Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
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20-12-2010, 07:32 PM
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
I would like to point out ( I don't want to get into pages of debate on a topic I know too little about) that the Nazi party can still be a zealous movement without being secular. It's true it would be impossible to place the blame on Christianity directly but there can be little doubt from Hitler's writings that he believed the Aryan race came from god.

There is also the fact that the Nazi's were highly irrational which is a key point that secularists would disagree. Most secular movements put a great deal of pride in rationalizing their actions.

I think the behavior and writings of Hitler show that this was not secularist motivated.
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20-12-2010, 07:44 PM
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
(20-12-2010 07:32 PM)Godless Wrote:  I think the behavior and writings of Hitler show that this was not secularist motivated.

That I don't agree with. I think it's more accurate to say it was not a purely secularist movement. The Nazi's were primarily driven by secular concerns but a lot of their ideology and hatreds had religious origination. Hitler certainly quoted providence from God to both justify himself and convince people that his actions were on god's side, but that does not make him theocratic.

I guess for me the point is this: while I believe Hitler's goals and the Nazi movement were largely secular, there is no way to separate the religious origins for a lot of his prejudices and beliefs. Without religious dogma, there was no Holocaust. Yes, I know that Hitler put forth secular arguments against the Jews but that was to feed of a sentiment that already existed. If the Germans did not already have a thousand years of religious hatred built up in their society, the Nazis would have had to find someone else to pick on (and I've little doubt they would have).

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20-12-2010, 09:33 PM
 
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
@ BnW

"I think calling the Third Reich a "theocracy" is a tremendous stretch of the truth."

I disagree. I think it was very close to a theocracy. For one, it didn't separate church from state. It policies, propaganda, rhetoric were steeped in religion, religious values, spirituality and God belief. It pushed some mutated form of Christianity while clinging to the historical intolerance that made Christianity such a wide-spread religion. Likewise, many of the values pushed were typical of conservative Christians we see today; who seek to re-write history, shape law based on their values and impose those values on others: creating a theocracy.

"The Nazi's bullied the Catholic Church the best they could..."

The Catholic Church, for around half a century, had been trying to strike a deal with previous administrations. The Nazis, who didn't have the majority vote at the time, agreed to the deal. Part of the agreement was that ban on Catholics joining the party be lifted - and that the Catholic Centre party was to be dissolved. The Catholic hierarchy jumped at the offer. As a result, Catholics flocked to the Nazi party. Upon signing the Concordat, both parties got what they wanted. The Church wasn't bullied into striking the deal. In fact, it celebrated the deal.

[Note: the ban on Catholics joining the Nazi party wasn't because they were Nazis; it was because the Catholics had their own political party.]

"punished Catholics when the Church spoke out against them, and used churches in Germany to push their agenda (and got rid of priests and ministers who would not pay ball)."

There's a long history of the above under any regime - theocratic or not (both theocratic Catholic and Protestant regimes have a long history of getting rid of priests - any anyone else - who didn't play ball). Also, using religion to push an agenda doesn't necessarily mean that the agenda isn't of religious/theological origin. In the case of Germany, most of the agendas [anti-Semitism, anti-homosexuality, anti-atheism, anti-communism, anti-materialism, anti-liberalism, anti-Secularism] were already pushed from the pulpits - and by the political religious - long before the Nazis were on the scene.

"Using religion and taking advantage of religious prejudices is not the same as being religious."

Using religion to take advantage of religious prejudices doesn't mean that those using religion don't hold those same religious beliefs and prejudices themselves - and that they don't create policy or use other means [science, pseudo-science, propaganda] to further promote and justify those prejudices.

"...used religion only insofar as it served their purposes"

I agree. However, I've still not been convinced that the Nazi movement was a secular one.
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21-12-2010, 12:31 AM
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
(20-12-2010 09:33 PM)Ryedo Wrote:  However, I've still not been convinced that the Nazi movement was a secular one.

I don't think that's what BnW is saying. He's saying (and correct me if I'm wrong, BnW) that the Nazi party wasn't quite a theocracy, but it wasn't wholly secular, either. It's not an either/or question. You can be religious without being theocratic.

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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21-12-2010, 08:13 AM
 
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
@Unbeliever

“I don't think that's what BnW is saying. “

You're right. I should have read his later post... guess I got a little carried away.

My position is this: The Nazis were a religious movement (more or less a theocracy) who used both secular and religious arguments to further their goals. The Nazis saw themselves as a flagship for civilisation and Christendom itself; one couldn't survive without the other.

Even the most rabid theocracies will have a secular element, it's unavoidable. Likewise, even the most rabid theocracies will make use of that secular element to further its goals (like creationists or Muslims who use "science" to further theirs).
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21-12-2010, 03:54 PM
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
I've honestly never heard of anyone arguing that the Nazi's were a religious movement. It's an interesting point and one I'll have to look into but, based on what I know, I just don't think that is correct.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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21-12-2010, 09:38 PM
 
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
"I've honestly never heard of anyone arguing that the Nazi's were a religious movement. It's an interesting point..."

I think in our Christianised West there has been a massive effort by the media, governments, and Christians, to downplay and outright deny the role religion played in Germany & its allies; much of which has been to avoid hurting the feelings of contemporary Christians. For the most part, the Nazis have been portrayed as Christian persecuting scumbags. In all reality, while being scumbags(although I'm sure they didn't think they were), it was quite the opposite. Most German Christians - especially the Lutheran and Catholic hierarchy - gave it their full support. The Church and religion was portrayed as the backbone of the movement and society. I think it would be an error to say it wasn't some sort of religious movement.

A couple of books you may find interesting:

The Misery of Christianity - it touches on the events and attitudes of German Christians during the war. It also discusses theology and other events in Christian history. It's an old book and out of print, but second-hand copies are available on Amazon.

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 - an academic book published by Cambridge University Press. Available on Amazon.
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22-12-2010, 06:39 PM
RE: Ye Olde Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot spiel; evaluate my usual response
Thanks, I will add those to my reading list. I'm a big history buff in general.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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