WAS HITLER AN ATHEIST OR A CHRISTIAN?
This question is still being debated by
believers and atheists. Some Christians have erroneously asserted that
Hitler was an atheist; some atheists have erroneously asserted that Hitler
was a Christian. Both assertions are wrong. Hitler was neither -- but….
Hitler was born in a Catholic, Austrian family. In time Hitler rejected
Catholicism and Christianity in large part because of the influence of a
fanatical “atheist” by the name of Friedrick Nietzsche. Nietzsche was an
influential German philosopher of the 1800’s who saw Christ and Christianity
as an abhorrent expression of weakness. A true leader, in Nietzsche’s view,
had to be a “Superman,” free from the shackles of religion and ready and
willing to use cruelty to achieve power and control over the masses.
“Thus...Nietzsche offered grounds for the reprehensible Nazi ideology of a
superior race exercising its will to power as it saw fit. Hitler was living
out what Nietzsche had envisioned, trying to prove himself to be the
Übermensch and the precursor of the Master race. He despised weakness as
much as Nietzsche did and wanted to "transvalue" the current social values
into something that supported the aggressive instinct. He wanted to become,
as Nietzsche called it, a "lord of the earth."[i]
Hitler was so enamored with Nietzsche that he gave his fellow fascist
dictator Mussolini a set of all of Nietzsche’s works during one of their
meetings. Nietzsche’s works may have helped solidify Mussolini’s atheism and
Hitler’s other mentor was a Renaissance political writer by the name of
Machiavelli. Machiavelli’s very influential work, The Prince, was
Hitler’s bedtime reading. Machiavelli had no place for Christian morality
and openly encouraged leaders to use deceit and cruelty to gain and to
retain power. Machiavelli acknowledged a divinity, but in his teachings one
cannot see any glimmer of support for the Christian God or for Christian
argues that Christianity fosters the wrong civic virtues. The Christian
learns humility, denial and contempt of the mundane things of this world.
Christianity he says fosters submissiveness and indifference to one's duties
and responsibilities as a citizen.[ii]
Thus the two greatest forces that shaped Hitler’s mind and that molded his
proud, arrogant and cruel spirit were both “anti-Christian.” Nietzsche,
the major force that shaped Hitler’s unstoppable cruelty, was
undeniably an atheist.
Did Hitler, therefore, believe in some kind of undefined Divinity? It
appears that he did; but we must say so with some reservation, as he may
have used references to God to ingratiate himself with the majority of
Germans who professed to be Catholics or Lutherans. One thing we can assert
with absolute certainty, though: Hitler had no place in his life and
politics for the Christian God and manifested that with a beastly cruelty
that may have been surpassed only by the arch-atheist, Stalin.