When I discuss the harm done in religion's name with my sister, who is Moslem, she inevitably brings up the harm done in atheism's name, including Stalin in the process.  I am not sufficiently well informed about history to know whether or not she is right that harm has been done in atheism's name.  (I know that Marx thought that religious belief would simply vanish once people ceased to live under oppressive economic conditions, so that he didn't see the need to actively combat religious belief, but I also know that the USSR was an officially atheist state.)  What sort of reply would you give to someone who contended that while harm has been done in the name religion, it has also been done in the name of atheism, so that the look-at-the-harm-religious-belief-does argument isn't effective?

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“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.” -Steven Weinberg

You know, I liked that (simplistic) Steven Weinberg quote the first ten times I heard someone quote it, but seeing it quoted as if it's friggin' Scripture over and over and over again is quite tiring.

It is the truth - and notice from the other quote, it is slightly different.

Atheism is never a prime mover for murder. Can atheists be murderers? Sure. Do they do so because of "atheism"? NO. Atheism doesn't create violence - religion naturally does. Religion creates "in groups vs. out groups" and naturally creates division and violence.

Oh really.

 

So where does nazism fit in Weinberg's quote? Were the nazis good people, bad people, or good people who were motivated by religion?

Hitler and the Nazis were Roman Catholic. They certainly were not atheist. And whether or not their religion was a primary mover or not - the Nazis certainly fits into Weinberg's assessment.

Wrong again. The Nazis were a political organisation with diverse religious views. Some, like a If you think you can put the heterogeneous group "the Nazis" into the neat little box "motivated by religion", then you're in for quite a rude awakening.

Some Nazis were certainly Christian (Heuss, Speer, Engel), others were atheist (Bormann, Goebbels), others were Germanic neo-pagans (Himmler). But they certainly were not simply 'Roman Catholic' as evidenced by the fact that they largely opposed the Vatican (and vice versa) and sought to either assimilate or destroy organized forms of Christianity like Catholicism.

 

As for Hitler himself, evaluating his religious beliefs is hard because he was a skilled manipulator and spoke out of two sides of his mouth depending on the occasion. It's certainly true that he professed some kind of (vague) Christianity at the start of his career and even in his books, but then it's also true that Hitler's Table Talk gives us statements like this:

"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 .... "

 

In other words, he was virulently anti-Christian and certainly anti-catholicism (which contrary to modern myths, was one of the few organisations to stand up to him) at least at some point in his life, even though he publicly pretended to be a Christian. Most likely, he was still a theist of some vague kind, but there's no evidence that he actually believed in any religious doctrines of any kind.

 

So, now that you're more aware of the facts, how will you attempt to save Weinberg's simplistic assessment?

You are absolutely wrong - the Nazis in fact had the Christian cross embedded into their uniforms - and please provide sources to your quotes. As an organization - the Nazis were Roman Catholics. These are indisputable facts...:

In a speech delivered April 12, 1922, published in "My New Order," and quoted in Freethought Today (April 1990), Hitler 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.

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. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.

Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.

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 . . .

And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.

When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.""

Adolf Hitler: The Nazi Party Represents Positive Christianity

"We demand freedom for all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or conflict with the customs and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The party as such represents the standpoint of a positive Christianity, without owing itself to a particular confession...."


- Article 20 of the program of the German Workers' Party (later named the National Socialist German Workers' Party, NSDAP)

Adolf Hitler: I am a Catholic

I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

- Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

Adolf Hitler: Religious Life as the Highest and Most Desirable Ideal

I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 1

Adolf Hitler: Christianity and the Holy German Reich

As long as leadership from above was not lacking, the people fulfilled their duty and obligation overwhelmingly. Whether Protestant pastor or Catholic priest, both together and particularly at the first flare, there really existed in both camps but a single holy German Reich, for whose existence and future each man turned to his own heaven.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 3

Adolf Hitler: Personification of the Devil

....the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.

- Adolf Hitler (following the position of Martin Luther), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

Adolf Hitler: Christians Should Deal with Atheistic Jews

And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

Adolf Hitler: As a Christian, I Feel that My Lord and Savior was a ...

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded 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. 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. ...Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. ...

- Adolf Hitler, speech on April 12, 1922

Adolf Hitler: Compromises with Atheism Destroy Religious, Ethical V...

By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. ...

- Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed.

Adolf Hitler: Burn out the Poison of Immorality

Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past ... (few) years.

- Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

"The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement) was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge."

[Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

 

"I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work."

[Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]

 

"And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God."

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.174]

 

"In nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social Party was correct and well-planned."

[Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

"Hitler’s involvement with the Church:

a) Hitler was baptized as Roman Catholic during infancy in Austria.

b) As Hitler approached boyhood he attended a monastery school.  (On his way to school young Adolf daily observed a stone arch which was carved with the monastery’s coat of arms bearing a swastika.)

c) Hitler was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.

d) As a young man he was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ.”  His most ardent goal at the time was to become a priest.  Hitler writes of his love for the church and clergy: “I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals.  As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.”  -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

e) Hitler was NEVER excommunicated nor condemned by his church.  Matter of fact the Church felt he was JUST and “avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.

f) Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were given VETO power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy.  In turn they surtaxed the Catholics and gave the money to the Vatican.  Hitler wrote a speech in which he talks about this alliance, this is an excerpt: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church.  This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.”  Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party

g) Hitler worked CLOSELY with Pope Pius in converting Germanic society and supporting the church.  The Church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons in turn Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education.  This photo depicts Hitler with Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin.  It was taken On April 20, 1939, when Orsenigo celebrated Hitler’s birthday.  The celebrations were initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) and became a tradition.

Each April 20, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was to send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany with “fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.”  (If you would like to know more about the secret dealings of Hitler and the Pope I recommend you get a book titled: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell)

h) Due to Hitler’s involvement with the Church he began enacting doctrines of the Church as law.  He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.  Many times Hitler addressed the church and promised that Germany would implement its teachings: “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity.  It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today.”  –Adolf Hitler, on 26 June 1934, to Catholic bishops to assure them that he would take action against the new pagan propaganda “Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”  -Adolf Hitler, reportedly to have said in Berlin in 1936 on the enmity of the Catholic Church to National Socialism"

 

"How the Nazi Regime converted the people:

a) In the 1920s, Hitler’s German Workers’ Party (pre Nazi term) adopted a “Programme” with twenty-five points (the Nazi version of a constitution).  In point twenty-four, their intent clearly demonstrates, from the very beginning, their stand in favor of a “positive” Christianity: “We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race.  The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession...”

b) The Nazi regime started a youth movement which preached its agenda to impressionable children.  Hitler backed up the notion that all people need faith and religious education: “By helping to raise man above the level of bestial vegetation, faith contributes in reality to the securing and safeguarding of his existence.  Take away from present-day mankind its education-based, religious- dogmatic principles-- or, practically speaking, ethical-moral principles-- by abolishing this religious education, but without replacing it by an equivalent, and the result will be a grave shock to the foundations of their existence.”  – Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

c) The Nazi regime began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught.

d) The Nazi regime included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and they were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961.

e) The Nazi regime having full blown power over the people began to forcibly convert all its military.

f) The Nazi regime forced the German soldiers to wear religious symbols such as the swastika and they placed religious sayings on military gear.  An example here is this German army belt buckle (I believe my Opa had one) which reads “Gott Mit Uns”.  For those of you who do not speak German it is translated as “God With Us”.

g) The German troops were often forced to get sprinkled with holy water and listen to a sermon by a Catholic priest before going out on a maneuver.

h) The Nazis created a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens.  If anyone was suspected of heresy (Going not only against the Socialist party but CHURCH DOCTRINE) they would be prosecuted."

Hitler stated in a speech to the Stuttgart February 15, 1933: "Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years."[54]

In a radio address October 14, 1933 Hitler stated "For eight months we have been waging a heroic battle against the Communist threat to our Volk, the decomposition of our culture, the subversion of our art, and the poisoning of our public morality. We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of religion. We owe Providence humble gratitude for not allowing us to lose our battle against the misery of unemployment and for the salvation of the German peasant."[55]

In a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933, Hitler stated: "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."[56]

In a speech delivered at Koblenz, August 26, 1934 Hitler states: "There may have been a time when even parties founded on the ecclesiastical basis were a necessity. At that time Liberalism was opposed to the Church, while Marxism was anti-religious. But that time is past. National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The Church's interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for the consciousness of a community in our national life, for the conquest of hatred and disunion between the classes, for the conquest of civil war and unrest, of strife and discord. These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles."[57]

During negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933 Hitler argued that "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."[
Table Talk has been discredited by scholars worldwide. Nice try with discredited quotes.

Total nonsense.

Try some actual evidence.

I suggest we play a game - you name one good thing religion has done and one bad thing secularism has done - and I will name one good thing secularism has done and one bad thing religion has done and let's see whose list is more legitimate and extensive.

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