Hitler's Positive Christianity
Compiled by Lewis Loflin
The idea put out by secular websites that Hitler committed his evil in the name of Christianity is absurd. He may have exploited it, but in no way followed traditional Christianity. He certainly exploited the rampant antisemitism within the faith, but his racial views are unsupported by Christian theology. Jesus to Hitler was an Aryan, not a Jew. Oddly the Aryans were an Indo-Iranian people of Central Asia.
Be very aware this writer is not a Christian, but a classical Deist and I have zero sympathy for militant Christianity. But I won't tolerant lies and historical distortions from militant secularists simply to trash other faiths. It's simply dishonorable.
An important thing to understand is Western Europe then as is today is at best nominally Christian in the religious sense just as most Jews in Germany of that time were nominally Jewish as far as faith went. The French Enlightenment had largely destroyed the beliefs of many Europeans just as it has today. Institutional religion in Europe had been in decline for over a century by 1933.
Talking Christian may sound popular just as President Obama likes to do today (in no manner am I comparing the President to Hitler), but the racist and hate-filled nonsense of the church he attended with Rev. Wright can't be considered Christianity either. It's another perversion known as Black liberation theology. President Obama has never renounced liberation theology and gets a complete pass on it just as Hitler did with a number of churches in his time.
Just as liberation theology has stripped out and distorted the tradition faith, it too is simply a cover for a racist' political agenda complete with rampant antisemitism. But to call it outright racist, Marxist, etc. is difficult. It's another form of syncretism whose origins derive from multiple paths and can be interpreted in multiple ways. But classical Christianity it isn't.
Hitler advocated what is called positive Christianity, a similar type militant, non-denominational form of Christianity which emphasized Christ as an active preacher, organizer, and fighter who opposed the institutionalized Judaism of his time. Positive Christianity purged or de-emphasized the Jewish aspects of Christianity and was infused with aspects of nationalism and racial antisemitism. Hitler never directed his attacks on Jesus himself, whom Hitler regarded as an Aryan opponent of the Jews. (Liberation theology teaches Jesus was another social rabble rouser out to destroy the system for political ends, not religious.)
Hitler viewed traditional Christianity as a corruption of the original ideas of Jesus by the Apostle Paul. In Mein Kampf Hitler writes that Jesus "made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross." In a speech 26 June 1934, Hitler stated:
The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of to-day.
Hitler's main opposition to Christianity was its rejection of Darwinism. (Azar, 1990, p. 154). His entire "scientific" racism was built on secular Darwinism with influences from Theosophy and other bits of New Age nonsense. No Hitler was not a theosophist or atheist.
Former Prime Minister of Bavaria, Count Graf von Lerchenfeld-Kofering stated in a speech before the Landtag of Bavaria, that his beliefs "as a man and a Christian" prevented him from being an anti-Semite or from pursuing anti-Semitic public policies. Hitler while speaking the Burgerbraukeller turned Lerchenfeld's perspective of Jesus on its head:
I would like here to appeal to a greater than I, Count Lerchenfeld. He said in the last session of the Landtag that his feeling 'as a man and a Christian' prevented him from being an anti-Semite. I say: 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. ... How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.
Historian Steigmann-Gall argues that Hitler demonstrated a preference for Protestantism over Catholicism, as Protestantism was easier to reinterpret with non-traditional readings, more receptive to positive Christianity, and because some of its liberal branches had held similar views. These views were supported by the German Christians movement, but rejected by the Confessing Church.
According to Steigmann-Gall, Hitler regretted that "the churches had failed to back him and his movement as he had hoped." Hitler stated to Albert Speer, "Through me the Protestant Church could become the established church, as in England."
Not all the Protestant churches submitted to the state, which Hitler said in Mein Kampf was important in forming a political movement. Hitler supported the appointment of Ludwig Muller as Reichsbischof over the Protestant churches, hoping that he would get them to adhere to Nazi positions. After 1935 Hitler was advised by the newly-appointed Reich Minister for Church Affairs Hans Kerrl. Many Protestants who were not persuaded by argument were arrested and their property and funds confiscated.
By 1940 it was public knowledge that Hitler had abandoned advocating for Germans even the syncretist idea of a positive Christianity. Dachau concentration camp alone held the largest number of Catholic priests at 2,579. ]To quote,
"If one believes the anti-Semitic, one should also believe the anti-Christian, for both had a single purpose. Hitler's aim was to eradicate all religious organizations within the state and to foster a return to paganism" (Dimont, 1994, p. 397).
Azar, Larry. 1990. Twentieth Century in Crisis. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
Dimont, Max I. 1994. Jews, God and History. New York: New American Library.
Definition of syncretism: a fusion of varying philosophies and religious beliefs.
Excerpts from Will Durant's The Age of Faith Pages 162-186 Pub. 1950
- KORAN: FORM by Will Durant
- THE SOURCES OF THE KORAN by Will Durant
- MOHAMMED IN MECCA: 569-622 by Will Durant
- MOHAMMED IN MEDINA: 622-30 by Will Durant
- MOHAMMED VICTORIOUS: 630-32 by Will Durant
- ISLAM AND SCIENCE by Will Durant
- Philosophies of Islam, Greece, and the West by Turgut Ozal
- Chronology: Early Islam
- The Golden Age of Islam is a Myth
- Bernard Lewis on Understanding Islam
- The Roots of Muslim Rage Part 1
- The Roots of Muslim Rage Part 2