Hitler compared to God/Jesus/Christians
by Jim Walker
- Originated: 20 May 1998
- Additions made: 29 Nov. 2005
- Indented quotes in green
The history of Adolf Hitler reported by Christian authors usually attempt to show him as un-Christian or avoid discussions of his religion altogether. This should not surprise anyone considering that publishing in a Christianized country tends to protect itself from any stigma of wrongdoing and could very well hurt book sales, not to mention damage the reputation of its authors. Even many Jewish authors must take care not to offend the religious sensibilities of their audiences.
Unfortunately most books about Hitler, from a religious viewpoint, come as bowdlerized accounts containing flagrant inaccuracies. There occur many versions, some of which view Hitler with combinations of occultism, atheism, anti-religion, anti-Christian, etc. Some authors blend the anti-clerical views of Martin Bormann, the mystical beliefs of Rosenberg, or the occult views of Himmler with Hitler in an attempt to rewrite history. Almost all the sources for Hitler's alleged apostasy come from Bormann's edited version of Hitler's Table Talk (for a closer examination, see "Hitler's table talk and other extraneous sources"). But Hitler was not Bormann, Rosenberg or Himmler and their views do not reflect Hitler's beliefs. Hitler abscised himself from the views of Bormann, Rosenberg, and Himmler and he demanded support for his view of "positive" Christianity as was written into the Nazi party program. If you examine the historical record with raw honesty, you will find that these counter-Christian claims about Hitler simply do not hold up.
Fortunately, I am neither a Christian, Jew, or of any religious persuasion. Neither do I have a reputation or sales to protect. Although I am certainly not the first to point out Hitler's Christianity, from my non-religious point of view, I can present a look at Hitler's belief-system without a religious bias to get in the way. If the following offends anyone, then I can, on reasoned grounds, declare that it can only come from the facts themselves and not from any feeling I may have against Christianity. In fact, although I see great dangers of beliefs, especially those of violent belief-systems such as Christianity, I have no ill feelings toward Christians themselves, anymore than I do drug addicts, even though I may abash the dangers of drugs. So from this viewpoint, I aim to expose Hitler's Christianity in the expectation to open the door somewhat to the light of examination, not only for Christians to see (if they can) but to anyone who has a concern for the mechanism of belief and the dangers it can produce.
My main aim intends to educate without resorting to ad homenims or dishonesty. Indeed, it will take certain courage and honesty for any Christian to read this without feeling offended. However, I admire anyone who attempts to read this, and hope that they will do further research, check the sources, and reserve judgment.
My information comes not from my beliefs or my interpretation of his beliefs. The information comes directly from the very words of Hitler himself, from his private notes, conversations, writings, speeches and the people who knew him. I will show that he clearly reveals his Christianity, not only from his paraphrasing of the Bible, but from his confession as a Christian, his triune god-like actions and how his faith parallels the belief of many Christians today.
I have clippped some of the Hitler quotes for brevity. For a fuller quote, go to the page on Mein Kampf quotes (click here) or to Hitler's speeches (click here).
Hitler, the Christian
Hitler not only got brought up as a Catholic Christian, but he expressed his Christian views into adulthood, including his period as Chancellor of the German Third Reich. One only need read Mein Kampf to see the extent of his Biblical beliefs. The German populace knew well about Hitler's book and it became a best-seller second only to the Bible. Furthermore, Hitler expressed his Christian feelings even more intensely in his speeches and proclamations throughout his power reign.
Although some might counter that Hitler's admission to Christianity, by itself, does not make one a Christian, how else can an individual convey to another his religion except from their own confession? One of the tenants of Christian belief, indeed the definition of a Christian, comes from the Pauline epistiles in regards to faith in Jesus:
Paul, by declaring faith in Jesus over law, effectively separated Christianity from Judaism. It came from these Pauline declarations that first defined Christianity. Belief in Jesus serves as the only requirement for membership into the Christian community. Christianity does not require adhering to Old Testament laws or membership to any Church or abstaining from evil deeds. One need only have faith in Jesus for its justification, period.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
- To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
- -Romans 3:26-28
- Although Hitler did not attend church regularly and later criticized the Church for their rejection of his reformation of a unified German Church, at no time did Hitler criticize God or Jesus. He always maintained an honor and belief in Jesus. This alone put him as a Christian believer. But Hitler went beyond just belief in Jesus; he devoted his entire political life to deeds aimed at creating a race of people in the pure image of God.
- Some claim that Hitler lied when promoting religion, for political reasons (without citing a shred of evidence), but nothing in the historical record indicates this, nor would there appear any reason for him to do so. Even if he lied in Mein Kampf, why would he continue to consider himself a Christian after he held absolute German power? Why spend so much valuable resources to rid Germany of Jews if not from some profound justification? Hate of Jews alone cannot explain it. The hate must stem from some source and the historical record shows that anti-Judaism had long lived in the minds of Christians ever since Paul separated his community of believers from the law and people of Judaism.
Just as revealingly, not only did Hitler present his religious beliefs in his speeches, but his own private notes reveal the influence of the Bible, long before he came into power. In one of his notes, he describes the Bible as the monumental history of mankind and used the old testament race laws as the foundation for his views against the Jews, which later turned into the Nazi Nuremberg race laws [Maser, p.282]
Many Christians have attempted to destroy Hitler's claimed Christianity by pointing out that his actions did not appear Christian-like (whatever that means). Therefore, so the hypothesis goes, no "true" Christian would cause "evil" deeds. But again, the Bible does not define Christianity in terms of deeds regardless of how good or evil they seem. Yet it came through his very deeds that Hitler confessed his work for the Lord:
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.
-Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Hitler's work of the Lord only agrees with Biblical scripture:
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Hitler not only believed in Jesus (which alone made him a Christian) but his work against the Jews came straight from Christian theological reasoning just as had many Christian saints of the past. His Christian expressions of "Lord God," "Living Christ," and "Lord and Savior" indicates his acknowledgement of Jesus as God and his acceptance of a resurrected Christ (for what else can "Living" and "Savior" mean except from a resurrected state?). Hitler also believed in the supernatural concept of life after death. In Mein Kampf he wrote, "a religion in the Aryan sense cannot be imagined which lacks the conviction of survival after death in some form."
Another indication of Hitler's beliefs about religion comes from his private library of numerous books. Although most of Hitler's books came as gifts from writers and publishers, those where he penciled and underlined sections reveal, not only the books that he read, but also those that he commented on and had an interest in. Timothy W. Ryback, who examined Hitler's books, found more than 130 books devoted to spirituality and religion including the teachings of Jesus Christ. Some of the titles included, Sunday Meditations; On Prayer; A Primer for Religious Questions, Large and Small; Large Truths About Mankind, the World and God; a German translation of E. Stanley Jones's 1931 best seller, The Christ of the Mount; and a 500-page work on the life and teachings of Jesus, published in 1935 under the title The Son: The Evangelical Sources and Pronouncements of Jesus of Nazareth in Their Original Form and With the Jewish Influences. Ryback also found a leather-bound tome -- with WORTE CHRISTI, or "Words of Christ," embossed in gold on the cover -- According to Ryback, it "was well worn, the silky, supple leather peeling upward in gentle curls along the edges. Human hands had obviously spent a lot of time with this book.... I scanned the book for marginalia that might suggest a close study of the text. A white-silk bookmark, preserved in its original perfection between pages 22 and 23 (only the portion exposed to the air had deteriorated), lay across a description of the Last Supper as related by Saint John. A series of pages that followed contained only a single aphorism each: 'Believe in God' (page 31), 'Have no fear, just believe' (page 52), 'If you believe, anything is possible' (page 53), and so on, all the way to page 95, which offers the solemn wisdom 'Many are called but few are chosen.'" [Ryback]
After reading Hitler's book and his speeches, one cannot help but realize that Hitler believed in fate and the guiding hand of Providence. Like many powerful religious people, he thought of himself as a sort of messiah, chosen by God. In 1943, while the war still raged on, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA) commissioned the psychoanalyst, Walter Langer, to develop a "psychological profile" of Adolf Hitler. Langer looked at all the, then, available material about Hitler, including Mein Kampf, his speeches, and interviews with former Hitler associates. Langer concluded:
A survey of all the evidence forces us to conclude that Hitler believes himself destined to become an Immortal Hitler, chosen by God to be the New Deliverer of Germany and the Founder of a new social order for the world. He firmly believes this and is certain that in spite of all the trials and tribulations through which he must pass he will finally attain that goal. The one condition is that he follow the dictates of the inner voice that have guided and protected him in the past.
Langer hypothesized the most likely scenario if Hitler faced defeat where, in a "prescient moment," Hitler's belief in divine protection would compel him to fight to the bitter end, "drag[ging] a world with us -- a world in flames," and ultimately, he would take his own life. [Ryback]
Fortunately Hitler did not drag us with him in a world of flames but Langer pegged Hitler's profile.
Puzzling as it may seem, some Christians want to see a suicidal Hitler as "evidence" for his alleged apostasy because, according to Catholic doctrine, the act of suicide results in "mortal sin." But these same accusers don't seem to realize that Hitler's suicide occurred well after his preemptive war and the Jewish holocaust. Ironically by using the mortal-sin argument, they have placed Hitler into Christianity as a pre-Christian, the very Christianized Hitler that did the damage in the first place! Of course none of this matters because, according to Christian beliefs (Protestant or Catholic), regardless of how sinful one lives, sin alone cannot excuse a person from Christianity, even though it may keep you from Heaven (whatever that means).
Unfortunately, either through ignorance, subterfuge or sheer self-deceit, modern Christians will adhere to anything to escape a religious Hitler. Christians love to point out that Hitler imprisoned priests and nuns, some of them dying in concentration camps; therefore he must have had anti-Christian feelings, so the reasoning goes. But the Nazis imprisoned people of many faiths, including a few Nazis who stood in Hitler's way. But the Nazis condemned these people for their political views against the NSDAP government, never for their Christian religious beliefs.
Although Hitler may have deluded and blinded himself by belief, he appeared brutally honest in his fanaticism and beliefs. Nowhere do we find him denouncing Jesus; nothing in the record shows him expressing hatred toward Christians for their beliefs; not at anytime does he destroy Christian churches or attempt to eliminate the Christian religion. Even though Hitler had political problems with the hierarchy of the churches, he spent inordinate amount of time attempting to unite the Churches into one German Reich Church and spoke for establishing what he called real Christianity. His reach for uniting Christianity brought conflict within the denominations and created political divisions. It came from this that Hitler sometimes spoke against Christianity as a power structure, but never against Christianity as a belief system. (Note that many prominent Christians, throughout history, had spoken against their own religions, or other competing Christian religions). Although the historical record does show that, along with Jews and gypsies, a number of Christians did die in extermination camps, these death sentences resulted from their political views against Nazism, not because of their religion, faith in God, or because Hitler hated Christians. His religious reasoning for killing people aimed at Jews, not Christians and this included Jews who converted to Christianity.
If imprisoning or killing Christians constituted a condition for determining anti-Christianity, then we would have to consider virtually all governments or leaders of society who called for death sentences against Christians, as anti-Christian as well. Note that the majority of criminals in U.S. prisons, as well as those we execute, live and die as Christians. Does that make our prosecutors anti-Christian? Should we consider George W. Bush anti-Christian just because his Texas agenda for the death penalty put many Christian criminals to death? Of course not, and neither can one use this reasoning as an argument against Hitler's Christianity. If, indeed, Hitler imprisoned priests or Christians for religious reasons, then where does this evidence exist? What proclamation or religious belief does Hitler cite to justify this hearsay belief?
Hitler makes his position clearly known about priests violating state concerns when he said:
So long as they concern themselves with their religious problems the State does not concern itself with them. But so soon as they attempt by any means whatsoever-- by letters, Encyclica, or otherwise-- to arrogate to themselves rights which belong to the State alone we shall force them back into their proper spiritual, pastoral activity.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered in Berlin on the May Day festival, 1937 [Baynes]
Hitler fully realized that his political enemies were making accusations against him and although he didn't have to, he explicitly makes his position known about his feelings for religion:
Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany in the so called democracies is the charge that the National Socialist State is hostile to religion. In answer to that charge I should like to make before the German people the following solemn declaration:
1. No one in Germany has in the past been persecuted because of his religious views (Einstellung), nor will anyone in the future be so persecuted....
The Churches are the greatest landed proprietors after the State... Further, the Church in the National Socialist State is in many ways favoured in regard to taxation, and for gifts, legacies, &c., it enjoys immunity from taxation.
It is therefore, to put mildly-- effrontery when especially foreign politicians make bold to speak of hostility to religion in the Third Reich....
I would allow myself only one question: what contributions during the same period have France, England, or the United States made through the State from the public funds?
3. The National Socialist State has not closed a church, nor has it prevented the holding of a religious service, nor has it ever exercised any influence upon the form of a religious service. It has not exercised any pressure upon the doctrine nor on the profession of faith of any of the Confessions. In the National Socialist State anyone is free to seek his blessedness after his own fashion....
There are ten thousands and ten thousands of priests of all the Christian Confessions who perform their ecclesiastical duties just as well as or probably better than the political agitators without ever coming into conflict with the laws of the State....
This State has only once intervened in the internal regulation of the Churches, that is when I myself in 1933 endeavoured to unite the weak and divided Protestant Churches of the different States into one great and powerful Evangelical Church of the Reich. That attempt failed through the opposition of the bishops of some States; it was therefore abandoned. For it is in the last resort not our task to defend or even to strengthen the Evangelical Church through violence against its own representatives....
But on one point it is well that there should be no uncertainty: the German priest as servant of God we shall protect, the priest as political enemy of the German State we shall destroy.
-Adolf Hitler, a speech in the Reichstag on 30 Jan. 1939 [Baynes]
As for schools, it was a matter of utmost importance to the Catholic hierarchy, and agreed to by the Reich Concordat between the Nazis and the Vatican. Hitler went on in this chilling observation:
Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. from our point of view as representatives of the state, we need believing people. A dark cloud threatens from Poland. We have need of soldiers, believing solders. Believing solders are the most valuable ones. They give their all. Therefore we will maintain the confessional schools in order to train believing people through the schools, but this depends upon having truly believing teachers, not by chance Marxists who do not stand fully by their religious faith, as teachers.
-Hitler, [quoted from Helmreich, p.241]
Notice how Hitler spoke of the schools in the way Right Wing Christians do today in their attempt to take control of public and private schools.
Although there did occur secret anti-Church actions carried out (mostly by Bormann and Roesnburg), such as requiring the resignations of the priests from the party, but when Hitler found out about this, Hitler ruled that forced resignations and expulsions of the clergy from the party should stop. Hitler himself ordered his chief associates, Göring and Goebbels to retain their church membership as did he too remain a member until his death.
Although Hitler officially held Catholic status, his actual religious views resembled that of Protestantism. He rejected many of the political Catholic teachings and moved toward a Protestant view of Christianity. After all, Germany gave birth to Protestantism which reflected a more Aryan view compatible to Hitler's "positive" view of Christianity. Hitler had confessed to Albert Speer, "Through me the Protestant Church could become the established church, as in England." [from Richard Steigmann-Gall's The Holy Reich] This Protestant view, no doubt, gave fuel to the modern (and ignorant) idea that Hitler opposed Christianity. Of course Catholics had, up to that time, always opposed Protestantism as a form of True Christianity, but they never accused Hitler of Christian apostasy. Today, however, the Catholic propaganda uses Hitler's favoritism toward Protestantism as a bases to make him look anti-Christian (while never mentioning his Protestant views) when in reality Hitler opposed political Catholicism when it conflicted with the Nazi state.
If you doubt the sincerity of non-Christians to make claims about Hitler's belief in God, or from Hitler himself, then on whose authority could you possibly derive the evidence? I submit that the majority of believing German Christians believed wholeheartedly in Hitler's sincerity toward God. If one cannot take the word from fellow believers, the what does that say about Christian beliefs? Moreover, Catholic and Protestant leaders felt convinced of Hitler's belief. As an example, the Catholic Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich visited Hitler at his mountain retreat at Obersalzburg in November 1936. Faulhaber observed:
Without doubt the chancellor lives in faith in God. He recognizes Christianity as the foundation of Western culture.
-Cardinal Faulhaber [quoted from Helmreich, p.279]
And if you think that the Church hierarchy did not feel convinced of Hitler's belief in God and Christianity, then why oh why would Pope Pius XII in 1939 instruct Cardinal Bertram to send a birthday message to Hitler: "warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany" which was added, "fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars."? These greetings became a tradition and were sent every April 20th.
If you cannot take the word of Hitler's own words in his claim of Christianity, or contemporary Christian believers, or bishops, or cardinals or Popes, then what other Christian authority could you possibly turn to?
The rest of the following text aims to show that, not only did Hitler's actions compare with the actions of the alleged Jesus, but that his deeds appeared similar to God-like actions in the Bible. Indeed Hitler's beliefs and deeds resemble the actions of many acknowledged prominent Christians of the past and present. The comparisons to God and Jesus come from the Bible and the comparison to past Christian deeds, comes from the history of Christians themselves.
Comparing Hitler to the Biblical God
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in main that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Hitler had familiarity with this verse and saw God as his aid to his German Reich when he said:
Except the Lord built the house they labour in vain.... The truth of that text was proved if one looks at the house of which the foundations were laid in 1918 and which since then has been in building.... The world will not help, the people must help itself. Its own strength is the source of life. That strength the Almighty has given us to use; that in it and through it we may wage the battle of our life.... The others in the past years have not had the blessing of the Almighty-- of Him Who in the last resort, whatever man may do, holds in His hands the final decision. Lord God, let us never hesitate or play the coward, let us never forget the duty which we have taken upon us.... We are all proud that through God's powerful aid we have become once more true Germans.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech in March 1933 [Baynes]
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...
Hitler took this Biblical belief to heart; he held justification for a superior race on the foundation of his belief that man should fit God's image:
A folkish state must therefore begin by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Genesis Chapter 3 speaks of the expulsion from paradise and Hitler takes notice of this:
...the fall of man in paradise has always been followed by his expulsion.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
With a belief in the dilution of the races, Hitler prophesied that if no one did anything about the purification of the races, the image of God would decrease:
But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to profane the Almighty.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Hitler's Biblical beliefs shows clearly where he got the notion for offensive action:
...the world has no reason for fighting in our defense, and as a matter of principle God does not make cowardly nations free...
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Of course we well know that Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews but how many Christians realize that his main justification aimed to protect the image of the Lord?
Certainly we don't have to discuss these matters with the Jews, the most modern inventors of this cultural perfume. Their whole existence is an embodied protest against the aesthetics of the Lord's image.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Although no archeological evidence exists for the Biblical slaughter of first-borns, Hitler actions compare with the Lord's atrocities reported in the Bible. Through eugenics, Hitler killed tens of thousands of children whom he felt did not deserve to live. Not only did first-borns get exterminated, but mid and later-borns as well.
Note that German eugenics did not originate with Hitler. Rather the idea of eugenics as a moral necessity began in the 1920s by theologians who advocated eugenics legislation. Moreover, many German Protestants felt comfortable with the racialist precepts that underlay Nazi eugenicism. This fit in with their belief of physical abnormality as an index of sin, a sign of moral and social degeneration. The Austrian born Hitler simply incorporated the idea that existed within Austrian-German Christians for years. Fully half of all victims of the Nazi's euthanasia action came from church institutions. [Steigmann-Gall]
The LORD is a man of war. . .
Hitler, also a man of war, caused World War II by himself.
And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.
Hitler took cities as well as countries. Although he did not destroy all the people of every city, his actions resulted in death to many men, women and children.
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
-I Samuel 15:3
Hitler attempted to utterly destroy the Jews and all that they had and had millions of men, women, and infants executed. As for animals, Hitler had far more compassion than the Biblical God; he felt kindness for animals.
(Note: In no sense do I mean that Hitler fulfilled any prophesy, mind you, but rather that Hitler's actions remained consistent with the actions of the alleged God described in the Bible.)
Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
Through Hitler's orders, millions of people (them) got burned in incinerators and cast into pits.
I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Hitler created peace when it suited him and created death and destruction when it fit his needs, which by Christian standards means "evil." Hitler did all these things in similar God-like actions reported in the Bible.
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
Hitler appealed to the German populace, building up their military might, and prepared them them for war:
Their sword will become our plow, and from the tears of war the daily bread of future generations will grow.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Nuremberg Race Laws
It should also enlighten one to realize that the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, signed by Hitler, and according to Julius Streicher, got based on the Old Testament laws forbidding marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
These race laws forbade marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of Germany and that Marriages between Jews and Germans became invalid. Even extramarital intercourse between Jews and German citizens, or related blood got deemed illegal. These laws began the elimination of Jews from Germany which later escalated into a holocaust.
During the trials against Nazi war criminals, Julius Streicher admitted that he influenced the racial laws and said the following:
I have written such articles again and again; and in my articles I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that the Jews should serve as an example to every race, for they created the racial law for themselves-- the law of Moses, which says, 'If you come into a foreign land you shall not take unto yourself foreign women.' And that, Gentlemen, is of tremendous importance in judging the Nuremberg Laws.. These laws of the Jews were taken as a model for these laws. When after centuries, the Jewish lawgiver Ezra demonstrated that notwithstanding many Jews had married non-Jewish women, these marriages were dissolved. That was the beginning of Jewry which, because it introduced these racial laws, has survived throughout the centuries, while all other races and civilizations have perished.
- -Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945, Vol. 12)
If anyone doubts the Biblical laws against marriage, one need only read: Genesis 28:1, 6; Deuteronomy 7:1-3; Leviticus 20: 2, 26; Ezra 9:1-2, 12; Nehemiah 13: 23-30.
A few of the Ezra verses that Streicher refers to, read as follows:
Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even the Cannaanites, the Hitites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
- For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. (Ezra 9:1,:2)
- And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken they commandments. Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. (Ezra 9:10-12)
We know that the Bible influenced Hitler's views on race laws because Hitler says so in his own private notes. In one of these notes, Hitler included his religious views of race laws under the outline of The Bible-- Monumental History of Mankind. (see the transcript by clicking here).
Given this frightening information, it should come to no surprise why Christians and even Jews, for fear of condemning their own religion, had not mentioned this embarrassing revelation in their defense against Nazism.
Comparing Hitler to the Biblical Jesus
Hitler with Whip
My feelings 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 for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in 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 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.... 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 to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.
--Adolf Hitler, in his speech on 12 April 1922
Hitler not only believed he did the Lords work, but he thought of himself as a sort of saviour of Germany, and emulated Jesus of the New Testament. His friend Dietrich Eckart told of overhearing Hitler showing off to a lady by denouncing Berlin in extravagant terms: ". . . the luxury, the perversion, the iniquity, the wanton display and the Jewish materialism disgusted me so thoroughly that I was almost beside myself. I nearly imagined myself to be Jesus Christ when he came to his Father's Temple and found the money changers." Eckart described Hitler as "brandishing his whip and exclaimed that it was his mission to descend upon the capital like a Christ and scourge the corrupt." [Toland p. 143]
(See John 2:14-15 where Jesus drove out the moneychangers with a "scourge of small cords" [a whip]).
The following examples show further how Hitler compared with Jesus of the Bible.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
-Jesus in Matthew 10:34
Who can deny that Hitler also did not send peace on earth? Through the sword of his speeches and commands, he created the most destructive war in human history to this date.
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
-Jesus in Luke 12:51
Hitler not only divided countries on earth, but divided Jewish families, many times setting family members against each other.
If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
-Jesus in John 18:36 [NRSV]
Of course Hitler lived in this world and, indeed, his followers fought for him against the Jews.
On the 4th of June, 1922, as Hitler entered Stadelheim prison for inciting a riot, he compared himself with Jesus when he told his followers:
Two thosand years ago the mob of Jerusalem dragged a man to execution in just this way. [Toland, p.115]
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Hitler took Jesus to heart when he said:
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded 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 for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, 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 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.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 [Baynes]
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
-Jesus in Mark 13:7-8
Although Hitler did not take it to such Biblical extremes, He certainly did not appear troubled by war. He considered war a necessity (needs be) to save Germany for his future Reich.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
-Jesus in Luke 19:27
Anyone not conforming to political desires of Hitler would either get executed or imprisoned.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
-Jesus in Revelation 2:23
Hitler killed the children of other faiths (her children), especially of the Jewish religion during the 20th century holocaust.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Many of Hitler's followers thought that his "Third Reich" would last a thousand years, and in the autumn of 1941, at Wolfsschanze, Hitler said:
I am Fuhrer of a Reich that will last for a thousand years to come. No power can shake the German Reich now. Divine Providence has willed it that I carry the fulfillment of a Germanic task.
In an interview with Richard Breiting, Hitler said:
We judge by the spiritual energy which a people is capable of putting forth, which will enable it in ten years to recapture what it has lost in a thousand years of warfare. I intend to set up a thousand-year Reich and anyone who supports me in this battle is a fellow-fighter for a unique spiritual-- I would almost say divine-- creation.
Adolf Hilter, June 1931, [Calic]
For Jesus himself testified , that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
And Hitler wrote:
...that is why the prophet seldom has any honor in his own country.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth.
-Jesus in Matthew 6:3
First, therefore, he goes about making up to the people for his previous sins against them. He begins his career as the 'benefactor' of mankind. Since his new benevolence has a practical foundation, that the left hand should not know what the right hand giveth; no, whether he likes it or not, he must reconcile himself to letting as many people as possible know how deeply he feels the sufferings of the masses and all the sacrifices that he himself is making to combat them.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
In the last days of the war, Hitler realized that the end would come. Many of his generals betrayed him and he committed suicide.
Comparing Hitler to Christians
Although many Christians may want to deny it, there simply occurs no way to honestly avoid the destructive actions by Christians throughout the history of Christianity. Not only did many prominent Christians perform or condone atrocities, but the established Christian denominations supported wars, inquisitions, and exterminations of other faiths and even heretical sects of their own religion. Adolf Hitler simply acted as one of many along a long line of Christians who used his beliefs as a foundation for his actions.
Hitler grew up in the anti-Semitic Austrian/German Catholic culture of his time. A priest baptized him. He got educated in a Catholic monastery under the schooling of Padre Bernhard Groner. On the way to the monastery, Hitler had to pass by a stone arch which had a carved monastery's coat of arms which included a swastika (which some speculate gave him the inspiration for the Nazi cross). He attended the choir. He attended religious services and festivals. An abbot became his idol and he hoped to join the Church as a priest. As a child he used to wear a kitchen apron pretending himself a priest giving sermons. In 1904 Hitler got confirmed at the Linz Cathedral. [Toland] As he grew older, other Christians influenced him, Catholic and Protestant alike. He always paid his church taxes on time. He remained a member in good standing of the Church of Rome until his death. And in 1941 Hitler said:
"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
Although Hitler had a strong Catholic childhood, he slowly became more Protestant-like as he grew older. He read evangelist literature and he greatly admired Martin Luther (a Jew hater). Many of his actions fulfilled what Luther desired in his book "On the Jews and their lies" (1543). It appears clear from Hitler's own writings that his anti-Semitism came directly from the community of Christians:
I was not in agreement with the sharp anti-Semitic tone, but from time to time I read arguments which gave me some food for thought. At all events, these occasions slowly made me acquainted with the man and the movement, which in those days guided Vienna's destinies: Dr. Karl Lueger and the Christian Social Party.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
How many of my basic principles were upset by this change in my attitude toward the Christian Social movement! My views with regard to anti-Semitism thus succumbed to the passage of time, and this was my greatest transformation of all.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
And we know that were the great German reformer [Martin Luther] with us to-day he would rejoice to be freed from the necessity of his own time and, like Ulrich von Hutten, his last prayer would be not for the Churches of the separate States: it would be of Germany that he would think and of the Evangelical Church of Germany.
-Adolf Hitler, in his Proclamation at the Parteitag at Nuremberg on 5 Sept. 1934 [Baynes]
Throughout the history of Christianity, priests and religious leaders have excommunicated those who desecrated the image of the Lord. Hitler appears just like a medieval priest when he wrote:
Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Note how the following reads like many Religious Right sermons of today:
Parallel to the training of the body a struggle against the poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth... Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political, and cultural idea.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Many Religious Right rail against liberals and far right groups such as the KKK use Jews and liberalism as a sword for their holy cause. Notice how Hitler appears like a Christian extremist here:
But even more: all at once the Jew also becomes liberal and begins to rave about the necessary progress of mankind.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Just as many preachers today speak against the unfaithful, Hitler fought against atheism and felt convinced that people require faith:
We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933 [Baynes]
Most Christians rail against occultism and mystical thinking. So did Hitler:
We will not allow mystically-minded occult folk with a passion for exploring the secrets of the world beyond to steal into our Movement. . .
-Adolf Hitler, in Nuremberg on 6 Sept. 1938 [Baynes]
Hitler even defines Christianity in his own terms, just as many Christians do today in opposing communism, atheism, degeneracy and crime in what he calls "real" Christianity:
National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary it stands on the ground of a real Christianity....
For their interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life... These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles!
-Adolf Hitler, in his speech at Koblenz, to the Germans of the Saar, 26 Aug. 1934 [Baynes]
Politically, Hitler acted from a dictatorial stance to enforce what he called "positive Christianity." The original twenty-five point party program, a Constitution of the Nazi party, included a demand for liberty "for all religious denominations in the State" and that it stood for "positive Christianity." Hitler insisted and declared the twenty-five points as unalterable [Toland p. 218] (in spite of the anti-Catholic feelings of Martin Bormann). Hitler got his way.
Hitler stressed the importance of a strong, well-organized Evangelical church which would work in close cooperation with the state. He conceived of creating one large united Protestant church to stand parallel to the Catholic Church. And to the Catholics, Hitler wanted their freedom of spiritual and educational power, as long as they did not come in conflict with the political will of the government. Thus, the Nazis and the Vatican worked for an agreement, conducted by Eugenio Pacelli (who became Pope Pius XII in 1939). On July 20, 1933, the Nazis and the Vatican singed the Reich Concordat, establishing the freedom and power of the Catholic Church in Germany.
If anyone has doubts as to the support of the German Churches for Hitler, one need only to examine the respects paid to him during his birthday by Church leaders throughout Germany and the Vatican. For example, Pope Pius XII initiated the celebration of Hitler every April 20, whereby Hitler received a message stating: "warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany with "fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars."
Hitler once celebrated Christmas in a speech which asserted his Christian feelings: "Christ," he said, "was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews." Hitler thought of himself prescribed by Providence when he said, "The work of Christ started but could not finish, I-- Adolf Hitler-- will conclude." [Toland p.222]
[Note that the Mischling regulation saved Jesus from being Jewish, who by Hitler's argument, being the son of God, had but two Jewish grandparents; neither did he practice the Jewish religion (as he saw it), nor did he marry a Jew.]
Like military leaders of the past and present, Hitler thought of God as on his side. On January 1, 1932, Hitler told a Munich audience that God was on his side in the battle for a better world. [Toland p.260]
According to Toland, "The born and bred Catholic Hitler rebuilt his SS on Jesuit principles by assiduously copying "the service statutes and spiritual exercises presented by Ignatius Loyola." [Toland p. 760]
When the Law Against Overcrowding of German Schools reduced the number of Jews in higher institutions, Hitler defended his action by reminding the priests that the Church had banished Jews into ghettos and forbidden Christians to work with them. Hitler only did more effectively what the Church of Rome had attempted to do for many centuries. [Toland p. 311] Note the Church of Rome not only condoned Hitler but blessed him as well! Pope Pius XII subscribed to the same principles as Hitler and proved by a concordat signed between the Vatican and Hitler. The Vatican felt so appreciative of the recognition as a full partner that it asked God to bless the Reich. There followed an order for German bishops to swear allegiance to the National Socialist (Nazi) regime. The oath went as follows: "In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interest of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it."
Hitler campaigned to convince the German people to back his withdrawal from the League of Nations. The Church gave enthusiastic support. Every bishop approved as well as did Cardinal Faulhaber. [Toland p. 320]
During Hitler's re-education program, deification of Hitler showed itself though a required invocation recited by the children of Cologne:
- 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.
- Abide thou long with me, forsake me not,
- Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith and my light!
- Heil, my Fuhrer! [Toland p. 404]
When Hitler survived a bomb assassination attempt, instead of feeling depressed, he felt ecstasy, repeating over and over, "Think of it. Nothing happened to me. Just think of it. . ." He thought of himself as fated by Providence. On July 20, 1944, he remarked that it "only confirmed the conviction that Almighty God has called me to lead the German people-- not to final defeat but to victory." [Toland p. 799]
His mistress and later, his wife, Eva Braun, who decided to commit suicide with Hitler came from the product of a convent and had faith in God. In many of her letters she appealed to God and prayed for Hitler. [Toland p. 236, 377]
Note, I could have given examples of Hitler's more conventional thoughts of Christian actions which include sacrifice and giving to others, but the intent here aims to show that Christian theology and expression goes far beyond just the kinder and gentler kind. For example, in Hitler's Winter Help program he spoke of the spirit of Christian giving:
If positive Christianity means... the clothing of the poor, the feeding of the hungry... then it is we ware are the more positive Christian. For in these spheres the people's community of National Socialist Germany has accomplished prodigious work.
-Adolf Hitler, speaking to an assembly of Alte Kampfer in Munich, 26 Feb. 1939, [from Richard Steigmann-Gall's The Holy Reich]
But as we now know, Hitler expressed the worst elements of Christian expression along with the good but it goes to the worst that needs addressing.
Humanitarian acts alone cannot cannot support Christian identity
If any Christian for one moment attempts to support Christianity through example from humane actions by Christians, then I submit that the same reasoning could apply toward a support of Nazism as well.
Virtually any Christian who argues against Nazism but supports Christianity usually trots out examples of humanitarian acts by unselfish Christians who opposed Hitler and saved Jews from extermination. But, sadly, there exists only meager examples to choose from. The unfortunate truth reveals that most Catholic and Protestant institutions as well as mainstream Christians in Germany, not only supported Hitler but held antisemitic beliefs as well. In fact, of the few who opposed Nazism, the majority of them opposed it not for humanitarian or religious reasons but for political and power control reasons. In any case, I submit that it appears just as dishonest to support Christianity through its few examples of humanitarism than to support Nazism from its few examples.
For example, people well know that Oskar Schindler spent a fortune to save twelve hundred Jews from the Auschwitz gas chambers. John Rabe in the 1930s saved many Chinese from slaughter from Japanese soldiers in the rape of Nanking even though Germany aligned itself with Japan more than it did with China. Schindler held membership in the Nazi party and Rabe acted as the leader of the Nazi Party in Nanking China [Chang].
If we take the very few Christians who saved lives as examples for the support the Christian faith, then should we not also take humanitarian acts by a few Nazis as support for Nazism? Why not? In fact, there live many Neo-Nazis today who wish to bring back the ideas of Hitler's idealism. Many of them declare that the Jewish holocaust either never occurred or that the Jews concocted the math to make it appear more atrocious than it "really" happened.
Of course, appealing to transient acts of kindness by itself cannot support Christianity or Nazism. Most Christians see clearly the problems with Nazism, but unfortunately they use similar mental barriers to shield themselves from the problems of Christian belief.
Moreover, one's humanitarian or inhuman actions have little to do with the historical definition of Christianity. As stated above, Paul established Christianity by faith alone. And from the earliest 1st century priests, faith alone served as the bases for defining one's Christianity. As an example, Clement wrote, "We are justified not by our own works, but by faith."
Through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
-Clement (The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chap. XXXII)
At best, one's works can only show the parallel and consistency to one's faith, and in this, Hitler showed a pattern of actions in agreement with his faith and with the horrific works of past faithful Christians.
Violence does not exclude one from Christianity (doctrine of sin)
Christians who try to deny Hitler's Christianity tend to argue with a fallacious syllogism that goes something like:
Christians don't do bad things
Hitler did bad things,
Therefore he was not a Christian
If Hitler had never condemned the Jews, Christians today would most likely not question Hitler's Christianity. If Hitler had not started World War II, Christians would have no reason not to include him into their faith. And if Hitler had been a successful politician, Christians would loudly proclaim him as an example of a great Christian leader.
Of course virtually all Christians (and everyone else), do some bad things in their life. Although most Christians, indeed, do not adhere to violence and many do not view themsleves as political, non-violence or abstaining from political action by itself does not make one a Christian. One can also argue that most Nazis thought of themselves as peace loving and most did not kill Jews, but non-violence never excluded one from the Nazi party, nor does it supply any fuel for supporting Nazism. Similarly, neither can one defend Christianity on the grounds of non-violence, nor can one deny a person's Christianhood simply because that person did bad things.
Most soldiers never go into battle but that does not make them any less a soldier. And one must apply the same logic to leaders who opt for war, including those who create holocausts. Hitler and the Nazis may have acted uniquely in their destruction, but they acted according to their beliefs, just as the majority of believers do today.
Interestingly, most German Christians supported Hitler before and during the war. They felt empathy for him and loved him, sometimes, in messiah-like fashion. (There even exist news reels showing Hitler giving a laying-on-of-hands, Jesus-like, to his admiring German audience.) Although the German citizens may not have desired to kill their enemies themselves, they felt perfectly willing to support others to do the killing for Germany.
Even in the United States today, most Christians support a strong military and (as has been shown in the Gulf wars) will willingly condone the killing of others through "legal" war. Religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Billy Graham, et al, preach the need to defend the Christian faith through war if necessary, and will even condone the "unfortunate but sometimes necessary" deaths of innocents.
Clearly, violence, nor non-violence cannot determine a Christian from a non-Christian. Many freethinkers and atheists, for example, live peacefully, but that does not make them, in any sense, a Christian or even Christian-like.
Moreover, the Christian use of the doctrine of sin prevents any meaningful argument against ousting one's claimed Christianhood, regardless of how atrocious the crime. According to Christian interpretation, ever since Adam's fall, all humans live in a 'state of corruption.' Thus all people, including all Christians commit sin. No one in Christian theology makes the claim that Christians subsist in levels of degrees of Christianity depending on how sinless or sinful one lives. Any person, regardless of how much misery he or she has caused in the world, can achieve Christianhood along with an alleged redemption right up to the last second of his or her death. Belief alone determines one's Christianity, not how one acts. However odd it may seem, any conscious human who has the neurological makeup that maps into a belief in God & Jesus, determines his ownership into this belief system.
Clearly, the common denominator for any Christian comes from a self identification to Christianity through belief and faith, and this alone can only come from personal confession. Only from the use of religious language, spoken or written with an apparent honesty, can anyone determine the identity of its believers. Hitler stated his position in clear words with an honesty that never contradicted his actions or his faith; his personal beliefs through his own words identified himself as a Christian.
What other group?
How strange that people who believe in a non-Christian Hitler never see the elephant standing in the room. Something must have caused Hitler's antisemitism and I submit an interesting question to ask: From what other group, religion, or ideology could Hitler have inherited his antisemitism? Of course Christianity provides the only answer.
In fact the very survival of Christian theology depended on distancing itself from Judaism. The history of Christian beliefs reveals an abundant practice of Jewish hatred throughout its long history of evolution. The ill feelings toward Jews lives in the very scriptural words that all Christians depend on: the New Testament. One cannot blame atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Communism, or any other group. Only Islam comes in at a distanced second place, but since Germany and Hitler had little relations with Islam, Islam could hardly have influenced the vicious attacks against the Jews as had Christianity in Germany. And you cannot blame Jewish hatred on social Darwinism or theories of racial discrimination because in the end, they lead right back to its Christian origins which existed long before Darwin or even modern science. Nor can one blame German antisemitism on the Nazis because Jewish hatred, again, existed long before the Nazis came into power.
Christianity stands alone as the only source from which Hitler, the Nazis and, indeed, the general population of Germany could have possibly cultivated a deep seated hatred for Jews. Both Catholicism and Protestantism contributed to the centuries of ill feelings for the Jewish people in general. Christians taught antisemitism in their schools. They taught it in their churches. They preached against the Jews in their sermons. And since Hitler and his Nazis incorporated this ugly silent tenet of Christian faith into their ideology, one cannot deny that this Christian belief lived in the very heart and minds of Hitler and the Nazis. When the Nazis acted against the Jews they acted through Christianity itself. And although the Nazis elevated the horror, it nevertheless stemmed from the very core of Christianity itself. Thus Nazi antisemitism and Christian antisemitism describe the very same thing.
Even if you have convinced yourself of the apostasy of Hitler, his words and ill-deeds against the Jews describe words and deeds inherited from from religious culture, which makes him, at the very least, a part of this religion, and that which screams the ownership of his criminal acts: Christianity.
We must not forget that Hitler's own contemporaries, the highest Protestant and Catholic leaders (including Popes and Bishops) thought of Hitler as a Christian. How can one sit here, decades from his history, and judge against Hitler's Christianity, when his own fellow Christians thought of him as a Christian?
We must also not forget that Hitler ruled the most devoutly Christian country in the world, a country that spawned Protestantism while still embracing Catholicism, a country where its Christian citizens and soldiers exterminated political enemies, gypsies, homosexuals, atheists, and six million Jews.
Not only did Hitler's atrocities remain consistent with God and Jesus' actions in the Bible, but his intransigent attitude parallels many of the fanatical beliefs of Right-wing conservatives of today. Hitler even used his faith in the same way as many mainstream American Christians. It appears clear from the history of Christianity that Hitler brought nothing new to Christianity, albeit he brought its violent nature to new heights.
Like the Biblical God, Hitler created war and destruction.
Similar to the Biblical laws against marrying outside one's group, the Nazi race laws outlawed Jews from marrying Aryan Germans as outlined in Hitler's private notes. Julius Streicher confessed that the race laws got based on Old Testament laws.
Like the Biblical Jesus, Hitler did not live for peace. He created many divisions among the people.
Like many Christians in the past and today, Hitler aimed to protect the image of the Lord.
Like Christian leaders of the past, Hitler wished to unite the churches. He fought for his beliefs using the Lord as his justification. He created intolerance, divisions, and hatred as have Christians of the past.
Hitler lived as a confessed Christian. His parents raised him as a Catholic and he spoke and prayed as a Christian. He believed that the Bible represented the history of mankind. Nothing in his rhetoric spoke against Christian faith. Although he did have a few Christian enemies, they posed a political danger, not a religious threat.
Hitler allowed the destruction of Jewish synagogues and Temples. But if for one moment you still harbor the thought that Hitler acted against Christ belief, then ask yourself why he never ordered the destruction of Catholic or Protestant churches? Why did he not prevent his Nazis from worshiping in Christian churches, but instead encouraged it? And why did he spend so much time in trying to strengthen and unite the Christian denominations into one Christian Reich Church?
Even acknowledging Hitler's most atrocious acts as sinful cannot exclude him from Christianity. Tenets of Christian belief allege that all people sin and only redemtion through faith in Jesus Christ can absolve them.
A Christian, therefore, can never use sin alone, regardless of how horrible or atrocious, as an argument against Hitler. Clearly, Hitler's own words reveal his Christian faith, and Christians must, by their own tenant and upheld by their Bible, not to judge others.
Under all possible conditions then, Hitler lived and acted as a Christian and anyone who does not think so can only redefine Christianity from their own ignorance and denial.
For those who have begun to acknowledge Hitler's Christianity, they might also see that Christianity itself does not create the root problem but rather that the foundations of any faith (reliance on hope and ignorance) creates a defense mechanism that must act to protect itself at all cost, including the slaughter of innocents if necessary. It can come just as well from any belief-set such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, communism, or from any of the Christian denominations. A fanatical believer who gains political control of destructive weapons cannot help but use these instruments to favor his religious and political inclinations. A belief-system that contains violent scripts such as Bibles, Korans or manifestos, can easily create similar intolerances that occurred in Germany in the 1930s. Hitler's faith, his Christian actions, the majority of Christian churches who supported him, his followers who believed in him, and the very Bible with its appeal to superstition, provides important examples of how beliefs can create dangers to society.
References (click on a book title highlighted in blue if you want it):
Baynes, Norman H., ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, Oxford University Press, 1942
Chang, Iris "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II," Basic Books, 1997
Cornwell, John, "Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII," Viking, 1999
Calic, Edouard, ed., "Secret Conversations with Hitler: The Two Newly-Discovered 1931 Interviews," The John Day Co., 1971
Helmreich, Ernst Christian "The German Churches Under Hitler," Wayne State University Press, 1979
Hitler, Adolf "Mein Kampf," translated by Ralph Manheim, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971
Goldhagen, Daniel Johah , "Hitler's Willing Executioners," Alfred A. Knoph, NY, 1996
Maser, Werner, (translated by Arnold Pomerans) "Hitler's Letters and Notes," Harper & Row, 1974
Ryback, Timothy W., "Hitler's Forgotten Library: The Man, His Books, and His Search for God"
Shirer, William L. "The Rise and Fall of the Thired Reich," Simon and Schuster, NY, 1960
Steigmann-Gall, Richard "The Holy Reich: Nazi conception of Christianity, 1919-1945," Cambridge University Press, 2003
Toldand, John , "Adolf Hitler," Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1976
For a few selected quotes from the above material, see:
Hitler's religious beliefs and fanaticism
The Christianity of Hitler revealed in his speeches and proclamations
Religion and The Holocaust: Was Hitler a Christian:
Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 -- 1 October 1946, Published at Nuremberg, Germany, 1947, Vol. 12
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