Skip to comments.Atheists in the Trenches: Loss of Faith among Canadians in the Great War
Posted on 11/05/2018 1:02:45 PM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
Did the horrors of the Great War cause Canadian soldiers to lose their faith? Or is it true that there were no atheists in the trenches? The war has generally been seen as a powerfully disillusioning experience. Books such as Paul Fussells widely influential The Great War and Modern Memory portray the war as the origins of modern skepticism and cynicism. The idea of a lost generation of disillusioned Anglo-American vets is a widely accepted one. The situation in Canada, however, is a little more ambiguous. In his study of the wars impact on Canadian culture, Death So Noble, Jonathan Vance argued that most Canadians refused to accept a cynical interpretation of the war. Instead, he writes, they constructed a mythology of righteous valour and Christ-like self-sacrifice to justify their suffering and the deaths of their loved ones. Of course, Vance has not had the last word; the debate around the existence or non-existence of a lost generation in Canada is complex and ongoing. This post will focus strictly on religious doubt, with the goal of offering insight into this broader question.
First of all, how much faith did soldiers have to lose? ...
(Excerpt) Read more at activehistory.ca ...
They could not help but notice that the Kingdom of God on Earth preached by optimistic chaplains failed to materialize, and began to question if their sacrifices had really been worthwhile.
Well, personally, Ive given up speculating about that sort of thing. I dont know, and I dont much care whether theres a God or no. This place is enough evidence that He returns the compliment. If He exists at all, then He must be an impersonal God who doesnt care a hoot about mankind.
The idiocy of having church parades, religious ceremonies, on active service. The absurdity of it! The damnable hollow sham of it! What a pain it did give you in the fundamental. Was God going to take sides in this filthy business? It was rank blasphemy.
To think we could propitiate a senseless god by abstaining from cursing! What god is there as mighty as the fury of a bombardment?
How will we ever be able to go back to peaceful ways and hear pallid preachers whimper of their puny little gods who can only torment sinners with sulphur, we who have seen a hell that no god, however cruel, would fashion for his most deadly enemies? Yes, all of us have prayed during the manic frenzy of a bombardment. Who can live through the terror-laden minutes of drumfire and not feel his reason slipping, his manhood dissolving?
However you look at it ,the fact is that between 1914-1945 Europe and Canada lost forever the best of their genetic pool. Germany, England, Russia, Italy, France and Canada have been forever impoverished. Add to that the effect of widespread birth control and abortion, then it is no surprise that their endemic populations are contracting and their civilizations are crumbling.
Seeing what they saw and experienced they felt that God seemed to have abandon them.
The carnage was horrible beyond being able to describe it in a couple of sentences. The war's genesis was in the fading inbred 19th century royalty straight from a Duck Soup casting call. They all decided it would be fun to have a war for their amusement. Nothing monumental was at stake. And it was never really over until 1945. Without WWI we would not have had WWII.
The USA should not have been involved in any way. It was a losing proposition from the start.
Max Boot still thinks WWI was just dandy. I’m glad that psycho has come out of the closet.
The USA should not have been involved in any way. It was a losing proposition from the start
Germany pretty much runs things with them and the French now hand in hand
Yeah, that figures. Yep, he's psycho in more ways than one.
There was the famous postwar disillusionment after the war, but while it was going on, people were too busy and frightened to just give up on life and the idea that there was some purpose to the universe.
Finding a few prominent atheists who went to war doesn't change that. There probably were atheists on the battlefield in most modern wars, but my guess is that those who went into the war as unbelievers probably weren't many.
I don't quarrel with your quotes, but they may be the result of soldiers' general revulsion with the rhetoric of those at home, rather than a hostility to religion in particular.
“Three on a match!”
WWI should have caused a loss of faith in government not God. But it didn’t. It also caused a shift in demographics which impacted voting patterns.
It started in the latter Nineteenth Century: The supposedly enlightened atheists, socialists, and evolutionists laid the groundwork for brutal global warfare.
Then they blamed the foul fruits of their arrogant and depraved godlessness on God.
Yes. And America to a lesser extent.
The globalists have been mopping up ever since.
My grandfather was wounded on July 18, 1918 outside of Soissons, France. He was with the Big Red One in the American Army. If anyone can recommend a book that includes information on this specific group of soldiers around this time and place, I would be very grateful. Despite life threatening injuries, he lived to be 95 years old and a wonderful grandfather to me.
That is the essential point. A similar decline in and recalibration of religious faith followed the American Civil War.
I’ll disagree with you on this one. Here’s what ended the war of several wars.
Denazification, cumulative review. Report, 1 April 1947-30 April 1948.
Here Is Germany (1945)
The founding fathers of the U.S.A. sought to bring the best of their cultures with them and leave the worst of those cultures behind. Many other Americans have tried to do the same. That’s what made America great. Many of us have German forefathers, but we are Americans. And many of us continue to believe and pray.
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