Was Hitler an Atheist?

I recently ran into a Christian who tried to convince me that Hitler was an atheist, and it was his atheism that made him a mass murdering psychopath.

While you can argue whether you believe Hitler was an atheist who was using religion to pass his policies or not, the bottom line is that Hitler died a Catholic. The Catholic Church helped smuggle out Nazi war criminals and Hitler himself talked about God quite often. He also banned atheist groups in 1933.

Here are a few of Hitler’s quotes on religion.

“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]

And this one, which sounds a lot like the right-wing Christian groups of today.

“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.”

 [The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872]

How often do we hear something similar to this when a crisis arises? You usually have some Christian talking heads tell us on national television that we need to put God back in the schools or that it’s the decline in religiosity that is to blame for the so-called ‘moral decline’.

But there is far more.

“The best characterization is provided by the product of this religious education, the Jew himself. His life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties– and this against their own nation.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 11]

In that quote, Hitler manages to profess his Christianity, show his hatred of the Jewish people and tie them to another group he hates – atheists.

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

[Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

There are many, many quotes by Hitler, professing his Christian belief. On the belt buckles of his soldiers was written  “Gott Mit Uns”, which means “God with us”.

Regardless of the spin you want to put on it, Hitler definitely was not an atheist. If it hadn’t been for antisemitic rhetoric spewing from the Catholic Church over decades, Hitler might have had a harder time convincing Christian Europe that the Jews were evil.

Unlike religion, atheism doesn’t have a specific dogma associated with it. It would be silly of someone starting a war (and being able to convince others to go to war) to do it under the banner of not believing in gnomes, every bit as much as it’s silly to do so under the banner of non-belief in God(s).

 

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Is It Ethical To Eat Meat?

This is one of those issues that I ponder from time to time, but ignore on a whole. Only recently have I begun to really think about the ethics involved when it comes to eating meat. It’s a fairly broad topic, but is it ever ethical to raise another living species with the sole goal of killing and eating it?

The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that eating meat is ethical. This disturbs me because I love meat. Nothing beats a nice steak or roast dinner. I’m also not a big fan of vegetables. Sure, I like corn on the cob, beans and carrots, but vegetables certainly aren’t high on my to-do list, if you know what I’m saying.

However, the arguments for eating meat that I can come up with, usually sound religious in nature, which bothers me greatly.

For example, here are a few of the things I thought about to try and convince myself that eating meat was ethical.

Example 1: It’s natural. We humans are omnivores and eating meat comes naturally to us and is part of our natural diet.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this same sort of argument from the religious when it came to the rights of the LGBTQ community, I’d be a very rich man. One of the first arguments out of their mouths is to say that same-sex couples aren’t natural, because they can’t reproduce.

It sounds like a weak excuse when they do it, and I have to admit that it sounds like a weak excuse when I do it to justify eating meat. Yes, we can naturally eat meat, and I would if it meant my survival with not a second thought, but I live in an industrial society and eating meat isn’t necessary or required. I could easily survive on vegetables and supplements.

Example 2: I love meat!

Yeah, so what? That doesn’t make it ethical to eat meat. Slave owners used this argument to keep slaves. They told themselves that they were doing the slaves a favor, and they even came up with so-called ethical rules on keeping slaves. It still wasn’t ethical. In fact, many religious people used the bible to justify slavery.

Just like slave owners of that time, I try to ignore the ethical implications that eating meat brings with it. Most of the time, I don’t even think about it. When I do think about it, I start to feel uncomfortable and I shove it from my mind.

The fundamental question we have to ask ourselves is whether animals have rights? Do they have a right to live free, just as we do? Do they have the right to eat a natural diet, and should their interest in staying alive outweigh our unnecessary interest of butchering and eating them?

I suppose I could be swayed in either direction, but right now, I feel as if I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to eating meat. It’s not necessary, and I do it because I like the taste of meat and I don’t want to give up that pleasure.

In the coming days, weeks, months, I will likely continue to wrestle with this ethical dilemma, but I’m almost certain that I know the outcome, even if it does make me cringe with distaste – it’s only a matter of time before I become a vegetarian, unless some convincing argument pops out of the blue that changes my mind.

The Real Cost of Religious Faith

I love this video clip.

Basically, a man calls in and threatens the hosts of the show with eternal hellfire, merely because they don’t believe their religious claims. The hosts ask for evidence that his claims are true, and they end up getting the inevitable dance-around-the-question response. They then expose this man’s Christianity as the hateful, bigoted, divisive, harmful belief system that it is, even though so many Christians believe their religion is a positive thing.

One host (Matt Dillahunty) explains how some of his family refused to talk to him after he lost his faith. He explains how it wasn’t him that broke off those relationships, but his Christian family members who did because they believed he was an agent of Satan.

So give the clip a watch, and then leave your views in the comment section below.

 

American Soldier Stands Up For a Muslim Who Was Being Harrassed

This video is simply amazing. From the description from the original video:

“”What Would You Do?” by ABC is a hidden camera series where people are put into ethical dilemmas, given the choice between passively accepting injustice and standing up for what they believe is right. This soldier didn’t hesitate to speak up when a young man started harassing a Muslim cashier, refusing to be served by him because “he’s a Muslim.””

We hear and see so much anti-Muslim rhetoric since 9/11, that it’s nice to see this American soldier stand up for an American Muslims right to believe in his religion. When faced with open-faced bigotry, this guy doesn’t just turn around and leave. He doesn’t join in on the bigot-fest. He actually stands up and does his country proud.

My favorite part is when the actor asks the soldier why he’s standing up for the Muslim, considering he has fought against them. The soldier replies that he isn’t fighting right now, but ordering a sandwich.

Nicely done. I needed a feel-good news story and this was it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Can God Countenance Evil?

Can God countenance evil?

One of the basic foundations of Christianity is that you need to accept Jesus in order to have your sins cleansed. Think of yourself as dirty laundry and Jesus’ blood as the detergent.

The reason for this needed cleansing is that God supposedly can’t countenance evil. He, of course, is supposed to be just, and anything He heaps upon you in the hereafter is justly deserved. But the whole point is that God can’t countenance evil (sin) and therefore, humanity needs Jesus’ sacrifice to wash our sins clean. Thus you have the saying ‘born again’.

However, using verses directly from the bible, I’m going to show you that none of these premises hold true, even if you take it just from a biblical perspective.

So here’s the basic premises I’ll show to be false:

  1. God can’t countenance evil
  2. You need the sacrifice of Jesus to wash away your sins, because God can’t countenance evil (sin)

So we’ll start with the first premise. Our first stop is Isaiah 45:7, which reads:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Not only can God countenance evil, He clearly states in the bible that He created evil. If a being can’t countenance (or stand the sight of)  something, surely He wouldn’t create it in the first place…would He?

But we can also find in the bible another verse, where God admits that He thinks evil thoughts.

Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Not only does God think evil thoughts, but He repents of them as well. Hell, this God sounds more Christian and more human by the second.

I think the first premise has been blown out of the water using the bible. God can countenance evil. He created evil, and God himself can have evil thoughts and repent. This would make Him fallible, but for the purpose of this article, let’s leave that piece of logic alone.

Without the first premise being met, the second one becomes obsolete. If God can indeed countenance evil, then He would no longer require the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, making his role redundant. The entire cornerstone of Christianity (the crucifixion of Jesus) is no longer needed, and the entire structure falls to the ground.

In fact, God even says in the bible that he is capable of forgiving without the need of a human (God) sacrifice:

“For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever.” (Jeremiah 3:12)

This verse would put the idea of hell into serious question, which is what you’re trying to avoid by accepting the human sacrifice of Jesus. You would need to ‘keep anger forever’ to burn someone for eternity. God in this passage is saying that He does not keep His anger forever, and is merciful, which implies He is forgiving, without the need for a human scapegoat to achieve that mercy.

It seems obvious to me that this is man-made. It’s full of contradictions and even using the bible, you can easily see that God can countenance evil, making the sacrifice of Jesus redundant.

Case closed.

SOME THOUGHTS FROM A BELIEVER

This is a guest post by Christian blogger, Bill BallI hope you’ll take the time to visit his excellent blog and give it a read. Thanks goes out to my friend Bill for taking the time to write this article. 

A while back, my friend Mike asked if I would be willing to do a guest post on his blog dealing with the topic “Why should Christians engage or not engage atheists? or something along those lines.  In other words, why is it important that the different world views continue to talk and engage one another?”
Mike said he would do a similar post for my blog.  I agreed and we laid some ground rules, especially that we would simply publish each other’s posts and avoid attack or criticism.
A bit of background.  Our first contact was when my wife Uni posted a Christmas greeting on my blog.  I was surprised to receive a greeting from Canadian Atheist in the comments.  This was the beginning of a long conversation, usually congenial, but occasionally getting a bit heated.  We exchanged personal information and I feel that I can call Mike my friend even though we’ve not met in person.
Now to the topic at hand.  I must confess that it is difficult for me not to make this personal.  I have many personal reasons, a few being my natural curiosity and talkativeness.  But why should Christians, in general, desire to converse with those with whom they disagree?
Well, first of all, because of what we believe about truth.  Contrary to much modern thinking, we agree with Atheists that there is such a thing as objective truth and that that truth can be known.  We simply disagree on which particular matters are true.  I believe that I as a Christian have much to learn from Atheist thinkers, and that they have much to learn from Christians.  There seems to be much ignorance on both sides and dialog goes a long way to clear it up.
There are literally billions of people who profess or have professed to be Christians and their behaviors and beliefs span a broad range.  It is easy to attack or criticize Christianity itself based on some or many of these.  But the truth of a worldview is not dependent on the behavior or even beliefs of those who profess to be its adherents.
Hence the necessity for the Christian (as well as for the Atheist) to make clear what our worldview is.  Please forgive me for oversimplifying, but here it is in brief.

·         God, who exists eternally in three persons, created “the heavens and the earth” — i.e. everything.

·         God created humankind in His image, but our first ancestors rebelled against God, and the human race today is fallen.

·         God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, became human to take on himself the penalty for this rebellion.  Those who trust him have eternal salvation.

·         God has revealed sufficient truth about himself in the Bible so that he may be known.

·          There is much more to it and there are of course many variations on this view, probably as many as there are Christians, but as I stated, this in brief is our worldview.  In a sense, Christianity is about communication; we have a message and this is it.  I make no apologies for my worldview.
As I see Atheism presented today, I see at least three areas of disagreement between us, which usually ar areas of contention.  I see a need for conversation — dialog —  on these areas and feel that I have a responsibility for clarifying them.
First, of course is the big one:  God.  The Atheist, of course denies His existence.  To the believer, the fact of our own existence and the existence of all things is evidence of a Designer — of someone who brought this entire amazing universe into being.  Science doesn’t disprove God; it simply attempts to explain how God’s creation functions, even how God did the creating in the first place.
Then, there is the Bible and the picture it gives of God and reality.  What is ironic to me is the way it is criticized without much, if any attempt at understanding:  its 1,500 years flow of history, the use of figures of speech, the tensions between the Old and New Testaments.  I know of no other document that is criticized in such a manner.  We Christians attempt to base our lives on this Book and any efforts at dialog will include our rationale for our acceptance of this Book.
And of course, there is the behavior of those who profess Christ.  While I make no apology for my faith in God and the Bible, I find myself often in agreement with my Atheist friends’ criticisms.  Too often those who claim to follow Christ live lives in contradiction to the ethics Jesus taught.  This is sad and frustrating.  We who follow Christ often behave as does the rest of the human race, and at times worse.  I am at times more critical than my Atheist friends, with the one major difference being that I criticize from within.
As a follower of Christ and as a believer in God and the Bible, I do not profess to have it all put together.  I struggle with biblical and ethical tensions in a way that a non-believer doesn’t.
I do attempt and desire to understand the thinking of the Atheists, as well as that of those who hold other religious persuasions.  I ask that they do the same for me.

Cursed Coconut Disrupts Presidential Election

The cursed coconut

Apparently, the presidential election in the Maldives has been disrupted by the outbreak of a cursed coconut.

I kid you not.

I guess black magic is rampant in the Maldives. When the cursed coconut (inscribed with a verse from the Koran) was discovered, the police were quick to act…they called in a white magician who determined that the cursed coconut was fake:

Following the discovery of the ‘cursed’ coconut police brought in a ‘ruqyah’ practitioner (white magician) to examine the coconut.

The expert found the black magic element of the coconut was fake, Maldives channel Minivan News reported. “Because it’s a fake the police are not worried,” the source said.

Minivan said a source told them the 4inch coconut had “a [Koranic verse] written in Arabic [on it] and was lying on the ground near the school, easy for the public to see.

It seems like it was a joke, just a prank, so that people will become aware.”

Call me crazy, but the whole thing seems like a joke. The government even declared it would take responsibility if any school children fell ill due to the accursed coconut.

This is what happens when superstition runs rampant. I guess it’s not a lot more crazy than believing someone can live inside a whale for an extended period of time, or that someone can raise the dead with the wave of a hand.

It’s hard to believe that in 2013 we still cling to this superstitious nonsense. We can double our lifespan, send people into space and map the human genome, but we still believe in white magicians and cursed coconuts.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.