In recent years there has been a great deal of debate about the Nazis and religion. There has been a resurgence of study into the question of esoteric religion and the Nazis, as well as considerations of whether Darwinism (and not simply Social Darwinism) was a major influence on the National Socialists.
In the interests of full disclosure, my own perspective on this debate is that ultimately the leaders of the Nazi Party seem to have adhered to a kind of “Ethnotheism,” whereby religion was supposedly defined by “race” and the spiritual and moral characteristics that the Nazis believed were inherent in race.
In its simplest form, this meant that “Aryans” were characterised as moral and spiritual – as a part of their “racial” characteristics – while “the Jews” were defined as immoral and materialist.
This bears some very significant implications for the study of Nazi attitudes to religion, because such an “ethnotheist” approach did not dictate any given formfor religion, while adopting a common conceptual approach that argued all religious teachings had to be measured against a kind of “racial yardstick.”
But what did this mean for long-established religious festivals, like the Christian celebrations of Christmas or Easter?
To read more, please see the ABC Religion and Ethics site.