Anders Breivik Is Not A Christian Fundamentalist (And Needs A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ)

The glaring void of journalistic integrity in the media has manifested itself again.

Within hours of hearing the tragic news out of Norway, a diversion was quickly created to make the deranged attacks less about the dozens of young victims and more about an ideological war.

While some would point to the knee jerk Islamic terrorist reporting of many commentators, they are forgetting one important tidbit: Al Qaeda initially claimed full responsibility for the attacks although it was soon found out they were in no way involved. As they should have, most of the media denounced their own poor reporting skills which led them to jump the gun and convict the wrong perpetrators.

But in haste, the journalistic pendulum was swung the other way in order to pen the blame on the perceived greatest enemy of Western secularism: Conservative Christianity. Strangely enough, there were exactly zero fundamentalist conservative Christian groups applauding the awful massacre in Norway after it happened. You also will never find a militant Tea Party group in Idaho trying to claim the carnage of a suicide bombing in Pakistan. The media moral equivocation of Tea Parties and Islamic terrorism is laughable.

The Perfect Face of Terrorism

But in Anders Breivik, a softball was gently lobbed up to the medias liking, and in their hasty swinging true motives were laid bare.

A pasty white blue-eyed blonde haired Christian fundamentalist is just what they ordered. Just in time to discount the Tea Parties and Sarah Palin as similar extremist ilk. This act inexorably proves contemporary radical Islam is not alone in its propensity for horrific violence on a mass scale.

Right?

Right?!

Well, not quite.

After perusing Breivik’s shocking 1500 page manifesto Ben Stevens of the Huffington Post points this out:

Breivik asserts that a majority of the atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians. This comes as a surprise to us all, I suppose. The key to understanding his manifesto, his mania and the confusion currently dominating news headlines lies in the reality that by “Christian” he almost always means “European.” In the massive introduction to his manifesto, for example, there is not a single quotation from Scripture, mention of the creeds, allusion to the Church or reference to Jesus Christ himself. And we learn, through the video he posted, that his heroes are not religious figures like Paul or Martin Luther but political figures like Charles Martel and Nicholas I.

Anders Breivik is a cultural fundamentalist. He is a European fundamentalist. But he disowns orthodox Christianity, and this makes it all the more ironic, and disgusting, that he saw himself as a kind of representative against threats to “Christendom.”

The Face of Christ-less Fundamentalism

Breivik is not a Christian fundamentalist. In fact, it should be crystal clear he doesn’t believe in any of the basic “fundamentals” of Christianity. He may be a cultural Christian sympathizer but he is by no means a born again blood bought believer. He may love the societal effects of Christendom on a nation, but he shuns a living personal relationship with Christianity’s founder.

Breivik admits this:

So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians? 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.

Breivik uses religion as a convenient tool to build his case for ethnocentrism and twisted patriotism. He is a lone deranged crusader, and is not tied to any church or group of greater consequence.

He never once intimates biblical Christianity; where humble service, self sacrificial love, and committing swift violence against one’s own sins are the order of the day.

Surely, many atrocities have been committed by those with a Christian veneer; even more surely, Christ has the purchased forgiveness of all sins and atrocities through the cross, where the Father’s just wrath was poured out for twisted misguided sinners. Even those who have no business claiming His name.

Mr. Anders Breivik: Repent and believe the biblical gospel. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is your only hope in this world.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

5 thoughts on “Anders Breivik Is Not A Christian Fundamentalist (And Needs A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ)”

  1. Very thoughtful deduction Mr. Daniels. I believe many “cultural Christians” can make the same mistake about certain followers of Islam and Judaism. (i.e. Nazi Germany and the Neo-Nazi movement in Europe). There are some “conservatives” who run around in the woods with guns and conduct para-military training in anticipation for a race war. Just because they have yet to bomb anything doesn’t mean they aren’t extremists. This is where I believe the terms “fundamentalist” and “extremist” get confused. Timothy McVeigh was a “cultural Christian extremist” so was Scott Roeder, the man who shot abortion doctor George Tiller. I think many Christians who have their faith wrapped up in a flag and believe their faith to be “patriotic” can fall prey to some very twisted beliefs. Of course, the misguided belief that Jesus came to start a revolutionary political uprising is as old as Christianity itself. The disciples themselves were headed that direction in their thinking until Jesus pulled the biggest “out of left field” move in all of history and died on a cross.

    1. Thanks for the comments Claunch!

      I’d agree with your sentiment. The merging of nationalism with any religion has its major pitfalls (the merging of nationalism and atheism certainly does too!) Fundamentalism, at least historically in Christianity, has only recently become a negative connotation. Back in the day it only meant one held to the Fundamentals of the faith (inerrancy of Scripture, Faith in Christ alone). Now it means something more subversive. That is where the line get’s blurred; in a historical sense I’m a fundamentalist (as far holding to the fundamentals) in a contemporary sense I’m not.

      Mere religion, as far as dead rituals go, is the problem no matter whether it looks Islamic or Christian. That is why Christians truly gripped by grace need to be diligent to always make the conversation about such things Christ-centered, not politically or culturally driven.

  2. This is kind of lengthy, but this is my take on the Breivik case.

    Something rotten in Norway: The Breivik tragedy

    The events in Norway two weekends ago came, literally, like a blast. When the news of the bombings in Oslo first broke, a large number of people immediately concluded that it was the work of Islamic terrorists (I, pardon the pun, remained agnostic on the issue). Several hours afterwards, it was revealed that the author of the explosions and of a subsequent shooting spree on an island outside the city was a very Aryan-looking young Norwegian man named Anders Behring Breivik who was in fact vehemently opposed to Muslim immigration to his country. He had previously written a 1,500-page manifesto detailing his political philosophy. He is now in custody awaiting psychiatric evaluation.

    As soon as the culprit’s identity was disclosed, reaction was quick to follow. Many Muslims understandably took offence at being blamed for a crime of which they had no part and which was committed, to add insult to injury, by an individual with profoundly anti-Islamic sentiments. Other commentators, Muslim and non-Muslim, cited the event and the immediate response to it as an example of the widespread Islamophobia in Western societies like Norway. Finally, following reports describing Breivik as a ‘conservative Christian,’ some left-wing observers used the tragedy to expound on the alleged evils of the right wing, Christianity, and religion in general. But as with other calamities of this nature, the truth lies somewhere in between the extremes presented on all sides.

    As mentioned above, it is not hard to sympathize with Muslims who felt that they were once again unfairly smeared for an atrocity in which they apparently played no role. I say ‘once again’ because Muslims were originally (and wrongly) suspected in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building – which turned out to be masterminded by homegrown American ‘patriot’ Timothy McVeigh. Some commentators have even attempted to link Muslims, or the Islamic faith, to mass murderers/serial killers whose connection to Islam was tenuous at best and non-existent at worst. For example, some anti-Islamic websites have made much of the fact that Marc Lepine, a lone gunman who in 1989 killed 14 women at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique because he ‘hated feminists,’ was the son of an Algerian-born Muslim father. However, Lepine (whose name at birth was Gamil Gharbi) was actually baptized a Roman Catholic by his French-Canadian mother and eventually became an atheist. Even more absurdly, it was suggested that Rolando del Rosario Mendoza, a Filipino former police officer who took passengers of a tour bus in Manila hostage in August 2010 and killed eight of them, was a Muslim. (While the Philippines do have a Muslim population in the south of the country, it seems somewhat far-fetched that a person with a middle name that literally means ‘of the rosary’ would be one of them.)

    On the other hand, should all those who initially thought that the bombings in Oslo were the actions of Muslim extremists be tarred as Islamophobic? The fact that Muslim groups were behind 9/11 in New York City and the later bombings in Madrid and London might have led some reasonable and not necessarily ‘Islamophobic’ people to this conclusion. In addition, an Islamic group linked to Al-Qaeda called ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ originally claimed responsibility for the explosions in Oslo, although they later retracted the statement. The notion that Muslims might have been involved in the attacks was, at least in the beginning, a plausible hypothesis.

    Also somewhat dubious was the attempt to portray Anders Behring Breivik as a ‘Christian terrorist.’ Although like most Norwegians, he was most likely exposed to the Lutheran Church, in his manifesto he denied having a ‘personal relationship with God or Jesus Christ.’ He appeared to see Christianity as a cultural rather than religious phenomenon. In his own words, ‘I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a multicultural Christian Europe.’ In this respect he resembles the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, a self-confessed atheist who nonetheless viewed Christianity as a bulwark against the encroachment of Islam in Europe.

    Still, some people have tried to depict Breivik as an example of right-wing Christianity gone wild. OMNI TV commentator Zuhair Kashmeri, for instance, calls Breivik a ‘right-wing Christian nutbar.’ While Kashmeri’s statement might be forgivable given that initial reports described the culprit as a conservative Christian, Kashmeri weakens his case by later referring to Timothy McVeigh as a ‘fundamentalist crackpot.’ A crackpot McVeigh may have been; however, he was by no means a Christian fundamentalist but a Catholic-turned-agnostic – a similar trajectory to that of Marc Lepine. I strongly suspect that Kashmeri, author of a book titled The Gulf Within: Canadian Arabs, Racism & The Gulf War about the experience of Arabs/Muslims in Canada, is desperately seeking proof that yes, Christians can be terrorists too. Kashmeri further sinks his own ship by seemingly acting as an apologist for Muslim terrorists. In one commentary, he says that Canada can expect to see more terrorist plots like that of the Toronto 18 if the country continues to wreak destruction on Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq – even though Canada did not join the war in the latter nation.

    To be fair, Kashmeri has in the past criticized Islamic fundamentalism in places like Pakistan. His seeming acquiescence to Muslim extremism, though, doesn’t help his cause of defending the Muslim population – especially that in Canada and other Western nations – in general. On the other hand, fervent anti-Islamists like those who claim that everybody from Marc Lepine to Rolando del Rosario Mendoza to even Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui were Muslims might diminish the credibility of people who raise legitimate concerns about the way Islam is currently practised. These include concerns, for instance, that there is a fanatical element within Islam today which is more prominent than that in other major belief systems, including Christianity. (This of course does not mean that all or even most Muslims are fanatics but that probably a higher percentage of Muslims than members of other religions are.) If any good comes out of the Breivik tragedy, perhaps reaching a balance between these extremes and discussing the event logically may be among them.

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