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Hitler Debate Posts
I've threaded the three posts together into a script format to make the discussion somewhat easier to follow. If you wish to view the posts in their original form and in context, you can find them on Google:
Downie Post |
Charos Post |
The Steel Wolf Post
Downie: Sirs, I noticed that on your FAQ there is a debate about if Hitler was a Christian. I disagree with your conclusions. No matter what he said, Hitler was not a Christian.
Charos: Indeed, I compiled the list of links...I've actually been thinking about going around and finding a few others because a number of the ones that were working at that period are now defunct...but there's still a number that work there...
Downie: Here is my grouds for saying this:
Charos: I'll deal with each as it arises...
Downie: 1) The Bible says that God's children (Christians) will be known by their fruit (Matthew 9). The fruit that came from Hitler's life was malice, greed, hate and strife. This is not compatible with being Christian.
The Steel Wolf: Well, nobody's saying he was a *good* Christian :)
Charos: this depends which perspective you're viewing it from, from Hitler's, and many of the Germans at the time viewed the "fruit" of what Hitler was doing as being a transcendence of the human race. A rising above of the imperfect human which, while it can attempt, could have no real hope in ever living up to God's word. Who are we to say that Hitler didn't see his new master race as one which could better serve the laws that God...as a route to a better, more full human being which would be more fulfilling from his Christian perspective than what it is now? In essence, the perceived fruit which Hitler was striving for at the time was the elimination of the direct foe's of God, the Transcendence of the human race to a more fuller being which was more able to follow god's laws and a more joyous world in which God's children could live.
Downie: 2) Jesus also said "if you love me, you will obey my commands". While I do not agree with salvation by works ("it is by grace you are saved"), we can see from Hitler's life that throughout his life he deliberately disobeyed God's word not to kill and to love his enemies and was unrepentant.
The Steel Wolf: So did many Christians throughout history, both people who were fundamentally good and a few who were probably otherwise. Assuming a positive view of human nature (at least for the moment), the soldiers who went off to fight in the Crusades were probably good people for the most part, but they still slaughtered those whom they were fighting against. Granted there is a massive difference between the individual crusaders (many of whom likely didn't know what the war was really about in the first place) and the likes of Hitler, but the point is that killing doesn't seem to disqualify people from being considered as Christian.
Charos: Hitler saw his decimation of the Jews as BEING God's laws...there are a number of points in the bible in which God ordered the deaths of, on occasion, thousands of people...even children and women in various points(I'll look this up if you'd like and give exact quotes if need be, but most Christians I've met agree that God did indeed do this). Hitler saw the Jew's as a sub-human scourge which would eventually lead the the destruction of the entire race of god's children. He saw them as a group which defied God's love and didn't simply see them as enemies...but as a direct threat to the world which God created. Also, the bible states that "thou shalt not murder" (at least in most translations I've seen), as murder is DEFINED as pretty much "unlawful killing" and almost ALWAYS involves humans, Hitler's perception that the Jews were NOT humans in the manner we are and the fact that, as it was legal, it was not "murder" as such nixes this point.
Downie: 3) Just becuase someone says their are something does not mean they are it. if I said I was a hamburger, that would not make me one.
The Steel Wolf: Yet hamburgers are not objects of faith.
Charos: Stating that you are a hamburger and stating that you are a Christian are two ENTIRELY separate things...unless you have read Hitler's mind and understand fully his beliefs there's no way we can say for certain that he wasn't a Christian...what we have to go by is his constant admonitions and public speeches stating that he was an AVID Christian and saw his plan as corresponding absolutely with God's law and God's plan...
The Steel Wolf: The problem here is that when it comes to matters of belief, it's all a matter of what the individual says he or she believes. Perhaps they don't act in accordance with the ideals of that belief as conceived by the mainstream, but ultimately one must either accept that a person is being truthful when he or she professes to adhere to a given belief system (or at least *believes* that they are adhering properly to the belief system) or reject the claim as false. The problem is one of when we can safely reject such a claim. If we say that one person who professes Christianity is not a Christian, where do we draw the line? I'm not saying that this is an insoluble difficulty, but it's at least something to think about.
Downie: 4) The thought that Hitler was a Christian comes from the mistaken belief that Christianity is nought but another belief system or religious order.
The Steel Wolf: Well, it really kind of is--otherwise, what is it?
Downie: True Christianity is about a relationship with Christ Jesus and following Him.
The Steel Wolf: And true Islam is about a relationship with Allah and following him, and true Hinduism is about a relationship with Brahman, true Shinto the kami, true Wicca the God and Goddess, et cetera. I don't think Christianity is unique in that it's about a relationship between deity and follower: I'd say this feature is common to all theistic religions.
Downie: While the Bible does say "confess with your mouth and blieve in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and you will be saved" the word for belief here is not the same as we take it nowadays. Today belief is mere mental ascent, then it meant the pattern your life was lived by.
The Steel Wolf: This interpretation isn't borne out by an examination of the Greek verb in Strong's. The verb pisteuo (Strong's Greek #4100) is translated in that lexicon as "believe, commit, commit to (one's) trust, be committed to, be put in trust with, be commit to one's trust, believer". Thus the verb clearly pertains to belief rather than how one lives one's life. Certainly belief *should* influence the way one lives one's life, but this was not an intrinsic part of "pisteuo" inseparable from the belief itself.
Downie: This is shown with the use of "that jesus Christ is Lord" that means allowing Jesus to rule in your life is part of believing. Hitler's life shows no hint of Jesus being Lord.
Charos: The evidence doesn't support this assertion. Hitler's view was that he was Following god's laws, bettering God's world and in essence, being a direct "general" as such in god's army in (pretty much) a holy war. Hitler saw the Jew's and the non-Aryans as sub-human nothings who needed to be wiped out in order for god's full vision to be realized. He saw his job as to be the hand of God on this earth and do his will. We can't claim that, simply because Hitler's actions directly oppose our present moral perceptions, he didn't honestly feel that what he was doing was right and that god had chosen him to further his cause.
Downie: Ergo, HITLER WAS BY NO MEANS A CHIRSTIAN!
Charos: You can't say this with any degree of certainty unless you can read Hitler's mind. Here's the basic rule...if Hitler believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed his precious blood in order to absolve him and all HUMANS (not Jew's or those who opposed him in his perception) of their sin, then he was indeed a Christian just like any other who believes such.