In the years after World War I, as hollow-eyed Germans pushed carts of paper money over cobble-stone streets in the hopes of finding a stale loaf of bread at the market, one man emerged who promised to make it all better.
Adolf Hitler, to that point a faceless nobody with no distinction whatsoever, rose to unparalleled power. Most of us know the rest of the story (though I doubt many young people grasp it much). Yet in the countless volumes that have been written about this diabolical dictator, few have explored how his twisted views of religious faith were used to subdue a continent.
That’s why Ray Comfort’s new book, “Hitler, God & the Bible” is such a valuable addition to this field of study. So eager was I to read this book (I’m a major Ray Comfort fan), that I read it over dinner one evening, turning pages with one hand while using a fork at a local Bavarian restaurant with the other.
Comfort, a keen observer of worldview in the teeming masses that bob and weave through our culture, has not only penned what I feel is an extraordinary book … but he also hints that this is the first in a series! Surely, “Stalin, God & the Bible” cannot be far behind.
But, back to the failed painter who became a mass murderer.
Because Comfort is a Bible-believing Christian, he has insights that paint a much more colorful portrait of Hitler, and I dare say, this biblical discernment has put some flesh and blood on the corpse, at least figuratively – fortunately.
Right away, Comfort unearths some key character traits that would prove deadly in Hitler later on. Raised by a domineering and prideful father, Alois (until the old man’s fatal heart attack when Adolf was 13), and by a doting mother, Hitler developed large doses of sense of self and ego.
Comfort’s research is combined with his knack for saying a lot with less words (this slim volume won’t intimidate anyone), and he brings out already on page 5 a huge flaw in young Hitler’s nature: “When he didn’t get his way – or if others proposed that they had better solutions – Adolf would immaturely shout over his own ignorance and feel a great deal of self-pity.”
The making of a monster.
Comfort also astutely picks up on another trait that, I believe, points to Hitler’s embrace of Darwinian philosophy (and this also puts him at odds with the Christian gospel, which says that Jesus – as the Good Shepherd – gladly leaves the 99 sheep in the pen to go and find the lost one).
Notice what he says about Hitler’s early loyalties: “Simply put, while other soldiers were loyal to one another, Hitler was loyal to the state. To him, that was the relationship to fight to preserve. A soldier could die, but the state, above all, must live.”
It follows then, that Hitler could easily and brutally demand that his generals push their frozen troops farther into Soviet Russia a few years later, where hundreds of thousands of them perished because of the whims of a madman.
It is when Comfort discusses Hitler and faith that the book gets super interesting – this comes in Part Two.
In the run-up to World War II, Germany was infested by the so-called German Christian movement, which tried to “Nazify” Christianity by, among other things, suppressing the teaching of the Old Testament. Interestingly, Hitler and his top deputies, along with the majority of the officers and troops themselves, were life-long Catholics or Lutherans.
Comfort uncovers some super-weird evidence that the stage was set for Hitler to pervert Christianity in Germany, and his own origins in this endeavor came from being influenced by the American automaker, Henry Ford, and the composer, Richard Wagner, among others. Wagner in particular was infected with the virus of anti-Semitism, actually going so far as to claim that Jesus was born a German! (No wonder Yasser Arab claimed Jesus was a Palestinian.)
In “Hitler, God & the Bible” Comfort also hits on a key topic: Hitler as a disciple of Charles Darwin. His embrace of this philosophy of death, so at odds with Christianity, is telling.
In the chapter entitled, “Hitler, A Christian?” Comfort gets to the heart of the matter. As he eloquently states: “In short, Hitler’s abuse of theology dismantled the moral fiber of a nation.”
At the end of the day, after comparing Hitler’s goals and beliefs with true Christianity, Comfort answers the question of what Hitler really was: “He was a liar.”
And that sums it up quite well. With “Hitler, God & the Bible,” Ray Comfort has launched what I hope will be a hugely successful series. This is a book without weakness. From the superb, succinct research and writing, to the elegant production values of this slim volume, readers have received a real gift.
“Hitler, God & the Bible” is already on pace to become my Book of the Year.