I long held concern of how USA's history involved so many things I consider evil: anti-woman, children and women as property, racism, slavery, hierarchy, notions of domination and giving men the authority to physically and mentally abuse women and children. The ability and willingness of very wealthy people to remain blind to growing poverty, hunger and disease only increased my concerns. Discussing these matters with my religious leaders and community and reading the Bible from cover to cover inevitably led me to atheism and the refutation the existence of god and the supernatural.

Reading outside the realm of "religious" material it was very easy to dismiss religion as fabrication, delusion, and living in denial. Religion earned its rejection. No one rejects religion out of choice, but out of necessity.

"many Nazis understood themselves to be the true political expression of Christianity.(p. 49) On this basis, and in due course, he echoes Rubinstein's observation that Christianity brought with it slavery, wars and exploitation. It has been responsible for as much darkness as light.
"The discovery that so many Nazis considered themselves or their movement to be Christian makes us similarly uncomfortable. But the very unpleasantness of this fact makes it all the more important to look it squarely in the face.(p. 267)"
Richard Steigmann-Gall

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945

"Analyzing the previously unexplored religious views of the Nazi elite, Richard Steigmann-Gall argues against the consensus that Nazism as a whole was either unrelated to Christianity or actively opposed to it. In contrast, Steigmann-Gall demonstrates that many in the Nazi movement believed the contours of their ideology were based on a Christian understanding of Germany's ills and their cure. He also explores the struggle the "positive Christians" waged with the party's paganists and demonstrates that this was not just a conflict over religion, but over the very meaning of Nazi ideology itself."

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Religion is evil. At best, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Mark Twain said that religion was invented when the first con man met the first sucker. Religion is a way of enslaving those who are mentally weak so as to extort money from them and to coerce them to behave in a certain way. Fundamentally, the Nazis did the same thing. They has an ideology that they forced on people, like Christianity they killed whoever they felt were an opposition, and they forced their slaves to behave a certain way that benefited the leaders, or otherwise face death and imprisonment (just like excommunication). I don't disagree with the comparison at all. I think comparing Nazis to Christians is like comparing different shades of grey.

When it comes to ways to con people, religion and politics have their ways, many of them common. In any event, when children or naive people reach out for comfort from religion, failing to understand the consequences and cost of that comfort, they learn outlandish stories told as facts and succumb to simplistic solutions to very complex human problems.

Politicos use many of the same tactics, claiming solutions that will make life better and easier for those who are not involved in watching legislation and consequences and don't realize it until they are sucked dry of resources. Without resources and without power, people feel hopeless and helpless, when indeed, they have far more power than they imagine. 

I therefore agree, "comparing Nazis to Christians is like comparing different shades of grey." Exploitation and manipulation are the same, whether wearing the garment of bankers or generals or politics. 

I also would like to address the statement that nobody chooses atheism. I disagree. I'd say that only people who are intelligent enough to discern between reality and delusions are capable of becoming atheists, but many people are faced with the choice at some point. I was in deep depression when I felt that Christianity was crap, both the first time and the second time. It was an intellectual choice. Why is it my fault I sin if God knew I would sin when he created me? It's the question of divine foreknowledge. Some people are intelligent to see a duck and call it a duck, and most others just aren't. I consciously chose not to fight logic. I chose to worship logic. Instead of burying my head in the warmth and fuzziness of doing what I have to do to get to heaven, my personality allowed me to become realistic and see that there's no good reason to think heaven or hell exists. Other people don't live through the type of drama I've endured. They pray to god and get something good. They didn't get what they asked for, or otherwise asked god for something they already knew they were going to get anyway, but their lives were good so they didn't feel like they should take a risk and shake the apple cart. For many people, living in a delusional fantasy world works, because we're living in a very prosperous country with many people enjoying undue prosperity of their own. I've learned never to take anybody seriously unless they're an atheist. Nobody who is delusional enough to believe in any god has enough sense for me to trust their judgment. Whatever they say is suspect. They have never had what it takes to make that decision that their fairy tale Sunday School dreams from when they were 5 years old were just a bunch of crap. I must say it really takes something to outsmart your own delusions, and most people don't have what it takes.

The Nazi's were Christians - but most Christians will tell you they are atheists or something so very untrue. There's even picture of Hitler in a church with the pope or Cardinal. The church gave Hitler their support.

Steph, there is just too much evidence about the collaboration of Christians with Nazi's to deny it happened. Yes, there are photos, and proclamations, and agreements in writing. You are right, "The church gave Hitler their support." Maybe not all of them, and there were some religious who held out in resistance to Hitler; many paid the ultimate price for it. However, to claim no religious support for Hitler is a delusion. 

I think the reason that many of the German Christians accepted the Nazi dogma was due to the heavy influence of Calvinism.  The belief that they are predestined to do whatever they do.  It's a depressing view that makes the individual a player in a world  in which the script has already been written by god.  Kill a Jew - it's preordained.  Kill a million - just following the script already written by god.

Among the German Lutherans was a strong antisemitism grown from the seed planted  by Luther from the offset  

I wonder why the book is confined to the relationship between the Nazi government and Protestantism when Hitler and a significant part of the German population where Catholic.

There is no concensus among historians that Nazism was either unrelated to Christianity or actively opposed to it.

Martin Boorman defined Nazism as the will of Hitler, who was a member of the Catholic church and believed in the supernatural.

I think the writer of the book is a poor historian and some kind of 'believer' himself.

 

I think the Catholic Church is trying to keep that information about Hitler being a member hush hush. They certainly don't want people to know that.

Napoleon, you correctly state "There is no concensus among historians that Nazism was either unrelated to Christianity or actively opposed to it." All one has to do is a quick Google search and find support for either side. My concern is really not solving that conflict and I didn't clearly state what my motive is for bringing this up.  

People in Nazi Germany had religious support; people in USA who support right wing causes have the support of religious groups, or at least they are silent in the face of fascism. I am comparing right wing religious groups here and now with Nazi fascist of the 1930-40s. 

You may be right, Napoleon, about Richard Steigmann-Gall's bias and if so, I need to be aware and I appreciate your challenge. I've just read too many books about WWII to think other than I do. 

Brian, I understand your reply, "nobody chooses atheism. I disagree." I am writing from my bias. I did not want to leave my community and support system, especially during the Viet Nam war when my then husband was a front-line surgeon there, I was taking care of our three children, and I came to realize the war was not about protecting our homelands, but was a grab for oil and control over the riches of that part of Earth. My discussions with my community earned me no respect or willingness to look at Viet Nam through the eyes of the Viet Namese. Nor did my religious community stand with me as I attempted to keep our children safe from physical and emotional abuse. I needed a support community thinking I could solve the abuse problems.

There is no solution to domestic violence. No amount of praying or submitting or obeying, forgiving, or loving. These become become holding patterns until and unless one wakes up to the fact that reality takes one by the throat and says, "get the hell out of here."
Tyranny, domination, control, abuse occurs when one is physically harmed but compounded when one is emotionally tied in knots.
No, I didn't choose atheism willingly. But when I did, I began to flourish and so did my kids.

Something similar happened with me too, Joan. Atheism helped me face reality, and face the facts. I'd been through trauma. I suffered a lot of psychological abuse in my nuclear family when I was growing up. So it made it easier to question whether there was anybody there to answer my prayers. I'm a trauma survivor, and my emotions have been tied in knots, too. I'm scarred for life, because trauma never goes away. I still think I'm better off than any believer, though. The day they die they're in for a real wake-up call. That's trauma. Heaven doesn't exist. In a way, they blew their whole lives, and made the lives of others worse, according to their beliefs. (I suppose the physical abuse never happened to me. But the emotional abuse was intense and stressful.)

I had similar experiences in my fundie nuclear family - psychological abuse and neglect - but even so we must be very strong: we survived and started to thrive!

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