Will God Make You Rich? 8-5-09
Revisiting Woodstock at 40: 8-7-09

Was Hitler Just Nuts? 8-6-09

The other day here on the blog I ran a photo of Hitler meeting with the mufti of Jerusalem in 1941.

Hitler1

In response, a reader left this comment: "Hitler bores me. He was a raging lunatic no longer worthy of conversation."

Well, I confess that my blog may bore people at times, but I find it impossible to understand how Hitler could bore people. But that's not what really bothered me about the comment. Rather, it was describing Hitler as "a raging lunatic."

I reject that description because it is way, way too simple. And it has unfortunate implications. By dismissing Hitler as crazy, we let ourselves off the hook. By which I mean that each of us is capable of evil, and if we simply dismiss evil as a product of mental illness we never really understand the human capacity of evil or the human condition.

A much more fruitful approach to this subject is the one historian Christopher Browning took in his book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. I read this as I did research for my own new Holocaust-related book, due out in a few weeks, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust.

In Browning's book, he doesn't dismiss as "raging lunatics" the men who followed orders to murder Jews. Rather, he seeks to understand how the moral compass of ordinary German soldiers could go so awry. Dismissing them as crazy would have relieved Browning of the task of understanding evil not only in those German soldiers but also in us.

Almost every imaginable adjective has been applied to Hitler in an effort to explain what may not be fully explainable. That's understandable. But let's also understand the implications of dismissing him as a lunatic: We relieve ourselves of the responsibility of truly understanding the man and -- more to the point -- of truly understanding ourselves.

* * *

WHY WE SAVE IMPRISONED INDIVIDUALS

The mission that sent Bill Clinton to North Korea to bring back two American journalists has been analyzed for its political import. This Christian Science Monitor piece is a good example. But what I'd like us not to lose sight of is what this -- and the 18-year effort to find out what happened to Scott Speicher in Iraq -- says about the American view of the values of individuals. It says each human being is of ultimate worth. (It's why we have a welfare system. It's why we send the Coast Guard out to rescue just one careless private sailor.) And where did this idea come from? Author and political scientist Glenn Tinder argues in his book, The Political Meaning of Christianity, that it comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition, which holds that every individual is exalted because each one is a creation of God with a divinely appointed destiny. He calls that idea "the spiritual center of Western politics." If two American journalists weren't viewed as invaluable individuals but, rather, as mere pawns in a geopolitical game, they might still be in North Korea. Sometimes we tend to forget why we do things. We saved two Americans from the hell of North Korean imprisonment because as individuals they are of inestimable worth.

Comments

DW

I'm not sure the "soldiers who followed orders to murder Jews" is the same as Hitler giving the order to murder Jews. If it is, then we have to believe that soldiers who followed orders to kill Indians were murderers. We would have to believe that American pilots who followed orders to carpet-bomb Dresden were murderers. The soldiers who "murdered" Jews most certainly would have been murdered themselves if they did not follow their orders. Would the murder of the German soldiers placate those who wanted to stop the murder of innocent Jews?

Dolores Lear

Bill:
"...if we simply dismiss evil as a product of mental illness we never really understand the human capacity of evil or the human condition."

Me:
The Original Sin of Body Birth, gave humans the capacity of the Evil Human Condition.

It is Time to Prove, the Adam and Eve Humans were Perfect High Tech Human Clone Helpmeets not Mates, 'in the beginning' of Life on Planet Earth.

Genesis 1:26a. KJV. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:"
Genesis 2: 21,22. "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

Humans have the High Tech Science, to put Humans to sleep, to operate on them, similar to the LORD God/Us High Tech.

We do join the egg and sperm in the lab and make a Human Fetus. Instead of making a High Tech Womb, to finish the High Tech Birth of Humans, we put the fetus back into the woman's womb, also called Immaculate Conception in Religion.

The Perfect Adam and Eve Human Clones, reproduced Inbred Cain and Abel, and Females, and all misbred Humans ever since.

Genetic and Physical Defective Killer Humans resulted. This is Why Evil is on Planet Earth, and why Hitler could do the Evil he did.

No 'one' gets to choose their Genetic Makeup, or their Parents, or their Environment where they are born, which decides their Destiny. After the Planetary Flood, the Saved Humans began repopulating the Changed Planet Strata. The Humans from before the Flood with High Tech again started to build High towers.

The towers/steeples on Churches resemble the modern weapons of today as they launch. We just watched some from Korea lately. And when our Space Shuttle towers launch, we see the Glory Light of the LORD, brighter than the sun.

Genesis 11:5,9a. "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they began to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another."

Continued.

Dolores Lear

Continued.

Exodus:13:21,22. The Children of Israel in the Wilderness. "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people."

And after the children built the tabernacle and ark, and the priest's robes were made, they traveled. The ark was a transformer to communicate from the pillar, to the High Priest's robes which had twelve gems that would light up for the 12 tribes. There were at least 2 million people traveling, to keep up with.

Exodus 40:33-38. "And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

"And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys."

This pillar/spaceship used the tabernacle as a landing place during the journey. This was not the LORD that Colonized Earth, but the High Tech Society of Noah/Atlantis, before the Flood.

There is a Peace LORD and a Killer Lord in Scripture and Myth, all translated as the same God, which was written and copied by Natural Born Humans, without High Tech Knowledge after the Flood.

This movement of Hebrew people is similar to giving Israel some land in the Middle East, after WW2. Only most were brought in by boat. The former Event happened before the Noah/Atlantis Flood, like the return to Israel today is before the Planetary Fire Judgment.

The Cycles of Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth are about completed again. And this Time the Planetary Catastrophe will end Life on Earth as we Know it. Earth will be a Dead Planet like Mars.

Susan

Bill, I agree with you that Hitler wasn't crazy. If we dismissed him as crazy, we'd have to dismiss ALL racist people as crazy.

DW, there is actually a common thread running through ALL of the atrocities committed against people because of race, religion, or nationality. The common thread is a tendency to view those outside our group as less human than we are and therefore less worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I've been forgetting to get back to Mein Kampf and finish it -- but what I've read so far leads me to think Hitler was sane and intelligent: I think his downfall was that once he'd formed an opinion about something, it was set. He didn't keep learning. And it so happened that the theory he'd formed about a Jewish conspiracy fell on ready hearts, hearts that had been prepared through centuries of Christian anti-Judaism, and of course the more recent eugenics craze played its part as well.

By the way, I just remembered how Bible Answer Man tried to dismiss Charles Darwin because of his sexist attitudes -- apparently Darwin didn't believe women could ever be as intelligent as men. This is probably similar to people thinking we should throw out the whole of evolutionary theory because of the eugenics link.

I'm guessing this all stems from the religious propensity for assuming that if someone's right about one thing, they must be right about everything, so we just have to swallow their theories whole -- either that or not listen to them at all (i.e. the assertion that either you accept the whole Bible as God's inerrant Word, or else there's no point in paying the least bit of attention to it).

Chuck Lunney

Since there has been some discussion here about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (specifically about his son, Nate, and how he got away from his father's virulent influence), and Bill has put up several lists of books that he thinks are important, I'm going to provide a link to another book.

It's called Addicted to Hate, and it's an expose of the Phelps clan. It's freely available (the author put it out in the public domain 15 years ago) and you can get a copy of it here: http://www.addictedtohate.com/

Be warned, there is a lot of graphic violence described in it -- I know from the news reports how vile and offensive the Phelps clan can be, but I was shocked and horrified by the things described in this book.

Dolores Lear

Bill:
"...if we simply dismiss evil as a product of mental illness we never really understand the human capacity of evil or the human condition."

What Good does it do, to our capacity of Good or Evil, to our Planet's Lifetime of Killing, to Save a two Citizens that trespassed into an Enemy Country and got caught? Pride?

Genesis 3:4,5. KJV. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as goods, knowing good and evil."

Genesis 3:22: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever."

Adam and Eve, not reproduced by Body Birth, began making Children by Body Birth, Cain Killed his Brother Abel, and good and evil has been the Killer Lifestyle. Physical Body Birth, Death, and Rebirth has been used ever since.

Now Humans with High Tech can translate the Tree of Good and Evil, is High Tech Human Reproduction for Good Purebred Humans, and, Body Birth Reproduction of Good and Evil Misbred Humans. No One gets their Choice of accident of Birth.

Perfect Humans were driven out of High Tech Eden compound, and did not get to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life which is Knowing about High Tech Reproduction, of Purebred Humans in a High Tech Lab Womb, like Adam and Eve had.

They learned about Body Birth from Lucifer a Fallen Ange/Satan/Snake, etc., a Human that walked and talked with them, The Lord God also Male and Female Humans, walked and talked with them.

Adam and Eve did eat the Fruit of Body Birth Reproduction, and this Sin was handed down. It was the Original Sin of Humans. Evolution Teachings, also were taught because no one could know about High Tech Reproduction first hand.

The Tree of Eternal Life is High Tech Reproduction for Humans to Live on Planets and in Spaceships.

Human are being given this High Tech Knowledge Fruit today, when it is too late, because we have our Home Planet wired with Evil Nuclear Bombs, and Toxic Pollution on land and sea, to blow up our Home Planet.

Religion does teach the Original God/Us Humans will return to Earth, with Human Jesus to take a Human Remnant to a New Planet, like they did Earth 'in the beginning'.

memberofKCFreeThinkers.org

Wow. Never thought my ‘off the cuff’ comment would get this kind of reaction. I’m getting ready for work so I’ll hurry with my thoughts:

I agree these people should be studied. My point is, for me, it is boring in the sense we never seem to take any course of action until someone has already done way too much damage. We finally resolve the problem - with many lives - and then talk about it and talk about it. I realize people can’t read my mind when I post something, why I write a comment. The atrocities this man carried out is more than awful. I think it’s time to move on. About ‘half’ my ancestors are Native Americans. I don’t dwell on what happened to them. I learn from it and move on. Once again it’s too bad we wait as long as we do with people like Hitler. Maybe we should study that and fix problems before they get to this point. Why do we stand around complaining and wait too long to react, just watch? Kind a like someone else I know -

Children of a stupid god
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEtfdzNAE74

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole

Susan

Chuck, thanks for the link to Addicted to Hate.

I realize a lot of Christians might not see any reason to look into what has happened, and is still happening, with the Phelps clan. Because Pheps's teachings are seen as a distortion of Biblical Christianity.

But actually I think Phelps has a case for his allegations that the rest of us are the ones diverging from Scripture.

I know that as I, personally, have grown in my understanding of God as totally loving, I haven't been able to retain a belief that every jot and tittle of Scripture is the inerrant Word of God. It stands to reason that to people who've endeavored to conform their whole life to the Bible, eventually a totally loving and all-forgiving God would look like a weak caricature of the Bronze Age God who flew into rages and kicked serious butt.

It's kind of like how Dobson or Pearl-style parents view gentle, non-punitive discipline as totally ineffectual, because they wonder how kids can learn anything without getting hit. If you view people as vile creatures who will only do the right thing out of fear of getting their butt kicked, then without that fear everyone will just have a ball sinning.

This is why some people keep asking me, "Why do you care about anything, Susan? Since you think everyone is saved, nothing matters!" They genuinely can't see any reason to care apart from the threat of hell.

Susan

http://natephelps.com/32549.html

I hope this link works -- it's to a couple of letters Nate posted from family members, as well as his responses to them.

I find it interesting that his sister Katherine seems to be living by the old non-logic that says MAYBE we really don't have to be intolerant to be saved, but if we are wrong what harm done? We are all saved anyway. Whereas if the tolerant people are wrong and the mean version of God really is the real version, then all the tolerant people are doomed.

So, we need to be mean "just in case" God happens to be mean. Because a tolerant God will forgive mean people for being mean -- but a mean God will send the tolerant people to hell.

And the ironic thing is, I really do believe God will forgive Fred Phelps for his sins. Which of course makes some people like Katherine and some here wonder, "Well, then, if everyone is saved then none of this matters anyway."

I still believe that how we decide to treat people today matters -- but I guess this makes no logical sense, since I also believe in eternal life with love and forgiveness for all. Why does this moment matter, since it's passing anyway? My belief that this moment matters would make perfect sense if I were an Atheist who believed this life is the only one we have.

But not being an Atheist, but still believing this moment matters -- that it matters whether we choose love or cruelty even though all will be forgiven -- it kind of defies logic as we currently know it. It makes me think of that verse about how a thousand years is as one day to God, and one day is as a thousand years. God isn't bound by our timetable or our logic. It takes faith to think outside the box -- only it's not really blind faith. And it's worth getting laughed at because truth is priceless.

RichB

I like that you bring out this point, Bill, as I agree that when we dismiss Hitler as "crazy" it lets us off the hook. As humans we often dismiss what we don't like as completely "other." I think it's important to delve into where that insanity may have come from, to see if we might share it, and to deal with it inside ourselves.

For example, many may decry Pat Robertson as not "really" Christian. But what about Christianity allows people like that to latch on and flourish? Similarly, many decry Osama bin Laden as not "really" Muslim. Then why does he claim to be Muslim? What does he get out of Islam that allows him to do what he does?

I had a professor of Old Testament, a Jew. He said that the book of Joshua and its depiction of genocide really bothered him. He struggled to reconcile a confession for belief in the Bible with a nasty characteristic of the Bible. For me, this is an honest way of dealing with this tension--living with the tension. The other option would be to dismiss Judaism and belief in the Bible or the horrible actions condoned in the Bible.

I believe that that tension, confronting what intrudes on a nice view of ourselves and our beliefs, makes us better people.

Susan

RichB wrote, "For example, many may decry Pat Robertson as not 'really' Christian. But what about Christianity allows people like that to latch on and flourish?"

Now this really goes straight to the heart of the matter! What's interesting is all the Christians who can "see" how Islam can be used to foster oppression and intolerance -- but they can't see how Christianity can be used, and is being used, in the same way.

Here on this blog, when criticisms are brought regarding Christianity's role in the Holocaust, I've noticed how some Christians try to deflect the criticism by bringing up things Atheists have said that can also be construed as anti-Jew.

Bill, it'd be really interesting if you ever want to post about how the "spare the rod, spoil the child" Scriptures have been used through the ages to justify some rather harsh childrearing practices. Currently, some fundamentalist Christian churches really promote the "Train Up a Child" book and workshops by David and Debbie Pearl (their materials are often promoted at Bill Gothard seminars, too).

I've mentioned here before that the Pearls promote a practice called "blanket training" where you teach your newly-mobile babies to stay on a blanket by smacking their legs whenever they start to venture off: once training is complete, they are scared to explore beyond the blanket and you can go about your household tasks without worrying over what Baby is up to. Hmmm ... I suppose this is good preparation for being a stay-in-the-box Christian, too.

I suppose some Christians won't know what to say to this -- so they'll try to turn the focus to abortion ...

Red Biddy

I'm also glad that Bill brought up the point that to dismiss Hitler as nuts, lets us off the hook.
It takes a great deal of courage for any individual to stand up against mob rule, when the mob has the power over whether you live or die.

I've just watched a fine movie on this very topic, "Taking Sides" (2001) which was about Wilhelm Furtwangler, arguably Germany's greatest orchestral conductor, who was accused after the WWll, of collaborating with the Nazi party. One of his comments was that he only had a choice between "exile or the gallows" and as a German he chose to stay, hoping to change things from the inside. He never actually joined the Nazi party (his own way of protesting) but it was rather obvious that he stayed in order to keep his orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic together. A conductor without an orchestra is nothing. He had to get rid of all his Jewish musicians in order to keep his orchestra and supposedly helped some of them escape.

Cole said the topic of Hitler is "boring", in the sense we take too long before taking action against dictators like Hitler.

But there are individuals, many individuals, like the people in Bill's new book, who despite the fear of retribution do take action to help their neighbor in a tight spot !

I don't think it is "evil" that makes people act the way they/we do, but fear of not being part of the group. Remember the Bush maxim, after 9/11 "If you are not with us you are against us !"

It is that way of thinking that allows mob rule in many instances to prevail.

Dolores Lear

RichB:
"The other option would be to dismiss Judaism and belief in the Bible or the horrible actions condoned in the Bible."

Me:
Or, we could say the Old Testament Killing and Abuse of Humans, by the Terrible, Angry, God,of Wrath, are a record of the High Tech Noah/Atlantis Society.

Religious and Myth writings should be worked into the History, of the Past High Tech Life on Earth, along with the Old and New Testaments.

The Peace God/Us, that Colonized Life on Earth, 'in the beginning', is not the Killer God in the fiery chariots, and pillar of fire and cloud in the Wilderness.

The Noah/Atlantis Society were in fiery chariots like we have today. A High Tech Translation will show the Fire From Heaven at Sodom and Gomorrah was Atom Bombs like we dropped, twice in Japan. The Noah/Atlantis History is repeating itself, in Generation Birth, Death and Rebirth Cycles today.

And the Killing of the people, and babies, in Egypt, was not the Peace God/Us. The Children of Israel going into the Promised Land and killing the natives, could be compared to people coming to the USA and doing away with the Indians.

So the horrible angry actions condoned in the Bible is only the Human History before the Planetary Flood, like we are writing history today.

There is probably some story in the Old Testament. or in Myth, or some writings not used in the Bible, to compare with Hitler also, as the Noah/Atlantis Society also had a Population and High Tech explosion for 100 years before the Flood.

Susan:
" It stands to reason that to people who've endeavored to conform their whole life to the Bible, eventually a totally loving and all-forgiving God would look like a weak caricature of the Bronze Age God who flew into rages and kicked serious butt."

Me:
The Bronze Age God is not our Peace Ancestors. High Tech is needed to Translate all Religious writings and Myth to separate the Peace God in our Image, from the Killer God in our Image who we are Like today.

q=traits+of+God+in+the+Old+Testament&FORM=SOLTDF&pc=SOLTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

The Peace God/US are the High Tech Male and Female Clone Humans that are Alive, and will return in the End Times. The High Tech Human Terrible Killer Gods, in most of the Old Testament and Myth are Dead, but Alive Again today.

Susie

In "WHY WE SAVE IMPRISONED INDIVIDUALS", to quote you "...says about the American view of the values of individuals. It says each human being is of ultimate worth."

If you truly believe that, how then can you espouse a pro-choice position. Even unborn human beings are of ultimate worth.

Again, to quote, "every individual is exalted because each one is a creation of God with a divinely appointed destiny."

How can you say you believe the above, and then say it is alright to kill those who are the most vulnerable among us. It is a sad commentary on our society when the most dangerous for a child to be is in its mothers womb.

Susie

Abortion is a "Hitler-ic" response, that says the unborn child's life is not worth anything, therefore, we will eliminate it. It is a "these are inconvenient people of no worth mind-set.

DW

Several individuals have commented that "to dismiss Hitler as nuts lets us off the hook." I'm not sure I understand this comment. If Hitler were "nuts," how does let anyone off the hook for not doing anything to stop him? Whatever you think others should have done to oppose Hitler, it shouldn't matter whether he was nuts or not. Just do whatever you can to stop him, regardless of his motives.

I believe the correct statement is, "to dismiss Hitler as nuts lets him (Hitler) off the hook. In other words, I suppose some people could argue that if Hitler persecuted the Jews because he was mentally ill, then he would not really be responsible for his actions. Right?

Susan

Susie -- what about cases where an expectant mother's life is in danger? You may argue that these cases are rare -- but aren't these individual mothers important, too? To outlaw any and all abortion no matter what, endangers these mothers. To allow mothers the choice isn't the same as forcing them to end their pregancies. Perhaps many more will decide to carry to term (and maybe also fewer women will become pregnant before they are ready) when more of our new president's plans have been implemented.

DW, when Bill said dismissing Hitler as nuts lets us off the hook, I didn't get the impression he was dwelling on the people "back then" who didn't take a stand. Or at least that's not what I was focusing on, when I agreed with him. To me it's a matter of realizing how we as people can go waaay wrong.

For instance, that Fred Phelps guy. People can say he's an aberration because most Christians today don't think like him. But the truth is, Phelps really knows his Bible. And it deeply disturbs him how many ministers are preaching a more tolerant message, when the God of the Bible is intolerant. So he's made it his mission to be the voice of God.

These are people with a powerful zeal for basing their whole life on the Bible -- and, yes, what they are doing is sick and, yes, Fred Phelps sounds like a mentally deranged person. My question is, how much of his derangment is "chemical," and how much is due to his longtime literalist interpretation of the Bible?

Dolores Lear

Hitler was into Eugenics and so was the USA and other countries, so they did not realize what it was leading to.

The mindset of the 30s and 40s was into High Tech and the results including the atom bomb was all Humans could think about, not who was nuts, as that was normal then.

a.theist

"Dismissing Hitler as crazy let us off the hook."

If Hitler were crazy then only in mental illness is it possible to commit the atrocities he committed.

On the other hand, if he were not crazy, then there exists the possibility that anyone might be capable of the things that Hitler did. Even we might be capable. A rationale intelligent man might be capable of such and where does that leave us???

Personally, I'm inclined to agree with Cole at first. But was Madoff insane? What was his motivation? He could never spend the money he had. Why ruin so many lives to get more?

I know it's fiction but Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter is interesting. He is evil, but why? He's not a street thug but a powerful wizard who (like the Potter's) can conjure money or anything material thing he wants. What is the point of evil, then? Well, ask Madoff; ask Porter, the guy who killed his kids to get back at his wife. It can be shown the some people have no empathy, that is the do not recognize suffering in others - a mental quirk that allows them to kill others in the same fashion you might swat a fly.

Hitler had a mental defect of some nature that allowed him to disconnect from the reality of what he was doing. Studying Hitler to determined what caused him to do what he did so that we might prevent someone else from doing it is pointless. Many of those around Hitler probably had the same defect and those who didn't were trying to avoid being shot.

The Grantman

I don't think that Hitler was a lunatic. I think he was a powerful orator that started the Party down the path of power when Germany was ripe for someone who would tell them that they were being oppressed and there was a way out. A lot of what was done in Hitler's name was done by subordinates who would say "this is the fuhrer's will". If you want to look at someone who was more evil than Hitler, look at Reichesmarshal SS Heinrich Himmler.

If you are interested why the Nazis were able to lead Germany down such a dark path read Claudia Koonz's "The Nazi Conscience". I talk about it in my humble blog at
http://grantrambles.blogspot.com/2009/07/oh-were-off-to-see-der-fuhrer-wonderful.html

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