Atheists love to use Adolf Hitler as the prime example of Christianity’s big failure. In fact Hitler’s name gets thrown out there way too often in the most inappropriate contexts imaginable (i.e. comparisons of living political figures, etc.) That’s just immature. The problem I have with quoting Hitler is the practice of using Hitler quotes as an example of how every Christian in the world thinks. In fact Hitler is a good example of a person who claims to be a _________ (insert religion here) but is only using that religion as a tool to politicize his own mad visions of society. Religion is a tool; a weapon of mass destruction, so to speak, in order to get one’s own way. It’s blatantly unfair to attribute this tactic to all Christians and it’s scaremongering of the worst sort. It’s a prime example of the tit-for-tat schoolyard taunting of our childhood days. In this kind of “fight” atheists trot out Hitler and theists trot out Stalin or Mao as prime examples against each others belief systems. I will concede that if you eliminate the byline from any one of Hitler’s quotes, you can almost hear some of these words coming out of politically motivated Christian fundamentalists’ mouths, but that doesn’t prove that Christianity is wrong or bad. That just proves that Hitler was bad and that he used Christianity to give himself moral “clout.” Sure, a very vocal subset of Christianity is also using religion for its own political ends and in similar fashion, but, again, that does not extrapolate outwards to “all Christians think this” or “all Christians do that.” These quotes could also be put in the mouths of any one of the radical religious wings sprouting out of any of the world’s religions, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. True madmen use religion as a tool, nothing more; and of course, no one wants to be the first to roll over like sheep to the slaughter and be tyrannized by maniacs.
At any rate, it’s a pretty cheap shot and too easy to bring out just to make a point. Look, I despise what fundamentalist Christians have done to besmirch the name of Christianity as much as any progressive Christian can. They’ve done irreparable damage in the eyes of the world and it’s only gotten worse. I know that Christians can sometimes be their own worst enemies. But, do please recognize that not every person who claims to be religious or stamps themselves with one brand of religion is out to change society, or that they have a vision of eliminating “undesirables,” or that reasonable believers are even in the same league as those who see sin everywhere but in their own hearts. True Christians (and true believers in any faith system) know that true religion is not about imposing Puritanical standards on a society in the hopes that everyone will get in lockstep formation behind a leader. We’ve all seen that kind of religion over and over again! We KNOW this never works. (Why they keep trying I’ll never know!) Nope, the Beatles were right in their ultra-simplistic way. All we really do need is love, not the gooey kind, but the “willing to be wronged yet love and forgive others anyway” kind. Problem is, no one wants to be the first to practice it. Religionists (those who practice religion without heart) want to use violence to bring peaceful societies to fruition and other religionists want to use violence to bring violent societies to fruition. Unfortunately, there will never be peace in this world as long as this type of religion is used as a tool of destruction or as a weapon against others.
True religion is one that begins in the heart and changes individuals from the inside out, not the other way around. In fact ANY belief system works this way, including atheism and humanism. Any “ism” must change the hearts of its adherents or it’s merely just another totalitarian idea. You cannot make someone transform themselves by imposing impossible group standards of control upon people, ones based on maniacal interpretations of some ancient text. The world won’t be changed through attempting to prove that anyone’s personal belief system is “wrong” or that what I believe is more “right” than what you believe. It won’t be changed by changing political systems or by becoming a socialist country or by electing a Democrat instead of a Republican president. The world will NEVER change by changing governments or exchanging religion for atheism like we change our underwear and it certainly won’t be changed by eliminating religion altogether. Groups don’t change things, groups merely produce people who don’t think for themselves, who aren’t individuals first, who follow the herd, who only say what the group wants them to say. No, it is only through redemptive love for one another at a personal level that the world will ever change. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening any time soon.