Hitler Was NOT An Atheist

By John Patrick Michael Murphy | Spring 1999
Council for Secular Humanism

Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany is welcomed by supporters at Nuremberg.

In George Orwell’s 1984, it was stated, “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.” Who is going to control the present-fundamentalism or freedom?

History is being distorted by many preachers and politicians. They are heard on the airwaves condemning atheists and routinely claim Adolph Hitler was one. Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth and was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” in that church. Its worst doctrines never left him. He was steeped in its liturgy, which contained the words “perfidious jew.” This hateful statement was not removed until 1961. “Perfidy” means treachery.

In his day, hatred of Jews was the norm. In great measure it was sponsored by two major religions of Germany, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. He greatly admired Martin Luther, who openly hated the Jews. Luther condemned the Catholic Church for its pretensions and corruption, but he supported the centuries of papal pogroms against the Jews. Luther said, “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows, seven times higher than ordinary thieves,” and “We ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them.” “Ungodly wretches” he called the Jews in his book Table Talk.

Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, “… I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord’s work.” Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” He never left the church, and the church never left him. Great literature was banned by his church, but his miserable Mein Kampf never appeared on the index of Forbidden Books. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain, and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of these countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

Those who would make Hitler an atheist should turn their eyes to history books before they address their pews and microphones. Acclaimed Hitler biographer John Toland explains his heartlessness as follows: “Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite the detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jews was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god. …”

Top: A German soldier in winter uniform on motorcycle. Bottom: The inscription on the German soldier’s belt buckle translates “God With Us”.

Hitler’s Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: “Gott mit uns” (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.

Hitler, like some of the today’s politicians and preachers, politicized “family values.” He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it. If past is prologue, we know what to expect if liberty becomes license.

As a young child, I remember my late father, Martin J. Murphy, practicing a speech and loudly quoting the following: “Light up the mountain. Bring out the wild and fiery steed. Let it be known, that I, Gustavus, have insulted the King.” Thinking for yourself and speaking your true thoughts – now that’s a real family value.

John Patrick Michael Murphy, a retired attorney and a member of Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, co-writes a freethought column for an alternative weekly newspaper.

Nazi War Criminal and Roman Catholic Cardinal Stepinac

Christopher Hitchens – Hitler, Fascism and the Catholic Church

Geoffrey Robertson QC: Pope Pius XII did everything to help the Nazis, and nothing to save the Jews

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Just like theists, some atheists cling tightly to their pet dogmas.
    Academic historians do not consider Hitler theist or atheist. It is clear that he exploited religion in his public speeches and then hated on them when among his inner circle.
    The Nuremberg prosecutors presented a strong case that Hitler and his inner circle intended to eliminate religion once they were in power. Testimony from many of his inner circle confirmed that Hitler was, in private, anti christian and, like his father, rabidly anti-cleric.
    His private speeches recorded by Martin Bormann and published in Hitler's Table Talk express views very similar to modern atheism. While there has been some controversy over minor translation discrepancies, academic historians consider these speeches to be authentic.
    "National Socialism and religion cannot exist together….
    "When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity….
    "Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that's why someday its structure will collapse….
    …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…."
    "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity."
    "There is something very unhealthy about Christianity."
    "Our epoch in the next 200 years will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity"
    "Science cannot lie, for it's always striving, according to the momentary state of knowledge, to deduce what is true. When it makes a mistake, it does so in good faith. It's Christianity that's the liar."
    “The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity."
    “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity."
    “It took fourteen centuries for Christianity to reach the peak of savagery and stupidity.”
    "Christianity is an invention of sick brains"
    There have been other anti-Christian sentiments from Hitler recorded in other sources as well.
    "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. 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 Oct. 14, 1941
    "When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunized against the disease." Dec. 13, 1941
    "It was Christianity that brought about the fall of Rome—not the Germans or the Huns". Jan. 27, 1942
    This effort of some atheists to ignore factual history and parrot atheist dogma is no different than that spewed by theists in a desperate attempt to defend their beliefs.

    • Even if one assumes that the quotes you mined were really stated by Hitler, all you have is evidence that he contradicted himself. As inconvenient as it may be, he was Catholic, and had the full support of the church throughout the war. You don’t get to change the facts in retrospect because he allegedly said some stuff to contradict it.

      Define atheist dogma.

    • Hitler publicly stated he was catholic, he may have just been using religion though. He was using religion to convince overwhelmingly christian Germans that the jews should be exterminated. His Christian soldiers did so gleefully. Your point ?

    • Whether Hitler was religious or not, or Christian or not, or a Catholic in good standing or not, the Catholic church participated in the extermination of the Jews and of anyone who refused to convert to Catholicism by remaining silent when they knew what Hitler was doing and by actively participating in ethnic cleansing. The pope preferred to maintain his relationship with the German government over helping to prevent the Jews from being exterminated. Their guilt is further highlighted by the fact that the church helped Nazi criminals escape after the war and by their silence after the war with regard to the holocaust. Divorce Hitler all you want from the Catholic church; it does not in the least absolve the church of its role in committing genocide.

    • Richard Carrier’s rendering of Table Talk entry February 27, 1942 is sketchy and skewed.

      He renders it as “I know it isn’t possible to stand your ground in the world without force. Life is only given to those who fight for it the hardest. It is the law of life: Defend yourself! The time in which we live indicates the collapse of this idea.”

      But this is contradicted in Table Talk entry November 5, 1941, where Hitler says, The law of life is: “God helps him who helps himself!” This is an axiom he frequently used throughout his speeches. Furthermore, in Mein Kampf, he says “permanent struggle is the law of life.”

      The statements “The time in which we live indicates the collapse of this idea” and “We must only prevent a new, even greater lie from arising” indicate that the aforementioned laws would have been made null and void, and even considered lies. Whereas Hitler consistently believed them to be eternal truths. To him, they could never be annulled.

      Hence, Carrier’s translation is unreliable.

      If people want to find out about Hitler’s religious beliefs, then they should look into the book Hitler’s Religion by Richard Weikart.

  2. It is no less condemning of religion if Hitler exploited it to justify his atrocities rather than believed in it personally. In either case it was Christianity that stoked the furnaces of the concentration camps. In the final analysis religion always is amoral. Obedience to god, whatever the command might be, is always correct. You must kill your child if god commands it. You must kill every man, woman, and child in the land promised to you if god commands it. You must kill if god commands a jihad, or a crusade, or an inquisition, or a witch hunt. Or, more accurately, you must kill if the people whom you trust to convey the word of god say that he has thus commanded. The Jews died under Hitler because many Christians wanted them to, because many others did not care, and because others left the conveyance of god’s words to a maniac.

    • But Hitler wasn't God, and God has commanded to not kill. Furthermore Jesus was pretty ok with Jews and he asked people to follow him and obey God's law.

      You have massively misunderstood basic biblical concepts.

      • If the command “Thou shalt not kill” was taken to it’s extreme, how could life even flourish? Besides, the proper rendering of that precept is “Thou shalt not murder.”

  3. Hitler was neither Christian nor atheist. His intent was to replace Christianity with an earthly-minded religion. The churches would cover the metaphysics aspect but would be severely restricted and probably done away with at some point. Himmler was in charge of restoring the ancient system of symbols, something that hadn't really been feasible since Julian's failed attempts.

    I highly recommend reading Julian's Against the Galileans. Degrelle claimed that Hitler had studied Julian like a contemporary and Hitler mentions Julian in the Table Talk. Upon closer inspection, Julian uses similar arguments to Hitler, in pointing out national distinctions and differences in national characters.

    Rosenberg's memoirs indicates that Hitler's religion was of private interpretation, this is similar to Jefferson's views on sharing his religion. Rosenberg, Goebbels, Bormann, Himmler, etc. have all plainly indicated that the NS position was against Christianity. Why would Hitler, if he were a religious Christian, associate with such people and risk losing his faith? It's more likely that he was appealing to the German masses, most of whom were Protestant. The dogmatic will reject entirely new ideas unless it is presented through a familiar medium.

    By the way, I don't distinguish between true and false Christians. The whole religion is founded on a lie, through the subversions of Paul and Augustine, as well as the superstitious students who couldn't separate themselves from their recently deceased master, and through the misuse of the personality of Jesus.

    • I certainly agree with your last paragraph. "Religion" is the belief in a superhuman being, a controlling power entitled to obedience and worship, such as Hitler for an instance.I do not advocate that there isn't a God, because as a Spirit-filled Christian, I do believe in this higher power. But I wonder, since mot of the New Testament was written by the apostle Paul, should Christians be called "Paulinians"? And what was Moses smoking when he wrote the first five books of the OT? It leaves me to wonder just how much of what is in the book called the 'Holy Bible' is true, real, omitted or contrived? Wasn't there a great flood long before Moses wrote about his? Was Paul jailed because of his avocation of celibacy which led the husbands to revolt? Just why did he say the women should remain silent in the church? Look up the history behind all of the great "happenings" and sayings. Find out who really wrote the four gospels and why any of the other twenty-six or more gospels were not included in the cannon. Why don't Catholic priest marry? So they don't have family and therefore must leave their worldly belongings and money to the Catholic church. It has nothing to do with holiness, otherwise they'd be holy enough not to rape or sexually abuse young boys. Don't take what you're told as the truth(i. e., gospel)–find out for yourself! Look up the virginity of Mary, the Exodus and whether is actually existed. This might blow the 'hell' out of some "religions"! As well as destroy them, but think for yourselves before you believe.

  4. When was the last time Christianity assumed responsibility for its monsters?

    If you remove the title of this article, you are still left with a people, the Church, denominations, a monster, and centuries of hatred that all align perfectly together. In other words, even if Hitler was not a Christian, he was damn good in asking for and receiving support from millions of Christians who believed they had a 'personal relationship' with Jesus. Now, that's something, isn't it?

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