You’ll likely all have heard this argument at some point. It’s a classic.
Outlined rather well by http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm, it goes something like this:
“(1) Person X, a well-known atheist, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
(2) Therefore, God exists.“
It’s just poetic, isn’t it?
So… Assuming Hitler was an Atheist* – does this shed any light on the existence of God? Well, no.
There are a few separate points to address here, and I’ll take them in turn.
If a bad person believes something, it is wrong because they are bad.
Imagine that no-one knew what water was made of, chemically. Then imagine an utter arsehole suggesting that hydrogen and oxygen played a part, and that he could prove it using reliable, empirical data.
Would the data – the real-world physical indicators of credibility – lose weight because the person presenting them was a bit of a dick? No. Those two things are as unrelated as a person’s telephone number and hair colour – i.e one thing simply doesn’t effect the other.
If you’re unconvinced, consider the flip-side. If a really nice, charity donating, community supporting, Bible-bashing Christian attributed their honest nature to a sincere worship of what they imagine their God to be like, would it shed any light on the question of the existence of that God? Again, no – the same way that the entirely subjective cuteness of kittens doesn’t either.
So, moving on.
‘I am better than the bad person, therefore anything I believe is true’.
I am better, morally, than the average Nazi sympathiser. I consider myself rational, open-minded, and ‘tolerant’.
But, if I declared that I had mutant shape-shifting powers without being able to prove them I would be wrong, regardless of my supposed good nature. Again, the two things have no connection.
Oh, and, uh:
*Hitler was NOT an Atheist.
This is where is gets interesting.
http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/murphy_19_2.html has this to say:
“Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth and was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” in that church. Its worst doctrines never left him.“
Some of these doctrines, as were common with the widely accepted Catholic and Lutheran views of much of Germany at the time, included widespread Anti-Semitism rooted in the notion that Jews – as a group – were ‘God killers’. It’s highly likely, verging on entirely certain, that Hitler’s personal hatred of the Jews stemmed entirely from his religious beliefs.
“Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, “… I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord’s work.”… Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”“
The man was as far from an Atheist as Jesus supposedly was, and yet many are happy to announce – addressing their congregations – that easily one of the most morally void human beings in recent history didn’t believe in God, and is therefore representative of Atheists as a whole. I agree entirely with John Patrick Michael Murphy (the author of the secularhumanism.org article) when he says that “Those who would make Hitler an atheist should turn their eyes to history books before they address their pews and microphones.” – but wouldn’t life just be easier if those of faith did their research?
Remember though, that even if Hitler was an Atheist, the particular neural firings which existed inside his universally insignificant mammalian brain would still give no real physical evidence for whichever God the (perhaps wilfully) ignorant spewer of such a logic-less argument as ‘Hitler was an Atheist = God‘ wishes to ‘prove’ – smugly, too.
Next please, religion.
(Sorry this one hasn’t been all too ‘serious’… But hey, you can’t expect such blatant smug idiocy to be met with anything but – at least – slight ridicule.)
Have a lovely week.