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Peter Bjork

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Peter Bjork


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church and state
fascism
history
hitler
war
Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - 03:57 PM

You blame wars on religion, but what about Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin?



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Peter Bjork

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Print Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - 03:57 PM
History is distorted when brutal dictators are labeled humanists. While atheism is no sure barrier against moral atrocities (since it’s simply a lack of theism) if leaders use their power to engage in an aggressive campaign of war and atrocities, they are by definition, not humanists.

Adolph Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religion-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth, and was confirmed as a "soldier of Christ" in that church. Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, "... I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938. Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."

Hitler never left the church, and the church never left him. The church banned great literature but Mein Kampf never appeared on the Index of Forbidden Books. He was not ex-communicated or even condemned by his church during his lifetime. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the Pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of their countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

Hitler's Germany merged state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). The priests often sprinkled his troops with holy water. It was an officially Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church to blindly follow authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.


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Bill Haines
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"Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."
-- A. C. Grayling
Print Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - 03:25 PM
No educated reasonable person blames wars only on religion.


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Dorothy McClester

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Print Thu, Mar 05, 2015 - 05:53 PM
Not all wars are fought for the same reason, just like not all arguments between people are for the same reason. Well, I take that back, they are all fought for the same reason: Control. Who gets to control land, resources, or ideas? Never mind! ;)


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Charles Martin

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Print Mon, Mar 09, 2015 - 02:28 PM
obviously most of the world leaders were not Atheist. christians like to claim this to give them a false sense of superiority to anyone that has different beliefs from them.

“Besides that, I believe one thing: there is a Lord God! And this Lord God creates the peoples.” ~Adolf Hitler

“We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out” ~Adolf Hitler

The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a German Protestantism movement aligned towards antisemetic principles of Nazism. The DC were sympathetic to Hitler’s goal of uniting the individual Protestant churches into a single Reich church.
The DC was first formed in 1931 and the flag was flown during marches and demonstrations.

Joseph Stalin was raised to be a Catholic Priest and I remain curious as to why his Christianity is shoved aside in all these arguments. Yes, there is no way to get around the fact that in his early career, Stalin made a vast effort to rid Russia of religion, but that had nothing to do with atheism. It was the only way he knew to seize power of the country.
For generations the entire populace of Russia had been taught that the head of state was supposed to be close to god. At the time in question, the head of the church in Russia was a tyrant. The Russians were already disposed to servility and all Stalin did was exploit these two facts, and place himself in the position of god. Once Stalin was firmly seated in office, he revived the Russian Orthodox Church in order to intensify patriotic support for the war effort.

Putin uses the church for the same reason today, he has no goal other than to be the Tzar and Pope.

Pol Pot was Buddhist. Mussolini and Franco get on these list too, how? They both used the church and the catholic popes and church used them. They had payroll taxes to give money directly to the church.

So YES, Religion is to blame for WAR.Tyrants use the peoples weakness of religion to manipulate them into wars they do not want or need. *see fox news.


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Craig Good

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Print Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - 12:23 AM
This is a straw man fallacy (nobody blames all wars on religion) combined with a tu qoque (see, other guys start wars too, so it's OK if religion does).

Again, someone seems confused as to the difference between atheism and humanism, as well as not knowing that Hitler was neither. Ever notice how totalitarians demand worship? Well, anyway, it's very clear that a lot of war can be blamed on religion. Just not all of it.

I am not aware of a single war, let alone skirmish, started by humanism.


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Chuck O'Neil

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Print Fri, Mar 06, 2015 - 04:04 PM
I do not believe wars on Religion. That belief is a myth. Religion becomes a way to identify a group of people. The religious groups don't initiate the wars. No one fights a war over some religious belief. Reporters and others find it convienient to identify sides with some religious group. Catholics and Prodestants fought each other foy many years in Ireland. Not to try to get one side to change their beliefs or rituals, but because English Prodestants migrated to Catholic Ireland and owned all the good land and exploited Catholic Irish. It started as a war for freedom from opression. No one was concerned about wich religion people were except as a way to identify each side. The wars wern't fought over religion they were fought over economic factors and as they drug on over honor, revenge etc.

Religious identity is also used as propaganda. It is hard to get people to risk their lives to go kill other people. But if fear can be created, it is much easier. Nothing can ignite fear mor than the prospect of loosing the freedom to worship as on wants. If people can be convinced that people in religion X are trying to take away the beliefs of people in religion Y. Those other people don't believe Y. They are dirty and disrespectiful of religion Y. Someone who is in Religion X, said, "death to all Y's. Etc. People believing in Religion Y will respond with self defence as the justification. The religion didn't initiate the war, someone with a hidden ( usually economic or power) agenda initiates the war.

I have read that the crusades were somewhat of an exception. The crusades aparently were initated by the church as a political move to gain control from kingdoms in Europe. The Church used to hold all the local political power in Europe. They were the government. As Kings began to gain power the Church was threatened. So they started a religious war so Europes fighting men would leave, leaving Kings somewhat weaker. Religion appears on the surface to be the reason for the crusades, but the real reason was a European battle for power.

In Iraq, Iwas told by several Iraqis I was aquainted with that the differences between Suni's and Shites were minor. Each group lived peacefully side by side with many marriages between believers of different sects. The US started the rift between the two groups in a divide and conquer move. Neither group was fighting over religious differences. But ones religious sect became an easy way to identify people and give misleading but simple explainations for what was happening without blaming the destruction caused by the US.

As far as Hitler, Moussilini, and Stalin, it is wrong to believe that all wars are started for the same reasons. I personally believe that most wars are about economics and power. Fear is a huge factor. Either the leaders must be fearful or be able to instill fear in their followers.


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Neil Stahl

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Print Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - 05:59 AM
Let's talk about the Holocaust. Hitler was raised Catholic as others have pointed out and I'll let others debate the extent to which he remained Catholic, though I don't doubt he did. But I want to talk about the work force for the Holocaust and the people who weren't directly involved but knew about it and encouraged it. These people were almost entirely Catholics and Lutherans and they had been raised to believe jews were "Christ Killers". It was part of their religion till recently. If instead of cheering it on or allowing it they had resisted it, it would have never happened. This is a case of religion being directly responsible for genocide on a massive scale.


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Ben Rippingale

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Print Sat, Mar 14, 2015 - 07:16 PM
Religion is a tool to get people to join a fight they'd otherwise want no part of.

Other such tools include Nationalism, Racism, and Class. The examples used in this question just chose their own unique mix. Religion was a factor to varying degrees, just not one of the primary one.




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Stacy Westly
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Print Mon, Mar 16, 2015 - 11:53 AM
First of all, I do not blame all wars on religion. In fact, many wars are fought for completely non-religious reasons. So ... yeah ... there you go.

Wars over territory, over possession, over political views ... all of these have been evident since the dawn of human kind.


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Print Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - 07:31 PM
No matter what the region, time period, or culture, wars are always about ideology. One person's (or one group's) ideology either cannot or will not stand up to a challenge from another's. That could be because of a feeling of insecurity (fear of being inadequate), or of an illusion of superiority (can't POSSIBLY be wrong). Whatever the dynamics involved, it's always the placing of an idea over people on the value scale.

Ideas (and ideologies) are based in the abstract, and people are in reality. When reality is minimized for an abstract, there's a problem. Some people find reality so abhorrent, they MUST alter it SOMEHOW. Thus, my thought that the use of intoxicating substances is a war upon oneself.... Nothing good really comes of it.


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Print Mon, Apr 06, 2015 - 09:00 AM
1) Who is "you?"
2) There is a vast body of literature out there related to war and, more specifically, each of the individuals you mention.
3) If you want to address Hitler and the Jewish Holocaust, you need to be aware of the centuries of anti-Semitism in Europe and the influence On The Jews And Their Lies (written by Martin Luther) on Hitler.
4) As far as Stalin - Communism, collective farming, "ethnic cleansing," pathological paranoia, etc.
5) Mussolini - Fascism, dictatorship, totalitarianism, etc.

I suggest you read the Humanist Manifesto III and compare it to the ideologies of these men - they are quite different.

Ultimately, people are animals and will, predictably and observably, display "good" and "bad" behaviors regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. Our "ideologies" certainly guide our behaviors and I think anything that is fundamentally tribalistic and/or condemns or devalues others, in this life or an imaginary afterlife, fosters "bad" behavior towards our fellow humans. The ideologies of those you listed are very different than the ideology of Humanism today.


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Print Tue, Apr 07, 2015 - 12:34 AM
OK, I'll bite ... what about them? Are you saying that they were all atheist and therefore the argument that religion has been used to justify many of the atrocities commited throughout history is invalid?

First, Hitler was a catholic - he was also anti-cleric because he believed that the church and state should be the same institution. But anyone who claims that the persecution of the Jews in Europe for centuries that culminated in the holocaust had nothing to do with religion is crazier than Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini all put together.

Second, no one said that religion was the only way bad things could ever happen. Megalomaniacal sociopathic dictators is another (far less frequent) cause of bad things.

So no, with respect to their crimes against humanity, these guys were solitary psychos, period. Only religion can lead large groups of sane, rational people to do evil things.


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Steffen Haugk
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:09:58 AM
@Charles Martin: You make a good point here: Wars are not battles of ideas, they are about power and control. But tyrants and organisations of religion often work together.

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