The Oslo killer “had no Christian ‘faith’ to speak of”

That from a most thoughtful piece by Timothy Dalrymple as he counters the liberal meme attempting to use the Oslo killings to besmirch conservative, traditional Christians:

Stephen Prothero writes at CNN that when ideas accomplish positive change, we speak of the power of ideas, but when ideas “do things we do not want them to do, as in Oslo,” then we pretend that ideas are powerless.  The contention that Anders Behring Breivik’s actions “had nothing to do with his Christian faith or his anti-Islamic ideology” is, according to Prothero, “wishful thinking of the most dangerous sort.”

I agree with Prothero that Christians should be mindful of the uses to which their ideas will be be put, and should examine the resources within the Christian tradition – its scriptures, its history, its thought – that can be assembled into a case for violence against the innocent.  Christians should have the humility to confess that they are not immune to criticism and to look for faults within themselves and their tradition.

The problem, in this case, as Prothero would have seen with a careful reading of Breivik’s manifesto, is that Breivik had no Christian “faith” to speak of, and the “ideas” that most influenced him were not Christian in any sense of the term.

There is a kind of liberal Christian who is deeply committed to the proposition that conservative Christians are just as dangerous as al-Qaeda, but when they are pressed for equivalents to 9/11 they have to reach back centuries to the Inquisition and the Crusades (which they portray in exaggerated and decontextualized forms), or else they refer to the actions of Timothy McVeigh, or the Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, or the Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn, who are all expressly non-Christian.

My point here is not to indict Islam, but to note how the liberal illuminati seem incapable of distinguishing between ancient military conquests that were justified by a pre-modern way of thinking abandoned centuries ago, or individual madmen who resided in Christian cultures but were the opposite of devout believers, and (alas) the legions of pious Muslims whose acts of terrorism are supported by a vast infrastructure and celebrated by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Imams throughout the Muslim world.

Why the self-appointed guardians of nuance want to ignore these facts — that Breivik was no kind of Christian in the ordinary sense, but more like an agnostic committed to Christian symbols for pragmatic reasons — in their rush to portray Breivik as a “Christian fundamentalist” or “Christianist” (which Andrew Sullivan uses to associate Breivik with conservative American Christians), is a question well worth asking.

The whole thing needs to be read and of course passed on.  It’s right and good and true.

Quote of the Day (07/28/11)
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  • Anonymous

    You can have an opinion that Breivik was not a “true Christian,” in the way that Muslims can have an opinion that Bin Laden was not a “true Muslim,” but it’s just your opinion.  Whether he was a Christian or not is a matter of opinion, but no doubt he was a hard-core right-winger who took inspiration from wingnut blogs like Pam Geller’s and Gates of Vienna with rants against Muslims something like what Rick posts every two days or so.

    Breivik’s manifesto is available at

    Breivik did quote Scripture extensively in his manifesto to justify his actions, in particular this section:

    3.149 The Bible and self-defence
    Many Christians claim that acts of self-defence are unbiblical, unscriptural and ungodly.
    However, they are un-doubtfully wrong.
    The Bible couldn’t be clearer on the right, even the duty; we have as Christians to self defence. . . .
    They didn’t have firearms, but they had side-arms. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus
    commanded His disciples to buy them and equip them.
    Luke 22:36: “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and
    likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
    Matthew 26:52-54: “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for
    all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now
    pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But
    how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”
    If you read those verses in context they support the position of self-defence. Jesus told
    Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a fight in this situation, as well as
    undermining God’s plan to allow Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection.
    Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place – at his side. He didn’t say throw it away.
    After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves. The reason for the arms
    was obviously to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God. What
    Jesus was saying was: “Peter, this is not the right time for a fight.”
    In the context of cultural conservative Europeans current war against the cultural
    Marxist/multiculturalist elites and the ongoing Islamic invasion through Islamic
    demographic warfare against Europe, every military action against our enemies is
    considered self defence. There will be much suffering and destruction but eventually we
    will succeed and may be able to start rebuilding.

    • Jeff Blogworthy

      We have his first-person testimony that he is not a Christian – as he explains, he only uses Christian in the cultural or political sense as a foil for Islam. That is a fact, not a judgment.

      What does his explication of self-defense have to do with his actions? About nothing, as far as I can tell. Unless one considers shooting helpless people cowering on the ground acts of self-defense.

    • Patrick_A_NonnyMouse

      The definitive difference as far as I can see:

      The jihadists ALL have a history of being “pious Muslims” and praying five times a day as required; and MOST of the time bystanders/ witnessess to their attacks describe them as shouting “Allahu ackbar” as they start shooting or detonating. 

      The odd crazies in the West who are eagerly described by the MSM as “Christian terrorists” do NOT have strong ties to a church, don’t get encouragement from an extremist clergy-member,  and don’t preface their rampages with anything like “Jesus Christ will smite the evildoers”. 

      I don’t recognize any similarity between the one kind of rampage and the other.  The Christian holy book doesn’t call for converting non-believers on pain of death; the Muslim holy book does. A Christian who shoots people is not following God’s commandment, or Jesus’ example.  A Muslim doing so IS following Allah’s commandment, and Mohammed’s example.    

  • Anonymous

    If you read the article, you won’t miss the gist of Dalrymple’s which lays waste to what you’ve written:
    This is one critical difference that explodes any simplistic moral equivalency between “extremist Christians” like Breivik and Islamic Jihadists.  While Breivik cites numerous Bible verses in his manifesto, he employs those verses in a way that no significant theologian or church authority has approved for centuries.

    • Anonymous

      In other words, ignore what Breivik says; Dalrymple is Pope and gets to decide who is Christian and who is not.

      • Anonymous

        Commander_Chico 46 minutes ago in reply to HarlemGhost”I don’t think Breivik follows the teachings of Christ, but most people who call themselves Christians don’t.What he is, is a hard-core right-wing hater, of the type who often posts and comments here.”Looks like Dalrymple is not alone in his lofty Christian judging status!!

        • That is the subtext of progressivism: replacing God with their own judgment.

          • Anonymous

            So you think Breivik follows the teachings of Chist?

        • Have you noticed that chicka’s opinion on just about any matter is a reliable contra-indicator?

  • Anonymous

    HE IS ONE DELUSIONAL SICK BASTARD, but he thinks he was a Christian,  and must have found  support for his views, in some culture or sub culture. Where did he find like minded people? That is the troubling aspect, and why wasn´t he challenged beforehand? It seems that  even if psychopathic killers like Breivik can  justify to themselves, that  they have God´s blssing, in  carrying out their actions, a believer in God, even one of Christendom, can  justify killing, what elsewhere he calls disgracefully “vermin”.

    Saturday June 11 – Day 41: I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail.

    • Anonymous

      He called himself a Christian, prayed for Christian victory, quoted Christian scripture to justify his actions and wanted to revive an order of Christian knights, but Pope Dalyrmple and Cardinal Rick think they can excommunicate him by saying “he employs those verses in a way that no significant theologian or church authority has approved for centuries.”

      As I’ve said before, it really doesn’t make any difference – Breivik was obviously a member of the Church of Right-Wing Nutballs, which has many believers here.

      • quoted Christian scripture to justify his actions

        Did he quote this one? “The Devil may quote Scripture to suit his ends.”

      • Anonymous

        “As I’ve said before, it really doesn’t make any difference ”

        Sure Chico. Must be why you seem so thrilled  with the Christian connection you’re pushing, here and in the other topics on this tragedy.

      • Anonymous

        OK.  All you “Right-Wing Nutballs” out there.  Listen up!  You have been challenged.  Raise your hands, all of you who (1) have carried out a mass murder of innocents, (2) plan to carry out a mass murder of innocents within the next 12 months, (3) wish you could carry out a mass murder of innocents but just don’t have the stones.  The Commander [of His Own One Man Army] believes that vast [right wing conspiracy] majority of you can respond affirmatively to one of these three options.  Come on let’s show him that we really are true believers in our Church and not just like the panty waist members of the Church of the Progressive Utopia!

    • Jeff Blogworthy

      He “explains to God.” Sounds like the trolls here.

  • Anonymous

    I have this conversation from time to time about McVie. Simply, Christianity is not a ‘fall back’ religion. Its not as if ‘well im none of these other things and my parents took me to church till I was 7 so I must be a Christian” sorry pal. McVie wasnt a practicing Christian (he found some time to read in the joint) and neither does this bozo appear to be. 

  • Anonymous

    I guess for liberals, all we have to do is tell them who or what we are and it is fact. I am Elvis. ww

    • jb

      Yes, silly liberals who think that if you say “I follow Elvis”, that means you believe you follow Elvis.

  • Jeff Blogworthy

    It is clear that “Chico and the Men” suffer from the evil Neronic impulse. Blame any fires on the Christians. If you can’t find any fires, then start some and blame them on the Christians. The same impulse shared by Reid, Pelosi, et al.

    Unfortunately for them, people who interact with Christians on a daily basis are perfectly aware that they have nothing to fear. Many of them unconsciously acknowledge this fact though continuous unabashed insults to, and assaults on, the Christian faith in popular  and political culture. Unlike insults directed toward Muslims, they know that they are safe from Christian retaliation. This patently obvious fact does not stop them from accusing Christians of a violent propensity. The evil actors in this ridiculous scenario is plain for all to see.

  • Jeff Blogworthy

    Another thought occurs to me. Why is it that leftists are so intent on defending Islam and Muslims though they are not Muslim themselves? In the same way that the Oslo shooter sees Christianity as the natural foil of Islam – so do leftists in America see Islam as the natural foil to our own Western culture and way of life. They place themselves in league with Islam because they are sympathetic with the goals of Islamists; To tear down America’s Christian culture, and its emphasis on individual freedom. They are willing to become nominal Muslims to do it. In fact they are willing to embrace just about any philosophy, as long as it is part of the opposition to America’s long-standing way of life. Communism, socialism, radical environmentalism, identity politics, and competing religions. They all are foils to the Judeo-Christian culture. They all are enthusiastically embraced by the left.

    • Anonymous

      ” Why is it that leftists are so intent on defending Islam?”

      Excellent comment Jeff B.
      Reminds me of something I read a while ago.

      “If the left understands anything, it is that in order for their ideology and its promised utopia to be born, they must thoroughly destroy America and undermine everything America stands for in the world. Once that has been accomplished, then their way is clear. Of course, they truly believe they will be able to control the Islamist genie they have encouraged, appeased and enabled along the way. That’s why they are so nonchalant about terrorism and the threat of Islamic jihad. First, they see themselves on the same side politically; and second, they believe they won’t have any trouble stopping the Jihad once they are in power. What’s the big deal? They also intend to roll back the rising seas, stop global warming, and heal the planet, after all.”

  • jim_m


    Anyone can call themselves a Christian and not actually be one.  Polls show that some 80% or more of Americans consider themselves Christian, yet they do not necessarily believe in the Bible, they do not go to church, they do not even necessarily believe in the historic tenets of the Christina church.  They are not Christian and their calling themselves Christian does not make them such.

    Senator Lieberman called himself a Democrat, but many on the left denied that because he didn’t believe the same way thy did about a single issue, Iraq.  The leftists from Daily Kos and elsewhere even denied that he was a liberal.  Yet Lieberman votes with the dems and has a long history of supporting every liberal position.  But he cannot call himself a liberal anymore and because he was forced to run as an independent he cannot call himself a democrat anymore.

    So you are fine with saying that the left can decide who is liberal, who is a democrat and who is not and you feel that is justified regardless of what their beliefs are and how much they align with the progressive agenda.  But you do not feel that Christians can use criteria that has for centuries defined who is a Christian to deny that this scumbag is a Christian?

    Typical leftist hypocrite.

  • Anonymous

    Does Commander Chico wears the same type of uniform?  Of course the pogey rope would have to be on the left side.

  • PBunyan

    You know the funny thing is that Breivik referred to himself as “Christian” in the sense that Europe has historically been Christian, and specifically pointed out that he himself was not a believer in the Christian Religion.   Using “Christian” defined exactly the same way that Breivik used it (and Chico, and Frank O’Connel {on other threads}, and and the New York Times as well as the most of the rest of the media) it would be totally correct to say: “The United States is a Christian nation and all Americans are Christians”;  however if you did say that, Chico, Frank, and almost every MSM reporter and commentator would explode with rage.

    Then again, pointing out that leftists are hypocrites is akin to pointing out that water is wet.

  • Anonymous

    Aryan fascism is definitely  more central to Breivik´s character than modern Christianity, but he seemed to embrace  every known  far right deep odern  crazy conspiracy theory. Of course, it goes without saying he was a vehement  anthropogenic gobal warming  denier,  which is  the  litmus test of being a conservative and liberal.

    Green is the new Red – Stop Enviro-Communism!” Breivik argues that global warming is actually a eco-Marxist plot “to create a world government” using the “Anthropogenic Global Warming scam”:
    “You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, eco-Marxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN”

     Too bad,  he couldn´t be suffering this summer in any of  the American states, every one which has recorded all-time record highs, Delaware being  the last.

    • PBunyan

      You may want to believe that but the truth is that if you look at the entirety of his manifesto he worldview was a hodgepodge of far right and far left beliefs, not unlike Jared Loughner.  The best discription of someone like that is “nutjob”.  No other labels accurately fit, no matter how badly you (or Islamofascist apologists like Chico, Frank, and most of the MSM) want them too.

      • Anonymous

         I haven´t found much, if any  of the traditional left in his manifesto..but we shouldn´t read too much into it, partly because he was from Norway…and because as you say  he was a nutjob. But still it is worth reminding us that someone like Jared Loughner with a small brain are easily able to obtain large conventional  weapons. Instead, at every aiport in the world we are spending a huge number of man hours  looking for toothpaste on carry on luggage from little old ladies or children.

    • Jeff Blogworthy

      Many of the same things the left says are almost word-for-word also said by Hitler, Stalin, bin Laden, Mao and others. Are you sure you want to make this your litmus test?

  • Frank O’Connell

    The guy spews thew same right wing vomit that the Wizbangers do. Racist whinings about multiculturalism and Marxists.

    If he walks like a Christian extremists right wing nutcase, and talks like a Christian extremists right wing nutcase…

    Hey, don’t worry right wing nutcases on Wizbang. He can write bumper stickers for all of you Tea Party Hobbits from prison just as easily as he could a free man.

    • Jeff Blogworthy

      Please forgive us. We are but typical white people who, you know… there is a reaction that has been bred into our experiences. We can’t help it.

  • If fwank believes what he has written he will depart from Wizbang immediately.

    • Anonymous

      First he must snatch the pebble from Allah’s hand.

  • Anonymous

    Its so fun to watch Barry squirm  as the purse strings are being closed from his pick pocketing fingers.

     What’s your take from up his ass fwank?

  • Jeff Blogworthy

    I must note that all the insults hurled towards Christianity by you leftists also includes President Obama by implication. You realize that don’t you? Yeah. I didn’t think so. Truth is put to the lie.

    • jb

      How is noticing the reality that Breivik was a Christian, includes Barack Obama by implication with anything?

      A more realistic take would be to realize that people who are Christians can still do awful, horrible things to other people and find some way to justify it. Just like people of any other religion. This doesn’t single out Christianity – it just means that just because someone is a Christian it doesn’t automatically make them better, more trustworthy or less vile than anyone else.

      It’s still up to the person and what they actually do in life that defines their character, not their religion.

      Is there anything wrong with that?

      If there’s nothing wrong with that, then what’s wrong with recognizing the fact that Breivik was a Christian?

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