Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attacks in Norway

As we’ve seen in the U.S. with Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City) and The Unabomber, not all terrorist attacks come from Islamic fanatics. Some come from homegrown non-Islamic terrorists. Such is the case with Anders Breivik of Norway, who perpetrated the horror of a bombing is Oslo and the killing of children at a camp on a nearby island.

Just as Muslim terrorists use Islam as an excuse to do terrible things against that religion’s teachings, so Breivik used the preservation of Christianity in Europe as an excuse for killing innocent people, an act that is against the teachings of Jesus Christ. Just as we can’t blame Islam for those who abuse it, we can’t blame Christianity for those who do (and have done) terrible things in its name. Just as we can’t generalize and say “All Muslims are terrorists” or “All Muslims hate us,” we also can’t say that all conservative Christians are dangerous.

Without having all the facts, the media started claiming that Breivik is a “fundamentalist Christian.” Despite media accounts to the contrary, Breivik is not a “fundamentalist” Christian. By his own admission in his manifesto, Breivik is a “cultural Christian”. A “cultural Christian” is a person who was brought up in an environment which has the Judeo-Christian ethic as its moral, ethical, and cultural base (such as in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America). Cultural Christians, as opposed to practicing Christians, aren’t religious and consider themselves to be Christian in name only. They don’t go to church, send their kids to Sunday school, and don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ or believe he died for our sins.

Western Europe, which is in the post-Christian era, is culturally Christian but not religiously Christian. Because of the influx of Muslim immigrants into Europe, thing are changing. Muslims are looking to implement Sharia law in their communities, for example, and are becoming a powerful minority in many Western European communities. Hence Breivik’s manifesto and killing spree to protest the islamization of Europe. He laments the decline of Christian culture in Europe, but not the Christian religion, because he is a nationalist, not a Christian.

Although Breivik isn’t a Christian in the religious sense, we must always keep in mind that when it comes to acts of terrorism, religion isn’t the problem. The way religion is interpreted or practiced is the problem. Jesus taught peace and harmony. The Christian religion was spread by peaceful missionaries, not by military conquest. When Peter drew a sword to fight off those who had come to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, NIV)

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