Book Plunge: Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible

What do I think of Joseph Keysor’s book published by Athanatos Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I know I haven’t done a book plunge in awhile. It’s not because I haven’t been reading. It’s because I was reading books on the virgin birth, which I do affirm, and I didn’t plan to review those but to save them for a future ebook. If I read books relevant to future debates I have planned or future ebooks, I will not review those, but i will try to review books that aren’t relevant to those.

This is one I decided to get after Hitler came up in a discussion on my Facebook page. I was reading David Robertson’s Magnificent Obsession where he just casually recommended this one and being a fan of his, I decided I would get it. I thought it sounded like it would be a quick read at first. Not complaining, but I was sure wrong about that.

Keysor has definitely taken an in-depth look at Hitler and asked about his influences. Some people like to say that Hitler was heavily influenced by Martin Luther, but Keysor notes many many other people at the time that were more influential to Hitler. Now there is a downside here in that when Keysor introduces people and places, he doesn’t always explain them. The reader who doesn’t know will be lost at these parts.

However, he does quote numerous authorities in the area of Hitler research. He doesn’t hide at all that he is a Christian and is striving to show how much Nazism was opposed to Christianity. At the same time, he freely, and I think correctly, argues that Hitler wasn’t an atheist. If anything, we could say his god was more like a will to power that was vaguely pantheistic I think. His god agreed with him on the need of a pure race and the greatness of the German nation.

Keysor largely starts his work looking at the history of anti-semitism. This includes looking at various passages in the New Testament that are claimed to be anti-semitic. From there, he goes through history, of course with an in-depth look at Martin Luther, and then up to modern times. As one sees later in the book, there are a surprising number of German thinkers who had anti-semitic tendencies, including Kant and Nietzsche.

He then looks at Christians in Nazi Germany. Not all that was called Christian was Christian. There was a movement called Positive Christianity that was built around the alleged greatness of the Aryan Race claiming that Jesus Himself was an Aryan who decided to fight against the Jews. He also looks at Christians who stood up to the Nazi regime and points out times where the Catholic Church did as well, even though they get a lot of scorn for how they handled Hitler, and answers questions like why the Church handled Hitler the way it did, even though Keysor is definitely not a Roman Catholic.

From there, he looks at those who were influences on Hitler, including Wagner, Chamberlain, Nietzsche, and Haeckel. Mentioned also throughout regularly will be Darwin. At times, I thought Keysor was way too hard on philosophy and seemed to get preachy. I also think he too often made a split between evolution and Christianity, as if you couldn’t believe in both.

I do think he rightly points out that Hitler was not an idiot. He read well and had many influences on his thought, though he didn’t name them since he was to be the self-made man. He was also a politician through and through. He knew that if he came out and made several public anti-Christian statements that he would not get the support he wanted, so he would make a promise to the churches, they would accept, and the next day he would break it.

Nazi Germany was also incredibly scientific. The problem was they had no moral basis to guide their science and the science was used for whatever was good for Nazi Germany and if that meant gassing Jews and others, well that was what would be done. After all, humanity had to eliminate the undesirables.

Is some evolutionary thinking involved here? It would be hard to deny otherwise. That doesn’t say anything about the truth or falsehood of evolutionary theory. It does show that we shouldn’t try, if we believe in it, to force the process alone ourselves.

If there is any near comparison today, it is, of course, abortion. The unborn are made to be less than human and thus able to be killed and then this is done for the good of the rest of us. For many of us, this shows how far we have lost our moral grounding.

So this is still a good book, aside from the caveats of sometimes getting too preachy, downing philosophy at times, and making evolution and Christianity an either/or. I also suspect the writer is more in the Calvinistic camp as I did see some presuppositionalist tendencies. However, there is still a lot here to ponder and one will get introduced to other works, some I plan to get to someday.

If you want to study Hitler then, this is a good place to start.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Who Can Be Hitler?

What does it take to be so evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been reading a book about Hitler and the evil of his regime. The book is also looking at the possible influences that Hitler had. Something to be sure of is that Hitler was no idiot. He was very well-read. He believed strongly in the science of his day and was opposed to the Christianity that we have today. Many times he could say something different in public, but this was before he had the power that he had and like many politicians, he changed his phrasing to fit his audience.

Here are a few observations. First off, if we compare anyone to Hitler today, we really need to stop doing so. Okay. You don’t like Trump. Unless you can show me where he intentionally killed millions of people, the comparison is not valid. Okay. You don’t like Biden. Unless you can show me where he intentionally killed millions of people, the comparison is not valid. We minimize the evil of Hitler when we do this and we minimize the suffering of millions of Jews and others under this wicked man.

However, there is a far greater concern that should be had. Who could be the next Hitler? The concern I have here is I know exactly who it could be.

“Okay, Nick. Tell us who this next evil person is? Kamala Harris? Joe Biden? Donald Trump? Putin? Anthony Fauci? Who?”

You won’t like the answer. I don’t.

The answer of who could be the next one is you and me.

“But I don’t have the power that Hitler had!”

But what if you did? What if you found yourself in a position of power? We all would like to think we are using it for good. If we are, what could be wrong? Here’s the thing. Hitler was convinced he was using his power for good either. The advance of the German people was good for humanity in his mind and also in his mind, the destruction of people like the Jews was good for humanity.

How many people have been an employee in a business and thought “If I was a manager, I would treat my employees differently” and yet when they get to the power of being a manager, they act just like the people they condemned? I have seen it and I’m sure you have. Did the power really change these people? No. It just revealed what had already been there.

The question we have to ask ourselves is how do we treat our neighbor and sincerely in our heart of hearts. It’s easy to put on a face in front of people and treat them nicely when it’s in public, all the while despising them beneath. That is actually something Hitler did. He assured the churches nothing would happen to them, and immediately when he got into power he began breaking his word.

We all struggle with this to some extent. I have a saying I have shared before that if you want to know how much you love Jesus, look at the person you like the least. How much you love them is how much you really love Jesus. That person is just as much in the image of God as you are.

What can you do then? Learn to love your brother better. Realize the capacity to be Hitler is just as much in you as it was in Hitler. You can be that evil and if you were given power, who knows what you would do with it? Would you do great evil convincing yourself it was for the good of humanity?

If you also think this could never happen to you, then I fear that you are far more prone to have it happen to you.

What is the solution? The only solution I know of is the resurrection of Jesus and His life. It’s learning to love as He did. His ethic and life is the only hope we have. The next Hitler is indeed right here right now. We have met him. It is you and I.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

D-Day

How should we think about what happened 75 years ago? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

75 years ago today America and other countries took on the forces of evil. We made our first big move in the war. Historians of World War II can better debate if it was even possible for Hitler to win. I’m not such a historian so I will leave it for them.

What is commonly said is that so many of these young men storming the beaches of Normandy were going knowing they were essentially being fodder to draw the fire of bullets for those who would come after them. Many of you know that I have a very soft spot here seeing as I am a husband now. I can’t help but think of many women back in America who became widows and many children who lost Daddy on this day.

And this all because of human evil, the evil of one very depraved man. Many of us can often say that we are not Hitler, and we are right, but how many of us, if we had the power and opportunity, would be like him? We would all like to say that we are not, but we should all realize that the thin line between good and evil runs through all of us.

Yet also, how many of us would be willing to be those first soldiers? Would we willingly give our lives like that for people we don’t even know? I’ve already said that many husbands never saw their wives again. There are also many men who never saw the women that they had hoped to marry one day again. All of them were willing to put their lives on the line for something greater than themselves.

Do we live for something greater than ourselves? Is our happiness central?

We can also realize that all of these young men played a part in the constant war of good and evil. They played a part, but you and I play a part as well. Every day we are working to either serve good or serve evil. With every good action, we are making the world a better place and bringing in the Kingdom of God more and more. With every evil action, we are making it a worse place and bringing in the Kingdom of the devil more and more. Sure, God will use any evil we do for good, but we must not do evil saying good will result.

Today, we live in a world without the Nazi regime as it was at least. Evil was stopped. Evil can be stopped. Evil can be defeated. We did it, and hopefully, if it ever arises like that again, we will do it again. Keep in mind that this all happened in our modern world as well where we tend to believe we are so enlightened and so much better than our primitive ancestors of the past. We all still have the thin line between good and evil in us and one of the surest signs that we are giving in to the power of evil is that we think we are not capable of giving in to the power of evil.

Years ago a friend said something to me that I have never forgotten. I made the comment about the love of God that if we were the only person out there, Jesus would have come for us. I was told that this was true, and that if we were the only one, we would have crucified Him as well.

I sadly think he’s right.

Today, take some time and remember our fallen heroes of the past. Take some time to honor the ones we have today. If you see someone who serves or has served in our armed forces, thank them for their service. Thank you also to the families who have someone who died in D-Day.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Christian Delusion Chapter 14

Was atheism the cause of the holocaust? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter of John…..what was his name again…..oh yeah! Loftus! In this chapter, we are looking at Hector Avalos responding to Dinesh D’Souza. Again, I was not going to go through D’Souza again just to respond to Avalos which is something quite bothersome about the book. You can read several chapters responding to works that you might or might not have read but you don’t necessarily have access to. Why not just make the case on your own and tangentially touch other critics who respond?

This time, we’re talking about the holocaust. Was atheism responsible for it? I’ll say outright, no. I don’t think Hitler was an atheist. Could he have had some ideas friendly to atheism? Sure, but he was not an atheist and he was not a Christian either. He was something else entirely.

Avalos starts by talking about Stalin and saying he wasn’t killing for atheistic reasons. Of course, dynamiting churches must have been purely accidental. The thing about Stalin is what he did was entirely consistent with atheism. There is not a single tenet of atheism that Stalin violated by murdering millions of his people.

Avalos also says Communism is a collectivism that was practiced in the early church. However, this was practiced in only one community and when people sold and gave to the cause, they could keep part of what they had for themselves. It was also completely voluntary. No one forced them to give.

Avalos also talks about the couple that died for lying. What they were doing was actually more honor-grabbing. They were wanting to look like people who gave all they had without doing so, intentionally shaming the church. The judgment was swift to show that sin is still treated seriously in the early church. Note also Peter didn’t do the deed himself.

Avalos does rightly point out that Positive Christianity played a role in the Nazi regime. This Christianity was a really anti-Semitic version that made Marcion look friendly by comparison. It is in no way representative of Biblical Christianity at all.

Avalos says that this movement represents a reinterpretation of Christianity, which explains the 25,000 denominations today. Even some Roman Catholics are acknowledging that that number is a myth. However, if we have a version of Christianity show up that is far and away from any connection to the church historical, we can have just grounds for questioning it.

I really don’t plan on responding to much else in this chapter because I am not an expert on Hitler and his stance. I also don’t think it makes much of a difference in the long run. Christianity depends on the resurrection of Jesus and even if Hitler said he was a Christian, regardless of what all he did, that doesn’t change Christian truth. It could be an interesting point to discuss, but let’s not get ignore that Christianity does not depend on this.

Those interested in more should listen to my interview with J.P. Holding on his book Hitler’s Christianity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Atheist Manifesto Part 4

Should we be concerned about a theocracy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Theocracy. I hear atheists crying out about it numerous times as if this is the dream of every Christian. Now in some sense, Christians do believe in theocracy. We do believe that one day God will be truly recognized as king throughout the world and that that will come through Christ. This does not mean that we think that that means some men should rise up, claim to speak for God, and enforce one religion by law.

But yeah, atheists always think the latter is what we’re really pushing for. Every Christian wants Christianity to be the law of the land. I can’t remember the last time I met someone who thinks this way, but this person is the exception.

Still, Onfray has a whole chapter devoted to this. One of the starting points is about the Gospels. They were written about a half-century afterward and we don’t have any copies until the second or third century. If anything, most ancient historians would be ecstatic if the majority of works from the ancient world were like that, if not all ancient historians.

Naturally, Onfray appeals to Hitler saying Hitler appealed to the making of the whip by Jesus in the temple. Obviously then, John is responsible for Hitler. Absent is any mention of the effects of Nietzsche on Hitler, whom Onfray spoke of favorably, but hey, double standards are no big deal. Right? It also doesn’t matter that Nietzsche’s philosophy could naturally lead to a Hitler while John’s theology doesn’t.

Later on he has even more claims. The RCC approved the rearming of Germany in the 1930’s. They signed a concordat with Hitler when he took office in 1933. They were silent over the boycott of Jewish businesses, Nuremberg racial laws in 1935, and Kristallnacht in 1938. They provided Hitler with genealogical records so he could know who was and wasn’t Christian. They aided the pro-Nazi Ustachi regime of Ante Pavelic in Croatia. They gave absolution to the Vichy regime in 1940. They also never condemned the destruction happening in 1942. They offered a requiem in memory of Hitler and set up a network to smuggle war criminals out of Europe. They also entered into their ranks people who performed tasks for Hitler. Hitler was never excommunicated and Mein Kampf was never on the list of forbidden books. Keep in mind, all of these are presented as facts.

I am not a historian of the time period so I cannot say, but I remain skeptical. We saw the facts that Onfray presented about the existence of Jesus. It sounds more like conspiracy theories and the Vatican is always a favorite topic of those. Also mentioned would be the idea of Nazis having emblazoned on their belts, “God with us” which makes as much sense as saying that atheists in America that spend coins with “In God We Trust” on them must be closet theists.

Of course, Onfray writes about slavery. There will be zero bothering to look and see scholarly responses. Onfray is sufficient with throwing out something and the implication being “This is offensive!” without bothering to see anything that is on the other side. Remember, Onfray’s book has no bibliography or notes of any kind.

There is not much more that can be said. Onfray wants to throw out anything and hope that it sticks and his book is written with no apparent structure. It is the rant of someone who needs to be better informed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 11/23/2013: J.P. Holding

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

If any name makes people think of evil, it is the name of Adolf Hitler. There is even a law of internet debates that the first one to bring up Hitler in a debate loses. If you live in Germany, you cannot order Mein Kampf in German from Amazon. If anyone has been seen as the embodiment of evil, it is Adolf Hitler.

And the cry of so many atheists today is that Hitler was a Christian and spoke highly of Christianity.

Is that true?

My guest this Saturday, J.P. Holding of Tektonics Education and Apologetics Ministry, also my ministry partner, says no. He says in fact that Hitler had a cult group of his own that was called Positive Christianity. It did not originate with Hitler, but it did finds its best fulfillment in the views of Hitler.

In fact, he Wrote a book on this topic called “Hitler’s Christianity.” Holding in this book shows Hitler in fact did not hold to anything that could be remotely considered orthodoxy, like so many other groups today, and that even Marcion would not recognize what Hitler had done with the Bible.

He also answers other charges about the religious beliefs of Hitler. Was Hitler into the occult? Was Hitler an atheist? In doing so, Holding will also point out writers who are not good researchers of Hitler and where they go wrong with their research. There is also for those interested a chapter on which sources that are considered often primary sources are really sources that can be relied upon.

What about those who were by Hitler’s side? Did he surround himself with like-thinking people? Were any of his major leaders devoted to Jesus Christ? Naturally, not everyone on Hitler’s staff would share the exact same views, but what would it mean if someone did in fact hold to orthodox Christianity who was a strong supporter of Hitler so much so that Hitler put him on staff? On the other hand, what would it mean if Hitler surrounded himself with no such people?

What about other charges in relation to Hitler? Didn’t the Nazis have belts that said “God with us.”? Isn’t it true that the Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler? Aren’t we just using special pleading if we want to say that Hitler wasn’t really a Christian?

And of course, there’s a section on anti-semitism that is supposedly in the Bible. Is the NT an anti-semitic document? What about passages that are often used to show that the work is truly opposed to Judaism?

Of course, anyone interested in seeing about the book is free to go and look at my review that can be found here.

So be listening in this Saturday from 3-5 PM EST to the Deeper Waters Podcast as we talk about Hitler’s Christianity with J.P. Holding of Tektonics.org. The phone number if you want to be a part of the discussion is 714-242-5180.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters