This post is an addendum to my Book Write-Up on Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. This post will briefly discuss Adolf Hitler’s views on religion, as they are expressed in this book. This is significant because of contemporary debates about Hitler’s religion, as some regard him as a Christian, others see him as an atheist, and others label him a pagan or an occultist.
- Hitler frequently refers to “Fate” thrusting him into situations rather than “God.” At least one time, he referred to the “gods.” This could be a literary device, or perhaps he is giving a nod to paganism, as some suggest. Occasionally, Hitler refers to God, as when he states that, by opposing the Jew, he is doing the work of the Lord
- Hitler expresses admiration for the Catholic church because it commands the loyalty of so many people, from so many walks of life.
- Hitler also sees a valuable place for religion in German society: it provides people, especially the working class, with a moral code.
- Hitler makes use of the Bible when it suits him. In criticizing the Jews, he refers to Christ’s cleansing of the Temple.
- As was stated in my Book Write-Up, Hitler criticizes the Jews for their disbelief in an afterlife. Adherence to a belief in personal immortality, in his eyes, is a mark of strength and ennobles human beings. Jews, in Hitler’s mind, focus on gain in this life and seek to undermine humanity for the sake of power.
- I do not recall Hitler saying anything about the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Hitler says that the Jews are incapable of forming a state of their own, since they are ruthless towards each other, so they gain power by being parasites on the accomplishments of others. As I said in my Book Write-Up, though, I wonder how Hitler would reconcile that sentiment with the existence of an Israelite state in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Would he deny that the biblical Jews were the ancestors of the Jews of his day, as some anti-Semites today claim that modern-day Jews are descended from the Khazars (converts to Judaism) rather than the biblical Jews? But that would run contrary to Hitler’s appeal to Christ’s cleansing of the Temple in his attempt to justify anti-Semitism, since the Khazars converted centuries later than the time of the historical Jesus. I recall a book that I read years ago for a paper, Theologians Under Hitler, and one such theologian argued that Christ was not a Jew because Galilee was populated by other people. Is this what Hitler thought? Another reason that I wonder what Hitler thought about the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is that some contemporary anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish writings are quite critical of the biblical Jews or the ancient Israelites, including such luminaries as Moses.
My impression in reading this book is that Hitler was not particularly religious himself, but he saw religion as a valuable tool. What he prioritized was the German people and nation.
I hesitantly leave open the comments, in case someone has new information to add. I will not continually re-edit this post in light of new information, though. Snarky and snotty comments will not be accepted.