German Faith Movement

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The German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung) was closely associated with Jakob Wilhelm Hauer during the Third Reich (1933-1945) and sought to move Germany away from Christianity towards a religion based on "immediate experience" of God. Hauer was a professor at the University of Tübingen.

History

Instead of the Bible, a combination of Indian (Hindu) and German literature was used as scripture. Hauer had worked as a missionary in India and was influenced in particular by the Bhagavad Gita. Ceremonies of the movement involved sermons, German classical music and political hymns.

Hauer was considered by contemporary observers as a genuinely religious man, though his political sentiments were also commented on.

The German Faith Movement was favorably assessed by the Swiss religious psychologist Carl Jung in his 1936 essay "Wotan". The context is one of acute concern about what was happening overall in Germany - Jung speaks of Ergriffenheit, explained in the English version as "a state of being seized or possessed", [1] and characterizes Germany as "infected... rolling towards perdition".[2] However, Jung sees the German Faith Movement as "decent and well-meaning people who honestly admit their Ergriffenheit and try to come to terms with this new and undeniable fact." He commends Hauer's book Deutsche Gottschau as an attempt "to build a bridge between the dark forces of life and the shining world of historical ideas".[3]

The movement had around 200,000 followers at its height. Following the NSDAP accession to power, it obtained rights of civil tolerance from Rudolf Hess, but never the preferential treatment from the state for which Hauer campaigned.

The development of the German Faith Movement revolved around four main themes:

  • the propagation of the 'blood and soil' ideology.
  • the replacement of Christian ceremonies by pagan equivalents; the most favoured pagan deity being the sun, as can be seen from the flag of the faith movement.
  • the rejection of Christian ethics.
  • the cult of Hitler's personality.

Similar movements have remained active in Germany since 1945 outside mainstream educational and social structures.

See also

Literature

Hauer, William et al. (1937); Germany's New Religion: The German Faith Movement; London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Written with Karl Heim & Karl Adam; trans. from German by T.S.K. Scott-Craig & R.E. Davies.

Nanko, Ulrich (1993); Die Deutsche Glaubensbewegung. Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung (German: the German Faith Movement - a historical and sociological examination); Religionswissenschaftliche Reihe Bd. 4. Diagonal, Marburg (Lahn). ISBN 3-927165-16-6

Poewe, Karla (2005); New Religions and the Nazis; Routledge. ISBN 0415290244

Notes

  1. Jung, Carl G. (1970); Collected Works, Volume 10; Routledge & Kegan Paul, London; ISBN 0 7100 1640 9; p 184.
  2. Jung, p. 185.
  3. Jung, p 190 - 191.
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