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December 18, 2006


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Anthony Paul Smith

For someone who makes offhand comments about reading closely you sure know the fine practice of missing the point, evading the point, and misconstruing the point. Please though, calling me a sophist is really helping, countinue with that.


Or an alternative explanation might be that I disagreed with the point and tried to explain why. Of course, it's difficult to say as you haven't here followed the standard practice of explaining what point was missed and how you were misconstrued, but merely asserted that you were.

Anthony Paul Smith

I'm not one for standard practices and I also feel I've wasted enough time with this. I feel a certain sense of exasparation with you as each time I try to explain myself you twist it into saying something I can't even recognize.

Adam Kotsko

I AM NOT POSITING A TRANSCENDENT ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY!!! This is a *historical* question, and all of your "theory" is just avoiding the central point that based on the evidence, the Nazis considered themselves to be anti-Christian, but they had to co-opt the Christians in order to remain in power. The Christians were in fact co-opted and were complicit with the movement. This does not make Nazism a form of Christianity, since *it never officially claimed to be a form of Christianity.* I am fucking TAKING THEM AT THEIR WORD, you stubborn bastard.


Adam--I disagree with your characterization of Hbitler as anti-Christian and of the Nazi's as anti-Christian. It's like saying because they had irrational elements in their ideology, they were non-rationalistic (Habermas's position which is also demonstrably false). I linked to an article about this a few days ago. here is an excerpt:

"In 1937, Hitler said that because of Germany's belief in God and God's favoritism towards Germany, the country would prevail and prosper. "We, therefore, go our way into the future with the deepest belief in God. Would all we have achieved been possible had Providence not helped us? I know that the fruits of human labor are hard-won and transitory if they are not blessed by the Omnipotent. Work such as ours which has received the blessings of the Omnipotent can never again be undone by mere mortals,"he said.

While attempting to solidify his power, Hitler also denounced those who denounced religion -- as if he were talking about Hollywood or blue states or Noam Chomsky. "For eight months we have been conducting a fearless campaign against that Communism which is threatening our entire nation, our culture, our art, and our public morals, "Hitler said in a speech in Oct. 1933. "We have made an end of denials of the Deity and the crying down of religion."

Also, Andrew's point about the veneration of the founders as ending up as a kind of default position of the secularists is a good one. I would say, though, that the history of the US is not as a theocracy or 'Christian nation' and that one can assert that without venerating the founders.

Anthony Paul Smith

This is the kind of sloppiness that grates on my nerves. If someone uses the word God in a speech, does that make them Christian? As if there was some Christian institution that could be called upon to support that speech? Nazi Germany was not a religious government, it was not a theocracy and it was certainly not operating under the auspices of any organized church. In fact, it had criticims of organized churches, anti-Catholicism was in its public doctrine.

I'm not saying that Hitler didn't use religion or wasn't in some sense religious himself. But to claim that Christianity was the dominant religion of the Nazi government (ie. they consulted Christian leaders in policy making) is factually wrong. There are even speeches that Heidegger made during this time as Nazi rector against Christianity and it's moral teachings.

A recent book is pretty interesting on this topic: http://www.nazireligions.com/

Adam Kotsko

Jodi, In what context did he say that? Do Christians normally just talk about "the Omnipotent"? Sure, people can hear the Christian God in there, just as they can hear it in the Declaration of Independence -- that doesn't mean it's what he's talking about. And isn't the strategic importance of deploying religion in order to discredit the communists obvious?

While obviously we disagree, at least you're actually talking about facts! The stakes of this particular branch of the conversation are not especially high, since I never deny that Christianity has taken destructive forms. Nazism just doesn't seem to be a form of Christianity, and a couple quotes are not going to change my mind -- since my entire point is that the Nazis used references to Christianity in order to bring the Christians along.

One could plausibly say, however, that Nazism was an attempt at a new form of religion.


So I wake up late here on the West Coast, get the coffee, fire up the browser, hmmm what is ICite up to now? Good god (small g), so much to read (it must be winter break). A couple of quotes did hit me:

"And, frankly, I don't know that Gingrich is all that wrong."

Ok, I'll forgive that as anger - not serious.

"Do you honestly believe the revisionist history that the founding fathers didn't 'really' believe all that?"

"Let's try and remember, please, that Jefferson was one person in the founding of the country and even he was a proponent of this religion without religion.."

Oh, that hurts - I think the historical view is that they were deists (a view I am considering adopting) and certainly were trying to get away from the English/Dutch/Scottish crazies (many of which settled in the South and started that great 'religious' institution, slavery).

BTW, most likely diests would be burned at the stake by today's (small c) chri... (I can't use the word, it's too inflamatory). But a few quotes (Google is a wonderful thing) from a mix of Founding Fathers, American politcal players, Enlightenment thinkers:

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
- Abraham Lincoln

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies."
- Benjamin Franklin,

"The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."
- Elizabeth Cady-Stanton

"The Christian faith from the beginning, is sacrifice: the sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of spirit; it is at the same time subjection, a self-derision, and self-mutilation."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."
- James Madison

"The time appears to me to have come when it is the duty of all to make their dissent from religion known."
- John Stuart Mill

"The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."
- Thomas Jefferson

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. "
- Thomas Paine

"The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one."
- David Hume

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