When Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed 68 people at a Labour Party summer youth camp on Norway's Utoeya island and killed another eight in a bombing in Oslo on July 22, the media immediately began bellowing that a right-wing Christian fundamentalist had just committed the most deadly attack in Norway since WWII. The slaughter of dozens of children under any banner is not simply tragic, but abhorrent. Media outlets spoke too quickly when they asserted that Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, however. Regardless of what Breivik's Facebook page might have claimed, his actions and words demonstrate no relationship with fundamental Christianity, "right-wing" or otherwise. He in fact supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.
As we consider the Norway shooting, we first and foremost must pray for the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones. We especially grieve for the families of the teenagers - unarmed kids – whom Breivik murdered in the name of freeing Europe. This man did not come upon armed enemies. He came to an island filled with children, dressed as a police officer to gain their trust. He called them to himself and then began to shoot them down at close range, following them to where they hid in tents and where they fled to the lake to escape. The grief felt in Norway right now is unimaginable, and our hearts and prayers go out to all the living victims of the rampage.
It is a horrific shame that the news outlets immediately began proclaiming that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norway Shooter, is a Christian fundamentalist. Breivik has willingly admitted that he has no personal relationship with God or Jesus, and his actions have nothing to do with what Jesus Christ taught.
What Breivik Believes:
On Friday, Breivik released a pdf file describing his beliefs and motivations for his attacks. His major complaint is against the Muslim invasion of Europe, along with the Marxists and multiculturalists he believes are letting it happen.
Breivik's stated goal was to, "cause maximum amount of damage to the Labour Party to stop its recruitment" and to stop "a deconstruction of Norwegian culture and mass-import of Muslims."
Breivik is not pro-Christianity. He is simply anti-Muslim. He possesses a desire to preserve the historical Christian culture of Europe, as though he were preserving apple pie and baseball in America or wieners and schnitzel in Germany. In fact, while the papers declared Breivik to be a Christian fundamentalist, he specifically placed himself against a government based on Christian fundamentalism.
He writes. "It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a 'Christian fundamentalist theocracy' (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want)."
Breivik's version of Europe's Christian culture has nothing to do with faith in God at all. It's all about the non-Islamic cultural legacy of Europe. He says:
"So no, you don't need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage. It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy (Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter)). The PCCTS, Knights Templar is therefore not a religious organisation but rather a Christian 'culturalist' military order."
While seeking to preserve Europe's cultural heritage, Breivik envisions a perfect Europe coming about through 'Logic.' He states, "'Logic' and rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism) should be the fundament of our societies."
Ah. Rationalist thought. That's just it.
Breivik did not kill those kids because of any verse in the Bible or because he believed God told him to. He's a believer in the human mind. He killed those teenagers and set off a car bomb in Oslo because, according to his rationale, it was the first step in achieving his purposes. He used his perfectly decent, albeit twisted, reasoning ability to justify the slaughter of dozens of unarmed human beings.
Many will argue that Breivik is insane, but Breivik's writings are not the ravings of a lunatic. His writings are lucid and practical. He has simply taken the human ability to make logical choices and has removed from his equations all morality and the value of individual human life. Breivik, like the Nazis or Communists or any other group that justifies mass murder, demonstrates where human logic can lead in the absence of moral absolutes.
Islamic fundamentalists have been repeatedly guilty of using violence in their efforts to bring humanity into submission to Allah, and there is a general world assumption that religious fundamentalism always eventually leads to violence in God's name.
True Christian fundamentalism, however, would never lead to the shooting of teenagers. It couldn't, because true Christian fundamentalism bases itself on the teachings and person of Jesus Christ. The real problems we Christians sometimes cause do not come from obeying Jesus, but from not obeying Jesus. Joshua took over the Promised Land, and David killed Goliath, but Jesus Christ never told his disciples to go out and commit violence in his name.
"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise," (Luke 6:27-31).
That's what Jesus taught.
Jesus told his followers he would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13), and the Holy Spirit truly sets those who love Jesus apart from the members of all of the world's religions. The Spirit of God does not promote evil and destruction. As Paul the apostle told the Galatians, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law," (Galatians 5:22-23).
The problem we Christians have is not that we are too filled with the Holy Spirit or too in love with God. If we were, we would obey God. We would be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, full of the wisdom and love of Christ. We Christians cause problems not when we stick to the fundamentals, but when we are not fundamentalist enough.
Norway shooter Anders Behring Breivik is definitely not a fundamentalist Christian, and his justifications for murdering 76 people on Friday should give pause to any who think that human rational thought will ultimately lead to utopia.