The question of what Hitler was really trying to do has long fascinated political scientist Carlos Rizowy, and he propounds his controversial insights during his frequent public-speaking appearances, largely before Jewish groups.

“As a Jew, I see the world as a fragmented thing, a collection of many pieces. “And it is my responsibility as a human being to thread the pieces together, to form a mosaic–without eliminating any of the pieces, without destroying anyone’s identity.” Christianity, he says, takes a more “homogeneous” view of the world, and its practitioners have attempted to impose their view of salvation on all humankind–by conversion if possible, but if not, by force or annihilation. If that sounds harsh, Rizowy falls back on history: Constantine’s “conversion” of the barbarian hordes, the Crusaders’ “holy wars” against the infidel, the Inquisition, and the regular pogroms and persecutions of the Jews, who refused to accept the one true message. Undeniably, the much-discussed doctrine that there is no salvation outside the church (held as a lateral truth for many centuries by Christians) is the source of much of Christianity’s historic missionary zeal as well as misguided fanaticism.

Unlike some critics of Christianity, Rizowy does not place the heart of the problem in the message of Jesus. On the contrary, he believes Christianity, correctly understood, teaches an exemplary standard of morality. But, he says, that message has been twisted and stomped on and turned to violent ends repeatedly by absolutists and homogenizers. Hitler was only one in a long line. “Look,” he says, trying to make his argument clearer. “I am a jigsaw-puzzle freak–the big ones with 1,000 pieces or more. I love the corner pieces, because you know where they belong. The middle pieces, especially those without special markings, create the problem. I’m always in fear that one piece may be missing or there will be a double. But I cannot throw away what doesn’t seem to fit. I must respect all the pieces as they are. The homogenizer will make them fit–by twisting or cutting or stomping on the pieces, so they they look the way he wants them to look,” That, says Rizowy, is a good way to destroy a puzzle, and it’s the way purveyors of absolute truth and totalitarianism trample on human rights.

Hitler’s assault on the Jews, Rizowy contends, proceeded from a perverted determination to establish a pagan ethic based on racial superiority. “Hitler really wanted to eliminate Christianity,” he says. “But in order to eliminate Christianity, he had to first eliminate the mother of Christianity–that is, Judaism. Christianity gave to Western civilization a standard of morality built on the Jewish standard of morality that Western civilization cannot live by. It’s too hard and demanding. Hitler wanted to revert back to pagan theories of power and homogenization. The Christian world misunderstood that and remained silent. Christians did not understand what was going on because they had been taught for many generations that the Jews may not be good and maybe they should be hated–because they killed Jesus. I believe Christians who thought the Jews should be killed may not have been true Christians. In reality, they may have hated Jews not because they allegedly killed Jesus but because they gave birth to Jesus.”