Page:The War and the Churches.djvu/38

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20
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHES

more than half a century, have been educating Germany in aggressive ideas, and, speaking from personal acquaintance with their works, I should say that the overwhelming majority of them are Christians. Not a single Socialist, and not a single well-known Rationalist, has contributed to their pernicious gospel.

Probably the one German writer in the mind of those English people who speak of Germany's return to Paganism is Friedrich Nietzsche. It is true that Nietzsche was bitterly anti-Christian, and he has probably had a greater influence in Germany, in spite of his strictures on the country, than many seem disposed to allow. German booksellers have recently drawn up a statement in regard to the favourite books of soldiers in the field, and it appears that Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra is second on the list—leagues ahead of the Bible. But to conclude from this that the anti-moral doctrine of the Pagan Nietzsche is the chief source of the outrages committed is one of those slipshod inferences which make one despair of Christian literature.

In the first place, Goethe is even more popular with the troops than Nietzsche, and, although Goethe too was a Pagan, his teaching was the very antithesis of crime, violence, injustice, or hypocrisy. No nobler human doctrine was ever set forth than in the pages of his Faust, the first on this list of favourite books. In the second place, this fact at once warns us of a circumstance which we might have taken for granted: in the knapsacks of the overwhelming majority of the soldiers there are no books at all. It is the minority who read; and it is quite safe to assume that this thoughtful minority are not the minority who have disgraced German militarism. Thirdly—and it should hardly be necessary to make this observation—the