Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Darwin, Hitler... and Christianity

Having no actual evidence, creationists engage in character assassination in an attempt to discredit the theory of evolution, and a common ploy is to pretend that Darwin was a major influence on Hitler.

The reality is that Hitler was far more influenced by Christianity.

They do not mention that. But if they say that Darwinism should be abandoned because it was an influence on Hitler, then surely they must also agree that Christianity should likewise be abandoned, if there is good evidence it was an influence, right?

I mean, surely these Christians are not hypocrites...

Houston Stewart Chamberlain

I thought it would be interesting to compare the impact of Darwin on Hitler to that that of Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Like Darwin, Chamberlain was English, but he took German citizenship in 1916.

He is best known for his book, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, written in 1899. First published in Germany, it became a best seller and was later translated into English and French.

President Theodore Roosevelt wrote about it:
"... a man who can write such a really beautiful and solemn appreciation of true Christianity, of true acceptance of Christ's teachings and personality, as Mr. Chamberlain has done, [...] represents an influence to be reckoned with and seriously to be taken into account."

So let there be no doubt that Chamberlain was a Christian, that he was vocal about his Christianity, and that his Christianity informed his views.

A couple of quotes from his book:
Certain anthropologists would fain teach us that all races are equally gifted; we point to history and answer: that is a lie! The races of mankind are markedly different in the nature and also in the extent of their gifts, and the Germanic races belong to the most highly gifted group, the group usually termed Aryan...
About the Jews, he said:
Their existence is sin, their existence is a crime against the holy laws of life.
Not only the Jew, but also all that is derived from the Jewish mind, corrodes and disintegrates what is best in us.
Quotes from here.

So let there be no doubt that Chamberlain was a racist, and specifically he was anti-Semitic.

Some quotes from this web site that give an interesting biography of the man:
In his essay Der Wille zum Sieg, 1916, he wrote: "Die Deutschen stehen bereit; ihnen fehlt nur der vom heiligen Geist eingesetzte Fuhrer" - The Germans are ready for it; all that is missing is a God-sent Fuhrer

Many argue that Chamberlain's work influenced Adolf Hitler, although the precise links are unclear. The two men did meet in Bayreuth on September 30th, 1923, on a so-called "German day". Chamberlain, who was by now elderly, ill and embittered, regarded Hitler as Germany's future saviour, and after this meeting he wrote to Hitler: "In no way do you resemble the descriptions depicting you as a fanatic. I even believe that you are the absolute opposite of a fanatic. [...] The fanatic wants to persuade people, you want to convince them, and to convince only." (8)
In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote:
Those who had the government of the country in their hands were quite as indifferent to principles of civil wisdom laid down by thinkers like H. S. Chamberlain as our political leaders now are. These people are too stupid to think for themselves..
It is interesting to note that the third section of The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, was called Der Kampf.

So let there be no doubt that Chamberlain was an influence on Hitler.

Martin Luther

Luther, founder of Protestantism, is almost as famous for his anti-Semitism. Here is his advice on how Jews should be treated:
First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. ...
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. ...
Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. ...
Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. ...
Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. ...
Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. ...
It is worth noting Martin Luther's influence on Hitler. Here is Hitler on Luther.
I do insist on the certainty that sooner or later—once we hold power—Christianity will be overcome and the German church, without a Pope and without the Bible, and Luther, if he could be with us, would give us his blessing.
To them belong, not only the truly great statesmen, but all other great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin Luther as well as Richard Wagner.
So again we have a man who is not just a Christian, but is outspoken on his Christianity, who is vehemently anti-Semitic, and who we know Hitler held in high regard, because we have Hitler's own words stating just that.

The Long Lead Up to the Holocaust

The sad truth is that Christianity has a long, long history of anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust was the end result. The seeds were planted within decades of Jesus' crucifixion:
Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
The violence started rather later (but long, long before Darwin). It is worth reading about blood libel too, to see how deeply this attitude was embedded in Christianity.

Can we abandon Christianity now?

Of course the same Christians trying to link Darwin and Hitler are the ones who are notoriously bad at looking at evidence that contradicts their faith-based opinions. Truth does not matter when you have a religion to promote it seems.

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