Anders Behring Breivik is not a Christian fundamentalist

Cross-post by Joseph W – Harry’s Place:

Anders Breivik was described by the chief of police in Oslo as someone with ‘Christian fundamentalist’ views, and since then, the label has stuck, and he has been widely described in the media as such.

However, Breivik is not a Christian fundamentalist.

Fundamentalism has to do with how you interpret your holy scripture and understand God.

Usually, it doesn’t mean “a really fervent Christian”, but it is a specific term to refer to a religious movement in the USA. But we can still see if Breivik matches up to the definition of a fundamentalist, as a fervent believer.

Breivik wrote this:

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.

So, nothing to do with theological beliefs or knowing God.

Being a Christian in a social sense is one thing – in the way that atheists can self-identify as “cultural Christians”. It is impossible for a cultural Christian to be a Christian fundamentalist.

There’s an obvious difference though, between Breivik’s concept of a cultural Christian, and most people’s. We are not talking about smells-and-bells church life, or singing Christmas carols. This guy thinks a “cultural Christian” is someone who fights the Muslims and the Marxists as a “Templar Knight”.

His Templar Knight ideology does not draw on any principles about belief in Christ, or any serious Christian theologian. He is not tapping into any stream of Christian thought, and is certainly a long way from Aquinas’ just war theory. His resolve is not to look into the theology or scriptures of Christianity, as a fundamentalist might.

Breivik seems to be the only person calling for a modern, “urban” Knights Templar, whose duty it is to kill Marxists and Muslims and die as a martyr. He justifies this by his own understanding of politics and society, but not by religious concepts. That is why we should caution against calling Breivik a “Christian fundamentalist”. It is inaccurate.

A Christian fundamentalist would not say this:

The cultural factors are more important than your personal relationship with God, Jesus or the holy spirit.

A fundamentalist would say the exact opposite.

These are hardly the words of a Christian fundamentalist either:

“I have reserved 2000 Euro from my operations budget which I intend to spend on a high quality model escort girl 1 week prior to execution of the mission. I will probably arrange that just before or after I attend my final martyrs mass in Frogner Church. It will contribute to ease my mind as I imagine I will get tense and very nervous. It is easier to face death if you know you are biologically, mentally and spiritually at ease.”

He also says this:

Religion is a crutch for many weak people and many embrace religion for self serving reasons as a source for drawing mental strength (to feed their weak emotional state f example during illness, death, poverty etc.). Since I am not a hypocrite, I’ll say directly that this is my agenda as well. However, I have not yet felt the need to ask God for strength, yet… 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.

So the first time he would have prayed to God, would have been during his killing spree. I really think you would struggle to find a genuine Christian, who would pray for the first time when committing murder.

Does this “Christian fundamentalist” even believe in God?

He continues:

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….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

So after all that, he is an agnostic. Nor does this seem to be a Christian wrestling with his doubts about God, or anything of the sort. I do not think that an agnostic of Breivik’s ilk can be aptly described as a Christian fundamentalist.

This is a point that even the leading new atheist thinker Sam Harris makes.

Breivik imagined that all Muslims should have to convert to Christianity by 2020, and change their name too. He said he was a Protestant, but he wanted the Protestant Church to merge with Rome. A Protestant fundamentalist would not say this!

His form of Christianity was only ever an identity marker, not a system of beliefs or a way to connect with God.

The other theory, if Breivik is not a Christian fundamentalist, is that he could be linked to the Christian Identity movement. The thing about Christian Identity, is that they believe they are descended from the 10 tribes of Israel.

So if Breivik held to Christian Identity beliefs, you would expect him to say something about how the Nordic tribe are the lost house of Israel, something like that. Nothing appears in his thinking, though, about Christian Identity politics.

You could make the argument, I suppose, that Breivik is a Christian because he said so on his Facebook status. But he is not a Christian fundamentalist.

UPDATE: For more on Breivik’s ‘Crusader Christianity’ and its similarities to BNP ideology, see this post.

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8 Responses to “Anders Behring Breivik is not a Christian fundamentalist”

  1. Ari Says:

    I think what is worse is that no one seems to want to drop the label. Having read a substantial part of his reflections/diary/q and a at the end of the book has made it overwhelmingly clear that my initial scepticism was entirely correct. Not much to do with Christianity in any religious sense and especially not fundamentalism. By this stage it is just bad journalism

  2. Webmaster Says:

    Possibly even worse than bad journalism, I think we’ve moved into the realm of agenda and propaganda

  3. The Minister for Public Enlightenment Says:

    In the video that accompanied Breivik’s manifesto there is a screen at 10:54min that includes the following definition of his Knights Templar:

    KT is a “Cultural Christian” (Christian Identity) military order and NOT a “Religious Christian” (Christian Fundamentalist) organisation. Logic and reason will always take precedence over biblical texts.

    The lettering is indistinct and therefore difficult to make out without using image enhancement but it does nail the propaganda lie that this guy is a Christian fundamentalist.

  4. Tim Says:

    I know what you mean with regards the realm of agenda and propaganda. I have seen and read so much blatant hypocrisy in the MSM it is difficult to know where to start. Biased BBC amongst many other bloggers helped a great deal in exposing this double-standard and dishonesty. Not sure how other people feel about Michael Coren but I watch a video of him the other day in which he made some very salient points – Michael Coren on Anders Behring Breivik

  5. webmaster Says:

    @The Minister for Public Enlightenment + @Tim

    Thanks for your input with this, very insightful….

  6. Goy Says:

    Some interesting background that may help in understanding the intriguing political fringes that are casting there evil shadows over christianity in the U.K.

    Statement
    Extreme Far-Right
    Norway: English mentor ‘Richard’
    No link to Breivik

  7. Simian Says:

    How much should we really worry about this label. Does anyone outside those who are deeply committed Christians really care? It’s surely just another lazy journalistic label, and it will most likely be consigned to the bin with the news items to which it is attached, when the next ‘big’ story comes along. I’m an atheist, but even I could see immediately that this guy was no sincere Christian. He uses the label purely to define his culture.
    It might help if someone in authority in one of the Churches spoke out to clarify this though. So far there seems to be silence. Or have I missed it?

  8. Goy Says:

    @Simian,

    “It might help if someone in authority in one of the Churches spoke out to clarify this though. So far there seems to be silence. Or have I missed it?”

    Is this Christian trying to speak out, would the church and other christians listen to such a man? These words in particular sent a huge chill up my spine.

    Another attack would enforce their dominance and capability, and scare the life out of all European governments, striking fear in to the heart of the EU and would change the political landscape. Other independent groups and inviduals would then be inspired to conduct their own operations creating a snowball effect which is exactly what Breivik wants, unless he is a lone wolf creating a story?”

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