Sunday, July 24, 2011

Breivik: Trying to understand the incomprehensible.

The events in Norway will generate a lot of discussion for years to come. The news has noted that this guy was a "right-wing fundamentalist Christian". Hmmm. Note that the description comes from the "police official, Roger Andresen". I have generally had the impression that right-wing fundamentalist Christians are less common than followers of the Klingon religion in continental Europe, so the claim begs for a bit of scrutiny. Did the claim come from Breivik's extensive writings? Or did the police official simply reason that he was white, he wasn't a leftist, and he killed, therefore he is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian?

Breivik's video being up on the web, we can get a little idea.  First I will note that most of this message is hardly any different from that of Alexander Solzenitsen's  Suicide of the West and countless others.  Things change a bit as Europe feels threatened by Islam much more than by communist armies these days.  The theme of Eurabia is delved into.  Breivik then looks to the examples of an earlier age:  Various great historical leaders who held their ground against Muslim armies or pushed back.  There was, of course, a Christian/Islam divide in the wars enumerated.  A few of the heroes are Charlemagne, Richard the Lionheart, Vlad the Impaler, and Tsar Nicholas.  The last I presume was for the Crimean War where the French and English joined the Turks against the Russians.  The only Christianity on offer here is a nostalgic cultural/traditional variety.  There is still the 1,500 page manifesto which will likely go up on the web sooner or later.

UPDATE:  The Financial Times has an article on Breivik in which they claim that his manifesto self-describes Breivik as a "cultural Christian".

6 comments:

satire and theology said...

'I have generally had the impression that right-wing fundamentalist Christians are less common than followers of the Klingon religion in continental Europe, so the claim begs for a bit of scrutiny. Did the claim come from Breivik's extensive writings? Or did the police official simply reason that he was white, he wasn't a leftist, and he killed, therefore he is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian?'

Good point.

I wrote on this a bit too on latest satire and theology comments.

Looney said...

Yes, I had seen the comment.

I have noted elsewhere that Leftists believe that religion is merely a mental disorder and all religion tends to violence. That religion would have doctrines like "love your neighbor as yourself" which have a tendency to change the behavior of the committed is completely incomprehensible to them.

Delirious said...

Great...more fuel for those who already think religion causes all of the evils in the world...

Bunc said...

Looney - you are a right wing fundamentalist christian are you not?
This guy has much in common in his thinking patterns with Islamic Jihadists but then again I have myself noted the mirror image similarity between some current right wing US fundamentalist thought and right wing Islamism. ( preoccupation with homeosexuality being just one I could pick at random).
Now not all Islamist fundies go on to actually murder people and neither do all righjt wing US christian fundies ( your good self being an example). But the obsession with ancient dusty texts and the belief in the absolute truth of their own doctirnes sets a fertile ground in which madmen can then find succour.
Moderate Muslims claim the Islamo fascist terrorists are not true Muslims and Christians are keen to distance themselves from this self styled "crusader". However the claims of religionists to absolute truths are nevertheless at root part of the tunnel vision thinking that informs such people.

Regards

Looney said...

Bunc, it is good to see you back.

In the post after this one, I quoted Breivik on the subject of dusty books. He is also adamant that they are all worthless, whether it be the Koran or the Bible.

As far as absolute truth, I have to wonder if any group exists which denies that they have this. Did you give a thought for the summer youth camp that Breivik so brutally attacked? It sounded like an Orwellian political indoctrination camp. Do you think that they are any less convinced of their having acquired absolute truth than any fundamentalist?

Bunc said...

Hi looney,
its certanly true that the followers of lots of political parties especially on the far left and right treat their political "truths" with almost religious fervour and conviction.

Glenn Becks comparison of this camp to a Hitler Youth camp was particularly repugnant and has caused widespread outrage - I would caution you not to go too near that line.

Actually in this case I think his religion will turn out to be the lesser of the issues - although not completely irrelevant. He seems on the evidence so far to be a right wing narcissistic fantasist. Lots of them about. Fortunately not many have turned to mass murder like this guy has.

I have some sympathy for "normal" christians , muslims , right wingers and left wingers when they find their creeds hijacked by nutters. Thats the trouble with any creed that claims a monopoly on truth though - it will tend to attract the mad and the bad as well as ordinary folk who are desparate for "answers".