The topic for this article comes from the following quote:
If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God’s work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God. (http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/tp/AdolfHitlerFaithGod.htm )
To answer that question we only need to go to any dictionary and look up the word atheist and see how that word is defined.
A´THEISM, n. The disbelief of the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.
Atheism is a ferocious system that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us, to awaken tenderness. Rob. Hall.
A´THEIST, n. [Gr. αθεος, of a priv. and θεος, God.]
One who disbelieves the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.
A´THEIST, a. Atheistical; disbelieving or denying the being of a Supreme God.
(Webster, N. (2006). Noah Webster’s first edition of An American dictionary of the English language. Anaheim, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education.)
As you can see a good case for Hitler not being an atheist can be made BUT that superficial answer is not the end of the story here. If we limit the answer to this superficial finding then we are not only being dishonest but not presenting the whole picture.
An atheist can invoke God any time they want to. Being an atheist does not mean that they cannot use the term of God, Supreme Being, Jesus and other divine names or titles. Nor does it mean that they are restricted from invoking God when they want to motivate religious people to do their will.
For some reason those people who claim to be more rational and logical than Christians tend to use the worst logic and rational thought when talking about religious issues such as this. They purposefully distort what they are talking about in order to bring confusion to the thinking of the Christian. We see an example of this in the question that author asks:
If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God’s work? (Ibid)
The answer to this question is very simple. Germany was a very religious country, its people were very religious at that time thus he had to ‘identify’ with them in order to manipulate or convince them that his rule was legitimate.
Anybody can say that they believe in God, the Bible tells us that the demons believe yet they tremble thus one does not have to be a Christian to believe that God exists. Also, belief that God exists does not make one a Christian. Anyone can accept the fact that God exists but salvation only comes via faith and by grace when one repents of their sins and accepts Christ as their savior.
People accept the fact that the Bible exists yet that acceptance and belief does not indicate that they follow its words and abide by its commands and instructions. Hitler can say that he believes in God and that he had faith in him but words are cheap. Anh9ne can say those things and act like they are following God but the Bible describes those people as demons disguised as angels of light, wolves in sheep’s clothing and as false teachers. The Bible never describes them as actual true believers in God.
This is a fact that the atheist or unbeliever ignores in their haste to discredit God and the Christian faith. They leave out these details simply to cause trouble or justify their unbelief and rejection of salvation. But there are other problems that are found in that quote.
…and was convinced that he was doing God’s work…(Ibid)
The author there seems to claim that he can read minds and know exactly what Hitler believed by reading a few quotes. Of course Hitler may have said such things but we cannot tell if he really believed that or if he merely was putting the right words on paper or in his speeches to convince religious people of his supposed divine purpose.
Many political leaders invoke God, or claim they are doing God’s work but if that were so we would find a completely different attitude held by Hitler and those leaders. We could fix those misguided thoughts and objectives without having to go to war and killing millions of people. Or we can fix those erroneous ideas without exterminating whole groups of people.
With Hitler his attitude was not one that reflected misguided thinking about God but a cruel, use of God in order to fulfill his list for power and control over others. Atheists do not see this difference because they do not want to see for it means restructuring their arguments and viewing God and Christianity in a different light.
People may sound or write like they are convinced but that does not make it so.
Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God (Ibid)
This is another problem with dealing with atheists. They do not want to claim a evil person as one of their own so they do whatever it takes to make that evil person look Christian. First, off Hitler was not a Christian and we explained why in our article Was Hitler a Christian.
Hitler was nowhere near being a Christian theist either but simply used God to further his personal agenda. But those facts do not stop the atheist from misidentifying who Hitler was and laying false accusations against God, Christianity and Christians.
To have a discussion like this people need to be honest and open-minded about all the facts that surround and are involved in this issue. To claim that Hitler was a Christian ignores biblical facts about knowing believers by their fruits and other biblical instructions and commands.
Can we outright state that Hitler was an atheist is very difficult for mitigating factors like his Jewish heritage may undermine such claims. We can conclude that he may have had religious instruction when he was young and learned about the existence of God but we cannot be sure if he held to those views later in life or simply became an atheist like so many discontented pastors and missionaries do today.
His use of God can be put down to invoking religious ideas to manipulate the German people and to furthering his despotic agenda. These acts cannot clearly state that he was an atheist nor can they be used to declare that Hitler was a Christian. Then we need to define what the word ‘Christian’. Too often in this modern world people use the word Christian to apply to almost everyone who does not consider themselves an atheist or outright unbeliever.
Anyone who has darkened the door of a church once in their lives seems to think that they are Christian, even though they do not live by the rules and instructions of God. Everyone wants to consider themselves Christian and on their way to heaven because the alternatives are not so attractive.
Or that they do not consider themselves as evil people and hold up those people like Hitler as evidence that they are not bad people, even though God thinks differently. They do not feel that they need to repent of any sins for they are ‘good people’ in general or that they have been badly taught by the denominations they attended in their youth or still attend today.
The word ‘Christian’ is applied too broadly and that application distorts the issue and how we see other people. We will not say that Hitler was an atheist because we feel he had enough religious instruction in his life to know that God exists. We also do not consider Hitler a Christion for the reasons we have already state din the other article.
What we do is put Hitler down as a very evil man who was greatly deceived. We know this because of not only the following words but other words he has used in his speeches and writings:
Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality (Ibid)
People who are deceived by evil think that they are doing God’s will by disobeying God. Evil had a strong hold on Hitler and while we cannot say he was an atheist, we can definitely state that he was not Christian. He was evil’s tool at that time and who has been followed by many others who are evil’s tools even though they may claim to be Christian.
Atheists need to understand that those who claim to be Christian or use God and other words in their work does not mean that they are Christian or that God is behind their objectives. To label such people as Christian is to be very dishonest and demonstrates a lack of desire for an honest discussion on the issue.