Hitler was definitely a Christian

It is commonly argued that Hitler was an atheist, despite the overwhelming evidence that he was not. For instance, he made his soldiers ‘swear to God’ and wear armor which was engraved with the words ‘Gott mitt uns’ (God is with us) on them. Swastikas on crosses have been found, and this is the oath of Hitler’s third Reich soldiers:

Loyalty oath of the SS, 9 November 1935

“What is your oath ?” – “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God !”

“So you believe in a God ?” – “Yes, I believe in a Lord God.”

“What do you think about a man who does not believe in a God ?” – “I think he is arrogant, megalomaniacal and stupid; he is not eligible for us.”

I could spend time pointing out things such as these, but Hitler’s own book, Mein Kampf (My struggleis full of evidence:

Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.—Mein Kampf, Vol 1, Chap II

Everybody who has the right kind of feeling for his country is solemnly bound, each within his own denomination, to see to it that he is not constantly talking about the Will of God merely from the lips but that in actual fact he fulfills the Will of God and does not allow God’s handiwork to be debased. For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.—Mein Kampf, Vol II, Chap X

“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago—a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.—Speech given April 12, 1922

And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.—Speech given April 12, 1922

May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.—Speech given Feb 1, 1933

At the head of our [National Socialist] program there stand no secret surmisings but clear-cut perception and straightforward profession of belief. But since we set as the central point of this perception and of this profession of belief the maintenance and hence the security for the future of a being formed by God, we thus serve the maintenance of a divine work and fulfill a divine will—not in the secret twilight of a new house of worship, but openly before the face of the Lord. Speech given Sept 6, 1938

Hitler made a total of over 70 references to God in his autobiography.

As you can see, Hitler was not an atheist. But even if he was, it is not as though a lack of belief in God is responsible for his acts – Hitler was also a painter, is painting responsible for the atrocities he committed? However his hatred of the Jews stemmed from the fact that he thought they were responsible for Jesus’ death, and he thought that he was doing the work of God.

A thanks to ExChristian.net for bringing this to my attention.

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45 thoughts on “Hitler was definitely a Christian

  1. Hitler’s personal writings suggest he was an atheist. He used religious propaganda to motivate and legitimise the Nazi movement. The Nazis were Christian. Hitler pretended to be Christian. His pretence was so effective he garnered the support of the Catholic Church, but I implore you to look at his personal writings and decide whether what he wrote in private supports the espoused public persona.

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      • But you hold the position that both Hitler and Mother Teresa were both motivated by Christianity. Doesn’t one of them have to be wrong?

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              • 1. There is no alignment between Hitler’s behavior and the teaching of Christ.

                2. The suggestion that Hitler and Mother Teresa are of the same worldview is ridiculous when you consider that you could have titled your article, “Mother Teresa was Definitely A Nazi”.

                3. Christianity is not irrational.

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                • 1. How are you defining Christianity? Because you seem to be claiming that only Christians who follow your interpretation of the teachings of Jesus are Christians.
                  2. There is no evidence that Mother Teresa, despite her many atrocious failings as a human being, was a Nazi.
                  3. Christianity is irrational. It asks that you believe things on insufficient reason for morally repugnant things.

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                  • I’m defining Christianity as following the teaching of Jesus as found in the New Testament. You know, the way millions of Christians define it.

                    Christianity is not irrational. Saying that Hitler was a Christian is irrational.

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                    • So, one can believe in Jesus, that he was the son of God, that repentance and acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice is the way to Heaven, and still not be Christian?

                      Because it feels like you’re dabbling in the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy, to me.

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                    • Yes. One can believe all of those things and still not want to submit their will to His lordship. Demons know who Jesus is and none of them are Christians. (None of them are Scotsmen either).

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                    • Interesting dodge. I’ll word it differently: the passage you offered doesn’t support your claim. Is there perhaps a better passage you could offer?

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                    • There are no passages that will satisfy the hardened cynic.

                      Can you quote chapter and verse to support your, “Christianity is irrational. It asks that you believe things on insufficient reason for morally repugnant things” quote?

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                    • I perhaps can, I’ll try a little later — faith is belief in things unseen sentiments are probably my point.
                      It’s an inappropriate expectation of evidence to assume the Bible will have within it its own criticisms. However, it should contain its own definition.
                      The ‘hardened cynic’ claim is a dodge. You don’t know I’m a hardened cynic. You don’t know how doubtful I am as to the definition of Christianity. I’ve not held you to an extraordinary expectation of evidence.

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                    • Nobody will argue with your definition about faith.

                      The Bible is quite critical of itself, especially in regard to some of its central characters. It is an inappropriate expectation to assume there is a single verse that encapsulates a complete definition of Christianity.

                      The ‘I’ll try a little later’ claim is a dodge. My original claim is that Hitler and Mother Teresa can’t both be motivated by a Christian worldview. In my opinion, it is extraordinary that ANY evidence needs to be presented to substantiate that statement! Anyone with the vaguest notion of Christian doctrine can dismiss the premise as absurd.

                      I thought the absurdity would be obvious when it was conceded that Mother Teresa was a Christian too.
                      But here we are! I’m getting requests for ‘better’ Bible verses because you’re not yet convinced that followers of Christ are supposed to behave differently than history’s most famous genocidal lunatic.

                      If you still maintain that Hitler’s behavior is supported by the New Testament then you’re the one who needs to provide some evidence.

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                    • Because Christianity didn’t exist in the Old Testament.

                      You can’t have Christians until you have Christ.

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                    • Yes.
                      Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament law. The 10 commandments were repeated on the sermon on the mount (except for the Sabbath day one) but the rest of the law has been replaced.

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                    • “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

                      Although some mistakenly think that “fulfill” in this passage means to complete and therefore abolish, what Jesus said afterwards shows this could not be the case. Continuing, Jesus said: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (verses 18-19).

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                    • To be clear, do you believe that Hitler behaved as a Christian according to your definition of Christianity?

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                    • Perhaps. But just because one person takes a different interpretation, or favours another passage, doesn’t mean they’re not a Christian.
                      Are you going to argue that the Crusaders, Inquisitors and witch hunters were not Christians?
                      But behaviour is not defining. Else, peaceful Muslims could be thought of as Christians. It’s not about behaviour, it’s about beliefs.

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                    • We are agreed. The behavior is determined by belief. The label assigned to that belief is what we’re debating. Who is a Muslim? Who is a Christian? What did Hitler believe?

                      It’s not possible to fully understand what another person believes. I can’t even explain what I believe completely. We are relegated to generalities.

                      If we were discussing football, there would be thousands of points we could argue about. But we would have to agree in broad terms to what the game of football is. For example, bouncing a basketball and shooting it toward a hoop is not playing football. Even if the person dribbling down the floor insists that he’s an NFL player, his actions prove his beliefs are false.

                      Generally speaking, would Adolph Hitler be a good representative of the Christian faith as you understand it?

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                    • I’m not sure what the Christian faith is, so I can’t say what is and is not behaviour that accurately represents it. When I say I’m not sure, let me clarify: many people claim that acting compassionately because Jesus said to is what it means to be Christian, but I am concerned that this discards and ignores vast swathes of the actual Bible. I have argued that this ‘compassionate Christianity’ that people ingratiate themselves with now is actually a highly Humanised version of Christianity that is highly open to not reading what it doesn’t like.
                      If by “a good representative” you mean that their behaviour can be justified by the texts that define Christianity (i.e. the Bible) then I think you can justify the idea that what Hitler did was a good representation of Christianity.
                      God does command people to wipe out people who are beyond saving. That is what the wars on the Canaanites and the Midianites are about.
                      Hitler was wrong about whether the Jews (and blacks and gays) were a problem, but given his belief that they were a problem, the Holocaust is in line with the concept of ‘absolutely destroying’ a problem.
                      I like the fact that people denigrate and judge the Holocaust as one of the worst things that ever happened in human history. But I think one is very far from a strict reading of the Bible before one can actually denigrate it. People will often just assert that the New Testament, with Jesus’ teachings and implicit ideas, somehow supersedes the explicit teachings in the Old Testament, despite the fact that Jesus explicitly said he had not come to change the law and none of it will change until the Earth has passed away.

                      I should footnote this with my beliefs: I not only think Hitler was wrong about deeming Jews and blacks and gays and the disabled as a problem, I think the Bible is wrong for advocating the complete destruction of people who are deemed to be a problem.

                      And all of that is to engage with your idea that Christianity is defined by behaviour and not by faith. See, we don’t define NFL players by whether they believe they play for a team competing in the NFL. We define them by whether they are playing for a team competing in the NFL. There is no analogy here between NFL players and Christians. NFL players are defined by their actions regardless of their beliefs. They might think they’re playing basketball and that doesn’t stop them being an NFL player.
                      I don’t see why Christianity should be defined by behaviours and not beliefs. The question isn’t whether Hitler acted like a Christian, because that is a prejudicial question that depends on your view of what a Christian should behave like, which leads to a ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy.
                      There are ways we could define Christianity. You could come up with 7 defining points and say ‘any 5 out of 7 makes you a Christian’. Or, you could come up with key points–‘You must do this’–to define a Christian. Or you could mix them, saying you must fulfil this point and reach any 3 of the following 5 points.
                      Defining Christianity should happen as the first step here, and I give the floor to you on this one. If you can define Christianity, then we can see what it is we can say about Hitler’s Christianity or not.

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                    • Let me commend you on a truly thought provoking response. Your description of ‘compassionate Christianity’ is profound. Thank you for that insight.

                      I don’t think we are too far apart in how we understand behavior vs. belief. My point was that a person’s behavior is determined by what they believe, whether or not that belief is true. You are correct that NFL players are defined by their actions. My point is that claiming to be an NFL player, or BELIEVING that you’re an NFL player does not make it so. Likewise, claiming to be a Christian does not make it so.

                      You are also correct that a definition needs to be put forth. The challenge is distilling the whole of scripture down to the essence of Christian faith. I’ll admit that I’m probably not going to be able to do this perfectly. I will take a shot at outlining the essentials of Christian doctrine, leaving room for criticisms.

                      In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.

                      God created people and desires a relationship with us. God gave us the option to reject Him because true love cannot be forced, it can only be given.

                      People opted to reject God and live according to our own will (called sin).

                      Sin separates us from God and leads to death. (Romans 3:23 & 6:23)

                      Human beings are incapable of eliminating sin. (Romans 5:6 & 8:3)

                      God is unwilling to lose His beloved creation (us) to death so He became a man (Jesus) for the purpose of taking the consequences of sin upon himself. (John 3:16-17)

                      A Christian is someone who acknowledges and repents of their own sin and willingly allows Christ bear the consequences of those sins. (John 11:20-29)

                      Christians adhere to the teachings of Jesus as found in the New Testament. “23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:23-24)

                      Jesus summed up the essence of the law as follows:
                      34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

                      37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

                      — That’s a crude, imperfect summary of basic Christian doctrine.

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                    • But now do you act as if this were true? And if you do act as if this were true, how do you know the underlying beliefs are not humanistic or Islamic or Liberal? If someone were to behave with compassion and love, but was a materialistic nihilist, would you call them Christian?
                      It is possible Hitler believed all the things you describe and did bad things, and the only arguments you have to say he’s not a Christian are ‘I disagree that is how a person behaves in response to these claims’ and ‘I think I can infer what one believes from their behaviour’, both of which, subsequently, it think you’d fail to defend.

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                    • I think there is a difference between what we believe and what we claim to believe.

                      You brilliantly noted that there’s much more to Christianity than acting with compassion. Obviously, every act of kindness or generosity can’t be claimed as the result of Christian faith. By the same token, the holocaust shouldn’t be linked to Christianity either just because Hitler invoked the name of God in his speeches.

                      We can infer what a person believes by their behavior. We do it all the time! Often what they believe is different from what they claim. That’s the reason our courts exist.

                      You raised another great point. It is possible that Hitler believed in Christian doctrine and still did bad things. That describes me. I don’t always behave according to what I profess to believe. That’s why Jesus’ sacrifice is such a great deal. He takes the blame for my screw ups.

                      The question then becomes, if I really believe I screwed up and that Jesus took the blame, would I intentionally continue the sin?

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                    • You can’t be sure you understand what sin is.
                      But, more deeply, I think you are saying we can never know what anyone believes to any meaningful level of confidence.

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                    • At some point, I have to stop using rational thought. The human experience isn’t purely rational. It’s partly intuitive and emotional. Matters of conscience can’t be reduced to equations or formulas. I confess that some of my doubts about Hitler’s Christianity are based on feeling. The Holocaust doesn’t ‘feel’ like the sort of thing Christians ought to do.

                      While we can never know with rational certainty what anyone believes, I think we can have a meaningful level of confidence about their beliefs if we’re willing to accept their personal testimony. When my wife tells me she loves me, I believe her. She doesn’t need to provide a rational list of evidences.

                      Liked by 1 person

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