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Christian Terrorism: An American Problem

The American blogosphere is falling over itself trying to put distance between “True Christianity” (TM) and Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.  The general theme is familiar:  “Good Christians” aren’t terrorists.  If he claimed to be a Christian, he was either lying, mistaken, or crazy.

It’s probably easy for a lot of American Christians to dismiss Breivik.  After all, he’s European, and all the True Christians (TM) broke from that religious tradition back at Plymouth Rock.  To many, Norwegian Christianity might as well be Zoroastrianism for all the impact it has on their spiritual beliefs.  American Christians are no less exclusionary than the C of E and the Vatican when it comes to proclaiming heresy by those “other pretend Christians.”  You know, the ones who are just using Christianity for their own personal ends?  (Consider my recent interview with a very well educated Christian who insists that Baptist and Church of Christ theologies constitute entirely different religions!)

Most Christians are also quick to dismiss the bloody history of the Christian Church.  They don’t identify with the Crusades or the Inquisition.  They don’t care that Oliver Cromwell‘s fierce hatred of Catholics was a powerful force behind the “Irish Campaign” of 1649.  The wars of succession in France don’t register, even though all the blood on the ground was either Catholic or Protestant.  And anyway, those were different times, and that wasn’t terrorism.  So it doesn’t figure into the equation.  (I suppose bloody war is somehow less morally reprehensible if the guy on the throne is a Christian, and the attacks are carried out by armies, not “cells.”)

American Christians are also quick to distance themselves from current Christian events if they’re too bloody.  Uganda’s campaign to impose the death penalty on homosexuals, and the brutal regime that already imposes a 14 year prison sentence for a single homosexual act?  Not Christian and certainly not terrorism.  Never mind that American Christian politicians and pastors have been frequent visitors to Uganda and that disciples of Doug Coe have been acting as indirect “consultants” with David Bahati, the anti-gay bill’s sponsor.

But no.  None of this matters to American Christians.  Their brand of Christianity is different in kind.  Christians don’t commit terrorist acts.  They can’t possibly be terrorists.  Only bad guys are terrorists, and Christians are the good guys.  Because God is on their side.  And that’s the end of the story.  Except that it’s not…

READ THE REST ON EXAMINER.COMhttp://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-atlanta/christian-terrorism-is-very-common

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Discussion

12 thoughts on “Christian Terrorism: An American Problem

  1. Hamby,
    While the rest of the world is reading Breivik’s personal manifesto and finding out that he was not in fact a “Christian” but a “Darwinist” engaging in yet another “cleansing” of society, you continue to do what Atheist do best, ignore the true facts!

    Here is a sampling of his own words…
    “I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person, as that would be a lie,” he says. “I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment. . . .

    “As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings”

    “‘Logic’ and rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism) should be the fundament [sic] of our societies. I support the propagation of collective rational thought but not necessarily on a personal level.”

    Hamby, You embrace his ideology, so you embrace him…

    Posted by PG | July 25, 2011, 1:53 pm
  2. Ander was clearly a Christian and clearly a terrorist. But that wasn’t all to his motives. He thinks it was a necessary evil to expel Islam from Europe. On THAT accord, I feel the atheist movement in it’s present form shares some similar views to Ander, just as Christians in America share some of the his views.

    I agree it’s an American problem, I just don’t think it’s just a Christian one. It’s true that many Christians hold radical anti-muslim views, but it’s also true that many atheists do as well. I’m not letting any radical anti-muslim views off the hook on this one, regardless of whether the person spewing them believes in god or not. And no, I don’t mean legitimate critisicisms of Islam, I mean straight out “get the fuck out of Europe” rhetoric. In that regard, the atheist movement shares the same responsibility for Ander’s acts as the Christian movement.

    As for who is a terrorist of what, in order to be a Christian terrorist, or a Marxist terrorist, or whatever, is to commit your act to spread that idea. Even if somebody who is Christian bombs a building to spread Marxism, he’s a Marxist terrorist, not a Christian one. If somebody who is Marxist bombs a building to spread Christianity, he’s a Christian terrorist, not a Marxist one.

    I also like how Tom put it in his entry on this.

    http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/terrorism-why-dont-we-just-call-it-what-it-is/

    Also I would point out to Darrel that McVeigh was agnostic.

    PG, do you actually have links to sources? I’m betting you don’t.

    Posted by Alison | July 25, 2011, 6:31 pm
  3. Alison, would it be ok if I just made the disclaimer: I never, ever, ever think religion is the only motive behind anything.

    Can we just skip stating the obvious in the future?

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | July 25, 2011, 7:06 pm
  4. Bill, that actually wasn’t really the point in of my post. The only time I mentioned it was my second sentence, then I elaborated on what I meant.

    I didn’t mean or want it to come off as accusing this of being a single minded post.

    Posted by Alison | July 25, 2011, 7:18 pm
  5. Cool. I do appreciate your new approach to commenting, and I think you’re doing fine at it. I hope you’ll give me some time to let my trigger finger relax a little bit.

    I’ve been getting a lot of the same flack at Examiner. It seems a lot of people read a lot more into the statement “There are Christian terrorists” than you would think. I specifically avoided making comparisons or trying to say which form of terror was worse… or even to speculate on the balance of political vs. ideological vs. religious motivations of Christian terrorists. My point was simply to illustrate that there ARE lots of Christian terrorists, and religion is at least part of the equation for many of them. (If it wasn’t why would the overwhelming focus in America be on abortion doctors and clinics? But I didn’t even really go there. Wasn’t my point.)

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | July 25, 2011, 11:48 pm
  6. PG, do you actually have links to sources? I’m betting you don’t.

    Alison, just Google the following quote, including quotation marks:

    “I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person, as that would be a lie”

    That will bring up dozens of hits you can study and peruse, and then you can make your own determination as to how “Christian” Breivik was.

    Of course, Hamby’s agenda kind of depends on reading Breivik as a “true Christian”, and he can always fall back on the “No True Scotsman” line of argument in the face of objection, truth be damned.

    Posted by CB | July 26, 2011, 8:30 am
  7. CB, I googled it, and got of all sites, Sam Harris’ blog as the top result. [To be fair, Harris seems to doubt Ander’s Christianity.]

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/christian-terrorism-and-islamophobia/

    But the whether he was Christian, atheist, or Hindu does not undermine my post minus the part where I say he was Christian, but my point may still stand even if he wasn’t religious. Quite frankly, I would rather not get into a lengthy debate about it, because I didn’t write the article on him being Christian.

    My point was the anti-Muslim rhetoric along the lines of “Get the fuck out of Europe” being spewed from the Christian and atheist movements is a big concern.

    I think the atheist and the Christian movement have to do some serious self reflecting and take a more dominant role in speaking out against those that hold these kind of idealogies. The atheist movement is just as culpable as the Christian movement in this regard.

    Posted by Alison | July 26, 2011, 7:04 pm
  8. It is horrible to see a person trying to hard to hate Christians. If you could only do something POSITIVE with all that hate, you could make the world a better place. But I suppose bashing religion passes for hobby too, in all fairness.

    What a senseless hobby and a waste of a beautiful life.

    Posted by Just Words | July 28, 2011, 2:07 pm
  9. If he was an Atheist his actions would not have been religiously motivated. Atheists don’t seek to expel religious groups out of the world using bombs and guns. We can do it with science.

    Posted by Travis | July 30, 2011, 9:58 am
  10. Being From Europe – Lets get this Straight Anders was no more religious than anyone else in Europe – The Majority Don’t Believe in God / Bible etc… But we do have hate groups – Nazi’s / Nationalist Parties / Xenophobes (which he was in contact with & a member of (in America they’re called Republicans or if you go further to the right then the Tea Party or KKK (who claim to be religious)) these European groups usually hate Black People, Jews & Immigrants (Polish in UK used to be the Irish) & the now the Biggest of Enemies of all the Muslims, before now these other groups they directed their hate to had no power (unless you believe all that Jewish conspiracy crap), but the Muslims have a direct hatred of Christianity and their perceived loose moral values in the west, and have declared war on western civilisation, now What Anders did was believe that the liberals/labour party in Norway was allowing the Muslim Community to spread and he instead of attacking them direct, he attacked the cause of them being there – Now tell me that is anyway different to what the Republican / Tea Party want to achieve – Same Goals BUT his religion or lack of had no direct bearing on what he did he just had an enemy figure, whether he believed in religion or not he wanted to eradicate a religious group from Norway.
    Attacking Atheist is really a moot point because if there was no religion no one would of killed no one because they didn’t not believe the non beliefs of someone else, – people use religion to express there own prejudices ie don’t like gays or like to treat women as second class citizens or blame some one for everything that went wrong in their life or just hateful people who like to use religion to justify what they do, and this goes on in every society
    So saying he was Christian or not has no real bearing on what he did any more so than any Christian group saying what they believe and using the Bible to supposedly justify it.

    Posted by Alan Hamby | July 30, 2011, 9:13 pm
  11. Just Words, I don’t think Bill hates Christians in the traditional sense. I think a lot of his views of Christians are wrong, but I think he’s doing it because he legitimently believes that he’s doing the right thing.

    Alan, I agree and that’s a good point. Christianity isn’t really predominate in Norway as it is in America. If you read from the Sam Harris blog, he thinks religion is a crutch for weak people, and will only pray if he thinks it’ll help him, but he didn’t rely on religion.

    I’ve been telling Biill along the same lines for years. But no avail. Ander didn’t need to be influenced by religion to be influenced by religion because…..of the god virus…………or something.

    Posted by Alison | July 31, 2011, 12:30 pm
  12. Alison, if you read my article very carefully, you’ll notice that I didn’t say anything specific about Breivik’s Christianity. I used him as an example from the news to lead into the reality of Christian terrorism in America.

    Go ahead… show me where I said he was primarily motivated by Christianity. I didn’t. The reason I didn’t is that the point of the article was that the focus on him is a red herring… a diversion from real Christian terrorists in America with a much clearer connection to their religious roots.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | July 31, 2011, 11:06 pm

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