Monday, October 29, 2007

A history lesson

Courtesy of The Brussels Journal:

A quote from Albert Speer (1905-1981), Nazi Germany’s Minister for Armaments 1942 -45, Inside the Third Reich, chapter 6

had been much impressed by a scrap of history he had learned from a delegation of distinguished Arabs. When the Mohammedans had attempted to penetrate beyond France into Central Europe during the eighth century, his visitors had told him, they had been driven back at the Battle of Tours. Had the Arabs won this battle, the world would be Mohammedan today. For theirs was a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. The Germanic peoples would have become heirs to that religion. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament. Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.

Hitler usually concluded this historical speculation by remarking "You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japansese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?"

Hitler despised Christianity. He hated it because of its emphasis on love and forgiveness and because it put God above the state. He also hated it because of its Jewish origins. He much preferred the old paganism, or at least his conception of what the old paganism was like.

At the time of the rise of Hitler Germany was a nominally Christian nation. However the people there had largely lost their faith. German seminaries had given birth to forms of biblical interpretation which sought to strip the Bible of its supernatural elements and reduce it to a collection of human fables. The resulting civil religion had no power to resist a large movement of true believing fanatics willing to bear any burden and make any sacrifice to achieve their goals.

To the ordinary German people they seemed to be caught between communism on one side and Nazism on the other. It can't be much of a surprise that a plurality of the German people chose to reject atheistic Communism which would have effectively placed Germany under the control of a foreign power (The Stalinist USSR) and chose instead to trust Hitler. Hitler, after all, wanted to take Germany back to an idealized past. Hitler at least pretended to embrace the forms of Christianity, which the people still clung to even if they had rejected its substance.

However had Hitler won the war the practice of the Christian religion would have been suppressed as surely as the practice of the Jewish religion. Even before the end of the war German children were being taught prayers in which "Hitler" or "my Fuhrer" was substituted for "God" or "Christ".

Hitler was not a Christian and the Nazi movement was in no way and artifact of Christianity.