Tuesday, August 23, 2005

 

Mein Kampf & The Holy Bible

Two Very Similar Books.

In the 1920's, Adolph Hitler wrote a book explaining his ideas and political philosophy. Mein Kampf sold very slowly until Hitler's election in 1933; then it sold 1.5 million copies. By the end of World War Two, it had sold an estimated 10 million copies.

People bought the book to show loyalty to the Nazi party, not to read it.

Many historians say that, if the book had actually been read, some of the horrors of World War Two might have been averted. We are told (I've never actually read it) that Mein Kampf reveals Hitler as the jew hating, racist, militaristic monster the world came to know through his actions. Hitler's book apparently contains numerous falsehoods and deceptions; if he had been challenged or faced criticism, perhaps history would tell a different story. We'll never know.

What has the story of Mein Kampf to do with us?

Here in the United States of America, there is a book that has sold more copies than any other book in history. In the vast majority of homes you will find this book. More than half the citizens and residents of this country will tell you they ardently believe in the teachings in this book. A vocal minority will say they do not. But, like Mein Kampf, this book is not actually read by many who feel so strongly about it. Of course, I'm talking about the Christian Bible.

Like Mein Kampf the Bible presents a daunting challenge. Like Mein Kampf, the Bible is full of contradictions. Making sense of it requires a lot of effort. Like Hitler's book, it is a lengthy tome.

The vast majority of Biblical literalists have read only snippets of Bible verses here and there; they actually know only those passages selected by their leaders. But to truly understand the Bible makes simple minded literalism impossible. To truly know the Bible requires deep study and a lot of work. I would argue that people allow themselves to feel superior and to think they are living Christian lives even as they endorse policies fostering hatred, ignorance, bigotry and injustice. The only thing that makes this possible is their own self-satisfied ignorance of the actual words of the Bible.

So, like Mein Kampf, the Bible will be the supreme example of the unread authority; the book everybody says they believe in without actually having read it.

Comments:
Thanks for your comments on my blog.

The "HATE FRANCE" footer is meant to be humorous. I have never been to France, except Paris airport. I have been to Germany though. I hear Quebec is beautiful. My pops has been there, but I never have. I have been to Ontario, though.
 
Interesting. I have read that about Mein Kampf being very much under-read. After all, the National Socialists got away with so much with the aid of the frog in the heating water. Reading Mein Kampf might have been a scalding shock.
 
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