There is something to be said about not beating a dead horse. However, sometimes the horse is merely playing possum. Nazi propaganda is alive and well and there are certain atheists which are on the forefront of promulgating it in their anti-Christian zeal.
About.com advertizes itself as “Guidance. Not Guesswork,” “We’ll help you,” and seeks to do that via “750 experts here to help you…”
Moreover, their Reader Promises state, in part: “About.com works to exceed our users’ highest expectations. Each of our Guides makes the following promises to our audience:” with point 1. Being “We’ll provide you with accurate, engaging content. Like a friendly neighbor, we’ll give you frank advice that you can trust. [emphasis in original].”
Where then is the accountability? The standard? The rigor in guaranteeing accuracy?
Well, let us first view the information in question which is presented by one of About.com’s atheists in residence, as it where, named Austin Cline. In his article Adolf Hitler on God: Quotes from Adolf Hitler Expressing Belief & Faith in God which is subtitled, “Adolf Hitler had Faith in God that His Agenda was Divinely Ordained” Austin Cline writes:
If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God’s work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God.
As we go on I will reproduce the quotes by Hitler but I first wanted to deal with the issue in and of itself.
Note the premise of the entire article “If Adolf Hitler was an atheist…” I am personally prepared to argue that Hitler was not a Christian but I would not, outright, argue that he was an atheist. His ideas of “God” may have been diluted, and deluded, enough that he might as well have been an atheist. His worldview was certainly mechanistic and (at least softly) materialistic, he certainly held to a Darwinian view of life and progress (as we will see in the past segment of this essay). But he likely held to some idea of God as force which was expressed through Aryan/Norse/Pagan mythology and whose will was the purity of Aryan-Germans and the restoration of German to greatness (I detailed my opinion on this at this link). Although, Hitler’s biographer says of him and he is “a man who believed neither in God nor in conscience.”
It is actually regardless of the premise of whether Hitler was an atheist that articles such as Austin Cline’s demonstrate the fact that Nazi propaganda is still as alive and well as it ever was. Yet, it is not alive and well because it was so finely crafted but because there are people who still want to fall for it—they want to accept it and keep on popularizing it because it is self-servingly convenient to their polemic—to their anti-Christian prejudice.
Reductio ad Gottum
Let us delve into the reductio ad Gottum (“Gott” is German for “God”) and consider the argument which asserts that if Hitler referenced God then he must have been a theist and since he was baptized as a Roman Catholic he was a Christian theist influenced by the Bible and Jesus.
Now, what is the answer to the question, “If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God…?” If they only answer of which you can conceive is that Hitler was such a fine, upstanding and honest individual that he must have been telling the truth and if he said it he must have believed it, you are in danger of falling for the propaganda. And this is the power of the atheists who make such arguments; they believe what Hitler stated and urge others to do likewise. Do you really believe anything that anyone states? Did you not go on to wonder what Hitler meant by “God”? Who is this “God” to which he referred? What was Hitler’s specific theology? Etc.
Let us try this one out for size; I can prove that Charles Darwin was a Creationist, after all he wrote:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
Behold, Charles Darwin was a creationist (and Richard Dawkins would therefore refuse to debate him). Nay, it is well known that Charles Darwin wrote of the Creator in order to appease his wife and his society; something which he later regretted doing (see this link).
In fact, we could claim that Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, et al, are theists as they made various references to “God” (at least Hawking attends Christian church services regularly).
Joe Keysor notes:
Hitler also wrote of gods and goddesses proving, if all of his religious utterances are taken at face value, that he was a polytheist. “The gods” are referred to in Mein Kampf-“the manifestations of decay showed only that the gods had willed Austria’s destruction” [vol. I chapt. 3]-and there are references to goddesses as well: to the Goddess of Suffering [vol. I chapt. 2] and the Goddess of Destiny [vol. I chapt.S]. There is even a “goddess of eternal justice and inexorable retribution” which Hitler believed “caused Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the most mortal enemy of Austrian- Germanism, to fall by the bullets which he himself had helped to mold” [vol I chapt.1].There is also a Goddess of Peace and a God of War. More significantly, there are numerous references to Fate. For those unfamiliar with religion and philosophy, “Fate” is a non-Christian term referring not to the personal God of the Bible but to an impersonal force of unknown character. This should not have to be explained.
As a Christian apologist I wish to respond to the assertion that we apologists “only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God.” To reiterate, I do not claim that Hitler was an atheist and such claims give rise to deceptive article’s such as Austin Cline’s.
I will rephrase the assertion thusly, Christian apologist only seem to deny that Hitler was a Christian because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God. Firstly, I argue that Hitler was not a Christian for various reasons three of which are that, regardless of his words, his worldview was not Christian, he was virulently anti-Christian, and his actions were not Christian “you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16); see my essay Hitler the Christian? and Hitler the Anti-Christian!
Also, technically if the God of Christianity promulgates as one of His greatest commandments that we ought to love our neighbor and Hitler took it upon himself to murder 12,000,000 of his neighbors we may begin to suspect that, regardless of his words, he most certainly did not cause so much evil in the name of the Christian God. To affirm and promulgate that Hitler did so in the name of the Christian God is to grant Hitler an ability which he did not possess; the ability to change theology. Thus, Hitler could have claimed anything at all but if he did claim to murder 12,000,000 people in the name of the Christian God his actions were a non-sequitur from that God’s theology.
Understand that when someone claims to do unbiblical, in this case un-Christian, things such as murdering 12,000,000 people I, as a Christian, can condemn them in absolute terms by appealing to absolute standards. If, for example, an atheist sought to condemn atheist Communists for their hundreds of millions of murders, to what do they appeal? Nothing besides their borrowed Christina ethic whereby, via their personal preferences, they impotently argue from outrage. Someone claiming a Christian premise for their action who actually violates the Christian ethic violates that upon which their claim to a Christian premise is based in the first place. Someone claiming an atheistic, God-free, premise for their action never violates anything as it is impossible to violate something when there is nothing to violate.
Consider that Austin Cline provided 19 quotes of Hitler: 13 from Mein Kampf, 3 from speeches dated 1933 and 3 from speeches dated 1936. Hitler lived 1889-1945, published Mein Kampf in 1925-1926 and was in power 1933–1945.
From merely considering these dates we can readily discern why many atheists, such as Austin Cline, prefer to quote the early Hitler as the early Hitler, at least publicly, was not the same as the latter Hitler. The Hitler who is generally quoted is Hitler the consummate politician who is seeking to appeal to the general populous and is playing on their interests and heartstrings. The Hitler of the mid 1920s in Mein Kampf, the Hitler of 1933 when he first came to power was obviously seeking the approval and support of the hoi polloi.
Hitler – 1936
Let us go even as late as the Hitler of 1936 and consider the quote that Cline provided:
15. Adolf Hitler: Going Where God Wills
I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker. – Adolf Hitler, Speech, March 15, 1936, Munich, Germany
18. Adolf Hitler: Fighting for the Lord’s Work
I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work. – Adolf Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936
19. Adolf Hitler in Conversation with Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber
The Catholic Church should not deceive herself: if National Socialism does not succeed in defeating Bolshevism, then Church and Christianity in Europe too are finished. Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church as much as of Fascism. …Man cannot exist without belief in God. The soldier who for three and four days lies under intense bombardment needs a religious prop. – Adolf Hitler in conversation with Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, November 4, 1936
In the next segment we will consider each in turn.
 Joey Keysor, Hitler, the Holocaust and the Bible (Athanatos Publishing Group: pre-release review ed., 2009), p. 95
- About.com, Austin Cline, Adolf Hitler and the Continued Promulgation of Nazi Propaganda, part 2
- About.com, Austin Cline, Adolf Hitler and the Continued Promulgation of Nazi Propaganda, part 3
- About.com, Austin Cline, Adolf Hitler and the Continued Promulgation of Nazi Propaganda, part 4
- About.com, Austin Cline, Adolf Hitler and the Continued Promulgation of Nazi Propaganda, part 5