The 4 Major Factors That Fuel Religious Fundamentalism | Ro Waseem

The 4 Major Factors That Fuel Religious Fundamentalism | Ro Waseem April 26, 2014

I have a mantra on life that I wish to share with you: Ignorance enslaves, breeding hatred and extremism; while knowledge liberates, breeding compassion and understanding.

Fundamentalism, which I define it to be a very non-pluralistic approach operating on absolutes, stems from ignorance – and thus only breeds negativity. It is a venomous disease that kills positivity, and needs to be identified and cured on a very personal level.

 

As a Muslim, who in his earlier days had adopted quite a fundamentalist approach, I have come a long way by internalizing a basic yet painful truth: I, definitely, do not have all the answers, hence different point of views are not only necessary for my own growth and evolution (which to me, is the prime purpose of life) but also that embracing diversity as one of God’s signs is the only solution of progress and co-existence. I have come to realize that only those who hold a very shallow outlook are afraid of diversity in thought, for it threatens ungrounded and unresearched prejudices and beliefs.

Bertrand Russell, very wisely, puts it as:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

 

So, here are 4 major factors that fuel fundamentalist thought:

 

  1. Lack of Independent Study and Exposure to Different Schools of Thought

The biggest factor of fundamentalism and dogmatism is that most people do not critically examine the religion (or any other ideology, for that matter) believe in. Naively accepting whatever is told to them by other people, they lack the much needed exposure to different schools of thought that has the tendency of humbling one’s self down.

So, when such a blind belief is threatened by an opposing point of view, these people, unable to prove their point by reasoning, resort to insults and bad language; or in extreme cases, resort to violence in order to protect that belief and to gain a feeling of supremacy and self-worth. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

 

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  1. Inconsistency in Approach

Whether it be theism or atheism, dogmatism and fundamentalism exists on both sides of the coin. This is a bitter truth that I’ve observed over the years. One would expect atheists and “progressive” religionists to be more open-minded towards those who differ from their perspective, but this, unfortunately, is not true for all of them.

Ironically, they become what they detest the most: hardliner preachers of their “religion”, looking down upon anyone and everyone who differs. Of course, I do not mean to imply that every atheist or theist behaves like that, which brings me to my next point…

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  1. Generalizations and Thinking in Absolutes

Generalizations play a key role in fundamentalism and dogmatism: Muslims are terrorists; atheists are proud and arrogant; Shias are Kafirs; Black people are thugs; White people – racists and imperialists!  Fundamentalists perceive everything in a black and white manner, refusing – or simply uninterested- to observe the many shades of grey within. The reality, however, is that the more you encounter how diverse people are, their way of living, their way of thinking, their way of worshiping (or the lack thereof), the more you broaden your mind and cease thinking in absolutes.

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  1. Possessing the Key to “the Sole Truth”

Some religious people are brought up believing that their path to God is the only correct path worthy of salvation, and this brainwashing turns some (if not most) of them into bigots. Some atheists  also believe that atheism is the only rational metaphysical philosophy, and this brainwashing turns some (if not most) of them into bigots. What needs to be eliminated is the egoistic belief of having a monopoly on Truth, even the idea of there being a Sole Truth out there. Like Rumi says,

The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.

But it’s challenging – it’s challenging because having a monopoly on Truth and looking down upon others is a great boost for the ego and a major source of self-worth for some. In addition, this feeling of superiority due to having the key to “the Truth” may well be the most defining part of their personality, making it even harder for them to abolish this self-centered belief.

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However, people who are introspective eventually realize the need for pluralism and tolerance. They analyze the contradictions in their own approach and work on continually reforming themselves, instead of finding faults with others.

These folks strive for consistency in approach. If they detest something in others, they make it sure that that negative trait is not a part of their own personality. Automatically, they automatically become more tolerant, more compassionate, more humble, and above all, they are able to acquire peace within themselves which, ultimately, is the prime purpose of any philosophy on life. As Gandhi once said,

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

 

Ro Waseem is a Reformist Muslim who believes in the power of writing for change. His articles have been published on Huffington Post, Onfaith, Express Tribune, among others. Read more of his articles here.

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  • Adis Duderija

    great article. i examine it from a different angle ( comparative theology and inrelation to islam) here: https://www.academia.edu/465143/What_s_Your_Theology_Like_-On_Knowledge_Good_Deeds_and_Spirituality

  • Lonnie

    As a former conservative-now-progressive Christian, I must thank you for a superb article that applies to us all. Even as a progressive, believing in anything too strongly to lose humility and claim a monopoly on truth is a potential danger for me (perhaps for anyone who is passionate about anything). Thank you for the reminder to hold my beliefs strongly yet loosely enough to not be an arrogant prig.

  • Rev. Jake Harrison

    This reminds me of the quote (one of my favorite; from one of my favorites–Mark Twain); “Ya know; “Faith” is believing in something ya know aint true”.
    That is all it has ever been and that is all it will ever be.

  • Asami Yamazaki

    I am of the opinion that one factor fuels religious fundamentalism: fear of death.

  • S Cruise

    Quite a reasonable article, although some of it, especially where it makes some points concerning atheists, seems a bit of a stretch.

    I think the first is a very good point. It also ties in with my opinions about religion in general. The main reason religion exists is not simply because of belief in a deity. It is because of ignorance(not stupidity) & disempowerment – and the need to gain or have a sense of control over whatever disempowers. That’s the essense of religion: the glue that binds it and keeps people from leaving it. Fundamentalists are so glued in, when something or someone differs, they feel insecure – so lash out.

  • Glen Olives

    Very good article, and well reasoned except for one thing. Ro seems to be implying in the first paragraph of heading #1 that atheists are (or at least can be) dogmatic. Not the case in the least. We are anti-dogma, any dogma, and (sometimes annoyingly) follow the evidence where it takes us.

  • Glen Olives

    Two gentle critiques of your critique. First, nobody has ever “obtained faith through reason.” Unless of course their apparatus for reason has been severely damaged or never worked properly. Second, the Qur’an was authored by semi-literate desert nomads and warlords, not god. Which is obvious from reading it, which speaks to my first point.

  • Rob Brown

    That’s strange, Glen. Many of the atheists I have encountered are very dogmatic: Anti-god, anti-religion, anti-people who practice their religion.

  • James Rapp

    The intention of this article is very good and I find myself agreeing with the author most of the time. However, in his final point I have to differ with him. I believe it is possible to be certain that your faith understanding is the true one and still not be bigoted or intolerant of those who believe you are wrong. I follow the creed of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. He said, “I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.” Notice that he does not say that he knows he is right. What he does know is where he has put his faith (in Jesus Christ) and he is persuaded (certain in his own thinking) that he will not be disappointed “on that day.” That is a perfect definition of “faith.” Fundamentalism is not a faith; it is a belief that all the facts are in and they prove the fundamentalist to be right and all others wrong. A true faith says, “I believe what I believe with all my heart despite the fact that I could be wrong.”

  • James Rapp

    So Christopher Hitchens was not dogmatic? I’d need an explanation of that. Of course atheists can be dogmatic as can anyone else. Even an agnostic can be dogmatically agnostic.

  • James Rapp

    Mark Twain undoubtedly said that, if it is a true quotation of his, to get a laugh. But faith is believing when you don’t have all the evidence but have enough to make you a believer. I have faith in the fidelity of my wife. Are you saying that I know that she isn’t true to me?

  • Glen Olives

    I think you and James don’t quite understand what dogmatic actually means. Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs accepted by a group that is not questioned or doubted. Atheists question and doubt everything. Hitchens was opinionated to be sure, but he followed evidence, not dogma. I suspect that “evidence” also requires a definition. Evidence is the proof of something than can be repeated by experiment, and potentially falsified. This is called the scientific method, and it works wonderfully, which I need not point out. Religious dogma, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have served our species so well. Being anti-god or anti-religion, does not make one dogmatic, unless the reasons for having these opinions aren’t based on evidence. In sum, arguments presented based on logic, reason, and evidence, although you might disagree with them, or even find them offensive, are not dogmatic.

  • Glen Olives

    I agree with your first point, James (with some modification), and disagree with the second. Certainty being “certain” of your “faith” is an oxymoron if there ever was one. Yet your larger point rings true — intolerance and bigotry are superfluous when engaging people who believe differently from you. My problem with your second point is that it actually doesn’t define faith very well: “I believe what I believe with all my heart despite the fact that I could be wrong.” The proper and more logically consistent definition of faith is: “I believe what I believe, and nothing can change my mind.”

  • James Rapp

    Some branches of Christianity (primarily Calvinists) believe that no one can come to faith in God without God first gifting them with that faith. I believe that God pursues and persuades through the work of the Holy Spirit but I also believe that we come to faith through a logical process. So while I am now a convinced believer in Christ Jesus it is possible that evidence presented to me could at some point cause me to lose that faith or to even place my faith in something else. Right now I believe, for example, that God created the universe through a developmental, evolutionary, and ongoing process. I believe that because the evidence presented to me is convincing. If I lived long enough and other evidence were presented to me I might come to put my faith in some other theory of creation. By the way, my faith in God is largely anchored to the evidence presented to my senses by the world in which I live; I cannot conceive of such a world short of a creator. But that is only the starting point. It would take many volumes to trace for you the paths that lead me to the other tenants of my faith and I’m not even sure I could elucidate all of it; it is, for me, largely a walk of faith.

  • Glen Olives

    Thank you James. Very eloquently put. But eloquence, in all the comfort that it may bring, must be left for what it is. It is not evidence. It is sentiment. And if it makes you feel better about your existence, your place in the world, then good for you. As for me, I don’t need it. The wonders of the universe as brought to us through the marvels of science, the new discoveries brought to us through Hubble, make the Stone Age preachments of the Abrahamic religious traditions pale in comparison.

  • James Rapp

    Ah, but we must be kind to the stone age; it gave us, in rudimentary form, almost every tool we have, mechanical, and philosophical. I wonder what those geniuses would have accomplished if they’d had Hubble at their disposal. And we can critique their rough handling of justice and international diplomacy but we only have improved upon them by learning to dispose of our enemies at such a distance that we don’t get splattered by their blood.

  • Judy Weismonger

    Why are people religious?

    1. insanity
    2. hallucinations
    3. psychopathology
    4. fucked up genetics.

    Solution: Ban all religions, because all religions have the potential to become insane, psychopathic, hallucinatory means by those with fucked up genetics to kill people in the name of their imaginary god or gods. No religion of any kind is needed on this planet. What IS needed is humanistic rules where people do not murder, lie, cheat, or steal…and leave other people alone. It is that simple. These are ancient rules of good behavior…that existed long before religions became organized and began murdering, lying, cheating, and stealing in the name of their gods.

    People WHO DO NOT leave other people alone, do so because they are insane, having hallucinations, believe they have a psychopathic right to bother and annoy other people, and above all have fucked up genetics that do not allow them to figure out that they are insane, having hallucinations, and are acting like psychopaths.

    It is that simple. Worse, are cultures that promote insanity, hallucinations, and psychopathic behaviors…whose leaders have fucked up genetics.

  • James Rapp

    And what evidence does the atheist provide to show conclusively that there is no God? When we move into metaphysics, which is what both theism and atheism are dealing with, we’ve moved beyond the realm of verifiable data. How cold and impersonal the world would be without those unverifiable elements that most humans cherish: love, hope, and yes, faith.

  • Judy Weismonger

    “Modifications” wont’ help as long as its leaders and advocates have fucked up genetics, that do not allow them to recognize that hey are insane, having hallucinations, and are psychopaths in the name of their gods.

  • Judy Weismonger

    Well, first of all the Calvinists and all religions have to prove that god exists. If they cannot, which has not been done since the first religious liars gained power…well, then the entire discussion is over with isn’t it.

  • Judy Weismonger

    There is no possibility of “eloquence” when discussing religion, because sooner or later, all religions seek unlimited, all encompassing power to control other human beings…in the name of their god. Christianity alone has murdered 35 million people before it was stopped by the Functional Atheist Founders of the US who REMOVED all religious laws from the American court system…and in effect created a new Atheist state in which there was no state church.

    Now, we are entering a new era, in which the Christianized GOP wishes to slyly created a Christian Police State in which a pregnant woman becomes a breeding slave of the state; creationism replaces science in public schools; and children are forced to listen to other children and a teacher lead them in Christianity prayers to a nonexistant collection of Judeo-Christian god myths.

    Christians will be able to hire, and fire workers based on the employers religious preferences, and in the spirit of what Christians call “religious freedom” control the government of the United States if they reach political dominance.

  • Judy Weismonger

    Yes, Atheists are “dogmatic” about freedom from a government or a group of people who wish to impose religious laws on them, through or by government power. There are so many “versions” of god, that its just ridiculous for one version of Christianity, or any religion, to demand respect or political dominance…especially when your “versions” of Christianity change from year-to-year based on many social, cultural and political factors.

    If Christians, or Jews, or Moslems could prove that a god or gods exist, then it would be another consideration…but no religion, or science, has been able to prove any divine “thingies” exist…and furthermore, there is more scientific evidence, that not only is a god nonexistent, but a god who can perform such magic tricks as described in the bible…is not necessary or even possible.

    It really is time for the religious to grow up.

  • Judy Weismonger

    If you could explain why god, or religion, or oppression of human beings in the name of your imaginary gods is a good thing, then Atheists would not be so dogmatic.

    But, you cannot.

    It is YOU, the religious nuts, who wish to turn woman into slaves of the church when pregnant…it is YOU who are anti-people with your claims of “religious freedom” which you believe allows you to create a Christian police state…to force children in public schools to worship and pray to an imaginary god, and force children to hear and learn the most stupidest, unproven, bunch of religious creationists crap since the Christian Dark Ages…and it is YOU, who do not believe in leaving people alone, because of the “GREAT COMMISSION to go out in the world and “save people’s souls”…for which you have not proven there is a soul, have no proof of a god, and have zero proof of heaven or hell as punishment if we are not “saved.” And no proof that any of your gods, saints, demons, satan, revered virgin mother exists.

    Worse…you demand you have a right to impose your buybull myths on children….for which there is not one single ORIGINAL (KEY WORD) 1st or 2nd Century AD writing, document, clay tablet, papyrus, or artifact of any kind that anyone ever heard of Jesus or Christians. None.

    The very idea that you can promote such buybull myths copied and plagarized from many other previous religions….and claim them as facts, makes you into liars who promote forgeries and frauds…worse, child abusers, who demand to put your myths into public schools and the American government.

    How dare you….You really need to catch up, may I suggest you get on YouTube and search Dr. Richard Carrier’s historical lectures on Christianity. There are now literally 1000s of research articles to prove conclusively that Christianity and all religions, including Mormonism, Scientology, Roman Catholicism and its Forgery Factory, Islam, etc. are nothing more than ways to scam people out of their money by selling them religious myths. You should also be paying taxes. This scam has gone on far too long, it is now the 21st century, we have landed human beings on the moon (ooops no god or Jesus there as claimed in early Christian myths), and will soon be on Mars.

    It is time for you to begin a very in-depth self examination, research why you insist on having their self-serving religious beliefs, why you need them, and grow up.

  • Judy Weismonger

    In the case of dogmatic Atheism….the universe is 13.6 billion years old, and there is not one single smidgeon of proof, or indication of any kind that there is a god thingy…who does the kind of magic tricks that so illustratedly outlines in your buybull. None.

    Now either you are going to have to “change” and redact the buybull, or chunk it….because in the 21st century, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc. all just sound like crazy people wallowing around in their hallucinations.

    So, yes, Atheists will remain dogmatic that you have no proof of any gods…why should they come over the Dark Side of your bizarre and dishonest religious beliefs.

    Atheism is the moral and ethical high ground because Atheists demand you prove your claims. If you cannot prove your claims but Dogmatically Demand that you have a right to impose them on children, through the government, and by hook and crook on other human beings…then you are promoters of lies and forgeries….which ATheists dogmatically refuse to respect.

    Because of Christianity’s and all religions immense history of forgery, murder, and dishonesty, Atheists will dogmatically be against you and win. True does win out, and religion has no truth behind it.

  • Judy Weismonger

    Asani…yes, that is the number one factor that fuels religion…but if you listen to what preachers, priests, and shamans “sell” you will also see that Christianity also sells:

    1. narcissim and self aggrandizment.
    2. specialness and knowledge of special knowledge and religious secrets not given to others
    3. wealth (Joel Osteen’s brand of Christianity)
    4. empowerment, and enhancement of IQ, rights to entitlement and supremacy over others, and ability to “speak knowledgeably” about things they know nothing about, leap tall buildings with a single bound, read people’s minds, etc.
    5. relief from shame and guilt (which Christianity creates) (Franklin Graham’s version)
    6. getting high and stoned (through prayer and ritual, and extended training in surrepititious hypnotic trance states) that induce an altered state of consciousness (found in blood flow studies) that make the religious who are having a religious experience to be just as stoned as if they were smoking pot or on heroin.
    7. bodily enhancement and protection by promoting god and Jesus as bullies, and avenging gods
    8. perfection, to be just like Jesus….pure and without sin.
    9. Able to either remain healthy, or cure sickness through prayer and belief (of which 3 studies by the religious show that prayer does not cure anyone at a higher rate…and that people of all religions, or no religions spontaneously are cured anyway (about 1/3rd).
    10. Become more moral and ethical, of which this is stupid, since Christians are over represented in prisons, commit more crimes, suffer more divorces, their kids are more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, less likely than Atheists to graduate from high school, college, etc. In every measure of social behavior, Atheists score better in every way. Why? Because Atheists “think”…they don’t rely on delusional religious beliefs… to be given things they did not earn or deserve because they believe in a god thingy.
    11. For those with depressions, schizophrenia, and psychosis…many such mentally ill people are also highly religious…proving that not only does religion and belief not help them, but religion makes them worse and more intractable in achieving mental stability. Oh well.

    Of course, all of these “selling points” by the religious are just stupid…and just make people crazy.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Great article, Ro Waseem. I think you really nailed it. My only suggestion would be to change the title to somehow include atheism. You did an excellent job in including them in your 4 points. I’ve noticed quite a number of fundamentalist atheists on disqus and they, unfortunately, seem to believe that religion or a belief in God is the root of all evil. The historical facts are clear that religion isn’t.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hmmm. Most people who believe in a diety do not bother other people with their beliefs. While there are some who do, they are by far the minority. Your position is disturbing. It is similar to those of the atheistic regimes that slaughtered and repressed thousands. You would have fit in very well with Stalin’s regime, and North Korea’s which, according to the UN, has murdered “at the very least hundreds of thousands of human beings.” “The report contains gut-wrenching accounts of torture, public executions, forced abortions, sexual violence, abductions and mass starvation.
    “Torture is an established feature of the interrogation process,” the report says. It describes how prisoners are often kept in cells so small they can’t stand up or stretch out on the ground. Before long, the victim’s blood circulation is cut off, and the victim “turns into a rusty brown colour.” There currently being approximately 30,000 Christians in that condition right now. You may have fit in quite well with the Khmer Rouge. Please see this blog: Hoping Atheists (Or at Least Anti-Theists) Do Not Kill Us This Time http://www.patheos.com/blogs/eidos/2015/4/hoping-atheists-do-not-kill-us-this-time/

  • Patricia Oliver

    Begone thou brunnmigi

  • Patricia Oliver

    Begone brunnmigi

  • Patricia Oliver

    No one will respond to you, Judy, because you are not dealing with facts or logic. Begone, thou brunnmigi.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Begone brunnmigi

  • Patricia Oliver

    Namaan, no book, neither the Qur’an nor the Bible, has all of the answers. Whichever faith you have, you must know that God is infinite and is infinitely larger than can be contained in any book. A God that can be completely described and revealed in a book is certainly smaller than the God Christians worship, and I believe smaller than the God that Muslims worship.

  • ronmurp

    James,

    I’ll try to address my disagreement with you in one shot, though it applies to a few of your comments.

    The ‘atheist’ (see later) doesn’t need to show conclusively there is no God – or fairies. All we need to do is observe the world and derive ideas from that, and then imagine new ideas, and try to find evidence from observation to support those new ideas. Progress. Contingent. Fallible. But it works.

    So, with regard to this universe and how it came about, we have zero evidence. We have evidence from which we infer the Big Bang cosmology, along with a number of theories about that, which are speculative, and which may be consistent with some observations. But as to the more explicit ‘origin’, we have nothing. So, might there be some entity with something like what we understand to be agency, that ‘decided’ to create this universe? Maybe. Maybe not. Zero evidence either way. But, and this is significant, because there is no evidence the universe appears to us just AS IF there were no such entity.

    So, when we get to actual religions with very specific claims about a God or gods, derived from ancient ideas from very ignorant times, it is baffling that adults that don’t believe in fairies can believe in these gods.

    While I think much of what Judy Unwisemongerer says is toxic, her incredulity at what some religious people believe is well founded. And even if her crazy obsession with genetics were true, that would be reason to sympathise with believers rather than abuse them. I think the cause of religious belief is many faceted, some of which may boil down to personal temperament, but even that is suspect – some seriously evangelical believers do eventually get the big picture, reject religion for the myth it is, and look back on their belief with amusement, astonishment, dismay even, and go on to take on the empirical contingent view of the universe.

    Atheists surely can be dogmatic too, as Judy seems to bear witness. But many of the atheists labelled as dogmatic, such as Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, are among some of the most humanistic people I know. Mostly, their criticism of religion is misrepresented – but if you think not I’d be happy to discuss that futher.

    Dogmatic atheists usually have some other dogmatism driving them, and atheism is just one element of that. So, treating ‘Atheism’ as a thing sort of misses the point. Humanism (‘H’ as opposed to ‘humanism’, which many religious believers can subscribe to) is better seen as the alternative to religion – so really, you’d be better addressing Humanism.

    While we’re at it, let’s get secularism straight – the separation of belief (religious or atheistic) and state; and freedom of belief – which makes sense given that we really don’t know origins stuff at all. Many religious believers are secularists as well as humanists (‘h’ not ‘H’).

    So, rather that referring to atheism, which only addresses the God belief angle, try responding to Secular Atheist Humanism.

    Finally, for now, let’s dispose of faith. Just been reading another John Pilkinghorne, and this atheistic ‘faith’ thing keeps cropping up, or having ‘faith’ in the scientific method is another variant. The scientific methods doesn’t need faith. It only requires continued and yet contingent empirical evidence.

    Do I have ‘faith’ in the law of gravity? No. I don’t need it. For one, ‘laws’ are mere human models that offer simplified descriptions for how the world is observed to work. Newtons laws turn out to be insufficient in some extremes? OK, use relativity. But Newton is still good enough. The ‘Ether’? Wasn’t found, so discard it. And so, gravity? I only need to accept gravity as a feature of the universe for as long as it keeps me on the ground. When things start to float up off the ground and chunks of the Earth drift off in what looks like a failure of gravity, I’ll have empirical evidence to question it. I accept it and other observations of the universe, and the scientific method, because they are continuing to be shown to work, not because I have to muster up some faith in them.

    Faith seems to be required only when you really want to believe something but for which there is no evidence. But the faith that can take a nice secular humanist Christian or Muslim to a benign religion, can also take a dogmatic fundamentalist extremist to read the worst from their holy texts. Faith is bad news.

    For now, I simply proceed AS IF gravity is a thing, just as I proceed AS IF there is no God. This contingent empirical view of the world is all we require. We don’t need faith. I’d challenge you to provide any need for faith whatsoever.

    Please feel free to challenge any of that, here, or over here: http://ronmurp.net/thinking/

  • Clive Photo

    If you posit a god it’s down to you to support your claim with some evidence. If you can’t then don’t whine and complain when rational people mock you.

    You have nothing more to prove your god than any of the thousands of other gods which have come and gone through history, the only reason you go with your particular flavour of god is because that’s what was put into your head when you knew no better than to believe what you were told. It’s telling when the only way religion can defend its empty dogma is to pretend evidence based refutation is the same as a work of fiction without a shred of evidence to support it and quite a lot against it.

    That’s why the only sensible conclusion after intensive effort over thousands of years has produced no tangible evidence for any god is that there is no god.

  • Clive Photo

    Which historical facts would they be, then?

    Also keen to have some examples of the athiest dogma so freely refered to in the article and comments.

    Religious adherents in my experience are completely unable to comprehend the difference between blind faith in unproven stories and a reliance on demonstrable facts. It’s impossible to have a reasoned conversation with someone who has abandoned reason and the only way to have faith in any religion is to discard reason and analytical thought.

  • James Rapp

    Hardly so. Atheism is as much a leap of faith as is belief in one religion or another. Most Christians know their religious thesis is unprovable; that is the point of “faith” that atheists either don’t understand or are unwilling to acknowledge. They too are operating on the basis of a faith structure that assumes there is no God.

  • James Rapp

    Uh, what did you say? Or are you “mocking me”? Or maybe I’m just having trouble following your whining “logic”. I think you’ve lost track of the train of argument here.
    I, at least, am not arguing that faith comes only from a blind acceptance of tradition. Faith, for the theist, as for the atheist is built on evidence. That is why both are constantly changing, seeing things differently. But for the theist one thing remains constant; a belief that there is a God who is the originator of us and all around us. For the atheist the evidence convinces him/her otherwise.

  • Clive Photo

    If your faith has evidence to back it up then it isn’t faith. It’s science.

    So what is this evidence for your god? Let me guess, all this stuff is too complicated to have come about by accdent so it must have been created by some kind of intelligence. So what created your intelligent creator which is obviously far too complicated to have come about by accident?

  • Clive Adams

    You’re the one saying he was so maybe you owe us the explanation. Hitchens presented evidence based facts, that’s not dogma. Dogma is something believed for no rhyme or reason despite a complete lack of any supporting evidence and frequently in the face of strong evidence to the contrary. That’s religion.

  • Glen Olives

    James, you fundamentally misunderstand what atheism is. We have never claimed to be able to “conclusively prove” that there is not god. That would be silly. It’s just that there is no evidence for the existence of one. This might shock you, but you´re an atheist as well. I suspect that you do not believe, for example in Zeus or Thor. But if you were born in the Greece of antiquity, you would almost assuredly be a believer. We just take our atheism on god further — your god.

    The world of unbelief in the supernatural is anything but “cold and impersonal.” Look at the latest images from the Hubble telescope. Listen to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Read the philosophy of Shopenhauer and the stories of Borges. My world of an atheist, and yes, antitheist, if chalk full of love and hope and wonder and amazement. No faith required.

  • Glen Olives

    Faith is built on evidence? Really? When did the definition of faith change? James, I suspect you don’t even know it, but your engaging is pure sophistry. Please purchase a dictionary and try again. No insult intended.

  • James Rapp

    Lucky me, I just happen to have a dictionary. It defines faith as: “A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.” I see no requirement in that definition for faith to be “blind”. There is no reason why such faith couldn’t be based on evidence and reason. And my dictionary also defines sophistry as: “A deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone.” I confess regretfully that I am incapable of almost any ingenuity, especially not in reasoning. And the last thing in life that I want to do is deceive someone. That is why I gladly leave you free to believe there is no God and ask that you allow those of us who believe there is one to do so without having to endure accusations of sophistry. No insult intended, of course. I’m sorry but I spent waaaay too much time on this discussion. It hasn’t been uninteresting or unprofitable but it has to end. Feel free to continue defining who I am and what I believe, but I have chores to do around the house that, if not done soon will cause my spouse to loose faith in me.

  • pgravelle .

    You have become the very thing that dilutes truth, and that is your moral relativism concerning faith. There has to be absolutes if universal truth is to exist.

  • Ron Schofield
  • RettEvans

    No god worth knowing says, “Kill in my name.” Any religion, at any time. Is that a reasonable litmus test?

  • Patricia Oliver

    Thanks for the post, Clive. I don’t think it’s an atheist dogma. I think it’s some of the very vocal atheists who post on disqus. Which historical facts are you specifically interested in? The causes of war? Persecution of scientists? Another line of inquiry?

    I believe your statement about the religious adherents you have experienced so far. From my experience they are the exception, albeit vocal and annoying, not the rule. You would be surprised to learn that my experience with many (not all) atheists on disqus are similar to those you have had with religious people. An example is that one often sees an atheist post that nearly all wars have been due to religion. That there should be no religion (sometimes that religious people should all die off or worse). Or that Jesus approved of slavery, etc. *Each time* that I have responded with ample, indisputable facts that prove their position to be illogical and unfactual, they have gone silent. Not one has admitted they were wrong. Sometimes the same person espouses the same erroneous statement elsewhere on the discussion thread.

    What you are talking about is a human condition. It is a response to cognitive dissonance. The response can be to accept the new data and change one’s opinion based on the new data or to revile the person and/or ignore the new data. The drive to cognitive closure is often so great that a person ‘freezes’ upon a certain explanation and will not change their theory in the face of evidence. Religious people, agnostics and atheists are all susceptible to that response to the drive to cognitive closure. It’s dangerous for a person to think that they are not susceptible to freezing on a certain theory, simply because of their religion or lack thereof.

  • RobWatkin

    Agree Glen. How does the statement “I believe what I believe with all my heart despite the fact that I could be wrong.” make any sort of sense?

  • RobWatkin

    No. Just wrong. You don’t understand atheism. You don’t need faith to not believe in something.

  • S Cruise

    Judy, people are religious for various reasons – not all of them negative. I agree that religion isn’t necessary and that people need stop relying on faith/religion to understand the world and themselves/others. But all people, religious or not, are prone to insantiy, hallucinations, etc. Guess most of us have “fcked up genetics” also. I think you’d have great difficulty banning those 4 traits.

    Yes, the nature of religion and religious texts that makes and perpertuates the negative view many believers hold for anything or anyone who differs, doesn’t help create a more peaceful and tolerance world. Perhaps the world would be better off without it – but murdering, lying, cheating have existed and will continue to whether religion exists or not.

    You can’t ban religion any more than you can ban conspiracy theories. What you can do is ween people away from them – make them less dependent on the supernatural nonsense religions push. The only way to do that is through education while creating an environment with increased living standards (people tend to rely on nonsense out of desperation). And for our politicians to stop giving religion lip-service and privilage in government, education and law.

  • James Rapp

    Well now, we have folks who choose not to believe that man ever went to the moon. We can show them the space ships used for the journey, videotapes of the event, and let them talk to astronauts who were there as well as people who saw them leave the earth and return again. But still they choose to believe it never happened. It is rather like an atheist whom God has done everything in his power to convince of his existence, short of appearing in person and melting him down with the sheer glory of his appearance, and still the atheist chooses – by faith – to deny that he exists.

  • S Cruise

    James, maybe the best way for you to understand atheism is to think of all the “things” that you have no awareness of. I guess you can’t, can you? The reason for that is because you hold no knowledge of their actual existence – should they exist; they are absent and irrelevent to you. It’s exactly the same for atheists: atheists have an absense of belief in God or gods because they have no knowledge or awareness of their actual existence – should they exist. All atheists have concerning “God” or “gods” are the claims made by theists – and those claims fail to convince atheists. So atheists continue to have an absense of belief in God or gods. Faith is not required for any of that.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Glen, with all due respect, you can’t be serious. I see quite a number of athiests on disqus who are very dogmatic (see the dictionary definition word sense #2). Unfortunately, quite a number of times on disqus when an atheist has espoused an unsupportable assertion (such as “all [or nearly all] wars are because of religion” or “the church has always opposed scientific discovery” or “the root of all evil is religion” or “religion has only harmed mankind, it has never worked for the greater good” or “scientists don’t cause harm”), and I have provided them with irrefutable, factual evidence (even an avalanche), they have just….gone……silent. No admission of error. No acknowledgment that their logic or data were faulty. No following the evidence where it takes us. Rather, sometimes, reiterating the same factually erroneous statements elsewhere.

  • Glen Olives

    Nice comment, James. Actually very clever. I too, have been away from the computer almost all day, doing battle with cherry tomatoes in our garden.

    But, back to the central points of our discussion, which seems to be developing nicely. I will concede that faith need not be blind (although it often is). But of course some evidence for belief in the supernatural must be provided if you wish to stick with the definition. My simple question is — Where’s the evidence?

    I wouldn’t presume to define you. True, I accuse sophists of sophistry. Guilty as charged. But I haven’t as yet included you, and hopefully never will.

    So, may I now not be permitted to throw down the gauntlet? “Faith based on evidence and reason” is, by definition, precisely NOT faith. It is science. So if you have an argument for the existences of a god (feel to choose any you like), I would very much like to hear it.

  • Patricia Oliver

    You are correct, you don’t need faith to not believe in something. The term for the person who does not believe something is the agnostic. The agnostic’s position is the only position that can be logically supported via facts. Their position is that the existence or nonexistence of a god cannot be determined. It is unknowable. That is not the position of the atheist. The atheist *believes* that there is no god. That is a belief. It does take a small logical leap to go from the agnostic position to the atheistic position. This is not my opinion, it’s Logic 101. It’s disingenuous for any atheist state otherwise.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I understand the atheist position. I’m looking at it from the logical viewpoint. The only position that can be logically proven with facts is the agnostic position, the existence or nonexistence of god is unknowable, cannot be proven via deductive reasoning. That position does not require faith. I don’t believe atheism requires faith, but it requires a bit of a logical leap to move from the position of agnostic to atheist. That logical leap could very well be based on inductive or other logic.

  • Patricia Oliver

    And faith does not *have* to be in something supernatural.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Fundamentalists might be glued in that way, but many people of faith are not so in an attempt to have control over whatever disempowers. What led you to make that statement?

  • Patricia Oliver

    I wish that is what fuels it, but I don’t think it does. I think it is ignorance.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Excellent point. People who don’t have a faith, often have great difficulty understanding people who do. In the face of their lack of understanding, they often come up with the strangest theories.

  • Glen Olives

    Hi Patricia. If you’re using “dogmatic” colloquially, meaning more or less to hold a strong an immovable opinion, of course you’re right. But I use the term in the proper sense: a principle or set of principles that is incontrovertibly true, not subject to criticism. Other than that, I think we disagree much less than you might think. So let’s abandon scholasticism for the moment.

    Do atheists get things horribly wrong? Yes. Do some atheists evade, lie, engage in sophistry? Sure. They’re human, after all. About 90% of comments you’ll likely encounter on disqus are bombs, insults and piffle. Ignore them. It’s tedious, but if you weed them out, you’re equally likely to find an intelligent discussion.

    So, offer me an argument. I’ll respond. Without ad hominum attack. Without vitriol or insult. Just rational discussion. Or if you prefer, I’ll give you mine.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Dogmatic in this sense: asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner; opinionated

    I don’t have an argument, save the response I already posted 😉 I took issue with your statement:

    “that atheists are (or at least can be) dogmatic. Not the case in the least. We are anti-dogma, any dogma, and (sometimes annoyingly) follow the evidence where it takes us.”

    Obviously, atheists can be very dogmatic. And atheists do not always follow the evidence where it takes them. That statement is like if I had made a sweeping statement about theists (they always try to help humankind or they always follow the golden rule, etc.).

    I think you and I are in agreement on much.

  • James Rapp

    Patricia, thank you for making me aware of brunnmigi (I assume brunnmigi is the plural as well as the singular form). One could wish there were only one “brunnmig” and that Judy were the one. :o) I take it you are a regular combatant on this blog. I wish you well. I’d love to stay and have your back but I have so many other things calling me. God speed!

  • hisxmark

    A theist believes there is a god. An atheist does not believe in god. This dichotomy addresses a subject. A gnostic claims to know, an agnostic does not claim to know. This dichotomy addresses certainty and doubt.
    Thus: A gnostic theist claims to know there is a god. A gnostic atheist claims to know there is no god. An agnostic theist believes there is a god but does not claim to know. An agnostic atheist does not believe in god, but admits the possibility. On should not conflate the dimensions of the vector composed of subject and certainty.

  • hisxmark

    Ah, Patricia, you are simply denying the messenger, because you do not want to hear the message.

  • hisxmark

    The uncomfortable opinions and those who hold them cannot be wished or prayed away. You need a more effective phrase for your exorcism. Good luck with that!

  • hisxmark

    What sort of evidence is there that there is no invisible pink unicorn. One does not have to disprove leprechauns.
    As to God: As Laplace remarked to Bonaparte, “I have no need of that hypotheses.”

    Unless, perhaps, it is the God mentioned in Julian Huxley’s “Crystal Cabinet” (q.v.)

  • S Cruise

    Patricia, the core of atheism is the absense of belief in God or gods – for whatever reason. The terms atheism and atheist are just descriptive terms meant to pigeonhole those with an absense of belief. An atheist does not have to assert there is no God – he or she simply has to have no awareness of actual God or gods should they exist. Any assertion that God or gods don’t exist are are secondary to atheism – and not necessary in order to be an atheist.

    The agnostic position concerns knowledge – the atheist state of being concerns the absense of belief. Atheists have no knowledge/awareness of actual God or gods should they exist – therefore they have an absense of belief.

    Many atheists do however have knowledge of the claims made by theists concerning the existence of God. Those claims fail to convince atheists and the atheist state of being: an absense of belief in the existence of God or gods remains unchanged.

    Faith is not required to be an atheist. And agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

  • Patricia Oliver

    😉

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hi. I’m not denying the message. It’s just that she’s been repeating the message ad nauseam throughout this discussion. The message also covers so much territory, that it can not be addressed in this forum. I could be wrong, but the combination of the repetitious nature of the message, the number of different trajectories within the message, the emotion laden rhetoric, lack of facts to support the many assertions etc. make it look like she is simply looking to argue. Her statements give the appearance of one who does not want to enter into reasoned, meaningful dialogue. That might be why no one (at the time I wrote that post) had responded to her many posts.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Silly, hisxmark! It’s not the opinions that are problematic. I actually thought she was a brunnmigi because of the way she crafted her messages. 😉 People can disagree without being disagreeable.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hi. I am operating on this definition of agnosticism: Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable. You appear to be using a different definition.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I believe you must have misread my comment. I believe I mentioned that I do not believe faith is required for one to be an atheist. I am basing my comments on common definitions for agnosticism: Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.

    For atheism, I’ve been using what has been the standard definition of atheism (belief that there is no god, that god does not exist). However, I have just (this moment) noticed that the definition has evolved to include less definite positions: “Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.”

    I can see that per the more inclusive definitions of atheism, an atheist might simply say “I don’t believe because I really don’t know, I can’t see anything”. That stance would not require even a logical leap, as it is close to the agnostic belief. The stance “I know for a fact that god does not exist” is the one which requires a logical leap of some degree (from deductive logic to perhaps another logical basis).

    I am not sure what you meant to covey in your paragraph that begins with: “Many atheists do however…”. I don’t think I made any statements that would elicit that response. That paragraph just struck me as being a bit strange or out of place, perhaps due to some invalid assumptions on your part regarding my intent or beliefs.

  • Patricia Oliver

    It’s not the message. There are definitions for a certain type of internet poster based on several factors. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

  • Glen Olives

    I’m not at all critical of our ancestors. They worked with what they had. Our first attempt at understanding the universe was religion. And because it was our first attempt, it was the worst. God could have, of course, revealed his “divine” truths to us, like germs cause disease and not demons, or that our appendix are useless evolutionary artifacts, but instead he chose to give us more useful knowledge, like how to properly sacrifice goats. Do you not find this odd? And why doesn’t god simply settle the debate? He is omniscient, after all. He could just appear to everyone and say, “I’m here, I’m real, I created you, these are my rules, now deal with it.” I’d be an instant convert.

  • Clive Adams

    In my experience it’s often difficult not to be vocal when faced with a person shouting from a position of ignorance whilst steadfastly refusing to make an effort to educate themselves to the point where they can understand what’s being said to them. This is a position almost uniquely held by the spiritual/religious brigade for the simple reason they don’t have a fact they can hang the smallest argument on.

    The causes of war are many and varied but one thing is for sure. Whilst not all wars are fought for religious reasons, an awful lot of people die for no other reason than they have the wrong religion. Removing religion from the world would necessarily eradicate at a stroke the reasons for killing millions of people, even in these enlightened days. Would you have a problem with people no longer having to die because they worship the wrong god?

    There is no reason why it should make any difference at all to the amount of altruistic good done in the world. There are plenty of organisations which demonstrate there’s no need for religion to do good. Medicine sans Frontier springs to mind immediately. I see no reason why those who feel the need to proselytize in order to do good deeds shouldn’t be equally happy to do the good deeds anyway.

    Historically the major reason for war has been religion but I have to say I’m equally sick and tired of religious zealots who insist that without a god people are incapable of being moral and would go around doing evil in order to gratify their own desires. Then we get the whole Pol Pot, Lenin and Hitler crap which is supposed to prove that atheism has killed more people than religion. Apart from the fact that Hitler and most of his henchmen were Catholics, who have not been excommunicated to this day, they seem to be unable to understand that atheism was not the driving force behind the actions of these despots. In stark contrast we have wars along the lines of the Crusades which were driven almost entirely by religion and continue to this day with many in the moslem world still fighting the same war.

    As I say, religion may not be the root of all evil but it makes a massive contribution to pain and suffering in the world which we would all be a lot better off without. It offers absolutely nothing worth having that people couldn’t do without it and they wouldn’t waste so much time singing and chanting to non existent beings which they could better use for productive purposes.

  • chrijeff

    “Some religious people are brought up believing that their path to God is the only correct path worthy of salvation, and this brainwashing turns some (if not most) of them into bigots.”
    It’s been my experience that *all* monotheistic religions teach this. What’s amazing isn’t that they do it, but that more people *don’t* become bigots. It’s a testimony to human intelligence, reason, and often courage.

  • chrijeff

    Ah, but therein lies the rub. *Does* it?

  • chrijeff

    “…the only way to have faith in any religion is to discard reason and analytical thought.”
    Not necessarily. Why can’t you just say, “I believe in something that is greater than myself. I don’t know what it is or what it wants, but I believe it created all the rules which make it possible for the Universe as we see it to exist.”

  • chrijeff

    Very well put. The problem being, of course, that if you say so in front of a certain segment of the “religious” population, it will immediately scream “Blasphemy!”

  • chrijeff

    “…being “certain” of your “faith” is an oxymoron if there ever was one.”
    No, ‘t’isn’t. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith, by definition, is that which we can’t prove, but believe anyhow.

  • Clive Adams

    I don’t think you’ll find many atheists who will assert that they know for a fact that god doesn’t exist. Even Richard Dawkins won’t go that far.

    Most atheists understand the total lack of evidence for any god means the only sensible way to live is as if there is not one. Atheists tend to be skeptical by nature with a desire to see hard evidence before they commit. Every atheist I’ve ever come across would happily change their opinion about god if we found some hard evidence that one exists. Been a huge amount of effort expended over thousands of years on that one so I’m not expecting any change in the status quo anytime soon. Or ever.

  • Glen Olives

    James, you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the word “faith.” Atheism is not a “leap of faith.” It is the diametric opposite. Atheists do not start from the point of assuming that there is no god. We start from the point of neutrality. Show me your evidence and I’ll show you mine. Then make a decision based on the facts. I’d like to think that your assertion is correct that, “Most Christians know their religious thesis is unprovable. But it doesn’t seem to fit the facts. Christians all-too-often make heroic attempts to prove their case for the existence of god, only to be slapped- down by us annoying atheists who value such evil things as logic and reason and evidence.

  • S Cruise

    “For atheism, I’ve been using what has been the standard definition of atheism (belief that there is no god, that god does not exist). ”

    That is not the standard definition of atheism – and never has been. The standard definition defines atheism as the lack of belief in the existence of God. The more academic definition defines atheism as the absense of belief in the existence of God or gods.

    All atheist – explicit or implicit, strong or weak – are so because of the absense of belief in the existence of God or gods. Conscious rejection of the theistic claim that such deities exist are secondary to that – not necessary. A strong atheist(as in your narrow definition) is an atheist not because of his or her assertion of knowledge, but because of his or her absence of belief.

    Hopefully the above may help clarify the problem you had with my latter paragraph.

  • Clive Photo

    For the same reason no sane person would want to say they believe in santa, the easter bunny or pixies once they’ve grown up.

    The only reason for believing in something which created all the rules which make it possible for the universe to exist would be if there were some evidence pointing to the existence of this something.

    Trouble is you’d then be faced with explaining what created this something so it could create us.

    Now believing that we may never know the answer to how the universe came about is something I can subscribe to. Certainly better to say I don’t know and might never be able to know than inventing some supernatural being to magic it all into existence.

  • chrijeff

    Maybe it created itself.

  • Robert Albro

    Mark Twain had faith he was going to die someday, every day he woke he was one day closer to his death, now he beliefes it

  • Glen Olives

    Has the world run out of dictionaries? Scriptures tell us that faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” How is it that you can have evidence for things that can not be observed? Doesn’t make the least bit of sense in any known language. Except the language of the religious, where logic, reason, commonly understood meanings of words, have no purchase.

  • James Rapp

    If God were to do as you suggest you would not be an instant convert, you would be a robot. Just about every problem we face in this world – including atheism – and every blessing – including theism – is the result of free will. And there is no one alive that I know of who would want to be anything but free. I’m being facetious, of course. Both theism and atheism are mixed blessings and mixed problems. But when God said, “Let there be” and sent the galaxies swirling out to create space, he gave every atom the right to go where it would and do what it could. But I believe, in his great mind, he also knew what each would do, knew that I would type these words this day.

  • James Rapp

    Yeah! Been there.

  • James Rapp

    Christians who are intent on proving the validity of their faith in a scientific sense are Fundamentalists, convinced that every statement in the Bible is literal truth and can be substantiated by science, at least theoretically. That is why they build replicas of the Ark so they can fit all the known species into it and prove that it could be done. But I consider them to be misguided Christians at best. Whomever it was that wrote the book of Hebrews defined faith beautifully as the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” That definition captures the surety with which Christians hold to their faith but recognizes that it is not physically demonstrable. The same writer said that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Our world is so structured that we all are “walking by faith.” And though you do not like to hear this, that includes my atheist friends as well. We just choose what (whom) we will put our faith in and we also choose what we will deny. The things your configuration of atoms has bumped up against has convinced you that there is no God; those that mine have encountered persuade me that there is a God. I say, God bless you, friend. Some day we’ll know . . . or not.

  • James Rapp

    Every decision requires a step of faith simply because it is a decision – a choosing of one thing and not choosing another – having faith (sometimes called hope) that the choice made is the right (best) one.

  • Glen Olives

    You’re pretty slippery, James. Why don’t you take a side? If god knew what each atom would do, that would kind of erase the concept of free will. And I’m deeply amenable to evidence. What better evidence could there be than god showing up in my study and saying, “Glen, I’m the real deal. See that guy with no arm? I’m going to grow him a new one.” And then he does it. And I capture it on film. After I get over my annoyance at being interrupted in my debate with James, I become a believer, albeit an unhappy one. A slave. For eternity. Thankfully, I don’t worry too much about this actually happening. I worry more about grasshoppers invading my vegetable garden, and even then, not that much.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Clive, please feel free to look at all my posts, then view them in discussion. You will see that, save for 1 or 2 religious wingnuts, the majority of people I have had lengthy discussions with have been atheist wingnuts who *began* with an illogical and/or unsupportable assertion, which I then proved to be false. It has been, by far, my experience that these wingnut atheists have been, to quote you, “shouting from a position of ignorance whilst steadfastly refusing to make an effort to educate themselves to the point where they can understand what’s being said to them. This is a position almost uniquely held by […] for the simple reason they don’t have a fact they can hang the smallest argument on.” I would insert the “wingnut atheists” or the “wingnut anti-thesits” in the brackets, instead of just atheists or anti-theists, since I am not in denial about the fact that many atheists are quit reasonable, while you are clearly in denial of the fact that many people of faith are quite reasonable. This truth is very difficult for atheists to swallow. Please see one lady’s repeated posts in this discussion. Does she really appear to be the voice of reason? And of course, she must be having a difficult time because she is being faced with people shouting from a position of ignorance. Wait. Where *are* those people? Did some ignorant people start the conversation that she is merely responding to? Atheists tend to ignore posts by people like her and pat themselves on the back for the “fact” that atheists are so open minded, tolerant, focused on facts not wild tales. I don’t want my response here to be toooooo long, so, in this post, I’m only addressing the comments from your first paragraph. If you want me to address the other points you made, I will be happy to. So far, the attitudes of most atheists I’ve discussed those matters with is “don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind”. One, and only one, admitted that he (purposely) lied. The others just faded into the ether after being inundated with irrefutable facts. Also, the answers to some of your above points are in those prior posts I mentioned, should you care to read them.

  • James Rapp

    Knowing what will happen is not the same as determining what will happen. I pretty much knew what your reply would look like but I didn’t lay a hand on you to make you respond as you did. Now if I had been omniscient I would have know explicitly what you would say, even the font you would use in saying it, but I would not have had to “force you” to say it or say it in the manner you did. You are free, Glen. We are all free, and God knows where that freedom will lead us. Spooky, huh? Well, not for me because I like God and sense that he likes me; likes all of his creation, even when it is using its freedom in what appears to be horribly destructive ways, spewing ash high into the atmosphere and blowing up houses with unmanned drones. What I sense is that you do not like freedom at all; you want everyone to see it your way. That is verging on Fundamentalism, a sin (if I may call it such) into which every ideology can fall if it doesn’t maintain the grace that allows others the freedom it values for itself. How we would hate this world, but for freedom.

  • Patricia Oliver

    So then, you will understand my point. I have seen quite a number of atheists asserting that it is a fact that no god exists. Those folks don’t have a leg to stand on (logically speaking via deductive reasoning).

    By ‘most’, you might be correct. However, that ‘most’ does not appear to me to be the majority of atheists posting on disqus.

    The atheists you describe above are *reasonable* people. Not all atheists are reasonable people. From what I see on disqus, it looks like the number of nutty, unreasonable atheists might be, at a minimum, equal the number of religious wingnuts (there actually might be a good deal more).

    When you say “atheists tend to” “most atheists”, that’s like me saying “christians tend to [something positive]” or “most christians [something positive]”.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Per Merriam-Webster, atheist: “a person who believes that God does not exist”, “one who believes that there is no deity”
    Clearly, the definition I was using has been an accepted definition, probably for quite some time.

  • Glen Olives

    Knowing and determining are the same thing, if you are god. I agree that we are all free. And freedom does not require god. In fact, it precludes it. Would I like everyone to see it may way? Of course! And I understand that you like god. But you’re wrong in thinking that he likes you. He hates you, because after all, you are a sinner. Your ancestors, after all, took bad advice from a talking snake. As more me, I’m going to make a great pomodoro sauce tomorrow, a much more productive, and hopefully delicious, activity, I suspect.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I think one would need to go back to the original Greek that was translated as “evidence”. There might be a better translation.

  • Patricia Oliver

    It does sound a bit silly, RobWatkin. One could also say “I don’t believe there is a god, but I could be wrong”. That statement does not sound silly, yet one has a belief that one acknowledges might be wrong. Most (honest) people of faith will admit that they have doubts. Heck, Mother Teresa had doubts. (Doubt is the Christian term for: I might be wrong about my belief in God).

  • Patricia Oliver

    I see a lot of that, too, Rob Brown. And on top of all that, are often unable to support their assertions and often don’t have the grace to admit it when their statement is proven wrong.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Actually, they do understand what dogmatic means. It appears that you are choosing the second sense/usage of the below definitions from Merriam-Webster & Collins

    Merriam-Webster
    1 characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts
    2 of or relating to dogma (see dogma)
    Collins
    1 (of a statement, opinion, etc) forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable
    2 (of a person) prone to making such statements
    of, relating to, or constituting dogma ⇒ dogmatic writings

    The most common usage of the word “dogma” is the 1st. That is meaning of dogma as they were using it.
    Your usage of the word dogmatic is the less common usage.

  • James Rapp

    Sounds delicious. Nice choice – foreknown, but not determined. My ancestors may have hung out with some unfortunate company but at the time a serpent was the most beautiful of the creatures, so we were hobnobbing in pretty high society until it all crashed down around us. FYI your ancestors are also described in the same collection of books, in the Psalms. We’re told that the fool has said, in his heart, there is no God. But what would a pre-scientific writer, living three millennia ago know about anything? So just go on believing you are wiser than those fooled by the “snake.” I’m sure you are an excellent chef though. I fancy myself to be one too. Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.

  • Patricia Oliver

    A person may have experienced something that no one else was witness to. That does not mean that it did not happen. It does mean that, if cannot be observed by others and reproduced at will, their experience cannot be used to via the scientific method to prove a hypothesis. Not being able to reproduce something does not mean it did not occur. You seem to be confusing the scientific method with evidence and with facts. They are not synonymous. The scientific method cannot always state whether something did or did not occur.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I’m glad that you seem to know that there is a god, but it’s unfortunate that your god hates James. It’s also unfortunate that you believe James is a sinner. Many would consider that to be judgmental ;-0

  • S Cruise

    And the Oxford Dictionary definition for atheism is: Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

    The Oxford Handbook of atheism defines atheism as an absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods.

    The prefix ‘a’ in atheism signifies absence, or lack, or ‘state of being without’. It does not signify belief.

  • Clive Photo

    I agree, religion is bigotry and the intelligent application of reason, often accompanied by courage to face religious bigots, is the only way to escape it.

  • Clive Photo

    Of course a person can be a lone witness. Trouble is, if what they claim to have witnessed is not reproducible then it has no meaning outside that person’s head.

    Our senses are notoriously unreliable which is why the scientific method was developed. It is the ONLY way to avoid human bias and unreliability to arrive at empirical truth. The scientific method is our only means of deriving reliable evidence and facts. Without it we are at the mercy of all the manipulative tricksters queuing up to exploit the credulous, hence the huge paychecks of the Deepak Chopras and popes of the world.

    Have no fear, I fully understand the scientific method is a process for testing evidence, where did you get the idea I was confusing the process with the product? What do you rely on to protect you from being duped by fools and the unscrupulous? Only the scientific method can filter out the possible from the impossible.

  • Clive Photo

    “However, people who are introspective eventually realize the need for pluralism and tolerance. They analyze the contradictions in their own approach and work on continually reforming themselves, instead of finding faults with others. ”

    I have been unable to find any genuine pluralism or tolerance in the Abrahamic religions, especially Islam. If you honestly analysed the contradictions in your own religion you would very quickly discard it.

  • Clive Photo

    Your agument appears to take the form of “this athiest is a wingnut therefore all artheists are wingnuts”.

    My argument is that no religion has any evidence to support it so believing in a religion is irrational. Especially since religions by their very nature encourage, or often demand, hatred of other beliefs.

    I’ve read some of your posts but not found any reasoned argument based on reliable evidence to refute the assertion that religion is nonsense. You merely attack specific people or systems which you claim typify atheism. North Korea for instance is not considered atheistic by many since the system is based on what amounts to worship of a leader. The Nazis were christians and much of what they did was done in that god’s name.

  • Glen Olives

    Like all atheists, I don’t “know” there is no god. I quite readily admit that a god could exist (there’s an embarrasment of choice to choose from). I just don’t see any evidence. God hates you, me, James, Muslims, Hindus, too. God’s got an anger management problem. Probably needs some counseling. It’s hard to figure who he actually likes. Depends on who you ask. I receive my fair share of hate mail from god’s accolytes, saying really interesting and original things like, “You’re not going to like Hell, Glen.” Really? I think I would much rather enjoy boiling in excrement for eternity with the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Hitchens, Bertrand Russell and Mark Twain, among others, than constantly praising our creator with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Adolph Hitler (a devout Catholic), and some Birkenstock-wearing hippy psuedo-philospher (the boss’s son in always the worst).

  • Glen Olives

    My dearest Patricia (I use this term of endearment because you almost share my last name), you have a true talent. A talent for stating the obvious. If something happens but is not observed, it is not subject to the scientific method. Duh. What’s your point?

  • Glen Olives

    What atheist asserts in “fact that no god exists”? You can’t find them. We simply look at the evidence as skeptics, and conclude that there is no god. Is this unreasonable? If you have evidence, bring it on.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Understood. However, you stated that the definition that I was operating from “is not the standard definition of atheism – and never has been. “. Clearly, the definition that I was operating from *has* been a standard definition for atheism. Obviously, the definition that you operate from is that of the Oxford Dictionary and Oxford Handbook of Atheism.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I don’t think it’s correct to say that if what a person claimed to witness something that is not producible that it has no meaning outside that person’s head. There is also a subtle difference between what someone may have experienced and that someone “claims to have witnessed”. Is it possible that, when you were developing this thought, you were thinking about people who claim to have seen something supernatural and not about people’s experiences in general? For a certainty, objective reality cannot be defined based on one or more people’s experience(s) that are not reproducible in a controlled environment. Objective reality is important.

    However, we successfully navigate life using mostly reality that cannot be deemed “objective reality”. The reality outside of what we term objective reality includes things such as what my husband said to me this morning, the loud pop noise that my TV emitted last night (that only I heard), etc. We, and rightly so, make decisions and take actions based on these aspects of reality that are not the purview of the scientific method. And this reality can have meaning “outside that person’s head”.

    I agree that our senses are notoriously unreliable. However, I have never heard that the scientific method was developed because of that. Can you point me to that reference? Are you absolutely certain that the scientific method is our *only* means of deriving reliable evidence and facts? It’s my understanding that the scientific method is a tool, and an excellent one, for discovering laws or truths in the realm of objective reality. It is the best method, perhaps the only method, for deriving certain types of evidence and facts. The scientific method is not the only thing that stands between us and tricksters and shameless manipulators. I think that many people use logic and personal experience to protect themselves from tricksters and charlatans.

    I believe you confused process with product when you stated that if someone had evidence for their faith, then it isn’t faith, it’s science. I haven’t seen any definition of science that would jive with your statement. Evidence is not = science, nor the scientific method. It is part of the scientific method but not the scientific method.

    Finally, the scientific method can not always filter out the possible from the impossible. I’m sure if you think about it that you will be able to come up with a number of examples when it can’t or hasn’t been able to.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I absolutely do not think that all atheists are wingnuts. What I do think is that a goodly number of atheists seem to believe that most, if not all, atheists are more open minded, rational and ‘intellectual’ than people of faith.

    You operate on a daily basis on the assumption that certain things will ‘be’. It’s not based on data derived from the scientific method. It’s based on personal experiences and expectations.

    I have never attempted to refute an assertion that religion is nonsense. That is not something that I believe is meaningful discourse. You are incorrect by saying that I attack people (save for a couple of times saying someone might be a brunnmigi – when the evidence warranted it). I believe you are also in correct in saying that I have attacked any systems. If I’m wrong, please (I mean this) point that out to me.

    I do, however, contend with wild claims made by people. North Korea slaughtered people who the communists found to be religious. You can suggest that it is not an atheistic country, but that is your opinion. It’s interesting that you avoided mentioning all of the other atheistic regimes human oppression and atrocities.

    The Nazi regime was not christian. Please review your history. Hitler was an atheist. Hitler hated christians.

    “By 1940, a dedicated clergy barracks had been established by the Nazis at Dachau Concentration Camp. Of a total of 2,720 clergy recorded as imprisoned at Dachau, the overwhelming majority, some 2,579 (or 94.88%) were Catholic – among them 400 German priests. Catholic schools in Germany were phased out by 1939 and Catholic press by 1941. With the expansion of the war in the East from 1941, there came also an expansion of the regime’s attack on the Church in Germany. Monasteries and convents were targeted and expropriation of Church properties surged. The Jesuits were especially targeted.[9] The German bishops accused the Reich Government of “unjust oppression and hated struggle against Christianity and the Church”.

    “The Nazis disliked universities, intellectuals and the Catholic and Protestant churches. Their long term plan was to de-Christianise Germany after final victory in the war.[3][10]”

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

  • Patricia Oliver

    Where did you get the idea that Hitler was a devout Catholic? Let’s deal with facts, not myths. Hitler was an atheist. He hated Christians, killed thousands because of their faith. “The Nazis disliked universities, intellectuals and the Catholic and Protestant churches. Their long term plan was to de-Christianise Germany after final victory in the war.[3][10]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_persecution_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Germany
    The world has known some famous atheists and a number of infamous atheists. Atheistic regimes don’t have a good track record. It’s easy to see why. The hatred and disdain for people of faith that many espouse in these threads is eerily similar to those from Atheistic regimes who slaughtered millions.

    It’s one thing to be religious. It’s another thing entirely to try to pressure others to accept your beliefs, belittle / mock others who don’t share your beliefs, use scare tactics, and use myths to bolster your arguments.

    It’s one thing to be atheistic. It’s another thing entirely to pressure others to accept your beliefs, belittle / mock others who don’t share your beliefs, use scare tactics, and use myths to bolster your arguments.

  • Clive Adams

    Maybe it did, maybe it was never created and has just always been there. We don’t know, we may never know but so far there’s not the slightest hint which cannot be explained naturalistically that it has a supernatural creator.

  • S Cruise

    The problem, Praticia, is there isn’t so-much a standard definition, but one that varies from dictionary to dictionary new and old. Some of it may have to do with location too: Websters being from the US(slightly more religious over there), Oxford being from the UK(slightly more atheistic.) It could be possible the Websters definition has been written more from a theistic perspective; one that ignores the broad spectrum of atheism and lumping it under a very narrow – and easily criticised – definition that only represents a minority of atheist.

    Most atheists, from my experience, would use the Oxford definition. Few would use the Websters.

  • Patricia Oliver

    My point was in reference to something *Clive* said. Please read his posts in order to ‘get’ why I needed to state what is obvious to you, and to me, as well. I’m sure that you are aware that, when using the scientific method, we are operating in a shared reality, what we call an objective reality. Evidence is a part of the scientific method and part of the realm of objective reality. Evidence is also part of everyday life, activities and events that are not part of a controlled experiment. These are “duh” statements, as well, but do not appear to be “duh” statements to everyone.

  • Patricia Oliver

    It might be only in disqus that some people state “it’s a fact that no god exists”. 😉

    When a person looks at the evidence as a skeptic and concludes that there is no god, this is a reasonable exercise and a reasonable conclusion.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Gotcha. IMHO, the Oxford definition of atheism is more closely aligned with agnosticism. All of these positions are reasonable, even the person who has an active belief that there is no god. It is only the person who maintains that “it is a fact that there is no god” that is, IMHO, unable to logically prove their argument. That does not mean it is false, they just can’t prove that they are right. And I have no personal desire to prove those people wrong. I have, on occasion, however, pointed out to them that their position cannot be logically proven to be a fact.

  • Clive Adams

    Really, this becomes tedious. Would you travel on an aircraft or ship than had been put together by people who had faith that it would work but hadn’t done the work to prove their claims or test their machines? Would you allow drugs to enter your body that hadn’t been tested to ensure their efficacy and safety?

    We do operate on a daily basis that certain things will be but frequently they aren’t. There’s no proof that the sun will rise tomorrow but it’s very likely it will. There’s no proof that you will wake up tomorrow but life would be difficult if you always operated on the basis you won’t though one day for sure, you won’t.

    People make all kinds of decisions based on bad information, poor assumptions and a lack of reason. Sometimes they work out but mostly they don’t. The fact that they occasionally do is no reason to lend any credibility to poor reasoning and a disregard for facts as a worthwhile method.

    Something from one of Hitler’s speeches which seems less than ambiguous about his religion to me, maybe I’m missing something.

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.”

    -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

    Hitler also mentions his christian faith in a number of places in Mein Kampf.

    “Gott Mit Uns” (god is with us) on German military belt buckles. The list goes on. Please give me something irrefutably said or written by Hitler which confirms his atheism.

    Sure, there were priests who objected to what the Nazis were doing so what else was going to happen to them?

    The North Koreans replaced one non existent god with another, a person, so what’s your problem? It’s not christianity but it’s a cult of personality. The current ruler’s dad is still president as I understand it which is odd as he’s been dead for a while now.

    I’m sure there are plenty of equally unpleasant atrocities created by non believers and those who are against religion but so far as I know there have been few if any major wars started and fought for atheism. The removal of corrupt church organisations, removing institutions which oppose the regime or it’s principles, sure. Name one of these atheist conflagrations.

    It’s not that I’m avoiding naming any of these atheistic regimes oppressing religions with atrocity, it’s just that I don’t know of any that have the elimination of religion as their central core tenet. Their reason for being. Only as an incidental par of achieving some other objective such as shared ownership, the removal of rich and powerful elites, that kind of thing, because the church is always entangled in power and money politics so it’s unlikely to get off scott free.

    Your claims so far seem to be wild so maybe you should do a bit of introspective contending.

  • Glen Olives

    Hitler was a Catholic, and his regime was supported by the Church. Just open any old history text book. There’s plenty of them lying around. Hitler loved Christians and hated Jews, and two Popes endorsed his practices, which is a statement of historical fact that hardly needs to be said, except of course, here. Please feel free to point out a myth, a scare tactic, or people I’ve mocked and belittled. Do I mock stupid ideas? Sure. Plenty of highly intelligent people believe stupid things, and their ideas deserve to be mocked.

    Do you really think I’m “pressuring” people to accept my non-belief in the supernatural? I’m not at all sure how I would be able to do that. I just provide rational arguments based on evidence, not expecting to convert anyone. I receive, in return, as your post demonstrates, mental gymnastics, tautology, and the denial of easily documented historical facts. Sad, but certainly not surprising.

  • Patricia Oliver

    My statements are not wild and are based on facts. You have quoted quite a lot from Hitler, but have failed to note that Hitler was raised Catholic and later became an Atheist.

    Your first paragraph is pointless. I am not, nor have ever been, anti-science. Objective reality is the realm of the scientific method. Although the initial development of aircraft was partly due to the scientific method and partly (likely mostly) due to experimentation outside the scientific method. When people first started flying aircraft, it was not because they particularly believed in the science. It was simply because it worked. And it worked *because* of science.

    It’s ludicrous to state that : “People make all kinds of decisions based on bad information, poor assumptions and a lack of reason. Sometimes they work out but mostly they don’t. The fact that they occasionally do is no reason to lend any credibility to poor reasoning and a disregard for facts as a worthwhile method” as if any decision people make that is not based on the scientific method is based on bad information, poor assumptions and lack of reason. I reach for my shoes at a specific place in the morning because I placed them there last night. No one has corroborated this. And, it’s possible that someone moved them overnight.

    “Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”[7] Many historians have come to the conclusion that Hitler’s long-term aim was the eradication of Christianity in Germany,[8] Steigmann-Gall, Richard (2003) The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 260.”

    “‘In the long run’, [Hitler] concluded, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together'”.[16]

    “Kershaw wrote that few people could really claim to “know” Hitler, who was “a very private, even secretive individual”.[31] Hitler’s Table Talk has him often voicing stridently negative views of Christianity. Bullock wrote that Hitler was a rationalist and materialist who saw Christianity as a religion “fit for slaves” and against the natural law of selection and survival of the fittest”

    “In private Hitler scorned Christianity to his friends, but when out campaigning for power in Germany, he publicly made statements in favour of the religion.[47] “The most persuasive explanation of these statements”, wrote Laurence Rees, “is that Hitler, as a politician, simply recognised the practical reality of the world he inhabited… Had Hitler distanced himself or his movement too much from Christianity it is all but impossible to see how he could ever have been successful in a free election. Thus his relationship in public to Christianity – indeed his relationship to religion in general – was opportunistic. There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church”.[19]

    “The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.”— Adolf Hitler, from Hitler’s Table Talk (1941–1944)”

    In the history of humankind, relatively few (large scale) wars have also been started and fought for religious purposes. Although the vast majority of wars were fought for non-religious reasons, .IMHO, the reason we tend to think that most wars are due to religious reasons (my thought pattern usually errs down that path as well), is that the idea of adherents of one, supposedly good, religion, killing adherents of another, supposedly good, religion is beyond being illogical. That behavior should be the antithesis of religion. Those wars are, and were, horrific. IMHO, it is ideological wars that are problematic. And those wars have been due to an ideology – religion, atheism, the belief in a superior race, etc.

    Your dismissal of atrocities perpetrated by atheistic regimes is intellectually dishonest. Introspective contending is indicated on your part, not mine, as I am able to accept the fact of the horrors of religion, but you are unable to accept the fact of horrors perpetrated by atheism. You are in denial.

    Also, you might want to do some research on the numbers of wars that were fought for religious reasons and the number of wars that were not. Below is a link for you to start with. Also, you might want to ponder the number of years that there have been religions with respect to the number of religious wars and then contrast it with the number of years that atheism has been around and the number of wars, and their extreme horrors, during that time. I would be a sobering exercise for you.

    http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/battleswars/u/WarsandBattles.htm

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hi. I need to be off somewhere and already posted an answer to this elsewhere (to someone else). I’ll copy and paste it to a response to you later today.

  • S Cruise

    Patricia, can you give me a quote where Hitler claimed to be atheist? I seriously doubt you can. What you will be able to do is find many quotes from not just Mein Kampf, but from Tabletalk and numerous other sources where Hitler confirms his belief in God. I doubt he was a devout Catholic. He was more of a cultural Catholic with protestant leanings. But he certainly wasn’t an atheist.

    Hitler did not hate Christians. He did, however, hate the corruption within the Church – and sectarian fighting between various denominations. He also had an admiration for Christianities intolerant past(seeing that intolerance as being the making of a strong European civilisation.) He even claimed Jesus as his own: an aryan. The problem he had with Christianity was that he believed it was fast becoming outdated and unable to compete with scientific knowledge. He also believed it had been corrupted by the Church, Jews, atheists, liberal and progressive Christians. All of this he believed would lead to the collapse of civilisation – and that society would fast become godless.

    To prevent his envisioned collapse of civilisation, he attempted to unify the various protestant denominations under one unified German Church(similar to how the UK has the CofE.) where their new varient of Christianity(positive Christianity) would be preached. And he even established universities where the new “purified” varient would be fleshed out by theologians and taught.

    There were few Christians who opposed the Nazis in Germany(the majority of Germans were Christian.) A great many even praised him and viewed him as the second coming or messiah. And he didn’t have Christians killed because of their faith – he killed those who opposed his regime or who had ties with enemy governments.

  • Glen Olives

    Dead-on right.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Your historical information regarding Hitler’s religious beliefs is not only incomplete, it is way off base. Are your sources by any way websites whose purpose is to support atheists? I’m wondering if it is an atheist myth. My sources are neutral. I think you need to do a bit of additional research. Although I know that the information on Wikipedia is not always 100% accurate, this page has a wealth of information about Hitler and his beliefs. It includes information from a significant number of academic sources.

    You have not received anything from me even remotely related to “mental gymnastics, tautology, and the denial of easily documented historical facts.” I saw no rational argument from your end. You have denied readily available facts. You can make make statements about your opinions regarding Hitler’s beliefs, but I can absolutely bury your argument with facts. Sadly, this is certainly not surprising.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Your information is woefully incomplete. Are you getting your info from websites that provide support for atheists (e.g. not neutral sources)? Please see this web page (I know it is only the wikipedia but this article is based on much independent scholarly research and info from the Nuremburg trials): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler
    If you are using neutral sources, it appears that you are cherry picking.

  • Clive Adams

    Honestly, this is just getting silly now. You choose to interpret what I say in ways which suit you and you appear to be in this for the winning. Fine, if it makes you happy.

    I have dismissed atrocities perpetrated by atheistic regimes? Where? When? I merely pointed out that I don’t know of any carried out in the name of “atheism”, the point of the exercise was something other than to further atheism. Class struggle, redistribution of wealth, inter racial hatred, no shortage of causes which would consider religion part of the problem. Again, I ask you to tell me which of these regimes were in it for the main purpose of eliminating religion and “converting” the world to atheism.

    You list a lot of opinions from people who think HItler was not a christian. It seems to be important to adherents of christianity to find reasons to show Hitler wasn’t a christian. I don’t particularly care one way or the other, the facts seem to suggest he thought he was, he thought that what he was doing was god’s work and if other people disagree, well who cares. Maybe he did come to his senses about religion at the end but he sure as hell started out on his path to mayhem doing the work of his lord. Punishing the christ killers appears to have been a central motivation for his treatment of the Jews.

    Maybe he didn’t really believe in a god but what a wonderful tool religion proved to be when it came to motivating people to carry out genocide. It would be far from crazy to suggest Hitler would quite likely have failed in his bid to do what he did if there had been no religion available to fuel the hate. The catholic church certainly did nothing to oppose him, though of course there will be examples of priests who did just as the trade unionists and (atheist) communists opposed him, but the institution which is the catholic church had no problem signing agreements & treaties to help him along the way and didn’t raise so much as a whisper of objection.

    Here’s the way it is in the final analysis. Good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things but it takes religion to make good people do bad things. To believe in something that has nothing to back it up by way of facts is not rational and the only way out of it is to start to question what is verifiably true and what isn’t.

    I really don’t have the time or inclination to go playing the numbers game with all the wars of history and who thinks what caused them. All I can do is repeat that without religion there would have been a lot fewer and if religion disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow a significant amount of killing, raping and maiming would vanish. Maybe you could dwell on that for a while or do you really believe the world is a better place for religion?

    When you can name something done in the name of “atheism”, whatever that is, then maybe I’ll accept it if the facts back you up but if they don’t, well that’s not denial that’s just not swallowing any old crap just because someone desperately wants to believe it’s true.

    Maybe you should spend a little time looking into the Lord’s Resistance Army currently hacking and raping it’s way across Africa in the name of their particular flavour of god. Or the Shia moslems killing Sunni moslems, and vice versa, because they each believe the other are somehow blasphemous. That’s not major? An interesting view of the world. Burmah, moslems and christians and even bloody Buddhists cutting chunks out of each other. Everywhere you look, there’s someone using their god as a reason to harm others. Where are the atheists using their lack of belief in a god as an excuse to bomb, rape and maim? Maybe you can find one or two if you really try hard but the numbers will be insignificant compared to the shit storm that pours out from the religious.

    As for not using the scientific method to find your shoes in the morning, I really don’t understand what that’s all about. You have the evidence that you put them in a certain place the previous night and that can be independently tested and verified. If you thought they were placed there by fairies, angels or your god then the fact that they happen to be in that place does nothing to support your assertions about how they got there and that again can be tested and verified or falsified.

    I guess the difference between those of us who rely on the scientific method and those who run on faith is that we live longer. WTF do you mean by the “development of aircraft was partly due to the scientific method and partly (likely mostly) due to experimentation outside the scientific method”? It makes no sense and it’s just not true. But there you go, you seem to be happy with wild speculation when you can’t find any facts to back up your assertions. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together but I’m done here.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Clive, Clive, I think the problem with our conversation is that I am not attempting to make a case for faith, nor defend faith. I began by been merely responding with logic to a statement you made to someone else. You and that other person were discussing faith, but it was your statement that got me. It was illogical. I responded, not regarding faith, because I don’t dispute faith with people. It’s a waste of time. I do dispute logic and truth with people. So, if you wanted to argue from a religion / atheist standpoint re: logic, you and I were on different wavelengths. I rely on the scientific method. I also rely on logic and, at times, will respond when I see someone applying faulty logic.

    The shoes analogy was only added to illustrate the fact that there are some things that we operate on as being true even if they are not proven via the scientific method. Of course one knows the shoes were there last night. A valid assumption would be that they would be there in the morning unless it was the habit of a family member or pet or some other entity (a neighbor with a shoe fetish?) to come and move them in the middle of the night. This is a logical conclusion, based on one’s experiences to date. That is not the same as using the scientific method. Therein lies the problem which I noticed in your prior argumentation. You have been using the term scientific method to describe decision making processes that, while logical and valid, are simply not the scientific method.

    The earliest work on kites and flying by the Wright brothers would have been more ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ experimentation. Later work was certainly scientifically rigorous. You certainly can’t think that all of the inventions and discoveries since the beginning of time were made via using the scientific method.

    The below information is from a neutral website.
    “Soviet policy, based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religious beliefs. Within about a year of the revolution, the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed. Many more were persecuted.[7]”
    “This widespread violence by members of the Red Army against the church was not openly supported by Lenin, however, in later years high-ranking Soviet officials includingEmelian Yaroslavsky claimed central responsibility for these killings.[38] They justified the violence by revising history and declaring that the church had been actively fighting against them.[38]”

    “Furthermore, the fraudulence of later Soviet revisions is clearly shown through the fact that none of the documented acts of brutalities against members of the clergy by the Reds involved anyone who actually took up arms with the Whites, and only a few of them were cases of clergy who gave vocal support.[38] The fraudulence of such revisionism was shown even further by the fact that the slicing up of unarmed prisoners, scalping and torturing believers, shooting priests’ wives and children, and many other such acts recorded in the documented acts of brutality by the Reds against the Orthodox church during the civil war have nothing to do with acting in ‘self-defense’.[38]”

    “Anti-religious atheistic propaganda was considered to be of essential importance to Lenin’s party from its early pre-revolutionary days and the regime was quick to create atheist journals to attack religion shortly after its coming to power. The first operated under the name Revolution and the Church (Revolustiia i tserkov). It was originally believed in the ideology that religion would disappear quickly with the coming of the revolution and that its replacement with atheism would be inevitable. The leadership of the new state did not take much time, however, to come to the conclusion that religion would not disappear on its own and greater efforts should be given to anti-religious propaganda.[40]”

    “Lenin outlined that the entire issue of the church valuable campaign could be used as a pretext in the public eye to attack the church and kill clergy.[51]”

    “During the purges of 1937 and 1938, church documents record that 168,300 Russian Orthodox clergy were arrested. Of these, over 100,000 were shot.[71] ”

    Stalin killed millions, some estimate up to 60 million.
    It would be disingenuous to state that anti-religious propaganda would not lead to violence against religious people.

    Please see this link by the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/anti.html

    North Korea
    North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes the cult of personality of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, described as a political religion. Their ideology has been described as “state-sanctioned atheism”.[79] Although the North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted,[80] free religious activities no longer exist in North Korea, as the government sponsors religious groups only to create an illusion of religious freedom.[81][82] Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk has said that, “There’s no knowledge of priests surviving persecution that came in the late forties, when 166 priests and religious were killed or kidnapped,” which includes the Roman Catholicbishop of Pyongyang, Francis Hong Yong-ho.[83] The Juche ideology, based on Korean ultranationalism, calls on people to “avoid spiritual deference to outside influences”, which was interpreted as including religion originating outside of Korea.[42] On November 2013, the repression against religious people led to the public execution of 80 people, some of them for possessing Bibles.[84][85]”

  • S Cruise

    Being someone who has studied Mein Kampf, Tabletalk and other sources – including some mentioned on that Wiki page – please show me where my information was wrong.

    I can provide the information supporting my claims:

    1) Hitler never claimed to be atheist.
    2) Hitler favoured theism – not atheism (Mein Kampf)
    3) Hitler claimed Jesus as his own: Aryan.(Personal note & Tabletalk)

    4) Hitler hated the corruption in the church. (Mein Kampf)
    5) Hitler believed christianity was becoming outdated because of scientific knowledge. (Tabletalk)
    6) Hitler admired christianities intolerant past and thought God belief was necessary for civilisation to survive. (Mein Kampf)
    7) Hitler believed christianity had become weak due to corruption and the non-unified varients of Christiantiy that had become increasingly tolerant of other philosophies and Jews(leading to collapse of civilisation): wanting a new purified varient of christianity – one erasing its judaic roots – to supplant and succeed current varients of christianity(creating one unified Church. (Mein Kampf, Table Talk, Holy Reich, Positive Christianity, Personal notes)
    8) The creation of universities for theologians to flesh out the new varient of purified Christianity and train clergy with the new doctrine.
    9) The building of German Churches promoting the new varient.
    10) Few German Christians opposed – many supported his regime.
    11) He didn’t kill Christians for being Christian – he had them killed for other reasons like being connected to foreign enemy powers or opposing his regime. (he also had communists and atheists killed for the same reasons.)

    Can you also support your claim where Hitler was or claimed to be an atheist. I’d be interested to see your evidence for it.

  • Glen Olives

    Sorry, my sources never come from websites. Rather, peer reviewed scholarly work.

    Cornwell, John (1999) Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York. Viking Adult); Greer, Thomas H. (1987) A Brief History of the Western World (5th Ed.) (Orlando: Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich); and of course, every other history book written by scholars and not freaks, covering Europe in the 20th Century. They’re not hard to find.

    You can run from historical facts, but you can’t hide.

    It is indeed fascinating that the religious now seem to saying, defensively, that they are no worse than Nazis and Stalinists. One would think religion could retain more dignity than that. Men turning turning themselves into gods and committing atrocities isn’t an argument against secularism, it’s just another argument against dogma.

  • Clive Adams

    Tell me what I said that was illogical. You make straw men, by claiming I’ve said things I haven’t then knock them down and pretend you’ve refuted my argument. For instance you insinuate I’ve said that all wars are rooted in religion when I haven’t. I have stated, factually, that much suffering and death is rooted in religion and without it there would be a lot less mayhem. You appear to disagree with that, though you don’t say so directly. Instead you make some nonsense counter claim that most wars are fought by atheists trying to eradicate religion.

    I have asked you to name atrocities carried out in the name of atheism, something which I would contend doesn’t exist by the way, but you haven’t. Sure you’ve been able to produce reams of evidence to show that atheistic regimes often act against the church, I’ve never denied that, but when I point out to you this is because religion is part of the system they oppose rather than because their objective is to eradicate religion you put up another straw man suggesting I’m in denial about any bad coming from atheists. Stalin did indeed kill millions, I’m not in denial about that, but he didn’t kill only religious people because they were religious. That was not his prime motivation and if you’re saying it was then you’re wrong.

    Then you go on to assert that I say you should live your life purely by the scientific method. Duh? Living our lives by verifiable and tested facts is a more sensible way than any other I know but how does that equate with what you imply? Living your life by a holy book full of contradictions and evil advice much of which has been proved wrong or downright bad is a better way? Well, that’s your choice and good luck to you.

    Sure, plenty of useful stuff has come from ad-hoc experimentation which may not be strictly what you understand to be the scientific method but I would question whether you have a good grasp of what it is. It isn’t just men and women in white coats doing clever research in laboratories. Please don’t try to tell me we’d have jet aircraft if people had continued to muck around with kites and paper & wood machines on beaches.

    You may not be overtly making a case for faith but you sure as hell seem keen to damn atheists by fair means or foul.

  • Clive Adams

    I’ve said all this too but Patricia has a hard time with facts that disagree with her view of the world. For some reason christians will tie themselves in knots to prove Hitler wasn’t a catholic. A catholic who to this day has not been excommunicated by any pope that I’ve heard of.

    As far as she’s concerned, all the ills of the world come from atheists and no religious person has ever done anything bad. It’s the old “no true Scotsman” argument. If someone does bad then they can’t have been true christians, they must have been atheist at heart even if their own words say otherwise.

    She’s just pissing in the well but it keeps her happy.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Wow. You sure have been cherry picking. That’s telling. The inclusion of some of your statements suggest that your main motive is to contend with christianity, not substantiating whether Hitler was a christian. I have no problem with whether or not you agree with religion or christianity. I do take issue when people manipulate facts.

  • S Cruise

    Please show me where I have manipulated the facts. I’ve given a list of a portion of the things I can provide information for. Everything I’ve stated can be backed-up with evidence (even that Wiki page supports
    what I’ve stated).You, however, made the claim Hitler was an atheist. There is no evidence, whatsoever, to support that claim – although there’s an abundance of evidence supporting that Hitler was, indeed, theist.

    Keep in mind, theism doesn’t necessarily mean religious or devoutly religious. It just means someone who believes there is a God. In Hitler’s case, I don’t think he was a devout Catholic – but he was a everyday, typical theist with a nominal Catholic & cultural religious identity. At some point in his life he became involved with right-wing anti-Semitic Christian movements – influencing his disdain for Jews. Movements like that weren’t uncommon back then. Europe, and many other places around the world, have a long history of treating Jews badly because of early Christian rhetoric preached from the pulpits & biblical interpretation; even Martin Luther, whom Hitler also admired, wasn’t very nice to Jews.

    As I’ve previously stated, Hitler believed the non-uniform nature of Christianity was detrimental to Christendom & civilisation itself. He believed the multiple forms were weakening Europe. So his
    goal was to unify Christianity and have everyone dancing to the same “Christian” tune(when everyone is dancing the same tune, there’s strength and solidarity).

    Of course, his variant of Christianity was very much removed from what you may understand Christianity to be today. It also entwined Nazi racial ideology with the theology(Nazi racial ideology also has its roots in the Old Testament – I can back that up with evidence too.)

    Please understand, I’m not attacking Christianity, you or your particular variant of it. And I’m certainly not manipulating the facts. I’m having this discussion with you because you seemed quite reasonable – and I’m pointing out you are mistaken about your claims concerning Hitler.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I’m not running away from historical facts. It appears that you are. You stated that your sources are peer reviewed scholarly journals. They are not. They are books. I’m not clear on why you would bother to make that false statement.

    The consensus of historians is that Hitler was not a Christian – rather he was a deist or atheist. However, we are failing to note the timeline of his beliefs. He was raised catholic by a devout catholic mother and a non-believing father. He was confirmed as a catholic at the age of 15.

    According to historian Michael Rissmann, young Hitler was influenced by Pan-Germanism and began to reject the Catholic Church, receiving confirmation only unwillingly. Toland wrote of the 1904 ceremony at Linz Cathedral that Hitler’s confirmation sponsor said he nearly had to “drag the words out of him… almost as though the whole confirmation was repugnant to him”. That may or not be the case. It is not terribly important if, at the age of 15, Hitler truly wanted to join the Catholic Church or not. What matters is his beliefs over time.

    Around 1937, when Hitler heard that at the instigation of the party and the SS vast numbers of his followers had left the church because it was obstinately opposing his plans, he nevertheless ordered his chief associates, above all Goering and Goebbels, to remain members of the church. He too would remain a member of the Catholic Church he said, although he had no real attachment to it.

    — Extract from Inside the Third Reich, the memoir of Albert Speer

    Bormann and Hitler’s Table Talk: Extensive transcripts on Hitler’s thoughts on religion are contained within Hitler’s Table Talk. Between 1941 and 1944, Hitler’s words were recorded in these transcripts.[89] The transcripts concern not only Hitler’s views on war and foreign affairs, but also his characteristic attitudes on religion, culture, philosophy, personal aspirations, and his feelings towards his enemies and friends.[90] Within the transcripts, Hitler speaks of Christianity as “absurdity” and “humbug” founded on “lies” with which he could “never come personally to terms.”[91]

    It would strain credulity to believe that these are the statements of someone who was a Christian (at the time of their utterance).

    The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.

    — Adolf Hitler, from Hitler’s Table Talk (1941–1944)

    That is hardly the talk of a Christian. It is much more consistent with statements made by atheists, however.

    I am confused by your adding the last paragraph. We were discussing Adolph Hitler’s religious beliefs. That paragraph seems to be an attempt to distract.

  • Glen Olives

    I know it’s hard to believe, but books too, are peer reviewed, as were the ones I cited, not just academic articles.

    But let us assume that you’re correct. Let us assume we can somehow entire the brain of a long-dead evil dictator and separate his private thoughts from his public statements. What are we left with? How might this further “

  • Patricia Oliver

    Not all monotheists believe that way.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Obviously, Clive, not all religion is bigotry. But…… your statement does reveal your bigotry.

  • Glen Olives

    Sorry, my computer just freaked out on me. A problem, I suspect, for religious apologists and atheists alike.

    But back to the debate. Scholars can disagree. Let’s assume that you’re right, that Hitler was an atheist, that we can somehow get inside his long-dead mind and discern with accuracy what he truly believed from his public statements. And I’ll give your your thesis on a silver platter, as much as I think it is wrong.

    But when I do so, what have you gained? Nothing. You criticize my last paragraph as being a distraction, when in fact it goes to the central point of this discussion. So I’ll repeat it here:

    “It is indeed fascinating that the religious now seem to saying, defensively, that they are no worse than Nazis and Stalinists. One would think religion could retain more dignity than that. Men turning turning themselves into gods and committing atrocities isn’t an argument against secularism, it’s just another argument against dogma.”

    So, let us assume Hitler was an atheist. As to other gods, including the Christian one. He made himself a god. He made his dogma national socialism, infallible. And he died singing the praises of the Church. Interestingly, he has yet to be excommunicated. Do you not find this odd?

  • Patricia Oliver

    I am sorry Clive, if I gave you the impression that I think badly of atheists. I certainly don’t believe that atheists are bad. I believe that many have come to their beliefs via a method of honest and logical inquiry. I believe that many are reasonable and open minded. I believe that many are ethical.

    Since they are human, I believe they are as susceptible to unethical behavior, errors in judgement, as anyone else.

    I think ideologues can be very dangerous. I think that much suffering has resulted from ideologues of all different beliefs. An ideologue can be a theist, a deist or an atheist. Most people of faith are aware of the fact that people are capable of doing the most horrendous things in the name of their religion. What’s concerning to me is that atheists don’t seem aware of the fact that adherents of atheism are also capable of committing heinous acts in the name of atheism. Many atheists are so busy trying to blame religion for most of humankind’s ills that they are blind to the times when ill has been done by adherents of atheism, and blind to the potential ill that can be done in the name of atheism. If you want proof of that blindness, look at some of the responses to Ro by atheists.

    Derogatory statements about what you believe I think is science or the scientific method are simply ad hominim attacks and say more about you than they do about me. People who throw mud generally get dirt on themselves.

    The bulk of your discourse, above, appears to be rooted in some misinterpretation or miscommunication – whether intentional or unintentional.

    Saying that atheistic regimes killed millions “is because religion is part of the system they oppose rather than because their objective is to eradicate religion” is disingenuous. “Soviet policy, based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religious beliefs.” (quoted from Wikipedia) China… North Korea… Cambodia…

    The word “ideology” in the above paragraph is eerily (and unintended) consistent with my first paragraphs, above, about ideologues.

    I’ve repeatedly stated that most wars are the result of one entity’s desire for land or other resources.

    Your statement: “Then you go on to assert that I say you should live your life purely by the scientific method. Duh? Living our lives by verifiable and tested facts is a more sensible way than any other I know but how does that equate with what you imply? Living your life by a holy book full of contradictions and evil advice much of which has been proved wrong or downright bad is a better way? Well, that’s your choice and good luck to you.”

    Your statement is, well, it defies logic. Firstly, no one lives by the scientific method. If you think that we live our lives each day by the scientific method, than you truly have no understanding of that the scientific method is. Yes, the scientific method is important. Your last 2 statements are wasted words. In those sentences, you decide what you believe I think, (apart from anything I have said) and then argue against what you think I think!

    I have already stated that the Wright brothers applied rigorous scientific methodology in their work developing the airplane. You keep intimating that I do not value the scientific method, while I have nothing but respect for science and the scientific method.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Glen, it appears that you have attempted to distract from the real issue. The term ‘scholarly peer reviewed’ is generally related to publications in scholarly journals that do not accept an article for publication unless it has undergone a process of “scholarly review” by peers in the field. Using that term to describe books is, at the least, misleading. Another potential attempt to distract is “separate his private thoughts from his public statements”. We don’t want to separate his private thoughts from his public statements. We want to determine his beliefs by looking at his writings, his speeches and his statements to those he was intimate with. The consensus among historians is that Hitler was not a Christian. You may find one or more authors who believe otherwise, but the consensus among historians (scholars) is clear.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hi. Some historians have stated Hitler was an atheist. More historians say he was a deist. There is no consensus that he was a theist, and no consensus that he was a Christian.

    According to the Goebbels Diaries, Hitler hated Christianity. In an 8 April 1941 entry, Goebbels wrote “He hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”

    Goebbels agreed with you later in saying that “The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian.”

    Your statement that “he was a everyday, typical theist with a nominal Catholic & cultural religious identity” is not supported by those who were closest to him.

    “The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.”

    — Adolf Hitler, from Hitler’s Table Talk (1941–1944)

    Those do not look like the words of a Christian, nor of a theist. They are more aligned with statements I’ve seen from atheists.

    Christianity has certain tenets that any church, whether Catholic or Protestant, would have to accept in order to be deemed Christian. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon Church (Church of the Latter Day Saints) are not considered to be Christian churches because they do not adhere to certain core tenets. Hitler’s Progressive Christianity did not meet those tenets. Per numerous sources, he hated both christianity and christians. That does not mean that he didn’t try to play them.

    Hitler may have thought he was basing the Nazi racial ideology on the OT, but I can’t see any parallel.

  • Glen Olives

    The works I’ve cited have been peer reviewed. You’re engaging in tautology now. If your claim to know the mind of Hitler, please provide some evidence.

  • S Cruise

    “Hi. Some historians have stated Hitler was an atheist. More historians say he was a deist. There is no consensus that he was a theist, and no consensus that he was a Christian.”

    Some historians have stated he was an atheist, but the evidence doesn’t point that way. I can provide plenty of quotes showing he believed in a creator God and that he considered himself a Christian.

    Just four examples of many revealing his theistic beliefs:

    “For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.” – Mein Kampf

    ” … it is my conviction that the human beings God created also wish to lead their lives modeled after the will of the Almighty. God did not create the peoples so that they might deliver themselves up to foolishness and be pulped soft and ruined by it, but that they might preserve themselves as He created them! Because we support their preservation in their original, God-given form, we believe our actions correspond to the will of the Almighty.” – 1937, “Essential Hitler”, p153

    “Why should it not be possible to induce people to make this sacrifice if … they were simply told that they ought to put an end to this truly original sin of racial corruption which is steadily being passed on from one generation to another. And, further, they ought to be brought to realise that it is their bounden duty to give to the Almighty Creator beings such as He himself made to His own image.” – Mein Kampf

    “Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures [He believed Aryans were created in the perfect image of God] would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise.” – Mein Kampf

    Just those four quote reveal a lot about his beliefs – not just in God – but also some of his Christian beliefs (orginal sin, Aryans being created in God’s image).

    And I could go on all day with more quotes where he not only states he was a Christian, and a Catholic, but also where he talks favourably about Jesus, his views on Jesus as a fighter of corruption, and where he claims Jesus as his own: an Aryan.

    His views on Christianity were convoluted. Like many he criticised the various denominations and the fighting amongst themsleves. And like many, he didn’t believe everything the Church taught – and ridiculed it. He also believed Paul had corrupted the original message of Jesus.

    He didn’t hate Christianity, he hated what it had become(progressive, liberal, tolerant and weak). He believed Christianity should be unwavering in its convictions and hostile to other ideas and philosophies; even showing admiration to Christianities intolerant past:

    “The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine.” – Mein Kampf

    He believed the non-uniform variants, and the progressive liberal tolerant forms of Christianity were causing its destruction – leading to atheism and the destruction of Christendom/Civilisation(weakening Europe against its enemies):

    “But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to profane the Almighty.” – Mein Kampf

    “Without clearly delimited faith, religiosity with its unclarity and multiplicity of form would not only be worthless for human life, but would probably contribute to general disintegration.” – Mein Kampf

    I could go on. But I’ll finish with his views on atheism – which is also quite telling:

    “They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation” and “… atheistic Marxist newspapers …”) – Mein Kampf

    “The most marvellous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator.” – Tabletalk

    “An uneducated man, on the other hand, runs the risk of going over to atheism (which is a return to the state of the animal)”. – Tabletalk

    He was no atheist. He always condemned atheism.

  • chrijeff

    The ones I’ve met did. At least the ones who wanted to talk about religion. And I include Christians.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I will when you do the same 😉 You did mention that Hitler was a Catholic

  • Glen Olives

    Do you not find it odd that he’s never been excommunicated by the Church? Apparently infallible Pope after infallible Pope seem to think Hitler was Catholic.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that he was an atheist. What’s your thesis? That the atrocities of the Third Reich were a consecuent result of Hitler’s non-belief in the supernatural?

  • Clive Photo

    The main problem with this discussion is that you either can’t remember what you’ve said or chose to row the other way when it suits you. Here you say-

    “I have already stated that the Wright brothers applied rigorous scientific methodology in their work developing the airplane. ”

    but your words which led to my previous statement are-

    “The earliest work on kites and flying by the Wright brothers would have been more ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ experimentation.”

    So you chose to say one thing if it fuels the argument and the opposite when that’s more inflammatory.

    There’s a word to describe people who play that game I think, now wjat is it? Ah, I remember. Brunnmigi. Talk abput hoist by your own petard.

    So, that’s an end to this conversation for me. I expect you’ll add me to the list of atheists who ran away after you exposed their lies but maybe you should see the truth is more likely they see the futility of trying to have a sensible discussion with someone who’ll call black white when it suits their purposes.

  • Patricia Oliver

    The fact remains that the consensus of historians is that Hitler was a deist or atheist, not a theist, nor a Christian. Mein Kampf was written in the 1920s. Hitler may or may not have believed in a God at that time, but the views he expressed in Mein Kampf were not compatible with Christianity. He is known to have used Christian themes and speak of God as a means for manipulating people and to remain politically correct.

    In adulthood Hitler became disdainful of Christianity, but in the pursuit and maintenance of power was prepared to delay clashes with the churches out of political considerations.
    (Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297
    Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp. 412–413
    Paul Berben; Dachau: The Official History 1933–1945; Norfolk Press; London; 1975;ISBN 0-85211-009-X; p. 138
    Laurence Rees; The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler; Ebury Press; 2012; p135)

    Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Speer, and the transcripts edited by Martin Bormann contained within Hitler’s Table Talk all note that Hitler was anti-Christianity, His close confidantes, Joseph Goebbels, Albert Speer and Martin Bormann wrote that Hitler hated Christianity. Hitler occasionally told his inner circle that he wanted to delay the “church struggle” out of political considerations, however, his intense hatred for Christianity spurred members of his inner circle to begin that persecution immediately. The Salvation Army, Christian Saints and Seventh Day Adventist Church all disappeared from Germany during the Nazi era. Protestant and Catholic pastors and lay people who adhered to the basic tenets of Christianity were executed or sent to the concentration camps.

    ‘But is clear’, noted Goebells, himself among the most aggressive anti-church radicals, ‘that after the war it has to be solved… There is, namely, an insoluble opposition between the Christian and a Germanic-heroic world-view”
    Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; HarperPerennial Edition 1991; p218

    “What nonsense! Here we have at last reached an age that has left all mysticism behind it, and now [Himmler] wants to start that all over again. We might just as well have stayed with the church. At least it had tradition. To think that I may, some day, be turned into an SS saint! Can you imagine it? I would turn over in my grave…”
    — Adolf Hitler quoted in Albert Speer’s Inside the Third Reich (Albert Speer is known as Hitler’s architect)

    This quote – leaving “all mysticism behind”, strongly suggests that he, at some point, moved to atheism. He may have been a deist, but he was certainly not a theist, nor a Christian. You are correct that he made negative statements about atheism. He feared the Soviet Union and Bolshevism. However, quotes like that above are certainly not inconsistent with atheism.

    The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.
    — Adolf Hitler, from Hitler’s Table Talk (1941–1944)

    When Hitler states “Gradually the myths crumble” and “then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity”, it is difficult to state that Hitler was not an atheist. In reading Hitler’s words to his inner circle, he may have wavered between atheism and deism.

    Re: whether the Mormon Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christian. With all the denominations in Christianity, it is completely understandable why you would think that these churches are just as “Christian” as any other, and that if a church states that they are Christian, then they are, just as much as any other church that states they are Christian. The basis for determining whether or not a church is ‘christian’ is whether that church subscribes to a small subset of key beliefs that are central to christianity and always have been. The different denominations disagree on extraneous issues that are not central to those tenets. For example:
    * whether the bread and wine in communion actually becomes the body and blood of Christ when you partake of it, or whether it stays bread and wine that is digested as any other food and drink is digested.
    * whether one should baptize infants or baptize once a person is old enough to determine whether or not they believe in the basic tenets of Christianity
    * whether one should baptize by sprinkling water on the person’s head or dunking them in water
    * whether one can lose one’s salvation due to an ‘unpardonable sin’
    * whether the the spiritual gifts of prophecy and ‘speaking in tongues’ are given to people by God in our times or if spiritual gifts ceased to be given some time before the last NT scripture was written.
    In light of the above list, one can readily see that these items are not central to Christianity. 😉

    the

  • Patricia Oliver

    I completely understand why you would think that all monotheists think that. Many Christians or other theists believe that other religions have truths and respect those traditions, and the people of those traditions. I don’t know many atheists, but those on disqus can be pretty dogmatic (and bigoted) as well. 😉

  • Clive Photo

    Oh yes, one more thing. There is no such thing as atheism. An Atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in any god, who may go so far as to say they believe there is no god. That’s it.

    There’s no creed or book, no dogma or unifying ideology to call an “ism”. The ideaologies you alude to in your angry outburst are many and varied and may include some antithesis toward religious institutions but they are not “atheism”. Commmunism may be atheistic but it is not “atheism”. The rulers of North Korea may be anti religion but only because religion undermines their authority, they aren’t priests of “atheism”.

    Many atheists are quite vocal in their criticism of religion and history, much as you try to deny it, gives us good reason to be. You are clearly in denial about the harm religion causes even today. Most, if not all, of the bloody conflicts of the world today would not have happened if it weren’t for religion. Sadly you choose to ignore the caustic nature of religion in favour of your attempts to show atheists are responsible for all the ills of the world. I’ll leave you to it now. Enjoy.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I’m not a Catholic, so I can’t speak to whether or not he was excommunicated, or if he wasn’t, then why. We could speculate on reasons (fear of what Hitler would do to Catholics in Germany if he was excommunicated?). Not being a Catholic, the infallibility of the Pope has always struck a wrong chord with me, as well. It’s funny, but I had looked it up earlier today and found that I, as most non-Catholics, had the wrong understanding of that that theologically means to Catholics. The meaning is not that the Pope never sins or makes mistakes (e.g. he is not perfect), but that the Pope’s interpretation of the Bible is supposed to be perfect. I think that different Popes have interpreted certain passages of the Bible differently, but I don’t know if the infallibility means the interpretation of the entire Bible or just the major (few) tenets of Christianity.

    I certainly don’t think that the atrocities of the Third Reich were a a result of Hitler’s non-belief in a god. I believe it was due to an ideology. I believe the atrocities of the atheistic regimes of the Soviet Union, Cambodia and North Korea. We can argue whether current leadership is revered as god or if the country is atheistic but if we go back to the inception of communism in North Korea, there was no worship of Kim Il-sung. He “criticized religion in his writings, and North Korean propaganda in literature, movies and other media have presented religion in a negative”. “Accounts from the Korean war speak of harsh persecution of religion by Kim Il-sung in the areas he controlled”

  • Patricia Oliver

    No, Clive. When you state “The main problem with this discussion is that you either can’t remember what you’ve said or choose to row the other way when it suits you.”, you are ignoring what I sated “The earliest work on kites and flying by the Wright brothers would have been more ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ experimentation. Later work was certainly scientifically rigorous”. You left our that second sentence, Misrepresenting what someone said is, I hope, beneath you.

  • S Cruise

    “The fact remains that the consensus of historians is that Hitler was a deist or atheist, not a theist, nor a Christian.”

    The fact remains that the evidence, even those few posts I made, points to him being theist. These aren’t views found only in Mein Kampf, but also in his private conversations – Table talk included.

    He could also have been deist – although, to some extent, he believed in the Bibilical creation narrative, and, of course, Jesus (So that kind of knocks his deism on the head).

    “In adulthood Hitler became disdainful of Christianity”

    I agree, but for the reasons I’ve previously mentioned (it becoming weak, out-dated, corrupted by the Church and others, and non-uniform.)

    “Protestant and Catholic pastors and lay people who adhered to the basic tenets of Christianity were executed or sent to the concentration camps.”

    That’s a stretch. The majority of the German population were Christian – many of whom were practising Christian. Christians were free to practise their faith. As I’ve previously stated, Christians, especially clergy, were excuted for having ties with foreign powers. The party itself also had many Christian members – including clergy. So there is some inconsistancy in the claim “Protestant and Catholic pastors and lay people who adhered to the basic tenets of Christianity were executed or sent to the concentration camps.” – when 96%+ of the German population considered themselves Christian – many of them practising.

    “When Hitler states “Gradually the myths crumble” and “then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity”, it is difficult to state that Hitler was not an atheist. In reading Hitler’s words to his inner circle, he may have wavered between atheism and deism.”

    Condemning religion doesn’t mean you can’t be theist. Even I know theists who nominally affiliate themselves with their culture’s religion while ridiculing the religion and many of its dogmas/traditions. Some are theist, considerer themselves Christian, and won’t have anything to do with organised religion. Others are theist but believe religion is man-made.

    Hitler was theist, with a typical cultural Christian identity – later becoming involved with and influenced by right-wing anti-semetic Christians. Wrapped up in all that, and because of his theological views, he and others set about creating the new variant of Christianity – one that could withstand being “convicted of absurdity” in the modern age – and to purify what they believed to had been corrupted by Jews(including Paul) and others.

    He was little different from other theists in history who have created variants of the faith believing they have it right – and who believe it’s their mission to do God’s will.

    He was theist.

    .

  • chrijeff

    Shouldn’t be surprised. (Classic point: in the original language, the Commandment isn’t “Thou shalt not KILL;” it’s “Thou shalt not DO MURDER.”) Here’s what Merriam-Webster says about the word “faith”: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith. We can have faith in people and institutions just as we can have it in a god or gods.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Clive, per the Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries, you are incorrect. Atheism does exist.

    🙂 I haven’t been angry. I think this is an example of how written communication doesn’t convey meaning as well as face to face communication. And I’ve never said that atheists are responsible for all the ills of the world.

    I don’t see a difference between atheist people in power attacking religion because it undermines their authority and people in power and religious people in power attacking people of other religions or anyone for that matter, because it undermines their authority. That’s my point. Not that atheists are inherently bad or worse than religious folks. My point is that an atheist who is in power can do things as horrendous as a religious person who is in power. The whole point of Ro’s article is that religious people and atheists can become fundamentalists (I wouldn’t say fundamentalists. I’d say like fundamentalists). I am not in denial of the atrocities that have been perpetrated in the name of religion. I think many atheists are in denial of the atrocities that have been perpetrated in the name of atheism. I think ideologues of any stripe are dangerous. I think people in power manipulate others for their own purposes. I think that demonizing people who belong to different religions, races, lack of religion, gender, sexual preferences, etc. is dangerous. As a society, *most* of us ascribe to those beliefs. And it is rightly disturbing when we see others who demonize other groups. Those people can influence other people. That is dangerous.

    When a religious person attempted to support ‘not baking a cake’ for a same sex marriage, I came out against that person. For reasons that I cannot understand, many atheists on disqus demonize religious people. The make blanket statements. Many of these people may be peace loving people who would never think of harming religious people. Some may wish harm on religious people. When people make inflammatory comments online about religious people, make blanket statements, they can influence others who might have some screws loose to take those statements to the conclusion that harm should be done to religious people. What would you think if I continually made these types of negative comments about atheists such as:

    * religion is bigotry
    * its leaders and advocates have f**ked up genetics,
    * hey[sic] are insane
    * are psychopaths
    * atheists are never dogmatic but religious people are
    * Historically the major reason for war has been religion (easily proven to be not factual)

  • chrijeff

    The problem being, of course, that the ones who are most vocal about their view also tend to be the least tolerant of anyone else’s. Now I’m entirely willing to let anyone believe anything they choose, if it brings them comfort and answers their questions; but they have to grant me the same courtesy. And unfortunately a great many Christians are into proselytizing, and they won’t take no for an answer, or listen to anyone else’s viewpoint.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I couldn’t agree with you more. 😉 Unfortunately, some atheists are the same way ;-( Just scroll through their posts on this blog. I know that we only think of proselytizing in terms of people trying to convert others to their religious persuasion, but to proselytize is to “convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.” There is quite a lot of that going in in this discussion, and a lot of it by atheists.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Absolutely. We are in 1000% agreement. Interestingly, last year I learned the reason for one portion of “the Lord’s Prayer” having 2 different translations: “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” and “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. The most accurate translation was the first, however, the wealthier and more influential people of the day were upset by that translation because many people owed them money and they didn’t like the translation that said they would have to forgive debts. So, the word debts became transgressions and the word debtor became “those who trespass against us”.

  • Patricia Oliver

    The fact remains that the evidence, by his own words to his inner circle that I posted earlier, indicates Hitler was not a theist.

    Per his own words to his inner circle, “The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble” He clearly did not believe in the Biblical narrative.

    It is historically false to say that religious people that were executed were those who were connected to foreign powers. The “confessing church” was not.

    You neglect that “Hitler described religious leaders such as “Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed” as providers of “spiritual sustenance”.[222] In this context, Hitler’s connection to Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, who served the Mufti of Jerusalem until 1937 — which included asylum in 1941, the honorary rank of an SS Major-General, and a “respected racial genealogy””

    In speeches, Hitler made apparently warm references towards Muslim culture such as: “The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France”.[229]

    According to Speer, Hitler stated in private, “The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?

    The consensus of historians is that Hitler spoke publicly using Christian terms and themes but privately disdained christians and christianity. Hitler’s “positive Christianity”,”a movement which sought to nazify Christianity by purging it of its Jewish elements, the Old Testament and key doctrines like the Apostles’ Creed” could not be considered Christianity by any stretch of the imagination. There are certain basic tenets of the Christian faith and the Apostles Creed contains those tenets.

    If someone calls himself or herself an atheist but believes in God, is the person still an atheist?

  • S Cruise

    “The fact remains that the evidence, by his own words to his inner circle that I posted earlier, indicates Hitler was not a theist.”

    Wrong! His own words, and those to his inner-circle show he was theist – one who heavily criticised the Church and contemporary Christianity for the problems I already mentioned.

    “It is historically false to say that religious people that were executed were those who were connected to foreign powers. ”

    Wrong! The majority of those executed were Slav and Polish priests connected to their governments. In total, 2579 priests were executed – 400 of those were German(that was 1% of the total number of priests in Germany.)

    It’s a mistake to say Christians were killed because they were Christian when the majority of Germans were Christian – and openly so. Even the SS staff in Auschwitz were openly Christian: 42.6% Catholic, 36.5% Protestant, 20.1% Devout – Anatomy of the Auschwitz Deathcamp, Yisrael Gutman, Michael Berenbaum, 1998.

    The Confessing Church, a small minority protestant variant of Christianity, did take up the cause of the Jews – but only those who were baptized or married to Christians. They didn’t concern themselves with non-baptized Jews or those who weren’t married to Christians.

    Also, the leaders of the German Evangelical Church issued this statement:

    The National Socialist leaders of Germany have provided indisputable documentary evidence that the Jews are responsible for this war in its world-wide magnitude. They have therefore made the necessary decisions and taken necessary steps, both internal and external, to ensure that the life of the German nation is protected against Judaism.
    As members of that same German nation, the undersigned leaders of the German Evangelical Church stand in the forefront of this historical struggle to defend our country, because of which it has been necessary for the national police to issue a statement to the effect that the Jews are the enemies of the German nation and of the world, just as it was also necessary for Dr Martin Luther to demand, on the basis of his bitter experience, that the severest measures be taken against the Jews and that they should be expelled from all German countries…
    Christian baptism does not change in any way the Jew’s racial character… It is the duty of a German Evangelical Church to foster and to promote the religious life of the German people. Christians who are Jews by race have no place in that Church and no right to a place.

    Christians in Germany were hardly persecuted. It was, however, mostly Christians doing the slaughtering and the persecuting.

  • Terry Evdokimoff

    Bottom line is that you never have to respect anyone’s beliefs, only the RIGHT to those beliefs.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Hitler’s words to his inner circle certainly did show that he was not a theist. In fact, there is a consensus among historians that you are wrong and that fact is widely known.

    When you said ” the majority of those executed were Slav and Polish priests connected to their governments. In total, 2579 priests were executed – 400 of those were German(that was 1% of the total number of priests in Germany.)” you didn’t mention the Jehovah’s Witnesses (all were terminated or sent to camps), the leaders and members of the “Confessing Church” who were executed or imprisoned (and were not foreign, they simply stated that the Nazi German church was no longer Christian), “annexed areas” that had 80% of Catholic Clergy killed or sent to camps, the Salvation Army (certainly not a political group), the Bahá’í. But I will not argue the point regarding whether Christians were or weren’t targeted independent of their relation to outside countries. The point is that the consensus of historians is that Hitler was not a theist.

  • S Cruise

    But according to you Patricia, JWs aren’t Christians. But then, that’s probably why they were executed. And look at the Croatians, allies of Germany, who forcefully converted 240,000 Orthadox Serbs to Roman Catholicism – and who put around 750,000 to death. Monks and priests were the ones executing them(decapitation). So yes, perhaps you are partly correct: Christians were being slaughtered by Christians for being the wrong type of Christian or race.

    The majority of Christians, especially German Christians, were fine. Only those who opposed the Nazis risked execution – and it was mostly those connected with foreign powers(like the Slav and Polish priests.) Just 1% of German priests were killed. So that’s 99% not killed for being Christian. That says quite a lot: they were killed for reasons other than being Christian.

  • Patricia Oliver

    We were discussing Hitler’s religious views. Your post appears to be an attempt to distract from the fact that the consensus of historians is that Hitler was not a Christian, nor a theist.

    According to all experts, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were executed because they recognize no world government. For example, they don’t salute the US Flag because it is against their religion. However, the discussion is about Hitler’s religious beliefs.

  • S Cruise

    “We were discussing Hitler’s religious views. Your post appears to be an attempt to distract from the fact that the consensus of historians is hat Hitler was not a Christian, nor a theist.”

    No. We were discussing whether Hitler was theist or atheist. And that’s already been addressed. Hitler always stated he believed in God. And never claimed
    to be atheist – and he was extremely critical of atheism. No evidence what-so-ever to suggest otherwise.

    We’ve also addressed his religious views. He was a typical cultural(nominal) Christian who became radicalised after getting involved with right-wing
    anti-Semitic Christians:

    “At all events, these occasions slowly made me acquainted with the man and the movement, which in those days guided Vienna’s destinies: Dr. Karl
    Lueger and the Christian Social Party. When I arrived in Vienna, I was hostile to both of them. The man and the movement seemed ‘reactionary’ in my eyes.

    My common sense of justice, however, forced me to change this judgement in proportion as I had occasion to become acquainted with the man and his work; and
    slowly my fair judgement turned to unconcealed admiration. Today, more than ever, I regard this man as the greatest German mayor of all times.

    How many of my basic principles were upset by this change in my attitude toward the Christian
    Social movement!

    My views with regard to anti-Semitism thus succumbed to the passage of time, and this was my greatest transformation of all.” – Mein Kampf.

    “If, with the help of his Marxist creed, the Jew is victorious over the other peoples of the world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of humanity and this planet will, as it did thousands of years ago, move through the ether devoid of men.” – Mein Kampf

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” – Mein Kampf

    He considered himself a Christian – and like many Christians throughout history he interpret religious texts to suit his own biases and views. The Nazi variant of
    Christianity was mixed with Nazis racial theory. The theory was rooted in the works of earlier Christians such as Arthur de Gobineau. Later, odd-ball Christians like Houston Stewart Chamberlain(considered the
    founder of the Nazi movement), drew upon those works to create the “ideal” variant of Christianity. It was, of course, far removed from traditional and mainstream Christianity. Hitler was also a good friend of Chamberlain – even attending his funeral.

    As for JWs, yes, they won’t pledge allegiance to worldly powers or take up arms. Of course, conscientious objectors to war, no matter who they are have throughout history – especially in Europe – been punished for refusing to take up arms. They’ve been imprisoned & even executed in many countries – not just Germany.

    Where JWs in Germany are concerned, you have to understand the climate decades before which lead to the rise of the Nazis. The Evangelical Church accused
    JWs of being communists, Marxists and covert Jews (European Christians had a long history of hatred towards Jews) – and called for a ban on Watchtower materials and their bibles. The Evangelicals, around 1920 onwards, published propaganda against JWs inciting intolerance and hatred. Achieving the ban, JWs were harassed and often arrested. Much later, Hitler, who was a product of all the anti-Semitic rhetoric from his Christian associates, and those times, came to power and further persecuted the JWs. They were accused of being tied to foreign powers, in this case the USA, and also accused of being traitors and, of course, accused of publishing material containing malicious attacks on the Christian churches and their institutions.

    They were being persecuted by Christians creating a climate of hostility towards JWs – and by the Nazis who continued that persecution accusing them of being enemies of the state and accusing them of publishing material attacking Christian churches and their
    institutions. The Nazis also made it illegal to besmirch and ridicule Christianity.

  • Patricia Oliver

    The leading experts disagree with you, S Cruise. You can quote from Hitler and I can quote from Hitler. Hitler made conflicting statements concerning his religious belifs, depending on the audience. Historians who have studied all of the relevant material, have come to the consensus that Hitler was not a theist.

    You may be of the opinion that your knowledge and expertise in the subject matter is greater than the eminent historians, but I do not.

  • S Cruise

    We know he made conflicting statements. But none of those conflicting statements place him in the atheist camp. Reason for that is because he was consistent in his criticism of atheism and, throughout, believed there was a God responsible for creation. So that leaves him to be either Deist or Theist. The majority of historians agree he was unlikely to be atheist, but deist.

    I’d agree with them, although because of his ideas on God’s desires for the races to remain seperate and his insistence on doing God’s work(as though God is working through him or that he’s God’s handyman) – along with his consistent views of Jesus being an Aryan. Even in Tabletalk, where most of his criticism of “negative” Christianity resides, he still believes in Jesus – and that his character and message had been corrupted by Jews:

    “Christ was an Aryan. But Paul used his teachings to mobilize the underworld and organize a proto-bolshevism. With its breakdown, the beautiful clarity of the ancient world was lost.” – Tabletalk

    Hitler also believed in Biblical creation; although because of his warped view of it, and his belief the Aryans were the divine children of God and the superior race, “whose line went back to Adam”, he believed original sin was the result of racial mixing – leading to their expulsion from paradise and the corruption of God’s perfect creation: the Aryans who were created in God’s perfect image.

    Racial purification meant maintaining Aryan race – preventing further corruption – and giving God a race as originally intended; one that was once again worthy of paradise.

    Deists believe God exists, created everything, and left everything to its own devices. Hitler didn’t believe that about God. Hitler’s God was more in line with theism – and his religious views, initially Christian, became a warped and complex mix of Christianity and other crazy ideas.

    To the Nazis, and Hitler, their variant of “positive” Christianity was more pure – while other “negative” Christianities had been corrupted.

  • Patricia Oliver

    I will grant you that the majority of the experts agree that he was a deist.

  • chrijeff

    Personally, I forgive neither. If we are to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” and they did to me first, I figure I have an obligation to balance the scales. And given the opportunity, I will.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Sigh… Chrijeff. Not healthy at all for *you*. But, for some odd reason, I don’t know if I should believe you 😉

  • Patricia Oliver

    You made a lot of good points about German christians not opposing Hitler, rather most supported him. I didn’t respond to those points because they belonged to a different discussion. It wasn’t possible to discuss that and what Hitler’s religious beliefs were.

  • Patricia Oliver

    Tsk tsk 😉 It appears you have made some invalid assumptions. I really don’t think all ills of the world come from atheists. Quite the contrary. I think that many atheists are intelligent and quite ethical people. I also think many religious people have done horrendous things. Many have done wonderful things, as well.

    I’m not Catholic, but the consensus of historians is that Hitler was a deist, not Catholic, not Christian and not theist (a few say atheist, but they are the far minority).

  • chrijeff

    Try putting up with what I got from an S.O.B. landlord (although of course 85% of all landlords (conservative estimate) are S.O.B.’s) and I guarantee you WILL believe me. You’ll want to help me pay a lawyer to drag him into court and strip him stark naked.

  • Patricia Oliver

    You are probably right, there! I have a real issue with what I call ‘slumlords’ and I use that term to cover more territory than most people do with the term. It makes me sick. At least once, I’ve encouraged a person to not pay part of their rent when the landlord failed to fix something for months that was included in the rental contract. We bought a house (to fix up and live in) that a slumlord owned for many decades. He was renting it out by the room. It was little more than a flop house. There are many slumlords in that area and I’m glad the municipality is trying to do something about it.
    When we went overseas for >5 years we had to become landlords and renters. We were lucky and had a great landlord and a great landlady. We are also good landlords. 😉 We want anyplace that we rent out to others to be a place that we’d want to live in. I have a relative that had an cr**py landlord. I’ve also known landlords who had tenants from hell. ;-(