The left taps the contemporary Christian market

An article in the Washington Post, Trying to Get Christian Music Fans to Tune To the Left , tells about how Democrats are buying ads on Christian radio, holding anti-death penalty rallies at contemporary Christian music concerts, and doing all kinds of other initiatives to reach CCM fans and the megachurches. I think this is a brilliant tactic, since Christians who have already agreed to conform with the culture and have little interest in doctrine that might shape their political beliefs are ripe pickings.

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About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kirk

    I thought that the Emergent Church had been doing this for years. Velvet Elvis and Blue Like Jazz are full of politically liberal anecdotes.

    But still, there’s nothing distinctly anti-doctrinal about left leaning Christians, at least when it comes to most issues. Being for gun control, regulated markets and public services make you no less of a Bible beleiving Christian than being against them.

    Of course, abortion will inevitably come up in this discussion, probably euthanasia and homosexuality, too. But you don’t neccessarily have to be pro these issues to be a liberal.

  • http://www.poporthodoxy.com Pastor Matt

    Right on, Kirk.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01763924682909630509 Orianna Laun

    When a person lacks the doctrine of the two kingdoms, faith and politics can blur together. When a person’s religion has agreed to conform to the culture, the foundation for making a decision is as shifting as cultural norms. When a person’s religion is based on sound doctrine, certain issues always land on one side of the fence or the other.
    Taxes and transportation regulation are issues that rely less on scripture and doctrine; more on common sense. Abortion and end-of-life issues rely more heavily on scripture and doctrine. If there is no basis for taking a certain position on these issues, it is easy to be swayed.

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    The Christian radio station around here (major market, major station) plays plastic surgery commercials and I don’t mean just on Saturdays when nobody is listening. The woman in the ad talks about her breast lift, tummy tuck and liposuction after having a baby, and how good she is going to feel in her two piece.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Ethan, that’s so sick its funny!

    But if that’s all it takes to steer people in a different direction, dontcha think we ought to be trying get the Word out a little more assertively as Christ-centered and Sacrament-driven Christians?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Most liberals take an optimistic view of human nature that contradicts our fallen nature; they also, believe that most problems can be solved through government intervention and redistribution of wealth. Also, many mainline Protestants have caved to the dominance of secularism that views serious Christians at best with suspicion and disdain.

    The left is just now holding its nose and trying to win the hearts and minds of devout Christians, though when the party platform was written, the pro-choice advocates succeeded in excising the language that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare, as they viewed this as an insult to women who choose an abortion.

  • Steve in Toronto

    First of all let me say that I am a life long Republican and a member of the Canadian Progressive conservative party (I am a duel citizen) I have been active in electoral politics on both sides of the boarder since I manage the George Bush (senior) election campaign in my middle school’s mock republican primary I am pro life pro Iraq war (reluctantly) and an economic conservative I am also a conservative (relatively) Anglican. Regardless of weather or not Republicans or the Democrats (or conservative/liberals in Canada) win in November Abortion will remain legal in the United States. Even if a conservative supreme court manages to overturn Roe verses Wade it will simply revert the decision to the states where it will continue to remain legal most states until we experience a radical transformation of popular opinion (a Day I hope and pray for). All that being said the vast remaining issues that divide the left from the right are issues of policy not morality. What is the best way to manage the economy, issues of war and peace and social equity? I am sick to death of people talking (and acting) as if there is a clear cut “orthodox christen” position on these issues. In Europe where most main steam political parties support abortion rights the majority of orthodox Christians can be found on the left. Please let’s take a page from the English evangelical Anglican Oz Guinness’s book and eject a little civility into this discussion.

  • Steve in Toronto

    PS I just checked out Pastor Matt’s Blog I could not have said it better myself. God bless you Brother!

  • kerner

    The biggest anti-Christian element of left wing political theory is its antagonism toward the Church and the family. This goes all the way back to Marx and even farther back to the French Revolution. The whole basis of this political theory was (and for a lot of the left, remains) that human nature is good, or evolving into good, and that the central planning of the state should replace the archaic and feudalist based family as the basic social unit. Religion, called by Marx the opiate of the masses, was (and for a lot of the left, remains) a mythological distraction from, and impediment of, the social evolution of humanity into a more benevolent socialist society.

    Basic tenets of classical leftist political theory are that families need not care for each other because thae state will fill that need and because loyalties to entities other than the state are very much to be discouraged. Further, under this political theory the idea that charity for the less fortunate should be addressed by the Church is to be opposed (often by violence). The last thing that true political leftists wants is a cultural institution that thinks it should be taking care of society’s unfortunate, which is to them usurping the role of the government. And the last thing that true political leftists want is for an institution, like the Church, telling everyone that they are fallen by nature, that their only hope is redemption in Jesus Christ, and that no government program will make them ok or cure the ills of society.

    I suppose “secular humanism” is kind of an outdated term, but I think that something like it is the foundation of all leftist, or liberal, political theory. Since this secular humanism is, in fact, antithetical to Christianity, I’m afraid that I DO believe that there is something about being a political liberal that is basicly inconsistent with being a Christian. This is not to say that people don’t try to be both, and this is not to say that plenty of Christians don’t adopt ideas that aren’t really consistent with Christian doctrine (and this is not confined to political liberals). It is also not to say that plenty of those who have opposed the left don’t have real theological problems of their own.

    But, it IS to say that Christianity and leftist political theory are fundamentally inconistent. You can’t really accept the basic tenets of one without opposing the other.

  • Don S

    I agree that on many issues, legitimate Christians can disagree, as they are matters of policy, not morality. Certainly, there are thoughtful Christians on this blog who are political lefties. However, as was stated recently on another thread, evangelical Christians have tended toward the Republican party because it seems to be more open and welcoming to them. The secular liberals who run the Democratic party tend not to understand, and even to be hostile toward, the basics of Christianity (evidenced by the recent “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor” slogan). They interpret scripture as requiring secular government to assist the poor, rather than properly viewing it as a mandate to the individual Christian and the church body. They insist on an ever-expanding government, and then require anything related to religion or faith to exit the areas of society into which government is expanding. They reject a literal view of Scripture as being incompatible with an “inclusive” and “tolerant” society. As an evangelical Christian who considers the government to now be generally hostile to evangelical Christianity, I want that government to be as small and unobtrusive as possible.

    I don’t share Dr. Veith’s total disregard for CCM, nor do I agree that just because someone enjoys listening to CCM on their car radio, it means they have no interest in doctrine and desire only to conform to the world. I think Democratic efforts to lure Christians to their fold are generally laughable, because it just reveals how little they really understand the faith. They will attract some folks at the edges, but I doubt that they will achieve a wholesale conversion of evangelical Christians to the politically liberal fold.

  • SJB

    You may have already heard about this, but our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters who are Democrats, may be at the infancy of a movement to put a few pin holes into the pro-choice platform.

    May we add our prayers to theirs! God may be at work to infiltrate and bring down this monster from the inside! :)

    Pro-life Democrats met in a very small room in Denver http://www.tulsabeacon.com/?p=854

  • SJB

    Oops, I clicked submit before I finished.

    Anyway, if our youth do begin to join the Democratic Party, it may be a good thing and perhaps help overturn or reverse the pro-choice platform. Who’d a thunk of infiltrating them and changing them from the inside? :)

  • Nemo

    There is plenty of room for political disagreement within Christianity. As C.S. Lewis wrote in an excellent essay, “By the natural light He has shown us what means are lawful: to find out which one is efficacious He has given us brains. The rest He has left to us.” (“Meditation on the Third Commandment,” found in God in the Dock)

    The first part of the essay is posted here: http://web.mit.edu/bcf/www/BSJ97/cslewis.html

  • Peter Leavitt

    The Lewis piece is spot on. Probably the main reason that the West has thrived better than other civilizations is that by and large the church and state have been distinct. A Christian political party would be a contradiction in terms.

    However, Christians are citizens and relaistically need to choose a party that best suits their interests and values. For me it is the Republican Party, though I occasionally wil vote for a Blue Dog type Democrat, if the Republican candidate is lacking.

  • Sam

    What follows is from ABC News today and pertains to the story two days ago here about how horrible Obama was for his hubris in thinking he was already the president as he undermined all things American.
    _____________________

    Undermining McCain Campaign Attack, Republicans Back Obama‘s Version of Meeting with Iraqi Leaders
    September 19, 2008 1:06 PM

    Earlier this week, the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seized upon a column in the New York Post that described Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as having urged Iraqi leaders in a private meeting to delay coming to an agreement with the Bush administration on the status of U.S. troops.

    “Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence,” Post columnist Amir Tehari wrote, quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari who told the Post that Obama during his meeting with Iraqi leaders in July “asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington.”

    The charge — that Obama asked the Iraqis to delay signing off on a “Status of Forces Agreement,” thus delaying US troop withdrawal and interfering in U.S. foreign policy — has been picked up on the internet, talk radio and by Republicans including the McCain campaign, which seized on the story as possible evidence of duplicity.

    The Obama campaign said that the Post report consisted of “outright distortions.”

    Lending significant credence to Obama’s response is the fact that — though it’s absent from the Post story and other retellings — in addition to Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, this July meeting was also attended by Bush administration officials such as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the Baghdad embassy’s Legislative Affairs advisor Rich Haughton, as well as a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

    Attendees of the meeting back Obama’s account, including not just Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, but Hagel, Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers from both parties. Officials of the Bush administration who were briefed on the meeting by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad also support Obama’s account and dispute the Post story and McCain attack.

    The Post story is “absolutely not true,” Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry told ABC News.

    “Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations,” said Obama campaign national security spokesperson Wendy Morigi, “nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades.”

    Buttry said that Hagel agrees with Obama’s account of the meeting: Obama began the meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by asserting that the United States speaks with one foreign policy voice, and that voice belongs to the Bush administration.

    A Bush administration official with knowledge of the meeting says that during the meeting Obama stressed to Maliki that he would not interfere with President Bush’s negotiations concerning the US troop presence in Iraq, and that he supports the Bush administration’s position on the need to negotiate as soon as possible the Status of Forces Agreement, which deals with among other matters US troops having immunity from local prosecution.

    Obama did assert at the meeting with the Iraqis that he agrees with those – including Hagel and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — who advocate congressional review of the Strategic Framework Agreement being worked out between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government, including the Iraqi parliament.

    The Strategic Framework Agreement is a document that generally describes what the relationship between the two countries should look like over time.

    According one person present at the meeting, Obama told Maliki that the American people wouldn’t understand why the Iraqi Parliament would get to have a say on the Strategic Framework Agreement but the U.S. Congress would not, especially since the President Bush is only months from leaving the White House, regardless of whether Obama or McCain succeeds him.

    Morigi said in a statement that “Barack Obama has consistently called for any Strategic Framework Agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Congress so that the American people have the same opportunity for review as the Iraqi Parliament.”

    It’s possible, Obama advisers believe, that either Zebari or columnist Taheri confused the Strategic Framework Agreement, which Obama feels should be reviewed by Congress, with the Status of Forces Agreement, which Obama says the Bush administration should negotiate with the Iraqis as soon as possible.

    Two officials of the Bush administration say that if Obama had done what the Post story asserted – which they believe to be untrue – U.S. Ambassador Crocker and embassy officials attending the meeting would have ensured that the Bush administration heard about it immediately. If such an incident occurred in front of officials of the Bush administration, it would have constituted a foreign policy breach and would have been front-page huge news; it would not have leaked out two months later in an op-ed column.

    Nonetheless, based on nothing more than the Post report, McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann issued a statement earlier this week expressing outrage.

    “It should be concerning to all that (Obama) reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power,” Scheunemann said, apparently not having talked to anyone with knowledge about the meeting in Bush administration, the US Embassy in Baghdad, GOP Sen. Hagel, or any Republican staffers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    “If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas,” Scheunemann continued. “Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq’s Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama’s judgment and it demands an explanation.”

    What actually demands an explanation is why the McCain campaign was so willing to give credence to such a questionable story with such tremendous international implications without first talking to Republicans present at Obama’s meeting with Maliki, who back Obama’s version of the meeting and completely dismiss the Post column as untrue.

    – Jake Tapper and Kirit Radia

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@6), you said, “Most liberals take an optimistic view of human nature that contradicts our fallen nature.” Kerner, echoing this (@10), said that “The whole basis of this political theory was (and for a lot of the left, remains) that human nature is good, or evolving into good.”

    This is interesting to me, because I see this as a failing of both Republicans and Democrats, left and right, statist and libertarian.

    To wit, as you state it, the problem with those on the left is that they believe human nature is good, so those in the government are generally good, so government can solve our problems. And we’ve seen how that goes — humans are, in fact, sinful, and government reflects that.

    But what about the corollary? You see, the problem with those on the right is that they also believe human nature is good, so citizens of a country do not need a government to guide them — in fact, they need as little regulation as possible. And we’ve seen how that goes — humans are, in fact, sinful, and the people acting on their own reflect that (they dump oil into the rivers and oceans other people need to survive, they hoard up wealth for themselves at the expense of other people, they don’t help the needy on their own, etc.).

    Why not agree that all political parties and ideologies are afflicted by this shortsightedness, if perhaps in different ways?

    Kerner, most of your apparent rebuttal of “left-wing political theory” has little, if anything, to do with the Democratic Party. Are you just dismissing various left-wing adherents and proponents throughout history, or are you claiming that these things are part and parcel of the Democratic Party? Maybe you’re not talking about Democrats at all, but it’s not clear.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sam (@16), for extensive quoting of material that is found on another Web site, may I recommend a link? I’m not even sure why you posted that in this thread.

  • Sam

    toDD @18, I posted it here because I doubted anyone was still reading the two-day-old post it pertains to (then I thought better of it, and posted there too).
    I did not post the link, which is easily found, because I figured those who’d already decided the NY Post column was right, wouldn’t bother to check it out. I apologize if the length is tedious.

  • Nemo

    Sam,

    Thanks for the article, but the link would have worked just as well. I hope that we are not so set in our opinions that we won’t follow a link.

    Grrr, so my entire argument from the other day disappears. Sigh. Now why couldn’t the Obama spokesperson have said that right away?

  • Sam

    Nemo, you and tODD are right – I should have posted the link. Thanks for writing the following: “There is plenty of room for political disagreement within Christianity.”

  • kerner

    tODD @17:

    The reason I bring up the history lesson on the origins and development of left wing political thought is because we are now faced with the reality that the Democratic Party has become the home of the American left wing. This was not always true. As recently as 50 years ago, there was plenty of diversity of opinion in both parties, which made bi-partisanship much easier.

    Today the Left, and its secular-humanist (which I see as inherantly anti-Christian) principles dominate the Democratic Party.

    If you look at western civilization you can see where the statist, secular humanist, ideology took root, and where it has been largely rejected. Leftism (if I can use this name as shorthand) has been substantially successful in Europe. Europe is where statist, largely godless, humanist political ideologies took deep root. And these ideologies gave the world its most destructive wars in human history. But most of Europe has now settled into kind of a nanny state culture with a controlled economy in which religion is largely considered a quaint historical mythology without contemporary relevance.

    Europe is the culture that the American Left wants for America. And you also find plenty of statist, secular humanist, Europeans who want America to become like Europe is now. I don’t know if I can speak for the entire American right, but I think that the present condition of Europe is a fate Americans and Christians should oppose with every fiber of our being. But anybody who doesn’t think that there is no connection between the influence of Big government in Europe, and the dominance of atheism in present European Culture should reexamine the situation over there.

    So, when 200,000 Europeans gather to praise Barack Obama, that makes me want to get as far away from him as possible, even at the cost of making a largely inexperienced Alaskan Vice-President. But I digress.

    The point is that the big-government ideology so popular in the Democratic party today is strongly linked with its anti-religious ideology. You commenters on this blog may be the exceptions, but for most of your fellow Democrats the whole basis of their ideology is to replace God and the Church with big government. Maybe you think you can somehow cleanse the Democratic Party of its American leftist (and therefore anti-religious) foundations, but I don’t think you can.

  • kerner

    One more thing. The American right does not predominantly believe that people are basicly good. This is particularly true of economic conservatives. The whole point of free market economics is dependent on the proposition that people will act most vigorously in their own self interest. The paradox of free market economics is that society as a whole benefits far more by allowing individuals as much freedom to seek their own self interest than it does when society tries to force individuals to serve the common good. This is the so called invisible hand Adam Smith wrote about.

    It comes as no surprise to me that many Christians just can’t accept the idea that a system so dependent on unbridled selfishness is the one that produces so much prosperity that even the poorest in that system are better off than in the system devoted to governmental benevolence, or that Christianity would prosper better in the selfish environment than it would in the big-government environment. But I think facts are facts. European societies are dying cultures with no religion. America is the most economicly vibrant and religiously active culture in the industrialized world (we may not have government health care, but we have more charitable giving than anywhere). I don’t think that’s an accident.

  • kerner

    oops—blush—double negative in comment 22. That should be:

    anybody that DOES think that there is no connection between the influence of big government and the dominance of atheism in present European culture should reexamine the situation over there.

  • Peter Leavitt

    todd, serious Christians on the right take a realistic view of fallen human nature. That’s why they favor systems of both government and business authority that, while, allowing a lot of freedom , also, have checks and balances that curb excessive power. Also, the free markets that businesses work in exert a very hard discipline that doesn’t allow for sentimental optimism.

    Kerner is right that the left from the French Revolution through Marx- and Obama- has a tendency to view families as secondary to the state on the assumption that oppressed people-victims-can be rescued by the savior state. The truth is that individuals within the context of strong family morals and manners, including serious religion, must take responsibility as much as possible for themselves, while turning to charity and the state only in unavoidable circumstance.

    It is true that modernity since the Renaissance has tended to take an unduly positive and optimistic view of human nature; I would argue that the liberals have gotten for more carried away with this than conservatives, especially religious ones.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD @ 17,

    “Why not agree that all political parties and ideologies are afflicted by this shortsightedness, if perhaps in different ways?”

    Great words. The crux of the issue, in my opinion. We’ve got to stop pointing fingers, sit down, and figure these things out together, since we’re all affected by our common troubles.

  • Michael the little boot

    kerner @ 22,

    “Europe is where statist, largely godless, humanist political ideologies took deep root. And these ideologies gave the world its most destructive wars in human history.” Hold on now. All the polls I see show 80-90% of the world believes in God/god/gods. The ideologies that gave us the most destructive wars in history? The only ideology I see these wars and gov’ts had in common was the lust for power, which goes across the board. All of them have this lust. I would assume you can just chalk it up to “fallen humanity,” as you’ve often done. For some reason you want to attribute these attrocities to “godless ideologies” even though elsewhere you just say it’s because we’re all sinners. You have a huge burden of proof to show that these governments were godless. Especially the Nazi regime, as it was a CATHOLIC regime. Hitler was a Catholic – he CLAIMED this religion many times publicly – and never renounced it.

    “But most of Europe has now settled into kind of a nanny state culture with a controlled economy in which religion is largely considered a quaint historical mythology without contemporary relevance.” And the difference between this and the current state of things in the U.S. is…?

  • kerner

    Michael:

    Geez! One of the things you add to our discussion here is that you force us, or at least me, to research my assumptions. But the questions you pose @27 have generated whole libraries full of books worth of discussion.

    Let’s start with the difference between the USA ans Europe. You will find some statistics here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

    My own denomination, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, supports missions to various European Countries, including, of all places, Germany. And that’s just us. Many other American denominations have sent missionaries to Europe to try to re-plant Christianity there.

    As fo the atheistic nature of the great totalitarian regimes that gave us WWII, I should think that Communism is pretty obvious. The marxist antogonism to Christianity, as well as all religion, is well known and clear from all its propaganda. The fact that Communism was unable to stamp out Christianity completely is a testamony to the faith of those who held out, but the persecution Christians endured is well documented. For further details, if you want them, I commend to you the book: “Tortured for Christ”, by the Rev. Richard Wurmbrandt.

    In order to address the foundations of Naziism, we have to begin with a dicussion of the development of philosophical thought in Western Europe. The thing about Christian Churches in Western Europe, is that they had become political institutions instead of separate centers of faith. As such they were attacked polotically. They were also under pressure from the developing schools of philosophical thought, such as the existentialists, the rationalists, etc. At the same time, advances in science, and new scientific theories, such as darwinian evolutionary theory, freudian psychology, eugenics, etc. began to emerge and merge with political theory. The concept of social evolution is deeply embedded in marxism. Marx believed that society would inevitably evlove from feudalism, to capitalism, to socialism, and finally to communism. Communism was, for Marx, the final stage of evolution at which point the need for government would end and the socialist state (which up to this point would hold society together in a cooperative system) would “wither away”. Marx believed that all mankind would sufficiently evolve to the point at which total cooperation among citizens, aka “communism”, would be possible. But other philosophers did not agree, or at least they did not agree about everything.

    But before I go farther, it is important to remember that none of these 19th and early 20th century philosophers accepted Christianity. They all found the Christain concept of a fallen mankind in need of a savior to be mythology for the weak, and totally inconsistant with the concept of an evolving mankind.

  • kerner

    Frederick Neitzsche was one such 19th Century philosopher, and he was no Christian. You can read about him here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

    Hitler was heavily influenced by Nietzsche, although philosophers have argued whether Hitler simply applied Neitzsche’s idea or perverted them, there can be no denying that Naziism is derived substantially from Nietzschean philosophy:

    hppt://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid+30568

    Common themes between Nietzschean philosophy and Naziism are that God is dead, man is becoming God, man is evolving (but not uniformly), that is there are Ubermenschen (overmen) who have evolved beyond their fellow men and it is the duty and destiny of these overmen to take over all societies and run things unfettered by conventional (Christian) morality.

    Hitler took these ideas and developed them into a political concept of Aryan supremacy, but there was nothing Christian about them. I realize that atheists have recently tried to tie Naziism to Christianity, but a careful reading of even the quotations cited by atheists shows why the athists are wrong about this.

    http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/tp/AdolfHitlerReligiousFaith.htm

    When Hitler, in “Mein Kampf” talks about the “fanaticism of faith that can move mountains” he is not talking about the power of prayer. Rather, Hitler was saying that faith is a tool which can be used to control or motivate others. Notice how Hitler, in one passage says that there are superior men who don’t need faith, whereas most people do need faith to live moral lives. This is completely consistant with the Nietzsche’s ideas that overmen were becoming godlike and should exercise their superiority to dominate the “untermenchen (lower or under men, which is most people). It is also completely consistent with Marx’s conclusion that “religion is the opiate of the masses”. The difference between Marx and Hitler is that Marx sought to remove the opiate from the masses, whereas Hitler believed that the “opiate” of religion was useful for controlling them. But in reality, both Nietzsche and Hitler had nothing but contempt for those lower men who needed faith, because to Hitler only inferior people were in need of it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Hitler sometimes invoked religious language for the sake of those he regarded as untermenschen rubes, but there is nothing about Hitler, his actions or his writing to suggest that he believed a word of it.

  • kerner
  • Michael the little boot

    kerner,

    Your responses to my responses always make my brain spin! You are much more dedicated to fact-finding. Or it could be your brain is wired to be better at it.

    I’d like to comment on this specifically: “Common themes between Nietzschean philosophy and Naziism are that God is dead, man is becoming God, man is evolving (but not uniformly), that is there are Ubermenschen (overmen) who have evolved beyond their fellow men and it is the duty and destiny of these overmen to take over all societies and run things unfettered by conventional (Christian) morality.” Okay. So these can be construed to be common themes, but a closer reading reveals them to be perversions of the original idea. The Overman is not a person who lords over, but a person who realizes all these human conventions are meaningless and does not let arbitrary rules apply to him. Hitler applied the idea to himself, really, and extrapolated that, in a world full of “undermen,” the Overman has the duty to force further evolution. I agree neither person liked the undermen, but there was a difference. Nietzsche just thought the rules didn’t apply to him, and looked down on those who thought they did. Hitler actively disdained other people.

    This is ALSO a perversion of the theory of evolution, which does not describe things evolving TOWARD anything. Evolution is not a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It just goes. It’s just a description of how things change. Social darwinism comes from this, but it did not come from Darwin. Once again, survival of the fittest is not the idea Darwin had. It’s a further perversion of his theory.

  • kerner

    Michael:

    The “head-spinning” feeling is mutual, amigo.

    I do try to find the facts. This is probaly due to my training as well as my nature.

    I understand all you said @31, and I don’t know that I dispute it. I understand that there is one school of thought that Hitler simply implimented Nietzsche’s ideas, but Nietzsche’s defenders, like you aparently, believe that Hitler was perverting them. I don’t agree with Nietzsche’s ideas, nor do I have much confidence in Darwin’s, but one thing I am NOT saying is that anyone who agrees with them is a Nazi. Clearly, the Nazis took these ideas and ran with them in a direction that was different than most.

    But I was responding to your claim that Naziism was Catholic. NO NO NO! Nazism was either an extension or a perversion of Neitzschean and Darwinian theory, which would make it decidedly NOT Christian. And it would make Naziism atheist, even though most sane atheists would reject it, because the master race (twisted overman) oriented Nazis rejected the idea of subordination of their will to any concept of God.

    Plenty of evil has been done in the name of the Roman Catholic Church, and doubtless some evil has been done in the name of my own. But you can’t hang Hitler on us.

  • Michael the little boot

    kerner,

    I’m sorry. I was not trying to say Naziism was Catholic. I was just trying to say Hitler identified himself as a Catholic. Not trying to pin him on YOU, but rather you on HIM. I was not being very clear, though.

    Glad to know your head spins, as well. Makes me feel a little less small. :)

    I think you get it right, though: Naziism was a perversion of Darwinism and Neitzsche. It had nothing to do with Christianity, other than borrowing anti-semitism. Which you’d be hard-pressed to deny, given that Luther wrote about it. :)


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