The attack on Christianity is nothing new for Europe. Bruce continues his exploration of this topic in today's piece.
As I note in my new book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, (available at Amazon and Outskirts Press), the Holocaust did not rise out of Christian Europe, but anti-Christian Europe. Germany had been attacking Christianity since 1872. Consider Jewish historian J. Salwyn Schapiro, whose 1940 college textbook, Modern and Contemporary European History, notes that Bismarck was bitterly anti-clerical and was little influenced by religion at all. Prussia, under Bismarck, in 1872 passed “May Laws” which required civil, rather than religious, marriages, which suppressed many religious orders, which resulted in the jailing of many clergymen, the confiscation of much church property and the closing of many churches.
Price Collier in his 1913 book, Germany and the Germans, which was published in last year before the First World War, notes in the following passage how both anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity not only coexisted in Imperial Germany, but that, indeed, the two noxious bigotries helped support one another:
“The German sees a danger to his hardly own national life in the cosmopolitanism of the Jew; he sees a danger to his duty-doing, simple-living, and hard-working governing aristocracy in the tempting luxury of the recently rich Jew; and besides these objective reasons, he is instinctively antagonistic, as though he were born of the clouds of heaven and the Jew of clods of earth. This does not mean that the German is a believer, in the orthodox sense of the word, for this he is not. He loves the things of the mind not because he thinks of them as of divine creation, and as showing an allegiance to a divine Creator, but because they are the playthings of his own manufacture that amuse him most. His superiority to other nations is that he claims to enjoy maturer toys. Not even France is so entirely unencumbered by orthodox restraints in matters of faith….In Germany half-baked thinking, following upon, and as the result of, the barracks and corporal methods of education, have turned the Protestant population from the churches. The slovenly and patchy omniscience of the partly educated, leads them to believe that they know enough not to believe.”
In his book, The Dictators, Richard Overy states that in the decades preceding the First World War Germany was becoming increasingly secular, and that after that war, from 1918 to 1931, 2.4 Million Evangelical Christians formally renounced their faith as well as almost half a million Catholics. In Prussia, only twenty-one percent of the population took communion and in Hamburg only five percent took communion. Long before Hitler, German religious leaders were publicly condemning the rise of moral relativism and decline of traditional religious values.
Weimar Germany had largely abandoned Christianity and was increasingly embracing hedonism, Marxism and paganism. There is, in fact, a causal connection between the rise of Nazism and the Christian character of Germany: the decline of Christianity enabled the evil of Nazism to rise. As Professor Litchtenberger noted in his 1937 book, The Third Reich, written not only before the Second World War and the Holocaust, but before Kristallnacht, describes the religious life of the Weimar Republic as a polity in which the large cities were ‘spiritual cemeteries’ with almost no believers at all, except for those who were members of the clergy. The middle class went through the motions, but lacked all living faith. The workers, influenced by socialism, were suspicious of the church. Even in the countryside, preachers had little influence on the people. In the 1938 book, The War Against God, by Sidney Dark and R.S. Essex, this pre-Nazi antipathy toward Christianity is described as having lost all its vitality and its services were lifeless. Mower, in his 1938 book, Germany Puts the Clock Back, wrote that by 1920, God and Christianity had been in steady decline, a process that had begun in 1860. Then Mower talks about a culture not so much causal as vicious about sexuality, about art sickened into atonal music, about the absence of any sense of sin, and about entire graduating classes in high school turning up for birth control devices as well as the commonplace occurrence of abortion.
The virulent Nazi hatred of Christianity, described in great detail in my new book, does not seem out of place with Europe at the time of the Nazis because Europe itself had long been drifting toward open hostility to Christianity. The same anti-Semitism of the late Nineteenth Century that led to the Dreyfus Affair in France, were just as hateful toward Christianity; indeed, hatred of Christianity and anti-Semitism often went hand in hand. This hatred was closely tied to worship of socialism. Lectures on socialism in the Nineteenth Century blamed poverty on Christianity. The government of France before the Great War required to senior officers to report those officers under their command who attended Mass.
Yes, in an increasing dangerous world, Jews have much real to fear. The greatest danger, however, is that Christianity will not survive and flourish, because Christianity is persecuted and dies, Holocausts begin. The converse is true. Where Jews are persecuted for their faith and race, the world becomes much more dangerous for Christians.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.