Readers will remember the Tyranny of Heaven video I put up recently, and in it we heard a few claims being made about the Christian faith and Nazism. One claim which I remember clearly was how Nazism was supposedly advanced by Christians with the use of Christian rhetoric. Now, editing that lengthy written exchange into a video gives my critic an opportunity to live inside of my head, it’s very spacious, they’re not cramped, and while they’re there I can seriously think on their arguments afresh. Not just for my benefit but hopefully their’s too.
So the most obvious idea that came to mind was putting this claim into two categories, firstly “Christian people”, and secondly “Christian rhetoric.” It’s pretty obvious upon reflection that what people describe as “Christian rhetoric” is really Christian themed language. But Christian themed language can be used to press any number of ideas, even ideas completely opposed to what’s recognizably the Christian faith. Tolstoy used Christian language and didn’t hold to the beliefs of the Church, Buddhists often talk about Jesus and Buddha being brothers in faith to advance Buddhism (despite their teachings being so different), and on and on it could go.
Loads of people use language either ripped right from the Bible, or themes of the Bible, to make their points. Now, that doesn’t make this rhetoric “Christian.” Similarly, in the “Christian people” category, somebody saying they are Christian doesn’t make them Christian, no more than standing in a garage makes someone a car, as one writer explained. “Christians” have a history, they have shared beliefs, this is a matter of historic record, it’s on the books you might say. So what’s left of the criticism? Not a whole lot upon inspection.
Although there’s more to my observation, for example, on the same video, though I’m stitching together part two even now, the atheist argued about category distinctions between moral and dietary laws, insisting how they don’t exist or can’t be seen “in the Bible.” The first thing I did was show how they do exist, the atheist then dropped the subject. Still, upon reflection, I’m thinking why would it matter what the Bible said on the subject?
“Blasphemy!” Seriously though, I care a great deal about what the Bible teaches on this subject, 🙂 still, remember the atheist is living in my head, we’re having this conversation, and I’m honestly curious as to why it matters (specifically why it matters to the atheist) what the Bible says. We’d begin an exchange in which they are attacking the Christian faith, and Christian morality, and that’s somehow objectively linked into what the Bible says? I don’t see why an atheist would need to assume that, in fact, they probably shouldn’t. They have an array, a mountainous horde, of Christian writers going back thousands of years who have shaped “Christian” thought. Think about the atheist’s tactics like this. . .
Firstly they make a claim against “Christianity”, to which the Christian either replies or thinks to reply “Christian don’t believe that.” The Christian is thinking “We DO believe in category distinctions between the ceremonial and the moral!” To which the atheist then switches gears, perhaps switching even unknowingly, to reply “Well, I don’t see that in the Bible!” As if to say the Christian’s view must objectively conform to the biblical teaching on the subject. I can appreciate how our views often do conform to the writer’s original intention, for which my original reply read something like “Mark 7:19! Acts 10! Paul’s letters! Jesus declared all foods clean, aha!”
There’s a clear distinction, and yet, why would the atheist need Christian views to be in harmony with the Bible? I talk with the JW and Mormons and heretics while knowing their views are in disharmony with the scriptures, so when they say “I believe!” in X, Y or Z, I can see this in light of Joseph Smith’s various texts, or by reading Russell’s “Studies in the scriptures.” I know atheists deny category distinctions because they often haven’t given the subject enough attention, they don’t believe it deserves that kind of respectful in depth treatment. But to then jump into “Christians haven’t been able to show me this in chapter and verse” is very strange.
Consider it yourself, we’ve got loads of people and camps within the camp who an atheist could interact with, people we disagree with and people we don’t, there’s Tozer, Augustine, Jerome, Anselm, Beza, Calvin, John Knox, Jacob Arminius, Milton, Finney, Charles Wesley & John Wesley. None of these guys were socialists, none of them were Nazis, it’s an absurd idea to even suppose it.
And yet we’re treated to an atheist insisting “My Bible doesn’t say that” and “Christian rhetoric advanced Nazism!” Anybody who knows what the above names taught would know how mistaken this claim is, and that’s not even going back to the church fathers or the writers of the New Testament (who would have been in the concentration camps as prisoners, not running them).
Very interesting, very strange train of thought in my opinion so far, even stranger than when I first replied. Being so pleased with how that exchange ended, I’m happy to share it with everyone on the blog in the upcoming week (God willing). Until then, I wanted to share a little on the subject of American leftists and their Nazi roots.
God bless everyone.
― T. C. M