I must admit that I was a bit surprised when two young men came up to me after one of my recent “Evolution: The Religion of Death” breakout sessions and adamantly defended Darwin’s and Hitler’s Christianity. One of the guys had his smart phone at the ready and began reading off numerous quotes by both men that, at face value, would make either of them sound like a Christian. Although I had read a bit regarding how both men had Catholic roots, I found myself ill-equipped to refute the young man’s quotes with known facts. I talked about how Darwin had studied to be a country pastor because of encouragement from his father, and how he had turned against God after the death of his daughter. I think that regarding Hitler, I said something about “by their fruit you shall know them” and “even Satan and his demons can quote Scripture.” Afterward, I felt like a babbling idiot, except that God did give me the wisdom to bring the discussion back around to the boy’s own heart, before he had to run off to join his church group. And, I was able to hook him up with someone wiser than I, and they had a good two hour discussion later than evening. I heard that the talk went well and that the boy was appreciative of our willingness to spend time with him to discuss his concerns.
But, I hate it when I feel like I don’t know what I should know. I’m shamed by my ignorance. I thank my Dad for always telling me to “look it up.” He had a scientific mind and forever encouraged my brother and me to investigate and experiment. So, as soon as I could get to my computer, I began digging into Darwin’s and Hitler’s religious upbringing and sought out whatever I could find about their faith in later years. I thought I would share with you here what I discovered. Let’s begin with Hitler.
I found the quotes that my young friend read off to me, along with a few others, which makes it sound like Hitler was a devout Christian. Consider these:
“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.” from Mein Kampf
“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.” from a 1922 speech; This quote reveals either misunderstanding of the Scriptures or deliberate deceit on Hitler’s part.
In the above statements, Hitler refers to God as Creator and to Jesus as Lord and Savior. But, how well can we trust Hitler? We can glean an answer to that question from more of his statements. When you study the public man and the private man, you find that he was two-faced and hid his true self from the public. Consider this quote in which Hitler says he is dedicated to propaganda and how it is to be addressed to the emotions of the masses:
“To whom should propaganda be addressed? … It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses… The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses’ attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc….The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real… But since propaganda is not and cannot be the necessity in itself … its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect… its soundness is to be measured exclusively by its effective result”.
(Mein Kampf, Vol 1, Ch 6 and Ch 12)
Although the word “propaganda” is difficult to define, we can deduce from the rest of the statement that Hitler’s purpose in propaganda was to deceive the masses “so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real.”
Here are a couple of examples that point to how honest Hitler was:
“I think I can assure you that there is no one in Germany who will not with all his heart approve any honest attempt at an improvement of relations between Germany and France. My own feelings force me to take the same attitude… The German people has the solemn intention of living in peace and friendship with all civilized nations and powers… And I regard the maintenance of peace in Europe as especially desirable and at the same time secured…The young Germany, that is led by me and that finds its expression in the National Socialist Movement, has only the most heartfelt desire for an understanding with other European nations.”Letter, October 26, 1930. This from the man that started World War II!!
“Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany…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: No one in Germany has in the past been persecuted because of his religious views, nor will anyone in the future be so persecuted…” speech in the Reichstag on January 30, 1939. 10-17 million people died during the Holocaust, led by Adolf Hitler! Are you inclined to believe what Hitler said in public?
So, where do we look to find Hitler’s private thoughts and intentions? We have an excellent record of private conversations that were taken down in shorthand by his personal secretary and published in a book, Hitler’s Table Talk, in London, 1953. Hitler never allowed any type of mechanical recording of his private conversations, but was encouraged to always have a stenographer record him for posterity. Here are a couple of choice quotes from this collection:
“The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity….Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse….the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State.”
“The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.”
“Christianity is an invention of sick brains…. When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.”
Joseph Göebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda and one of Hitler’s closest associates wrote in his diary,
“The Fuhrer is deeply religious, but deeply anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race.” [Joseph Goebbels, 1939]
Those who would have us believe in Hitler’s Christianity, point out that he was raised in a Catholic home and baptized as a Catholic. Yet, according to a press release from Catholic League President, William A. Donohue (2/4/99):
“Hitler was a neo-pagan terrorist whose conscience was not informed by Christianity, but by pseudo-scientific racist philosophies. Hitler hated the Catholic Church, made plans to kill the Pope, authorized the murder of thousands of priests and nuns, and did everything he could to suppress the influence of the Church. In 1933, Hitler said, ‘It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood.’”
Even though Hitler may have never formally withdrawn from the Catholic Church, numerous sources state that the conference of German bishops excommunicated all Nazis in 1930 and in the 1932 elections forbade Catholics to vote for a Nazi. Hitler appointed Alfred Rosenberg, a virulent pagan, as Fuehrer’s Delegate for Spiritual and Ideological Training.
Historian Paul Johnson wrote that Hitler hated Christianity with a passion, adding that shortly after assuming power in 1933, Hitler told Hermann Rauschnig that he intended “to stamp out Christianity root and branch.”
The entire block quote below is from Infidels.org’s library:
Once Hitler had gained power, he began to see Christianity as a threat to the National Socialists’ domination of Germany. After 1935 his speeches and writings became more and more virulently anti-Christian; he argued that Christian worship was a sign of weakness, and that it should be replaced by reverence for the nation and the state, and of course for the National Socialist Party. However, he retained his belief in reincarnation, and his conviction that there was some supreme creative force whose will he was enacting.
The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity … The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.
I’ll make these damned parsons feel the power of the state in a way they would have never believed possible. For the moment, I am just keeping my eye upon them: if I ever have the slightest suspicion that they are getting dangerous, I will shoot the lot of them. This filthy reptile raises its head whenever there is a sign of weakness in the State, and therefore it must be stamped on. We have no sort of use for a fairy story invented by the Jews.
[Quoted from Hitler's "Table Talks" with Bormann, in Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Allan Bullock.]
I could go on, but these statements should suffice to reveal the real heart of Hitler toward Christianity. I will not flatly state that Hitler was an atheist, because other statements that he made seem to sound like he believed in “a god,” perhaps nature or the state. He spoke of “Providence” and fate. But, Hitler was definitely anti-Christian and sought to (if privately) distance himself and immunize himself against Christianity. He was a firm believer in propaganda and would proclaim himself a Christian with a Savior, when it benefited him, but Hitler’s private conversations revealed his true self.