Can we say Hitler was a Christian? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
My ministry partner, J.P. Holding, sent me this book he wrote for my own review of it. While he has long held that Hitler wasn’t a Christian (And for that matter, wasn’t an atheist either), this book marked some in-depth research done on the topic of Christianity, since while Hitler wasn’t a Christian, he did make claims to be one.
As it turns out, the Nazi movement instead had a teaching called Positive Christianity. This would be a cult of Christianity that went so much against the Jewishness that existed in the Bible that even Marcion would not recognize the Bible.
Deeply revealing in the book is the idea of the way the German church was at the time of the rise of Hitler. Critical scholarship had been undermining the text, there was not a major emphasis on doctrine and most churches were not well-informed on doctrine, and charismatic speakers could easily win the day.
Also, there was the strong emphasis on nationalism as the German people saw themselves in a unique position. I find this a timely warning since I myself am a strong conservative who holds to conservative political viewpoints as well and who does love my country, but we should not equate conservatism in politics with orthodoxy in Christianity. I know several Christians who are political liberals. I disagree with them on that issue, but I do not deny that they are true Christians.
Holding in the book takes a deep look at what Positive Christianity believed and also at some of the most important figures in the Nazi movement. He also warns against sources that are not reliable that often try to paint out Hitler to be an occultist. While there were people in the Nazi party who had an interest in the occult, Hitler was not one of them.
Also, Holding covers issues that could be raised in objection such as the idea that the Nazis had emblems that said “God with us.” He also answers the question about why it is that the Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler.
Furthermore, there’s a section in there on the NT and asking if it is anti-semitical. Holding takes the works of leading scholars on the passages most often used by those who want to say the NT is an anti-semitical document and shows that these positions do not stand up to scrutiny.
It’s important for us to take a look at Hitler in his time and context in history and not read our ideas into what he said. Also, we must realize that as a politician as well, Hitler could say things that were politically advantageous without having them really be accurate.
If there was one area I would like to have seen addressed, it would have been the charge that much of what Hitler got came from Martin Luther supposedly. That is the only aspect that I did not see covered that I would have liked to have seen something on. On the other hand, many atheists should be surprised and hopefully pleased to realize that Holding does not base the holocaust on evolutionary theory as well, as I think there’s only one section where it really says anything about Darwinism.
In conclusion, I recommend this book. It will be necessary reading for any who engage atheists on the topic of if Hitler was a Christian or not.