In Third Reich, Michael Burleigh echoes the great anti-Nazi philosopher Eric Voegelin who said that the redemptionist political projects on the right and the left imitate religion in their superficial manifestations but they lack the depth of religion and they also lack transcendence. They are very much “of this world.”
The lack of the transcendent aspect is what makes these religion-like political movements so virulent. They don’t address their hopes for redemption to God. For them, there is no God. The only hope of redemption can come from people. If redemption isn’t coming, if the kingdom of heaven isn’t happening on Earth fast enough, this can only mean that people are very imperfect. But once again, there is no God to punish the sinners. So the righteous human beings are completely justified in eliminating the unrighteous human beings. The result is the opposite of “love thy neighbor” and “forgive their trespasses.” The neighbor is eternally suspect because if the kingdom of heaven on Earth isn’t happening, it can only be that bastard’s fault.