Chalking Up Six Million Deaths to Religion: Appropriating the Holocaust
In claiming religion to be the most destructive force in human history the New Atheism must logically incorporate the Holocaust into the crimes of the faithful. A crude contest with believers ensues, in which both offer the religiosity or otherwise of Hitler as evidence for the moral state of their opponents. Johnstone critiques the cases made by numerous atheists as methodologically unsound. He examines historians’ interpretations of the issue, particularly political religion theory and the controversy surrounding Richard Steigmann-Gall’s The Holy Reich. Whilst such research demands that Nazi religiosity be taken seriously, Johnstone argues that it challenges New Atheist precepts concerning the Enlightenment, secularisation, the ‘otherness’ of religious zeal and the potential for the de-faithing of society through modernity and science.