Here is a short answer I recorded for the Solas short answers series.
Defeating the Darkness – In Memory of Elie Wiesel
Was Hitler really a Christian?
The Atheist Experience – First Debate with Matt Dillahunty – Why I am not an Atheist
The Blog of David Robertson
Here is a short answer I recorded for the Solas short answers series.
Defeating the Darkness – In Memory of Elie Wiesel
Was Hitler really a Christian?
The Atheist Experience – First Debate with Matt Dillahunty – Why I am not an Atheist
Ha ha ha! Ark – this is surely a Freudian slip! Think about it! If you are able to think that is.
Now now Arkenaten! That wasn’t Ad Hom – it was reverse psychology! I was genuinely trying to get you to self-reflect as to your Freudian slip. You must work it out for yourself. The nearest I have come to seeing you think for yourself (in all your posts) is when you say that if God was God – he should be able to reveal himself to you. Apart from that, you draw on the words of man, the testimony of apparent eye witnesses and the opinions of those who appeal to your, as yet, unregenerate sinful nature. These people – admit they don’t know how life started – only that it did. So we are missing something. What is ‘IT’? Next time you are looking at a person – ask yourself if they really came about by a series of accidents.
You went looking for Moses – but you refuse to look for God. He’s right beside you – if you would only turn around. You know the arguments you have presented have failed – when put to the test – but you just move on to something else. The bible is intellectually robust – start with creation and the answer to your question – “why doesn’t God show himself to you”?
All the best Ark. I sincerely hope you find God – because he doesn’t need to find you – he knows right where you are – and he’s right there beside you.
I’m not surprised you stick to this blog – you know the atmosphere is much better here than on your own – littered with insults and deception – where you are keeping such bad company. Especially that John Zande guy. I fear he has gone past the point of no return. But – where there’s life there’s hope. After that – it’s too late – in the words of Dante – “..abandon hope all ye who enter here”. Now that is not a good thing to dwell on – so I will just pray.
Having had countless run ins with the guy who sports the cement religious ball cap, and who as yet he has not won a single argument against God or scripture, the proclaimed ‘victory’ by such characters is simply to try to extend a narrative with questions and issues that have long been settled.
All one needs do is refer to that sly rascal Cain/ who slew his brother. Why?
And therein lies the answer to all atheistic concerns.
But Hitler? Ha, a Christian? Hmm, let’s see, now where did the Head of the church command such things? So if Hitler did not get his marching orders from Christ……..
I seem to recall reading somewhere about the grace of God, bestowed upon the ungodly.
But I love how you handle stone helmet wearers with deftness and ease.
A proper christian can be identified because they regularly attend church?
So an example of a ”Proper Christian” would be …. Torquemada anyone?
There are some people who might very well tear this post to shreds.
David, you truly are such a disingenuous Nob
Ark , Had I been a betting man I would have cleaned up on your contribution appearing as the first posting. Your hatred for all things Christian is indeed matched by your persistence !
@ Ark my first comment was in reply to your first comment (in case my comment doesn’t appear where I expect it to. As to your second comment. I presume you would agree with anyone who says Hitler was a Christian – because it would suit your anti-Christ sentiments. Talk about disingenuous – ! You can find any bias you want on the internet or from your General Dawkins – to whom you are an adoring devotee and loyal jihadi.
As for calling David a ‘nob’ – do you mean he is upper class? – in which case he might take that as a compliment – because I don’t think he is. Or do you mean something else? Have you ever considered why the names of body parts we cover are used as insults? This is the language of sexual shame – which the bible has lots to say about.
You really ought to be a better atheist – you are sooooooooo letting your side down!
Oh by the way Ark – in case I didn’t mention (I can’t see my comment awaiting) – don’t ask me which god I am talking about – and start another circular argument. It’s the invisible one – the one true supreme being – right there beside you.
I would like to believe you are more intelligent than you are leading on.
A proper Christian *IS* someone who regularly attends church, but clearly, there is more to it than that. Not everyone who regularly attends church is a “proper Christian”. Obama, anyone? Essentially, you need to live a Christian lifestyle, and church attendance is a part of that.
You cannot remain away from the Church and have any credible claim that you have a closeness with God. It is in the Church that we experience that relationship, principally through the sacraments and the liturgy.
I can only go on what you have written and in this case you haven’t written very much so I can only suggest what you intended and I might be completely wrong. My suggestion is that you are querying the statement that a person is a Christian BECAUSE they go to church. If that is the case then you are, of course, correct. But David wasn’t saying that that by itself makes you a Christian. He was saying that when you become a Christian you will want to go to church. As a Catholic I would put it a bit differently than David but there can be no doubt that Christ wished his followers to belong to a community and that that was the way that the early Christians behaved.
Now as to Torquemada. What is your problem with Torquemada? Unfortunately you don’t say so I can only guess. My guess is that you will want to claim that he was a vicious and nasty piece of work who went round the country seeking out anybody and everybody who dared to disagree with the Church and that he was responsible for thousands of executions. This is the version put out by some Protestant writers at the time and repeated by secular ideologues like Voltaire in later years. You should try reading some modern histories of the Inquisition. They don’t pretend that executions didn’t happen but they do record the work of the Inquisition in a more balanced way than those who simply wanted to undermine the authority of the Catholic Church. One of the things that these historians point out is that in many cases people asked to be tried by the Inquisition because they knew they would get a fairer trial than they would get in the Civil courts. And have a look at Torquemada’s ‘Ordenanzas’ of 1484.
Hitler was born Catholic and remained a theist throughout his life – the evidence supports that – although to be fair he promoted himself to god at some point. Was he a good Christian – absolutely not.
You can’t be ‘born’ a Catholic. You become a member of the Catholic Church when you are baptised.
As to whether or not he was a ‘good’ Christian, I think we can agree with David’s point that by adulthood he had ceased to be a Christian of any kind.
There is, however, perhaps, an interesting question which arises. Can you be a ‘bad’ Christian and, if so, how bad can you be and still be regarded as a Christian? David quite rightly frequently points out that we are all sinners (though Catholics might want to disagree with what that means) so is it possible to commit horrendous crimes and still be a Christian? That’s meant as a question raised for discussion, if anybody is interested in answering it.
You can’t be ‘born’ a sinner, either. You ‘become’ one when you subscribe to the mythical doctrines imposed upon you by your parents, or pastor, or the immediate culture around you.
“Sin” is hardly a useful term — in fact, it’s downright idiotic — in the context of Hitler’s crimes against humanity. David quite wrongly points out that we are all ‘sinners’, because that false term is needed to prop up the untenable belief in a saviour figure.
While I don’t believe that Hitler was a Christian because to say you are the context that he did would be a political statement. I was raised a Boston Irish Catholic, served mass and considered being a priest (Thank God I didn’t) but I did not know Christ as my personal Savior. That said, I believe there is a remnant in Catholic Church. In closing, I believe that pope Francis is a heretic and has betrayed Christ and Biblical doctrine.
That’s interesting, John. I’m a Catholic, serve at Mass and at one time considered the possibility of becoming a priest. As long as I’ve been a Catholic I’ve considered Jesus my personal Saviour. Catholic spirituality strongly emphasises the point that if I (or you) had been the only person who ever lived Jesus would still have died on the Cross for me (or you).
Very well done. Thanks for the insight. I’ve had this discussion many times with atheists and skeptics.
I thought your answer to this question was pretty spot on apart from one thing.. Whilst yes Hitler was baptised a Catholic Hitler was actually born and brought up in Austria. He hated Austria and moved to Germany, I think in in his 20s where his political and any ‘religious’ views were cemented as he loved Germany. It’s a little confusing when you mention the country moving away from its Christian views which country Austria or Germany?
I do happen to be a Christian and half Austrian but I’m truthfully quite fed up of Hitler being brought up in every conversation surrounding evil and the holocaust, Christians seem to forget the many atrocities since Hitler by other dictators and countries. I could say so much more on that point but I’ll leave it there.
Muslims think he was Christian because he was baptised, I’m interested to know if Catholics think he was Catholic because he was baptised?
Firstly, he was most definitely a Catholic when he was baptised. However, it is clear that at some point Hitler apostatised (rejected his faith) and in that way ceased to be a Catholic. You may sometimes come across the term ‘practising Catholic’. This refers to a Catholic who carries out all the duties that the Church insists on and continues to accept the Catholic faith in totality. There is, I’m afraid, an awful lot of pussy-footing around ‘Catholics’ who are not practising. The old term for such people was ‘lapsed Catholics’ but I have come across some more modern versions which are, frankly, ridiculous. In my own opinion you are either a Catholic or you are not. To talk of ‘practising Catholics’ is like talking about a Scottish Glaswegian. But if you want a modern example to discuss, try Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York state. He claims to be a Catholic and has just given his approval to a law that permits abortion up to the point of birth.
All the catholic priests that raped children and the hundreds/thousands of other members of the catholic church who pursued and helped enforce a policy which allowed the guilty to avoid criminal prosecution and continue to abuse other children – are they Catholics?
The answer would – in a vast number of cases – be yes.
There can’t be any suggestion – surely – that simply transgressing against one of the moral dictates of your personal religious faith automatically means you don’t have the status of a true believer – it just means you have sinned and need to seek forgiveness.
Isn’t that how that works?
John, the Catholic Church never had a standing policy to [protect Paediopholes, and the Pedophile Priest scandal is exaggerated. Fewer Priests were ever accused of Pedophilia than School Teachers or other professions. And the church reforged all policies regarding this 25 Years ago, but we’re told they did nothing and still do it today.
The Pedophile crap is just an excuse.
No one claims all Priests are innocent or good but its not really evidence that the Church is Evil or Hitler was a Christian and its just an excuse.
We can post quotes all day long of Hitler proclaiming his Christian belief, there are literally hundreds spread across the years, but a better way exists to answer the question without any conjecture at all: How did other Christians consider Hitler?
On that, we have a wealth of information, and it seems that not only did Hitler consider himself a very, very good Christian, but so too did church leadership. For example, Father Senn, a Catholic priest, writing in a Catholic publication, May 15, 1934:
[Adolf Hitler is] the tool of God
Kirchenrat Julius Leutheuser, addressing German Christians in Saalfeld, August 30, 1933:
The word “German” is God’s Word! Whosoever understands this is released from all theological conflicts. This is German: return home to Germany and leave behind egoism and your feelings of abandonment. …Christ has come to us through the person of Adolf Hitler. …Hitler has taken root in us; through his strength, through his honesty, his faith and his idealism we have found our way to paradise.
We also have clear statements of support from Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, the Catholic Hierarchy of Austria, and Bishop Hans Meiser of the Bavarian Evangelical-Lutheran Church.
So, Yes: Hitler was a Christian, thought himself a very good Christian, and others agreed.
Have you looked at the academic Richard Weikart’s recent book on the subject? Here is a link:
I haven’t read it in full; I only flipped through it in a book store. Weikart’s conclusion, though, is that Hitler was neither a Christian nor an atheist: he was some kind of pantheist who strove to apply the laws of nature, as he perceived them, to society in a form of social Darwinism.
Here is a review of Weikart’s book on a humanist website. They agree with his schilarship but are, of course, using its conclusions, to support their own ideology:
Here is an older discussion from the ABC that predates Weikart’s book:
More discussion of the book:
“We can post quotes all day long of Hitler proclaiming his Christian belief, there are literally hundreds spread across the years,”
The interesting this is that John did not bother to post a single one.
“but a better way exists to answer the question without any conjecture at all: How did other Christians consider Hitler?”
How many of these quotations actually express a belief that Hitler was a Christian? Most of them simply express some kind of approval for some of his actions.
But here’s some interesting facts.
At one time there were more Catholic priests imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp than there were Jews.
Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan Friar who was imprisoned in Auschwitz. He volunteered to be starved to death in the place of another man who had a family.
In 1937 Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical, ‘With Burning Sorrow’. It was secretly smuggled into Germany and strongly criticised National Socialism. As a result, hundreds of people were sent to prison or concentration camps.
Clemens von Galen was Bishop of Münster from 1933 1946. Galen began to criticize Hitler’s movement in 1934. He condemned the Nazi worship of race in a pastoral letter on 29 January 1934. He assumed responsibility for the publication of a collection of essays that criticized the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and defended the teachings of the Catholic Church. He was an outspoken critic of certain Nazi policies and helped draft Pope Pius XI’s 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical ‘With Burning Sorrow’. In 1941, he delivered three sermons in which he denounced the arrest of Jesuits, the confiscation of church property, attacks on the Church, and in the third, the state-approved killing of invalids.
Up until Hitler and the Nazis came to power in January 1933, the German Catholic Church forbad any Catholics from joining the Nazi Party.
As explained, the better method is to show how other people (church leaders, specifically) thought of Hitler as a Christian. This is I did.
But as per Weeflea’s request I have posted the Hitler quotes. .. some hours ago, actually.
He has not yet approved that comment, but when he does, as I’m sure he will considering his challenge to do so, you can see for youself.
Chris – if you are denying that you are a sinner – or that anyone is – then you are indulging in a dangerous fantasy belief. Sin is precisely the right term to describe human evil./blockquote>
an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
“a sin in the eyes of God”
As atheists have no belief in gods including the deity you worship then it should be patently obvious they do not beleive in sin.
Got it in one, David. Yes: I’m denying that I’m a ‘sinner’ –or that anyone else is, including you. You might accept the term, based on the mythology. I don’t. And trying to piggy-back the word with an even more nebulous concept like ‘evil’ is no help, either. I will, however, gladly accept terms like ‘flaws’, ‘misdemeanors’, ‘failings’, hell, even ‘crimes’, but most of us work to overcome the first few without any ‘spiritual’ help; and we have all sorts of civil and criminal codes to help regulate us as a society.
Do babies have sins? If so, what’s so terrible about aborting the fetus, then? Unless you want more babies born, just as potential recruits for Jesus? If babies don’t have sins, when, precisely, do they kick in? Are there genes for ‘sin’, and how are they expressed?
You’ve lamented, elsewhere, the absence of evangelism in the churches, and suggested that’s why they were losing parishioners. I’d wager that — among other things — the obsession with characterizing otherwise ordinary people as ‘sinners’ in need of redemption is also helping to drive them away.
Your suggestion that all humans are born sinful is “bizzare” [sic]. How, exactly, is this manifested in a new-born baby?
You misread — or I failed to express it clearly –my choice of more sensible substitutes for “sin.” No, I don’t accept “hell” as a place. That sentence should have read as: “Hell, I’ll even accept ‘crimes’ “.
Is adultery a “sin”? Or children disobeying their parents? Doesn’t Leviticus prescribe death in those situations? No, I don’t think we should kill “sinners”. That should be obvious because I don’t accept the terms. But the OT certainly seems to indicate we should, and I’ve heard apologists defend the (mythologized) Canaanite slaughters as justified because the Israelite opponents were apparently “sinners.”
I accept the term “evil” only to the degree that we lack the requisite words to describe horrific human behaviours or acts. But the word “evil” is too unhelpfully loaded with theological connotations, and there’s certainly nothing to suggest any malevolent “supernatural” motivations behind what people, at their worst, are capable of.
Speaking of sinners – when drawing on recent history to point out an evil person – we regularly judge Hitler as the epitome of evil. I don’t know who it was that said something like – “the very best person we can imagine is still far closer to Hitler than they are to God”. We have no idea what righteousness, holiness, moral perfection and purity really look like! We number ourselves with the ‘good’ people – if we haven’t crossed the line separating the ‘good’ people from the ‘bad’ people.
Lies and propaganda are nothing new. I know of one Jew who pretended to be a friend of another, even eating from the same dish. Once, he greeted his friend with a kiss, but only to identify him to an armed mob who would kill him. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” Like Hitler, this man’s crimes were his destruction – and he too committed suicide.
We are told that the lies and propaganda surrounding the Jews in Nazi Germany – led the majority to believe that the Jews were to blame for everything wrong in the world.
In order for us to prosper, to be free, to succeed and thrive in the present day – we must rid ourselves of everything that holds us back. Just like Nazism – we must rid ourselves of the needy, the weak and sick, those with mental and physical disabilities. This is best done clinically – through abortion and euthanasia – under the pretence of being a friend – we send the unborn, the unloved, the needy, the mentally ill, the sick and the elderly to their death.
Those who caution us to exercise moral restraint are enemies to our freedom. They are enemies who wound us – while the cultural zeitgeist ravishes us with kisses. They must be silenced. Religion is the root of all evil – especially Christians and Jews. Israel is the evil and must be crushed. Christians are the cause of everything that is wrong in the world – they are associated with or responsible for every evil deed ever done in this world – including the Holocaust and they are being branded like Hitler – even in this very comments section – and so branded as the epitome of evil They are homophobic, transphobic, anti -women’s rights. And so goes the propaganda – similar to Nazi Germany.
Just as Satan moved Judas and Hitler – so it seems he is active today. As we cast of the idea of God and exercise our freedoms – what do we see all around? Has this world really got better? Slavery, sex-trafficking, violent crimes and rape carried out by children, war, excessive greed and exploitation, chaos, political corruption, confusion, pollution, mental health crisis, poor education and on and on. Oh but we are on our way to a bold new world! And before anyone says “your god commits genocide and slavery” – Christianity made the world more humanitarian. Fact. It is the post-Christian nations that are becoming the most chaotic and barbaric – not wanting the Blesser but only the blessings, not the Giver but the gifts.
Christendom is over as far as I can see and yes, it was flawed, political and sinful in places but Christianity spread all over the world through empires and missionary. “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth (if you have issue with 4 corners check out Isaiah 40:22 & Job 26:7), God and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.”
The net is closing in on the Jews and the Christians. For further reading read the gospel of Matthew chpt 24, 2 Tim chpt 3.
Thank you for your insightful article. Its a pity you get bombarded by atheistic nonsense about sin and so forth. They can choose any word they like, but they cannot deny that there is something seriously wrong in the human condition and for me ‘sin’ covers it.
The New Testament has much to say on ‘True and false prophets’ and ‘True and false disciples’. Jesus condemned many of the the religious leaders of his day and so we should not be surprised if anyone calling themselves a ‘Christian’ turns out to be nothing of the sort. “Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.” (Matthew 7:20 NIV) God knows who are His.
Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say the problem is not so much in the ‘human condition’ (our neurological capacity, after all, for reflective thought has enabled us to actively work towards reducing suffering), but rather the problem is to be found in the nature of a world where all life is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting?
I agree with what you say about the natural world, but we humans are able to make choices and we have always been incapable of loving our neighbour for any length of time. We don’t need to kill each other to survive as many animals do, but we continue doing it. Jesus said we are evil at heart and even if we don’t physically kill each other, we often harbour murderous thoughts. I was as self righteous as the next man before I encountered God and realised that Jesus was right.