According to the Sydney Morning Herald (April 2-4, 2010), the Archbishop of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher, launched a scathing attack on atheism in his inaugural Easter message. “Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating.”-“Nazism, Stalinism, Pol-Pottery, mass murder and broken relationships: all promoted by state-imposed atheism or culture-insinuated secularism”.
Sorry, this is sheer nonsense, at least as far as Nazism is concerned (and perhaps one should not forget that Stalin began his career at a seminary for priests in Georgia, although he later became the chief preacher of atheistic Marxism-Leninism).
I quote from “Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944” (English translation by Norman Cameron and R.H.Stevens 1953, A Signet Book, The New American Library).
It is important that these conversations were not meant for publication and can therefore be accepted as expressing Hitler’s real beliefs.
page 36: “Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call God (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe). The priests, who have always succeeded in exploiting this feeling, threatening punishments for the man for the man who refuses to accept the creed they impose”.
page 86: “I envisage the future, therefore as follows: First of all, to each man his private creed. Superstition shall not lose its rights…”
page 158: “Christ was an Aryan…”
page 330: “If my presence on earth is providential, I owe it to a superior will. But I owe nothing to the Church that trafficks in the salvation of souls, and I find it really too cruel. I admit that one cannot impose one’s will by force, but I have a horror of people who enjoy inflicting sufferings on others’ bodies and tyranny upon others’ souls.”
Somewhere (I could not find the reference) he says that the justification of the war against the bolsheviks really was their atheism. This explains, of course, why the catholic church was fairly ambivalent about Hitler. Even Cardinal Graf von Galen, Bishop of Münster during the Nazi era and a close friend of the later Pope Pius XII, supported Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union, in spite of his opposition to other aspects of Nazism.
So, does this sound like an atheist? Hitler certainly was not a Christian and he was a fanatic antisemite, but he certainly was not an atheist.
The most violent opponents of Richard Dawkins, the high priest of contemporary atheism, argue, like the archbishop above, that atheism is at the root of all (or much) evil. It seems that in their opinion one needs to be threatened with punishment in Hell to be good. Well, Hitler did evil without being an atheist. (see here:http://knol.google.com/k/klaus-rohde/richard-dawkins-the-god-delusion-terry/xk923bc3gp4/60#edit)