Friday, December 12, 2014

Religion And Violence Or Politics And Violence?

In his review of Karen Armstrong's 'Fields of Blood' James Fallows comments that, "in modern times Hitler, Stalin and Mao were all atheists…

While this is undeniably true of Stalin and Mao, there are serious questions about the religious beliefs of Hitler. Many of his private comments display clear contempt for religion, especially Christianity, which he regarded as a slave religion (obviously based on a misinterpretation of Nietzsche's works). But some of his comments indicate that he believed that he had been saved by some form of divine intervention during an incident in World War I. Even assuming that Hitler believed in a God, the question then becomes. which God?  It is entirely possible that he was referring to the Hegelian Spirit of World History, which is not a God, and yet has at least some of the attributes thereof. Hitler's many references to God made in public are sharply contradictory to many of his private beliefs and were undoubtedly intended more as propaganda than as a statement of actual belief.

So, was Hitler religious? The answer is, we really don't know. Nevertheless, he believed that some sort of force or power of a mystical nature was strongly supporting him, even if that force or power was the force of history and culture.

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