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Was Hitler an Atheist or a Christian?

Updated on May 21, 2017
Was Adolf Hitler a religious man?
Was Adolf Hitler a religious man? | Source

The religious orientation of Adolf Hitler is a divisive issue in debates, with each side clamoring to dissociate itself from this infamous historical figure. Christians and atheists often argue the matter, expecting that his religious allegiance will discredit the entirety of the opposing argument. Ignored is the question of whether one man’s perspective can singularly vilify an entire philosophy.

Before analyzing Mein Kampf and other quotes from Adolf Hitler, it's worth reminding ourselves why this matter is important. Godwin’s Law states that as debates progress, the probability of invoking a tactless, hyperbolic comparison with Hitler or the Nazis increases. Without clear data to guide those who revert to playing the Hitler card, arguments about this extraneous issue could rage indefinitely!

Despite the heedless defiers of Godwin, this question does have fascinating historical significance. Indeed, the lies and fabrications surrounding Hitler’s religious orientation evince a remarkable story and a surprising conclusion.

Adolf Hitler just before writing Mein Kampf.
Adolf Hitler just before writing Mein Kampf. | Source

Was Hitler a Christian?

Consistent with his country of birth (Austria) and the beliefs of his mother, Hitler was born into the Roman Catholic branch of the Christian faith. Religion was part of Hitler’s life whether he desired it or not, and while this suggests a belief in Christianity, such familiarity with Christian culture might only have led to its use in metaphor and analogy. For example, Albert Einstein often referred to God without a clear belief in his existence. Nevertheless, there are numerous public and private quotes that support the notion of Hitler being a religious man. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote:

  • “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.” - Adolf Hitler (1925, Mein Kampf)

This sounds unequivocal, though some argue it was said to gain Church support. However, if it was opportunistic, why would this statement persuade the Church to follow him? Hitler’s brand of `Aryan Christianity’ deviated from Christian teachings, and was dismissed by Pope Pius XI. So either Hitler didn't know the view of the Church (unlikely) or he genuinely believed he was doing the Lord’s work.

Christians often argue that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was based on ideas of race, not religion, and therefore he wasn't religious. This is a red herring because one can be religious as well as racially intolerant. It's actually quite common! In fact, Hitler only preferred racial intolerance for its effectiveness:

  • “The anti-Semitism of the Christian-Socialists was based on religious instead of racial principles… [and it] turned out to be quite ineffective.” - Adolf Hitler (1925, Mein Kampf)

Hitler repeatedly referred to Jews as being responsible for the death of the `Aryan’ Jesus, and claimed that by shunning Jews at the Temple, Jesus was anti-Semitic:

  • “[The Jew’s] life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took to the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties.” - Adolf Hitler (1925, Mein Kampf)

In this quote, Hitler refers to a true Christianity, suggesting an interpretation of the Christian faith that he believed in. Curiously, he then associated the Jews with atheism and criticized their lack of faith. This suggests he never viewed the Jews as particularly religious, and had an equally poor opinion of atheists. Indeed, Hitler claimed prior to Mein Kampf that Jews “dance around the golden calf” (1919)– a Biblical reference to those who worship false idols, which in this case refers to a love of money. This evidence makes it abundantly clear that Hitler rooted his anti-Semitism within Christian beliefs. Hitler also said:

  • “This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.” - Adolf Hitler (1925, Mein Kampf)
  • “[One] 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 (1925, Mein Kampf)
  • “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter ... In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders ... As a Christian, I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice." - Adolf Hitler (1922, Munich speech)
  • “I believe in God, and I am convinced that he will not desert 67 million Germans.” - Adolf Hitler (1937, Ward Price interview)

Finally, Hitler formed a movement called `Deutsche Christen’ to unify Protestantism with Nazi philosophy; he outlawed homosexuality; his army wore the inscription `God is with us’ on their belt buckles; and Nazi statutes demanded that Christianity be taught in schools:

  • “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith."- Adolf Hitler (1933, Concordat negotiations)

Nietzsche allegedly influenced Hitler.
Nietzsche allegedly influenced Hitler. | Source
A Soviet anti-religious poster.
A Soviet anti-religious poster. | Source

Was Hitler an Atheist?

The historian Allan Bullock wrote that Hitler: "had no time at all for Catholic teaching, regarding it as a religion fit only for slaves and detesting its ethics". Bullock appears to be drawing on Hitler’s apparent affiliation with Nietzschean philosophy. While Friedrich Nietzsche was a vehement critic of Christianity, Hitler probably never read a word of his work. Acclaimed philosopher, Weaver Santaniello, analyzed Nietzsche’s influence on Hitler, finding that his understanding of Nietzsche came second hand via coffeehouse conversations.

Nevertheless, Hitler appeared to dislike the Catholic Church and persecuted a number of clergymen. When the Nazis invaded Poland, large numbers of the Catholic clergy were executed. In fact, during his time as leader, Hitler clearly sought to diminish the power and influence of the Catholic Church.

The majority of evidence for Hitler’s atheism comes from a single source called `Hitler’s Table Talk’; a collection of conversations with two of his closest aids. It allegedly contains such gems as:

  • “Our epoch will see the end of the disease that is Christianity”
  • “I shall never come to terms with the Christian lie".

However, the oft-cited English version of this work is an inaccurate translation of the German transcript. Indeed, the original German quotes do not even refer to Christianity. Furthermore, the translation omits passages that confirm Hitler’s religious views. These discrepancies can be attributed to the man who produced the French translation that subsequently spawned the English version. The translator, Francois Genoud, confessed to his fabrication years later, though his work still remains popular among historians willing to believe it. Additionally, many authors on the subject were unaware that their source material was bogus.

We know that Hitler despised Bolshevism (Communism), and following the rise of atheism in the Soviet Union, Hitler frequently associated the two doctrines. For example, he said:

  • “The Church's interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement”. - Adolf Hitler (1934, Koblenz speech)

Indeed, Stalin feared persecuting the clergy in Western regions of Russia because he thought it might antagonize the Germans. Conversely, Hitler banned most atheist groups, saying:

  • "We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” - Adolf Hitler (1933, Berlin speech)

Adolf Hitler about to give a speech in 1933.
Adolf Hitler about to give a speech in 1933. | Source
Hitler disagreed with Roman Catholicism and the teachings of St. Paul (pictured).
Hitler disagreed with Roman Catholicism and the teachings of St. Paul (pictured). | Source

Was Hitler a Catholic or a Protestant?

From the original German version of Hitler’s Table Talk, we gain some insight into Hitler’s religious beliefs. He says:

  • "The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator." - Hitler's Table Talk (1941-1944)
  • “Christ was an Aryan, but Paul used his teachings to mobilize the underworld and organize a proto-Bolshevism. With its breakdown, the beautiful clarity of the ancient world was lost." - Hitler's Table Talk (1941-1944)

Hitler's issue with Christianity centered on the distortion of Christ’s teachings by the Catholic religious leaders that followed; notably St. Paul. This may explain his later persecution of the Catholic clergy. Indeed, Hitler's antagonism towards Catholicism was apparent by the time he was 15 years old. According to historian, Michael Rissmann (2001, Hitler's Gott), Hitler was extremely reluctant to undergo his Catholic confirmation ceremony, and his repugnance for the task meant the words had to be “dragged out of him”.

Nevertheless, Hitler still believed in the resurrection, and in Table Talk he promoted the Protestant idea that the resurrection was spiritual rather than physical. Thus, Hitler’s eventual religious orientation, as well as his anti-Semitism, paralleled the views of Martin Luther; the instigator of the Protestant Reformation.

In office, Hitler signed a Concordat (truce) with the German Catholic Church, which spared them destruction in return for a withdrawal from politics. The Nazi regime repeatedly violated the truce by arresting prominent Catholics, subjecting them to show trials or assassinating them outright. However, on Protestantism, Hitler told his associate Albert Speer:

  • “Through me the Protestant Church could become the established church.” - Adolf Hitler (Inside the Third Reich, 1970, Albert Speer)

Hitler sought to unify the Protestant Churches and align them with Nazism. He called this the `Deutsche Christen’ movement or `positive Christianity’, with its primary alterations being the divine assurance of Aryan superiority over other races, and a rejection of guilt, meekness, and the Old `Jewish’ Testament. However, many Protestant Churches saw this as incompatible with traditional teachings, and rebelled against the proposed union. This led to the persecution of some of the Protestant clergy, and the failure of Hitler’s plans. Despite his bias on the matter, Hitler said:

  • “It does not matter which of the two triumphs over the other, the Catholic or the Protestant” - Adolf Hitler (1925, Mein Kampf)

This confirms that his beliefs constituted little more than a preference for Protestantism, with neither denomination directly matching the version of Christianity he wished to see.

Was Hitler a Christian or Atheistic?

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Summary

Hitler was a Christian, as evidenced by the plethora of public and private quotes that confirm his love of Christ, and the rooting of his anti-Semitism within Christian beliefs regarding the crucifixion. While Hitler’s opposition to the Catholic Church is often cited as evidence for his atheism, it cohered with his predominantly Protestant ideals. The persecution of various Protestants occurred after they rejected the proposed union of their faith with Nazism.

Given the fabrication of the English version of Hitler’s Table Talk, we are left without a single piece of evidence to suggest Hitler was an atheist. Rather, all of the evidence points to him being a Christian with many Protestant views, though ultimately, Hitler wanted his own brand of Christianity.

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    • Rchrdsnc profile image

      Carl Richardson 13 months ago from Midwest USA

      None of you know who Adolf Hitler was. You just assume he was Shicklgruber because that is what televison told you to do. No. He has escaped the history books. Too bad.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 22 months ago

      Interesting and sad...you can only call yourself a Christian when you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, following His ways... hitler who called himself a Christian yet did not believe or act in Christ like ways...obviously he interpret his aryan Jesus, he did not read that Jesus came from a genealogy of Jews. The deeds and sick ways of hitler's thinking was his own...he made his own sick religion..."hitler"

      I can't capitalize his name, as I was born and lived through the war there.

      One must remember religion/church is a form of "man made" belief system and rules...anyone can call themselves a Christian, but do they truly believe in Christ and what He stood for? That is the center of Christianity!

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      Larry Wall 2 years ago

      We are in total agreement on that issue. I suspect some form of mental illness, but I do not have the knowledge or resources to prove that theory.

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Larry. I think we can both agree that saying Hitler's religion gave him justification for what he did is to go too far. As I say, both atheists and religionists try to to blame the other's beliefs for Hitler's actions. Neither conclusion is well-supported.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 2 years ago

      Thomas,

      I have not studied Hitler in the same level of detail as you. I know what he did, but cannot tell you why he did it or what if any belief system he was following or using to justify those actions. More than one person has used what he allegedly learned from his religion, or what he saw was wrong with it as a means of justifying his actions. This is my only comment. I just happened to be passing by.

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      theone 2 years ago

      Hitler is a killer, he commanded his generals to gas thousands of innocent germans, europeans...

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      "The Crusades were the result of a complex range of..." (How was it complex? Are you just trying to make it complex?)

      "called for volunteers..." (A nice way of saying he organized an army by telling people it was their Christian duty)

      "six surviving sources that record it, all contradictory" (How so?)

      "He was also hoping..." (How do you know what he was hoping?)

      "wanted to put their aggression to use before they decided to sack Paris or Rome" (Absolute rubbish that you've made up)

      "He got a much bigger response than he expected" (How do you know? Sounds like you're trying to get him off the hook.)

      "most of the violence they visited on Constantinople and Jerusalem can be attributed not to Urban but to the Crusaders not bringing adequate supplies" (So basically, not his fault?)

      "And he probably never intended for them to take Jerusalem" (Wow, really? Probably? Never intended? How the heck do you know?)

      "the Crusades were violent affairs, but that violence has been exaggerated" (Do you even believe what you're saying?)

      "And I have the consensus of leading historical academics to back me up on that matter." (No... you really don't).

      I have never seen such ridiculous bias in my life. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask, are you a Catholic?

      As for the rest of your comment, I covered those points in the hub that you clearly didn't read. Hitler was brought up a Catholic. He did begrudgingly go through his confirmation ceremony, marking his early antagonism towards Catholicism. He did persecute the Catholic Church in Poland and at home. I've said all this in the hub. However, you seem to think this was because he hated Christianity rather than just hating Catholicism. You keep talking about private correspondence and quotes where he criticizes Christianity in general (rather than just Catholicism), but you don't provide quotes. If you did, I would find them in the fabricated Roper translation wouldn't I?

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      One Eyed Dragon 4 years ago

      Table Talk contains anti-Christian statements. Hitler criticizes the Catholic Church, but he also criticizes Christianity in general. And Table Talk is not the only source. He had some pantheistic-ish belief in Providence, and he thought Jesus was a Great Man, but he did not practice Christianity. He was baptised and confirmed into the Catholic faith (according to biographer John Toland, he didn't particularly want to be confirmed) but he never attended church services and may have inherited some anti-clerical and sceptical attitudes from his father. He never formally left the Catholic Church, but he didn't hold any attachment towards it either. It was simply that the majority of Germans were practicing Christians and it would have been a very divisive move if he denounced it publicly- and right to the end, Hitler thought that his authority rested on his popularity and image, and worried about it constantly.

      Hitler favoured the Protestant churches over the Catholic because the Catholic church was internationalist whilst the Protestant are generally nationalist and more loyal to the state- even so, he did praise Catholicism on different occasions, and many Catholics and Catholic leaders met him and left believing he was on their side.

      Praising Martin Luther did not make him Protestant any more than praising Muhammed made him a Muslim. He appointed Bishop Ludwig Muller as head of the Protestant Reich Church, which "united" all Protestant denominations under Mullers German Christians (who pledged loyalty to the state above / as equal to loyalty with God, and practiced Positive Christianity) whether they liked it or not- they didn't, and the Confessing Church was formed instead, which objected to the state interfering in theological matters.

      In 1935 Muller was replaced by Hans Kerrl, the Nazi Minister of Church Affairs and the ONLY Nazi Minister seriously interested in reconciling Nazism with the Church. He too fell out of favour in 1937 when it was clear that even he couldn't keep the Churches on board, and several leading Nazi's were openly hostile to the idea of Nazism being tied into Christianity. That was pretty much the end of Hitler trying to get on with any of the Christian churches- from 1937 onward, he became increasingly hostile, and during the war he told Martin Bormann that after the war "Christianity has no future in Germany".

      He didn't call St Pauls Catholicism proto-Bolshevism; he called St Pauls Christianity proto-Bolshevism. Protestantism didn't come about until the 16th century- Protestants still regard St Paul as every bit as important as Catholics do.

      I said the Positive Christians believed that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah and that, by definition, could mean that they weren't truly Christian because Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, and Messiah specifically means the prophesised anointed one of the Jewish God, and since the rejected the entire Old Testament they didn't even believe he could be that. Hitler himself as well as the Positive Christians believed in some racialist pseudo-history about Galileans were Aryan and they and the Jews were two ethnically distinct people and so Jesus, a Galilean, was not a Jew, and that most of the stuff we know about him was bastardised by St Paul and other Jews. Basically they took Nazism and added the parts of Christianity that they didn't disagree with, and used the label. Even then, Hitler did not practice this.

      And no, I am not saying that a mass murderer cannot be a Christian, bad or otherwise. Franco was that sort of bad Christian, and in some ways he was even worse than Hitler. I am saying that Hitler was not a Christian. Hitler did NOT believe that Jesus was the Son of God- he thought that was just another invention of St Paul. Hitler called himself a Christian only when he thought he had something to gain by it, usually in public or when he was talking to a Christian- again, he did not added church services, he thought the churches should owe their loyalty to the Nazi state, and he became increasingly hostile to the churches after 1937 when it was clear that the churches did not feel the same way. He privately expressed anti-Christian sentiments on numerous occasions to his private clique and leading party members, poured scorn on its Jewish origins and supernatural elements, and under his reign EVERY Christian denomination was either put under Nazi state control or outright persecuted (not to the level of the persecution of the Jews, but persecuted nonetheless), especially in occupied territories such as Poland where churches were torched and thousands of priests imprisoned or murdered. He did not CONSIDER himself a Christian, even if he claimed otherwise when it suited him. for Hitler, Reich trumped religion. He did NOT consider it part of his religious identity.

      The Nazi's conducting show trials of priests, had a section of Dachau concentration camp reserved for Christian clergy (of all denominations- the guards sometimes pissed on the leftover food in the garbage, because they knew the starving priests and pastors were stealing from it out of hunger), repeatedly violated the terms of their Concordant with the Vatican, and planned to demolish churches to make with for Hitler's grandiose building plans; small scale persecutions against dissenting Christians of any denomination were permitted from above; the SA sang anti-clerical songs, vandalised churches (Catholic and Protestant) and beat up reverends and priests; in schools, the crucifix was replaced with pictures of Hitler; Himmler, Bormann, Goebbels and Rosenberg were openly hostile to Christianity and Hitler knew this and let them conduct their private anti-Christian campaigns (grumbling sometimes because he wanted the church on-side, but never actually forbidding them to do it).

      And the Pope and the Crusades are another debate entirely. The Crusades were the result of a complex range of social, political, military, class, religious and economic factors. Pope Urban received a request from Constantinople requesting aid against Islamic invaders and called for volunteers at the Council of Claremont. We do not know what he said or how aggressive he was about it because there are six surviving sources that record it, all contradictory in different ways and all recorded after the fact. He was also hoping that the Crusaders would include at least some of the knights and brigands who were fighting each other all the time and wanted to put their aggression to use before they decided to sack Paris or Rome. He got a much bigger response than he expected and most of the violence they visited on Constantinople and Jerusalem can be attributed not to Urban but to the Crusaders not bringing adequate supplies and arriving exhausted and starving. And he probably never intended for them to take Jerusalem- that was their own idea. Later Crusades were about kings seeking glory and most went nowhere, and none of them were regarded as much more than a blip by contemporary Muslims- the Crusades were violent affairs, but that violence has been exaggerated and they weren't much better or worse than the wars Muslim leaders were waging against each other.

      Basically, there are a bunch of worse Christians than Pope Urban II. And Hitler wasn't one of them because Hitler didn't really consider himself to be a Christian. And I have the consensus of leading historical academics to back me up on that matter.

    • Ranzi profile image

      Cut The Bullshit 4 years ago from All Over

      One eyed Dragon, are you saying that a mass murderer cannot be a Christian? What if he was a bad Christians? What if that mass murderer believes that Jesus is the son of God, prayers to him and acknowledges he died for his sins? Isn't Christianity about a belief. A sin is a sin no matter how big or small. Many Christians, Jews and Muslims don't follow 70% of what is expected of them, should we take away their religious identity?

      Good point about the pope ordering the crusades Thomas

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Mklow1, if you want a cross-section of popular opinion, just view the poll results.

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      One-Eyed-Dragon, when you say Table Talk contains anti-Christian statements, do you mean anti-Catholic, because it's an important distinction in this discussion. Hitler endorsed many Protestant views, he read and respected Martin Luther, and he openly favored the Protestant Church over the Catholic one. Protestants will often talk ill of Catholicism, so it's worth qualifying the distinction. For example, he spoke about St. Paul's Catholicism as resembling a form of `proto-Bolshevism'. This is not an anti-Christian statement.

      Oh, nevermind having a sane discussion, I see you've gone with the view that not behaving like a Christian means he wasn't one. When the Pope ordered the Crusades, what was he? An atheist?

      How can you go from Hitler not believing Christ was the "Jewish" Messiah, to Hitler believing he wasn't a Messiah at all? Perhaps I've read that wrong because it looks like you're making a rather obvious logical fallacy.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Ranzi,

      To be fair, it is not just Christians here that said he wasn't. Or are you saying that only Christians can't say he wasn't a Christian? Not sure, buy thought I should just clear that up.

    • profile image

      One Eyed Dragon 4 years ago

      I did not intend to attack Richard Carriers character. The first rule of historical critical analysis is to consider the author or the source- Richard Carrier is an outspoken anti-theist and is not a specialist in Nazi Germany, and this is a bias in his work. EVERY historian has a bias, and EVERY professional historian worth his salt acknowledges this. If a Christian historian presented flimsy evidence that Hitler was an atheist, then his Christian bias would be brought up against him too. It does not necessarily mean either of them are lying or being deliberately dishonest- a strong bias simply suggests that they are less critical with evidence that agrees with their own views than evidence that contradicts them. It is the bane of historians everywhere, but it is one that the historical community has long been aware of. A historian who claims 100% objectivity is not going to be taken seriously.

      I did not "gloss over" Hitlers Table Talk. Richard Carrier claimed that the Picker manuscript and Jochmann translation is more reliable than the Gould / Trevor-Roper edition. This is true, but what he didn't know is that the Jochmann translation is missing about a hundred pages, and Picker only published the passages he considered to be important- in other word, the comments Carrier dismisses as entirely made up absolutely were not, and he himself was relying on imperfect source material. There are in fact updated editions of the Trevor-Roper edition (though released after the Carrier article- possibly in response to it) which acknowledge the criticisms and corrected them as best they could. They still contain Hitlers anti-Christian sentiments, and they contain them because he actually said them.

      Yes, many historians are reliant on bogus translations. Many more are not, and those who aren't still quote Table Talk and consider the anti-Christian statements to be authentic. Some don't even bother with translations and use the original German. Richard Evans, Ian Kershaw, Michael Burleigh, Richard Overy and many, many others all are of the opinion that Hitler was not a Christian, and those historians I've named (and many I haven't but who hold the same opinion) are THE experts in the history of Nazi Germany.

      Hitler did not invent or practice any form of Christianity. The Positive Christianity that the Nazi party / government endorsed (partially; it still had several opponents within the Nazi ranks, both from practicing Nazi Christians- who still existed, but Hitler was not one of them-, and from the anti-Christian elements) predates Nazism by a few decades and is rooted in an attempt to reconcile crazed racial theories with the Christian faith. While Hitler was interested in and gave some support to the movement, he never attended any of its services (he stopped attending Christian services period in his teens) and when it was clear that it was not popular amongst practicing Christians (ie. the majority of Germans) he distanced himself from it.

      Quite simply, even if you do consider Positive Christianity an actual branch of Christianity, that doesn't mean that Hitler believed in it. Hitler did not attend Church services, Hitler fiercely criticised Christianity (and not just the clergy) behind closed doors (and again, Table Talk- which IS reliable in that regard- is only one of many primary sources that attest to this), and Hitlers statements praising Christianity are highly suspect. Mein Kampf and his speeches are both terrible sources if you are looking for his authentic views, as they are riddled with lies, half-truths and obvious contradictions, and are clearly written with an audience in mind (and in the case of Mein Kampf, with the aim of making money to cover his legal fees and debts). That he admired Martin Luther (or that he despised St Paul), or that he criticised the Jews for killing Jesus, is not indicative of his religious views because he also admired many people who were not Christian and expressed many other views that were explicitly anti-Christian.

      There is a difference between a homosexual who is also a Christian and a man who - apart from being a pathological liar, a mass murderer, a tyrant, a terrorist, a thief, a layabout, a know-it-all, an egomaniac, an ultranationalist, a bully, a racist, a sadist, (insert not-very-Christian behaviour here)-, stopped attending church in his youth, surrounded himself with anti-Christian followers, and made many (reliable and proven) anti-Christian statements, and who proclaimed himself a Christian in situations where there was obvious political benefit and where he was lying about other things. And there is a difference between the teachings of Martin Luther and St Paul and the teachings of a movement that declares the entire Old Testament garbage and that Jesus was neither a Jew nor the Jewish Messiah (arguably making them, by definition, not-Christian, since Christ means Messiah- it's a title, not his last name).

      Hitler was not an atheist, but nor was he a Christian. He was probably a pantheist (which says absolutely nothing about pantheists or pantheism in general) which can be gleaned from some of his private notes and statements and readings. He may have considered himself a nominal Christian up to a certain period (and then, mostly depending on his mood or whether it suited him) but he never practiced it in any way and he is clearly outright hostile to Christianity by his later years in power, and shows signs of hostility earlier. Yes, he had some admiration for the power and history and prestige of the Churches, but he thought that the only way Nazism and Christianity could work together is if the Churches bent over backwards for the Nazi's and was prepared to radically change its content, and when that didn't work he became open to just crushing them. For the most part, though, holding concrete views about ideology or religion was anathema to him- he had a few core prejudices and beliefs, but otherwise he was an unprincipled opportunist who was cynically pragmatic and could change his opinions like a glove.

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Indeed Ranzi. Not following one particular interpretation of the Bible doesn't stop one from being a Christian. Christianity is continually reinvented and divided into new sects and incarnations. Cultural changes like attitudes to homosexuality and women's rights have affected religion profoundly. One has to look at the core principles, i.e. that Jesus is the son of God, he died for our sins, and was resurrected. If Hitler believed that, then he was a Christian. From his rants about Jesus being an Aryan who was murdered by the Jews, and his specific beliefs about the resurrection, it's fairly clear that he had some very entrenched, unusual, but inherently Christian beliefs. In fact, the weirdness of his ideas suggests he took Christian doctrine very seriously. Thanks for commenting.

    • Ranzi profile image

      Cut The Bullshit 4 years ago from All Over

      To all you God loving christians who are saying he was not a christian, who are you to judge and say he was not? Didn't Jesus die for our sins? Perhaps Hitler was babtized? My friend is a homosexual,and a Christian, are you people going to call him not Christian because he is doing the opposite to what the bible says? From all the quotes in Mein kampf and speeches it is very blatant that he was a Christian. Of course Hitler did not turn the other cheek and sinned big time, but doesn't give you a right to take away his Christian identity and if there is a God then I'm sure hitler is burning in hell somewhere.

    • Thomas Swan profile image
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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for the detailed comment. There are many branches of Christianity that separated from the original faith for reasons similar to those desired by Hitler. You could even say that St. Paul was the first to form his own brand of the `Jesus-cult'. Martin Luther springs to mind as another. He, like Hitler, was very anti-Semitic and blamed the Jews for killing the messiah. Hitler was known to be an admirer. I don't agree with how you gloss over the Table Talk evidence or how you attack Carrier's character (so what if he's anti-theist?), and as for other historians, many are reliant on the bogus translations. Nevertheless, Hitler's true faith will always be open to interpretation, and I appreciate yours.

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      One Eyed Dragon 4 years ago

      Hitler wasn't a complete hardcore atheist, but I don't think many historians would regard him as a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.

      Hitler stopped attending church at a young age, some time in his teens (13, I think). He rarely if ever attended them again, at least once missing out on a Christian funeral for a fallen Nazi fighter (might have been Horst Wessel). Many of his fellow Nazi's, such as Bormann, Goebbels, Heydrich, Himmler and others, were profoundly and openly anti-Christian, as were many non-Nazi's on the German extreme Right (most notably, Erich Ludendorff). Others like Goring were fairly indifferent. Hitler leaned closer to the latter position. He may have had some vague belief in God or Providence and he certainly had some measure of respect for the Church (more for its pomp and longevity than its content) but it played very little part in his thinking or lifestyle.

      Most of Hitler's public statements- on anything- are not particularly reliable, as he nearly always preferred to tell his audience what they wanted to hear (or what he wanted them to hear), frequently promising one thing to one group and then going off and making completely contradictory promises to another group. Mein Kampf itself is filled with lies and half-truths and much of it is incoherent rambling. The main reason his praise of Christianity in this book is regarded as disingenuous is because it doesn't sit with his behaviour elsewhere (that, and Nazi intolerance for rival groups and ideologies in general); furthermore, most historians don't argue that he was trying to get the support of the Church, but that he was trying to get the support of the very Christian German people. He would have wanted to differentiate himself from atheistic Communism, and one way to do that was to praise the Christian faith that the majority of Germans adhered to. The fact that every quote you have of Hitler praising Christianity is either a speech or from Mein Kampf is one of the main reason most historians don't regard such praising as particularly reliable. There are few records of him praising Christianity in private and they are generally when he is talking to someone who is themselves a Christian.

      I don't think most historians would agree with you about Hitlers Table Talk. Its true that there were translation issues and some real problems, but most prominent historians regard it both as genuine and as demonstrating that Hitler had a profoundly anti-Christian attitude, including those like Ian Kershaw who use the original German. Richard Carrier, whose article you linked to, is a pronounced and open anti-theist (I'd note here that many historians who regard Table talk as genuine are not themselves especially religious), and while he is a historian he does not deal much with Nazi Germany. Furthermore the article is from 2002, and Carrier uses the Jochmann translation- which is missing about a hundred articles. The complete and accurate Table Talk does not make Hitler out to be particularly Christian.

      It is also not true that Table Talk is the only time Hitler is recorded making such anti-Christian statements. Several primary sources, such as Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer and the diaries of Joseph Goebbels, record Hitler making anti-Christian statements (though Speer notes that Hitler sometimes toned it down somewhat if there were women around).

      Hitler regarded himself as a rationalist and an intelligent man- that is, smarter than most people. This did not make him anti-Christian but he definitely acted like Christianity mattered more for its functionality and usefulness in controlling the masses than anything in its content. From the 20's up to the mid thirties he backed (as in, gave his support to, not actually did much about) Positive Christianity, which removed Jewish content from the Bible (including the entire Old Testament) and proclaimed Jesus was non-Jewish, and did away with the Apostles Creed- in short, it was a de-Christianised Christianity. Hitler himself still never attended even a Positive Christian mass, and distanced himself from the project once it was clear that most Christians weren't too thrilled by the idea. It is extremely unlikely that it was anything like central or important to his thinking, except perhaps for its criticism of the orthodox faith.

      Hitler was lazy, uneducated, impressionable and arrogant. Most of his ideas were borrowed from some other source and he wasn't particularly interested in making a coherent system of thought. In short, saying that he was driven by either a deep-rooted sense of perverted Christian mission or an extreme hatred of religious faith is giving him too much credit either way- Hilter wasn't driven by anything but his desire to be famous (ie. to go down in German history as a great man who founded a great new German empire), and he often acted like he wasn't particularly driven by anything, often avoiding work whenever he could or acting on whims. He was uninterested in domestic policy and was happy to let his underlings build rival empires under his nose, so long as he remained "above it all". He was a pragmatic and unprincipled opportunist, and Speer records him laughing when he was told that Nazi Germany had broken most of the treaties it had signed.

      His anti-Semitism was based less on either race or religion than on his need to have a punching bag for his and Germany's problems- he may have read and been influenced by the works of Goubineau and Chamberlain, but they simply told him what he wanted to hear and mainly just gave him some pseudo-ideological cement for using the Jews as a scapegoat for the nations problems. And even then, most Nazi ideological anti-Semitism was the brainchild of Alfred Rosenberg, not Hitler. It was Rosenberg who introduced him to those authors, and Hitler was basically the mouthpiece for Rosenberg's views in the early years of the party; after that he just appropriated what he needed and was interested mainly in being the star of the show and in being in charge. You can't blame the anti-Semitic policies of Nazi Germany on Hitler's Christianity or lack thereof; most of them, such as the Nuremberg Laws and even the Holocaust, were not done entirely at his direction- with his knowledge and approval, but not direction. The Nuremberg Laws were a distraction from the fact that Germany's economic recovery wasn't going as smoothly as had planned; the Holocaust began as a plan to murder a certain percentage of Poland's Jews (and numerous other Polish groups) and escalated from there since German troops and SS men were radicalised and thought they had licence to kill as many Jews as they wanted, along with economic reasons since Jews were no longer allowed to contribute to the German economy yet still lived off it- that is to say, the Holocaust happened because it became easier and cheaper to kill the Jews than work out what was to be done with them.

      It was Richard Steigmann-Gall who put forward the idea that Hitler was the innovator and advocate of his own particular brand of Christianity, and that this was what drove him, so I'll end with a couple of common criticism of his work. Firstly, you have to ask if a Christianity that cuts out the bulk of the Bible, declares St. Paul a liar and a heretic, claims Jesus was not a Jew, and denies the resurrection and Jesus being the son of God or the Jewish Messiah and declares German culture to be the Kingdom of Heaven- if a "Christian" sect does all of THAT, can you still really regard them as Christian? And secondly, if this is what drove him, then why did he take very little active involvement in this or most other domestic spheres of Nazi German life?

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Your welcome

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for your comments Mklow1.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the reply DzyMsLizzy. I agree that religion is often twisted to justify wars and cruelty. Sometimes, whole countries or continents are convinced that the new interpretation of the religion is correct. When there is such acceptance, is the religion still twisted, or has it evolved into something else? This also happens whenever a new branch of Christianity emerges, e.g. Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. I don't think there are any branches of Christianity that would exactly match the original. It's all a twisted version in some way. Like I said in the hub, Hitler appeared to want a new branch of Christianity. He talked about a "true Christianity" in his book and in private conversation. I think it meant a lot to him to set things straight (in his eyes).

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      You said:

      "How do you know he didn't ask God for forgiveness on occasion? Were you with him every waking moment?"

      I think this actually discredits anyone that didn't hear something firsthand, which is almost everyone that writes about him. This includes not only me, but also you.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      First, I will address your last comments.

      You said: "I'm also wondering why you've responded to a comment that was a reply to someone else."

      Last time I checked, this was a discussion board, not a private chat between two individuals. I happened to agree with her comment, so I expanded on my thoughts. I am not sure what your problem with this is, but from what I know about Hubpages, it is perfectly acceptable for all of us to have a discussion and make comments on other comments.

      You said:

      "Was my previous comment to you not long enough? There was a reason for that."

      I take from this comment, you are becoming impatient with me, but I have stayed on the subject, despite other distractions.

      Now, again I will put us back on the subject of Hiter.

      I said:

      "My personal opinion on anyone that does wrong in the name of God, is that they are not a religious person, but someone interested in his/her own personal gain which is more of a secular point of view."

      Are you missing something? Yes you are. I am not sure how you did not see the distinction between my two examples, but thought I made it clear between someone that sins and someone that does wrong in the name of God. Not someone that merely does something wrong is not religious.

      You said: "Hitler's intentions were purely selfish? What a ridiculous thing to say. "

      First, I thought we were past all of these types of comments, but I will not be lured into a petty argument. With that said, I am quite surprised that you find it so shocking that I think Hitler's was a selfish person. I am hardly the first or only person to feel this way because most see his motives of world domination as selfish. This is an excerpt from a NY Times article.

      ''Hitler saw himself as an unrecognized genius, and in order to change this situation he was very interested in power, money and social advancement,'' Mr. Helm said in an interview today, after word of his film was made public in German media.

      Mr. Helms on previously believing that Hitler was selfish:

      ''Influenced by his propaganda, I thought of Hitler as someone who wasn't selfish,'' Mr. Helm said.

      I take from that, he feels that anyone who feels Hitler's motives were not selfish, were influenced by his propaganda. I will have to agree with him on that.

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      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      You raise valid points in your reply, and I do not disagree. I simply pointed out a couple of the more glaring examples. It is true the Crusades were bad news; the Spanish Inquisition as bad or worse, and yes, the WBC hate group calling itself a Christian church is a current bad example.

      My point is, the dogma of any religion is easily twisted and manipulated by those in power (witness the Taliban, for example). It is the main reason I believe religion itself (because of these very contradictions, machinations and egomaniacal interpretations) is the problem. More wars and killing have been fought over differences of opinion on religions than almost any other cause. It is why I do not believe in religions of any stripe.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      "She, nor I never said the moment someone does something wrong, they are not Christian"

      This is your earlier comment:

      "My personal opinion on anyone that does wrong in the name of God, is that they are not a religious person, but someone interested in his/her own personal gain which is more of a secular point of view."

      Am I missing something? It's exactly what you said. Lizzy made a similar point, i.e. that because Hitler didn't "love his neighbor" in the all-inclusive way that some Christians interpret the Bible to say we should, he wasn't a true Christian.

      Hitler's intentions were purely selfish? What a ridiculous thing to say. His intentions were to create a Nazi utopia for all Aryan people. How do you know he didn't ask God for forgiveness on occasion? Were you with him every waking moment? No doubt this is another baseless assumption that you'll later claim as evidence.

      "The examples you have said above are not false, but there are many more examples of good than bad that you forgot to mention. Can you not name any good in the world that religion does?"

      Of course I can, but I'm wondering why that would be relevant to this discussion. Hitler wasn't a "good" man by any estimation, so where would the comparison be? I'm also wondering why you've responded to a comment that was a reply to someone else. Was my previous comment to you not long enough? There was a reason for that.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      She, nor I never said the moment someone does something wrong, they are not Christian, but I'm pretty sure you understand what we mean. I do wrong on almost a daily basis, but my intentions are to do right and live a righteous life that helps my fellow humans. I have no ill will towards anyone whether their religion (or lack of), sexual preference, or anything. Hitler's intentions were purely selfish and he did not apologize to anyone, especially not God. A Christian is not a finished product, but more of a project. They in turn must be a willing project. When I do wrong, I ask forgiveness and go back to the book and see how I can correct my mistakes. That was not Hitler's way. He answered only to himself and lived for the here and now, not the afterlife.

      The examples you have said above are not false, but there are many more examples of good than bad that you forgot to mention. Can you not name any good in the world that religion does?

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for commenting DzyMsLizzy. "His actions were diametrically opposed to people such as Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama, who actually personified those teachings." ... but very much in tune with Christians who have gone to war because they thought God was on their side. Every Christian has a different interpretation of the Bible. Some think it allows them to picket the funerals of dead soldiers, others believe they should hate homosexuals or murder abortion doctors, while many in Africa think it allows them to burn children for witchcraft. Then of course there are the historical butchers, the Crusaders, Inquisitors, and the many Christians who supported these barbaric acts.

      Love thy neighbor? Well who's my neighbor? Clearly not the Muslims right? It sounds like an easy rule to get around. All you have to do is interpret it in the right way. Do you think the barbaric Christians I've mentioned didn't have faith that their interpretation of God's word was the correct one? Hitler's neighbors were his Aryan brothers.

      To say that someone stops being a Christian the moment they do something wrong or evil, is to say that forgiveness isn't a huge part of Church doctrine. Furthermore, our definition of evil isn't timeless either. Clearly the Crusades weren't evil a thousand years ago... the Pope sanctioned them! Was he not a true (Catholic) Christian?

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      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      If he professed Christianity, then he was a hypocrite of the first water, as his behavior ran counter to every teaching supposedly put for by that religion, regardless of branch ( Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, etc...).

      The command to "love thy neighbor" offers no equivocation or qualifiers, i.e., "Love they neighbor unless he is Jewish, Buddhist, Protestant...", or what have you."

      I am not religious myself, but I have studied religions, and another of the Christian precepts is often quoted from their Bible as, "Judgment is mine, saith the Lord." In that respect, Hitler is also guilty of not following the teachings of his supposed religion, for he acted as judge, jury and executioner--which was not his right at all...(nor is it the right of any human engaging in acts of war, terrorism, or local crimes to decide who lives and dies).

      His quotes seem to distance him from a stance as an atheist, but he was certainly not in tune with actual Christian philosophy and practice. His actions were diametrically opposed to people such as Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama, who actually personified those teachings.

      So I say, he gave only lip service to being Christian, and picked and chose those parts that suited (or could be twisted to suit) his evil purpose.

      I am more atheist myself, and don't believe in any 'devil' either--but IMO, Hitler personifies such a beast more than many--for I believe "the devil" or "satan" (made me do it) statements are merely a poor excuse to place blame outside oneself for the truly horrid and evil acts of which mankind himself is actually capable. There's your "devil;" nothing more than evil-hearted people. Hitler qualifies.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      An opinion based on no evidence is not equal to an opinion based on mountains of evidence, especially when the former ignores the entirety of the latter.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I thought we were debating our point of views, so I don't see a "new significance". The thought of getting the last word had not entered my mind, so I am not sure where that one came from. The reason I keep answering back is because you are making open ended statements.

      So, let's get back to the topic, shall we?

      I have given you evidence, you chose not to believe it. Big difference. I have given you just as much evidence as you gave me. If you implying I have no proof, then might I add your quote:

      "Yes, neither side has concrete proof about Hitler's religious beliefs"

      So I think we are on even ground and in agreement that neither of us has proof, just opinions. This is the point I have been trying to make all along. My educated opinion is no less credible than yours.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Throughout this whole discussion you haven't offered any evidence though.

      1. You've produced one fabricated quote. I've given you the source that shows it is an incorrect translation. You have ignored it.

      2. You've interpreted Speer's quote as saying something it wasn't, when in fact it supported what I was saying.

      3. You've stated your belief that Hitler wasn't a true Christian because he did bad things. There are plenty of Christians who have done bad things. They usually just ask for forgiveness afterwards.

      4. You've stated your belief that he was using Christianity for power. The problem with this argument is he could still be a Christian at the same time as using it. Plenty of cult leaders do this. Regardless, you didn't give any evidence to support your belief. Furthermore, Hitler proposed a version of Christianity that the Churches rejected. This lost their support, which is a pretty stupid thing for someone who wanted to use religion to do.

      5. You've stated your belief that people who have used propaganda will lie about their religious beliefs. Yet, the same argument could be used for anything that any politician has said on any subject. You could claim that Hitler lied about being a man rather than a transsexual, or lied about loving his family. It's not evidence.

      So does that sum it up? Adding zero to zero gives zero. You keep saying the evidence is there, but you never provide it. I've been patient; I've read everything you've posted; I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt... but there really is nothing there.

      Regardless, I thought you checked out of this discussion two posts ago. Come to think of it, you did 3 days ago too. I fear this discussion has taken on a new significance. I'm replying because this is my hub, so if this is about getting the last word, you might be disappointed.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Throughout this whole discussion, I have kept an open mind and never said that my opinion was 100% correct. I have always stated that Hitler's religion or lack of was subjective at best. The fact that this debate still rages on shows that there is no true evidence, but you write that off as one side not letting it go.

      For you to say that one side has no evidence whatsoever is an obvious exaggeration. Do you really feel that there is 0% evidence? The evidence is there, you just choose not to believe it, which is your choice, but to say that there is none is just not being an objective thinker. Or I can chalk that up to propaganda.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      The English and French translations do not match the original German on key passages about Hitler's religious beliefs. That is a fact. It can't be something in between. Either it matches or it doesn't. No amount of claiming "it was obviously biased" and "it is subjective to the person" is going to change that.

      Yes, neither side has concrete proof about Hitler's religious beliefs, but one side has no evidence whatsoever. Furthermore, the side with no evidence has shown it is determined to invent it.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I checked out the first one and it was an obviously biased and offered nothing that will change this argument. My point is that neither side has concrete proof, so it is subjective to the person and the outcome they wish to get.

      But I would like to thank you for your opinion, also.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      It's very easy to prove if a translation doesn't match the original. I gave you the source that compares the two texts. I can't make you read it. Since we're using cliched old sayings as arguments now, this one seems apposite: `You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink'.

      Every government and politician in the world uses propaganda. I'm not sure how Hitler's use of propaganda suggests he wasn't a Christian. You could use the same argument to claim he wasn't a man! Maybe he was a woman in disguise, after all, he uses propaganda so he must be lying about his sexuality.

      Nevertheless, thank you for your opinion Mklow1.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      "It is a fact that the English and French versions of Hitler's Table Talk are false translations of the German original. They are discredited (a word you seemed to ignore for some reason). This is disputed because some people refuse to acknowledge that fact."

      It is not a fact that the English and French versions are false. There are some people who claim it is, but that doesn't make it proven discredited.

      I said:

      "I will readily admit I am a Christian and maybe I have a biased opinion"

      You said:

      "Yes, perhaps that is the reason."

      I readily admit it and most honest people would. I know how the human psyche works and I know that we are not 100% objective. I assume if someone is critical of me for that, then they should be 100% sure they are not guilty of it themselves. So I am pretty sure no atheist can use that in an argument against me, otherwise it would be hypocritical.

      We can say that your proof is subjective, because it is what he said in public and it is well known his love of propaganda. This is taken from Mein Kampf:

      "All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction.

      The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign, and not success pleasing a few scholars or young aesthetes.

      The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are.

      Once understood how necessary it is for propaganda in be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results:

      It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance."

      Hitler

      He is admitting to lying in his public speeches to get his way. A little more food for thought:

      "What, for example, would we say about a poster that was supposed to advertise a new soap and that described other soaps as 'good'?

      We would only shake our heads.

      Exactly the same applies to political advertising.

      The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly."

      So if he is admitting to lying, then how much credibility does his public speeches have? He is basically discrediting himself in Mein Kampf.

      If all of this is not good enough for you, then maybe you should think about what this statement:

      "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then maybe it is a duck."

      Someone can say they are something all day long, but it doesn't always make it so and we all know that. Using on of your other passions, politics; If I told you that I felt that the states should have more power than the federal government, I am against abortion, I am against same sex marriage, I don't feel there should be a separation of church and state because the US was founded on Christian principles, and I am against welfare. The next statement I make is that I am a registered Democrat; would you believe me? Probably not.

      From what I gathered, all of the evidence of Hitler being Christian or atheist is subjective, but to me, the proof is in the pudding. Some people can talk the talk, but to convince me, you have to walk the walk.

      I don't think we will ever convince either of us, and I don't think if we did it would change the world. So from here, I will have to call a truce because I don't see an end to this if I don't.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      It is a fact that the English and French versions of Hitler's Table Talk are false translations of the German original. They are discredited (a word you seemed to ignore for some reason). This is disputed because some people refuse to acknowledge that fact.

      Genoud did change the original when making his translation. I used the word appears because Genoud may have delegated the work to his students, or made a mistake when translating. If you wish to interpret the word "appears" as implying the translation might be correct, you'd be sorely mistaken, and clutching at straws (for whatever reason).

      "I will readily admit I am a Christian and maybe I have a biased opinion" - Yes, perhaps that is the reason.

      "Allegedly? You don't sound too sure." - Yes, Genoud allegedly said that in a conversation with someone. I didn't hear the conversation, hence the allegedly. Whether he said it or not, this doesn't stop the translation being wrong.

      "For anyone to say I am wrong is to say that many other, more qualified individuals are also wrong." - They were wrong, but they assumed that Roper's English translation (from Genoud's French one) was correct. You can't blame them for that. However, you can certainly blame people who refuse to acknowledge this fact after it has been revealed.

      "you can't say that the evidence doesn't agree with me because there is evidence on both sides" - What evidence do you have? I said in the hub that Hitler's Table Talk is discredited, and cited my sources. I said this again in the previous comment. If you still want to accept it as evidence, well, I really don't care. It's your loss.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      "It is a disputed and largely discredited source"

      Disputed means that it is still being argued and hasn't been proven false.

      "Genoud appears to have changed the original when making his French translation."

      Using the word "appears" is not concrete language but still open to debate.

      "When confronted about this, Genoud allegedly said:"

      Allegedly? You don't sound too sure.

      The opening of your article:

      "The religious orientation of Adolf Hitler is a divisive issue in debates, with each side clamoring to dissociate itself from this infamous historical figure. Christians and atheists often argue the matter, expecting that his religious allegiance will discredit the entirety of the opposing argument."

      I will agree with you here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and also seems to be the opinion of what Hitler's religion.

      One of your statements to me:

      "To claim he was faking it, you need some sort of evidence to put against all the evidence suggesting otherwise. Like I said, it's convenient to say he wasn't a true Christian. I'm not trying to discredit Christianity by saying he's a Christian, but I wonder if you're trying to protect Christianity by saying he wasn't. The evidence doesn't agree with what you're saying."

      I will readily admit I am a Christian and maybe I have a biased opinion, but you can't say that the evidence doesn't agree with me because there is evidence on both sides.I have never said you don't have evidence, I merely gave you my take on it. For anyone to say I am wrong is to say that many other, more qualified individuals are also wrong.

      The reality is, the more I look into it, the more information from both sides I see and from the looks of it, Christians will say he was an atheist or at least not a Christian and Atheists will say he is a Christian.

      I guess the question one should ask themselves when tackling this topic is "Am I being objective and coming to my conclusions with a clear open minded head or am I trying to satisfy my own wishes?"

      I find it hard to believe that

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hitler's Secret Conversations = Hitler's Table Talk. It relies on Roper's translation into English from the French version by Genoud. It is a disputed and largely discredited source. What you've quoted doesn't appear in the original German version. Genoud appears to have changed the original when making his French translation. When confronted about this, Genoud allegedly said: "But it's what Hitler would have said, isn't it?" It's quite a fascinating story of manipulation that I've summarized in the hub in the subsection "Was Hitler an Atheist?". If you're interested, the full story is here: http://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier....

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      In the book "Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944"

      Hitler said:

      "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 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)

      Adolf Hitler

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I don't mind giving you free advertising. I think you've made some great points that added to the discussion. Like I said, you're free to disagree with me as much as you like. My outlook changed when you started saying what I "should realize about the world" and how I'm treating our discussion as a "personal challenge". That had nothing to do with the evidence being discussed. In the comments I deleted, I can't think of a single thing that added to the discussion. It was all "I'm not doing that" or "You're saying this". If you think an important point still needs to be made, it can be.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I understand, but if you edit out certain ones, it takes away from the true discussion because other points were made in those. Why would you not want to delete all of my posts to here if I would like? Why would you want my posts on there anyway if I don't want to be on here and you don't want my other posts? Delete all of my posts because the ones you left up do not give a true representation of what the discussion was. There are points made in the ones you deleted. Think of it this way, if you delete all of my posts here, you are not giving me free advertising. It's that simple.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      For the benefit of the person who keeps posting comments that I'm having to delete: I am deleting comments that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic written about in this hub. This includes a petty and pointless argument in which personal things were said. These comments did not continue the debate, and I'd rather not have that kind of meaningless back-and-forth on my hub. I hope that is finally clear. Hint: If you reply to the above comment without talking about me personally, I won't delete it. You can debate the evidence and disagree with what I've said as much as you like. A simple rule, I hope you agree.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      You're just confirming what I've already said. He wanted to "twist" Christianity and that's why they rejected his plans. A manipulator seeking to use the Church for his own ends wouldn't have jeopardised their support like that. You said he told them what they wanted to hear. Where does your quote prove that?

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      No, they would twist it, like Jim Jones. He told them what they wanted to hear.

      "Around 1937, when Hitler heard that at the instigation of the party and the SS vast numbers of his followers had left the church because it was obstinately opposing his plans, he nevertheless ordered his chief associates, above all Goering and Goebbels, to remain members of the church. He too would remain a member of the Catholic Church he said, although he had no real attachment to it. And in fact he remained in the church until his suicide."

      — Extract from Inside the Third Reich, the memoir of Albert Speer

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      That doesn't make sense though. If he wanted to use the Churches, he should have endorsed all of their views on religion. That's what a manipulator would do. By trying to force his outlandish views on the Churches, he only managed to alienate most of them from his cause.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I don't think Christianity needs me to protect it. It is doing fine on it's own. I was merely stating my take on it.

      "If Hitler wanted the support of religious people and institutions, why didn't he endorse the Church's view of Christianity? "

      Because that is what manipulators do. They try to find a message that resonates with the people an use it. Everyone knows that Germany was in a sad state post Great War due to the economy (to say the least). Hitler was able to take a message of blame and use it to his advantage. That is what manipulators do. Jim Jones did the same thing. He offered something different from the norm of the church.

      I just thought this was common knowledge.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      You seem to believe that Hitler was doing it to gain power, but I don't see any evidence for that beyond wishful thinking. If Hitler wanted the support of religious people and institutions, why didn't he endorse the Church's view of Christianity? He had his own unique view, grounded in Jesus being an Aryan, the Old Testament being garbage, meekness and confession being abhorrent, and the Jews being to blame for Jesus' death. In the end, most of the German Churches ended up rejecting his ideas. If he wanted to use Christianity, why didn't he just accept the Church view? He was clearly a Christian with some outlandish views. Think of the Christians who hate homosexuals, threaten abortion doctors, or want condoms outlawed. They have outlandish views too; so aren't they "true" Christians either? Where do you draw the line? What about the Inquisitors, Crusaders, or the peasants who supported their cause?

      Hitler said time and again that he was a Christian. He wrote it in his book, and discussed his Christianity in private correspondence. He tried to unify Nazism with the Protestant Church. To claim he was faking it, you need some sort of evidence to put against all the evidence suggesting otherwise. Like I said, it's convenient to say he wasn't a true Christian. I'm not trying to discredit Christianity by saying he's a Christian, but I wonder if you're trying to protect Christianity by saying he wasn't. The evidence doesn't agree with what you're saying.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      To say that the only conclusion taken from my point is that all Christians are innocent is also convenient. Life is not black or white and as we all know, there is never a simple answer for anything.

      There are those that know how to manipulate people and realize that they can use religion as a vehicle to get what they want. I think the biggest difference in a Christian is they want to do the right thing, but don't always. The good intention is there, but sometimes fall short. I sin. A true Christian knows that no one is perfect. I fall short pretty much everyday. Whether I lose my temper or tell a lie, I am not perfect, but I try to be. My intention everyday is to do only good.

      Someone like Jim Jones on the other hand, that uses religion to do wrong knowingly, to me is not Christian because they are not doing the act for God. They are doing it for themselves. It is a secular, selfish outlook and intent.

      Someone like Jim Jones or Hitler are not trying to be a Christian, even though they say they are doing an act in the name of God. All people can tell the difference in people like that, but there are those that use these people as examples to try to discredit religion. I, for one, don't think evil acts that some do should discredit an entire philosophy.

      That is my point. It is hard to explain in such a short comment, but that is the simplest I can put it.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Mklow1. I think it's a bit convenient to say that anyone who does something wrong is not a true Christian. The only conclusion to draw is that all Christians are innocent.

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      Mklow1 4 years ago

      My personal opinion on anyone that does wrong in the name of God, is that they are not a religious person, but someone interested in his/her own personal gain which is more of a secular point of view.

      I think there are those like Jim Jones and Hitler that knows there are many people out there that will follow blindly in the name of God.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks JKenny. I think they take his comments against Catholicism as evidence for him not being a Christian. Many Protestants would have made the same comments that he did though. There's also a lot of misinformation going around based on the Roper translation of Hitler's Table Talk. I guess I find the topic interesting because it's a good example of how bias affects historical study.

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      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Good hub Thomas. It seems strange to me how the perception of Hitler as an atheist arose, considering what he wrote in Mein Kampf and also the fact that the phrase 'Gott mit uns'- 'God with us' was inscribed on Wehrmacht armour.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Were the Crusaders and Inquisitors Christians? Please, atrocity often finds a home in the Christian faith. It's a shame you didn't read the first two sentences of this hub, because the main reason for the title is the fact that Christians and atheists continually whinge about which he was. It's an attempt to settle that debate. Hitler was born in a Christian country to a Catholic mother and skeptical father, so the likelihood of him being anything other than Christian or atheistic was minimal. I suspect you think he was some kind of Pagan despite most academics suggesting otherwise. Given you felt compelled to disagree without reading the evidence presented here, that would be another reason to disregard your fervorous blathering.

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      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      I didn't read this hub because the title was so absurd! Was Adolf a Christian? REALLY? Yea we Christians kill hundreds of thousand of Gods Chosen to prove who we are! If one isn't atheist doesn't automatically make him or her Christian.