Religion: the Opitate of the Masses.
Religion, organized religion, has nothing to do with God. It is a form of control. At its core, there is no difference between the Nazi cult, and fundamental Christianity, or Islam, or any other mass religion out there.
Sure, the teachings and ob
All of these beliefs practice indoctrination at an early age. Hilter had the Hitler Youth. Christianity has Sunday School. Both are aimed at molding young minds into a certain way of thinking while those minds are too young and impressionable to question what is being put before them.
Ritual is an important part of indoctrination. Ascribing importance to symbols and religious rites gives your audience something tangible to focus on. In the absence of the presence of any visible god, you have the cross.
The Nazis knew this all too well. And the Reich was carpet-bombed (excuse the pun) with symbols and rites and sacraments. Hitler himself was a symbol and the (father of the nation), the Swastika, the Roman salute, and countless others - all of these things were designed to heighten the awareness and the aura of the Nazi ideal.
Fear is perhaps the most powerful tool in any cult or religious leader's arsenal. Fear is like a lance, jabbing into the backs of the masses, driving them toward religion. Without fear, no one would have any reason to need salvation. And so all of these belief systems are built on fear. For Christians, it's the threat of eternal damnation. In the Nazi regime, they had many instruments of fear. Nazi propaganda was fine-tuned to prey on people's fears. The holocaust was due in part to the idea, created by Nazi propaganda, that Jews were a threat to the German people.
We humans are social creatures. Hundreds of thousands of years ago we lived in large groups, like troops of baboons. We are hard-wired to respond to group dynamics. And religions exploit this too.
Thousands of years ago, when tribes would gather together, they would experience a sense of euphoria that they did not experience any other time. This is a normal human reaction to the group situation, and is actually caused by a natural release of endorphins designed by nature to help us stay together as pack animals. The same trait can be witnessed in cases of riots and football hooliganism, where mob hysteria takes over and people behave in ways they would not normally behave in.
The ancient tribes, all those years ago, were unable to explain this sensation, so they would often attribute it to friendly spirits that must have been around at the time, and they would erect a totem to honour those spirits. This is probably how religions get started in the first place.
The Nazi's recognized the power of group euphoria and held enormous rallies to whip people into frenzies though oration and song. Ever seen a group of born-again Christians on a Sunday throwing up their arms, speaking in tongues and collapsing? Notice any similarity?
Finally, this "sense of belonging" morphs into... patrotism. Where loyalty becomes an all-pervading sense of nationalism that transends logic and reason. Where anything is reasonable and everything can be justified. From kiling 6 million Jews to flying aircraft into buildings, nothing is sacred, so to speak.
This is the danger of religion. And why we must rid ourselves of it before we can evolve as a species. Religion is divisive. Religion is intolerant. Wars are fought in the name of religion. People are persecuted in the name of religion. Along with tribalism, religion must be wiped from the face of the earth.
Then the world will be a much better place.