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Christianity and Nazism: A Sinister Manipulation?
Transcript of Christianity and Nazism: A Sinister Manipulation?
Was the Nazi use of Christianity political manipulation? Or was the Nazi use of Christianity a genuine attempt to create a new manifestation of the religion- a German Christianity?
Attitudes regarding of the Third Reich's treatment of Christianity, during and immediately after it's fall, seem to be quick to defend Christianity.
The Defense of Christianity:
"Nazism, it was maintained, was a profoundly anti-Christian movement that preached an alternative, paganist religion founded on mythical gods of the Germanic Middle Ages, on Thor and Woden and their ilk.From Himmler's SS, which founded pseudo-pagan rituals of marriage and initiation for its officers, to the nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, whose widely-read book The Myth of the Twentieth Century preached a gospel of hatred against Christianity as essentially un-Germanic, the nazis rushed into the arms of a new, brutal pseudo-religion that sought to replace Christianity altogether.”
Evans, R. J. (2007). Nazism, Christianity And Political Religion: A Debate. Journal of Contemporary History, 42(1), 5
Obviously these two ideas can not be reconciled.
Can Nazi envokations of Christianity simply be written off as political manipulation?
Christianity and Nazism
A Sinister Manipulation?
Philosopher of the Nazi Party
Credited with creating "Positive Christianity"
Allegedly to have despised Christianity
Rosenberg's political Ideology came to fruition in his
1930 political manifesto "The Myth of the 20th Century"
Because of Rosenberg's unique position as a cabinet level, institutionally recognized philosopher, his thoughts on Christianity's place in the Third Reich is the best test in answering:
Commissar for Supervision of Intellectual and Ideological Education of the NSDAP
So, how does "Der Mythus" solve the puzzle?
Rosenberg rejected much of Christian dogma, including:
Original Sin: "An oppressive sense of sin is a sure symptom
of racial bastardy. Race pollution shows itself in a number of stigmata... an inner self-doubt; the feeling that existence
is simply the ''wages of sin'' and not the necessary and
mysterious imperative of self-development." (32)
Virgin Birth: A further step toward the denial of natural life lay
in the dogmatic assertion of the Virgin Birth. (37)
Resurrection: His "certified" resurrection from the dead; his
ascent into heaven-all these were the real point of departure
for Christianity and undoubtedly greatly strengthened the
ability to endure much suffering
Trinity: Rosenberg blames the idea of the Holy Trinity, for a denying "everything organic" and rejecting "all the culture creating values of Greece and Rome"- causing their collapse.
Clearly, Rosenberg completely rejected almost all of Christianity's key tenets.
But IT CAN NOT be said, that Rosenberg rejected Christianity. In fact, it can be seen that Rosenberg tried to cleanse Christianity, from what he felt made it degenerate.
Rosenberg, for someone who "despised" Christianity was extremely concerned with proving Jesus was not Jewish:
"There is no proof for the often-made claim that Jesus was a Jew. Indeed, there is much to show the contrary. Jesus was possibly Aryan... showing the Nordic type strongly. Jesus had a Danaite woman... for a mother, and a Latin as a Father... 'Jesus Thus derived his ancestry from two of the great and most famous nations.'"(Rosenberg 397)
Rosenberg argues that the image of Jesus presented to the world was created to exemplify "Jewish" attitudes. To Rosenberg, Jesus exemplified strength, and as Aryan defender, was executed for his revolt against Jewish ideals.
Rosenberg makes a clear distinction between "Roman Christianity"(Catholicism) and Protestantism. Speaking highly of Luther, whom he credits as the "greatest savior of the West... This German farmers son thus became the axis of a new world development for which all Europeans must be thankful since he not only made the Protestants free, but also SAVED THE CATHOLICS FROM SPIRITUAL DECLINE"(107)
Rosenberg thought Christianity could be saved, through the elimination of the Old Testament. This would eliminate the "unsuccessful attempt of the last one and a half thousand years to make us spiritually into Jews"(378)
As well as the adoption of a fifth gospel, written by "a man who experiences the longing for purification very deeply. He probably will have studied the theology of the New Testament."(379)
If the nazi's were anti-Christian,
what explains this?
24. "The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination"
As a Christian, I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.
- Adolf Hitler Munich 12 April 1922
We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity ... in fact our movement is Christian.
-Adolf Hitler 27 October 1928
It is clear that Rosenberg was disillusioned with Christianity. His hatred of much of Christian dogma shows a disgust for what he sees as the "degeneracy" of the tradition.
Rosenberg blames the negetive aspects of Christianity on Clelerical Tradition, not the faith itself- his thoughts on Luther demonstrates this.
Rosenberg's desire to "cleanse" Christianity of its precieved degenerate elements, demonstrates
the geniune attempt to create GERMAN christianity, a preceived return to what Martin Luther originally intended.