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Wingnuts Are So Predictable: Day of Reason Edition

As soon as I saw that Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx had issued a declaration of Thursday as a Day of Reason, I was counting the minutes until the first wingnut tried to tie him to Adolf Hitler. Penny Nance, come on down. You’re the next contestant on You’re Always Wrong.

“He comes from North Carolina, which has the 7th highest church attendance, clearly he’s not running for re-election since he’s up for transportation secretary,” she opined. “You know, G. K. Chesterton said that the Doctrine of Original Sin is the only one which we have 3,000 years of empirical evidence to back up. Clearly, we need faith as a component and it’s just silly for us to say otherwise.”

“You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust… Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation.”

Reason caused Hitler! Oh, of course. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Germany’s most influential theologian — Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism — was a virulent and violent anti-Semite, telling his followers that Jews were evil and ordering them to burn down their homes and synagogues. Clearly, he was just being too reasonable.

Comments

  1. says

    Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation.”

    Yeah, the Dark Ages was a time of unchecked atheism all over Europe.

  2. Chiroptera says

    Nance: “You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism….

    As well as that pesky Constitution thingy you keep claiming that you support.

    I’m just sayin’.

  3. Sastra says

    The thing which always puzzles me about the “dangerous atheistic regimes” trope is that people don’t seem to ask themselves if the totalitarian atheist government they’re thinking of would have been less totalitarian and oppressive if it had sincerely believed it was following the will of God. It’s not like that wouldn’t be easy. Nothing is more arbitrary than matters of faith. And the normal rules of secular demonstration are gone.

    Really. Does having a religious justification ever make an institution or individual more likely to change?

  4. says

    Hitler was many things, but moral relativist was not one of them. In fact, he firmly believed in he absolute righteousness of his cause. That’s a requirement for being an evil dictator.

  5. raven says

    “You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism.

    It is alway nice to see a traditionalist.

    One of the many hates of the fundies is the Enlightenment. It all started to go wrong when they lost the power to burn people alive on stacks of firewood.

    And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust

    The first antisemitic document was…the New Testament which is full of anti-Jewish passages. The RCC kept it alive for 2,000 years. And Hitler was a Catholic and his millions of followers were all Catholics and Lutherans.

    I’d tell Nance to check for a beam in her eye before looking for motes. But I doubt she has the slightest idea what a mote is.

  6. raven says

    Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism — was a virulent and violent anti-Semite,..

    To be fair, Martin Luther was far more than an antisemite.

    He was also a virulent misogynist and had no use for reason, calling it a whore.

  7. steve oberski says

    And since we’re being fair to Martin Luther, it’s not as if he invented misogyny and anti semitism, those were items he imported pretty much unchanged from the Catholic church, it was the indulgence thing that got him all hot and bothered.

    So in a sense, the Protestant Reformation was really just a disagreement on how to generate and divvy up the revenue.

  8. says

    The thing which always puzzles me about the “dangerous atheistic regimes” trope is that people don’t seem to ask themselves if the totalitarian atheist government they’re thinking of would have been less totalitarian and oppressive if it had sincerely believed it was following the will of God.

    Sastra, one thing I like to point out in response to the Stalin/Mao argument is that Russia and China were despotic societies for centuries before the Communists took over. Would Stalin have been possible if Russia did not have rulers like Ivan the Terrible? Can wingnuts point to any free, democratic societies that were taken over by atheists and then turned into dictarships?

    And it’s not like those of us who are atheists in the United States are trying to turn it into an atheist country. We are simply arguing that religious belief should not be privileged over nonbelief.

  9. Doug Little says

    We are simply arguing that religious belief should not be privileged over nonbelief.

    I actually go way further than that. Count me as one of those militant atheists that thinks religion poisons everything.

  10. Randomfactor says

    the Doctrine of Original Sin is the only one which we have 3,000 years of empirical evidence to back up.

    Hmmm….so Eve was 3000 years old when she ate the apple? She shoulda known better by that time.

  11. Ichthyic says

    So in a sense, the Protestant Reformation was really just a disagreement on how to generate and divvy up the revenue.

    It’s Ken Ham and the AIG vs the Aussie ICR!

    really, look it up and laugh.

    that “reformation” was Ken Ham taking the ICR to court for revenue rights.

    He won.

  12. Ichthyic says

    gotta side with Doug here, Tommy.

    religious beliefs are granted unwarranted charity ASIDE from the issues of rights and privileges.

    they are not treated like other fictional beliefs, like that of Santa Claus, for example.

    at worst, they are and have been the single most destructive force in human society for thousands of years.

    at best, they are a tool used by the power hungry to manipulate authoritarian personalities.

    it has to go.

  13. Ichthyic says

    This was posted in the comments there; a lot of elipses, but I’ve read the speeches… this was a common sentiment in the Hitler government, and Hitler proclaimed himself a staunch xian publicly on numerous ocassions:

    “Today Christians … stand at the head of
    [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who
    want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with
    the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral
    developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short,
    we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our
    whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past
    … (few) years. ”

    – Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

    look familiar?

    todays xian right in the US is full of authoritarians, who speak with EXACTLY the same voice of those who launched Hitler into power in the 1930s.

  14. doublereed says

    Gee, I wonder how the Nazis would have reacted if you called them morally relavistic or Godless.

    Oh yea, they’d probably kill you.

  15. Rip Steakface says

    I’d also like to note that Hitler and the Nazis explicitly outlawed atheist organizations shortly after taking power (though that may have been part of their efforts to exterminate communists). Let’s leave aside the fact that a number of Nazis, including Hitler, probably believed in some god, and just note they wanted to exterminate atheists and atheism.

    For what it’s worth, they may have wanted to get rid of established religions – but for a very, very different reason from us. They would have gotten rid of religions because they wanted their own religion, the religion of the all-powerful Fuhrer and Nazi state, to supplant them.

  16. busterggi says

    Because no where in the pages of history can anyone find a man more reasonable than Hitler.

  17. baal says

    Um, the ‘dark ages’ before the en-‘lighten’-ment was religiously dominated (also wars). From a technology standpoint, the enlightenment could have started a thousand years earlier but for the domination of the church (and wars). The Romans had mini steam engines and really good engineering relative to their tech level.

  18. says

    On Hitler & Christianity, read R. Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich. The Nazis actively supported (Protestant) Christianity down to 1937, when, as a result of the Church Strife of that year, the Nazis took a much more hostile approach to Christianity. (Catholics received less favor–not for theological reasons, but because they were suspected of dual loyalty).

    A weird revival of paganism was also practiced by many prominent Nazis, Himmler most notable among them. I’ve seen NO evidence that athesm per se was prohibited in Nazi Germany (though atheists who happened also to be Communists or Socialists were persecuted). Himmler did bar atheists from membership in the SS.

    Steigmann-Gall suggests that Hitler had some “residual” Christian feelings after ’37, but also admits that several unambiguously anti-Christian statements are attributed to him after that year.

    In my experience, many who post on Freethought Blogs like the earlier part of Steigmann-Gall, the later part not so much. History is probably being done right when the historian pleases no one completely.

  19. slc1 says

    Re aaronbaker @ #19

    Frankenberger is quoted by Albert Speer in his memoirs as having once remarked to him (Speer) that Shintoism would have been a better choice of religion for Germany because of its militaristic attitudes.

  20. bmiller says

    aaronbaker:

    While I agree in part with your specific point vis a vis Christianity, even post 1937 Hitler was resolutely and firmly ‘RELIGIOUS’. it may have been neo-pagan and full of militaristic woo, but dfeinitely religious. Not
    athiest.

    slc1: I don’t think they need Shinotism. Catholicism in particular has plenty of militaristic heritage, LOL.

  21. dingojack says

    SLC – and on a note of equal creditability: David Barton probably has said much the same of Thomas Jefferson.
    Dingo

  22. had3 says

    So, but for the enlightenment she would think slavery were acceptable? It’s moral relativism when it’s things they don’t want changed, but otherwise it’s a new and correct interpretation of a deity’s word.

  23. dan4 says

    @6. “…the New Testament which is full of anti-Jewish passages.”

    Specific citations requested.

  24. says

    bmiller @ 21:

    I’ve NEVER said Hitler was an atheist, and he pretty clearly wasn’t.

    dan4 @ 24:

    the Jewish mob in Matthew’s account of the Passion says to Pilate: “His blood be upon us, and upon our children” (don’t remember chapter & verse). This was, I think, the principal proof text for the longstanding allegation among Christians that Jews were collectively guilty of the murder of Jesus.

    In the Gospel of John, probably the latest of the Gospels, the Pharisees and Saducees are simply “the Jews.”

  25. says

    Dingojack @24: the Hossbach Memorandum of November 5, 1937 attributes to Hitler a statement about Christianity-induced decadence rather similar to one that Speer attributes to Hitler–and quite independently of Speer.

    Hossbach paraphrasing Hitler: “It was only the disintegrating effect of Christianity, and the symptoms of age which appear in every country, which caused ancient Rome to succumb to the onslaught of the Germans.”

    Speer quoting Hitler: “You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” ( Inside the Third Reich., English translation, p. 143)

    Speer often lied, but Hossbach was a functionary tasked with providing an accurate summary of what Hitler had said at the meeting in question. I understand why there’s considerable doubt as to what Hitler actually believed at any given moment, but that he made anti-Christian statements is corroborated independently by enough sources that I have a hard time seeing how anyone can doubt he did.

  26. says

    As I think someone else has already said, the Nazis were NOT moral relativists. This absurd tarring of moral relativism with the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, plus many others, is a prominent, and exasperating, feature of Paul Johnson’s Modern Times. Johnson at least has the virtue of writing well and being coherent, even if wrongheaded. This Penny Nance person is projectile-vomiting a kind of Palinesque word salad: Enlightenment–moral relativism–HITLER–dark times–no God.

    I’ll think I’ll provoke my Fox-News-watching father to try to justify this latest atrocity.

  27. dingojack says

    Aaron – if you listen very, very closely you might just hear the slight ‘whooshing’ sound of the point sailing way, way overhead.
    Dingo
    ——-
    Note also FoAW (itself almost as reliable as Albert Speer);:

    The accuracy of the Hossbach memorandum is in question, as the minutes were drawn up five days after the event by Hossbach, partially from notes he took at the meeting and partially from memory. Also, Hitler did not review the minutes of the meeting, instead insisting, as he commonly did, that he was too busy to bother with such small details. The British historian A.J.P. Taylor contended that the manuscript used by the prosecution in the Nuremberg Trials appeared to be a shortened version of the original, as it had passed through the US Army prior to arriving at the trial.

    You were saying about accuracy and independence?

  28. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton

    I heard about this. Its especially ridiculous because the Nazis were hardly moral relativists and if the German people as a whole had done a better job of thinking critically, they would have question what Hitler was telling them.

  29. Owlmirror says

    I’ve seen NO evidence that athesm per se was prohibited in Nazi Germany (though atheists who happened also to be Communists or Socialists were persecuted).

    In this long article with many citations from primary sources, “Nazi racial ideology was religious, creationist and opposed to Darwinism“, there is evidence that Hitler, and other Nazis, were sufficiently opposed to atheism persecute and ban atheists (note that atheism is condemned in addition to Communism):

    Citing some relevant paragraphs:

    Mein Kampf does not mention Darwin even once. Where atheism is mentioned (twice) it is pejorative, associating atheism with Jews and Marxism (e.g. “They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation” and “… atheistic Marxist newspapers …”).
     
    ================
     
    That is why, in a list of books they banned from Third Reich libraries the Nazis listed:

    “Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Haeckel).”

    “Monism” is the idea that mankind is solely material, with no spiritual soul. Haeckel, as well as having been the foremost Darwinist in Germany, had founded the Monist League in 1905 (it was disbanded in 1933 when the Nazis gained power). The word “primitive” here is a pejorative epithet to denigrate Darwinism.
    The same list of banned books also prohibits:

    “All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk.”

    Gunther Hecht, who represented the National Socialist’s Department of Race-Politics (Rassenpolitischen Amt der NSDAP), issued a monitum:

    “The common position of materialistic monism is philosophically rejected completely by the volkisch-biological view of National Socialism. . . . The party and its representatives must not only reject a part of the Haeckelian conception — other parts of it have occasionally been advanced — but, more generally, every internal party dispute that involves the particulars of research and the teachings of Haeckel must cease.”
     
    ================
     
    “For their interests [the Church’s] cannot fail to coincide with ours [the National Socialists] alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life”. (Hitler, speech, Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, Oxford University Press, 1942)
     
    ================
     
    One of the early acts of the Nazis one gaining power was to disband and outlaw atheist groups. By 1930 the German Freethinkers League had 500,000 members. It was closed down in 1933, with Hitler saying in a speech that year:

    “We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” (Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on Oct.24, 1933)

    Chairman of the German Freethinkers League was Max Sievers, who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and executed.
     
    ================
     
    In a similar speech (Reichstag on March 23, 1933), Hitler emphasises the religious and ethical values he has in common with the churches and warns against any compromise with atheists:

    “By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values.

  30. raven says

    Ideology of the SS – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Ideology_of_the_SS‎

    Atheism was banned within the SS with all SS men being required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or “believer in God” (German: gottgläubig). Atheism …

    Atheism was also banned within the SS.

    The SS was, “the primary mission of the SS was the fight against “subhumans” in accordance with the racial policy of Nazi Germany[2]”. Heavily involved with the Jewish genocide and massacres of Slavic peoples on the eastern front.

  31. raven says

    Mein Kampf does not mention Darwin even once. Where atheism is mentioned (twice) it is pejorative, associating atheism with Jews and Marxism (e.g. “They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation” and “… atheistic Marxist newspapers …”).

    Men Kampf does mention god and jesus 33 times though.

  32. slc1 says

    Re Owlmirror @ #30

    Mein Kampf may not have specifically referenced Darwin by name but it is my information that it specifically rejected the notion of common descent, which is evolution.

  33. slc1 says

    Re dingojack @ #22

    It is my information that most historians consider Speer’s memoir to be fairly reliable as to what other people said and did. Not surprisingly, it is rather less reliable as to what Speer said and did as he was attempting to apply a coat of whitewash on his own actions. The same could be said about most memoirs as few like to admit that they fucked up.

  34. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    From a technology standpoint, the enlightenment could have started a thousand years earlier but for the domination of the church (and wars). – baal

    That’s very dubious. Roman technology does not appear to have advanced much in the centuries before the adoption of Christianity, and where it did, it mostly either had military application, or made urban and particularly upper-class living more comfortable. There does not appear to have been any systematic effort to increase labour productivity – possibly because the solution to a labour shortage was generally “moar slaves”. For example, the Romans knew the water-wheel, but made little use of it – in marked contrast to medieval (i.e. Christian and pre-Enlightenment) western Europe. As the Antikythera mechanism demonstrates, the ancients (in this case Greeks, but within the expanding Roman Empire of the 2nd century BCE) were capable of constructing complex, mathematically sophisticated engineering – but again, did not apply it to production and again, this can’t be blamed on Christianity. Of course it’s possible that without Christianity, technical advance would have speeded up, but I don’t know how we could tell. Medieval western Europe developed the windmill, clockwork, reading glasses, fundamental advances in agriculture, mining, shipping, textiles and other areas, and imported from elsewhere paper, gunpowder, the compass, Hindu-Arabic numerals… The monasteries, especially those of the Cistercians, were hotbeds of invention and improvements in productivity.

  35. says

    Dingojack:

    Taylor, who was trying to discredit theories that Hitler had an extensively thought-out plan of conquest before the War, tried very hard to discredit the Hossbach memorandum. The consensus of most historians today is that Taylor failed.

  36. says

    Nothing you’ve cited, Owlmirror, shows that “atheism per se” was prohibited in Nazi Germany.

    For October 13, 1933, here’s a public decree by Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess: “No National Socialist may suffer any detriment on the ground that he does not profess any particular faith or confession or on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all.” Ambiguous perhaps, but there’s no evidence that atheism was ever explicitly stated to be a bar to Nazi membership. Martin Heidegger had no trouble becoming a Nazi. Bormann was reputed to be an atheist, but there’s apparently some uncertainty on that score.

    Hitler, unquestionably, was hostile to atheism–and as such he shut down freethought groups, as well as any and all other groups that espoused an ideology that he didn’t like. But as far as I can discover, it remained legal to be, and profess to be, an atheist.

  37. says

    Aaron – if you listen very, very closely you might just hear the slight ‘whooshing’ sound of the point sailing way, way overhead.
    Dingo

    At least two people expressed opinions (@6 & 14) on the relationship of Nazism to Christianity. I responded. If responding to a tangential point that someone else makes is off-topic, discussions here are going to be considerably less interesting.

  38. Owlmirror says

    For October 13, 1933, here’s a public decree by Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess: “No National Socialist may suffer any detriment on the ground that he does not profess any particular faith or confession or on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all.”

    That looks more like granting amnesty to those with no religion, rather than to those who don’t believe in God, let alone to those who explicitly say they don’t believe in God.

    Even today, those who claim “no religion” in surveys appears to be far greater in number than those who explicitly identify as atheist.

    Ambiguous perhaps, but there’s no evidence that atheism was ever explicitly stated to be a bar to Nazi membership.

    The citations I provided demonstrate that atheism was explicitly strongly condemned by both Hitler and the Nazi Party.

    Martin Heidegger had no trouble becoming a Nazi.

    This would be more significant if there were any evidence that he was explicitly an atheist. Granted, I only searched his Wikipedia page, and the linked page titled “Heidegger and Nazism”. But I would think that his being a self-described atheist would have been notable enough to include in one or both of those pages.

    Bormann was reputed to be an atheist, but there’s apparently some uncertainty on that score.

    Another example of explicit atheism not being supported by the Nazis. The only mention of atheism on his Wikipedia page is the category “German atheists”, which is almost certainly a mistake.

    I acknowledge that relying on Wikipedia is lazy, but if you have better sources that make the positive claim that either of the above named persons was an explicit atheist, please feel free to cite.

    But as far as I can discover, it remained legal to be, and profess to be, an atheist.

    I see nothing that supports professing to be an atheist being acceptable to the Nazis.

  39. says

    @39 First, I think you misconstrue where the burden of proof lies. I began by saying I could find no evidence that atheism, considered by itself, was prohibited in Nazi Germany. You have still provided no evidence that it was prohibited.

    I went back to Steigmann-Gall’s book yesterday and could find no mention of a prohibition of atheism–a very odd omission in a book that contends (proves in fact) that Nazism was NOT a godless movement. He probably forgets more about Nazi Germany between breakfast or lunch than you or I will ever know about it–why would he leave such a prohibition out?

    I admit I don’t have evidence that Heidegger or Bormann were “explicit” atheists.

  40. dingojack says

    Aaron – apparently you’re still hearing that ‘woosh’ (hint: it’s about SLC’s firm belief in Albert Speer as a reliable witness)’. There is still considerable ‘reasonable doubt’ about Hossbach’s memo for the reasons described, more (and stronger) proof is required. Taylor’s hypothesis is irrelevant.

    SLC – I think you have been misinformed. Speer is not generally regarded as being very creditable, at the most charitable he can be called disingenuous.

    Dingo

  41. says

    @41 I have found four independent (as far I can tell) sources reporting hostile statements by Hitler about Christianity, all after 1937, when the Party took its hostile turn with regard to Christianity. None of them are from the Table Talk, whose reliability can be questioned insofar as Bormann was involved with it.

    They are:

    Hossbach (already quoted)

    Goebbels in his diaries: e.g. In 1939, “[t]he F�hrer is deeply religious, but deeply anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay.”

    Speer (already quoted)

    Traudl Junge, one of Hitler’s secretaries, in her memoir, which I assume was published not long before her death. The full passage in English is as follows:

    “Sometimes we also had interesting discussions about the church and the development of the human race. Perhaps it’s going too far to call them discussions, because he would begin explaining his ideas when some question or remark from one of us had set them off, and we just listened. He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour and your enemy. ‘Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,’ he once said. ‘We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.”

    [my note: Hostility to evolutionary theories is attributed to Hitler in the Table Talk; if the Table Talk is accurate here, I think it possible either that (a) Hitler held inconsistent opinions about evolution; or (b) Junge confused one of Hitler’s diatribes on the subject with something she might have heard fromher teachers when young.]

    In addition, there is a more general statement on religion reported by one of Hitler’s Propagandagauleiter, whose name I’d have to look up in Domarus’s edition of Hitler’s speeches when I get home; in 1945, he paraphrased a speech made by Hitler in the wake of the Church Strife: “He had been freed [he said], after an intense inner struggle, from the still living and childish imaginings of religion….he now felt as liberated as a foal in the pasture.”

    For each of these statements, you can of course bring up any number of reasons why it might not be accurate: Hossbach didn’t write his notes immediately; the Propagandagauleier was reminiscing in ’45 about things said in ’37, and spoke of a break with religion, rather than with Christianity (inconsistently then with Goebbels’ statement); an old woman’s memory might well be confused; Speer & Goebbels were proven liars in other contexts.

    In response, I would say:

    1) none of these objections can establish more than that the quotation or paraphrase in question might be incorrect. And you’re not entitled to dismiss testimonies simply because they might be inaccurate. Without specific evidence for deceit in a particular context, or confusion in a particular context (though you may have that for Junge’s statement), I fail to see why I should simply disregard these attributions as if they’d never been made. (More specifically, the mere fact that Hossbach wrote his notes down 5 days later (if it is a fact) does not render it likely that he got this detail wrong. It was the kind of picturesque, grandiose statement that one might well remember for long afterwards.)

    2) as to Goebbels, a loyal creature of Hitler who revered his every word and act–historians appear to have found him pretty accurate about what he says in his diary (see, e.g. Ian Kershaw’s reliance in the diary in his biography of Hitler; I admit, though, that I am no expert on the question of its accuracy). Absent a specific reason for him to lie here, why should I think it more likely than not that he lied?

    3) and there’s the similarity among the attributions by Hossbach, Speer, & Goebbels: each attributes to Hitler the view that Christianity is a force for decay or decadence. Given their apparent independence, this similarity renders the separate statements more likely to be accurate than they otherwise would have been.

    4) Finally, all these sources attribute the statements in question to the period when the Party took its far more hostile turn towards Christianity. Nothing the Party did took place without Hitler’s at least tacit approval.

    So there are converging, independent lines of evidence that Hitler showed hostility to Christianity after ’37.

  42. says

    To clarify my previous post: faced with testimonies that may or may not be inaccurate, one is of course entitled to suspend judgment

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