The Judeo-Christian foundations of Nazism and Communism.
In order to accept the principles of the ideas I outline here, you will have to temporarily accept a different definition of religious belief than the one currently accepted. In the world of ideas, those which deal with the supernatural, are called religions, whereas those which deal with the material world are called Ideologies.
But I have come to view these distinctions as being somewhat misleading. All religious beliefs deal extensively with the material world, and whether they admit it or not, adherents to ideologies use the same spiritual, “more than the material world” language that the religious do. As such, I see the main distinctions between ideas as being between those who try and come up with an all encompassing worldview which leaves nothing unexplained by the doctrines of the particular philosophy, and those ideas which merely try and explain a small part of the world, and do not end up forming the main part of the identity of those who believe in it. From now on I will refer to the former as World-views instead.
As such, I see more of a structural similarity between third-wave feminism and Christianity, because of, not despite, their incompatibility, then I do between Christianity and Shintoism as practised by the modern Japanese. The first two are all encompassing ideas which seek to explain the whole of human life, from its inception to the present through a single lens. The last is more a series of customs and cultural traditions which do not consume the lives of those who follow them, nor form a core pillar of their identity.
Agnostics might say that the idea of any one idea which can explain everything, is a problem in itself. Atheists would say that that is fine as long as the ideas are not religious ones and are based in science, although as I have previously said, in my opinion supposedly secular non-religious ideologies usually end up portraying all the usual signs of religious belief: a single satanic force responsible for the presence of evil, a messiah like figure worthy of total adoration and loyalty, and a strict doctrine which must not be disputed. Advocates for religious belief like Canadian professor Jordan B Peterson claim that ideologies are parasitic interlopers into the space in the conscious mind normally occupied by religion. However I don’t want to spend this article talking about whether these all encompassing ideas are inherently destructive or not, instead, lets talk about how they relate to each other.
An admittedly useful thing to do when talking about ideas is to trace their historical ties, and to see who the thought leaders of the idea trace their beliefs too. But this can be misleading. For example, it is easy to trace all modern socialist and Communist thought to Karl Marx. But as the Anabaptist Munster rebellion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnster_rebellion
proved, these ideas can spring up very easily without Marx, by simply adapting christian ideas. Social and Communal ideas may not have had the influence they might have had with Marx if he had never existed, we don’t know, but they would certainly still have existed. Ideas like Communism spring from the human condition, not from a 19th century philosopher.
Ideas like Communism, Islam, and Christianity, are universal in their appeal and reach. The fact that these ideas worm their way into every corner of the world, finding converts in every culture, race, and location, prove that they appeal to some part of us which we all share. But the dichotomy of Universal/unimportant, between homosexuality as merely a sexual identity and Homosexuality as a political and cultural bloc, between feminism as the nice idea we should treat women fairly, and Feminism as the idea that the power struggle between the sexes is the main through-line in history, is not the only main dividing line between ideas. There is also another.
There are two main ways morality can diverge. The love of self and the love of the other. At the one end is the man who loves only himself, and at the other end the man who loves the whole world. But no matter how much the self-righteous protest, the latter is impossible, and the former can only be attained by psychopaths. It is important to make this point, because I am using the term selfish in a way different way than it is typically used. Total commitment to self-serving and individualistic behaviour at the expense of others is not typical of any popular system of ethics and morals, even Objectivism, Ayn Rands moral philosophy. Ayn Rand was a twentieth century Russian philosopher who advocated for a system of radical selfishnesses and rejection of altruism, but even her system put forward a set of principles in which the harming of others for your own welfare was not permitted, which a truly “selfish” philosophy in the way it is usually understood would not. As I said, only psychopaths follow a system of that nature. Therefore, when I use the term selfish morality, I am referring to somewhere close to the “selfish” end of the moral spectrum, but at least a little way toward to “selfless” end, typically at least a feeling of love toward ones immediate family members. As such the knee-jerk reaction against accepting selfish morality as a moral equal to selfless morality is quite wrong-headed in my view. Is a man moral if he loves his own children no more than any other children? Is a woman moral if she no more earnestly desires what is best for a friend and neighbour, than she does for anyone else in all the world? I would posit it is unnatural for humans to feel that way, and therefore a total commitment to an extreme form of “selfless” morality, in which a parent would be happy to sacrifice the life of their child to save the life of a strangers child, is quite wrong.
Now I will use these points, especially the idea that philosophies are divided between Worldview/nice-idea-I-guess, and Selfish/Selfish, to make the case for the Judeo-Christian roots of Communism and Nazism.
No more long lasting testament to the power of selfish morality exists than the survival of the Jewish people. As a christian, I naturally believe in their being supernatural forces at play as well, but nonetheless the effect is incredible. Arguably the single greatest source of anti-semitism, to simplify things somewhat, is the selective altruism of “selfish” morality which I described earlier. Jews have always been incredibly focused on the family and community, and on willingness to support and help each other through whatever their difficulties may be. In the ancient middle east, and the modern one for that matter, “selfish morality” is very important and the Jews were no different. But after the diaspora when Jews were scattered all over the middle east and Europe, they were forced to live among people who did not take kindly to an indigestible foreign people who seemed to dislike mingling with the locals, adopting their ways, and preferred to work for the best interests of their own people as opposed the nation in which they were guests. In many ways one could argue that Anti-semitism is less the fault of either Gentiles or Jews, but merely an inevitable consequence of a middle eastern tribal nature.
After all, centuries of Viking raids created what called be termed “Anti-Nordicism” in the people of Europe, but eventually the Scandinavians became Christian and “integrated” to use a modern term, into mainstream Europe. The Norse pagan religion proved far less resistible to outside change than Judaism, and hence the modern phenomena of bigotry against Nordics is not comparable to that of anti-semitism.
That is the benefits of selfish morality, the ability to resist the shocks of persecution and disaster for millennia, and maintain a national identity so strong through it all that 2000 years after the dispersion the Jewish people were able to reform a national home. And yet the price to be paid is that of justified suspicion and distrust from those with whom Jews live.
The Christian religion is by no means merely the extreme of selfless morality, however the drastically self-sacrificial nature of Jesus Christ provides a clear tilting toward the selfless end of the morality spectrum as opposed to Judaism. Christianity may not ask that you love other children as much as your own, but it does ask you love your neighbour, and as Jesus makes clear in the parable of the good Samaritan, your neighbour can mean even someone from an unfriendly ethnic group. The Christian principles of selflessness and humility are well known, and borne out through extensive charity work, foreign aid and missionary work. Whereas Judaism has only loosely defined ideas about the afterlife and focuses on Earthly things, for Christians the idea of Heaven, despite being unearned through personal acts and instead being a gift given by the sacrifice of Jesus, is nonetheless an incredible thing which makes a life of giving and self-sacrifice on Earth seem petty by comparison. Despite the idea that it is impossible to earn salvation, and that no one can escape their sin except through accepting Jesus, accepting Jesus is still a choice, making redemption in Gods eyes not the result of an accident of birth. Whereas Judaism posits worthiness mostly in terms of being Jewish.
For Christians, culture, race, nationality, etc… all play second fiddle to the religion in terms of forming your identity. Speaking from personal experience in my Christian household our true brothers and sisters were not fellow New Zealanders, Anglo-Saxons, or homeschoolers, but instead the international body of Christ. This does not mean that Jews, for whom being racially Jewish is a large part of their identity, therefore invalidate Judaism as being a Worldview which shapes who they are, but simply that Judaism is inseparable from being racially Jewish.
Comparisons to Nazism/Communism
Before I go into the details of the similarities, allow me to briefly sketch the main points of closeness, as they may surprise you.
- Myths detailing the special peoples divine/chosen status
2. Language which emphasise the uncleanness/contaminating influence of other peoples
3. Excessive focus given to past grievances and crimes committed against the special people.
4. Racial Purity given very high priority. Miscegenation banned through law.
5. Family life held up as an ideal, and Motherhood and Fatherhood given high praise.
6.Rejection of universal human brotherhood in favour of protection of the tribal group.
7. The special people are superior to others but are under constant threat from those who surround and outnumber them. Anything is justified if it protects the special people.
8. Jews are set apart from the rest of humanity.
9. The morality taught by others is immoral because it is taught by others to undermine us.
10. Focus on Earthly benefits and lack of dedication to the concept of an afterlife
11. The belief that even when goals are reached, suffering will continue into the future, and a utopian state of being will never be reached, but the goals are still worth fighting for.
- All human beings deserve dignity and respect.
- The downtrodden and weak are being oppressed by cruel tyrants
- It is worthwhile to share your wealth with those who need it.
- There is no higher good than to sacrifice for the good of mankind
- The time will come when all causes of war and strife will end, and heaven will be brought to Earth.
- No matter the struggles of the present, have faith, for in the end the truth of the cause will be borne out.
- The meek shall inherit the Earth
- The world is corrupt and evil
- Once Jews accept the truth of the message, hatred between Jews and Gentiles will cease.
- Racism is wrong
There are of course many differences which contradict this framework. National Socialism believes that Jews are inherently evil, Judaism does not. Communism believes in the violent overthrow of worldly authority, Christianity does not. Christianity believes in family values like Judaism and Nazism, whereas Communism does not.
However the fundamental split is the same. Nazism/Judaism is a selfish moral system, Christianity/Communism are selfless moral systems. I do not want to get bogged down in historical detail, but is it not fascinating that Christian Germans adopted a moral system which resembled Judaism in order to fight it, and Jews in Russia adopted a moral system which resembled Christianity, in order to fight it? The Nazis claimed they persecuted the Jews because they were Marxist saboteurs, not because they believed in Judaism, the Jewish leaders of the Bolshevik revolution claimed they hated the Tsar, not Christianity, but in my opinion at least, the claims ring hollow.
Persecution of Christians in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet and Post-Soviet Union - East-West Church…
The East West Report serves serves as a clearinghouse for information relevant to the status of Christianity and…
The battle between Selfish/Selfless morality
Nazism could not indoctrinate out of Germans the feeling of seeing everyone as human.
Interestingly, an inversion of the historical trends for both Jews and Germans was unsustainable. Nowadays any real resurgence of a worldview of selfish morality for Germany seems impossible, and the old way of altruism has come back with an unhealthy intensity. And in the Jewish struggle between the Selfishness of Zionism and the Selflessness of Communism, Zionism won out. In case anyone wants my personal feeling on these matters, I of course as a Christian hold Christian morality superior to Jewish Morality, but see Zionism as morally superior to Communism. I do not see the Selfish/Selfless dichotomy as being between good and evil.
Even if you do not believe in the Old Testament God, and therefore do not find the influence of Judeo-Christian beliefs across the globe an inevitable result owing to the truth of his existence, I hope I have at least convinced you that even supposedly secular ideas still bear the religious markings of the power structure those who adopted the ideas wished to overthrow.