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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Haven't been around for a while but like reading what you guys are saying, hope you don't mind if I just sit back and listen rather than participate.

Well Sassan, I'm glad that you've proven to us that you're able to use Google and brainlessly copy-paste whatever crap you find lying around the internet. Truly amazing.

Since you didn't think it important enough to show us that you're just copy-pasting (which makes it plagiarism), I'll be nice enough to do it for you. Your sources are:

http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/tp/AdolfHitlerCh...

http://www.evilbible.com/hitler_was_christian.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_religious_views#Stateme...

Only one of these sites does not have a clear agenda (wikipedia) and unsurprisingly, Wikipedia agrees with me; you just either didn't read that far or didn't want to believe it.

 

Unfortunately, frantic googling (mainly on biased sites) pretending that you have researched this subject in detail and actually have the ability to refute me, doesn't work. Sad to say, for someone who is a supposed rationalist, your behaviour is more akin to a creationist than a rationalist: the moment someone tells you something you don't like, you don't bother to actually research the argument in detail, but instead go to your favourite apologist sites (in their cases, AIG, in your case, evilbible.com and the like) and copy-paste whatever crap you think supports your argument.

 

Well it won't work. While brainlessly copy-pasting you apparently forgot what my position was.

First of all, I said right off the bat that Hitler publicly professed Christianity and that he pretended to be a Christian. In other words, no amount of speeches and quotes delivered in public where he praises Christianity is going to bring a dent in that argument. 

(Quoting Hitler's speeches and taking his words at face value is stupid beyond belief to begin with. Hitler also claimed to be a pacifist in speeches and that he had nothing more than peaceful plans for Europe. Clearly that was just manipulation and demagoguery, so what reason could you possibly have to think that his statements on his religious beliefs were anything else than manipulation and demagoguery either?)

Second of all, I linked to the well-known tactic of the Kirchenkampf, the Nazi strategy that involved the assimilation of the Catholic and protestant Churchs of Germany into Nazi ideology before they would be marginalised. In other words, no amount of Nazis being nice to Christians and using Christian symbolism in the Army is going to stop the force of that argument either; in fact your attempts to do so are once again completely besides the point.

Thirdly, I also acknowledged that neither Hitler or the majority of the Nazis were atheists. In fact I explicitly said that Hitler was a theist and Germanic neo-paganism was very in vogue among prominent Nazis. That means that public (and private) condemnations of atheism also don't mean squat, because that's fully explained by my position as well.

 

What you need to do is that despite public appearances of being Christian, Hitler and the Nazis were also privately Christian when the cameras weren't on. And here's where your argument utterly collapses, because the quotes of Hitler's Table Talk clearly show that not only does Hitler show his anti-Christian sentiments in multiple places, but this sentiment is clearly shared by many Nazis. Add to this the fact that the Pope was actively villified in Nazi propaganda, thousands of Catholic priests were locked up in concentration camps, the Kirchenkampf of which the final stages were executed during the Second World War, and its clear that a rational assessment of the full evidence shows us that your blanket statement "Hitler and the Nazis were Roman Catholic" is completely and utterly false and simplistic garbage.

 

The only way you've been able to position so far is to selectively pick the pieces of evidence you want (see above). But selectively picking and choosing evidence they pull from google is what creationists do. Can you do better Sassan?

Then try again. And try to act like the rationalist you say you are this time.

It is not plagiarism - I am not quoting the text as my own. And you have been owned buddy. Hitler and the Nazi regime were Christians (albeit Christianity may not have been a driving force) and were vehemently anti-atheist.

Sorry buddy - you got owned. It is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that both Hitler and the Nazi regime were officially Christians. These are legitimate quotes - not fake and disputed quotes like your Table Talk. The source I acquired them therefore is not relevant for discussion.

Table Talk has been discredited by scholars worldwide. Table Talk lacks credibility and is known as garbage.

It's certainly true that he professed some kind of (vague) Christianity at the start of his career and even in his books

The quotes were not simply from the start of his career and in his books. Therefore - you fail once again buddy. In addition - it was Nazi policy to enforce Papacy laws inside of Nazi Germany. Again - not simply at the "beginning" of his career.

Not citing your sources when mindlessly copy-pasting entire posts is plagiarism.

 

And you still haven't actually addressed anything I said (you haven't said anything actually, just copy-pasted, so how you've owned me is another mystery). Loudly proclaiming victory is a common tactic for internet debaters who sense they're way out of depth.

 

You can start sourcing your claims on why we should discredit the quotes found in Hitler's Table Talk.

I have been busy - haven't had time. I will take a more detailed approach to this discussion later on today/tonight. But the fact remains - Hitler and the Nazi party were Christians - and atheism was outlawed.
Atheism was outlawed, yes, but Hitler was still not a Christian and neither was the entierity of the Nazi party, as their many anti-Christian actions clearly show.

I just moved, so most of my books are still in storage.  Challenging Sassan's sources because they happen to be collected at atheist web sites isn't ethical.  There's no doubt that Hitler was raised a Catholic, that he had only one testicle, and that he suffered frequent physical abuse from his father.  We know he was into scatological sex.  Why not check out the quotations yourself?  There are countless records of Hitler professing his Catholicism, even into the last days in the Berlin bunker.  Table Talk has been questioned by many scholars.  Hitler was also an insomniac and frequently kept his cronies up all night listening to his incoherent rambling.  He was poorly educated, yet believed himself knowledgeable.  He read little, and wrote even less.  Mein Kampf was dictated to Rudolph Hess while both were in prison following the failed Beer Hall Putsch.

 

Table Talk itself was translated (poorly) into French, and then into English from the French in the Trevor-Roper edition.  Accuracy is questionable.  I find it odd that you discount Richard Carrier's argument because you think he has an axe to grind, yet accept notes written by war criminals, who were pretty busy trying to save their asses after the war.  Richard Carrier publishes in peer reviewed journals.  You cite Wikipedia, which of course contains only objective writings by qualified experts.  What a joke!  I checked some web sites arguing Hitler was not a Christian, and most of them seem to have "Aryan" in the title.  One features a celebratory notice that its "David Irving Bookstore" is now open.  Another joke.

 

One of Hitler's first treaties was signed with the Vatican, and Catholic churches in Germany, on instructions from the Vatican, celebrated his birthday every year with special masses.  Yes, there were priests and ministers arrested and confined in the camps, where many died through overwork, exposure, or execution.  The memorial cross at Dachau caused quite a controversy, since the Christian establishment had persecuted Jews for 1500 years and the vast majority of the camps' machinery of death were Jewish.  Some of the earliest ghettos were established by the Vatican, even in sight of the papal palace.

 

Who knows what Hitler said in private or whether he was sane when he said it?  Who knows how his followers may have revised it because they, too, were infected with the Nazi virus?  Who knows how much more revision they did after the war before its initial publication?  We know a lot of what he said in public.


Examine Carrier's argument.  If you read German, as he does, check his translation against the one in the Trevor-Roper edition and see if you think it is derived from Genoud's French.  If you read French, see if you think Genoud came up with an accurate translation from the German.  Don't poison the well by bashing someone's motives; evaluate the argument.

It's true that a number of dictators/mass murderers have been atheists, but it's also true that they were sociopaths following an ideology that outweighed any concern they had for human rights or life.  Atheism is the lack of religious belief; we atheists have no ideology to follow.  And don't even think of suggesting that fear of God prevents violence and slaughter.  It doesn't.  It didn't stop Muslims from conquering all of Arabia, much of the Middle East, and Spain in less than a century after the death of Mohammed.  They damn near conquered Europe.  Fear of God didn't prevent the Catholic church from torturing and killing heretics during inquisitions that lasted six centuries, beginning with the slaughter of the Cathars in the 13th century.  It didn't prevent centuries of Crusades or centuries of Catholic-Protestant wars, nor did it prevent the genocide resulting from the "discovery" of America, in which perhaps 90% of indigenous Americans died.  It didn't prevent 20 years of war in Vietnam, where American might installed  a Catholic ruler over a Buddhist nation.  Religion--particularly evangelical religion--is a detriment to progress.

And this right wing revising of history is a sickness.  Get well soon.  Over and OUT.

Hi Craigart,

 

"Challenging Sassan's sources because they happen to be collected at atheist web sites isn't ethical."

 

It's just as 'ethical' at dismissing creationist claims if I find they've been copy-pasted off off Answers in Genesis.

Let's not pretend that atheist apologist sites are holy bulwarks of rationality and enlightenment. They can prove to be just as biased ana irrational as the belief systems they attack... as we see in this case. 

Besides, I'm not merely dismissing what those sites say: much of what they say is true and the quotes they post are accurate. But what I'm saying is that they present a one-sided story: anyone can pick all Hitler's pro-Christian quotes and pretend that he was a Christian, in the same way that anyone can take his anti-Christian quotes and pretend he was an atheist. 

Rationalists have the responsibility of looking at both sides and making an informed decision.

 

"I find it odd that you discount Richard Carrier's argument because you think he has an axe to grind, yet accept notes written by war criminals, who were pretty busy trying to save their asses after the war.  Richard Carrier publishes in peer reviewed journals."

 

I actually have lots of problems with Richard Carrier (mainly the fact that he seems to have relinquished his ambitions to become a historian and instead just wants to be a blogger who self-publishes books) and I'll happily get into those in another thread, but right now, I don't see the relevance. Carrier and others who investigated these documents seem to agree with me. Even Carrier admits that Hitler heavily criticized Christianity and Roman Catholicism in particular: that right off the bat destroys Sassan's statement that "Hitler and the Nazis were Roman Catholic". Carrier does then go on to argue that Hitler had a protestant view of Jesus, but to be honest, he's pretty much the only one who does that.

Here's what Richard Steigmann-Gall has to say: 

 

"No matter how much he vituperated against Christianity or the churches, Hitler gave no indication that he was now agnostic or atheistic: He displayed a continued attachment to a belief in God."

 

See that? Yes, he believed in God (as well as the supernatural and divine providence), but yes, he railed against Christianity often. Exactly what I'm saying all along.

Here's Alan Bullock:

 

“Political reasons led Hitler to restrain his anticlericalism and refuse to let himself be drawn into attacking the Church publicly, as Bormann and other Nazis would have liked him to do. But he promised himself that, when the time came, he would settle his account with the priests of both creeds.”



All of which seems to confirm what I'm saying.

"Who knows what Hitler said in private or whether he was sane when he said it? Who knows how his followers may have revised it because they, too, were infected with the Nazi virus? Who knows how much more revision they did after the war before its initial publication?"

We don't. But unless you have any actual evidence that this revision involved making him look like an anti-Christian theist rather than a Christian theist, that's just a conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.
We can only work with the evidence that we have now.

"We know a lot of what he said in public."

Yes, we do, and we have excellent reasons to not take anything Hitler said in public at face value.

"And this right wing revising of history is a sickness. Get well soon."

Sure it is. But that's not what I'm doing here: I'm pushing for historical accuracy. Sassan's blanket statement that "Hitler and the Nazis were Roman Catholic" was totally wrong, and it doesnt ake any right wing revising of history to see that."

Have a nice day.

Hitler wasn't an atheist -Nazi belt buckles said: GOTT MIT UNS: GOD WITH US. Mao and Stalin were. But the killing rates of the communist regimes of Mao and Stalin were much lower than the killing rate resulting from Bible-based religiosity.

 

Communism  and the Bible-based religions, including Islam(same god) are both irrational ways of dealing with and explaining the human experience (communism runs contrary to human nature). In that important way, the Bible-based religions and communism are more alike than they are different. However, communism doesn't have a written doctrine for committing violence against humans, including women and babies; but, the Bible-based religions do have a written doctrine for committing violence against humans, including women and babies.

 

Outside of communist regimes, the killing rate of atheism is infinitesimally smaller than the killing rate of Bible-based  religiosity.

There is nothing inherent in atheism that would cause institutionalized killing. This is not the case with Bible-based religiosity.

Actually the killing rates of the communist or the Nazi regimes were much higher than those of Bible-based religiosity.

 

That's not because they were necessarily more cruel, but just because they had access to all the modern technology for rapid and systematic mass murder.

Well, it seems that Atheists have a dubious track record as political leaders.

As well as Stalin, we have had Benito Mussilini, Pol Pot, Than Shue, Kim Jong, Mao Zedung, Napoleon Bonaparte and  Enver Hoxha who were Atheists or promoted State Atheism according to many historians.

Were they too arrogant ?

Hitler wrote in Mein Kampft that he considered himself a member of the catholic church and he clearly believed in the supernatural.

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