Hitler was a Christian?
While doing a little updating on the CADRE pages, I started thinking about the silly belief held by some that Adolph Hitler was a Christian. Now, if you have not been introduced to this idea before, please be assured that you have not missed out on a major movement in historical studies. I know of no serious historian (and certainly no serious theologian) who would seriously believe that Hitler was acting in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ in the annihilation of six million Jews. The very idea is so absurd as to be barely worth mentioning.
Yet, there are places in his speeches where Hitler adopts the language or Christianity in order to sell his point to the Germans. Consider the following from "The Christianity of Hitler revealed in his speeches and proclamations" compiled by Jim Walker:
Through subterfuge and concealment, many of today's Church leaders and faithful Christians have camouflaged the Christianity of Adolph Hitler and have attempted to mark him an atheist, a pagan cult worshipper, or a false Christian. However, from the earliest formation of the Nazi party and throughout the period of conquest and growth, Hitler expressed his Christian support to the German citizenry and soldiers. 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:
24. 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....
Hitler's speeches and proclamations, even more clearly, reveal his faith and feelings toward a Christianized Germany. Nazism presents an embarrassment to Christianity and demonstrates the danger of faith.
Don't be fooled by this type of rhetoric. The Epistle of James makes the point that it is useless to claim to have faith but have no deeds. (James 2: 14-26) The outrageous, cruel and vicious actions of Hitler vis-a-vis the Jewish people, gypsies, and other non-Aryan groups shows the absolute vacuity of his "faith."
But what astounds me most about this argument is this: in what universe do these people who contend Hitler was a Christian because he occasionally adopted the language of Christianity as a means of persuasion accept anything else as being true simply because a politician says it? Don't people from both sides argue that the other side is professing faith as a means to a political end? I know I did it when I saw John Kerry professing his faith in an effort to convince the American voters that he was a devoted Roman Catholic. I have seen the same argument being raised against President Bush by the religious left where they claim that he is talking the religious talk only to appease the religious right -- a key constituency of the Republican Party. The only way to determine the real depth and earnestness of each of their faiths is to look at their walk -- does their actions support their profession of faith? While no one will perfectly walk the walk, certainly anyone with half-a-brain can realize that a man who orders the death of millions of people and starts wars of aggression to meet his own thirst for power is not living anywhere close to consistent with the Biblical mandates.
If you are interested in this topic, you may want to consider reading some of the essays linked to the CADRE "Was Hitler a Christian?" Page. BTW, the answer to the question "was Hitler a Christian?" is a clear and resounding "of course, not."