View Full Version : (Ed) Hitler's Atheism

Pages : 1 2 [3]

Nova Land
1st June 2006, 03:06 AM
I seem to be falling behind on this thread. Oh, well. Here are some comments on the second set of excerpts from Table Talk # 52 (post # 464, above (http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=1605489&postcount=494)). I'm going to try to be a bit pithier and to move through these more quickly.

Catholicism has this much good about it, that it ignores the moral strictness of the Evangelicals.
One of the few good things Hitler has to say about the Catholic religion: that it doesn't demand strict morality of its adherents.

... the priest himself succumbs more easily to human weaknesses.
Hitler was not in awe of the priesthood (or any of the Catholic hierarchy).

How would the Church earn her living, if not by the sins of the faithful? She declares herself satisified if one goes to confession. Indulgence, at a tariff, supplies the Church with her daily bread. As for the fruits of sin, the soul that fears limbo is a candidate for baptism, that is to say, another customer, and so business goes on!
Hitler saw the Catholic church largely as a scam for separating suckers from their money.

Hitler was a Catholic in the sense of being a member in the Catholic church, but it seems apparent from Table Talks such as this one that he was not a Catholic in belief. Repeatedly he demonstrates that he has no real respect either for Catholic doctrines or the Catholic hierarchy.

Nova Land
1st June 2006, 03:16 AM
There was one more item in the second set of excerpts from Table Talk # 52 which caught my attention, largely because I couldn't make heads or tails of it:

In Austria, Protestantism was free of all bigotry. It was truly a movement of protest against Catholicism.
What on earth does that mean? I suspect this is a poor (possibly over-literal) translation and that bigotry does not convey what Hitler was trying to say here. Since the previous paragraph criticized Protestants as hypocrites for attempting to be strict about morality, my best guess is he was saying Protestants in Austria were an exception to this generalization. But that doesn't explain how Austrian Protestantism would be more of a protest against Catholicism than Protestantism elsewhere. Does anyone else have a better idea of what this paragraph means? (It doesn't appear to be a very important point Hitler was making in it, but I am curious.)

Nova Land
4th September 2006, 11:58 PM
I had intended when I began posting again to this thread back in April to post fairly regularly -- about once or twice a week. During the summer, however, I fell behind on numerous things including posting.

As time to depart for blueberries approached, I realized I wasn't going to have time to post before taking off but planned to type up excerpts from the upcoming Table Talks and e-mail them to myself so that, on the occasions when I did have computer access during blueberry season (about once a week), I'd be able to quickly cut and paste and post. A simple plan that would enable me to resume posting regularly despite limited computer access from August through October... Except I misplaced my set of photocopies, making it difficult to type excerpts from them.

So at the start of the trip to Maine I stopped off briefly at a library to make a new set of copies of the next dozen Table Talks to post, thinking I'd type those up shortly after getting up to Maine to be able to post excerpts. Another simple plan -- except season began early this year, so I had 2 days between arriving in Maine and starting to rake, with typing excerpts of Hitler's ramblings a low priority for that limited time.

Season also ran late, but I stayed up until 4 am the night before leaving Maine in order to get excerpts typed up for posting during apple season. And now I'm visiting at Kitty's, so have chance to resume posting (with the intention of getting in to the Bellows Falls library and using the computer there once a week to post additional excerpts). Library computer time is fairly short, and I type fairly slowly, so I probably won't attempt to comment much on these excerpts except when I'm able to visit Kitty, and will catch up on analyzing the excerpts if necessary after I get back home in mid-to-late October.

I'm not sure what will go wrong with the plan this time, but have faith that something will ...

Nova Land
5th September 2006, 12:10 AM
Small bit of unfinished business from Table Talk # 52:
originally posted by me, in post # 500 (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?postid=1647891#post1647891):

... The thing which caught my attention more is Hitler's assertion that "the Communists set fire to the Reichstag in 1932".

I've always heard that the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag and blamed it on the Communists, as part of their rise to power. I'd have thought, then, that Hitler would be aware of who really had set the fire. Did Hitler truly believe that the Communists had done it?In reading over my copies of the upcoming upcoming Table Talks in order to select and type up the relevant portions, I discovered a passage in one which touches again upon this matter -- and I think it comes up in some future Table Talks as well. So I'll hold off on thinking or writing much about the Reichstag fire until those additional passages come up. (And, when apple season is over, I'll look up the complete volume of Table Talks again to see if there are additional references to the Reichstag fire in some of the talks which I did not deal with religion and which I therefore did not copy.)

Nova Land
5th September 2006, 12:26 AM
And now, back to our regularly-scheduled excerpt, already in progress.

In the middle of ranting about Jews and how they differ from other people, Hitler made several comments bearing directly on religion. The second paragraph below is the main passage of relevance in this Table Talk, but I included excerpts portions of the paragraphs that preceded and followed it to give the context for those remarks.

Table Talk # 63
5th November 1941, evening

... The Jew totally lacks any interest in things of the spirit. If he has pretended in Germany to have a bent for literature and the arts, that’s only out of snobbery, or from a liking for speculation. He has not feeling for art, and no sensibility…

Where we have a philosopher, they have a Talmudic pettifogger. What for us is an attempt to get to the bottom of things and express the inexpressible, becomes for the Jew a pretext for verbal juggleries. His only talent is for masticating ideas so as to disguise his thought. He has observed that the Aryan is stupid to the point of accepting anything in matters of religion, as soon as the idea of God is recognized. With the Aryan, the belief in the Beyond often takes quite a childish form; but this belief does represent an effort towards a deepening of things. The man who doesn’t believe in the Beyond has no understanding of religion. The great trick of Jewry was to insinuate itself fraudulently amongst the religious with a religion like Judaism, which in reality is not a religion. Simply, the Jew has put a religious camouflage over his racial doctrine. Everything he undertakes is built on this lie.

The Jew can take credit for having corrupted the Greco-Roman world. Previously words were used to express thoughts; he used words to invent the art of disguising thoughts. Lies are his strength, his weapon in the struggle. The Jew is said to be gifted. His only gift is that of juggling with other people’s property and swindling each and everyone…

The law of life is: “God helps him who helps himself!” It’s so simple that everyone is convinced of it, and nobody would pay to learn it. But the Jew succeeds in getting himself rewarded for his meaningless glibness. Stop following what he says, for a moment, and the whole scaffolding collapses…

5th September 2006, 01:45 AM
Hi. I'd just like to say that I read through this thread back when I was lurking, and am glad to see it resurface. I think you've done an excellent job at looking critically and unbiasedly at the evidence, and that this thread is a great example of what skeptical and incisive thinking can be about, beyond simply "Ghosts don't exist, there's no evidence" (not that there's anything wrong with that sort of skepticism).

Anyway, it's clear to me at this point that Hitler was not an atheist (that last passage you posted makes that fairly obvious, as do his ramblings about providence and suchlike), but don't let that deter you from carrying on posting and discussing these talks, as I think they are fascinating.

Nova Land
10th September 2006, 09:23 AM
Hi. I'd just like to say that I read through this thread back when I was lurking, and am glad to see it resurface. I think you've done an excellent job at looking critically and unbiasedly at the evidence, and that this thread is a great example of what skeptical and incisive thinking can be about, beyond simply "Ghosts don't exist, there's no evidence" (not that there's anything wrong with that sort of skepticism).

Anyway, it's clear to me at this point that Hitler was not an atheist (that last passage you posted makes that fairly obvious, as do his ramblings about providence and suchlike), but don't let that deter you from carrying on posting and discussing these talks, as I think they are fascinating.
Thank you for the kind words about the thread. One of my major motivations in life is curiosity, and skeptical inquiry seems a good way of finding answers to some of the many questions which arise in life. During the course of this thread I have learned many things I was not previously aware of, and have considerably revised some of the assumptions I had at the beginning of this thread.

I am inclined to agree with you that Hitler was not an atheist at the time he delivered these rambles. In the excerpt from TT # 63 (posted last week) and the one from TT # 66 (which I'm about to post) he sounds very much like a Deist. (His references to laws of nature in TT # 66, for example, remind me very much of the ways in which the "Founding Fathers" of the US referred to "Nature's god".) That seems consistent with excerpts posted previously and excerpts still to come. While individually many of these excerpts are a bit weak, and could be the result of misunderstanding by the transcriber or mistranslation by the translater, cumulatively they do seem to form a picture.

However! There is a very interesting curveball coming up about half a dozen excerpts from now. Many of the excerpts I have posted so far are somewhat vague, and leave one wondering (a) what Hitler really meant, and (b) whether the transcription/translation accurately reflects what Hitler actually said. This upcoming excerpt is an exception -- the meaning is clear, and it is does not depend on a particular wording which could have crept in due to the transcriber or translater. This upcoming excerpt is something which does not contradict anything posted so far (and which I think actually ties in nicely with the idea of Hitler as Deist), but which will put the question of Hitler as an atheist in a new and intriguing light. Don't be too quick to conclude that Hitler was not an atheist!

Nova Land
10th September 2006, 09:31 AM
Here is the next excerpt. If time permits I may post some comments on TT # 63 and on this one later on today.

Table Talk # 66
11th November 1941, evening

I’ve always defended the point of view that the Party should hold itself aloof from religion. We never organized religious services for our supporters. I preferred to run the risk of being put under the ban of the Church or excommunicated. The Church’s friendship costs too dear. In case of success, I can hear myself being told that it’s thanks to her. I’d rather she had nothing to do with it, and that I shouldn’t be presented with the bill!

Russia used to be the most bigoted State of all. Nothing happened there without the participation of the Orthodox priests. That didn’t prevent the Russians from getting beaten. It seems that the prayers of a hundred and forty million Russians were less convincing, before God, than those of a smaller number of Japanese. It was the same thing in the First World War. Russian prayers had less weight than ours. Even on the home front, the cowls proved incapable of ensuring the maintenance of the established order. They permitted the triumph of Bolshevism.

One can even say that the reactionary and clerical circles helped on this triumph, by eliminating Rasputin. They thus eliminated a force that was capable of stimulating the healthy elements of the Slav soul…

The skull cap is a danger to the State when things go badly. The clergy takes a sly pleasure in rallying the enemies of the established order, and thus shares the responsibility for the disorders that arise. Think of the difficulties the Popes continually caused the German emperors.

I would gladly have recourse to the shavelings, if they could help us to intercept English or Russian aircraft. But, for the present, the men who serve our anti-aircraft guns are more useful than the fellows who handle the sprinkler.

In the Latin countries, we’ve often been within a hair’s breadth of seeing Bolshevism triumph, and thus administer the death-blow to a society that was always on the point of collapse.

When, in ancient Rome, the plebs were mobilized by Christianity, the intelligentsia had lost contact with the ancient forms of worship. The man of today, who is formed by the disciplines of science, has likewise ceased taking the teaching of religion very seriously. What is in opposition to the laws of nature cannot come from God. Moreover, thunderbolts do not spare churches. A system of metaphysics that is drawn from Christianity and founded on outmoded notions does not correspond to the level of modern knowledge. In Italy and Spain, that will all end badly. They’ll cut each other’s throats.

I don’t want anything of that sort amongst us.

Nova Land
10th September 2006, 11:40 AM
Oops! I didn't realize when I posted this morning that there was more material in TT # 66 which I had considered relevant to the question of Hitler's religious beliefs and had typed up. Because it runs so long, I'd broken it into two parts.

My intention in breaking it into two parts was to post the two excerpts separately to give people time to digest one before tackling the other. But since I screwed up and didn't mention that the previous excerpt was part one of two, I think I'll go ahead and post the second part now before I forget it exists and absent-mindedly go on to Table Talk #72.

NOTE: I included a paragraph at the end about vegetarianism, which is not directly relevant to religion but which I thought was an interesting tangent. There is another (longer) passage on Hitler's views about vegetarianism in Table Talk # 81.

Table Talk # 66
11th November 1941, evening

We can be glad that the Parthenon is still standing upright, the Roman Pantheon and the other temples. It matters little that the forms of worship that were practiced there no longer mean anything to us. It is truly regrettable that so little is left of these temples. The result is, we are in no risk of worshipping Zeus.

Amongst us, the only witnesses of our greatness in the Middle Ages are the cathedrals. It would be enough to permit a movement of religious persecution to cause the disappearance of all the movements that our country built from the 5th to 17th centuries. What a void, and how greatly the world would be impoverished.

I know nothing of the Other World, and I have the honesty to admit it. Other people know more about it than I do, and I’m incapable of proving that they’re mistaken. I don’t dream of imposing my philosophy on a village girl. Although religion does not aim at seeking for the truth, it is a kind of philosophy which can satisfy simple minds, and that does no harm to anyone. Everything is finally a matter of the feeling man has of his own impotence. In itself, this philosophy has nothing pernicious about it. The essential thing, really, is that man should know that salvation consists in the effort that each person makes to understand Providence and accept the laws of nature.

Since all violent upheavals are a calamity, I would prefer the adaptation to be made without shocks. What could be longest left undisturbed are women’s convents. The sense of inner life brings people great enrichment. What we must do, then, is to extract from religions the poisons they contain. In this respect, great progress has been made during recent centuries. The Church must be made to understand that her kingdom is not of this world. What an example Frederick the Great set when he reacted against the Church’s claim to be allowed to interfere in matters of State! The marginal notes, in his handwriting, which one finds on the pleas addressed to him by the pastors, have the value of judgments of Solomon. They’re definitive. Our generals should make a practice of reading them daily. One is humiliated to see how slowly humanity progresses.

The House of Hapsburg has produced, in Joseph II, a pale imitator of Frederick the Great. A dynasty that can produce even one intellect in the class of Frederick the Great’s has justified itself in the eyes of history.

We had experience of it during the first World War: the only one of the belligerents that was truly religious was Germany. That didn’t prevent her from losing the war. What repulsive hypocrisy that arrant Freemason, Roosevelt, displays when he speaks of Christianity! All the Churches should rise up against him - for he acts on principles diametrically opposed to those of the religion of which he boasts.

The religions have passed the climacteric; they’re now decadent. They can remain like that for a few centuries yet. What revolutions won’t do, will be done by evolution. One may regret living at a period when it’s impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume.

But there’s one thing I can predict to eaters of meat, that the world of the future will be vegetarian!

Nova Land
17th September 2006, 02:02 PM
I was hoping to post some brief comments and analysis on Table Talks 63 and 66 this week, but as usual I write more slowly than I think I will. This next Table Talk excerpt is very brief, so I'll post it now and then try to return and post some analysis later in the week.

Table Talk # 72
20th November 1941

If the mental picture that Christians form of God were correct, the god of the ants would be an ant, and similarly for other animals.

20th August 2007, 06:40 AM