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Hitler's Religion or Atheism

Hitler's Religion or Atheism

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There seems to be even amongst some Historians and even this forum an unclear approach to Hitler and his Religion or the lack there of is there any clear history that establishes Hitler's religious Views? I am aware of his public statements of his Christianity and his use of Christianity as a source for his hatred of Jews put there still seems to be sources which state that it was a show too eventually reach world domination and take over the world and remove the church from within the Reich is there any proof to or against it? Article Here

Hitler definitively believed in some form of deity, and also believed, that God send him to Earth to rule it and get rid of the Jews and other "lesser humans".

The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God's will, and actually fulfill God's will, and not let God's word be desecrated. For God's will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord's creation, the divine will. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 10

He was raised catholic, and used Christianity and Catholic church to his advantage, however it isn't clear, if he had considered catholic or christian himself, or was just using this to take control over people. Hitler definitively wasn't atheist, but we aren't sure if he was a christian, or believed in other form of deity.


If you want more objective analysis look here What were Hitler's religious views? and here Was Hitler a Catholic, an Atheist, or otherwise? From the end If it is possible to conclude on such a complex subject, it would appear that Hitler was not an atheist, nor was he a Catholic.

I see Adolf Hitler more in a materialistic than a religious tradition. He seemed to hold largely instrumental, secularist views on religions, and from this perspective occasionally had quasi-benign things to say also about Jewish religion. The following quote (from Brigitte Hamann's Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship) is from communication by Hitler to Otto Wagener in 1930:

Through Moses the Jewish people received a rule for life and living one's life that was elevated to a religion which was entirely tailored toward the essence of one's race, and simply and clearly, without dogmas and dubious rules of faith, soberly and absolutely realistically contains what serve the future and self-preservation of the children of Israel. Everything is geared towards the well-being of one's own people, nothing toward consideration of others… we no doubt have to recognize with admiration this incredible strength of the Jews' preservation of their race.

Perhaps his own religion (if there was any) was an odd blend e.g. of Germanic (as in Nibelungen), Christian (as in his native culture), Hindu (as in Aryans and Vedic traditions), and Buddhist (perhaps as in earlier comment) fragments. Overall, I think this is a question without a clear single answer.

Hitler was baptised Catholic. Over whole his life he attended the services. He resused to change the faith and always said he was Catholic.

Nevertheless, his faith was not that sincere. For example, he was aware that Catholic doctrine contradicts scientific facts (quote from Mein Kampf):

Here again the Catholic Church has a lesson to teach us. Though sometimes, and often quite unnecessarily, its dogmatic system is in conflict with the exact sciences and with scientific discoveries, it is not disposed to sacrifice a syllable of its teachings. It has rightly recognized that its powers of resistance would be weakened by introducing greater or less doctrinal adaptations to meet the temporary conclusions of science, which in reality are always vacillating. And thus it holds fast to its fixed and established dogmas which alone can give to the whole system the character of a faith. And that is the reason why it stands firmer today than ever before. We may prophesy that, as a fixed pole amid fleeting phenomena, it will continue to attract increasing numbers of people who will be blindly attached to it the more rapid the rhythm of changing phenomena around it.

He admired the Christian fanaticism:

The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine.

He had some regrets about the Christian methods:

Each one of us today may regret the fact that the advent of Christianity was the first occasion on which spiritual terror was introduced into the much freer ancient world, but the fact cannot be denied that ever since then the world is pervaded and dominated by this kind of coercion and that violence is broken only by violence and terror by terror.

He believed that there was no fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant faith:

The two Christian denominations look on with indifference at the profanation and destruction of a noble and unique creature who was given to the world as a gift of God's grace. For the future of the world, however, it does not matter which of the two triumphs over the other, the Catholic or the Protestant.

In conclusion we can say that he was a practicing Catholic who did believe in God but did not believe in every Christian dogma that contradicted the current science.

Hitler’s Religion: Was the Nazi Dictator an Atheist, Christian, or Something Else?

The religious beliefs of Adolf Hitler are frequently misunderstood as either Christian or atheist. A look at his own words reveals a complicated truth.

Since it is so difficult to pinpoint exactly what Hitler’s religion was, it might seem his religion was historically inconsequential.

However, hopefully this study of Hitler’s religion sheds light on a number of important issues. First, his anti-Christianity obviously shaped the persecution of the Christian churches during the Third Reich. Second, his religious hypocrisy helped explain his ability to appeal to a broad constituency. Third, his trust that his God would reward his efforts and willpower, together with his sense of divine mission, imbued him with hope, even in hopeless circumstances. This helps us understand why he was so optimistic until the very end, when it should have been obvious much earlier that the game was up.

Was Hitler A Christian? Historians Say No

By James Bishop| Many atheists claim that Hitler was a Christian and that the his actions were an act of Christian fundamentalism. Evil Bible, an atheist fundamentalist website, claims that: “History is currently being distorted by the millions of Christians who lie to have us believe that the Holocaust was not a Christian deed.”

Well, let’s give this a fair hearing then. Was Hitler a Christian? In one of his speeches he gave in 1922 Hitler even said: “My feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.”

American political commentator Dinesh D’Souza proves highly critical of anti-religious critics claiming Hitler to be a Christian: “The poverty of the atheist argument becomes clear with a bit of examination. What does it prove to say that Hitler was raised Catholic? Stalin was raised in the Orthodox Church. Mao was raised as a Buddhist. Lots of people repudiate their religious upbringing.

Hitler vehemently rejected the traditional Christianity in which he was raised. During the period of his ascent to power, he needed the support of the German people mostly Christian, mostly Lutheran and he occasionally used boilerplate rhetoric such as I am doing the Lords work to try and secure this. This rhetoric, it should be noted, is a commonplace rhetorical device among atheist writers.

Nietzsche, for instance, regularly compared himself to Jesus, even titling one of his books Ecce Homo (behold the man, a biblical reference to Christ). But no intelligent reader of Nietzsche can doubt that he was a rabid atheist, as was Hitler. One should not confuse political opportunism with personal conviction. Not surprisingly, Hitler invoked Christ’s death at the hands of the Jews in order to solicit Christian support for his (secular and racial, not religious) anti-Semitic agenda.”

Like D’Souza affirms, Hitler was brought up as a Christian by his Catholic mother and anti-clerical father, however in later life he came to disdain Christianity, and was prepared to delay conflict with churches out of political sensitivities (1) . According to one of his henchman, Albert Speer, Hitler had “no real attachment” to Christianity (2) .

Historians Ian Kershaw, Alan Bullock, and Joachim Fest argue that Hitler was aggressively anti-Christian, something that is confirmed in Hitler’s Table Talk, Goebbels Diaries, and the memoirs of Speer.

Even Goebbels claim that Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.” (‘The Goebbels Diaries.’) Furthermore, at this point a significant proportion of historians believe that it was actually Hitler’s intention to eradicate Christianity (3) .

Historian Alan Bullock, widely known for his biography he authored on Hitler, writes: “Once the war was over, [Hitler] promised himself, he would root out and destroy the influence of the Christian churches, but until then he would be circumspect” (4) . Shirer also adds that “under the leadership of Rosenberg, Bormann and Himmler—backed by Hitler—the Nazi regime intended to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists” (5) .

However, unlike the Soviet Union, Hitler’s regime did not publicly advocate for state atheism, but it did seek to reduce the influence of Christianity on society. Hitler was also probably not an atheist since he would never present himself to the public in that way elsewhere he did speak of belief in an “almighty creator” (6) . However, historian Richard Evans claims that Hitler repeatedly asserted that Nazism was a secular ideology founded on science.

In some of his speeches Hitler clearly sounds like a devoted Christian, and as mentioned above, he would even say that his “feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.” However, his pro-Christian declarations appear to be easily explained, as Laurence Rees notes:

“The most persuasive explanation of these statements is that Hitler, as a politician, simply recognized the practical reality of the world he inhabited…

Had Hitler distanced himself or his movement too much from Christianity, it is all but impossible to see how he could ever have been successful in a free election” (7) .

In a similar vain D’Souza explains that: “During the period of his ascent to power, he needed the support of the German people mostly Christian, mostly Lutheran and he occasionally used boilerplate rhetoric such as I am doing the Lords work to try and secure this… Once Hitler and the Nazis came to power, however, they denounced Christianity and launched a ruthless drive to subdue and weaken traditional Christianity.”

Hitler was certainly no Christian. He very clearly used Christianity as a springboard to garner support from the many Christians in Germany, however, he later aimed at eradicating the Christian religion. As his power increased he became “increasingly hostile to the churches” and was anti-Christianity.

And we must remember, we judge a tree but its fruits. Those who persist in long-term murder are, by no means, regenerate and therefore aren’t real followers of Jesus. Jesus says those who love me keep my commandments, and we can be certain that Hitler of all people was certainly not keeping the commandments of Jesus.

The Einstein-Bohr legacy: can we ever figure out what quantum theory means?

Quantum theory has weird implications. Trying to explain them just makes things weirder.

  • The weirdness of quantum theory flies in the face of what we experience in our everyday lives.
  • Quantum weirdness quickly created a split in the physics community, each side championed by a giant: Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.
  • As two recent books espousing opposing views show, the debate still rages on nearly a century afterward. Each "resolution" comes with a high price tag.

Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, two giants of 20 th century science, espoused very different worldviews.

To Einstein, the world was ultimately rational. Things had to make sense. They should be quantifiable and expressible through a logical chain of cause-and-effect interactions, from what we experience in our everyday lives all the way to the depths of reality. To Bohr, we had no right to expect any such order or rationality. Nature, at its deepest level, need not follow any of our expectations of well-behaved determinism. Things could be weird and non-deterministic, so long as they became more like what we expect when we traveled from the world of atoms to our world of trees, frogs, and cars. Bohr divided the world into two realms, the familiar classical world, and the unfamiliar quantum world. They should be complementary to one another but with very different properties.

The two scientists spent decades arguing about the impact of quantum physics on the nature of reality. Each had groups of physicists as followers, all of them giants of their own. Einstein's group of quantum weirdness deniers included quantum physics pioneers Max Planck, Louis de Broglie, and Erwin Schrödinger, while Bohr's group had Werner Heisenberg (of uncertainty principle fame), Max Born, Wolfgang Pauli, and Paul Dirac.

Almost a century afterward, the debate rages on.

Was Hitler a Christian, an atheist, or neither?

A new book takes a look at the controversial—and complicated—issue of the religious views of Adolf Hitler.

Images of Adolf Hitler are seen at an art festival in Weimar, Germany, in this Aug. 31, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Sebastiana Kehnert, EPA)

More than seven decades after his suicide, Adolf Hitler continues to play a surprisingly prominent role in America’s culture wars. In debates about the social and public role of religion, both Christians and secularists are fond of citing the example of Hitler—whose name is more synonymous with human depravity than perhaps anyone else’s— as an example of the evils either of religion or of irreligion . How is it possible that Hitler continues to be pegged as either a Christian or atheist, two completely contradictory positions , oftentimes by well-informed people ? In his illuminating and well-argued new book Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich , historian Richard Weikart convincingly argues that Hitler was neither, and that as an adroit politician he often made mutually exclusive statements to appeal to various sectors of German society.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful,” Seneca mused. Weikart’s book makes it clear that Hitler would likely agree . Drawing upon a plethora of English and German sources—such as Hitler’s radio addresses and statements for the Nazi press— Weikart cites many contradictory statements by Hitler about religion, some showing him to be anti-religious, others praising “the Almighty” and even sometimes Christianity. This was because Hitler was less interested in the veracity of religion and than in its political usefulness. Weikart notes, for example, that while Hitler approved of Martin Luther’s strong anti-Semitism, he ultimately passed a negative judgment on the father of the Reformation for breaking up German unity. In other words, Hitler’s evaluation of Luther had nothing to do with the latter’s doctrine on justification by faith alone or his approach to the Bible, but was based solely on the political consequences of his break with the Catholic Church .

Likewise, Hitler frequently tailored his statements on religion to appeal to various sectors of German society. Because German and Austrian society was still overwhelmingly Christian ( split between Lutheran s and Catholic s ) between 1933 and 1945, Hitler—who was, in Weikart’s words, “a religious chameleon, a quintessential religious hypocrite”— made statements that praised Germany’s Christian roots so as not to not alienate his supporters. An accomplished scholar of German history, Weikart notes that pragmatism has for years characterized many Germans’ approach to Christianity, and even today it’s not uncommon for Germans who have long abandoned faith in the transcendent al realm to still pay the Church tax to secure their children spot s in prestigious Catholic school s .

However, Weikart makes it clear that Hitler’s pro-Christian statements were little more than lip service to his churchgoing constituents . Although Hitler was born and raised in historically Catholic Austria, he lost his faith in the Church at an early age. Weikart writes that the young Adolf was a rebellious student who frequently quarreled with his high school religion teacher and often mocked Christianity in class. Weikart’s excellent command of German is on display when he notes that in Mein Kampf and in private correspondence Hitler frequently used the term Pfaffe , a disparaging German term for a priest, to refer to clergymen. Hitler’s long-established anti-clericalism was evident after his rise to power as well, when Goebbels’ propaganda machine portrayed the Catholic priesthood as dominated by sexual perverts (on a side note, does that tactic sound familiar?).

In fact, Hitler’s real views on Christianity were so bizarre that they would actually be amusing in their imaginative eccentricity, if not for the fact that they were part of the worldview of a psychopath whose genocidal policies killed 11 million civilians and unleashed the bloodiest war in history. Weikart writes that Hitler, like his favorite philosopher, Nietzsche, disliked Christianity, but admired the figure of Jesus Christ. In Hitler’s view, Jesus himself was a Roman or Greek ( Hitler believed that the ancient Greeks and Romans were the precursors of the Nordic “master race”) killed by the perfidious Jew s .

Hitler’s Religion is also a readable work of intellectual history. It is quite telling that, according to Weikart’s account, while many German soldiers carried copies of the Bible with them during World War I, Hitler took a five-volume collection of Schopenhauer’s works to the trenches. Weikart argues that while Hitler cared little about the Gospels, he was profoundly influenced by four German thinkers: the anti-Semite Schopenhauer, Kant, Hegel, and especially Nietzsche. I n addition to the decades-long debate over Hitler’s religious views , Weikart also makes an important contribution to the equally contentious and unending debate among philosophers and intellectual historians on Hitler’s indebtedness to Nietzsche. Weikart convincingly argues that whereas Hi tler undoubtedly used Nietzsche’s philosophy selectively, the Third Reich carried out certain aspects of the philosopher’s worldview to their logical conclusion. This was especially true in the case of Hitler’s euthanasia program the fact that the first victims of Nazism were mentally ill or elderly Germans or those with disabilities clearly tracks with Nietzsche’s repulsion for the weak and suffering . Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda’s characterization of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, and other s as Untermenschen— “ subhumans ”—was an obvious reference to Nietzsche’s concept of the superman Übermensch .

Hitler’s Religion includes a brief overview of Nazi Germany’s persecution of the Christian churches from Weikart’s book, it is clear that the Catholic Church was targeted more than the Lutherans. Upon coming to power in Germany, the Nazis liquidated the Catholic Center Party (although Weikart does not mention this, it is worth noting that Georg Ratzinger, the uncle of the future Pope Benedict XVI, was a Center Party parliamentary deputy) and disbanded Catholic youth organizations , newspapers , and civic organizations . Weikart briefly mentions the internment of thousands of priests at the Dachau concentration camp, although one wishes he would do so in greater detail. The story of the imprisonment of more than 2,000 priests from across Europe in the oldest Nazi concentration camp needs to be better known, as it is a graphic representation of Hitler’s disdain for Christianity.

Weikart also brings an important perspective to the debate on the relationship between traditional Christian anti-Judaism and Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitism. Weikart does not sugarcoat anything and correctly notes that the Christian churches had a long history of disdain for the Jews and Judaism (although it should be mentioned that parallel to this tradition was also one of Christian support for the Jews centuries before the Second Vatican Council: in the Middle Ages, for instance, numerous popes beginning with Innocent IV in 1247 condemned the blood libel myth that often led to anti-Semitic violence across Europe). However, he brilliantly demonstrates how Christian anti-Judaism differed from Nazi anti-Semitism.

The former, Weikart notes, was related to theologic al matters. He notes that Jewish converts to Christianity were treated no differently than other Christians by the Christian churches.

Furthermore, Weikart writes that while the Christian churches were for centuries disdainful of Judaism, they at the same time preached love for one’s neighbor regardless of his or her origins. As St. Paul says in Galatians 3:28: “ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ” Hitler’s anti-Semitism, however, had nothing to do with religion and was solely related to race. In fact, Hitler hated the Christian churches for refusing to see Jews as such after they were baptized. For Hitler, a Jew was a Jew, regardless of his or her membership in a c hurch. Weikart’s book would be enhanced if he included an overview of the varied respons es of the Christian churches—both in Germany and in the countries that it occupied during the war—to the Third Reich’s persecution and later slaughter of the Jews.

What, then, did Hitler believe? Weikart convincingly writes that, although there is no evidence that he explicitly applied the term to himself, Adolf Hitler was a pantheist. Hitler loved spending time in nature, and often spoke of nature and God interchangeably. Hitler believed that the world was willed and ordered by nature, which he gave divine properties. However, Hitler’s worldview was closer to an materialistic awe for the orderliness of the universe than to mystical panentheism . While Hitler saw nature as God, his worldview allowed little room for the s upernatural. For example, Hitler did not believe in an afterlife in the way most people understand the term . Rather, his concept of the afterlife was that the collective memory of the greatness of a nation would be passed on in history. Weikart notes that while all nouns are capitalized in German, English translations of Mein Kampf— including the one billed as the “ Official Nazi Translation” consistently translate Natur as “Nature” with a capital “N.” In Weikart ’s view, Hitler actually derived his anti-Semitism in part from the racist, pseudo- biological social Darwinism of German biologist Ernst Haeckel.

It is surprising , however, that Weikart does not mention Hitler’s vegetarianism at all. Just as the SS was killing millions in concentration camps or through mass shootings, Hitler often entertained his dinner guests with nauseating , visceral de scrip tions of what goes on in butcher shops and meat processing plants.

For all its many important contributions to intellectual history, Hitler’s Religion does have a couple flaws that should be noted. For instance, Weikart incorrectly writes that Hitler’s notion of the Volk “could even mean all those having Nordic racial characteristics, even if they were ethnically Danish or Dutch or Norwegian or Polish.” This error is quite striking. Whereas the Danes, Dutch, and Norwegians are undoubtedly Germanic nations , the Slavic Poles clearly are not. In the Nazi ideology, Poland and the Soviet Union were to be overrun and turned into Lebensraum , or living room, for German colonists. The Poles were to be exterminated or turned into slave laborers for the “master race.” This error is striking in that later in the book Weikart himself notes the extremely brutal persecution of Poland’s Catholic Church at the hands of Nazi Germany. Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance has estimated that at least 2.5 million non-Jewish Poles were murdered by Nazi Germany. After the Jews, ethnic Poles were the second largest group of Hitler’s victims.

In the introduction to his book, Weikart notes that when during his (surprisingly successful, I might add) 2010 pilgrimage to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI lauded the British people for courageously fighting against Nazi Germany, the world’s noisiest atheist, Richard Dawkins, wrote that as a former Hitler Youth member Benedict should have kept mum . The problem isn’t that this is false, but that Weikart leaves this without comment. It is a great public relations fiasco of the Catholic Church that the image of “ Hitler Youth Ratzinger ” has persisted, rather than that of the heroic man who risked his life rejecting Nazism . Indeed, the future pope was a member of the Hitler Youth. However, it is not widely known that all German youths were made mandatory members of the organization and that the young Joseph Ratzinger deserted from it. This was a courageous act of defiance, as if he were caught, he would have likely been shot and the world would never be blessed with the pontificate of Benedict XVI. (It is telling that the mainstream media was much more lenient toward German novelist Günter Grass—a great writer but a flawed man—when in 2006, after six decades of calling on his countrymen to reckon with their Nazi past, he revealed that he was a voluntary member of the Waffen -SS as an adolescent .)

Nonetheless, Hitler’s Religion is a work of momentous importance . One can hope that it will end the dispute on Hitler’s religion for good . After its publication, the intellectually honest atheist will no longer be able to falsely maintain that Hitler was a Christian , while the intellectually honest Christian who cares about being precise will have to give a more nuanced response than “ Hitler did not believe in God. ” He did, but Hitler’s God was vastly unlike the God of Christianity.

Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs that Drove the Third Reich
by Richard Weikart
Regnery History, 2016
Hardcover, 352 pages

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Adolf was a member of his parish choir and aspired to the priesthood according to biographer William Shirer [Rise and Fall of the Third Reich]. That moment passed quickly and he became enthralled with Richard Wagner and German heroic mythology. Wagner’s music transported him with visions of Nordic heroism, victory against evil supported by the gods. Shirer would name it blood lust in the sense of worship of everything Teutonic. By the time he began his ascent to power his religion incorporated belief in the indomitable superiority of the pure blooded Aryan. He said if you wish to understand Germany listen to Wagner. Himmler supported Hitler’s German Mythological fantasies promoting Nordic pseudo mysticism. The SS Center for the occult was at Wewelsburg, a Renaissance castle located in the village of Wewelsburg [today it is used as a symbol in Odinism and Neo-Nazism and in occult]. Hitler also received occult guidance from Lanz von Liebenfels and had a penchant for prophetic signs in the stars. His religion can be described as occult Nordic mythology. Antithetical to Christianity, an Antichrist Satanically inspired occultism. Msgr Leon Christiani author of Evidence of Satan in the Modern World believed the German people under Hitler were largely obsessed [unwittingly] with the Satanic.

There are conflicting histories about Adolf. This latest account of his anti religious attitude in class, his entrance into seminary, and I have also read that he was arrested in Austria for male prostitution. Until a definitive biography is written we will continue to read irreconciliable stories about him.

I could never get why Hitler hated Jews so much nor why there is some semblance of anti-Semitism in my German/Irish family. My aunt could reminisce that there were more Christians killed by Hitler than Jews. I recall seeing only Jews peeking through the side slats of cattle cars taking them to death camps. There are so many allegiances Hitler could have had beside the two mentioned. At this juncture who could care?

The lazy anti-Catholic: “Hitler, Goerring, Himmler, and Goebbels were all Catholic!”

The lazy anti-Semite: “Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Yegoda were all Jews!”

Idiots fail to ask what kind of Catholics and Jews they were? How often did Hitler, Goerring, Himmler, and Goebbels attend Mass and receive the sacraments? If they were Catholic in practice, then why did they brutally persecute their own Church, murdering many priests and nuns, and bitterly denounce their own faith?

Likewise, how often did Trotsky, et al attend temple services? What kind of “Jews” were they? They were no more “Jewish” than Stalin was “Russian Orthodox” or an ethnic Georgian. These so-called “Jewish Bolsheviks” also persecuted and condemned Judaism–something the anti-Semites and the left have often ignored.

Catholic identity is to Catholics, and Jewish identity is to Jews, something more than, say, Republicanism is to Republicans. Catholics believe that baptism makes a mark on the soul which no action or inaction, however intentional and however sinful, can erase as for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, no one gets to choose into what family he is born. Ananias and Sapphira were Christians, though not very good Christians Korah and Jeroboam were Jews, though not very good Jews.

Ask the same question about the catholic cardinals, and priests that have been found guilty of child and nun molestation. How much quality was in their Catholic faith?

Posted By

Hitler was an athest.
He was not a devout Catholic. He was a cynical neo darwinist atheist who banned Christianity after using state of the art technology to efficiently kill thousands of Catholic priests and the head of the Lutheran Church.
The first quote regarding the scourging was taken from Mien Kampf, Hitler's propoganda attempt to seduce a nominally Christian country to Naziism. That was written at a time when people were starving in the streets of Germany and looking to channel their desperation and anger.
The second quote to Engel was never uttered. Taken from Engel's supposed diaries, Engel admitted later his book was a hoax.
The Nazis began as the Thule society, a collection of atheists, neo pagans and satanists.
Satanism was very prominent in the SS culture. The Allies considered prosecuting the Nazis for Christian persecution after the War, but decided it would be duplicating their efforts, since they already had prosecutions going for the Holocaust. Germany never did fully return to faith.

I don't know why you would list wars as religious killing. Wars are always about resources, land, water, oil, etc, fought between gangs, tribes or cultures.
The stat you should be concerned with is the communists atheists murder of 125 million people in peacetime during the 20th century That's a conservative estimate but it represents the effort to promote an atheistic society..

"The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. When understanding of the universe has become widespread. Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.
"Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity. And that's why someday its structure will collapse.
". the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.
"Christianity <is> the liar.
"We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State." (p 49-52)

Some of your examples were pre-20th Century rendering them useless (as you stated 20th century).

Though i totally agree, Religion does cause war and has throughout its long history killed alot more than any atheist.

And as that fucking comrade above said - the war's aint just thought by/for religion (even if the people carrying them out were religious). Vietnam was more about stopping the communist threat to the west.

the opening paragraph is surely right, but really, the rest is tired stuff. if you want to put your finger on individuals, cromwell, the popes who called the crusades, and the leaders of the arab conquests (don't know any names) were motivated by religion (and much else). but stalin studied in a seminary, yet bormann stated explicity that nazism and xianity were incompatible (and much else, there's this link which i wish had further cits but has no reason to be sympathetic to xianity). which column to put them in?

these were times in which everyone was a member of some sect - marx was baptized too (lutheran i believe). to say that the 'leader' of the famine or of the rwandan genocide was a member of a church doesn't really say anything. though it may seem useful in polemics, a religious partisan will be able to slide out by saying that the participation in mass killing 'proves' that a person was not a 'real' christian, or otoh that the OT justifies killing for godly reasons (like invading iraq).

Actually the first quote is from a public speech he made, not Mein Kampf. Fair enough about the second quote - if you can point to where Engel made that retraction I'll get rid of it - but the fact remains he actively used Catholicism as a means to motivate fascism, much as Franco did with the Falange.

I'd also like to see some realistic (ie. non-partisan) sources backing the suggestion he was a satanist or a pagan, this guy for example does some work debunking the idea.

It's highly disingenuous to say Hitler was anti-Catholic, he happily engaged with the Pope and indeed was tacitly supported by Vatican on several occasions, there was certainly no specific pogrom against the church and indeed, in the Balkans there was active collaboration by Catholic preachers and Nazis in gunning down the church's religious rivals.

Actually 125 million is the absolute top limit given by reputable historians, the "conservative" figure is more like 10 million by Stalin, 20 million by Zedong (more on that later). If we're going by top limits, the one round of genocide by Christian settlers in the Americas outstrips the worst estimates of Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist murder.

Leaders: Various
1 million
Bearing in mind that the population of the world in the 11th century was 1/20th what it is today, and the weaponry consisted of bows, arrows and sharp bits of metal, this brutal war between Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East was even worse than it sounds.

Witchcraft burnings
Leaders: various
Casualties: 40-100,000
Fairly obviously, a bit of a Christian one.

Iraq dictatorship
Leaders: Saddam Hussein, various US Presidents
Casualties: 500,000-1.2 million
Another secular leader, but Hussein professed to be an active Sunni Muslim, appearing in various propaganda posters dressed in full headdress and robe, praying to Mecca. On the other side, UN sanctions, led by religious US presidents, are thought ot have led to the deaths of over 200,000 chirldren.

Iraq occupation
Leaders: George Bush (United Methodist) Tony Blair (CoE, then Catholic)
Casualties: 1 million
Hey here's a plan, a bunch of Saudis have attacked America, lets invade Iraq and hold it for half a decade despite the fact it's no threat whatsoever! Oh, and God told them to do that.

Cambodia's Killing Fields
Leader: Pol Pot
Casualties: 1.5 million
Another straight-up one led by an atheist.

China's Great Leap Forward
Leader: Mao Zedong
Casualties: 49-78 million
The largest of the major massacres carried out by Leninist-inspired revolutionaries. Again, Mao wasn't a big fan of God.

Incidentally, a note on this for any other defenders of the faith here, if you're going to say "communists/atheists did this" and refuse to allow communists to say "these people weren't real communists" you'll have to play by the same rules for people who cite religion in their own dirty dealings. You can't disown their religious fervour just because they've fulfilled it in ways you don't agree with.

franco, definitely, i'd add him to my own list with cromwell et al.

Goebbels notes in a diary entry in 1939: "The Führer is deeply religious, but deeply anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race."[22] Albert Speer reports in his memoirs of a similar statement made by Hitler: "You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, 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?"[23]

In 1941, Hitler praised an anti-Christian tract from AD 362, neo-platonist and pagan Roman emperor Julian the Apostate's Against the Galileans, saying "I really hadn't known how clearly a man like Julian had judged Christians and Christianity, one must read this. "[24]

In 1941, according to the diary of Nazi General Gerhart Engel, Hitler stated "But i am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."[25]

Author Konrad Heiden has quoted Hitler as stating, "We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany."[26]

conversely, you can't own their religious fervor because they seem to have fulfilled in ways that suit your own argument.

i'm still unclear on the concept. against whom are you marshalling this information? everyone you've listed above is a mass murderer some, but few, were motivated by religiosity all used religious tropes if it suited their purposes. the last of these is a solid blow, at least against xianity, it seems to me: if xianity were really a religion of peace, i'd think there'd be some built-in immunity to its use in any way as an excuse for killing. some xians have gone totally non-violent and have chosen death to resistance.

Well as I note above, evangelicals tend to argue that being religious makes you a better person alongside the argument that Stalin/Hitler/Mao were anti-religious communists. My point with this is that it's actually quite easy to make the case using the same methodology of "this bastard said he believed in this therefore atheism=brutal massacre" to suggest a much larger variety of mass murder has been carried out directly under the Christian banner over a much longer period.

In the end however what I'm doing is taking the argument to its logical conclusion to show how much of a farce it is. The point is the same one I start with, that it's not the professed beliefs of a given dictator which make the difference. Sindikubwabo didn't help organise the massacre of the Tutsis because of his religion, he used religion to justify outrageously cruel practices designed to destroy his and his allies' perceived rivals. Stalin did the same thing with "communism" and "atheism."

What drives these things is the elites' desire to retain power, not the colour of their armband.

lol, who would believe or care about engel after that? interesting that the guy is a fraud and you wont believe anything but a retraction from him. the nazi hierarchy hated christianity.

if you follow hitler's statements regarding the divine, they go from christian propaganda when he begins, to very generic comments about God. this marked the churches opposition to his policies. he began by working with the church and later infiltrating them, finally he began his own national christian church, which banned al christian symbols and the bible in place of nazi and thule images and literature, it's called bait and switch.
when Germans failed to attend he actively persecuted christians. he also asked people to pray to him, that being hitler.
he plotted to kidnap the Pope. the Pope didnt work with him. ive seen people cite diplomatic protocol letters as proof that Hitler worked with the Pope. that's silly. the Pope kept lines of communication going to avoid a bloodbath.Hitler signed an agreement with the Pope for religious liberty of catholics, then reneged.

Hitler arrested and executed the head of the Lutheran church. He killed thousands of Catholic priests who opposed him. the church was working to free catholics and jews from his clutches. not all clergy stood up to him, since they didnt want to be martyrs.again, when you produce clergy from a nominally christian nation, you will produce lukewarm clergy as well.
Germany never fully returned to faith, and is now the most atheistic nation in the world.

i didnt say hitler was a satanist or a pagan, he was surrounded in the thule society and later the DAP by them: atheists, satanists and neo pagans, morphed and evolved into the nazi party.
the history channel has a documentary on it.
most western nations turned to authoritarian rule or socialism in the great depression.
hitler used germany's terrible circumstances to create a scapegoat, the jews and the foreign nations. remember it was a nominally christian nation only, so many people went along with it.the germans had a history of anti christian philosophy, even among christians. nietzsche's biography was substituted for the Bible in German soldiers backpacks.
i'd remind you there was no Holocaust before Hitler and his godless ideology.

125 million dead is the figure that the US Congress gave as to all communist genocide.in the 20th century up until then, though that might have been before Pol Pot.

logic would tell us that when the objective moral standards of religion are replaced by godless ideologies ro no ideology at all, it's a slippery slope to hell.

for the atheist, a subjective moral code serves in place of the golden rule.
for an atheist like Jeffery dahmer, it means eating house guests is ok.(he blamed atheism for his crimes).

for an atheist like jim jones (yes, he was an atheist-marxist), campers drink laced fruit drinks.
for Hitler and Stalin and the other leaders of 20th century 'isms' it meant applying neo darwinist principles to humans.
unlike what's stated in the Declaration of Independence, the freedom or jurisdictional charter of the USA, the atheist doesnt believe God bestows inalienable rights to all his children.
the state gives, and can take away since mankind is just another animal in their view.

Was Adolf Hitler religious?

Online contention between religious believers and unbelievers often centers on wars and violence. Anti-religious skeptics point to Islamist terrorism, the Crusades and the hundreds of victims of the Inquisition (which lasted from the 12th century to the early 19th). In response, believers point to the scores of millions killed by militantly atheistic regimes in such places as Russia, Albania, China and Cuba — murders that, like those committed earlier in the French Revolution, were often explicitly motivated by hostility to religion.

Commonly mentioned in such debates is “Godwin’s Law.” Formulated in 1990 by the American attorney and writer Mike Godwin, this “law” isn’t, as many mistakenly believe it to be, a rule somehow prohibiting comparisons to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Rather, it’s a prediction. Said Godwin, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1” — that is, if an online disagreement (whatever its topic) lasts long enough, one party to the disagreement will eventually compare the other party to Hitler or the Nazis.

“Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs that Drove the Third Reich” (Regnery History, 2016) is by Richard Weikart. Regnery Publishing

Godwin’s Law draws its force from the fact that, quite understandably for most people, Hitler and the Nazis represent the worst kind of human evil. Thus, successfully linking one’s opponent in a dispute to Nazism can (supposedly) yield a decisive victory.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Hitler and the Nazis frequently appear in arguments over religious and irreligious violence. This isn’t merely a historical debate it’s a lively issue in ongoing disputes.

Many theists claim that, like Stalin and Mao, Hitler was an atheist. Thus, they insist, his genocidal murders must be added to atheism’s overall death toll. Not so, counter the atheists. Not only was Hitler raised an Austrian Catholic, but he often declared his belief in God and even called himself a Christian. His persecution of the Jews, they say, was simply an extreme continuation of Christian anti-Semitism, of hating “the Jews” for killing Jesus.

The theists reply that Hitler’s occasional “Christian” rhetoric was just a savvy politician’s attempt to win over a largely religious populace. Privately, Hitler denied the existence of a personal God, rejected the concept of an individual afterlife, mocked Christian morality and sought to damage and, in the long term, to destroy the churches.

In fact, Hitler was a supremely cunning demagogue who routinely lied, and his record is mixed. However, Richard Weikart has recently published what is almost certainly the most sustained and exhaustive study of “Hitler’s Religion,” coming to a clear conclusion that seems to account for all the historical data.

Hitler, Weikart argues in “Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs that Drove the Third Reich” (Regnery History, 2016), was neither an atheist nor a Christian. His hatred of the Jews bears little or no resemblance to historical Christian anti-Semitism. Rather, it was based on certain strains of contemporary “science.” Nor, for that matter, despite some claims, was he a Germanic pagan or an occultist. Some prominent Nazis cultivated astrology and occultism, while some even sought to revive the pre-Christian Germanic religion of the high god Odin or Wotan. But Hitler himself disdained such things as unscientific.

Instead, Hitler was deeply devoted to the outdoors and to Nature (with a capital “N”), to which he referred using language that theists typically reserve for deity. The term that seems best to describe his view, contends Weikart, is “pantheism,” a doctrine that identifies God with the universe. “For Hitler,” Weikart concludes, “God was Nature.”

He was also devoted to science, as he understood it. Specifically, he was a follower of “social Darwinism.” From the Darwinian principle of “natural selection,” he deduced that the supreme law of Nature (and, thus, in Hitler’s view, of “the Lord”) is the survival of the fittest. All of life is a struggle in which superior animals — including the best of them, humans (and specifically “Aryan” or Germanic humans) — have the right and even the moral duty to eliminate or enslave “inferior” animals (including “lesser races” of humans).

From this understanding flowed the Nazi extermination camps (which engaged not only in the wholesale murder of such ethnic groups as Jews, Slavs and Romas, also know as Gypsies, but the destruction of children with disabilities), the forced sterilization of “defective” people, incentive programs to encourage high German birthrates, lack of interest in hospital care for the chronically ill and the Nazi glorification of war as something good for its own sake.

In Hitler’s mind, his actions were dictated by science and ruthless logic.

Daniel Peterson founded BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, chairs The Interpreter Foundation and blogs on Patheos. William Hamblin is the author of several books on premodern history. They speak only for themselves.

Were Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot atheists?

In debunking atheism and using the tu quoque or “you too!” argument to point fingers in the opposite direction whenever religious atrocities are raised, defenders of theism often bring up the notion that some of the most destructive and genocidal ideologies in history, Communism, Nazism and “Pol Potery,” were “atheistic,” because their leaders were “atheists.”

In my book The Gospel According to Acharya S, I delve briefly into these subjects, raising a few facts and conclusions that may not be widely known – but should be, because of these anti-atheist arguments. Here is a pertinent excerpt from The Gospel, also included in an Examiner article, “Is atheism the answer, Part 3?”, which is the source for the last two paragraphs of commentary here. (All facts in the following excerpt are carefully cited in The Gospel from reliable sources.)

Were Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot atheists?

Theists hold up Communism and Nazism, along with the regime of the Cambodian tyrant Pol Pot, as evidence of murderous “atheist” tyrannies that have caused the deaths of tens of millions. While it may be true that Communism portrayed itself as “godless,” it did not wage war in the name of atheism, nor were its founders and leaders raised as atheists. They were, in fact, preponderantly Jewish and Christian. Communist Manifesto writer Karl Marx was born a Jew, the grandson of two rabbis, and was converted to Christianity at age 6. Leon Trotsky, whose real name was Lev Bronstein, was born and raised a Jew but later declared himself “an internationalist.”

Josef Stalin’s “very religious” mother named him after St. Joseph, and wanted him to become a priest. Stalin himself supposedly claimed that his father had been a priest, and he was purportedly “damaged by violence” while being “raised in a poor priest-ridden household.” As a youth, Stalin spent five years in a Greek Orthodox seminary, after which he purportedly renounced his religion. In his later years, Stalin apparently embraced Christianity once more. As Stalin biographer Edvard Radinsky remarks, “During his mysterious retreat [of June 1941] the ex-seminarist had decided to involve the aid of the God he had rejected.” Radinsky likewise chronicles a number of religious comrades in Stalin’s immediate circle. It is evident that, whether for good or bad, religion played a significant role in Stalin’s life.

Adolf Hitler was raised a Catholic, and in a speech in 1922 he remarked, “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter…” In his autobiography Mein Kampf (1.2), Hitler stated:

Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

Throughout his life, Hitler invoked God and “the Lord,” demonstrating his religious, not atheistic, nature. Pol Pot was raised a Buddhist and Catholic. In this regard, Dr. Ian Harris, a Reader in Religious Studies at the University College of St. Martin, relates: “In one of his early writings Pol Pot wrote approvingly that the ‘democratic regime will bring back the Buddhist moralism because our great leader Buddha was the first to have taught [democracy].'” Although in comparison to the Abrahamic religions its history is far less violent, Buddhism has not been entirely devoid of atrocity in its spread and practice.

If we are to insist—as many people have done, including numerous theists and atheists alike—that religious human abuse is the cause of atheistic reaction against religion, we need look no further, it would seem, than to Josef Stalin’s religiously abusive childhood to discover from where much of his rage appeared to emanate. His atheistic reaction therefore would be caused by religion. Hitler, who was also fascinated by mysticism, could not be deemed an “atheist” by any scientific standard, and Pol Pot also was not raised an atheist in a vacuum devoid of religion but was obviously affected and motivated by it.

If atheism is frequently but a reaction against human abuse by religion, then in itself such disbelief may not be the cause of malfeasance.

The Religion of Hitler (1998)

Who is going to control the present - fundamentalism or freedom? History is being distorted by many preachers and politicians. They are heard on the airwaves condemning atheists and routinely claim Adolph Hitler was one. What a crock! Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth, and was confirmed as a "soldier of Christ" in that church. The worst doctrines of that church never left him. He was steeped in its liturgy, which contained the words, "perfidious Jew." This hateful statement was not removed until 1961. Perfidy means treachery.

In his day, hatred of Jews was the norm. In great measure it was sponsored by the two major religions of Germany, Catholicism and Lutheranism. He greatly admired Martin Luther, who openly hated the Jews. Luther condemned the Catholic Church for its pretensions and corruption, but he supported the centuries of papal pogroms against the Jews. Luther said, "The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves," and "We ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them." "Ungodly wretches" he calls the Jews in his widely read Table Talk .

Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf . ". I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." He never left the church, and the church never left him. Great literature was banned by his church, but his miserable Mien Kampf never appeared on the Index of Forbidden Books .

He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of their countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

Those who would make Hitler an atheist should turn their eyes to history books before they address their pews and microphones. Acclaimed Hitler biographer, John Toland, explains his heartlessness as follows: "Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god. "

Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church to blindly follow all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.

Hitler, like some of today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporal punishment in home and in school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it. If past is prologue, we know what to expect if liberty becomes license.

As a young child, I remember my late father, Martin J. Murphy, practicing a speech and loudly quoting the following: "Light up the mountain. Bring out the wild and fiery steed. Let it be known, that I, Gustavus, have insulted the King." Thinking for yourself and speaking your true thoughts - now that's a real family value.

"The Religion of Hitler" is copyright © 1998 by John Patrick Michael Murphy.
The electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels with the written permission of John Patrick Michael Murphy.

The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?

I got a call from a gentleman from San Francisco who was exorcised about Christian missionaries going into foreign lands. Then he started talking about not only the destruction of indigenous beliefs, but also the destruction of missionaries. That’s what he wanted to see happen. He also said that Christians and religious groups are responsible for the greatest massacres of history. It turns out he was quite supportive of Wicca and indigenous religions which worship the Mother Earth force, Gaia. This is essentially the basic foundation for witchcraft and I made a comment then that this was basically what he was talking about.

But a couple of the things that he said were a challenge to me. Not only did he assert that historically missionaries have destroyed cultures and indigenous religions at the point of a gun, but also Christianity and religion were responsible for most of the bloodshed in the world, or the great majority of it. I’ve heard this claim before. I wanted to respond with more detail because I’m sure you’ve heard these things as well.

I have a tactic that I employ in situations like this that is called “Just the Facts, Ma’am.” In other words, there are times when you’re faced with objections to Christianity or your point of view that really fail with an accurate assessment of the facts. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them.

The assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. The greatest atrocities committed against man were done in the name of God.

Before I get to the particular facts, there is more than just a factual problem here. There is a theoretical problem as well, and I tried to make the point that we must distinguish between what an individual or group of people do and what the code that they allegedly follow actually asserts. The fact is that there are people who do things consistently that are inconsistent with the code that they allegedly follow. But often times when that happens, especially where religion is concerned, the finger is pointed not at the individual who is choosing to do something barbaric, but at the code he claims to represent. The only time it’s legitimate to point to the code as the source of barbarism is if the code is, in fact, the source of barbarism. People object to a religion that used barbaric means to spread the faith. But one can only use that as an objection against the religion if it’s the religion itself that asserts that one must do it this way, as opposed to people who try to promote the spread of the religion in a forceful fashion in contradiction to what the religion actually teaches.

It’s my understanding that much of Islam has been spread by the edge of the sword. That isn’t because Muslim advocates were particularly violent. It’s because their religion actually advocates this kind of thing. The difference between that and Christianity is that when Christianity was spread by the edge of the sword it was done so in contradistinction to the actually teachings of Christianity. This is when individual people who claim to be Christians actually did things that were inconsistent with their faith.

I’ve had some people that have told me when I’ve brought this up, “That’s not a fair defense. You can’t simply say that those people who committed the Crusades or the Inquisition or the witch burnings weren’t real Christians. That’s illegitimate.” My response is, why? We know what a real Christian is. A real Christian is someone who believes particular things and lives a particular kind of lifestyle. John makes it clear that those who consistently live unrighteously are ipso facto by definition not part of the faith. So why is it illegitimate for me to look at people who claim to be Christians, yet live unrighteous lives, and promote genocide to say that these people aren’t living consistently with the text, therefore you can’t really call them Christians. I think that’s legitimate.

For example, no one would fault the Hippocratic Oath, which is a very rigid standard of conduct for physicians, just because there are doctors who don’t keep it. We wouldn’t say there’s something wrong with the oath, the code that they allegedly follow. We’d say there was something wrong with the individuals who don’t live up to the ideals of that code. That is the case frequently where people waving the Bible in one hand are also waving a bloody sword in the other. The two are inconsistent. So it’s not fair or reasonable to fault the Bible when the person who’s waving the sword is doing things that are contradictory to what the Bible teaches ought to be done.

So that’s the first important thing to remember when you face an objection like this. Distinguish between what a person does and what the code they claim to follow actually asserts. Christianity is one thing, and if we’re going to fault Christianity we must fault its teachings and not fault it because there are people who say they are Christians but then live a life that is totally morally divergent from what Christianity actually teaches.

As I said earlier, this kind of objection falls when you employ a tactic I call “Just the Facts, Ma’am,” and I’d like to give you some of those facts. My assertion as I responded to the gentleman who called last week was simply this, it is true that there are Christians who do evil things. Even take people’s lives. This is an indication that these people aren’t truly Christians, but it may be true also that people with the right heart, but the wrong head do things that are inappropriate, like I think might have been the case in the Salem Witch Trials.

My basic case is that religion doesn’t promote this kind of thing it’s the exception to the rule. The rule actually is that when we remove God from the equation, when we act and live as if we have no one to answer to but ourselves, and if there is not God, then the rule of law is social Darwinism—the strong rule the weak. We’ll find that, quite to the contrary, it is not Christianity and the belief in the God of the Bible that results in carnage and genocide. But it’s when people reject the God of the Bible that we are most vulnerable to those kinds of things that we see in history that are the radical and gross destruction of human lives.

Let’s take the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Apparently, between June and September of 1692 five men and fourteen women were eventually convicted and hanged because English law called for the death penalty for witchcraft (which, incidentally, was the same as the Old Testament). During this time there were over 150 others that were imprisoned. Things finally ended in September 1692 when Governor William Phipps dissolved the court because his wife had been accused. He said enough of this insanity. It was the colony’s leading minister, by the way, who finally ended the witch hunt in 1693 and those that remained in prison were released. The judge that was presiding over the trials publicly confessed his guilt in 1697. By the way, it’s interesting to note that this particular judge was very concerned about the plight of the American Indian and was opposed to slavery. These are views that don’t sit well with the common caricature of the radical Puritans in the witch hunt. In 1711 the colonies legislatures made reparation to the heirs of the victims. They annulled the convictions.

I guess the point is that there was a witch hunt. It was based on theological reasons, but it wasn’t to the extent that is usually claimed. I think last week the caller said it was millions and millions that were burned at the stake as witches. It certainly wasn’t the case in this country. It seemed that the witch hunt was a result of theological misapplication and the people who were involved were penitent. The whole witch hunt lasted only a year. Sixteen people were hanged in New England for witchcraft prior to 1692. In the 1692 witch hunt nineteen were executed. So you’ve got thirty-five people. One hundred fifty imprisoned. This is not at all to diminish or minimize the impact of the American witch hunts which resulted in thirty-five deaths. But thirty-five is not millions. It is not hundreds of thousands. It’s not even hundreds. It’s thirty-five. This was not genocide.

Now in Europe it was a little different. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft in 1431. Over a period of 300 years, from 1484 to 1782, the Christian church put to death 300,000 women accused of witchcraft, about 1000 per year. Again, I don’t want to minimize the impact of 1000 lives lost a year, but here we’re talking about a much, much smaller number over a long period of time than what has been claimed in the past.

In America we’re talking thirty-five people. In Europe over 300 years, we’re talking about 300,000. Not millions. The sources here are World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana. You can also read in Newsweek, August 31, 1992. I was accused of being a liar last week. I’m trying to give you the facts from reputable sources that show that the accusations from last week aren’t accurate.

There were two Inquisitions. One of them began right around the end of the first millennium in 1017. It began as an attempt to root out heretics and occurred chiefly in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Spanish Inquisition followed in the fourteenth century and was much bloodier. It began as a feudal aristocracy which forced religious values on society. Jews were caught in the middle of this and many of them were killed. About 2000 executions took place. The Inquisition that took place at the turn of the millennium, less than that. So we’re talking about thousands of people, not millions.

There were actually seven different Crusades and tens of thousands died in them. Most of them were a misdirected attempt to free the Holy Land. Some weren’t quite like that. There were some positive aspects to them, but they were basically an atrocity over a couple hundred years. The worst was the Children’s Crusade. All of the children who went to fight died along the way. Some were shipwrecked and the rest were taken into slavery in Egypt.

A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religion criminals have committed.

My point is not that Christians or religions people aren’t to vulnerable to terrible crimes. Certainly they are. But it is not religion that produces these things it is the denial of Biblical religion that generally leads to this kind of things. The statistics that are the result of irreligious genocide stagger the imagination.

My source is The Guinness Book of World Records. Look up the category “Judicial” and under the subject of “Crimes: Mass Killings,” the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against the government of another is 26.3 million Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse Tung between the years of 1949 and May 1965. The Walker Report published by the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary in July 1971 placed the parameters of the total death toll in China since 1949 between 32 and 61.7 million people. An estimate of 63.7 million was published by Figaro magazine on November 5, 1978.

In the U.S.S.R. the Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.

Finally, in Cambodia (and this was close to me because I lived in Thailand in 1982 working with the broken pieces of the Cambodian holocaust from 1975 to 1979) “as a percentage of a nation’s total population, the worst genocide appears to be that in Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea. According to the Khmer Rouge foreign minister, more than one third of the eight million Khmer were killed between April 17, 1975 and January 1979. One third of the entire country was put to death under the rule of Pol Pott, the founder of the Communist Part of Kampuchea. During that time towns, money and property were abolished. Economic execution by bayonet and club introduced for such offenses as falling asleep during the day, asking to too many questions, playing non-communist music, being old and feeble, being the offspring of an undesirable, or being too well educated. In fact, deaths in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in Pnom Penh, which is the capitol of Kampuchea, reached 582 in a day.”

Then in Chinese history of the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries there were three periods of wholesale massacre. The numbers of victims attributed to these events are assertions rather than reliable estimates. The figures put on the Mongolian invasion of northern China form 1210 to 1219 and from 1311 to 1340 are both on the order of 35 million people. While the number of victims of bandit leader Chang Hsien-chung, known as the Yellow Tiger, from 1643 to 1647 in the Sichuan province has been put at over one million people.

China under Mao Tse Tung, 26.3 million Chinese. According the Walker Report, 63.7 million over the whole period of time of the Communist revolution in China. Solzhenitsyn says the Soviet Union put to death 66.7 million people. Kampuchea destroyed one third of their entire population of eight million Cambodians. The Chinese in medieval history, somewhere in the vicinity of 35 million and 40 million people. Ladies and gentlemen, make note that these deaths were the result of organizations or points of view or ideologies that had left God out of the equation. None of these involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.

It seems to me that my colleague Dennis Prager’s illustration cannot be improved upon to show the self-evident capability of Biblical religion to restrain evil. He asks this in this illustration. If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw ten young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class? Of course, the answer is certainly you would. That demonstrates that religion, and Biblical religion in particular, is a mitigator of evil in the world.

It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenants of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people a result of the rejection of God.

Hitler hated Judaism. But he loathed Christianity, too.

At first, Adolf Hitler seemed to accept Christianity.

“In his childhood, Hitler was enthralled by the pomp and ritual of the Catholic Church,” wrote Fritz Redlich in his 1999 biography of the Führer. “Allegedly, for a while he even considered becoming a priest.”

But Hitler, born 130 years ago on April 20, 1889, began rejecting religion as a teenager. He was pulled in different directions by his parents.

His mother, Klara, reportedly the only person Hitler ever loved, was a devout Catholic. His father, Alois, with whom Hitler often fought, thought religion was essentially a scam — a “crutch for human weakness,” as another historian put it.

Hitler followed his father’s religious path straight into infamy. He hated Judaism, gleefully murdering 6 million Jews. But he loathed Christianity, too.

“In Hitler’s eyes Christianity was a religion fit only for slaves,” wrote Alan Bullock “Hitler, A Study in Tyranny,” a seminal biography. “Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle of the fittest.”