From Zeitgeist to Poltergeist, Part 2 of 13

“The Fuhrer is deeply religious”
-Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

The Topics Covered in This Essay Are As Follows:
The Premise and the Narrow Argument
On Stalin, Hitler, Communism and Nazism

Actually, Goebbels stated:
“The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian.

“The Fuhrer is deeply religious”
-Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

The Topics Covered in This Essay Are As Follows:
The Premise and the Narrow Argument
On Stalin, Hitler, Communism and Nazism

Actually, Goebbels stated:
“The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian.
He views Christianity as a symptom of decay.
Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race.”[fn] Patrick J. Gallo, For Love and Country: The Italian Resistance (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003), p. 88[/fn]

The Premise and the Narrow Argument
Let us begin with Richard Dawkins’ premise:

“‘Hitler and Stalin were atheists. What have you got to say about that?’ The question comes up after just about every public lecture that I ever give on the subject of religion, and in most of my radio interviews as well. It is put in a truculent way, indignantly freighted with two assumptions: not only (1) were Stalin and Hitler atheists, but (2) they did their terrible deeds because they were atheists. Assumption (1) is true for Stalin and dubious for Hitler. But assumption (1) is irrelevant anyway, because assumption (2) is false. It is certainly illogical if it is thought to follow from (1).”[fn] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006), p. 272
[/fn]

We may take his word for it: that he is constantly and so very specifically asked about “Hitler” and “Stalin.” I would assume that he is asked about “Nazism” and “Communism” but that he chooses to base his response on “Hitler” and “Stalin.” This would allow him to side step the argument while giving the appearance of actually dealing with the issue. By responding to Stalin he can, or thinks that he can, quickly do away with him while utterly ignoring other atheist-Communist leaders such as Bolesław Bierut, Fidel Castro, Nicolae Ceausescu, Khorloogiin Choibalsan, Enver Hoxha, Vladimir Lenin, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Karl Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Robert Mugabe, Benito Mussolini[fn] One time Communist later Fascist who wrote in his Manifesto “The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.”
[/fn], Pol Pot (aka Saloth Sar), Nur Muhammad Taraki, Mao Zedong, the leaders of the Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) rebels, etc.
This amounts to Communism, in various forms such as Marxism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc., in Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, China, Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Hungary, Kampuchea-Cambodia, Latin America, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Spain, Tibet, USSR, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe, etc.

Although, there is no actual reason to doubt that he is often specifically asked about Hitler and Stalin. Framing the statement by mentioning Hitler and Stalin goes to show that the question aught to be framed as to make reference to their systems and the premises upon which they were established and not solely on the individuals.

On Stalin, Hitler, Communism and Nazism
Richard Dawkins’ dismissal of Stalin is summed up as follows,

“But there is no evidence that his atheism motivated his brutality_What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does.”[fn] Dawkins, p. 273
[/fn]

We may state that this is precisely accurate: there is not the smallest, there is the greatest-the greatest body count that the world has ever known. Later we will further comment on this issue and will be very generous to Richard Dawkins’ point. For now, let us note that if he is not careful his removal of the cause and effect between worldview and action he will prepare an easy street upon which religionists will likewise disassociate the evil done in the name of religion from the religion itself. This is actually already the case and can be readily acknowledged by anyone who is unwilling to fall into the logical fallacy of the ad hominem.

Personally, I never understood why some people claim that Hitler was an atheist. He was certainly not a Christian but I would not think that he was an atheist. Let us survey some further comments by Richard Dawkins and then we will make the point, based on Richard Dawkins’ own argumentation and as a thought experiment, that Hitler can most certainly be thought of as an atheist.

Richard Dawkins inserts another conveniently narrow argument within his overall argument in writing:

“the most comically audacious argument I have heard in favour of the proposition that Hitler must have been an atheist. Paraphrasing from many sources, Hitler was a bad man, Christianity teaches goodness, therefore Hitler can’t have been a Christian!”[fn] Ibid., p. 274
[/fn]

I personally think that this is not a comically audacious argument but quite a logical one. Well, actually, it is quite a logical one when it is stated in the form commonly recognized and not as Richard Dawkins’ straw man. He claims that the argument is meant to demonstrate that Hitler must have been an atheist. It is not. Rather, the argument is that whatever he was, he was not a Christian. Yes, “Hitler was a bad man, Christianity teaches goodness, therefore Hitler can’t have been a Christian!” But not, “Hitler must have been an atheist.” The point here is stated very succinctly by Jesus:

“You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit_Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:16-23).

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