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Did Evolution Fuel Hitler’s Racist Beliefs?


Historians debate whether Hitler believed in God or not. Some even claim he was a Christian creationist. But historian Richard Weikart says Hitler’s violent beliefs were founded on another idea entirely—Darwinism.

Throughout history, people have relied on a wide variety of beliefs and motivations—even Christianity (misinterpreted and misapplied)—to justify racism. But when it comes to Hitler, Weikart says Darwinian evolution was the fuel for his racist atrocities.

Weikart’s new book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism, looks at how evolution shaped Hitler’s ideology. A recent article gives a peek at what the book reveals:

“Guided by Darwin’s Descent of Man and by early Darwinists such as Ernst Haeckel, the Nazis viewed the ‘Nordic race’ as superior to other races. Worse, they concluded that the Nordic Germans should advance human evolution by ridding the world of ‘inferior’ individuals and races and claiming more living space for themselves and their offspring. The results were forced euthanasia programs for ‘unfit’ Germans, the Holocaust, and World War II.”

But how could an idea like evolution lead to such drastic and horrific actions? Let’s look at this issue from a biblical perspective.

How Did Darwinian Evolution Fuel Hitler’s Racism?

As Weikart’s book shows, ideas have consequences—sometimes deadly and evil consequences.

Hitler’s bad idea was that, if evolution is true and certain human races are more evolved than others, then “superior races” have a right to survive, even if it means killing off “inferior races.” In his worldview, conquering the world and breeding a “master race” was simply survival of the fittest.

That bad idea led to 17 million deaths in the Holocaust and as many as 70 million deaths throughout all of World War II.

Just to be clear, we’re not saying that all evolutionists are racist or that scientific racism proves that evolution is factually false. (There is plenty of scientific and biblical evidence that shows evolution to be factually false!)

Instead, the point is that if you follow atheistic evolution to its logical conclusion, then it becomes clear why Hitler felt justified in what he did. You see, if there is no God, then there are no moral absolutes. And if there are no moral absolutes, then we can’t truly condemn Hitler’s actions.

Hitler was horrifyingly wrong, of course. But he thought he was right and was able to convince his followers of the same—and that’s what is most frightening. His life points to an important truth: Whenever we elevate man’s thoughts and opinions above God’s Word, bad consequences follow.

Hitler got it wrong about race and racism, and so did Charles Darwin. The Bible makes it clear that there is no “superior race.” Since we’re all descended from Adam and Eve, there’s really only one race—the human race.

Even modern-day genetics confirms that there is only one human race. The Bible was right all along!

Learn More About Evolution, Racism, and God’s Word

Does evolutionary thought impact how we view races and racism? Find out how an accurate interpretation of God’s Word reveals the truth.

Why Do People Believe There Are Different Races of People?

Racism continues to plague the Western world. But what is at the root of all the confusion surrounding the issue? Discover how the Bible contains the antidote for overcoming this destructive doctrine of persecuting others based primarily on their outward appearance.

One Race, One Blood: Biblical and Scientific Answers

How should Christians deal with issues of racism? Discover biblical and scientific answers to the issues of “race,” racism, and prejudice from the 2019 Answers for Pastors and Christian Leaders’ Conference.