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April 13th, 2013
02:38 PM ET

My Take: Nothing wrong with Nazi assignment

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) – School officials in Albany, New York, are racing to control the damage after a teacher at Albany High School gave students a persuasive writing assignment that challenged them to defend the proposition that “Jews are evil.”

After studying Nazi propaganda and rhetoric, sophomores in three English classes were instructed to imagine that their teacher was “a member of the government in Nazi Germany” and to prove that that they were “loyal to the Nazis.”

But this unidentified teacher is now caught up in a propaganda swirl of his or her own.

Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, at a Friday press conference at which she was flanked by members of the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federation of New York, apologized and promised disciplinary action.

One student, Emily Karandy, told The Times Union of Albany that she kept putting off the assignment “because I didn’t want to think about it” and she felt “horrible” when she turned it in.

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New York City Councilman David Greenfield has called for the resignation of the teacher, who has been placed on leave.

"The teacher responsible for coming up with and assigning students with this task must be held accountable for attempting to indoctrinate children with anti-Semitic beliefs," Greenfield said in a statement. "Quite obviously, this teacher lacks the judgment and common sense necessary to have a position of such great responsibility and is clearly not fit to return to the classroom."

"You asked a child to support the notion that the Holocaust was justified, that's my struggle," said Vanden Wyngaard. "It's an illogical leap for a student to make."

I think it’s Greenfield who is lacking in common sense here. And it's the superintendent who is being illogical.

I suppose it is possible that the teacher is a closet Nazi attempting to reconstruct the Third Reich in Albany. But isn’t it more likely that he or she is trying to teach students about the dangers of propaganda and the horrors of the Holocaust?

Consider the student who felt “horrible” about doing this assignment. Is that really a bad thing? How are high school students today supposed to feel about Nazism and the Holocaust?

Apparently, what they are supposed to feel (and think) is nothing, because the lesson high school teachers are going to take away from this fiasco is to avoid this topic at all costs, lest they risk losing their jobs.

When I was an assistant professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, I used to teach Nazi theology. My students read sermons by Nazi theologians arguing that Jews were evil and were responsible for killing Jesus. They also read a book called “Theologians Under Hitler” by Robert P. Erickson, who tried to explain how and why Christian thinkers could come to believe that exterminating Jews was somehow Christ-like.

I am not a Nazi. I was not teaching Nazi theology as the truth. I was teaching it as propaganda, just like this Albany High School teacher was doing. My purpose was not to make my students sympathetic to Nazism. My purpose was to unsettle them. And to teach them something along the way.

I had two goals when teaching this material.

First, I wanted my students to realize that smart Christians with doctoral degrees supported the Holocaust. Second, I wanted them to grapple with the implications of this fact on their own religious commitments. Do Christians today have any responsibility to know this history and to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again? If so, how can they exercise that responsibility without coming to understand the contours of Nazi thought?

But instead of grappling with these questions, my students almost universally tried to side-step them. The Nazis were not Christians, they told me confidently, because Christians would never kill Jews just for being Jews. Case closed. Time to move on to more comfortable topics.

What I witnessed in Atlanta, and what we are seeing today in Albany, is a failure of imagination. My students were so locked into their current circumstances that they couldn’t imagine things being different in a different place and time.

For them, to believe that Christians could condone the Holocaust was (to quote from the Albany superintendent) an “illogical leap.” But Christians did condone the Holocaust. How can students learn that without digging into the primary materials? And how better to wrestle with those primary materials than by constructing a persuasive essay built upon them?

If I were teaching at Albany High School I might have worded this assignment a little differently. But it's a terrific assignment, and one that should be used at more high schools across the country. To far too many American youth, the Holocaust is an echo of an echo. Assignments like this bring it alive in all its horrors.

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But students aren't the only victims of the failure of imagination we are now witnessing among Albany school officials and Jewish leaders. The teacher is a victim, too. And so are public school teachers across the country who are being told via this fiasco not to be creative as teachers, not to challenge their students to think in new ways.

If this teacher is fired, I will invite him or her to Boston University, where I now teach, to explain what he or she was trying to accomplish in challenging students with this assignment. And I will give the same assignment to my college students. I think it will do them some good.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Culture wars • Education • Holocaust • Judaism • New York • Prejudice • United States

soundoff (1,829 Responses)
  1. faith

    almost all of the sources cited are from dorothy. who is she? in her own writings she cites herself as a source. "This should be a huge red flag to her credibility. She has been debunked and criticized by many serious historical scholars." beginning and end

    don't misunderstand me. i love dorothy. she is the funniest, most self-possessed, egotistical, stupidest, most retarded moron of all time.

    April 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • concerned

      whatever you say, faith. did you have your meds today, faith?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • faith

      "There are almost no early writings about the cult of Mithras and most of what is known is based on artwork (as opposed to Jesus Christ, of whom thousands of ancient manuscripts exist that describe His life, death and resurrection in detail). But according to historians, Mithras was born from a rock, not from a virgin or from a person at all." beginning and end

      April 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Public School Student

    A lot of people are saying that this man is wrong and are accusing him. I do not agree with any themes of Nazi-ism and am a life long proud Christian myself. But I do not believe he is trying to pardon Hitlers acts. I make no attempt to rationalize or explain Hitlers actions at all but I understand what Mr. Prothero is saying. He is not saying it was OK to give an assignment in that way, but he understands what the teacher was trying to teach. He/She was trying to warn the students of the dangers of propaganda and how good people were raised and fooled to believe that the killing of Jews was acceptable (which we, in a future and "rear-view mirror" viewing society, know now is wrong).
    In my Junior English class currently we are reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and have used the N word in reference to an old society, explaining that it is wrong and we mean no harm, only to accurately quote the novel. Now, does that mean we condone slavery? No, it does not. I made an attempt in an essay on the novel to emphasize that teachers need to continually give an accurate portrayal of what people in the past thought of the subject. We need to be sensitive of it and take fore-warnings that we believe the subject is morally wrong before beginning, but if students aren't taught of the dangers, how can they protect themselves? History does repeat itself. An analogy: if children are not taught exactly how dangerous guns are, how can we expect them to stay away from them? you can't just tell kids its dangerous. you have to give them examples, tell them what it can do, and how people, perhaps with overall good intentions, can fall into the trap of this evil. That is what that teacher and Mr. Prothero are trying to explain to us. Of course, the teacher did it in a dramatic and insensitive way, but they were trying to protect them by exposing them.
    And finally for all the Christians out there arguing that no "real" Christian could do such a thing, let me remind you that we are all subject to sin, mistake and folly, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7 NIV

    April 14, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  3. God forsaken liars

    You are under the perverted assumption that Hitler was religious . you are under the perverted assumption that a Christian is not literally filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Your reality is perverted. your truth is perverted. your words are perverted. your opinions are perverted. You are perverted.

    April 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • God forsaken liars

      think a religious person qualifies as a christian if they "say so"

      April 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Bat Guano

      You're some kind of pervert.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • .

      Lol. Boy, you're funny. Guess since reporting history is perverted, so is reporting the Bible, since you think that's history. Lol. Lol.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      There is no holy spririt....so any one who claims it...is it....

      April 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • .

      Hitler was a christian. He was full of SOMETHING, but he was a christian.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  4. J. Akuz

    It is the corruption and influence-peddling in NYC that is to blame here and nothing else. The filthy hasidic sects of NYC are well-known for their disgusting criminal behavior and for the ridiculous influence they have in NYC govt.
    This person was fired for teaching, whereas if they had deliberately kept the students in ignorance and stupidity, this would have met with overwhelming approval from the sleazy chabadniks who are nothing more than gangsters with third-grade educations. All these NYC mayors who are "Jewish" are the problem. Stop voting for these sleazebags and maybe the schools will be "allowed" to teach real facts with effective methods. Kosher food is often the most filthy. Look it up.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Akira

      Did your little rant below to me make you feel better?
      Good.
      I know you read my response and didn't answer; here's mine to you: kiss my ass.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  5. J. Akuz

    Here Prothero hoists himself on his own petard.
    To openly admit you know what and how propaganda is used while wallowing in your position as a religious teacher is to claim oneself to be a fraud.
    Prothero knows religion uses propaganda yet continues to propagate the brainwashing and the lies of christianity.
    A blatant fraud, a fool, and a lying, criminal scum, that's what Prothero has clearly defined himself to be with this article....

    April 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Prothero frequently does this.
      It's nothing new.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  6. Russ

    @ Stephen Prothero: why not talk about the Confessing Church – one of the only groups to openly stand against Hitler BECAUSE of their Christian faith? why not talk about Karl Barth's anger at the liberal theologians whose positions (not all that far from some of your positions) made them more susceptible tools for Hitler's use of religion as a pawn in his master plan? Or Bonhoeffer's radical (& equally controversial) plot to kill Hitler?

    i hear you on the teacher's attempt at creativity to engage the students, but how is this any different than the old blue eye/brown eye experiment years ago? the students STILL to this day talk about trauma from that – not a lesson learned about prejudice. this is a case of the method actually destroying the message.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Akira

      Probably because he was talking about a specific assignment given in a specific school?
      And comparing it to a course he used to teach, which likely covered the topics you brought up?
      Just a guess.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The issue to learn from this assignment was not about what a small minority believed but about how a large number of people could believe something that we can't even comprehend today. Again, I don't support this assignment in this form for high school kids, but to teach the idea there are variants already discussed that could have been done instead.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Akira & Saraswati: my point was that the same teaching could be accomplished from the opposite side without this danger (of the charge of anti-Semitism OR emotionally scarring of students – a la the Jane Elliot fiasco).

      it's not avoiding the topic to find an alternative that is not unnecessarily controversial, yet equally creative and immersive for students – not to mention make students aware that the Christian response in Germany was not monolithic.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Russ, I agree with you on finding an alternative. I would like, however, to preserve the core part of the assignment that actually focussed on the Nazi logic. It's similar to what I see here with Christians assuming atheists are idiots and atheists assuming Christians are idiots. When you over-simplify the other's position you don't really know what you're up against.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Russ

      @ saraswati: i also don't want to oversimplify the Nazi position, but the complexity of the required response would equally force students to engage that – again, without the controversy.

      just engage the reality of what was happening in German churches: some embraced Hitler too readily. why? Karl Barth & Dietrich Bonhoeffer blamed the liberal theology of Schleiermacher & co – which many re-embraced later (like Bultmann & Tillich... who, ironically for Prothero, espoused the very kind of things he seems to espouse often). they stood against such positions – but with various nuance themselves. Barth fled. So did Bonhoeffer... but then he went back & tried to kill Hitler. the Confessing Church movement was one of the only groups to take Hitler head on. most such biblical pastors were summarily killed alongside the Jews in the concentration camps.

      seems to me that exploring these POSITIVE examples would BOTH give clarity on the complexity of the Nazi propaganda machine AND the multifaceted Christian response (including those who fell into it AND those who stood against it). With this approach also, you take head on all this nonsense that the Nazi regime was some sort of a united Christian enterprise.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  7. faith

    you need dorothy's approval to do anything. if she says hitler was a lovely christian fellow, then he was a lovely christian man. do not dispute her unless you want to suffer the consequences. dorothy is not to be crossed

    "Akira
    Liar.
    You're going to burn in hell."

    i am good ain't i?

    April 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Liar.
      You're going to burn in hell.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • faith

      who is dorothy, dorothy?

      temper temper little girl

      b4 u no it ul need the savior's shed his blood for all ur sins

      April 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • J. Akuz

      There is no such thing as hell, Akira. Your god does not exist. No punishments will be handed out to anyone for anything.
      You, who believe an obvious lie to be the Truth™ when it is not and never has been and never will be, are the liar here.
      You refuse facts because they do not fit your imaginary lie. You do hypocritical acts every day and refuse to see them as anything but a "special privilege" of those who follow your hypocritical religion.
      You are one of those slobs who think your hell is for other people and never for you. Yet there is no hell for anyone anywhere. You are an idiot.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, sweet faith.
      I am just repeating your standard phrase to anyone you don't agree with: "Liar, you're going to burn", or some variation thereof.
      Poking some gentle fun at what you frequently assert.
      I don't know if you're going to burn in hell; that is not up for me to judge, dear.

      And now *I'm* dorothy, too?
      My.
      You see dorothys everywhere, do you not?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Akira

      J, if you only knew that your post would be better directed to faith rather than me...
      I realize there is no hell, darling.
      As I see you using the Truth™ symbol, which I have seen here before, I assume you have also read my posts before, in which case you will see why the absolute rot than you posted to me doesn't in any way, shape, or form apply to me at all.
      I expect an apology.
      I doubt you'll be brave enough to issue one.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • oOo

      J. Akuz said " . . . . Akira . . . . "

      Whaaaaaaa??? Are you serious, J?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'm not sure I've ever been called dorothy. Should I be offended?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Akira

      oOo, I know, right?
      I read this and laughed, acutally...but I won't hold my breath waiting for that apology...

      April 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • oOo

      Actually, you should be offended, Saraswati. It's similar to Lie4Him's list, but it's like a master list it seems. I'm pretty sure you have to say something more evil than foresaking Pete though.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Saraswati, just disagree with faith once. You'll be a dorothy in no time!

      April 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • oOo

      Lol. true, Akira – how could I forget that one.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Austin

      Dorothy and Dorothy both reason through complete and total denial that there is a Holy Spirit . This is why it does not matter if a religious killer claims to be a christian. They hate the ministry of Christ no matter what. They can use this Hitler situation to their advantage. is that not evasive exploitation?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Akira

      If you are referring to me, Austin, you have just broken the 9th commandment.
      I suggest that you stop your sweeping generalizations.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Austin

      Akira, do you believe in hell?

      do you believe in the Holy spirit.?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • .

      Why the hell do you think she should answer any questions now, seeing as the LAST one she answered for got her called a lot of retarded names by you Ass pony Austin???

      April 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Akira,

      Oh well I may have to pass. I occasionally read faith's comments but they are generally to dim-witted to warrant a response. His/her stuff is silly to the point of charicature and I don't normally debate with people who look that likely to be frauds. I'm assuming this is the same person who was "mary".

      April 15, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  8. Russ

    For all those claiming Hitler was Christian... just think it through...

    You're claiming Hitler believed that a perfect JEW sits on the ultimate Throne ruling over all existence (& races)...
    That a JEW is God. Does that compute?

    April 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Huebert

      To Hitler, Jesus was not a Jew.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • oOo

      Things rarely compute when one Christian tries to determine the "Christianness" of the next one.

      Many protestants think the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Is that supposed to compute in some way?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Akira

      Hitler said he was a Christian.

      I'm repeating what he claimed, not agreeing with it.

      Get the difference??

      Wish somebody would.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert: and now you're making my point for me.
      So if Hitler's Jesus is not the Jesus of history, the Christian faith, or the Bible, how can one claim we are talking about Christianity?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Christianity has a history of anti-semitism so Hitler was not by far not the exception....there are many white supremasists n this country that are "Christians".

      But no the logic does not compute....but the same goes for Christian dogma in general so it is not all that surprising.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • oOo

      who's history, Russ? Josephus? Someone that may have tampered with Josephus? What do the left Lutherans say? What do the right Lutherans say? And back to the Madison....

      April 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Huebert

      It's the same character, you just have very different understandings of him. Jesus is a character. You can't say that your Jesus is the "true one" anymore than Hitler could. It's like trying to argue that Christian Bale's version of Batman is the only true Batman.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Hitler believed that Jesus was mixed-race. As fathered by god he was only half Jewish and was given a pass. He was a pretty twisted fellow and I'm afraid that Christians get to claim him as one of their own. There are lot's of twisted lunatics to go around though.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Russ

      @ oOo:
      all the major branches of Christianity agree on this: Jesus is a Jew.
      over 2 billion Christians, who disagree on lots of other things, but all agree clearly on that.
      hard to identify Hitler Christianity when this is not exactly a peripheral teaching of the faith.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Russ,

      Did you know Martin Luther pretty much hated Jews too? It is far more common than you seem to realize.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Cheese:
      I'm not going to defend Luther's anti-Semitism, but it was nuanced – and it certainly didn't result in murder, much less the murder of 6 million Jews.

      Luther was very excited about the potential conversion of Jews when he first experienced his radical paradigm shift. only later did he grow increasingly cynical about their conversion, and – yes – said some very anti-Semitic things.

      and yet, he still believed Jesus is a Jew... and he didn't kill Jews... and he certainly didn't have a master plan that called for mass extermination of vast numbers of people (including Jews). the comparison is not an honest one.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert: that's a ridiculous statement. we're not talking about nuanced particulars of Jesus' theology. we're talking about his *race.* it's a demonstrable fact of history. even Bart Ehrman (on the far left of biblical scholarship) readily acknowledges that.

      it's not "my" view of Jesus versus someone else's – it's a fact. he is a Jew. it's not like saying "i think he liked vanilla."

      April 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Russ,

      I wasn't comparing Martin Luthers actions and Hitler's actions, I was comparing their hatred for Jews, which you said was illogical for a Christian because Jesus was himself a Jew. I agree with you that the stance is illogical, but I was disagreeing with your conclusion that it is not a common stance among Christians HISTORICALLY.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Also, one of the reasons Christians have demonized Jews is because they were responsible for killing jesus, but of course Jesus wanted that to happen so blaming the Jews is again illogical and yet we hear that accusation thrown at Jews all the time. Without the Jews killing Jesus there is no salvation, Christians should be praising the Jews for doing god's holy work. That is just how insipid the whole thing is.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Lutherans did formally reject the antisemitic writings of Martin Luther. The various synods got around to it by the 1970's, a bit over four centuries after Von den Juden und ihren Lügen (1543).

      April 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Cheese:
      1) yes, some Christians have held anti-Semitic views historically... but some also died in defense of Jews. the concentration camps were not only populated with Jews, but among them were Christians who defended Jews. Elie Wiesel (among others) describes that in "Night."

      2) to claim Christians blamed the Jews for Jesus' death is to fail to understand that most of the first Christians WERE Jews.

      as far as the Bible is concerned, there were many responsible parties. The Roman leadership (Pilate: "what is truth?"), the Jewish religious leadership (the plot to kill Jesus), his own disciples' betrayal, etc. The clear bottom line of the cross in the New Testament is that we ALL are culpable. or as one famous commentator said, "the cross demonstrates that – given the chance – man will try to kill God."

      if you read carefully through the Gospels, the "Jews" are not treated monolithically (Jn.8, for instance), and the consistent citing of the Old Testament is both an expression of faithful continuation of the Jewish faith AND a hope to reach those Jews who have not yet come to embrace Christ as the messiah. Jesus' own disciples were Jews. They taught that salvation was from the Jews – and that it came first to the Jews (Rom.1:16f). Paul stresses that the only reason any Gentiles are saved is because they are grafted into the place of unfaithful Jews, but he hopes that "all Israel will be saved" (Rom.11).

      to press the issue of God's sovereignty, the Bible makes clear that though those who do evil are responsible for their evils, God's plan can include USING their evil intent for good (Gen.50:20). In that vein, God planned for this death in order to save humanity (Acts 2:23), and Jesus stresses that no one could take his life if he didn't voluntarily lay it down (Jn.10:17-18).

      April 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Huebert

      Russ

      What racial background odes having a "divine" father bestow upon a man? Also remember that Jesus in the bible is a character based upon the amalgamation of numerous anti-roman/Jewish-reform prophets of the time.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert:

      1) are you conceding the miraculous?

      a) b/c if so, do you understand the biblical contention that he is fully human (while yet being fully divine)? in terms of DNA, this is purely miraculous – but it also means he was FULLY Jewish (not a demigod, per Greeks).

      b) your followup question is moot if you actually believe God broke into time in the person of Jesus. He chose the race through which he wanted to self-represent. and unlike other religions (Islam, for example, where Arabic is the language of heaven), God purposefully transcends any unique culture or race. Pentecost (as well as Cornelius) radically demonstrates this – when the Holy Spirit comes down, ALL languages are spoken in testimony to God. Which goes to your underlying concern: God can be fully divine and yet accommodate us in his form (he can become fully human without violating his divinity).

      2) this is simply your self-projection.
      a) on the one hand you entertain the notion of the miraculous in your question, but your assumptions in response forego that premise. if God is real & does this, your 'objections' are moot. if he didn't, why are you asking the question? it's disingenuous. if your goal is to actually engage logical inconsistencies WITHIN your opponents' position, you are not fully entering or recognizing our theological self-understanding.

      b) despite all your repeated statements, even the most liberal biblical scholars (w/ virtual unanimity) recognize Jesus was an historical figure – NOT a fabricated character. though i disagree dramatically with most of his other conclusions, see Bart Ehrman's introduction to his new book "Did Jesus Exist?"
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/03/30/the-historical-evidence-of-the-existence-of-jesus-of-nazareth/

      c) if Jesus were merely a literary character, the Gospels would represent a radically unprecedented genre, historically speaking. are you prepared to follow that thought? for such a piece to be fiction, it would have no known predecessors or even successors for another 1700 years (modern, novelistic, realistic fiction). are you contending that these most famous literary works had NO copycats in genre for 1700 more years? from the view of literary scholarship alone, that's preposterous.

      for more on that, read "Fern Seeds & Elephants" – an essay by one such literary expert to a group of biblical scholars at Cambridge...
      http://orthodox-web.tripod.com/papers/fern_seed.html

      April 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Huebert

      My point is that the christian idea of Jesus is a miracle character. It is possible for people to intemperate characters differently and still be talking about the same character. This character has no actual DNA or heritage because he is a myth. Now I'm not saying Christians are bad because Hitler was one. Hitler was an evil psychotic fascist who happened to be Christian. His version of Christianity is unique to him and other supremacist sh!ts. But weather you like it or not it is a version of Christianity.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Huebert

      Russ

      I'm going to specifically address this because it is so funny.
      "c) if Jesus were merely a literary character, the Gospels would represent a radically unprecedented genre, historically speaking. are you prepared to follow that thought? for such a piece to be fiction, it would have no known predecessors or even successors for another 1700 years (modern, novelistic, realistic fiction). are you contending that these most famous literary works had NO copycats in genre for 1700 more years? from the view of literary scholarship alone, that's preposterous."

      What do you mean that the bible has no known predecessor or successor, The Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, The Qur'an, The Greek myths, The Vedas, The Book of Mormon, Dianetics, and all other various religious texts in existence could be considered to be in the same genera as the bible. Hell the Qur'an claims to be the bibles direct sequel so does the book of Mormon. The only thing that separates the miracle"s of Jesus form the labor's of Hercules is that You believe Jesus was a real person.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert: good. your objection means you are finally hearing me (though not actually reading the things I'm giving you to read). "it's funny" to you only because you're not actually taking the scholarship seriously. your position is untenable.

      Here's the quote CS Lewis (one of the leading myth experts of the last century, and a former atheist) gave from which I'm drawing this... and if you'd actually read his essay, you'd understand why there are MULTIPLE problems with your assertion that Jesus is a myth...

      "I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage – though it may no doubt contain errors – pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read. I would recommend him to read Auerbach."
      http://orthodox-web.tripod.com/papers/fern_seed.html

      April 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Huebert

      I dispute CS Lewis, there is nothing unique about the writing in the bible. It's structure is consistant with other myths from the same geographic area and time. The Bible is nothing more than a collection of works by various authors, many of them unknown, collected and combined after the authors' deaths And I have no intention of reading an essay from some random guy on the internet.

      Finally there are no problems with as.serting that the Jesus of the Bible is a myth. In the bible Jesus does magic, he turns water in to wine, he brings people back from the dead, he walks on water and a whole bunch of other stuff. Real people cannot do these things, only fictional characters can preform magic. Now there could have been a man or several men that Jesus was based off of, but they were just that, men. He, or they, could not do magic nor were they the sons of any supernatural being, in order to advance this idea you would first have to prove that God exist.

      April 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert:

      1) again, it's clear you didn't read his essay. it'll only take 20 minutes.

      to be fair to CS Lewis, he was not talking about the Bible as a whole, but the Gospel accounts in particular. the genre of the accounts – if they are fiction – is what is unprecedented. the superfluous detail that smacks of realism, if not – as they claim it to be – from eyewitness accounts, is NOT found in any myth prior to or even fiction until 1700 years later. that's the point. from a purely literary standpoint, if it is fiction – as you claim – there is nothing like it for millennia. that's a SERIOUS problem for your position.

      again, Ockham's razor removes the myth option. after you read what the writers are claiming (Luke 1:1-4, 1 Cor.15:1-7, 1 Jn.1:1-3; etc.) – namely, that this is eyewitness testimony – you only have two legitimate options: either it is what it claims to be (reportage) or it's simply lies. the "myth" accusation fails to understand what is inherent to the genre of myth. and if you'll actually read Lewis' essay (again, presented to biblical scholars at Cambridge), you'll understand why claiming it's a "legend" fails from a literary standpoint (nothing like it in that category, no such superfluous detail, myths arise hundreds of years after the alleged events, etc.).

      2) and furthermore, you said "real people don't do these things." you are objecting to the miraculous per se.

      a) most people make this assertion based off David Hume's arguments, which have long since been refuted. if you begin by *presupposing* the miraculous is impossible, you purposely filter out any data to the contrary. it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. that's one of the basic philosophical problems with your position.

      b) along those lines, but scientifically, you have a related problem. this was a popular claim in the scientific arena since the Enlightenment, but in the last 30 years or so, it has largely fallen out of favor in the scientific community. why? chaos theory & quantum physics REQUIRE the basis that the unexpected can & does happen. it's inconsistent to rule out the miraculous if your entire basis for our scientific existence assumes the improbable is a necessity for that existence.

      so, maybe a very practical question for you is this: do you reject quantum physics & chaos theory? and if so, on what basis? seems to me that basis is not empirical... so what sort of metaphysics are you doing that precludes the miraculous? it's self-refuting.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Huebert

      Russ

      1) I told you in my last post that I have no interest in reading a theology essay, I couldn't care less who it is written by or who it was presented to. There is absolutely nothing about the way that the bible is written that could ever convince me of its veracity.

      2) We obviously mean very different things when we say miracle. You seem to be using the word to indicate a very unlikely event. When I sue the term miracle I mean an event that supersedes natural laws. Walking on water supersedes natural laws because human feet do not have buoyancy to support the weight of the human above them. Changing water into wine violates natural law because water cannot turn into alcohol. There is no carbon in H2O. The events that the bible claims are miracles are outright impossible, not merely improbable.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:04 am |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert:

      1) that is the definition of ignoring the data... and, by extension, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      and, ironically for you, you are DOING theology while refusing to read it. you are presupposing things about the supernatural (so much that you are excluding other things) – or to be blunt: you are making theological statements while refusing to study the issues at hand. the ostrich comes to mind...

      2) again, you are making theological assumptions while claiming NOT to want to talk about it.

      on what basis do you assume the supernatural *contradicts* the natural in superseding *known* natural laws? look again at chaos theory & quantum physics. like i said, the last 30 years make your position untenable.

      or to be blunt: if, for the sake of the argument, you conceded the possibility of the divine, on what basis would you *necessarily* conclude that *miraculous* events could not simply occur through incredibly improbable yet natural (secondary) means? and who would be able to tell the difference – if a transcendent being chose to use physically explicable but incredibly improbable means?

      again, you are drawing a line that is not consistent. either you believe the bible is merely a product of nature (humanity) and should be studied as such (yet nonetheless studied!), or you believe there is something transcendent – in which case, what scientific mind wouldn't consider that the greater truth to be pursued?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Huebert

      Russ

      I am not making a theological statement. I am simply saying that it is not possible for the writing style of any particular text to convince me that it is divinely inspired. This statement is only concerning what type of evidence it would take for me to believe that the bible is "transcendent" as you put it. Even if CS Lewis is completely correct and the bible has a totally unique style of writing, this in no way indicates that it is divine; this just indicates that it is unique.

      And I discount all supernatural claims as a time saving measure. No one has ever been able to demonstrate, under controlled conditions, any form of supernatural power. The Amazing Randi has a standing offer to pay one million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate any kind of supernatural power in controlled laboratory conditions. This prize has been offered for more than 20 years and has never been claimed. So tell me, if no one in the world today has any form of supernatural powers why should I believe that said powers were rampant in the middle east two thousand years ago?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Huebert:

      1) "I am making no theological statement... and I discount all supernatural claims as a time saving measure." that's talking out of both sides of your mouth.

      a) CS Lewis is not arguing that the texts are divinely inspired (at least not in that essay). the point to which you are objecting is purely literary and entirely demonstrable in history: if one is claiming the Gospel accounts are fiction, there is no other matching genre for this prior to or for another 1700 years. read his essay & you'll understand. it's not a theological argument. it's literary scholarship.

      b) yes, you are right. understanding that does not ensure it's divine. it only tells you that these are eyewitness accounts – which could be fully lies... or they might be actual reportage. but that's where the discussion starts – a discussion (I am pointing out) you are unwilling to have at this point because you are falsely claiming these accounts fit the myth genre. after you recognize that can't be the case (literarily), THEN the historical discussion begins. until then, you continue to dismiss the foundational piece on false grounds.

      2) again, your definition of supernatural fails to understand the natural.

      a) on what basis do you know "natural" laws? what undergirds them? why do they *function* at all. you're acting as if science had no metaphysical presumptions. in most science classes, they admit their philosophical gearing is "methodological naturalism" – yet you seem unwilling to recognize that you have a philosophical basis WITH metaphysical presuppositions (which, by definition, are not verifiable by science).

      or to put it as Nietzsche did: "it is STILL a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science." (my emphasis)

      b) did you really just base your entire understanding of existence off whether or not a potentially transcendent being will submit to and/or claim the Amazing Randi's prize money?

      the problem here is that you are so busy wearing your own glasses as your grid for interpreting existence that when you actually begin to entertain another possibility, you *test* the data WHILE STILL wearing the same glasses/grid. the test is rigged. you're not actually considering the data, because you still begin with an assumption which discounts the data from the outset.

      how would you know if you are *actually* mistaken? what if you *really* are wrong? if there is such a being/transcendence/etc., how have you missed it all this time? if you're actually going to engage the possibility, stop jury rigging in advance.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Great discussion!

      Berthold Auerbach (28 February 1812 – 8 February 1882) was a German-Jewish poet and author. He was the founder of the German "tendency novel", in which fiction is used as a means of influencing public opinion on social, political, moral, and religious questions.

      As such, it would seem reading Auerbach, as Lewis suggest would provide some background context on the use of fiction as a moral work. Lewis is often avoided by close minded atheists, I suppose Auerbach, being more obscure is all the easier to dismiss. Presuming one relishes their dearly held foregone conclusions.

      Decision-- Russ

      April 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll....and
      Stated...A criminal might subvert this sacrament but that would make him a criminal, not a priest and would result in immediate and automatic ex-communication. Might explain why the Vatican was in bed with the Fascists.
      Bill's wisdom...The truth is the truth whether everyone believes it or no one believes it. What?
      Ignore Bill.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  9. SAAB

    Austin,

    Did Hitler believe in God? If your answer is Yes, Which God? you can't just disassociate him from your religion because he was a mass murderer !!!

    April 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  10. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    @Austin, Christians are lions, Muslims are pigs, Hindus are cows, and Buddhas are Buddhas

    April 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Austin

      ill get you for dinner. are you crawling? you should be easy to find.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  11. biggles

    And I used to be an atheist. I murdered 419,023,286 people because I felt like it.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • midwest rail

      More delusional idiocy.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If the only thing keeping you from being a genicidal mass murderer is your delusional belief in god.....by all means keep your belief..... simpleton

      April 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  12. Austin

    What is a Christian? someone who does not believe in the resurrection does not know what a Christian is. A christian is not a religious person who goes to church.

    Midwest Rail, Arnie, Akira, Richard Cranium.............A and A ..........What is a Christian?

    April 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Akira

      I'm getting rather tired of you singling me out when I try to educate you on information YOU asked for, Austin: namely your eye charts.

      Nowhere have I ever, EVER stated that "Hitler was the ultimate Christian in the history of Christianity and represents the best of Christiandom."

      Because, quite simply, it couldn't be farther from the truth.

      And yeah, I'm going to post something that Hilter said.
      I make no claims as to the truthfulness of his statements, only that he said it.
      I don't HAVE to prove any connection to the NT, as I didn't say it, HE DID.
      ____________________________
      By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. …

      – Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed.

      Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.

      – Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

      I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

      – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

      Now, as per your post below, you are attempting to call me a sick pervert for posting what is historical information, we are going to have a problem, Austin.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      oink oink, I am still a PIG, are you still a lion and want to eat me Astin?

      April 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      asked and answered on one of your umpteen threads.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Austin

      If a mass murder parades down the street with a bible, killing people by the millions, and you say oh he is a christian and he is doing this because he is justified by his bible

      then you ARE a sick pervert. Hitler's nazi agenda was a naze agenda. and evil agenda. not a christian agenda. therefore he was not a christian. he fails the test of being a christian. He was a habitual mass murderer.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Akira

      I am dangerously close to calling you a hard-headed asshole, Austin.

      If history bothers you so much, stay out of the conversation.
      You cannot change history. He said what he said.

      I don't agree with him, and never have.

      Call me a sick pervert again, Austin; I won't hesitate to call you a few choice names.
      I can be just as good a person as you in that department.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Akira

      And, never ONCE did I ever say Hitler's Nazi ideology was a Christian agenda. As I have stated over and over, ad nauseum, but somehow you keep forgetting.

      Say that again, Austin, and you will be flat out lying.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      austin
      You are judging christians....is that really the christian thing to do?

      I never said Hitler was right...I know he wasn't. But his belief IS one of the reasons that everything transpired. If he was an atheist, it is likely the holocaust would not have happened...the reason being, he would not care which religion anyone was as he would not have any belief in them, so would not have cared to extinguish people for believing. He might ( as Stalin did) outlaw religion and punish those caught worshipping (more of a society control and political control move than anything), but he would never have singled out one religious group over the others if he were atheist, he would have had equal contempt for all religions.

      Leaving for the day...final post...and note in the hypothetical above I did specify 'Likely"

      April 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Austin

      It does not matter what Hitler said. He was a mass murderer. What is sick about yall, is that you defame what a Christian is with Hitler by choice , refusing to acknowledge the baptism of the holy spirit, bringing down what a Christian is unto a sick mans claim.

      A christian involves the presence of a Holy, just, and loving God.. Being a Christian is about repenting from sin. Being free from the bondage of sin. Was Hitler saved from committing the acts of sin that he committted?

      You are perverted because you choose to equate reality with Hitlers bogus claims. You assault Christianity with hitler as your vehicle. That is the purpose of this forum . The purpose and life and inspiration for your group, is to put Christianity on the same level as the most evil man in recent history. You are a pervert.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • theala

      Austin, your arguments are fundamentally flawed and employ circular logic.

      You need to accept the fact that many people call themselves Christian, yet do not behave in a very Christian like way.

      Now what you're trying to say is, since Hitler did such evil things he was not and could not possibly be a Christian. I'll agree that Hitler probably wasn't a Christian in the sense that he tried to follow Christ . . . though he may have deluded himself into thinking he was, and he certainly did delude others into thinking he was.

      But the fact is, Christians are tainted with the association of a lot of people who did (and continue to do) terrible things in the name of God. If we of faith are to be taken seriously by others when we talk about our faith, we have to be prepared to answer these kinds of challenges honestly, and forthrightly. We can't bury our hands in the sand.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Akira

      You completely missed the point in everything I said, and continued to call me names I don't deserve, so here's one you DO deserve: you're a hard-headed asshole.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Austin,

      I'm not sure why saying that there was one ass hole Christian defames Christianity. There are jerks of every belief. I an many others disagree with the other commenter. Were he not a Christian he may well have still done the same since this was largely not a religious issue (except insofar as Hitler believed the Aryans were genetically programmed for a superior religion). Christianity has some jerks with harmful interpretations just like every other group has jerks of their own kind. Nothing shocking here.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Akira

      @Saraswati: what other commenter?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Akira, I was refering to Richard's comment putting the blame on Hitler's Christianity. I believe he was roughly Christian but that he developed his racist ideas prior to his convenient version of Christianity.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • HotAirAce

      So Austin, name one church that declared Hitler to not be a chrstian during his lifetime.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  13. God forsaken liars

    You seem to have a problem with someone justifying the actions of someone like Hitler through his belief and his bible.

    This is demonic deception . HE WAS NOT JUSTIFIED THROUGH THE BIBLE. who cares what he believed?

    HE WAS NOT JUSTIFIED THROUGH THE BIBLE, THEREFORE CHRISTIANITY IS NOT LINKED TO NAZI THOUGHT.

    THERE IS NO LINK TO THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS CHRISTIANITY, AND NAZI THOUGHT.

    You have no truthful reason to imply anyting about Hitler and his bible and justification.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Change screen names as often as you wish, Austin. Still waiting for that link....

      April 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      . Austin
      You are missing the point again.

      Hitler was not an atheist.

      Hitler believed his faith justified his actions.

      Read his own words. You can try to argue it with Hitler in heaven ( he was christian, so if he was repentant, he should be there.)

      April 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Austin

      ok MR, you lost me somewhere . What link can I get for you sir and I will try.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Arnie

      What does all this mean?

      Usually CAPS for disassociation indicates "Coverup".

      April 14, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You asserted that I quoted Hitler. Nowhere have I done that, nor have I mentioned him anywhere except to request (repeatedly) a link showing where I've done that. You continue to ignore the request.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Austin

      I am not missing the point fellas. Based upon what Hitler did, and not what He said , you can judge the man.

      And I am here defending the scriptures that you say justified Hitlers mind. No they did not justify Hitlers perverted mind, and if they did, they would be perverted too.

      There is no link with Nazi thought, and actions, and the New Testament. Do you agree? If you can not cite the New Testament as ground for Hitlers action, then you must agree that there is no link between the New Testament, which is the Christian book, and Hitlers actions.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Austin

      MR, you jumped into the conversation with Richard Cranium who did. You associated yourself with that conversation but no you did not quote Hitler.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      midwest
      I think that (.) and austin, since he likes to post under many names, thinks that you and I are the same person. A quick look at the writing styles should change that opinion.
      I did quote Hitler, first to show that he himself called himself a christian, and that he did not like atheists, and then when austin blew a gasket to try to explain that Hitler believed he was justified because of his beliefs.

      At no time did I ever say that Hitler was correct, I just pointed out he though he was.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Well, that only took 45 minutes, and several requests, but thank you.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Austin

      I love you both!

      that is why you have to understand what a Christian is and why hitler was not a christian. What is a Christian? Who is a Christian?

      April 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Austin

      Also for one to state that Hitler was following the New Testament or Bible for that matter as grounds for Nazi thought is a horrible lie. Hitler was not motivated by Christianity or the Bible (same thing Christian=the Word, Bible)

      April 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • oOo

      Austin: "There is no link with Nazi thought, and actions, and the New Testament. Do you agree?"

      As I said on the other related thread, I'm glad you don't want the association, Austin.
      But it's not fair to ask for any agreement on what the New Testament means when the guy down the street from you has crosses and swastikas on his wall, and also professes the Christian love for his God, is it?

      April 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Austin

      This is where your discernment slaps God, and selfishly and for unjust motivation chooses to say "its not fair to assume relavence Between the schwastica and the cross"

      that is complete garbage and a malicious choice to associate something holy and righteous with something evil. That is a blatant lie.

      Is it fair? Are you a coward? Can you not read the new testament? of course you can. You choose to deny what it says and allow the schwastica to be seen with the cross.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      dot austin GFL

      Noun
      A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

      By Hitlers own words he is a mamber of your faith.

      No one is saying that his interpretation and yours are the same, and certainly no one is saying that either of you are correct.
      He felt he was christian, held the belief.

      By most of my actions, if you were to meet me in person, would think I am a fine upstanding christian, as most of my friends point out to me, I am the more christian in action than any of them, and hold me as an example of a good christian, except I am atheist, and have no need of gods. The preist where I donate time and I discuss at great length various positions of religions. He looks forward to the discussions as he claims it drives him to study more, and see things from others perspectives.

      You might try it as well. So what if Hitler was a christian...he is not you, and it is for your god to sort out who had it right.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      dot austin
      The swastika was stolen from the much older cultures...its original meaning was "to be good" and was used by many asian cultures as a powerful holy symbol and to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

      The symbol itself was used and represented for a brief period of time, a regime that caused a great deal of suffering.
      Hitler chose the symbol as it had already been adopted as a symbol of a strong unified Germany. Only in the later years was the symbol something to be feared.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Austin

      That is right it is up to God. And Christ said , " you must be born again". And it is the baptism of the HolySpirit that seals a persons salvation. not a persons words, or a water baptism.

      If Hitler was saved, he would have had inner convictions of his sin. He did not, he openly led genocide, and all he did was take the Lords' name in vain. If someone takes the Lord's name in vain, this does not qualify them as being a Christian does it? and you can go to any church and they will tell you, going to church does not make you a christian. if Hitler was a christian, he would never have done what he did

      He would have NEVER BEEN THAT WAY. He was a demonic force of evil. He is in hell. He was NEVER a christian.

      The New Testament has no comparison to Hitler, the New testament did not inspire Hitler. The new testament talks about deceivers, apostates, and anti- Christ deceivers. The bible gives plenty of non christian names and categories and prophecies for people like Hitler.

      Your inability to discern what a christian is, is because you are deceived. And you want to deceive others with the god of this world..

      April 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      dot austin
      Again...that is all your opinion. Aren't you breaking one of your commandments by judging him and bearing false witness. You do not know what was in Hitlers mind in his last few moments. If he regretted and repented moments before his death, and accepted jesus, by your own religion ( and his) he could be saved...isn't that what your book teaches?

      So do not judge lest ye be judged. Do not dwell on what you will say to Hitler in heaven, but feel better in the "knowledge" that if god let him in, he must have passed all the tests.

      I don't see why you are so upset. Men have used religions to their own gain since men started creating gods and religions.

      The fact is, Hitler was a christian. Whether or not he was a good one or a bad one is really moot to all except your god, right?...so why not let your blood pressure drop and just put it in your gods hands.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Doobs

      What in the world is a "schwastica"? Is that a German phonetic symbol?

      April 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • oOo

      Lie, Austin?

      I suggest you look at this page for some basics:

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0015_0_14689.html

      Check out the couple of sections on that page that start with:

      "NEW FORMS . . . In the United States, Christian Identity became a significant variant of neo-Nazism . . ."

      April 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Austin

      you are exactly right, Hitler created his own god. and this is clearly what he did and why he is an apostate anti-christ deceiver for you to equate this with Christianity is a choice you make because you hate Christ.

      You know the tendency for man to create god for personal gain, yet you refuse to admit that hitler did just this thing and took the Lords name in vain.

      Your choose to get involved in deception for the purpose of devaluing the "Word of God."

      1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

      Revelation 19:13
      New International Version (NIV)
      13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • oOo

      How about that Pope, Austin, does he have "Anti-Christ" qualities in your eyes?

      April 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You are lying

      Hitlers god and yours are the same. He believed in Jesus Christ...same as you.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Austin, you seem perturbed because people don't agree with you. Guess what? That's life. The fact is that Hitler used religion to gain power. He claimed to be doing god's work. You don't like the fact that people point out that he did so.

      Get over it. Hitler used your god to do evil. He's not unique.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  14. faith

    you need dorothy's approval to do anything. if she says hitler was a lovely christian fellow, then he was a lovely christian man. do not dispute her unless you want to suffer the consequences. dorothy is not to be crossed

    when i was a buddhist, i murdered 14,006 children in one night because of my faith. i know buddhism directed me to kill them and many, many more but i became a believer in christ so i quit killing them that night.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • faith

      the main thing to understand is actually very simple. dorothy is god. she is always correct. she does not tolerate anyone or any idea or anything that doesn't harmonize with her theories.

      even though those far superior to her intellectually, educationally, and in every other way think she is off her rocker and discredit her, every one of them is dead wrong.

      you see, dottie has special powers. when she reads the word "stop" for example, she doesn't just see that word. oh no. she interprets it as it was intended by the spirits who live on the other side of the sun. we should be grateful for her extraordinary insight into the divine. (yes, she believes in gods who dwell on the other side of the sun)

      April 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Akira

      Liar.
      You're going to burn in hell.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • faith

      Mythicists are never able to come up with a scenario in which it is probable that one or more Jews invented a figure that they claimed to be the anointed one, the descendant of David who would restore the kingdom of his ancestor; that, furthermore, they invented the claim that this figure had been crucified by enemy powers; and that they proceeded to try to persuade their fellow Jews to believe their message about this Messianic figure, so at odds with Jewish expectations.

      Yet mythicists adopt many of the same weak modes of argumentation that they otherwise criticize.

      Jesus mythicism serves as a cautionary tale. It is possible to think critically about a great many subjects and yet to shield one area from scrutiny. People tend to be selectively critical.

      Critiquing unpersuasive ideas and arguments is the stuff that scholarly publication is made of. Scholarship thrives on critique: researchers try to come up with something new, while their peers subject it to critical scrutiny. In this context, an overwhelming consensus does not attain the level of certainty, but it is highly likely to be correct. And there is no disputing that the consensus among historians is that Jesus existed.

      james f mcgrath

      April 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • faith

      "Akira
      Liar.
      You're going to burn in hell."

      lol

      April 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • faith

      J. Akuz
      There is no such thing as hell, Akira. Your god does not exist. No punishments will be handed out to anyone for anything.
      Mythicists are never able to come up with a scenario in which it is probable that one or more Jews invented a figure that they claimed to be the anointed one, the descendant of David who would restore the kingdom of his ancestor; that, furthermore, they invented the claim that this figure had been crucified by enemy powers; and that they proceeded to try to persuade their fellow Jews to believe their message about this Messianic figure, so at odds with Jewish expectations.

      Yet mythicists adopt many of the same weak modes of argumentation that they otherwise criticize.

      Jesus mythicism serves as a cautionary tale. It is possible to think critically about a great many subjects and yet to shield one area from scrutiny. People tend to be selectively critical.

      Critiquing unpersuasive ideas and arguments is the stuff that scholarly publication is made of. Scholarship thrives on critique: researchers try to come up with something new, while their peers subject it to critical scrutiny. In this context, an overwhelming consensus does not attain the level of certainty, but it is highly likely to be correct. And there is no disputing that the consensus among historians is that Jesus existed.

      james f mcgrath

      "You, who believe an obvious lie to be the Truth™ when it is not and never has been and never will be, are the liar here.
      You refuse facts because they do not fit your imaginary lie. You do hypocritical acts every day and refuse to see them as anything but a "special privilege" of those who follow your hypocritical religion.
      You are one of those slobs who think your hell is for other people and never for you. Yet there is no hell for anyone anywhere. You are an idiot." dorothy, u r losin it hon. go 4 a walk. no1, even some1 as lazy and pathetic as u, needs 2 stretch her legs.

      u cannot, have not, and never will provide 1 shred of evidence to prove u r right. u r an imbecile. u r going 2 hell.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  15. Colleen

    When participating in the Forensics League during HS, I learned that debate is not about finding truth. The art of debate is persuasion, winning your audience regardless of whether or not you truly believe in what you are arguing for.

    School is for teaching kids to see things from all kinds of perspectives. It is about helping kids harness theory of mind- ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one's own. We must learn to not only acknowledge the presence of, but to value our differences as individuals, people, cultures, and societies. Scholarly exposure to multiple perspectives on heated topics will enable us to harness compassion for other beings... ALL beings, 'good' and 'bad.'

    So, while the Holocaust may have been a horrible, inhumane occurrence of the past, learning to see how and why the ideas fueling Nazism came about is absolutely vital to moving forward. Forgiveness comes from compassion and understanding.

    In addition, we cannot jump to conclusions and judge this teacher, as we have no idea what his/her intentions were in creating this assignment. Nonetheless, the assignment could have been framed in a more nuanced manner. The teacher should've took the time to explain him/herself.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bob

      Great post, Colleen, and I agree with you.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • God forsaken liars

      the entire evil motivation in this whole satinic scheme of a forum, is to insinuate that Hitler was a christian. To even pass this forum off as a scholarly issue is a subliminal molestation on the idea of Nazi thought linked to the Bible.

      That does not pass the test. this article was written by a blatant scheme to link Nazi thought as something infuenced by the New Testament. Your posse is a seance of liars.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Arnie

      Well except that Hitler was a Christian.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Austin

      No hitler was not.

      what is a christian arnie?

      April 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      dot austin

      Noun
      A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
      Hitler fits the description by his own words.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Austin

      Christian Baptism? what is that? this is key define that. if you are talking about a ceremony then you are wrong. a ceremony is not the authentication of who a christian is.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Austin

      No Christian can say, since they were baptised that means they are a christian . that is scripturally inaccurate.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Akira

      So, your definition of a Christian is the only true and correct one, Austin?

      Do you possibly see why there may be some divisiveness going on in the world within the confines of Christianity's own beliefs?

      As clarity puts it, one denomination believes A, another believes B, but both are still Christian denominations.

      And no, Austin, people disagreeing with you doesn't make them God-forsaken liars. What it makes them are people who disagree with you.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Austin

      A christian is anyone who believes that Jesus is the son of god / is god, and attempts to live his or her life according to the will of god/jesus. Hitler fit this definition, thus he is a christian.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  16. Julie

    I believe firing her was exactly what needed to be done and this gentleman agreeing with her I would also question – you don't brainwash children –

    April 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Edd0

      Your kids don't go to church?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  17. fernace

    If I were the teacher I'd start this assignment w/a disclaimer & if students turned in papers that stated: "There is no reasonable way to accept Nazi perception!" I'd give them an A!!

    April 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Then you would fail as an instructor.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  18. Sheldon

    Would you feel the same way if you were Jewish and your kid came home with this assignment from his or her teacher? If you do, you are either disingenuous or a sh&^tier parent than you are a pathetic college professor.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Sarah Meyer

    That assignment was inappropriate. Very likely the teacher had Jewish students in her class. While it may have been appropriate as a learning experience in a Seminary – it was out of line in a public high school. How can you ask ANYONE to justify killing of THEIR own family. (And any Jew who does not think that he/she lost family either has converted in in the last 50 years or has not done enough of their own genealogy to have found the victims or survivors).

    April 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Kate

      Being able to argue a belief that you yourself do not believe is an essential skill – it teaches critical thinking. At the end of the day, after writing a paper like this arguing for something that you terribly disagree with, you can go home understanding it was JUST AN EXERCISE and not believe a word you wrote. People who get upset by this thing are just the people that assignments like this target – because their minds are cramped little bubbles.

      I could write a paper arguing for the murder of my own family – and I'd have fun with it. Tongue in cheek, my father never takes out the trash, my daughter won't stick with one boyfriend, destroy them all. Do I believe it? NO. Do I understand how silly my own arguments are? YES. And thus, learning to think.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  20. salvation is for all verses, not a racist nazi motivation

    1) Isa 46:10
    2) Dan 4:35
    3) Prov 16:9
    4) Prov 19:21
    5) Prov 16:33
    6) Psa 37:23
    7) Psa 33:10
    8) Psa 33:15
    9) Job 5:17-18
    10) Hos 6:1-2
    11) Deut 32:39
    12) Psa 90:3
    13) Jer 18:2-6
    14) Lam 3:31-32
    15) Psa 102:18-20
    16) Isa 2:2
    17) Joel 3:21
    18) Gen 18:18
    19) Isa 45:22
    20) Isa 45:23
    21) Isa 40:3-5
    22) Psa 138:4
    23) Psa 72:17
    24) Psa 86:9
    25) Isa 52:10
    26) Psa 65:2-4
    27) Isa 11:9
    28) Psa 66:3-4
    29) Isa 19:14-25
    30) Ezk 16:55
    31) Psa 68:18
    32) Isa 54:5
    33) Psa 22:25-29
    34) Psa 145:9-10
    35) Psa 145:14
    36) Psa 145:15
    37) Psa 145:16
    38) Psa 145:9
    39) Psa 145:10
    40) Psa 24:1
    41) Isa 25:6
    42) Isa 25:7
    43) Isa 25:8
    44) Isa 25:8
    45) Jer 32:35
    46) Psa 135:6
    47) Isa 26:9
    48) Isa 53:11
    49) Gen 12:3

    April 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • oOo

      If difficult topics are really bothering you that much – you may as well post your favorite nursery rhyme as well.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Akira

      Yeah, oOo, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth is getting a little out of control.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • oOo

      It needs a lullaby in the face of education.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Austin

      the sick perverts post Hitlers evil lies and words, knowing that they have zero new testament scripture linking Nazi thoughts to the new testament. They are just a demonic scam and fraud with one purpose, defaming Christianity. Keep posting Hitlers comments .

      Where is the new testament verses linking Nazi thought to Christianity?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Damocles

      @austin

      You have no problem with believing a deity murdered the world because it was angry, yet you have an issue with a person who tried to do the same thing?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.