Adolf Hitler Was Neither Christian Nor Atheist

Feb. 14 2017

In Hitler’s Religion, Richard Weikart thoroughly examines the evidence of the Nazi leader’s religious beliefs. Gary Scott Smith, calling the book a “fascinating, meticulous study,” summarizes its conclusions:

Hitler repeatedly affirmed the existence of God, but his conception of God differed substantially from the Bible’s. He rejected Christ’s divinity and frequently mocked Christianity. Hitler, Weikart points out, was a baptized, confirmed Catholic raised in Austria, a predominantly Catholic country, and he retained some vestiges of Christianity. Nevertheless, he repeatedly repudiated Christianity (especially privately) as “a Jewish plot to undermine the heroic ideals of the Aryan-dominated Roman Empire.” Hitler denounced Christianity as a poison, outmoded and dying, ridiculed its teachings, and persecuted Protestant and Catholic churches alike during the Third Reich [in cases when they refused to do his bidding]. Nor was Hitler an occultist, [as some have claimed], since he explicitly repudiated key occult convictions and mystical practices.

Weikart argues that Hitler is best understood as a pantheist, one who believes that nature is God and that the cosmos provides principles to guide human conduct. He frequently deified nature, referring to it as eternal and all powerful. . . . While presenting God as the creator and sustainer of the Volk—the German people—Hitler and the Nazis used religious symbols, terms, and passion in their speeches, rallies, and ceremonies to create an alternative faith. Hitler fully expected the Nazi worldview to replace Christianity in Germany and transform its culture and life. Moreover, Nazi propaganda depicted Hitler [himself] as a messianic figure, a savior chosen by God to liberate Germany from the punitive Versailles Treaty and restore its power and place in the world.

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More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, Atheism, Christianity, History & Ideas, Nazism

 

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times