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)

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

Book Plunge: Hitler’s Christianity

Can we say Hitler was a Christian? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

My ministry partner, J.P. Holding, sent me this book he wrote for my own review of it. While he has long held that Hitler wasn’t a Christian (And for that matter, wasn’t an atheist either), this book marked some in-depth research done on the topic of Christianity, since while Hitler wasn’t a Christian, he did make claims to be one.

As it turns out, the Nazi movement instead had a teaching called Positive Christianity. This would be a cult of Christianity that went so much against the Jewishness that existed in the Bible that even Marcion would not recognize the Bible.

Deeply revealing in the book is the idea of the way the German church was at the time of the rise of Hitler. Critical scholarship had been undermining the text, there was not a major emphasis on doctrine and most churches were not well-informed on doctrine, and charismatic speakers could easily win the day.

Also, there was the strong emphasis on nationalism as the German people saw themselves in a unique position. I find this a timely warning since I myself am a strong conservative who holds to conservative political viewpoints as well and who does love my country, but we should not equate conservatism in politics with orthodoxy in Christianity. I know several Christians who are political liberals. I disagree with them on that issue, but I do not deny that they are true Christians.

Holding in the book takes a deep look at what Positive Christianity believed and also at some of the most important figures in the Nazi movement. He also warns against sources that are not reliable that often try to paint out Hitler to be an occultist. While there were people in the Nazi party who had an interest in the occult, Hitler was not one of them.

Also, Holding covers issues that could be raised in objection such as the idea that the Nazis had emblems that said “God with us.” He also answers the question about why it is that the Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler.

Furthermore, there’s a section in there on the NT and asking if it is anti-semitical. Holding takes the works of leading scholars on the passages most often used by those who want to say the NT is an anti-semitical document and shows that these positions do not stand up to scrutiny.

It’s important for us to take a look at Hitler in his time and context in history and not read our ideas into what he said. Also, we must realize that as a politician as well, Hitler could say things that were politically advantageous without having them really be accurate.

If there was one area I would like to have seen addressed, it would have been the charge that much of what Hitler got came from Martin Luther supposedly. That is the only aspect that I did not see covered that I would have liked to have seen something on. On the other hand, many atheists should be surprised and hopefully pleased to realize that Holding does not base the holocaust on evolutionary theory as well, as I think there’s only one section where it really says anything about Darwinism.

In conclusion, I recommend this book. It will be necessary reading for any who engage atheists on the topic of if Hitler was a Christian or not.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

%d bloggers like this: