent. That would be terrifying!’ The future was Nazi, and the future would be secular. (HT: Al Mohler).

To say Hitler took things to an extreme would be an understatement. To say he was cold, calculating and calloused treats his behavior and vitriol with a sort of sterility that cannot do justice to the inhumanity of his actions. And while we are careful to avoid a reductio ad Hitlerum, the simple fact of the matter is Hitler took his worldview to its natural conclusions.-a worldview with key elements and central tennants that are far too prevelent in today's culture. It was a worldview driven by naturalistic secularism, survival of the fittest, eugenics and populace control. In short, Hitler was no friend to Christianity.

Hitler may have at times marshaled 'god' to his cause, in Mein Kampf he wrote ". I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." This was certainly not the God of Christianity. You cannot blame religion for the evils of Hitler. In fact, quite the opposite, it was clearly the irreligion of Hitler and taken them to their natural conclusion was one of the factors that brought about the evil of Hitler's action. And yet, even that is too cold and sterile an analysis of such evil, but then that's my Christian presuppositions speaking--and if you don't have them you have no real non-contradictory moral grounds to unequivocally protest such evil.

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