The Pagan Roots Of The Fascist Culture

HARUN YAHYA

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Fascism is an ideology which has its roots in Europe. The foundations of fascism were laid by a number of European thinkers in the 19th century, and it was put into practice in the 20th century by such European counties as Italy and Germany. Other countries which were influenced by fascism and adopted it 'imported' the ideology from Europe. So in order to examine the roots of fascism, we must turn to the history of Europe.

European history has naturally gone through many stages and periods. But looking at it in the broadest sense, we can divide into three fundamental periods from the cultural point of view:

  1. The pre-Christian (pagan) period.
  2. The period when Christianity assumed cultural dominance in Europe
  3. The post-Christian (materialist) period

The idea of what we have described as 'The post-Christian period' may strike many readers as odd. Because Christianity is still by far the majority religion in European society. But many ideologies and philosophies opposing Christianity, materialist philosophy being the most important, had become increasingly influential by the 19th century.

Looking at these three periods, we see that fascist culture belongs to the first and third. In other words, fascism was born out of pagan culture, and was later resurrected as a part of materialist culture. There was no fascist ideology or practice throughout the thousand or so years when Christian culture dominated Europe.

This is because Christianity is a religion of peace and equality. Christianity, which believes in and tries to bring people to live by love, compassion, sacrifice, affection and humility, is the complete antithesis of fascism.

 

Fascists in the Pagan World

The most fundamental feature of pre-Christian Europe was that it possessed pagan beliefs, in other words polytheistic religions. Europeans believed that the false gods they worshipped revealed many aspects of life to them and helped to them. Among the most important of these were the gods of war, who appeared in just about every pagan society.

This prestige that gods of war enjoyed in pagan belief was the result of these societies' regarding violence as sacred. Pagan peoples were all barbarian and lived in a permanent atmosphere of war. To kill and spill blood in the name of the people was seen as a sacred duty. Savagery and violence of almost all kinds could find a justification in the pagan world. There was no ethical source to forbid violence or say that it was wrong. Even Rome, thought of as the most 'civilized' state in the pagan world, was a place where people were made to fight to the death or were torn to pieces by wild animals. The Emperor Nero came to power by having countless numbers of people killed, including his own mother, wife, and stepbrother. He had Christians torn apart by wild animals in the arena, and tortured thousands of people just because of their beliefs.

While this culture of violence ruled in Rome, the barbarian pagan peoples of the north, such as the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths were even more savage. These peoples tried to wreak devastation on each other, and also to plunder Rome. The pagan world was one where only violence ruled, where the use of violence of all kinds was counted as quite ethical, and even where there was no serious concept of ethics at all.

The most concrete example in the pagan world of a 'fascist' system in the modern sense was the Greek city-state of Sparta.

 

Sparta: A Model for All Fascists

The Greek city state Sparta was a ferocious war machine. Citizens were raised as brutal warriors since from childhood. This fascist culture of the Spartans would inspire the neo-pagan ideologues of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Sparta was a military state, dedicated to war and violence, and alleged to have been founded by Lycurgos in the 8th century BC. An absolute education system was set up. Under this the state was very much more important than the individual. Peoples' lives were evaluated by whether they would be of use to the state or not. The lives of strong, healthy male children were dedicated to the state, unhealthy babies were left on mountains to die. (This Spartan practice was taken as an example by Nazi Germany, and it was claimed, under the influence of Darwinism, that the sickly had to be eliminated for a 'healthy and superior race.') Parents in Sparta were responsible for taking care of their sons until the age of seven. From then until the age of 12, children were placed in teams of 15, and those who succeeded in conforming to the rules were selected as leaders. Children strengthened their bodies and prepared for war by spending their time doing sports.

Literacy was unimportant, and there was little interest in music or literature. The only songs the children were allowed to sing and learn were about war and violence. (The fascist education given to children from the age of four by Mussolini and Hitler was very much the same). It was a Spartan custom to raise people with a warrior spirit by disregarding art, literature, and education.

The most important of the thinkers who made detailed statements about Sparta was the famous Greek philosopher Plato. Although he lived in Athens, which was governed democratically, he was in awe of the fascist system in Sparta, and portrayed Sparta as a model state in his books. Because of Plato's fascist tendencies, Karl Popper, one of the foremost thinkers of the 20th century, describes him as the first source of inspiration for oppressive regimes and an enemy of open society in his famous book The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper explains how Plato calmly defended the killing of babies in Sparta, and describes him as the first theoretical proponent of 'eugenics:'

To this end, it is important that the master class should feel as one superior master race. 'The race of the guardians must be kept pure', says Plato (in defence of infanticide), when developing the racialist argument that we breed animals with great care while neglecting our own race, an argument which has been repeated ever since. (Infanticide was not an Athenian institution; Plato, seeing that is was practised at Sparta for eugenic reasons, concluded that it must be ancient and therefore good.) [1]

These views of Plato, who regarded human beings as a species of animal, and proposed that they would evolve by forced mating, came to the fore once again with Darwinism in the 19th century and were implemented by the Nazis in the 20th.

While defending the Spartan model, Plato also defended another aspect of fascism, the state use of pressure to administer society. In Plato's view, this pressure should be so comprehensive in daily life that people should be unable to think of anything apart from the orders of the state and behave in a totally brainwashed manner, leaving their own intelligence and free will aside. The following words by Plato, which Popper quoted in his book as a complete statement of the fascist mentality, describe the dimensions of pagan fascism:

The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female, should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all of his own initiative; neither out of zeal, nor even playfully. But in war and in the midst of peace - to his leader he shall direct his eye and follow him faithfully. And even in the smallest matter he should stand under leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals . . only if he has been told to do so, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it. [2]

With these ideas and practices the Spartans and Plato exhibited the fundamental characteristics of fascism. This view, that human beings are a kind of animal, means administration by fanatical racism, the growth of war and conflict, state pressure on society, and brainwashing.

 

Plato: An "enemy of the open society", according to Popper.
The Pharaoh: The Antisemite Against Moses

Similar fascist practices were also seen in other pagan societies. The system set up by the pharaohs, the rulers of ancient Egypt, is in certain aspects reminiscent of Spartan fascism. The Egyptian pharaohs built up state systems based on strong military discipline, and used them to oppress their own people. In the time of the Prophet Moses, Rameses II, the tyrannical Egyptian ruler, ordered that all male Jewish children should be killed, a cruelty reminiscent of the baby-killing in Sparta.

And the psychological pressure this ruler put on his own subjects also suggests the fascist system of oppression described by Plato. As God has revealed in the Qur'an , Pharoah gave his subjects the following totalitarian inspiration: 'I only show you what I see myself and I only guide you to the path of rectitude.' (The Qur'an , 40:29) And he threatened those magicians who rejected his pagan beliefs and led to the true religion by following Moses: 'Have you believed in him before I authorised you to do so?... I will cut off your alternate hands and feet and then I will crucify every one of you.' (The Qur'an , 7:123-124)

 

Fascism's Withdrawal in the Face of the Values of Monotheism

The fascist-pagan culture which dominated Europe disappeared by stages with the spread of Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, first to Rome and then to all of Europe. Christianity carried the basic ethical characteristics of the true religion revealed to man by the Prophet Jesus to European society. Europe, which formerly believed violence, conflict and bloodshed to be sacred and justified, and which was composed of different tribes, races and city-states which constantly fought each other, underwent an important change.

  1. Racial and tribal wars disappeared: In the pagan world, all tribes and races saw each other as enemies, and there was constant fighting between them. Each pagan society had its own gods and totems which it invented, and waged war in their name. With the coming of Christianity, there was a single belief, culture, and even language in Europe in general, and the conflict of the pagan world came to an end.
  2. Peace and compassion came to be considered sacred, instead of violence: In pagan societies, inflicting bloodshed, suffering and torture was seen as heroic actions that appeased the imaginary 'gods of war.' Under Christianity however, European societies learned that people had to love and have compassion for each other (even for their enemies), and that bloodshed was a great sin in the sight of God.
  3. The view of human beings as a species of animal disappeared: Plato regarding the Spartan warriors as equivalent to 'guard dogs' was an extension of the 'animist' belief widespread in pagan societies. Animism meant ascribing a soul to nature and animals. So according to animism there was no difference between a human being and an animal, or even a plant. But when religion came to predominate this superstition disappeared, and European societies realised that human beings possessed a soul given to them by God, were completely different to animals, and could not therefore be subject to the same laws.

These three pagan features, racism, bloodshed, and seeing human beings as a species of animal, are also the basic characteristics of fascism. In Europe, they were vanquished by Christianity. In the Middle East, the same victory was achieved by Islam over Arab paganism. Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs (and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies) possessed a warlike, bloodthirsty, and racist culture. Even the Spartans' barbaric abandoning of unwanted children to die was implemented by pagan Arabs in the form of burying female children alive. The Qur'an mentions this savage practice:

When the baby girl buried alive is asked for what crime she was killed. (The Qur'an , 81:8-9)

When any of them is given the good news of (the birth of a daughter) the very thing which he himself has ascribed to the All-Merciful his face darkens and he is furious. (The Qur'an , 43-17)

The Arabs, and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies, only came into possession of a peaceful, civilised, intelligent culture, hostile to bloodshed, after they were enlightened by Islam. Thus they were freed from the old tribal wars and nomadic savagery, and found peace and stability with monotheism.

 

Modern Fascism: The Return of Paganism

Although European pagan culture was suppressed by Christianity, it did not die. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a number of European thinkers, influenced by the works of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato or Aristotle, began to carry concepts from the pagan world back to Europe.


This illustration symbolized the principles of the new rule that was formed after the French Revolution. The rep cap is a derivation from the Mithra myth, one of the signs of the neo-pagan aspirations of the Jakobin ideology.
The rebirth of paganism was identified quite clearly in the French Revolution, which is widely accepted as the political result of Enlightenment philosophy. The Jacobins, who led the bloody 'terrorist' period of the French Revolution, were influenced by paganism, and nurtured a great hatred of Christianity. As a result of intense Jacobin propaganda during the hottest days of the revolution, a widespread 'rejection of Christianity' movement developed. And alongside this, a new 'religion of reason' was established, based on pagan symbols rather than Christianity. The first signs were seen in the 'revolutionary worship' on the Federation Holiday on July 14, 1790, and then spread widely. Robespierre, the bloody leader of the Jacobins, brought new rules to 'revolutionary worship,' set the principles of these out in a report under the name ' Worship of the Supreme Being.' One striking result of this development was the turning of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral into a 'temple of reason.' The Christian figures on the walls were torn down, and a female statue known as 'the goddess of reason' erected in the centre of it, in other words a pagan idol was put up.

This pagan tendency was expressed by the revolutionaries with a number of different symbols. The red caps worn by the revolutionary guards during the French Revolution, and which were used in many illustrations as a symbol of that revolution, were a symbol descended from the pagan world and the myth of Mithra. [3]

The neo-Pagan tendency which began with the French Revolution was given shape by Friedrich Nietzsche and carried forward to Nazi ideology. Evolutionists such as Charles Darwin, Francis Galton and Ernst Haeckel tried to give so-called scientific support to this new rising paganism, by denying the existence of God, showing that all of life consists of a 'struggle for survival', and justifying racism.

The American historian Gene Edward Veith sums this reality up this way in his book Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judaeo-Christian Worldview: "Fascism is the modern world's nostalgia for paganism. It is a sophisticated culture's revolt against God." [4]

 

The Pagan Ideology of the Nazis

The Nazis defended paganism, both during the early stages, and also when they came to power in 1933. They tore German society away from Christianity, and tried to turn it to pagan beliefs.

A short while after Hitler came to power, Christian holidays and festivals were replaced by pagan ones. 'Mother Earth' or 'Father Sky' were called on at wedding ceremonies. In 1935, Christian prayers in schools were stopped, and then all lessons concerning Christianity were banned.

Schoolchildren were taught the so-called 'Glorious pre-Christian German history,' and various rites and ceremonies, legacies of pagan culture, were held all over Germany. All Nazi meetings were in the form of traditional pagan ceremonies. There was almost no difference between Nazi rallies, held under the shadow of flaming torches, where slogans full of hate and violence were shouted and Wagner's pagan music played, and the perverted ceremonies carried out thousands of years ago at pagan temples and altars.

The Nazis also used the arts to re-awaken paganism. Ancient Greek concepts and symbols began to predominate under Nazi rule, and many statues similar to Greek statues were made, showing strong men and women of the Aryan race. Hitler dreamed that a 'superior race' would be formed by the use of eugenics, and establish a cruel and oppressive 'world kingdom' based on the Spartan model. The expression 'The Third Reich' is a statement of this dream. And as a result of this dream, 55 million people lost their lives in the Second World War, the bloodiest conflict that had ever been seen.

 

The Nazis' Anti-Semitism: Another Expression of pression of Hatred of Religion


A Nazi ceremony inspired from ancient pagan rituals.
The reason for the psychopathic hatred the Nazis feel for the Jews (and for the massacres they carried out because of it) was their pagan ideology, which had a hatred of religion.

According to Nazi logic, the Germans had first been a warrior, pagan society, then they had abandoned that culture with the spread of Christianity, and Christianity was a continuation of Judaism. Therefore, the Nazis' hatred of Christianity stemmed from the fact they saw it as a 'Jewish conspiracy.' That the Prophet Jesus, himself of Jewish origins, should be loved and respected by the Germans, whom they considered the 'master race,' was an idea the Nazis found unacceptable. In the Nazis' opinion, it was not prophets of Jewish origin who should light the way for the German people, but the cruel and barbaric warriors of pagan German culture.

Nazi ideology saw world history as a conflict between the 'Aryan race' and the 'Semites.' According to the Nazis, the Aryan race was the leader of Indo-European culture, and the Semites (the Jews and Arabs) the leaders of Middle Eastern culture. The fundamental feature of Indo-European culture was its pagan beliefs. It was for this reason that the Nazis saw themselves as the inheritors of a pagan culture. They looked on the Jews as a hostile race who had abandoned paganism and spread monotheistic belief over the world.

The Pink Swastika, which discusses the Nazis' pagan ideologies, summarizes the subject in this way:

The reason why the Nazis first attacked the Jewish people and swore to exterminate them physically and spiritually is because the teachings of the Bible, both the Torah and the New Testament, represent the foundations on which the whole system of Christian ethics rests. [5]

This deviant Nazi belief can be seen in many other fascist movements. Many neo-fascist groups today hold pagan beliefs which they consider the 'religion of the Aryan race,' and have a particular hatred of the revealed religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which they describe as the 'semitic myth.' And because of this distorted logic, fascist groups have grown up in the Islamic world which have tried to develop a new anti-semitism in the shape of "hatred of Arabs".

Whereas divine religions are not addressed solely to the Semitic races, but to everyone in the world, and the salvation of everyone lies in following the common call of these religions and believing in and submitting to God. Fascism, which denies the religion that God has revealed to mankind and reveres the deviant pagan religion of its ancestors, actually consists of a great imprudence. God mentions these imprudent people who turn to the 'religion of their ancestors' in the Qur'an :

When they are told, 'Follow what God has sent down to you,' They say, 'We are following what we found our fathers doing.' What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (The Qur'an , 2:170)


Footnotes
1-Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol I The Spell of Plato, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969, p. 51
2-Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol I The Spell of Plato, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969, p. 7
3-Michael Howard, The Occult Conspiracy, 1.b., London: Rider, 1989, p. 23
4-Gene Edward Veith, Modern Fascism : Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, Concordia Publishing House; 1993, p. 160
5-Scott Lively-Kevin E. Abrams, Pink Swastika, 1998, preface, viii

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This website is based on the works of HARUN YAHYA, a prominent Muslim intellectual of our times.