I was writing an essay for class when I stumbled upon information about Hitler. I found out that he was very much into Christianity and he was a strong believer which led him to do the things that were horrible but he used God as his support. He did things which the Christians in the bible did yet 100% of the people in the world can say that he was wrong and sinful. But then to refute this, Hitler could say God vs. world (people). How does one know if they are for God or against?
This is such an awesome nerdy question that my theology-antenna is doing cartwheels.
At first glance it seems this argument holds up well —
If there was no such thing as religion, we wouldn’t have so many wars and genocide and killings and bad things!
And of course, according to Godwin’s Law, someone must always bring in Hitler or Nazis into an argument. The moment you bring in Hitler or Nazis to make your case, you’ve gone off the deep end into hyperbolic excess.
No self-respecting irreligious person would even argue this anymore. There are too many cases where religion has done good and where the absence of religion has gone horribly wrong — so it’s a really weak argument that my former atheist self would’ve avoided altogether. It’s much too randomized to make any correlation.
But I do understand your concern. The Bible has been used (wrongly) to support slavery, chauvinism, imperial oppression, genocide, witch hunts, and just about any horrible thing you want. If you were really determined, you could also make the Bible support homosexuality, incest, and abortion.
All that to say: Human beings are so broken that they can take ANY good thing and turn it into a tool for their own ends.
The Bible actually says that people would do this. Even if it didn’t though, the problem is not religion, just as much as “sexuality” doesn’t cause rape or “psychology” doesn’t cause schizophrenia.
There is a clear distinction between the intention of any belief system and its implementation.
Please allow me to quote a wonderful sister in Christ, who says it better than I can:
When an irreligious person shoots someone, we blame guns. When a religious person bombs someone, we blame religion.
… Here’s the truth: Anyone can twist what they already believe to justify what they already want to do. We should not be blaming Islam for the Boston bombings, atheism for the Colombine shooting, or Christianity for the Salem witch trials.
What do all of these things have in common? The hypocrisy of human nature. Our very being is broken. We are not as we should be, or even as we want to be. There is something wrong with us.
I’m not sure it’s so hard to know if we are “for God” or against Him.
In every era, while certainly we are a product of our times, there is always a remnant people who see something is obviously wrong — and they aim to fix it.
When slavery was rampant, Abraham Lincoln did something about it. Forget the fact that it might have been politically driven or that he was a deeply flawed man: the fact remains that Lincoln pursued abolition at great cost to himself when he didn’t have to.
There’s a common thread through Gandhi, MLK Jr., Dorothea Dix, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks. I know I’m bringing up some divisive figures here (and I won’t comment on whether it matters if they’re Christian), but history tends to make sense of each impactful individual in every generation.
We know where Hitler stands in contrast to them. We can’t play dumb with this for too long. Our morality on a whole is much more obvious than your college professor will dare to tell you.
Great men and women are highlighted by their humanity: and we know even heroes are deeply imperfect. Any thoughtful person will know that it is neither “religion” nor ideology that really defines our sense of good — but posthumously, we are seen in how much we heal or destroy. At the end, we will certainly stand before the One who makes the final call on that too.
How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.
— C.S. Lewis