Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is Norway's mass murderer a 'Christian terrorist'?

The first time I saw Anders Behring Breivik referred to as a "Christian terrorist," I had two reactions:

Reaction No. 1. "Wha-?! This nutjob may have called himself a Christian, but Jesus said love, not slaughter your neighbor."

And reaction No. 2: "Hmmm. Now maybe more Christians will understand how Muslims feel when they see the term 'Islamic terrorist' applied to every fanatic or psycho who claims to kill in the name of Allah. True Islam doesn't condone killing innocent people, either."

I see little difference between Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooting suspect, and Breivik, Norway's alleged mass murderer. In resorting to cold-blooded killing -- as both are accused of doing -- they distorted and slandered the religions they claimed to be serving.

So this reporter says call them alleged terrorists -- without the religious modifier. Then explain that they professed to be acting in the name of Christianity or Islam -- religions that actually stand for the opposite of injuring others.

The debate over whether or not to call Breivik a "Christian" terrorist or a Christian at all continues to rage in the media and on the Internet.

Religion News Service did a good article that put the issues in some historical and theological perspective.

"On Faith," a Washington Post site, offers various points of view on the question.

Fox's Bill O'Reilly (see video below) loudly objected to the media calling Breivik a Christian. But, disappointingly, he is just fine with continuing to call suicide bombers "Islamic terrorists."

And "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart had some fun pointing out the inconsistencies -- and incomplete reporting -- from O'Reilly and others at Fox.

What do you think? (Thoughtful, not hateful, responses, please.)

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Anonymous said...

If you want to know the difference it is this- Christian condemn these acts loudly and publicly. Muslims keep quite and say nothing. I fully know that not all Muslims are for violence, but a large majority will not speak up and say it is wrong, but a large majority of Christians will stand up and say it is wrong. Turn the tv on and you will hear many preachers say how wrong this was, now listen to the Muslims preachers- not many condemning the acts of terrorist and if they do it is politely.

Anonymous said...

Unlike Major Hasan, there is no evidence that he ever participated in any religious function, prayed or belonged to any church. He also didn't communicate/seek guidance from any religious figure (unlike major Hasan who ahd been emailing back and forth with Al-Alwaki)

Ray said...

I keep reading definitions of Christian that hark back to the origins of the faith. Unfortunately, there's 2000 years of separation and the history of Christianity, while it has it's positives, is filled with intolerance, murder and conversion at the end of a sword. I would like to see more self-proclaimed Christians in the U.S. walk closer to the path of Jesus than they have been. The problem, though, is that religion has become so deliberately political that I'm no longer sure it's possible to separate the two anymore... particularly with the more rabid versions (such as the New Apostolic Reformation and their antics).

discourser said...

Anonymous 4:08 PM, you prove the point of this article. There really is no difference and you are listening to and believing in the lies of the hate mongers.

Most prominent Muslims and Islamic organizations were just as horrified as the rest of the world over 9/11 and spoke quite loudly about it. You just weren't listening...

Want some proof?

(btw - this is a very old site. I have been referring people to it for years. Some of the links may no longer work.)

Anonymous said...

As long as we (Christians) refer to terrorists who kill in the name of Allah as "Islamic terrorists", then those who kill in the name of Christianity should be referred to as "Christian terrorists". Let's not be hypocritical here.

And in response to Anon 4:08, I completely disagree with you. I can't say this for certain, but I bet you don't have access to as many Muslim media outlets as you do Christian ones. This would likely explain the disparity between Christians and Muslims denouncing these terrorist acts. And if you get the majority of your news from Fox News, well, then, all bets are off.

Anon 4:10, who cares if he got guidance or not? What does that prove? So you have to seek guidance from a religious figure to be a Christian?

Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy, judgement, condemnation, and double standards...seems like everyone involved is acting Christian to me. Ray @4:18 (that's not a Bible verse) was right on point. People love to speak for Jesus but very few model his behavior anymore.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you want to be fair and objective, you can look at Breivik's own words. We know that his actions are most definitely un-Christian, but to see what his actual beliefs and motivations are, look at his own words: he is not a Christian (or even a theist) by his own pronouncements.

Good quotes and commentary here:

Anonymous said...

My father (and many persons I know) never owned a gun until he became evangelical. He also didn't go around classifying persons as Christian or non-Christian, with an implication that the Christian was automatically a better person, and he also didn't condemn non-Christians (especially Muslims), until he became evangelical.

Anonymous said...

So I guess the Muslim they arrested yesterday who was heading to Fort Hood to kill more soldiers just like the other Muslim did last year is not a Muslim Terrorist? Not that your paper will even bother to report on that "little" incident. Why bother it would only get in the way of your fantasy narrative.

Anonymous said...

If a Christian nut job blows up a building, he's a terrorist plan and simple. It's so Christian to be hypocritical. Christians have been murdering people for ages...

I just hope, we as a society, move to logic and reason some day.

Anonymous said...

This "guy" confessed that he is killing because of multi-culturalism in his country. That he has a grievance with Muslims.

There was no confession to killing because of a Christian belief. Yes he confessed to being a part of a Knights Templar group. One that is not governed by the Pope as the original Knights Templar.

Please get your facts straight before spreading rhetoric and lies. Christian or non-Christian. His actions are wrong. If he is against Muslims why did he kill randomly upon a non-specific religious group? Perhaps these are the types of questions we should be asking this menace.

Tvan said...

Unless I missed something, I have yet to read or hear where this nut job evoked God's name before going on the shooting spree nor have I seen where this person was practicing a religion of any kind. Yes, he had many rants against Islam, but unless he yelled out "In the name of Christ!" or something similar else like "Allahu Akbar", I think it is wrong to call this guy a Christian Terrorist. For the record, I don't have a problem calling a Muslim an "Islamic terrorist" when they evoke Allah's name before committing a terrorist act. Same for someone who is a practicing Jew, Budahist, Christian or Hindi. But calling someone a Christian terrorist only to "make it fair" is absurd.

Anonymous said...

The Christian label was applied by one policeman as his assessment - and spread through the media like wildfire. Islamic terrorists ARE motivated by Islam. This man - if you read his writings- does NOT claim to to be a Fundamentalist christian. He refers to the Christian heritage of Europe but plainly speaks of being motivated by philosophers who were hostile to Christianity. Christianity is the most hated religion on earth - the most persecuted. This is simply a reason being seized upon to attack it. Save your Muslim sympathies - I am not moved.

Anonymous said...

I could care less if they call this guy a Christian terrorist.
But guess what? The crusades and the like were a long time ago. We have evolved a lot since then.
Offhand I cannot think of one christian "minister" who promotes terrorist behavior. And yet, there are hundreds, thousands, of Islamic "ministers" who applaud terrorism and shout from their pulpits for "death to infidels." So, "Islamic" terrorists are responsible for around 99% of terrorism worldwide. I'd put "Christian" terrorists at less than 1%. You can feel anyway you like about are in the minority.

Anonymous said...

This is not the act of someone "serving" the Christian religion. The is a selfish act of a person who has a problem with the Muslim religion and Multi-culuralism in Norway. He said so himself (according to the media). There is nothing in his writings (manifesto) that says he is doing this for Christianity. Why do you fly by night bloggers and the media feel the need to make things out to be what they aren't?

Is Breivik a terrorist or is he a mass murderer? A terrorist would have targeted a group of people with a specific belief such as religion, sexual orientation or etc and attempted to terrorize this group. Breivik's manifesto displays the motive is there for a terrorist but his actions were more of mass murder. He didn't target a specific religious group when he killed people. He just killed people. Why? These are the types of questions we need answered.

Anonymous said...

Breivik is a Christian person but he did not commit these acts in the name of Christianity. His motivations were political, rather, and in response to what he perceives as multiculturalism's threat to European identity and culture. This is not to say religion had nothing to do with it - obviously it did. But it's clear his primary identity and allegiance is European. He's open for example to enlisting agnostics and atheists in his cause. He did not commit these acts because he thought his Christianity compelled it, or to promote Christianity.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately there is no lack of lunatics on planet earth

Sam Vimes said...

The problem lies in Tim Funk's opening premise. Since when did "Christian" become an adjective? That's in large measure one of the primary issues (and problems) here.

Why don't we at least attempt to use the term it was originally intended to be used for?

(Mr. Funk, you should know better here.)

Anonymous said...

For the record, Nidal Hasan, Usama Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, Ayman al-Zawahri and the list goes on are all killing in the name of Islam and killing a group of people (Americans) whether they are on American soil or somewhere else in the world. These are Islamic Terrorists plain and simple.

Name a Christian leader who is actively killing groups of people in the name of Christianity.

And then ask an American why they should be tolerant.

What group is represented every day in the news of killings and plotted bombings around the world? Is it Christian? Is it Buddhists? Is it Atheists? Is it Islamists?

I realize that not every person of the Islam religion (Muslims) are killing or even agree with it. But of the ones that are committing these acts they come from and commit the act in the name of Islam.

The Islamic leaders have a responsibility to teach the followers the true meaning of Islam and that is not killing but peace.

Anonymous said...

I just thought I would point out that "fundamentalist christian" and "ultra right wing conservative" are synonymous...

Anonymous said...

Not just a "christian terrorist" but a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist terrorist, of the worse kind...


Tim Funk said...

Hey, blogger Tim Funk with a few rebuttals:
-- Some of you have said that Breivik's agenda was more political than religious. Well, maybe, but some have said the same thing about Osama bin Laden, whose condemnations of Middle Eastern autocrats and U.S. foreign policy were always given prominence in his messages.
-- So there are 1 billion to 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. What percentage of them would you say commit terrorist acts? Tiny tiny tiny. And yet we should define a whole religion that's more than 1,000 years old based on the actions of some crazy murderous fanatics? Let me do a poll: How many Christians out there think it would be fair to define Christianity on the basis of the actions of abortion clinic bombers, the Ku Klux Klan (they burn crosses, right?) and that hateful church in Kansas that pickets fallen soldiers' funerals?
Finally, as a reporter, I can tell you that I do hear from Muslim groups that condemn terrorist attacks. And I put their comments in the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Breivik's manifesto plagerized much of lunitic ramblings from the radical environmentilist leftist Ted Kazczynski - the infamous unabomber. I have read very credible opinions that his entire manifesto destroys the lefts narrative regarding this issue. Meanwhile the "religion of peace" marches on committing murder and mayhem from Sudan, to Pakistan to here at home all in the name of Allah and the Koran.

Tim Funk said...

One last comment, er, question from me (blogger Tim Funk):
Why do people speak out boldly here -- and then identify themselves as "anonymous"? I don't get that. Why not own your opinion? And is "anonymous" one person or many?
I guess that's 3 questions.

Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding? To equate a lone bomber to the organized radical mass movement of radical muslims is insane. Like comparing petty theft of a snickers bar to armed robery at a bank. Get real - what sensationalist crap. The people I feel most empathy for are the many, many muslims who truly are trying to live a compassionate, welcoming life with the rest of the world, so their lives improve. These muslim terrorist groups have killed tens of thousands of fellow muslims because they aren't "pure" by the radicallized version of Islam. Please!

reader123abc said...

The reason I quit going to church a couple of years ago is because so many people now think that to be a Christian you also have to be conservative Republican . A Christian who mixes politics with Christian fundamentalism is just as dangerous as a Muslim who mixes politics with Islamic fundamentalism. I have not read enough about the Norwegein terrorist Anders Breivik to know specifics about his religious beliefs. I am making my comments based on a broader view of how religious fundamentalism in all its forms (no matter the religion) is extremely dangerous when mixed with politics.

BH said...

Funk has a long history of trying to undermine Christianity, as when he attempted to equate Mormonism with the Christian religion (The LDS is a cult loosely based on some Christian theology)and undermine the ministries of a local Evangelical church in the process. Now it's his ridiculous attempt to discern a "Christian terrorist" in this wacko Norwegian. These two terms do NOT belong in the same sentence-period

Anonymous said...

I posted anonymous because I'm not a regular blogger. But religion is just so...well look at reality.

That and the religious fundamentalist might track me down and hang me from a tree.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Breivik is a "Christian" terrorist simply because I do not believe he is a Christian by his own words.

From his "Declaration:

2.83 The Church - Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

"Although not a religious person myself, I am usually in favor of a revitalisation of Christianity in Europe" However, I sometimes have my doubts when I see how many, too many, church leaders consistently end up on the wrong side of issues related to Islam and Muslim immigration."

So he is a non-Christian who supports Christianity as a tool against Islam.

Probably NOT what most people would think of as a "Christian" terrorist.

As for posting as "anonymous"...

I've received death threats for opposing religious candidates for public office in letters to the editor to local newspapers.

I don't need THAT kind of terrorism in my life.

John said...

Last I heard, we don't have major Christian leaders calling for a "holy war" against muslims... and we don't have schools to teach young Christian kids to hate and visit violence on anyone who isn't Christian. We don't make death threats against cartoonists who make fun of Jesus (really, who has the time to keep up?).

The comparison would be laughable if so many of the ill-informed and prejudiced didn't take it seriously.

Mark B said...

I understand that you may be hesitant to defend your alleged Christian faith Mr. Funk, but there is no comparison between this bomber and Christians. In his manifesto he writes:

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian (p. 1307).

He is clearly not an evangelical Christian, and even expresses his distaste for them. This isn't an argument within the Christian community about whether this guy is right or not. The Christian community is overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, against this nonsense. You don't get that in the Muslim community. It is stated that 10% of Muslims are Wahabbi (radical) Muslims. This implies that 100 million Muslims support the violence carried out by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terror groups. And these groups have the other 90% of Muslims mostly keeping quiet. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Christians (Conservative Evangelical in particular) are always vocal against acts conducted in the name of Christ.

SSGPat said...

Tim, I agree with you that this nut job is a Extremist Christian Terrorist. There are many more out there, like the people that are trying to kill Casey Anthony.

Thanks for your refreshing opinion.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that last quote from the "Declaration" in my prior note is from an article by Fjordman, who Breivik admires.

Breivik has several other articles describing views from non-believers, but I am not certain that he has come out and said that he was or not.

Anonymous said...

Well, then again, we have from page 1330:

"Each Christian must now make their own personal decision on all of this. You
can either choose to learn how to rise up in the power of your Lord and Saviour
and learn how to become a true warrior in the Lord, or you can continue to keep
your head in the sand and oppressor after oppressor keep beating you down.
The choice is yours."

Perhaps he is still "using" Christianity, but there sure are a lot of Bible verses supporting battle in that section...

Anonymous said...

Page 1341:

3.151 There are no atheists in foxholes – preparing for martyrdom

European Christendom isn’t just about having a personal relationship with Jesus or God.
It is so much more. Christendom is identity, moral, laws and codexes which has produced
the greatest civilisation the world has ever witnessed. People better than the
contemporary atheists have attempted to abolish Christendom and failed.

Anonymous said...

Page 1344

But I’m pretty sure I will pray to God as I’m
rushing through my city, guns blazing, with 100 armed system protectors pursuing me
with the intention to stop and/or kill. I know there is a 80%+ chance I am going to die
during the operation as I have no intention to surrender to them until I have completed
all three primary objectives AND the bonus mission. When I initiate (providing I haven’t
been apprehended before then), there is a 70% chance that I will complete the first
objective, 40% for the second , 20% for the third and less than 5% chance that I will be
able to complete the bonus mission. It is likely that I will pray to God for strength at one
point during that operation, as I think most people in that situation would.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Einstein. Were all enlightened now.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the New Apostolic Reformation, this link might give you a sense for the intolerance directed towards people of other faiths:

Anonymous said...

This is the same Jesus that condemned entire cities to hell for not liking his preaching (Matt 11)? Or threatening to destroy cities with a fate worse than Sodom and Gomorrah for not listening to the preaching of Jesus and his followers? You mean that guy, right?

There's plenty of other examples out there.

I think you need to face the facts that this guy was a Christian, not evangelical, and committed a horrific crime to return his country to its roots (sounds like rhetoric we hear all the time in the country). By definition used today, he would be considered a Christian terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Reading what he actually wrote, it seems that he used the Bible and Christianity as a tool to psyche himself up for battle.

Like an Amway salesman on steroids...

RobNClt said...

Wrong, we do not understand how Muslims fill when thousands and thousands of terrorist and jihadist kill innocent people.

That murder did not appear to be a Christian to me, he didn't scream "God is great" when he killed innocent people.

As for Muslims, they are one group that their Quran says should kill infidels and they actually do it.

There is no one who can with any sense of reality say the Bible says we should go out and force people to become Christians or die.

You do err thinking we think like you.

RobNClt said...

The man said he did not have a personal relationship with God. That means he is not a Christian but thought he believed in the culture, apparently he didn't believe in it or he would not have done what he did. Enough said!

Christianity is in no way like Islam and everyone born with a brain knows that.

Folks, keep moving, there is nothing to see here, that article is a waste of time and space.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that Murders another person is not Godly be they Christian, Muslim or Jewish. Anyone that does not believe in any God and Murders someone, still knows in their soul (as Godly people should) that they are wrong. Anyone that uses Religion to divide us, is UnAmerican and UnGodlike.

Anonymous said...

The best labels for Breivik is Norwegian nationalist and terrorist. As a nationalist, he wants Norway to retain its traditional culture and racial, ethnic and religious homogeneity. As a terrorist, of course, he resorted to extreme violence to make his point. Not every nationalist is a terrorist. For instance, in the U.S., Pat Buchanan (STATE OF EMERGENCY: THE THIRD WORLD INVASION AND CONQUEST OF AMERICA) is a nationalist but not a terrorist. He wants to maintain America's traditional culture and way of life.

A clear example of a Christian terrorist is anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, who is currently serving life in prison for murdering Dr. George Tiller. He is a Christian terrorist because his Christian beliefs were a principle motivator for his act of terror.

Anonymous said...

While, as far as we know, he was not shouting "Jesus is Great" while killing, he certainly said he would most likely be praying to God for help in his mission and had a long list of Bible quotes supporting "battle" for inspiration.

He even suggested getting "right" with God before going into battle since you are likely to not live through it.

He certainly seemed to have some "faith" based on the Bible that with the proper preparation he would be accepted into heaven as a martyr.

Maybe he is doing exactly what "Islamic terrorists" do when they decide to become martyrs.

Or what "Prosperity Christians" do when they say God wants them to be rich (though that seems a bit odd to many).

And while people may argue that "battle" is not a primary plank of Christianity, I don't see that "prosperity" is either, yet such verses inspire a whole subset Christians who practice "prosperity theology".

Maybe he is simply practicing a new/old subset of Christianity:

"Battle Theology".

Anonymous said...

What planet do you live on?

Is it christians bombing and killing all over the world including US ships military bases planes and wanting to poison your food and water supply etc?

Is it christians causing all the delays at world airports for extensive searches etc?

Is it christians who hack off their victims heads with machetes or dull knifes in primitive barbaric savagery and film the screaming celebration ?

Muslims have also pretty much eradicated homosexuals and lesbians in their Quran instructed society with beheadings not to mention hacking off hands feet arms of thieves or castration for sexual deviants.

Since 1973 Roe vs Wade there have been 75 million aborted fetuss some as late as 8 months.
Is it murder for doctors like George Tiller to use prongs and knives to kill the fetuss in the womb pulling them apart to extract them. Tillers fav was salt to burn them to death and then cut them them out.

To each his own but who would you trust to babysit your kids, muslims or christians?

Ray said...

Anon @8:23: You are conveniently leaving out the two thousand years of terrorism perpetrated on Europeans and North Africans (just to start) at the hands of 'well-meaning' Christians priests and churches. Jesus' message became lost when a church was established in his name, because it became more about political and economic power than spiritual direction.

The REAL problem is monotheism: once you start indoctrinating spiritual seekers by telling them that there is only *one* way to god, you set up the dynamic that your religion is the one true religion and all others must perish. Judaism did this (it's recorded in the Old Testament, if you ever care to actually read it), Christianity did it and continues to do it, and Islam does it. And the sane parts of the world are held hostage to the struggles between each of these worthless religions.

Anonymous said...

Christian terrorism is worse than Islamic terrorism. We just don't see it from our perspective. Our "In God We Trust" nation launches so-called pre-emptive strikes/wars for our manufactured Christian (economic) beliefs. It's so very subtle at times. Our corporations rape a country and people; they fight back; we bomb them. We support tyrants as long as they are economically favorable. It's all woven in with Billy Graham-like Christian ideologies. Love thy neighbor - as long as he's not gay.... or supports abortion.... or is an illegal alien..... or, or, or......

EyeOnWales said...

This was not a Christian, and no major faith had any sway over this man's actions. Nor would a world in which faith did not exist have resulted in any less horrors, it is humanity that is diseased, not the faiths some follow.

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