Rewriting history, Pope Benedict claims Nazis were atheists


9 comments posted
Nazis and Atheism

Using Christian symbols and rhetoric to try and sway the public does not make the Nazi's Christian. They truly were athiests... they only used religion to advance their cause. The evidence of their true spiritual beliefs can be foudn in their writings, not their propoganda. I respecfully suggest you dig deeper before you post such claims to truth or your understanding of it.

your name here's picture
Posted by your name here (not verified) on 27 October 2010 - 10:20pm
Opportunists and Civil religion

I second the above comment. It is clear that you are immersed in some sort of secularist naivite - your comments show your ignorance of the role of Religion, civil or otherwise in public life, throughout the millenia, Christian or otherwise.

I lived in Germany for 7 years and based on the response of Christians helping to shape the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) which is their constitution (more or less), they made sure that people were able to appreciate the cynicism of the Nazi party in its use of power to "align" every social and religious group, which is why they made sure that political parties, churches and other voluntary organizations are constitutionally guaranteed certain rights and freedoms in German society today. For example, the Deutsche Christen (German Christians) was an attempt to co-opt all German churches into the party auxiliary organization structure. It was not entirely successful; the Bekennende Kirche (the confessing Church) resisted until the collapse, many of its adherents dying in the Nazi machine.

But even that is not all, even otherwise benign governments have made use of religious terminology in the public sector.

Please consider, for example American politicians' and institutions use of religious terminology. This is referred to in the literature as "ceremonial deism".

Pardon the grave digging. This is important.

Joe Das's picture
Posted by Joe Das (not verified) on 4 November 2010 - 8:36pm
To the last 2 commenters,

To the last 2 commenters, thanks for commenting but there is no need to be so defensive, I think you are arguing against a straw man. I am not claiming that Nazis defined Christianity. Who can make that claim?

The point is that this cultural movement was not atheist. Please refer to a dictionary for the definition of atheism. Nazi Germany did not deny faith or religion like the Communist Soviet Union did through its institutions. There is a difference.

As for American politics, you are not paying attention if you truly believe that all of the politicians use of religion is merely ceremonial.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 11 November 2010 - 3:53pm
Clearly we aren't saying they

Clearly we aren't saying they define Christianity. Rather, the evidence provided does not account for the Nazi party's actual position with respect to religion. I'll say it again: the Nazi party's use of any religious references was opportunistic and cynical. As an example, may I submit the following source, which I find to be of higher quality than of the other apologists I've seen (for this particular matter anyway)...

Now these quote have to do with individual key personalities, mainly Hitler himself. To round out, unlike the Marx/Lenin/Trotzki branch of socialism, the Nazi party did not spend a whole lot of time developing political, let alone spiritual theories. Rather, they a bunch of thugs who had a few experts who excelled at useful sound bites. The abdicated/deposed emperor Wilhelm referred to them as a "Moerderbande" (Gang of Murderers)... TBC

Joe Das's picture
Posted by Joe Das (not verified) on 14 November 2010 - 1:29am
re. American ceremonial deism

Secondly, With respect to any religious references to religious discourse by American public speakers who are speaking as holders of public office and not as private individuals, or for references to God in mottoes or oaths e.g. IN GOD WE TRUST or ONE NATION UNDER GOD, at least since the Eisenhower era, have always been defined as examples of ceremonial deism, their religious content being so vague as to be meaningless, by the courts responding to challenges based on the first amendment. the courts of the land have basically ruled that they do not establish any religion.

Any politician's activity or speech going beyond this in the course of carrying out his office would forfeit constitutional protection. However, while I can't think of any examples right now, I'm sure that at least some politicians, perhaps especially in the Bible belt, will have pushed the boundaries on this one. If I have understaood the supreme court's rulings on this properly, such activity can never be legitimate legitimate under the laws of the land.

Joe Das's picture
Posted by Joe Das (not verified) on 14 November 2010 - 1:39am
Nazi Athiesm

The Nazi were not atheists becase of the fact that they believed a high power (God) was on their side and they genualliy looked to god. Having Got Mit Uns on helments isnt what an atheists state does. Hitler homself in a speach speeks of his Lord and Davior Christ

"""In a 1922 speech, he said: "My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter"""

There is no such thing as pure religion in any form... religion in all its forms is a mere meme grown to the point of being a virulent corrupter of man's ability to reason. HOWEVER The Nazis feared that silly God like you.

Hadz's picture
Posted by Hadz (not verified) on 9 December 2010 - 4:41pm
Nazis and Atheism

I think most commentators here are missing the point. The Pope was trying to say that Nazis were atheists, because no good Christians would ever commit such heinous crimes. Unfortunately for the Pope, his claims are untrue because the Nazi regime was a Christian one that believed in God. People here are defending Christianity, but they have to understand that Christianity has led to heinous crimes such as the crusades (I'm not saying that other religions are innocent). Being atheist doesn't mean you are evil and believing in God makes you good (as the Pope is trying to insinuate). There are many atheist religions in the world, and you can't say they are evil people.
In fact, anti-semitism is quite rooted in the Christian religion itself, because of the "Jews killed Jesus" rhetoric. Nazis didn't invent anti-semitism, homophobia, and sexism. Even prominent Christian figures such as Martin Luther has expressed anti-Semitic views (read a scholarly book on Luther).
Personally, I don't think religion makes people good or bad. Religion is up to personal interpretation. Good people make good use of it, and bad people, well, you know...

Max Vohra's picture
Posted by Max Vohra (not verified) on 25 July 2011 - 7:29pm

One Comment: The Vatican helped the Nazis? Really? Next you'll be telling us the Pope is Catholic.
Hitler was brought up as a Catholic and remained a Catholic; although he embellished his Catholicism with some old Germanic folkloric trappings to make it seem more nationalistic and less Abrahamic. What is so perverse about the Pope's denials is that the Catholic Church helped the Nazis hide and escape retribution after the war. It is well documented that the Nazis were sheltered underground in the Vatican and in monasteries throughout Europe: The escape routes for fascists were called “ratlines.” Centers of ratline activity that facilitated the escape of Nazi fascists were planned within the Vatican. History of the Italian Rat Line" (10 April 1950) document signed by "IB Operating Officer" Paul E. Lyon, 430th Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). and:

How quickly we forget. Lest one might think/hope that atheists would be freer of the depraved taint of misogyny that's enshrined in the ideological structures of most religions, this is not the case. Many public male atheists proudly spew the most arrogant, hateful male supremacist rhetoric. Alas, eschewing religious superstition is no bar to embracing the delusions of male supremacy.

betsy warrior's picture
Posted by betsy warrior (not verified) on 17 February 2013 - 5:09pm
"in fact our movement is Christian"

Via Wikiquote

We are a people of different religions, but we are one. Which faith conquers the other is not the question; rather, the question is whether Christianity stands or falls... We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity … in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people.
Speech in Passau 27 October 1928 Bundesarchiv Berlin-Zehlendorf; from Richard Steigmann-Gall (2003). Holy Reich: Nazi conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 60-61.

Hitler was very clearly a Christian and so were his soldiers. Our own military is controlled by radical Christians today, no matter how secular we believe our country to be. I'm all for completely separating the functions of State and Church and the sooner we do it, the better.

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 13 November 2015 - 5:38am