Thursday, July 28, 2011


Over the past weekend I struggled with deep sadness brought on by the massacre of innocent people in Norway. The depth of the depravity of this act was hard to fathom. You may have noticed that in the immediate aftermath there were media reports that Muslim extremists were the perpetrators. As it turned out a blonde, blue-eyed Norwegian who claims to be a form of Christian of his own making was the sole murderer. In his 1500 page manifesto this is what he says:

A majority of so called agnostics and atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians without even knowing it. 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. This makes us Christian.

This is a grim reminder that extremist religious views of any stripe are vile and rarely reflect even a semblance of the values at the core of the belief system. Religion is coopted as an excuse for racism and hatred, as was the case in Norway.

It is a brutal irony that in this peace-loving country only about two percent of the population worships regularly, although most still go through the motions of "hatch, match, and dispatch." Yet it was someone who describes himself as a Christian who carried out the violence. And then a hundred thousand or more gathered in and around Oslo Cathedral for the memorial service of those slain. We all search for meaning and often religion provides the context, even for those who distort it.

What was your reaction to the events of last weekend? What about extremist views, and what we can do to counteract them?


IanD said...

I'm at the point where I can't read anything else about it - it's too awful.

All your points well made, as usual.

johnny said...

Unfortunately there are evil people out there who will try to rationalize their heinous acts. I think it is a sad reality that tragic events like this are hard to prevent.

There but for the grace of God go I.

Jonathan said...

I believe it is the book of amos that tells us that religion is evil because as soon as somone says they're doing something in the name of god anything goes. Why are religious tradgedies always riddled with tragic ironies?

lionlamb said...

I agree Ian. I couldn't write about this for a week because I just felt heart sick.

I hadn't thought about the perspective of a police officer johnny. I'm sure police forces around the world have shuddered at the thought of responding to a situation such as this. How can you ever be prepared for such evil.

Interesting reference to Amos Jonathan. The prophet criticized going-through-the-motions religion which ignored the poor. It would be worthwhile to revisit Amos from the perspective of the toxic religion of extremism.

sjd said...

I didn't know the killer considered himself a Christian.
I don't read news papers, or watch the news at night. Too depressing. A lesson I learned back in September 2001.
Do any of you consider the work of SATAN? If you believe in God, then you must also believe in Satan? Doesn't it seem strange that rarely does anyone do something terrible, and then say "I'm a Satan worshiper".
When I was a kid and I did something wrong I often pointed to my little brother, and said "He did it"