Moral Figures: Jesus vs. Hitler

Moral Figures: Jesus vs. Hitler

Before the mid 20th century Jesus Christ was the most potent moral figure in the Western imagination. We decided collectively what goodness was with reference to him. Whether or not you were a believer, his moral authority was pretty much unimpeachable. Since 1945 the most potent moral figure in Western culture has been Adolf Hitler, of course in his case it’s evil that we define with reference to him. But he has become the defining reference point for that. He is a figure whose criticism whose rejection is absolutely universally shared. And to praise or defend him is quite rightly to make oneself a monster. The result is that we’ve now got a new secular definition of morality and a secular iconography of evil and even the way that the story of the Second World War is told and retold in fiction and in cinema, shows the power that that story has as the moral basis for our culture. These themes come together as an attempt to create a new kind of morality which first of all rebases religion as a moral enterprise above all and then sets morality apart from its religious origins. I tell that story by thinking about the two most significant figures in the Western moral imagination and that step away from a religiously defined morality towards a morality which is defined by a set of secular events. Seems to me really crucial in understanding the history of modern unbelief.

19 Replies to “Moral Figures: Jesus vs. Hitler”

  1. I'm not religious, I liked this video… but you're probably going to wish you'd disabled comments for a video titled "Jesus vs Hitler"

  2. 'Nazi' (nasi) means 'Leader' … IN HEBREW
    …and the Hebrew name for a 'Christian' has the same Hebrew root. (One who follows a 'Leader')

  3. The Jewish Hitlers
    Hitler Had Jewish, African Ancestry (DNA Test)
    Hitler Married A Jew, DNA Test Shows
    Hitler's jewish Maidservants
    &c….. &c….&c

  4. Wait a second… The only evidence we have for Jesus is the Bible but the Jesus of the Bible is one of invention. The Bible is not history; at best it is historical fiction and at worst it is entirely mythical.

  5. if we're talking about moral imagination why shouldn't we mention devil then instead of Hitler?

  6. Smart professor… But Bart Ehrman has said that Jesus' quotes of morality in a Near Eastern religion don't really equate in the Western world so y the hoopla?

  7. As an orthodox jew, of course I dont worship Yeshua, but I love learning about him and I think he's an extremely interesting character to study

  8. "The way the story of the second world war is told and retold in fiction and in cinema . . . "

    Yes, there's a difference of mythological scale between Hitler and "Hitler". Only fantastic propaganda could create the persona of "Hitler", and it demands the suspension of rational disbelief. The suspension of rational disbelief, and the blind, emotive affirmation of the narrative, is presented as the primary moral imperative of the age. Do not question the official narrative. The new religion will brook no heresy.

    So I'm afraid the gentleman here is feeding a loop.

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