My prayers go out to the people of Norway and all of those affected by the vicious murders of Anders Breivik. My intention is not to make less of what happened in Norway, but to explain that his murderous actions were not of the teachings of Christianity.
I expect to see reactions from other conservative Christians denouncing Breivik’s actions while offering prayer and empathy for those suffering grief and loss from his terrible act. It is a good time to remember Jesus’ words.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30 ESV)
The following commentary and quotes briefly look at some of Breivik’s positions in his own words against the charge that he was a Christian; much less a fundamentalist Christian. Also, keep in mind that those who have claimed Breivik as being a fundamentalist Christian seem to be using the term as an undefined rhetorical talking point against conservative Christianity.
Breivik’s main concern seems to be the spread of Islam. His hatred for Islam can be noted throughout his manifesto. He also did not like the unwillingness of people to assimilate in a multicultural society though he did not limit his desire for assimilation to one religion.
Q: Do you oppose all aspects of multiculturalism?
A: No, I don’t. I support the continued consolidation of non-Muslim Europe and an unconditional support to all Christian countries and societies (Israel included), in addition to continuing our good relationships with all Hindu and Buddhist countries.1
This answer would be in opposition to a fundamentalist Christian who, in a worst case scenario such as Breivik’s, would most likely not pursue the inclusion of other religions. In Autumn of 2009, he and his friends went to Budapest for five days of hard partying to celebrate a friends birthday. About these five days he writes the following.
“I don’t think I’ve consumed this much alcohol for many years, totally awesome.” 2
This admission is hardly one of a Christian fundamentalist. In several places in the manifesto he mentions Christianity. He gives a biography toward the end of the manifesto stating the following under ‘religion’ and ‘religious’.
Religion: Christian, Protestant but I support a reformation of Protestantism leading to it being absorbed by Catholisism. The typical “Protestant Labour Church” has to be deconstructed as its creation was an attempt to abolish the Church
Religious: I went from moderately to agnostic to moderately religious 3
One of the most direct comments against fundamentalist Christianity including some common Christian language to American Christians is found in the following quote by Breivik.
It is not required that you have a personal relationship with God or Jesus in order to fight for our Christian cultural heritage and the European way. In many ways, our modern societies and European secularism is a result of European Christendom and the enlightenment. 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). (emphasis in original)
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)).4
Note the language of having a “personal relationship” with Jesus which is the same language often used in conservative Christianity. Breivik denies the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus which, again, is in direct opposition to fundamentalist Christianity.
If Breivik was any kind of Christian he was a cultural, pragmatist Christians which is no Christian at all. He admits as much.
I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person as that would be a lie. I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment.5
After agreeing that religion is a crutch he even admits that he will probably pray due to pragmatic reasons.
If praying will act as an additional mental boost/soothing it is the pragmatical thing to do. I guess I will find out… If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past.6
What is fascinating about the above quote is the mention of being a martyr which he mentions more than once. The very religion he strongly opposes, Islam, is probably the best known religion today as one that promotes acts of martyrdom. Below is one more quote on Breivik’s pragmatism.
Q: Why did you choose an allegiance to a group with Christian values and pan-European goals instead of a purely national/regional group?
A: Many have asked this question. My choice has nothing to do with the fact that I am not proud of my own traditions and heritage. My choice was based purely pragmatism.
All Europeans are in this boat together so we must choose a more moderate platform that can appeal to a great number of Europeans – preferably up to 50% (realistically up to 35%). Choosing a local/national group would be counterproductive as all the groups I am familiar with are Odinist orientated and not Christian identity groups. It is essential that we choose a banner that has the potential to appeal towards central and southern Europeans as well. I understand that many nationalists oppose Christianity and do not wish to fight under the banner of a cross.7
Based on Breivik’s stated positions he is not a Christian. He admittedly attempted to borrow from the Christian worldview for his self-serving agenda. Finally, the lengthy quote below offers further insight into Breivik’s position on religion where he claims to be 100% Christian in spite of his own words provided above and his position stated below that science should take prominence over biblical teachings.
Q: Are you a religious man, and should science take priority over the teachings of the Bible?
A: My parents, being rather secular wanted to give me the choice in regards to religion. At the age of 15 I chose to be baptised and confirmed in the Norwegian State Church. I consider myself to be 100% Christian. However, I strongly object to the current suicidal path of the Catholic Church but especially the Protestant Church. I support a Church that believes in self defence and who are willing to fight for its principles and values, at least resist the efforts put forth to exterminate it gradually. The Catholic and Protestant Church are both cheering their own annihilation considering the fact that they embrace the ongoing inter-faith dialogue and the appeasement of Islam. The current Church elite has shown its suicidal face, as vividly demonstrated last year by the archbishop of Canterbury’s speech contemplating the legitimacy of Shariah in parts of Britain.
I trust that the future leadership of a European cultural conservative hegemony in Europe will ensure that the current Church leadership are replaced and the systems somewhat reformed. We must have a Church leadership who supports a future Crusade with the intention of liberating the Balkans, Anatolia and creating three Christian states in the Middle East. Efforts should be made to facilitate the de-construction of the Protestant Church whose members should convert back to Catholicism. The Protestant Church had an important role once but its original goals have been accomplished and have contributed to reform the Catholic Church as well. Europe should have a united Church lead by a just and non-suicidal Pope who is willing to fight for the security of his subjects, especially in regards to Islamic atrocities.
I fully support that the Church gains more or less monopoly on religion in Europe (government policies, school curriculum etc at least) in addition to granting the Church several concessions which have been taken from them the last decades.
As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings. Europe has always been the cradle of science and it must always continue to be that way. Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe.8
Whatever Breivik was he was not a Christian, but a very disturbed individual.