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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. nice post, someone who is sane

    really?
    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    Hitler had no time for religion, socialism, non Aryan ethnic groups, or those who were seen as weak or deformed. Along with Jews – he killed Gypses, the mentally handicapped, gays AND many priests, pastors, and christians who didn't fit into his frame work.

    Hitler saw the church as something to be controlled (which he struggled to do) but ultimately his stated plan was to remove the church as well. Hitler only had one true ideology, which was National Socialism, with himself at the center. If anything, his Aryan beliefs were more based in evolutionary theory than anything else – although even this is a far, far, stretch.

    He was the creator of his own bizarre phillosphy that it hard to trace to any one source.

    The reality is that you, with your anger against christianity, are trying to re write history.

    The horrors of humanity were done in all kinds of names (socialism, nationalism, religion, personal glory, madness, political ideology). Trying to say that it was all religion is crazy talk. In fact, if broken down, evil done out of a theological frame work is not the leading cause of the pain the world has seen. WWI, WWII, China's cultural revolution, Stalins revolution, Gangis Khan, the Roman empire etc etc were not religious in nature at all.

    April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • This right here is the set up , loaded comment. Puke!

      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?

      April 15, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: "He was the creator of his own bizarre phillosphy that it hard to trace to any one source." not unlike some allegedly divine dude named jesus and the dead jew zombie cult known as christianity.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  2. Reality

    As noted on p. 3.

    The better, easier and safer assignment for all concerned: Convince the Boston U's administration that Religion Department's name should be changed to the Mostly Myth Department. We can help by providing the proper study guides for the assignment and some ideas about retraining the likes of Stevie P.

    Also see p. 3 for some starting points for retraining Stevie P.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  3. lol??

    Science will save ya with its emphasis on critical thinking. Remember "Operation Paperclip"? Hitler oaths were required for gubmint workers in Germany. Kinda like the Big O trying to find out which gubmint workers think it's OK to blast citizens without a trial.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:07 am |
    • Science

      Hey lol??.............................the mind works ..............when you know what reality is.

      You should try it.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • lol??

      Obsession is more than just perfume, science.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Science

      Hey lol??.................Gave it up too.

      Facts work ........................are you as smart as a 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang – In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 8:35 am |
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    April 15, 2013 at 6:38 am |
  5. Tobias

    Fantastic article. Thanks for crafting it.

    April 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  6. Larry

    Hitler also hated atheists and secular schools.

    Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. Hitler

    April 15, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  7. OpinionsToGo

    Stephen Prothero lacks common sense!

    There is EVERYTHING wrong with the assignment. There is a difference between having students analyse propaganda and having them create propaganda. The first is a critical exercise that has students learn WHY people created the propaganda / ideas that they did, while the second has students learn an internalize the propaganda and turn into propagandists themselves. I think that Prothero himself needs an education.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Feekoningin

      Actually, schools have children create propaganda all the time.They constantly teach points of view that upon further examination may be lacking. I personally don't think it was the greatest assignment. But on the other hand, I do agree with the writer of this article. I was a German major - one of both German and African-American descent. One thing I disliked intensely about my German history and literature classes was the one-sidedness. There was all this study of what I would call post-war Jewish propaganda. I have no problem with that, but it should have been balanced with greater exposure to Nazi thought and propaganda. The post-war Jewish point of view simply could not exist with out the points of view, however flawed they may be, that led up to the need of Holocaust survivors to express their experiences. Also, I am a journalist, and one of the principles of journalism is that a balanced point of view is necessary to get at truth. Another principle is that sometimes an unpopular view is correct. But we can never know unless we are given a full view of a situation. Additionally, things aren't always so black and white. My mother is Dutch-German, and she was treated abominably as a young child by her teachers in The Netherlands. She was a German citizen, but she was born and raised exclusively in The Netherlands by her Dutch mother. The Dutch typically are portrayed as courageous. But in their anti-German fervor, they also hurt innocents. Again, stories are never really as simple as they are portrayed. And as someone who, again, is of African-American descent, a descendant of slaves I know by name, I really have to say I've got bigger fish to fry than to worry about whether children are counting the number of slaves on a boat.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • Science

      Is he smarter than a 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 6:47 am |
  8. Al

    Contrary to what they may think, Bible Belt rednecks are not God's chosen people. It's the Jews. It says so right there in the good book.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      God Changed his mind, it also says that in the big book of multiple choice.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  9. 123esd

    this was a writing assignment that would have made these kids flex some persuasive writing muscle. he/she should have known better though. a person can't say anything about Jews that is less than glowingly positive without the ADL getting involved, even if the slight is imagined as in this case. That said, I think Jews are perfect, every single last one of them is a swell person (please don't sue me and drag my name through the mud!).

    April 14, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  10. the AnViL™

    it is the source of never ending amusement to me to see the reaction it elicits in xians upon learning that the prevailing ideology in germany during the 30's and 40's – was protestantism and catholocism (xianity).

    it's beyond comical to see their confusion and upset when they learn for the first time that xian ideology not only underpinned and drove national socialism – but was also the primary underlying cause of the hatred of jews – as well as the catalyst for the holocaust.

    when the assertion is made that xianity is dangerous – it isn't baseless invective. it's a cold hard fact which is well substantiated.

    those of you who were unaware of these ugly facts are mired in 2000 years of ignorance. you've been brainwashed to believe in a divisive, bigoted, hate-fueled, slave cult.

    you've wrongly been lead to believe that your slave cult religion was predicate on love and tolerance.

    lol

    a little education goes a long way.

    the more you know.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Cora

      True enough, at least some of the people of Christian faith knew and agreed with the holocaust. However, not all. In Corrie TenBoom's story, "The Hiding Place," she goes to concentration camp for being involved in the hiding of Jews. She being a Christian. We forget this. Secondly, Hitler himself placed the state far above the church and that is verbatim, Sir. He was heavily involved in the Occult.
      Lastly, seldom addressed is the issue of the adolescent and depression. Troubles at home, the lack of direction, the feeling of not belonging are all issues for a young student. The last thing they need is more depressing stuff!
      That being said, I believe I agree this is a good assignment. However, it should be given to a college age student or if younger, a student without a lot of personal problems.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • PaulH

      Cora
      Hitler wanted to establish Christianity as the official religion of the Reich.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&feature=player_embedded

      I think that Nazi interest in the occult has been largely overblown. It's been a popular Christian idea to blame Hitler's behavior on demonic possession, or at least an interest in the occult, but the evidence for this is almost non-existent. Some of the more gnostic claims of certain Christian leaders regarding end-time predictions better approach occult practices.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • really?

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      Hitler had no time for religion, socialism, non Aryan ethnic groups, or those who were seen as weak or deformed. Along with Jews - he killed Gypses, the mentally handicapped, gays AND many priests, pastors, and christians who didn't fit into his frame work.

      Hitler saw the church as something to be controlled (which he struggled to do) but ultimately his stated plan was to remove the church as well. Hitler only had one true ideology, which was National Socialism, with himself at the center. If anything, his Aryan beliefs were more based in evolutionary theory than anything else - although even this is a far, far, stretch.

      He was the creator of his own bizarre phillosphy that it hard to trace to any one source.

      The reality is that you, with your anger against christianity, are trying to re write history.

      The horrors of humanity were done in all kinds of names (socialism, nationalism, religion, personal glory, madness, political ideology). Trying to say that it was all religion is crazy talk. In fact, if broken down, evil done out of a theological frame work is not the leading cause of the pain the world has seen. WWI, WWII, China's cultural revolution, Stalins revolution, Gangis Khan, the Roman empire etc etc were not religious in nature at all.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Hitler had no time for religion"

      You are not serious....really?

      Got Mit Uns

      Look it up

      April 15, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  11. The real Tom

    Austin would have everyone believe he's been chosen by god to defend the "word." But he can't even remember who's who on this board, much less figure out what anyone posted.

    Idiot. Really, just beyond imbecilic.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Ken

      Kind of take a big ego to see oneself as a modern-day prophet too.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Austin

      Ken a "prophet" is someone who received "direct revelation" from God , that ended with John.

      spiritual gifts are from the spirit. 1 cor 12
      12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

      4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

      7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Ken

      Austin
      And Jews would say that it ended with the last of their prophets, the Muslims would say with Muhammad and the Mormons would say with Joseph Smith. Something is always the last word on something until the "new, and improved" version comes about. Why should we trust that Christianity was the last word on God?

      April 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  12. Sam Yaza

    the real question is can you doing it with out siting the bible

    April 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Austin

      do what?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      wright the report....

      get your head out o the clouds.

      he he he...

      April 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Earl

      the real question is can you doing it with out siting the bible

      Mine has been siting on the shelf for a long time.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      yeah... i was really drunk last night.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  13. The real Tom

    I can just imagine how Austin sees himself: wearing a suit of armor and carrying a cross, going forth to "defend the word of god."

    What inanity.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Austin

      not really , just stay the course and be vigilante. There is nothing anyone can do to hurt me and since I have experienced the sovereign power of God, why would I cower at a hostile crowd like i find here? You are here daily to worship the idea that here is no Holy spirit, no resurrection, and you are going to wind up in hell.

      I have a major problem with that. God gave me the courage to sand there and get spit on. If anyone on this earth is going to proclaim the truth, I will. God revealed truth to me and I will speak the truth in the face of hatred if it kills me,

      You had better seek God and beg for faith because it seems that you do not know the Lord.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Bash

      Your words are meaningless, Autin, because you do not understand the definition of half of what you type. In addition to that, you're a religious bigot. Fuck off.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, "vigilante" is pretty accurate. You didn't know that wasn't the same as "vigilant", did you, dumbbell?

      Really, you are so ridiculous I feel bad making fun of you-you don't even see how silly you are.

      You aren't bothered by anyone going to hell, you disingenuous little turd. You LOVE the idea. It shows in every single post you type.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      hay mr. astu-nyan, i actually got shot, kidnapped and beating for my faith in Amaterasu, and i still stand up and proclaim her.
      love

      by the way, it was Christians that did that to me.

      my point is your deity isn't that special that's why they do; they give you strength to stand up against adversity.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Austin

      God, the one true God, is alive and has the power to manipulate my surroundings to speak to me in sovereign power, and that God is special. And Real.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Larry

      Austin
      Big claim you are making, but can you prove it?

      And yes, it is up to you to prove it. Otherwise, all anyone have to do is just reject it as another bold claim without evidence to support it.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Science

      Austin and there is proof that there is no fairy in the sky , if you can read you should know that by now !

      April 15, 2013 at 5:58 am |
  14. Vic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

    April 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Vic,

      at the end of the day, Hitler's personal faith or lack of faith is not the issue.

      The issue here is that the good Lutherans and Catholics of the Third Reich did Hitler's bidding either directly or condoned it in the name of the Fatherland.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  15. Austin

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

    It seems that people are wiling to take Hitlers thoughts and rest in agreement with what he said concerning a belief in God.
    They stick to this loyaly, but do they stick to any sort of biblical doctrine? no, so what use is it that hitler believed in God. It is nothing more than pushing belief in God as crazy. And using hitler's evil to exploit the idea of belief in God.

    Here is biblical doctrine that judges the fact that Hitler was not a Christian, from the bible and not from a heathen debased ubelieving mind.

    14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

    20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is uselessd ? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

    25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prost.itute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    April 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Austin

      " Nobody is saying he was following the intent of the bible"

      ok my goodness finally. If you are willing to admit that he was not following the intent of the bible , then who in the world cares or gives any validity to anything hilter said. How do you spell fasad? fassad? idk. Hitler said he was a christian, and it does not matter what he said he was, because he was a mass murderer. and

      If there is a holy spirit (which there is and you deny this) then you are wrong, he was not a christian. so you are wrong . he was not a christian.

      being born again , is different that water baptism or someone who only claims to be a christian but is not filled with the holy spirit. politicians do it all the time. hitler created his own god and misled people. he took God's name in vain. that is all he did.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Bash

      It seems you do not have reading comprehension as to what people are saying. It is unless and futile to keep going over the same material, as you will not grasp anyone's point. You are a sore loser, and should refrain from making any more comments on what people's intentions are when they say HILTLER WAS CHRISTIAN.

      Don't like it? Tough shit. It's the facts, moron. No one said they agreed with his actions. Just that he said he was Christian.

      If your faith is so fragile that you have a cow every time someone states a fact: "Hitler was a mass murderer, hitler had black hair, Hitler was Christian", then you lack the critical thinking skills needed to differentiate between stating a fact and actually embracing what he believed. The former is stating a fact. The latter absolutely no one ascribes to, except those anti-semites neo-Nazi asshats who do. Who also happen to be Christian. I've seen NO evidence here by anyone's posts that anyone is a neo-nazi.

      You are acting like a spoiled child. You need to try harder; your style of proselytizing is either call people perverts, satan worshipers, or babble on ad finium about your "revelations."

      No WONDER no one takes you seriously, other than that crazy faith, and she adds no credibility to Christ's ministry, either.

      Grow the hell UP already. You sound irrational.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Austin

      hey sh.it for brains, "hitler was a christian" and "hitler said he was a chrisitian" are two completely different statements.

      If you say Hitler was a christian, you say this because you reject the role of the holy spirit. this means you are following the god of this world, perverting truth.

      are you a pervert of truth. are you a pervert of what a christian is? what is a christian?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bash

      Not one person EVER SAID he was following the Bible, in fact, most everyone agreed he WASN'T. You are most prideful, Austin. No one gives a flying fuck about Hitler, you moron, except when asshats like you say stuff like "Hitler was an atheist", in an attempt to slam atheists. When the shoe's on the other foot, and atheists WILL defend themselves by saying, "Hitler was a Christian", you froth at the mouth? Kiss off. Dishonest turd.

      Drop the Hitler thing. Your particular insanity over him is getting ridiculous.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Austin

      to be honest with you , I never said he was an atheist. and if you left it at "hitler said he was a christian" i would agree with that. but i will never pass up some rebuke for someone who insists that hitler "was a christian"

      you are an unbelieving fool if you insist on saying such a deviant thing. That is a satanic lie. there is nothing scholarly about a satanic lie. this arguement that hitler "was a a christian" is borderline slander of the holy spirit. and I happen to have personal evidence that the holy spirit is the most important factor in this life.

      Do not slander the ministry of the Holy Spirit using Hitler as an evasive exploitation of truth, using evil to denounce the Holy Spirit's work.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Roger

      But if Hitler was Baptized as a Catholic, then wouldn't it take some kind of witchy tribunal or such to un-Catholize him? Can one person do this posthumously who's not a Catholic?? Sounds like you're asking for a lot Austin.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Austin

      there again, all of the hyper adoration of Mary and the catachysm of that sect of Christianity is no means of salvation. Baptism means nothing. infant baptism is a religious error. a person is supposed to be baptised AFTER they accept christ as lord and savior. this is the public declaration of an adult, not a baby dedicated its parents.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Austin

      fyi, you allready know this but the evangelical and protestant church have many concerns surrounding the faith of catholics who have vigorous rituals None of these rituals are useful. they dont exclude them as partakers, but the ritual has a sum total of zero when in comes authentic salvation. authentic salvation is the only legitimate experience of being a christian. every church has many unsaved people claiming to be saved, living an empty life apart from the spirit.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Bash

      If assholes like you, thinking you're being cute and clever, wouldn't say things like "Hitler was an atheist" to try and bash atheists, the subject of Christianity wouldn't even come up in connection with him.

      But since assholes like you do, and when somebody corrects you, take it like a man and find another example, you idiot.

      Now shut the fuyck up about it. Nobody cares about Hitler, unless it's to study what the hell he did and learn from it so IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN!

      Fucking moron.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Bash

      Oh, kiss my ass, Austin. You have NO RIGHT whatsoever to bash anyone else's faith. You are doing precisely what you accuse others are doing. Catholicism is Christian. Deal with it, you religious bigot. Get outside of your narrow-minded box. Catholics worship the SAME GOD AND THE SAME JESUS YOU DO. Knock it off with your religious elitism. You're showing yourself to be a poor, poor Christian.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Austin

      I never said that hitler was an atheist. I am defending the word of God and Adolf Hitler was not a christian.

      adolf hitler was a nazi. a nazi is not a follower of christ,

      April 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Still can't manage to read and comprehend, can you? If your puny god needs someone as damaged as you to "defend" him, why consider him a god?

      You're a fvcking moron.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Austin

      No a moron would not know that the exact reason that you say "hitler was a christian" is really a conniving compulsion to slander what a christian is. And since I know the reality of the Holy Spirit, I wont pass up an opportunity to call you on your evil deception and ultimate hope that there is no Holy spirit, and help you understand that you are breathing a satanic slanderous lie bout any correlation between being a christian and adlof Hitler. You mess with the word christian, you mess with me.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "you mess with me."

      Yeah, I'm shaking in my shoes. What are you going to do, Austin? Drive your truck through a church again?

      You are a hoot. Keep up the comedy, honey.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Austin

      are you a female?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Are you a female?"

      Are you fvcking drunk?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Austin

      are you a female ? you called me honey . that sounds like something a female would say.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • theala

      @Roger re "unCatholicing" Hitler:

      It's called excommunication. Hitler was never excommunicated. It cannot be done posthumously because he has already dead.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Bash

      You don't even know the definition of word Christian, jerkwad. You place WAY too much on the word itself, instead of the belief system behind it. You suck at proselytizing.

      Oooooh, Tom, when Austin finds out you're female, he's going to banish you into the kitchen.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You fvcking idiot. You can't even remember what you read here, you ninny. Why would anyone have the slightest respect for your ability to comprehend what you read in the bible?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Austin

      Ya as if I can't remember . That does not mean I pay attention to you all the time.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Austin

      Ok sweet heart . You can call me honey. I like that tender hearted style.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Numbskull, if you have to ask about my gender, then you obviously haven't been comprehending what you read here. If you can't manage that, why should anyone give two craps about your interpretation of anything, whether it's the bible or your wet dreams?

      When are you going to tell us all about a dream you have, in detail, BEFORE some event occurs that you can pretend indicates some "revelation", Austin? Or are you too much of a coward to do that?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Austin

      The real Tom, I told one to end religion a while back, If there are any more I can share I will. Lately they have been typical non sense. I have not really even paying attention either I have been in a spiritual rut.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • PaulH

      Austin
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&feature=player_embedded

      We are a people of different faiths, but we are one. Which faith conquers the other is not the question; rather, the question is whether Christianity stands or falls.... We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity... in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people.
      -Adolf Hitler, 1928

      Yup, go on telling yourself that Hitler wasn't a Christian.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      Then post it again. I want to see the evidence your dreams have ANYTHING to do with reality.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  16. The real Tom

    "You are a pompous freaky circus act in your head."

    And you are a dimwitted clod who can't even figure out the arguments people are making because you are blinded by your zealotry.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Austin

      Do you think i need some flaming teacher to teach my child to write a paper convincing the teacher that he/she is a loyal nazi?

      is that a drama class? do we need theatrical drama in english or history? eccentric kook teacher can chill out without running some fiasco .

      April 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What is your educational background, Austin? Do you have a freaking clue what educational research shows about how kids learn?

      Wait. Why am I asking you? It's obviously not something you have a clue about. You never learned anything in your life.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, and Austin, you moron, when you use the word "fiasco," you should really check the definition first. It's pretty clear you don't know what it is.

      It's pretty clear you don't know much of anything. I really don't have to wonder why it is you have to live with your parents and can't manage to live like an adult.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Austin

      really I live on 7 acres with my dog and run my own business, and am invested in a few hundered thousand dollars of equiptment. I took a 5 year business loan out 12 years ago. do i sound dependent? my business contacts are satisfied and i cant meet demand I have to turn down work. I worked 75 hrs last much of it in the rain covered in mud. I love it.

      nothing can stop me . and I have God on my side. and He has delivered the truth in soveriegn authority.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You sound like an immature, delusional, dependent little mama's boy. You are completely incapable of comprehending what you read and you don't have a clue about much you write. At all.

      Again, grow the fvck up, Austin. You're a kid. Nothing but.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And as for your having kids, Austin? Don't. No kid should be raised by somebody as unstable as you.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Austin

      In other words you would rather see a child perish in hell underneath a coward and unbelieving heathen parent rather than a child grow up with roots planted in the truth? that is evil.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I'd rather crazy people like you never have kids.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      My kids are all right, mostly. I'm proud that they have a healthy interest in the truth of things. We're heathens, of course.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I shudder to think of someone like Austin raising anything more sentient than an umbrella.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      rather be a "heathen" then a cultist Austin

      Cult: worship center around Idolatry
      Idolatry: worshiping a human a Demi-god or a avatar

      Avatar: is a human/animal that say he is god, ie fully human/animal and god

      point Jesus is all three of this

      Christianity is a cult

      at lest i know the sun governs all life on this world.

      fact: no sun, no life.

      there is your truth!

      ...and whats wrong with being a heathen, i mean i help people because it makes me feel good. doing good makes me feel good, so i do it.

      partying non stop, doing drugs, overeating, killing and stealing, sleeping around makes me feel bad so i don't do it.

      hows that for heathenism blowing your fucking mind.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Austin

      I am sure that you do your best as parent and deserve the love and respect of your family, there is a major problem with depriving your children of spiritual truth in a dark world.

      In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.

      10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Tom, Tom the Other One is a far better parent than you'll ever be, Austin. Do the world a favor and get a vasectomy. You aren't parent material.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Austin

      if you were neutral and not sure, then maybe you would need a stern comment about you committment to deny, and lie about what a christian is and who Christ is. Heathen will be a mild sound in your distant future if you dont repent.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Really, Austin, hardly any European or American grows up without learning quite a bit about Christianity. A healthy curiosity almost guarantees it. Quite a few just don't ever think it's grounded in reality.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Blah, fvcking blah, Austin. Your threats are absolutely laughable.

      If it needs you to be its cheerleader, your god is about as scary and powerful as a wet noodle.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      dude JC was a human being that tried to divide families and destroy nations, did pretty good after his death. the fall of Rome and the Celtic common wealth ...ect, striped people from the heritage, erased history, i mean i lost my family name because o the douche went form Morrighan, to Dodd. and even got disowned because i woke up from his evil, I'm back to Morrighan now 🙂

      April 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Austin

      I experienced the voice of God through revelation , resurrection power. god spoke to me through my surroundings . The ministry of the Holy spirit went from reading and hearing, to experiencing supernatural things from a genius God.

      Spiritual miracles spoke through other people who confirmed the presence of a sovereign God. He is risen. christ is Lord.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • PaulH

      Austin
      Aren't dreams the root of your "special revelation" with God? What makes you think that anyone other than yourself would be impressed that you had lucid dreams?

      April 15, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  17. The real Tom

    Austin, I suggest you see a psychiatrist concerning your inability to control your anger when confronted with someone who believes something you don't agree with.

    You are furious because people are saying that Hitler was a Christian. Why? He claimed to be. He claimed he was doing god's work. Nobody is saying he was following the intent of the bible. Doesn't matter: he was still baptized as a Catholic and claimed Christianity as his religion. Can you deny those facts?

    April 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Austin

      Richard Cranium said Hitler was a christian and that he was justified by his bible.

      No hitler was not following the bible. I am sticking up for the world of God, and there is no link between nazi agenda and the new testament. so stating that the nazis were christian, is a malicious thing to say about what a christian is. If you can not read the new testament and figure out what it says, then if you go around and label the nazis and hitler as christian, you do so in willful ignorance.

      and I , for one, and here to demand that you stop with your willful ignorance.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Austin, I've seen 12-year-olds who are more mature than you are.

      Grow up. You act like a friggin' baby.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Bash

      Cranium said Hitler was a Christian, and Hitler felt what he was doing was justified by the Bible.
      You SUCK at reading comprehension, and I will never read another one of your posts without laughing my head off that you misunderstand the written word so poorly that you are probably misunderstanding the words of the Bible as well.
      Tom is right. Grow the hell, you sniveling little fool.
      Your faith may be one thing, but your critical thinking skills and comprehension of the written word leaves a LOT to be desired.

      Now take a nap and have a revelation. You are the worst kind of bore: the one who insists he's correct when shown where he's wrong. Stubborn four year old git!

      April 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "and I , for one, and here to demand that you stop with your willful ignorance."

      "We are the Knights of Nii!"

      What are you going to do if I don't, you little wuss?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Austin

      ya and the question I had was where is hitlers claim to the bible found in the new testament.

      it is not anywhere. it is nowhere. so then for you idiots to even state that hitler felt justified by the bible, is simply a irrelevant comment other than a subliminal slander.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Bash

      Actually, I'd be willing to bet that people would learn FAR more about Christianity from MP/Holy Grail (or any MP movie) than they would from Austin's posts.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "for you idiots to even state that hitler felt justified by the bible, is simply a irrelevant comment other than a subliminal slander."

      First of all, moron, you obviously have NO clue what "subliminal" means. Go sit on the bench with that moron, LL, Austin. Secondly, are you claiming that Hitler DIDN'T feel justified by the bible? Where's your evidence of what he "felt" and how did you come by that?

      You are so stupid that arguing with you is like shooting fish in a barrel. You actually make Salero look like Einstein.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      “The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement)
      was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.”

      [Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

      “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty
      Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

      [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]

      April 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
      fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded
      by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and
      summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest
      not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian
      and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord
      at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the
      Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight
      against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with
      deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact
      that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As
      a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
      the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is
      anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is
      the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty
      to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and
      work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only
      for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning
      and see these men standing in their queues and look into their
      pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very
      devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two
      thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people
      are plundered and exposed.”

      [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922]

      April 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • lol??

      God says anything you affirm above a simple yes or no is evil. The Big O swore on a Bible when he swore in. FWIW:

      "....The term Hitler oath refers to the oaths of allegiance, or Reichswehreid, sworn by German Wehrmacht officers and soldiers as well as civil servants during the Third Reich between the years 1934 and 1945. The oath pledged personal loyalty to the person of Adolf Hitler in place of loyalty to the consti*tution......" wiki

      The Feds are armed to the teeth.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Larry

      Austin
      If Hitler's interpretation of the Bible was faulty then so was Martin Luther's.

      Set fire to their synagogues and schools. Jewish houses should be razed and destroyed, and Jewish prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, curing, and blasphemy are taught, [should] be taken from them." Their rabbis [should] be forbidden to teach on pain of loss of life and limb. from On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther

      Hitler admired Luther as another great German and could there be a better blueprint for the Holocaust? What does that say about the Father of Protestantism?

      April 15, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • lol??

      Larry
      Austin
      If Hitler's interpretation of the Bible was faulty then so was Martin Luther's......"

      "Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circu*mcision, which is outward in the flesh:"
      Why declare war on a group of "not a Jew"? Just another group of the lost.

      April 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  18. Princess of the city

    Correct me if I am wrong but Hitler was baptized a Catholic.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Better watch out, Princess. Austin's going to blow a gasket.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Austin's whole argument relies on his (mistaken) premise that no Christian could be as cruel as Hitler. So it's not likely he will admit the truth. Probably best to just ignore him.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Austin

      there are no works that save anyone. Faith in Christ, and being born again , filled with the spirit, will be a person obedient to the spirit of conviction. You do not understand what a christian is becuase you dont' believe in the Holy Spirit or the resurrection, or the in dwelling of the holy spirit. you think being a christian is someone who says they are religious or who signs a pledge? or a murderous politician who invents his own murderous doctrine and misleads people, or binny hinn?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Bash

      You are in no position to tell anyone how to get their faith, Austin...and you are in no position to critisize other faiths, either. You are an amazingly dense person when it comes to even the tenets of Christianity, and you have shown your religious bigotry. Shut up.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Austin

      You get your faith from trusting in Jesus, and you attempt the obeience in His world. then you call on God for strenth, more faith , and obedience, salvation from sins. You repent from sin .

      "You are an amazingly dense person when it comes to even the tenets of Christianity " what do you mean by that and what are the tenets then?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No, Austin. That is how YOU get your faith. You are not in any position of authority or knowledge that gives you any standing to dictate how anyone else comes to faith.

      Look up the word "humility."

      April 14, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Look up the word "individualism."

      April 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Austin

      I looked it up. Can I have a hug?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      But did you understand the meaning?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Damocles

      @austin

      The problem with faith, austin, is that you have to take it on faith that every person who says 'I'm filled with the holy spirit' is telling the truth. Who are you to say how a person hears a deity speaking to it? An all knowing, all good deity can't possibly be wrong, so if a person says 'the deity told me to murder everything I can get my hands on', you have no choice but to believe that it is part of the deity's mysterious ways.

      Think of it this way: There is another story that believers are lauding because a coward murdered a man's brother, yet supposedly got closer to the deity as a result. So, if one death brings a murderer closer to the deity, isn't it safe to as-sume that 10M deaths bring a person just that much closer?

      April 15, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • lol??

      Damocles
      @austin

      "The problem with faith, austin, is that you have to take it on faith.........."

      No problem. "Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

      April 15, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • lol??

      Princess of the city
      "Correct me if I am wrong but Hitler was baptized a Catholic.?"

      "Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism," I think catholics practice the Baptist baptism, so it wouldn't have any significance. If there is one baptism, it can't possibly have anything to do with water.

      April 15, 2013 at 6:17 am |
  19. .

    Oh. Hell, it's Chad talking to himself again.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  20. The irony

    A religious scholar that is 'religiously confused' ?!?!

    April 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Exodus

      Looks like Stevie gets conveniently confused when it comes to Jews. It is probably quite lucid when it comes to Palestine.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Roger

      How so, Exodus?

      April 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Exodus

      Stevie probably needs a double dose of horseradish to clear that foggy brain.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Bash

      One can study and have knowledge of different religions and not know which one of them to choose to believe, if any.
      Why the incredulity?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Exodus

      If you are 'confused' then it clearly indicates an absence of scholarship.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Bash

      Baloney. He is a religious scholar, meaning he studies religion. His confusion stems from which one he believes in. Too bad you aren't smart enough to know the difference. You must be confused.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What kind of idiot thinks that a religious scholar has to believe in a god at all? Anyone can study the tenets of religion and understand them without ascribing to any of them.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • >

      Two confused moronic idiots talking about 'tenets'

      April 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What's so moronic about discussing tenets?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Hurry it up, >. What's your issue with the word "tenets"?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:53 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.