Christian theologians under Hitler: Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus and Emanuel Hirsch

In the days after World War II, a convenient story was told of church leaders and ordinary Christians that defied the Nazis from the beginning. Recent research has uncovered a very different story. Rather than resisting, the greater part of the German Church saw Hitler’s rise in 1933 as an act of God’s blessing, a new chapter in the story of God among the German people.

This film, based upon groundbreaking research, introduces the viewer to three of the greatest Christian scholars of the twentieth century: Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch, and Gerhard Kittel, men who were also outspoken supporters of Hitler and the Nazi party. In 1933 Althaus spoke of Hitler’s rise as “a gift and miracle of God.” Hirsch saw 1933 as a “sunrise of divine goodness.” And Kittel, the editor of the standard reference work on the Jewish background of the New Testament (still used in universities today – I recall consulting it at the University of London), began working for the Nazis to find a “moral” rationale for the destruction of European Jewry.

This film asks: how could something like this happen in the heart of Christian Europe? Could it happen again? How does the scholarship of this period affect the church today? Does the church of today retain the ability to recognize profound evil?

 



Categories: Christian extremism, Christianity, Extremism, History, Life in the West

34 replies

  1. No Paul No, your not getting this right. It was the Muslims that were to blame for the Nazis not the erm.. Nazis!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not sure this is new at all. A basic reading would reveal that the “German Christians” in the early era of hitlers reign thought he would bring honour and pride back to German culture, after the devestation of WW1 and the dismantling of the German monarch.

    However, there was a key group that resisted, Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, etc. they became the confessing church after reform of the state church became impossible.

    You need to remember that the nazis and butler did not reveal heir cards all at once- first they used the church, then when they had the power, the demolished it.

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    • Paulus is correct, stating fact that in 1933 there where German Christians who where in favor of the Nazis is nothing new or even surprising. It was 1933 not 1943.

      Adolf in 1933 was telling Germans that they were the best of people, and non Germans or Non Aryans where the WORST of people. Hmmm that sounds kind of familiar I wonder where I heard that before lol.

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    • The NT and most evangelicals is where you heard it before and after…

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    • thirstforknowledge78 you must really be dehydrated.

      Can you show me new testament where it says Christians are the best of people and everyone else is the worst?

      Cause I can show you in the quran where it says that

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    • @I agree with Paulus

      Qur’an doesn’t say Christian are best of people. Does it?

      Rather it says “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . ”
      https://quran.com/3/110

      BTW even ardent Zionists, like Tom Friedman say that if Muslims ruled europe, there would be no holocaust.

      That is some thing European/Christians have to struggle with. That is your legacy , not ours. No amount projecting it on Muslims/others will solve your problem and take away from history that it were Europeans not Muslims who did that.

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    • IrrationalMuslim responds…

      “Qur’an doesn’t say Christian are best of people. Does it?

      Rather it says “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . ”
      https://quran.com/3/110

      My response: No the Quran does not say that about Christians, it says that about MUSLIMS, kind of like what Adulf Hilter said about the German Nation they were the best….

      What it does say about Christians and other Non Muslims is this….

      “Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures.”

      Kind of like what Adulf said about Non Muslims even made a movie the Eternal Jew where he compared them to virus infected rats.

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    • Thirstforknowlegde

      So you never answered me show me the verse in the NT where it says Christians are the best of people or Best of Nation?

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    • Paul you should talk to your doctor about you always yawning, as it is a symptom of sleep apenia

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    • not in this case. It is an indication of how dull you are saying the same thing over and over under countless different names. BORING!

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    • Paul says …

      “you are saying the same thing over and over under countless different names.”

      LOL thats called PROJECTION lol.

      Btw Paul I am many things but dull is not one of them lol

      Like

  3. For example: in the one hadeeth

    https://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/2

    “‏ إِنَّ أَوَّلَ زُمْرَةٍ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ

    The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon

    Any any kind of physical resemblance is no implied. Rather it is loftiness, purity and beauty of this group is implied. That is how arabic ( or any) language works.

    In the same way even if one isists adam was made in “Allah;’s image” it doesn’t imply any kind of literal similitude, rather it implies the importance that Allah has bestowed upon mankind. BTW this is clear example of “taweel” of Allah’s attribute that our salafi brothers so vehemently deny.

    Also in Islam we take all verses and hadeeth together. So when Allah says “he is nothing like anything” then there are these details, we put them together and then have one common understanding.

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  4. I listened to the whole thing now. He cracks me up

    “Samad” doesn’t meant solid. This guy didn’t bother to consult any of the major book on grammar and he didn’t quote any major tafseer to support this meaning of the word.

    As for some of the hadeeth that he quote which apparently says Allah is solid, I will need to check their “isnad” to see if they are acceptable. It is not OK to just quote hadeeth without giving opinions of scholars about its classifications.

    The classical scholars would write all types of hadeeth in their works with isnad and often leave the judgment to readers and normally they wrote these books for scholars not for average people.

    So now quoting from these works without giving opinions of major scholars is not write. Islam doesn’t work that way.

    Allah is not made of any material, he has no resemblance with creation, he is timeless, he existed before time and will exist for ever, he is in no need of anything. These are something that is universally accepted among all branches of Islam.

    And even if for argument sake lets say Allah is solid, but unlike anything in creation. Can he or me or anyone fathom this “solid” being? Why is that a problem for this guy? What is he trying to prove? How does this help his cause?

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    • Rational and I thought you listened to it. The word is a mystery word that has lost its original meaning of Solid lol. Now it may mean something else but in the time of Mohamed it meant solid.

      And he quoted scholars to back it up.

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    • human mind can’t comprehend anything beyond what is in this material world and many thing is in nature. For example can’t you comprehend “consciousness? Also can we comprehend how one God who is beyond this universe controls all of its affairs and has knowledge of even minutes atoms movement anywhere in His universe?

      God can be whatever he choose himself to be. I am not saying he is solid. But suppose he is, so what? He can describe himself as solid without being composed of material things. Matter related to God’s essence is beyond our comprehension. Tell me if you don;t believe any of this.

      He is living without any life sustaining substance
      He is knowledgeable without having a brain like us
      He existed before existence of anything in universe
      He knows present/past/future of everything in universe.

      I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that I believe but I can’t comprehend any of this .

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    • When Christian read Bible they distort it, and when they read Quran they do the same. Apart from some anthropomorphic sects, no one has ever understood it this way. So what is his point?

      FAIL

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    • RationalMuslim

      For someone who has Rational in his nic you sure seem to say alot of irrational things.

      You wrote…

      God can be whatever he choose himself to be. I am not saying he is solid. But suppose he is, so what? He can describe himself as solid without being composed of material things. Matter related to God’s essence is beyond our comprehension. Tell me if you don;t believe any of this.

      My response: Funny you say God can be whatever he chooses for himself. Anything that is except become incarnate LOL. But putting that inconsistency aside can God be Evil? Can God Lie? Can God be un just?

      .

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  5. https://quran.com/42

    Read verses 1:12 in this Surah. Does this really what Anthony is trying to say? Shame

    Like

  6. Samad: the same surah where this word appears states explicitly in 112:4 “there is none like him”

    http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=112&verse=1

    Check out all the different translations here

    http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/112/4/default.htm

    Yet your “sheikh” has taken liberty upon himself to distort and question this statement and say that Muslims haven;t understood this one! wow

    As for “samad being translated as “solid” , i have already explained, it can’t be literally solid. Even salafis when they insist that Allah has these attribute, also insist that we don’t compare these to anything in creation. So there goes your “sheikhs” tafseer.

    If God has chosen to describe himself having hand, feet, eyes, face etc, he alone knows it details. Our brain is not madeup to understand His essence. I can;t understand how can something that is nothing like anything in universe, can exist. He is not even like soul , angel, consciousness, mind, etc etc because these are HIS creations.

    We are told in many ahadeeth that in the next life we will be able to see as will have new set of eyes that will be capable of seeing Him. So if you insist on translating “samad” as solid [although the evidence for this is so week], it still makes no difference to Muslims.

    Some aspect of “solid” that we humans can easily understand is as follows

    [u quoted “Bijan Moeinia God is Solid (and does not need anyone’s help.)”]

    He doesn’t need any help, does’t need food, sustenance, does’t change, doesn’t excrete, doesn’t urinate, is firm etc etc.

    We can understand these aspects. But His essence being solid [if we accept that contention] will still be not known to us. How can He be NOT MADEUP OF ANYTHING IN UNIVERSE AND YET BE SOLID.

    The burden of proof is upon your :”sheikh”. BTW as i said these contentions are nothing new. mujassimeen of past [and present like nation of Islam] have used and argued like your sheikh.

    Like

    • Irrational Muslim said…

      “Check out all the different translations here”

      And I say check out the translation from Bijan Moeinian that you can check out here.

      http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/112/2/default.htm

      You can keep appealing to modern translations that translate the word differently but the fact remains and it is a fact that this word that only appears once in the quran had the meaning during the time of your prophet of “not hollow” or “Solid”.

      You said “As for “samad being translated as “solid” , i have already explained, it can’t be literally solid. Even salafis when they insist that Allah has these attribute, also insist that we don’t compare these to anything in creation. So there goes your “sheikhs” tafseer. ”

      My response: Prove it. Why can’t it “literally be a solid” if its a solid not like any solid? Just like Allahs two rights hands are literally two right hands just not like any right hands we have but they are still right hands.

      You wrote… “If God has chosen to describe himself having hand, feet, eyes, face etc, he alone knows it details”

      Ok but there still HANDS and FEET etc…

      You said…

      “He doesn’t need any help, does’t need food, sustenance, does’t change, doesn’t excrete, doesn’t urinate, is firm etc etc. ”

      My response since your religion is so irrational with “he is a solid but not like any solid” and “his hands and feet are not like our hands and feet”. Why can’t he excrete and urinate but just not like what we excrete and urinate?

      You said…

      ” How can He be NOT MADEUP OF ANYTHING IN UNIVERSE AND YET BE SOLID.”

      Yes how indeed my friend how indeed LOL. Ponder on that my friend and see how irrational your religion is.

      Like

  7. Samad supposedly means “eternally sufficient unto himself” according to the study quran. How does a seemingly simple word carry so much philosophical content?

    This just seems to be an anachronistic and arbitrary assignment of meaning by modern translators which has no support in the non religious arabic literature of the day, assuming there was any.

    It just seems that the translators want the word to have this meaning but they have no proof for it beyond their own wishful thinking. It looks good and it has a mysterious and awesome ring to it so let’s use it to impress the reader.

    Where is the proof that this was the popular meaning of the word at the time the quran was written?

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    • Bogus. the meaning of the word is well known.

      Like

    • Irrational Muslim wrote…

      “Bogus. the meaning of the word is well known.”

      My response: You can’t be serious. You yourself posted different translations with various different meaning of the word. If it is as you say “well known” then why so many different translations of the word?

      Second if the meaning of the word is well known then why did early Muslims believe it meant “solid” or “not hollow”?

      Third why did these Muslims believe that allah is “solid” or “half solid and half hollow”?

      Like

    • I can’t help if you are unable to open a dictionary. Lots of words in lots language often has multiple meanings. Does that mean those words in all those languages are not clear! insane!!!!!!!!

      Like

    • Irrational Muslim wrote…

      “Lots of words in lots language often has multiple meanings. ”

      My response LOL yes words do have domains, however there is a similarity in the meaning. Words can not mean totally different things as in the case of the English translation of Samad.

      Lets just look at a few English translations.

      “Eternal Refuge” and “Besought of all.” What does a refuge and besought by all have to do with each other. NOTHING.

      Or “Absolute” and “Whom all depend” what does “absolute” have to do with “Whom all depend”? Nothing.

      Or this one which really isn’t a translation since its in parentheses.

      ” (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).”

      Where do you get “eats or drinks” from any of the translations above? Where “self-sufficient Master” in any of the other translations. The only thing that this explanation has in common with the above translations is “Whom all creatures need” with “whom all depend” but thats only one translation. (my bet is that is what you will focus on ignoring all the rest)

      And of course the original meaning of the word “solid” or “not hollow” have to do with any of the translations and even the explanation?.

      The point is and which has been proven, is that this single word that only appears once is a problem.
      Its meaning is at best un clear and has changed over time.

      This is a problem since it goes against two claims of the Quran. 1. That it is clear, and two that it is eternal.

      If the meaning was clear you would not have all these wild and different translations of a single word, and more importantly you would not have early Muslims believing allah was Solid or half Solid and Half Hollow.

      If the Quran is eternal the meaning of the word would not have changed, you can’t be eternal and change.

      Second and I think more realistic is that the original meaning is what Mohamed had in mind since it goes with the hadeeth explanation of Allah creating Adam.

      For instance in the hadeeth it is clear that the Angles are afraid of the 90 foot statue of Adam because it resembles allah. But Iblis goes into the hollow statue and comes out its rear end and declares that there is nothing to be afraid of since it is hollow.

      Well thats about it you keep worshiping your irrational man-god who is half solid and half hollow which is influenced by Greek and pagan mythology, and I will continue to worship the True Living Triune God of Scripture which is 100 percent rational and logical .

      Like

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