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Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview

Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 2012, 2014 book by Jerry Bergman with the subtitle: “How the Nazi eugenic crusade for a superior race caused the greatest holocaust in world history.” Bergman tackles an ongoing issue of how much Hitler and his leaders believed Darwin’s survival of the fittest to the degree that they actually, and practically, pursued the destruction of weaker and inferior races so that the stronger and superior race (i.e., Aryan) could survive and thrive. Bergman’s thoroughly documented work shows without a doubt that the horrors of Nazi Germany were caused by a slavish adherance to Darwinian socialism and the practice of eugenics (the study of creating a superior race). Besides the history of early 20th century Germany and its universities, all of which were thoroughly Darwinian, Bergman includes separate chapters on Hitler’s leading men with these chapter titles: Dr. Joseph Mengele, Darwin’s angel of death; Martin Bormann, Hitler’s right-hand man; Heinrich Himmler, Darwinist and mass murderer; Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Darwinist father of the Holocaust; Hermann Göring comes under the influence of Hitler and Darwinism; Reinhard Heydrich, Fervent anti-Christian and Holocaust mastermind; Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The “scribe of the new gospel” of Darwinism; Julius Streicher, Anti-Catholic Darwinist and Hitler’s mentor.

Bergman ends the book with two interesting chapters. One chapter is on the “Lebensborn” or the breeding of a superior race in which the Nazis chose superior German (or actually Nordic and Teutonic) women and had them produce as many children as possible with “superior” German men. Of course, most of those men were Nazi high command. Himmler himself fathered two children by several mistresses from the “program.” Included in this chapter is the account of the atrocity of kidnapping children to be raised as good Aryans. These were babies and small children, most of them German but many of them from other countries who could be shown to have “pure blood.” Bergman says, “An estimated 250,000 children were forcibly taken away from their parents, most never to return. . . and these children often ended up in Nazi concentration camps where a large number died.” Another chapter is on Darwinian textbooks in which all other races are compared to animals and lesser human beings, especially Jews, Slavs, and negroes. The texts had hundreds of drawings comparing posture, skull shape, etc. The concluding chapter asks, “What can be learned from attempts to apply Darwinism to society?” Bergman says, “Hitler made it clear that his end goal was nothing less than total annihilation of those ethnic groups that he regarded as the enemy of the so-called ‘Aryan race.’”  Also, “Darwinism also had a major influence on Nazi governmental policy and, in the end, resulted in the total destruction of many major European cities and cost over 55 million lives. . . As the war ground on,  Hitler believed that killing Jews was more important than winning the war.”

To me, a couple of interesting facts stand out. First, Nazi leaders themselves, including Hitler, were not at all the physical specimens of Nordic and Germanic race. They were seeking tall, blonde, well-featured people, but these leaders all, were anything but that. Bergman even writes, “The problem was that few Germans fit this ideal–most were too dark, too short, too thin, too fat or in other ways too non-Nordic.” “Yet there were frequent attempts to reconcile the leaders of the Third Reich to this racial picture, some of them so outrageous as to be comic.”  Another interesting fact is that almost to a man, these leaders of the Third Reich were from “good Catholic homes.” Hitler himself was baptized as a Catholic and was never excommunicated. Some have tried to portray Hitler and others as Christians who had devious Christian motives, yet Bergman shows that all of them not only denied their Catholic heritage but also became violent haters of the Roman church. In fact tens of thousands of Catholic priests were among the first to be executed. The philosophy of the Reich and Darwinism was as much or more due to the failure of Catholicism in Germany to train its children as to any failure of Protestantism to oppose it.  Yet a final observation is this. To totally take over and destroy a country and its history, it is necessary to rewrite its historical philosophy, demonize all religious belief and reference to God, and name one part of its people as inferior and one part as superior, and do whatever it takes to eliminate what is considered a threat.

An interesting footnote. The Third Reich was an historical reality. Coming out of that era was an Englishman named Eric Authur Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell, who in 1949 wrote a “fictional reality” describing a still future society where the world would again see the atrocities of Darwinian socialism. He placed it in 1984, but he may have missed it by some 50 years.

 

Nineteen Eighty Four

Nineteen Eighty Four

by Rick Shrader

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It was only in 1949 that Eric Authur Blair (better known as George Orwell) wrote his most famous book, Nineteen Eighty Four (now printed simply as 1984). Blair died in 1950. I hadn’t opened this book since High School English class but with the current culture in America I was interested again. It did not disappoint. In fact, I was often reading while the news was on the TV and had to stop and laugh at the parallels.

The story is about Winston Smith who works for INGSOC (short for English Socialism) in the Ministry of Truth where he sits at a desk, being always watched by Big Brother on the “Telescreen,” while he rewrites all history, filing the new history and putting the old history down the “Memory Hole” where it is burned and never again remembered. Connected to this was the “Newspeak” project, a rewriting of the dictionary (the “Oldspeak”) into official language that can only carry what meaning Big Brother wants it to carry. The “Thought Police” (caretakers of  “Doublethink”) constantly monitor every action. Even your facial expressions are evaluated. If there is no Telescreen (which is upon every wall of every room including one’s own home) then there are microphones everywhere including on the branches of trees in an otherwise secluded forest.

The story is broken into three sections. The first is about Winston and his monotonous life and work. The second is about an affair he has with a girl who also is doubting the validity of the program. The third is about his (and her) arrest and trial (torture) in which he is converted to believing that 2 + 2 = 5 (since there is no “history,” truth is whatever we say at the moment). You can understand the whole picture of 1984 by reading the first section. I don’t recommend the other two.

 

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

by Rick Shrader

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Albert Mohler serves the church well in writing both an update of current cultural trends and also a warning for the church to be aware and ready for battles to come in the future. This is a 2020 book, written prior to the selection of democratic candidtes, but includes an interesting chapter on each of the democratic candidates and their secular platforms. The Appendix is also an interesting chapter on the nature of the Supreme Court with special emphasis on Clarence Thomas, today’s most ardent originalists. Gender and sexuality, LGBTQ, human life, the family, religious liberty; all of these have new and relevant information. Mohler usually writes like he speaks on his “Briefing” blog, both from Scripture, but also from extensive quotations from news articles.

 

White Guilt

White Guilt

by Rick Shrader

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Shelby Steele wrote this book in 2006 as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. Steele is now an advocate, as a black man, for conservative black values. He was a participant in the 60s push for equal rights but today sees the BLM movement as counterproductive and contrary to what the original 60s protestors advocated. By “white guilt” he means that white politicians stay in power by confessing their racism and thereby absolving themselves of it, then, white politicians stay in power because blacks have had to ask them for this confession and then expect gifts from them.

Steele describes how he discovered white guilt as a young man in the 60s when he and others pushed their college president into bending to their demands. He writes, “And this is when I first really saw white guilt in action. Now I know it to be something very specific: the vacuum of moral authority that comes from simply knowing that one’s race is associated with racism. Whites (and American institutions) must acknowledge historical racism to show themselves redeemed of it, but once they acknowledge it, they lose moral authority over everything having to do with race, equality, social justice, poverty, and so on. They step into a void of vulnerability. The authority they lose transfers to the ‘victims’ of historical racism and becomes their great power in society” (p. 24). Steele goes on, in the rest of the book, to describe how white liberals discovered how to regain the moral authority by becoming the new understanding person.  He writes, “Suddenly there was a need for a ‘new man,’ or more accurately a ‘dissociated man,’ someone so conspicuously cleansed of racism, sexism, and militarism that he would be a carrier of moral authority and legitimacy” (p. 150).

I enjoyed the book because of Steele’s description of the 60s and my baby-boomer generation. I appreciated the differences he described between the valid quest for equal opportunity by the original black protests and the desire for unequal and greater opportunity by today’s protests, something his own generation never wanted.

 

Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong

Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong

by Rick Shrader

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This 2009 book is done by MacArthur and other staff at Grace Community Church.  I found it to be very helpful in a number of different areas that affect the local church.  It is divided into four sections:  Entertainment and Leisure; Morality and Ethics; Politics and Activism; and Tragedy and Suffering.  I thought it was especially good on areas of abortion (making Biblical arguments for life in the womb), marriage and divorce (MacArthur has always taken the “innocent party” view), homosexuality, euthanasia and suicide, social and political involvment, global warning and environment, and also guidelines for the why and how of suffering.  This is a helpful book for comparing Scripture with Scripture in controversial areas.

 

Why We’re Not Emergent

Why We’re Not Emergent

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 2008 book on the emergent church by DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  DeYoung is the primary writer and Kluck adds chapters from his personal experience.  Even if you just read DeYoung’s chapters this is a book worth having.  Among explaining various faults with the emerging church (anti-foundationalism, anti-modernism, anti-traditionalism) he says, “The biggest irony about the emergent church may be just this:  For all their chastisement of all things modern, they are in most ways thoroughly modern.  Many of the leading books display a familiar combination of social gospel liberalism, a neo-orthodox view of Scripture, and a post-enlightenment disdain for hell, the wrath of God, propositional revelation, propitiation, and anything more than a vague moralistic, warmhearted, adoctrinal Christianity.”  p. 160

 

Theologies of the 21st Century

Theologies of the 21st Century

by Rick Shrader

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This is an update (2014) on Smith’s earlier edition, A Handbook on Contemporary Theology, published in 1992.  These are helpful summaries of various contemporary theological movements and trends.  The new version repeats some of the earlier ones with updated material, yet has new additions such as a history of theology from the Enlightenment, theologies of the future, black theology, queer theology, open theism, destiny of the unevangelized, prosperity theology, postmodern, postliberal, and postconservative theologies, and African and Asian theologies.  Twenty two years has created a lot of religious confusion in the world!  I have two takeaways from the new version (besides much good information and perspective). Smith is more negative toward fundamentalism than he was in the first volume, a disappointment to me.  But a positive thing to learn from the new volume is that the syncretization of world religions with Christianity does not produce better Christianity nor any Christianity at all.  When that is tried, the additions to Christianity and the subtractions from Christianity leave a Christianity that cannot save at all.  The book is expensive but there will soon be deals and used editions that will be worth your while to buy.

 

Mission Drift

Mission Drift

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 2014 book about the danger of Christian organizations drifting away from their stated purpose.  It is written almost entirely about para-church organizations and has some application to local churches.  It is written from an evangelical point of view so a conservative reader can not expect  to see separation from that point of view.  For example, Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga, and Andy Stanley are presented as leaders that have remained “mission true.”  Typical also is the view that methodology and cultural relevance do not affect one’s core vision.  The book is filled with stories and illustrations about groups that that remained true to their vision and groups that have not.  In either case the stories are interesting:  Harvard University, Anrew Carnegie, Young Life, Buck Knives, and more.  At the end of each chapter is a list of principles that should be followed to remain true to one’s vision.  These are good.  There is also a chapter on governing boards and principles for those on various boards.

 

Diversity

Diversity

by Rick Shrader

“To Millennials, diversity doesn’t mean black or white, it means Korean, Malaysian, Latvian, Guatemalan, Peruvian, Nigerian, Trinidadian, and skins in more hues from more places than seen on any generation in any society in the history of humanity.”

Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising:  The Next Great Generation.  p. 218.

 

R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul

by Rick Shrader

“In a real sense our beliefs dictate our behavior.  A theory underlies our every moral action.  We may not be able to articulate that theory or even be immediately conscious of it, but nothing manifests our value systems more sharply than our actions.”

R.C. Sproul, Ethics and the Christian, p. 11.