Monday, July 10, 2006

Hitler – was he an atheist or a theist?



The short answer is no, he was not exactly either.

Adolf Hitler was a politician, not a theologian. He never spoke or wrote publicly about religion at length. But he did believe in a god and in an eternal soul. For example, here are three interesting quotes:

Mein Kampf Volume 1, Chapter 8: “What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe."

Mein Kampf Volume 1, Chapter 11: “Peoples which bastardize themselves, or let themselves be bastardized, sin against the will of eternal Providence”

My Political Testament: “By their [Bormann, Goebbels, etc.] work and loyal companionship they will remain as close to me after my death as I hope my spirit will continue to dwell among them and accompany them always.”

I think it is fair to say that Hitler was a theist, however not in the traditional Western sense of the word. I don’t believe he had any respect for the Bible, except for some of the anti-Semitic portions of the New Testament. He showed respect for Christianity in general only when and if it was politically correct to do so. I don’t believe, and correct me if I am wrong, that there is any credible record of him ever praying as an adult, even in the Berlin bunker shortly before his death.

I think that it would be most correct to say that Hitler’s religion was naturalistic pantheism and Darwinism.

Hitler seemed to have believed in a sort of impersonal god of nature who wanted all life to achieve the greatest perfection possible through struggle, conflict, extermination of the weak and success of the strong. This, combined with German nationalism and anti-Semitism, was the essence of Nazism. Apparently, his god was the Darwinian force of nature. Hitler, while not exactly an atheist, was a post-Christian European.


Mein Kampf volume 1 Chapter 10: “Let me explain: Man must not fall into the error of thinking that he was ever meant to become lord and master of Nature. A lopsided education has helped to encourage that illusion. Man must realize that a fundamental law of necessity reigns throughout the whole realm of Nature and that his existence is subject to the law of eternal struggle and strife. He will then feel that there cannot be a separate law for mankind in a world in which planets and suns follow their orbits, where moons and planets trace their destined paths, where the strong are always the masters of the weak and where those subject to such laws must obey them or be destroyed. Man must also submit to the eternal principles of this supreme wisdom. He may try to understand them but he can never free himself from their sway.”

What we must learn from Hitler is the danger which lies both in Christianity, which was surely the source of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, and Darwinism, which was the source of his contempt for human life and his belief in the positive value of mass murder.

14 comments:

Avi said...

aaron said...
Avi, you missed my point. The Jews are the sons of Shem. In other words, it was always OUR land.

Monday, July 10, 2006 5:30:07 PM

Before America the land belonged to the Indians it was their land and we took it. There were other countries that lost their land through war and conquest. Thats what happens

Avi said...

Jewish Non philosopher. We sinned and screwd up? Where? How ? According to Rabbi Miller we were the best possible people. Sorry I dont buy it.

jewish philosopher said...

According to Rabbi Miller, we were better than anyone else. That’s not saying much unfortunately.

Avi said...

jewish philosopher said...
According to Rabbi Miller, we were better than anyone else. That’s not saying much unfortunately.

It seems to me that we can never live up to whats expected of us. We ( the Jews) are a special people, we add a lot to the world.Yet we are the ones who suffer. For what? Our shortcomings? Sorry I dont buy it

thanbo said...

Rabbi Miller's methods in "Rejoice o Youth" were severely misguided.

"Assume all scientists are liars".

jewish philosopher said...

I would say "Question everything."

Anonymous said...

Who cares what Hitler's religion was? I can't think of a more boring question. The issue is what were his followers, are more speicifically, what was it about the culture of Europe that made ordinary Europeans so receptive to his message of hate and destruction.

The answer, per most historian, is that over 2000 years the Catholic Church (and to a lesser extent other Christian denominations) cultivated the soil of Europe and made it ready for the holocaust.

Read Popes against the Jews (Kertzer) for more.

jewish philosopher said...

I mention the reason at the end of the article.

Anonymous said...

regarding Catholicism mentioned in previous post....Catholicism hasn't been around for over 2000 years, oh and Hitler....didn't he hate Catholicism and other so-called "Christian" denominations as well? He demanded that not only the Torah be burned in public squares, but the christian bible as well. It's fact.
I also wanted to say that I totally agree with you on what had brainwashed Europe into producing hitler...the papacy etc... but anti-Semitism was around long before popes and civilized Europe...i.e. before Christianity. Am I right? It would be so nice to blame all of our persecutions on sects of christianity, but it's just not entirely the case.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that Nazi anti-Semitism was inspired by Christian anti-Semitism. Christian anti-Semitism was caused by the Jewish rejection of Jesus.

normdoering said...

I put up my own blog post on this subject:
More on Hitler's beliefs here.

The claim that Hitler was an atheist has been used by Bill O'Reilly, Rick Warren and Ann Coulter at least. It rarely gets contradicted on TV.

normdoering said...

If Hitler was a Darwinist...

Then why did Nazis burn Darwin's books?

jewish philosopher said...

I doubt that they did. Maybe some Nazi bureaucrat got carried away and wrote "primitive Darwinism" whatever that is on a list of forbidden books.

You must remember Hitler was a theorist and a politician, however not at all a micromanager. He gave his underlings free reign to a very large extent with just general guidance and inspiration from himself.

Joebaum said...

I just got off a NAZI website - they are praising Darwin there.
http://sfradiofiles.com/wnu/rpo/rpo%20-%20to%20honor%20darwin.html