Hitler vs. The AntiChrist

Over at the “Friendly” Atheist blog, someone named Sarahbeth Caplan is informing the Gnus she can no longer support evangelical Christians.  She begins as follows:

I saw a post on my church’s bulletin board several weeks ago that read, “Hillary Clinton wants to take away your religious liberty and arrest Christians! Do not vote for this anti-Christ!”

All posts are supposed to be approved by staff before they can be pinned to the board, but it’s possible this one didn’t wait for permission. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better, but regardless, this is the type of attitude that is causing me to distance myself from all things evangelical.

Okay.  Fair enough.  There are plenty of such Christians who buy into this paranoid apocalyptic thinking.

But then, a few sentences later we read:

But until this election, when many of my fellow Christians eagerly jumped to support a man with frightening similarities to Hitler circa the 1930s, I had no idea how little in common I actually have with many of the people I worshiped with. (emphasis not added)

Sheesh. This is where the face palm comes into play.

Look, if you are trying to draw attention to someone else’s paranoid apocalyptic thinking, it’s not a good idea to display your own paranoid apocalyptic thinking.

Someone needs to talk Sarahbeth off that ledge.   It might help to inform her we survived just fine the last time Hitler was in charge.  Or has she forgotten?

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45 Responses to Hitler vs. The AntiChrist

  1. SteveK says:

    “how little in common”

    Because being a part of the body of Christ is so utterly superficial and insignificant *eyeroll*

  2. TFBW says:

    Honestly, SteveK, a certain portion of church attendance is just “social club”, not “body of Christ”. I’m not going to guess at a figure, but I’d say “large portion” rather than “small portion”. Chances are that she really does have little in common if this is how she feels about it.

  3. FZM says:

    These kinds of comparisons seem recurrent in political discussion, politicians being equated with Hitler, foreign policy options with 1930s appeasement and similar. Sometimes they can be pretty grotesque, if someone is using them under the influence of their own strong political/ideological beliefs.

    I think there would be some good side to it if it led people to learn, and debate in some more detail about the historical events they are talking about, but sadly usually it doesn’t.

  4. Dhay says:

    It’s a wavelet in the flood of clickbait-for-atheists published on that blog; it had 265 comments last I looked, so Sarahbeth Caplan’s article is definitely successful clickbait; her three-month run of contributing articles to an atheist blog will therefore no doubt continue, future commissions assured.

    Caplan is the author of two books about being a Christianised secular Jew, neither properly in nor properly out of both Judaism and her adopted Christianity; no doubt the books are a good read, but they place her as someone who makes a journalistic living out of being a barely-Christian with “little in common” to start with.

    Because she’s been writing regular articles for Mehta’s blog, knowing full well its nature and the nature of its commenters, those beliefs of hers which “have swung across a wide pendulum over the years” have clearly been swinging into anti-theistic atheism for some months; so it might be more accurate to describe her not as a Christian teetering on the brink (“My religious beliefs now are on shaky ground at best …”) but as someone already atheist coming out as such.

    Caplan is plainly intelligent and capable of challenging and questioning, so her reluctance to ask about the notice makes little sense: she could very easily have found out whether the notice was official church policy or the isolated personal view of an individual parishioner by having a quiet word with an elder, deacon or minister to discover who authorised the offending notice, and if not authorised, to get it removed; she can still ask, but hasn’t; but having a quiet word would not have earned the commission she got from Mehta, and would probably have prevented it — prevented her freaked-out paranoia, her article and her commission, that’s no way to make a living.

    “Though I’ve never called myself an evangelical, I did find myself in evangelical churches and small groups without realizing it …”. Hmmm, a bright, confident person finds herself in evangelical churches (plural) and evangelical groups (plural) without realizing it: this is pure spin.

    You would expect that having discovered a beef with her apparently closetly-evangelical church (or possibly with as few as one member of her church) she would have considered finding out the church’s actual official position before deciding her future moves; if she decided to move, you would expect her to find the local UCC church — there’s other denominations beside as would likely suit her views — or Quaker meeting.

    No, instead of a quiet word, and probably a sensible answer and remedy, or the quiet move should have done months or years ago, Caplan launches instead into polemical antagonism towards her former church and writes clickbait propaganda to whip up Mehta’s readers: Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of Mehta.

  5. TFBW says:

    Sounds a lot like she’s looking for opportunities to be the victim. And write about it. For profit.

  6. Ilíon says:

    To refer to Hillary Clinton in particular — and Democrats in general — as “this anti-Christ” is not an example of “paranoid apocalyptic thinking“. To refer to Hillary Clinton as “the anti-Christ” probably would be an example of that.

  7. Doug says:

    To TFBW’s point: the proportion of church that is “social club” (or even worse, “political club”) rather than “the body of Christ” ranges all over the map, and its correlation with *almost any measurable factor* is low. But yeah: if my “church” decided that their King was anyone other than Jesus, I’d be looking for other places to participate.

  8. pennywit says:

    Re: Trump and Hitler, my eyebrows shot way, way up when I heard about Trumps “international bankers” speech. That little bit of rhetoric DOES echo some classic anti-Semitic tropes.

  9. Bilbo says:

    I think Trump is closer to Hitler than Bush was:

  10. Bilbo says:

    Though, as Trevor Noah explains, we should think of Trump as our first African President:

  11. Bilbo says:

    Although, there are some people who really, really hope Trump is the next Hitler.

  12. FZM says:

    Bilbo,

    I think Trump is closer to Hitler than Bush was:

    I didn’t watch the video in the link but the picture is of Mussolini. I think saying Trump is like Hitler is different to saying he is like Mussolini.

    I bet if you were so inclined you could concoct some kind of equivalence between Hilary and Stalin (!), Hilary’s stance on abortion is similar to Stalin’s, Hilary’s views on family life are like those of Stalin, Hilary’s idea of the deplorables mirror Bolshevik ideas about ‘Kulaks’ and reactionary Enemies of the People (who need to be purged or enslaved) and so forth.

  13. Crude says:

    I think Trump is closer to Hitler than Bush was

    Come on, Bilbo. Next you’ll be telling us you think planes didn’t really take down the WTC.

  14. Bilbo says:

    FZM: I didn’t watch the video….

    Be sure to let me know when you do.

  15. Bilbo says:

    Crude, I wonder if you watched any of the videos I offered.

  16. TFBW says:

    Bilbo, FYI the Daily Show videos get me nothing but, “the uploader has not made this video available in your country.”

    The whole discussion is tangential in any case.

  17. Dhay says:

    > Someone needs to talk Sarahbeth off that ledge. It might help to inform her we survived just fine the last time Hitler was in charge. Or has she forgotten?

    Sarahbeth Caplan would do well to follow the lead of a fellow Secular Jew:

    Oy vey! We need to get a grip. Trump is the President-Elect, we’re in for a very tough four years, but can we stop the wailing on Facebook and figure out what we should do next? That, of course, will take a bit of time as Trump lines up his Cabinet and decides which of his campaign promises he’ll continue to discard. When Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, I don’t recall the dogs, Play-Doh, or cry ins? What has happened to us? (I admit that Trump looks a lot worse than G.W.B.)

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/schools-bring-out-the-therapy-dogs-and-play-doh-in-light-of-trumps-victory/

    He doesn’t say explicitly, but I think he might recommend that if only people would stop posting sometimes nearly hysterical posts about Trump, and instead report the daily utterances of a Polish cat, the internet would become a lot more rational and certainly more relaxed.

  18. Billy Squibs says:

    @TFBW, Opera now offers a VPN built into the browser.

  19. TFBW says:

    @Billy Squibs: Oh, I could bypass it in several ways, I’m sure, but if they don’t want me to watch their video, I’m not enthused enough about it to argue with them.

    Jerry Coyne said:

    When Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, I don’t recall the dogs, Play-Doh, or cry ins? What has happened to us?

    It’s just the continued rise of Victimhood Culture, Jerry, the chief modus operandi of what you’d call the Regressive Left. You’ve got to make a big show of how the socially dominant party has injured you so as to swing sympathetic support in your direction. It’s nothing new — you’re merely shocked by how far the trend has progressed since you last paid it any attention.

  20. Kevin says:

    Coyne is an idiot, but even he sees how pathetic it is for adults crying because they didn’t get their way. That’s why Atheism Plus is about the most horrifying mix of ideologies one could imagine short of murderous regimes.

  21. stcordova says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!🙂

  22. FZM says:

    Be sure to let me know when you do.

    I watched 6 minutes into it before getting bored. Maybe it’s because I’m not a US citizen so aren’t invested in the politics.

    On the subject of ‘The Roman Genius’ (to use Churchill’s words) to whom Trump was mostly being compared in that clip, his wasn’t that bad a kind of government judged by the standards of the 1920s and 30s. Obviously sub par aspects of the Fascist regime in Italy would be: colonial wars and gassing Libyans and Ethiopians to achieve quick victories, Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany and the way Mussolini managed Italy’s participation in WW2.

    So, watch out if Trump wants to invade and colonise Mexico or some other country, or wants to forge a military alliance with some more powerful neighbour like Nazi Germany to territorially enlarge the USA.

  23. Bilbo says:

    FZM: …his [Mussolini’s] wasn’t that bad a government…
    A brief summary from here:

    Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[7] Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state.

  24. Bilbo says:

    TFBW: The whole discussion is tangential in any case.

    Wait. Mike accused someone of being paranoid for thinking there are frightening similarities between Trump and Hitler. In the first video Trevor Noah argues (rather persuasively, I think) that Trump has similarities to a fascist and racist, qualities we associate with Hitler. In the second video, Trevor points out the similarities between Trump and the petty dictators of some African countries. They are petty because they do not have as much power as Hitler had…or as Trump will have. And the third video is of some white supremacists saying, “Hail Trump!” Now clearly they are not being paranoid about Trump. Quite the opposite. Something about him as inspired associations with Hitler, which they like.

    So I think I have rational grounds for claiming that Trump is closer to Hitler than Bush. How much closer? Let’s hope it’s not too much closer.

  25. TFBW says:

    @Bilbo: So what sort of actions in office will decide whether comparing Trump to Hitler is sheer paranoia? I take it that refraining from invading neighbouring countries or placing people in concentration camps won’t be sufficient, even though these things have a certain amount of precedent in US history.

    Alternatively, how do you rate the paranoia of Hilary/Antichrist comparisons against Trump/Hitler comparisons? I take it that the Daily Show hasn’t been doing research on the former. Have you?

  26. FZM says:

    Bilbo,

    Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[7] Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state.

    A lot of countries in that era were ruled by dictatorships of one sort or another. Large parts of the world were under colonial rule. In those decades you can find countries that had better governments or political regimes than Fascist Italy’s, but you can find many that had similar or poorer, worse functioning ones as well. Hence my comment.

  27. FZM says:

    In the first video Trevor Noah argues (rather persuasively, I think) that Trump has similarities to a fascist and racist, qualities we associate with Hitler.

    I don’t think it was that persuasive unless you are unfamiliar with Hitler’s actual policies, statements and so on, or Mussolini’s.

    Obviously there would be strong reason to worry if Trump comes up with some policies aimed at replacing the current US political parties with a single party or banning parties altogether, introduces a propaganda ministry and blanket censorship of the press, purges education and the state of any political opponents, introduces race laws directed against Jewish ownership of property and interaction with ‘Aryans’, sets on foot plans to invade neighbouring countries and subjugate/exterminate large portions of their non-Anglo Saxon populations etc.

    In the 1930s there was also a phenomena on the far left of claiming that to save society from the evils of Fascism, single party government needed to be introduced, blanket press censorship, purging of all ideological enemies from the state, expansion of state control to every aspect of life and the economy, labour camps and democide of hostile anti-social elements because of the threat they posed to ‘freedom’, as defined by the far left.

  28. Doug says:

    …and then there’s this

  29. Bilbo says:

    TFBW: So what sort of actions in office will decide whether comparing Trump to Hitler is sheer paranoia?

    First, whether or not Trump follows through on any of his rhetoric is not the question at issue. The question is whether his rhetoric merits comparison with fascists, such as Mussolini or Hitler. And as Trevor Noah argued very persuasively, yes it does.

    Will he follow through on any of his rhetoric? Let’s hope not. And if he doesn’t, I will breathe a deep sigh of relief, thinking to myself, “Thank God! Trump didn’t really mean any of those nasty things he promised to do!”

    But if he doesn’t follow through on his rhetoric, many of Trump’s supporters will be terribly disappointed. You know who I mean:

  30. Bilbo says:

    FZM, your argument boils down to, Mussolini wasn’t as bad as Hitler. I concede. Somehow, I don’t think Mike will take that as a vindication of his position.

  31. Kevin says:

    Given what Hitler is famous for (and no, not the Autobahn), I’ll be waiting for Trump to actually be in office and doing comparable things before any Hitler comparison is worth paying attention to. I somehow suspect that he won’t be looked on in history as a mass murdering tyrant.

  32. TFBW says:

    @Bilbo: you stand by your Trump/Hitler comparison. I get it. Are Hilary/Antichrist comparisons equally valid, assuming a sufficient number of cherry-picked similarities can be rounded up?

  33. Bilbo says:

    Feel free to make comparisons between Hillary and the Antichrist, TFBW.

  34. Bilbo says:

    Yes, Kevin, as long as he doesn’t commit mass murder, we have nothing to worry about.

  35. TFBW says:

    @Bilbo: (a) you’re mistaking me for someone who gives a damn about either of those clowns, and (b) you didn’t answer the question. I think the lack of an answer is answer enough, however. I’m done.

  36. Gottfried says:

    FZM,

    Indeed, Mussolini was not Hitler. I find that leftists quickly lose interest in fine distinctions, however, when it comes to their enemies.

    I sometimes wonder where leftist rhetoric would be if Hitler had never come to power. If not for him the list of Modern History’s Top 5 Greatest Totalitarian Mass Murderers would be a clean sweep for the Left. Maybe even the Top 10? And yet it’s always the Right that’s on the verge of sending your family to Auschwitz.

    I’m no fan of Trump, and there are certainly worrying elements among his supporters, but I find the anti-Trump hysteria far more frightening.

  37. Ilíon says:

    I sometimes wonder where leftist rhetoric would be if Hitler had never come to power. If not for him the list of Modern History’s Top 5 Greatest Totalitarian Mass Murderers would be a clean sweep for the Left. Maybe even the Top 10? And yet it’s always the Right that’s on the verge of sending your family to Auschwitz.

    The National Socialists *were* leftists, so, even with Hitler, the list of Modern History’s Top 5 Greatest Totalitarian Mass Murderers is still a clean sweep for the Left.

  38. Kevin says:

    “Yes, Kevin, as long as he doesn’t commit mass murder, we have nothing to worry about.”

    Trump could be the worst president ever, and still not be comparable to Hitler in any meaningful manner.

  39. Ilíon says:

    Trump could be the worst president ever …

    Alleged-president Obama has set the bar very high on that, or low, depending on your point of view.

  40. FZM says:

    Gottfried,

    I sometimes wonder where leftist rhetoric would be if Hitler had never come to power. If not for him the list of Modern History’s Top 5 Greatest Totalitarian Mass Murderers would be a clean sweep for the Left. Maybe even the Top 10? And yet it’s always the Right that’s on the verge of sending your family to Auschwitz.

    At least in the UK and the US, maybe some other Western countries, awareness and sensitivity to the danger posed by the far right does seem much stronger than awareness of what the far left can be like once in power. I have heard that among the current leadership of our British Labour Party (currently the main opposition party), there are people with favourable opinions of figures like Mao, Enver Hoxha, Castro and so on. One of their main communications guys is also notable for defending Stalin and his legacy. Among the governing Conservatives there may be people who think well of Mussolini, Generals Franco or Pinochet, but I think they would attract more comment if they were too open about it.

    Generally there doesn’t seem to be the same level of interest in critically examining far left beliefs, the legacy and ideologies of actual far left regimes as there is in right wing belief systems. Perhaps it’s because the far left has never been in power in these countries so the vivid gap that can appear behind the rhetoric and mythology of far left ideology (the idea that in the 1930s the USSR was the most free and democratic country In the world, for a striking example) and actual reality has never become so clear.

  41. Michael says:

    Wait. Mike accused someone of being paranoid for thinking there are frightening similarities between Trump and Hitler.

    As we now know, the Bush-Hilter comparisons were parnoid nonsense and those who proposed such crazy talk now have egg all over their face. After all, Bush was supposed to have cancelled the elections in 2008. Or are we supposed to forget about that one too? Of course, when McCain ran in 2008, he was compared to Hitler. And in 2012, Romney was compared to Hitler.

    These Hitler comparisons are remarkable given their track record of 100% failure. Just how much egg can a face hold?

    And what makes you different from the boy who cried wolf?

    In the first video Trevor Noah argues (rather persuasively, I think) that Trump has similarities to a fascist and racist, qualities we associate with Hitler. In the second video, Trevor points out the similarities between Trump and the petty dictators of some African countries. They are petty because they do not have as much power as Hitler had…or as Trump will have. And the third video is of some white supremacists saying, “Hail Trump!” Now clearly they are not being paranoid about Trump. Quite the opposite. Something about him as inspired associations with Hitler, which they like.

    This is called confirmation bias. Whenever the mind wants Hitler to be like Bush/McCain/Romney/Trump, the mind looks for evidence to support the preconception. Evidence that runs counter to the desired linkage is ignored or downplayed. For example, I have not paid much attention to the news lately, but the last I heard Trump wasn’t planning on prosecuting Clinton and has backed-off his claims about water-boarding. Would Hitler do that?

  42. Ilíon says:

    WWHD?

    What a piker H was!

    The real question is WW[L/S/M]D?

  43. Anybody *can* be our worst President ever. We’ll have to wait and see.

  44. Dhay says:

    Looks like there’s no demographic or group, however enlightened it claims to be and however enlightened it projects itself as actually being, which is free of racism, sexism, and many other socially unacceptable labels …

    “Atheism, like any other demographic or group is subject to the biases visible everywhere else,” says Jules. “Although more liberal and left leaning in the US, I haven’t found racism, sexism, or many other socially unacceptable labels significantly ‘less represented’ in Atheism.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/20/what-it-s-like-to-be-black-and-atheist.html

    … including atheists.

    “Racism, sexism, or many other socially unacceptable labels”. Looks like the enlightened socially progressive SJW A+ atheist with ideas and ways of thinking firmly based on Science and Reason is … is almost mythical, their numbers are not significant.

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