home
RSS
July 26th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

My Take: Christians should denounce Norway's Christian terrorist

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Ideas matter; thoughts have force. This is an obvious truth. It is why pastors preach, why professors profess, and why pundits do whatever they do.

Yet whenever ideas do things we do not want them to do, as they did in Oslo , Norway on Friday, we try to pretend that ideas are powerless.

For the last two decades, Christian students have told me that Christianity had nothing to do with the Holocaust. After 9/11, many Muslims said that the men who flew those planes into those buildings had nothing to do with Islam. When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot, we were told that the crime had nothing to do with our current climate of political hatred.

Unpacking the 'Christian fundamentalist' label for Norway terror suspect?

Now in the wake of the Oslo massacre bloggers and pundits are reassuring us that the crimes of the alleged perpetrator Anders Behring Breivik can be understood simply as the product of a deranged mind. They had nothing to do with his Christian faith or his anti-Islamic ideology. This is wishful thinking of the most dangerous sort.

According to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, "Breivik is not a Christian." According Ross Douthat, the conservative Catholic columnist at the New York Times, “it’s fair to call Breivik a right-winger” but not a Christian  fundamentalist.

Meanwhile, Andrew Brown at the Guardian is reassuring his readers that “Anders Breivik is not Christian but anti-Islam.”

My Take: Norway attacks show why you can't #blamethemuslims

Brown goes on to describe the various anti-Islam bloggers Breivik read and apparently quoted in a manifesto, only to conclude, “Obviously these people cannot be held responsible for the use to which their ideas were put.”

I don’t find that obvious at all.

I think all of us who place ideas into books or blogs or lectures or sermons should be acutely aware of the use to which our ideas might be put. What is obvious is that those who read or listen to us will take our ideas in directions different from what we intended. But that fact does not absolve us of responsibility when they do.

If you devote your life to spewing anti-Islamic hatred, you should not be surprised if someone comes along and kills in the name of that hatred. In fact, you should expect it.  If you insist as a matter of revelation or dogma that the Jews killed Christ then you should not be surprised if Christians come along and kills Jews in the name of Christ. In fact, you should be surprised if that does not happen.

We live in an age of anger. That anger is fueled by ideas. And the most incendiary ideas are those that call down the force of God or nation (or both) in the service of denouncing those who follow other gods or belong to other nations.

Anders Breivik was obviously politically motivated. The 1,500-page manifesto that has been attributed to him draws on contemporary European and American conservatism in its attacks on Marxism, multiculturalism, secularism, academia and feminism.

But Breivik's motivations were equally, and obviously, religious. His manifesto cites the Atlas Shrugs blog of Pamela Geller, who has made a name for herself in the United States by opposing the Islamic community center near Ground Zero. According to the New York Times this manifesto also quotes Robert Spencer of another anti-Islamic web site, Jihad Watch, 64 times.

But Breivik does not just deny Islam. He affirms Christianity. He describes himself as "100% Christian" in his apparent manifesto. That work says he's a member of the “Knights Templar," which the document refers to as “a Christian ‘culturalist’ military order.”

The manifesto refers repeatedly to martyrdom, calls Breivik the "savior . . . of European Christendom," discusses Quranic views of Jesus and quotes extensively from the Bible.

In fact, in an extended section justifying violence in the name of self-defense (plagiarized, like much in the manifesto, from other websites), it quotes from Exodus, Samuel, Judges, Psalms, Luke, Matthew, Isaiah, Daniel, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and other biblical books. "God will anoint you with his power to go into battle," the manifesto reads. "God can be a Man of War if He wants to be."

Finally, key dates in the manifesto, including the date for the rampage itself (July 22), are linked to key dates in the history of the Christian crusades. "Celebrate us, the martyrs of the conservative revolution," a video attributed to Breivik reads, "for we will soon dine in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Osama bin Laden was a Muslim terrorist. Yes, he twisted the Quran and the Islamic tradition in directions most Muslims would not countenance. But he rooted his hate and his terrorism in that text and that tradition. So Muslims, as I have long argued, have a responsibility to speak out forcefully against Bin Laden and to look hard at the resources in their tradition that work to promote such evil.

If he did what he has alleged to have done, Anders Breivik is a Christian terrorist.

Yes, he twisted the Christian tradition in directions most Christians would not countenance. But he rooted his hate and his terrorism in Christian thought and Christian history, particularly the history of the medieval Crusades against Muslims, and current efforts to renew that clash.

So Christians have a responsibility to speak out forcefully against him, and to look hard at the resources in the Christian tradition that can be used to such murderous ends.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Crime • Europe • Politics • Violence

soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. William Demuth

    Finally, a cult member speaks!

    Of COURSE this was a Christian extremist.

    The slaughter was in the name of Jesus himself, clearly just more evidence that the children of Abraham are ALL subjected to the crazed paranoia he suffered from.

    Be you Jew, Gentile or Muslim, you ALL have blood on your hands.

    Shame on you all your Bronze Age idol worship continues to kill.

    A pox on ALL of your houses.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • CandyLand

      That horrible person WAS NOT a Christian...#1 way to tell if a person is a Christian.....IS THAT WHAT JESUS CHRIST WOULD HAVE DONE?????? The answer to that question is "HECK NO"!!!!!!!
      If you want to know what a true Christian is then look to the person we follow...those of us who are following in his footsteps and doing what he said to do "Love your neighbor" (that includes all neighbors even if they don't look, act, or think like you).,...WE are real Christians.
      Not that murderous nut who wreacked havoc on those Scandinavians.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Willam Demuth

      Demuth, don't bother us with your lousy comments.

      Better do the dishes!

      July 27, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  2. mohamed

    Not all Arabs are terrorists and grew is a class lost its way and chose to reach its opinion by force and terrorism, and the best evidence that the Egyptian revolution
    Cancer
    http://www.ro7y1.com

    July 27, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • Hope

      Christian: We love you muslim. Let be peace but so sorry we can't let to much immigrant that forcing sharia in Europe.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  3. Regarding your intellectual flatulence...

    How dare you. Just because you rob a bank wearing a McDonalds uniform, it doesn't mean you're the Hamburglar, ok? Just because people commit a crime under a christian banner, be it the crusades or a more modern mass murder, it doesn't mean they're a christian or that the rest of us owe anyone an apology. If some nutcase claims your blog has hidden ciphers that command him to commit a crime, are you going to take responsibility for that? Tell Boston University I demand an apology for your behavior, see if they agree to accept responsibility for the beliefs of their alumni. Pop your head out of your tailpipe buddy, you are a biggot.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @Buddy R

      "Christianity is about love, not hate."

      In that case, how come you believe that the loving GOD required the cruel blood sacrifice of one HIS pious servants (Jesus), in order to forgive the sins of others ? That is totally illogical.

      In Islam, every child is born pure (not in sin) and we believe the LOVING GOD is also the MOST JUST and will not tolerate anyone taking the responsibility of another's sin. Each one will get what he earned, nothing more, nothing less.

      Even in real life, will any judge be considered SANE if/she were to punish the innocent, instead of the guilty ??

      July 27, 2011 at 5:48 am |
    • Hope

      @Buddy: Look now: the muslim very intolerate...

      July 27, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Hindo

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

      You are welcome

      July 27, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • CandyLand

      Yes Yes Yes!

      July 27, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  4. Buddy R

    Mr Prothero seems to be pretty ignorant of the New Testament and Christian teaching to be a "religion scholar."

    Sir, you suggesting the man is a Christian and even a "Christian terrorist" shows how little you actually know about the Bible. Of course all of your posted opinions bash Christianity in one way or another or attack the Christianity the Bible teaches.

    NOTHING in the New Testament teaches violence. NOTHING. You tweeted, "Breivik is a Christian terrorist." Sir, could you show one instance of Jesus leading or authorizing a raid on Rome? Could you show any of his words that call for or condone violence? Or any passage in the New Testament that calls for Christians to commit violent acts? Jesus and his apostles called for peace sir, not for terrorism.

    Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

    Breivik did not follow the teachings of Christ and is not a Christian according to the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus said if you do not follow his teachings you are not his. Period. In my opinion anyone who calls the man a Christian is either ignorant of the Bible or a willful liar.

    Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    Jesus taught us to love everyone, even our enemies. Not to kill them. The Bible says anyone who claims to know God but who hates or murders is a liar.

    Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

    1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

    Mr article writer, according to the Bible the man who killed all those kids did not know God. He is a liar in calling himself a Christian. He hates people and he murders and he does not live according to the core teachings of Christianity.

    Mat 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
    Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
    Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    You, sir, say Breivik is a Christian terrorist. The Bible says he is not even a Christian and does not condone terrorism. I believe the Bible over you, sir.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Buddy R

      Ah, I forgot to add this verse that I wanted to include. Too bad there is no edit feature.

      Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • Buddy R

      "he rooted his hate and his terrorism in Christian thought"

      Really???? The Bible says anyone who hates does not know God. Christianity is about love, not hate.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @Buddy R

      "Christianity is about love, not hate."

      In that case, how come you believe that the loving GOD required the cruel blood sacrifice of one HIS pious servants (Jesus), in order to forgive the sins of others ? That is totally illogical.

      In Islam, every child is born pure (not in sin) and we believe the LOVING GOD is also the MOST JUST and will not tolerate anyone taking the responsibility of another's sin. Each one will get what he earned, nothing more, nothing less.

      Even in real life, will any judge be considered SANE if/she were to punish the innocent, instead of the guilty ??

      July 27, 2011 at 5:51 am |
    • Hindo

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

      July 27, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  5. Bonnie

    @Peace, I'm sorry I thought you were another Muslim guy. I mistook you.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:11 am |
  6. Bonnie

    @Peace, if so, we infidels need to see internal reform from foundation by Muslims for everyone in the Muslim-majority land to install freedom of conscience for all. Otherwise, we have no reason to believe you. Decent democracy is impossible without this religious freedom.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • peace

      Its OK! We must love muslim and open their eyes that they still inside the darkest cave of barbaric culture arabs. Love muslim but hate islam ideology!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:18 am |
  7. peace

    open http://quran.com/5/51 Look for all transliteration:


    Transliteration
    Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoola tattakhithoo alyahooda wannasaraawliyaa baAAduhum awliyao baAAdinwaman yatawallahum minkum fa-innahu minhum inna Allaha layahdee alqawma aththalimeen

    Sahih International
    O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

    Muhsin Khan
    O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).

    Pickthall
    O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

    Yusuf Ali
    O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

    Shakir
    O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

    Dr. Ghali
    O you who have believed, do not take to yourselves the Jews and the Nasara (Christians) as patrons; some of them are patrons to some (others). And whoever of you patronizes them, then surely he is one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  8. peace

    open ..http://quran.com/7/11
    Islam must believe trinity: Islam Quran use name "WE" mean there is more than 1 in one – trinity. This is not angels or jin because THEY ordered all angels. Of course this is not charlie angels..hahaha..lol..lol..


    Transliteration
    Walaqad khalaqnakum thumma sawwarnakumthumma qulna lilmala-ikati osjudoo li-adamafasajadoo illa ibleesa lam yakun mina assajideen

    Sahih International
    And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.

    Muhsin Khan
    And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate.

    Pickthall
    And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration.

    Yusuf Ali
    It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who prostrate.

    Shakir
    And certainly We created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam. So they did prostrate except Iblis; he was not of those who prostrated.

    Dr. Ghali
    And indeed We already created you, thereafter We fashioned you, thereafter We said to the Angels, "Prostrate to Adam;" so they prostrated, except Iblis; he was not of the prostrators.

    HTI Sucks!!

    July 27, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @peace

      "Islam must believe trinity: Islam Quran use name "WE" mean there is more than 1 in one – trinity. This is not angels or jin because THEY ordered all angels. Of course this is not charlie angels..hahaha..lol..lol.."

      Well, the above comment does reflect your scant understanding of the Quran. "We" is used in english to denote the supreme majesty of GOD as a sign of respect. Just as a king would address himself as "We" to denote his authority.

      The concept of trinity originated after Jesus' time. Here's the verse from the Quran, plain and simple:

      "Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Surely Allah is the third (Person) of the three"; and there is no god but One God,…. The Messiah, son of Maryam is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman, they both used to eat food. See how We make the signs clear to them, then behold how they are turned away." (5:73 – 75)

      July 27, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • peace

      @ Abu Umar:

      So the Islam now uses hidden codes meaning too?? LOL LOL LOL We welcome you into Christinity O' my brother Abu Umar..

      July 27, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @peace

      You call the clear verses I mentioned as "hidden codes". Hence, I do not wish to waste more time with you. I will leave you in your state of confusion. To me, my religion and to you, yours.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  9. peace

    Islam teach hatred and terror: open http://quran.com/3/151


    Transliteration
    Sanulqee fee quloobi allatheenakafaroo arruAAba bima ashrakoo billahima lam yunazzil bihi sultanan wama/wahumu annaruwabi/sa mathwa aththalimeen

    Sahih International
    We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.

    Muhsin Khan
    We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah, for which He had sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).

    Pickthall
    We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners, for which no warrant hath been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire, and hapless the abode of the wrong-doers.

    Yusuf Ali
    Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!

    Shakir
    We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust.

    Dr. Ghali
    We will soon cast in (to) the hearts of the ones who have disbelieved horror for whatever they associated with Allah for which He has not sent down an all-binding authority; and their abode will be the Fire, and miserable is the lodging of the unjust!

    July 27, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  10. Abu Umar

    Folks, a lot of Christians in this discussion seem to be pleading not to paint the entire christian community in bad light, just cos of the deeds of one person. I have a thought for your kind consideration: If you really believe that each person should be accountable for his deeds ONLY, then by the same logic, you must accept the fact that it is gross injustice to claim that Jesus took everyones sins on his shoulders. That is plain wrong and a just GOD would never allow any person to take the blame of another. Each man unto his own. it's time that you reflect onnthe contradictions in your beliefs.

    Here is what GOD says in the Quran about the man made concept of trinity:
    "Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Surely Allah is the third (Person) of the three"; and there is no god but One God,…. The Messiah, son of Maryam is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman, they both used to eat food. See how We make the signs clear to them, then behold how they are turned away." (5:73 – 75)

    It's so CLEAR and SIMPLE !

    July 27, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • peace

      WOW brother..you have show us that Quran admit trinity. Yes..yes....that is good turning point.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • peace

      So read more Abu Umar. Read more quran. And then read bibles. We welcome you to Christianity. The Quran is made to prove that bible is true. The Christ is son of GOD and the GOD itself. Welcome brother!

      July 27, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @ peace

      I suggest you take a basic course in English first and then read the verse from the Quran I posted, again. Perhaps, you will understand.

      "Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Maryam". And the Messiah said: "O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust." (5:72)

      Peace.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • peace

      @ Abu Umar: Please let me know about this in your advanced english:

      open ..http://quran.com/7/11

      Islam must believe trinity: Islam Quran use name "WE" mean there is more than 1 in one – trinity. This is not angels or jin because THEY ordered all angels. Of course this is not charlie angels..hahaha..lol..lol..


      Transliteration
      Walaqad khalaqnakum thumma sawwarnakumthumma qulna lilmala-ikati osjudoo li-adamafasajadoo illa ibleesa lam yakun mina assajideen

      Sahih International
      And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.

      Muhsin Khan
      And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate.

      Pickthall
      And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration.

      Yusuf Ali
      It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who prostrate.

      Shakir
      And certainly We created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam. So they did prostrate except Iblis; he was not of those who prostrated.

      Dr. Ghali
      And indeed We already created you, thereafter We fashioned you, thereafter We said to the Angels, "Prostrate to Adam;" so they prostrated, except Iblis; he was not of the prostrators.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  11. Bonnie

    Of course Christians denounce every terrorist and terror act. Christians always brought down all terrorists and terrors done by atheists and secularists. Americans are cute when they address the name "Christian" as something foreign when their homeland is all about Christianity from the start to the end.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:32 am |
  12. Mythrander

    If anyone here wishes to know about Christianity.......READ THE HOLY BIBLE, with emphasis on the New Testament!!!! Read for yourself what Jesus said and did.. Compare what you read to what "Christians" are doing and it will be easy to tell, if those "Christians" are following the teachings or not.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  13. TCMSOLS

    If we need your help after 9/11 to counter a global intifada, we would have called you and this is the reason why we did not, and you are the reason we did not.
    That is who we did call on.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jgxMuh8eSyl-hhTFc2YBaR993xpA?docId=CNG.a18f8f3a800f1e93dbfd0e596f0760d6.971

    July 27, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  14. Faraz Zubair Sultan

    The Western Media for long has blamed the cogs on Muslims citing only acts carried out by Muslim extremists and that has sufficed them to long term Muslims as Terrorists. I have a take here to ask. Nazis were 90 Million during the 2nd World War, and Christians they were, but whatever their take was remained an ideology despite of all the extremism and inumane acts carried out by them. If 900,000 Muslims' acts are enough to term all Muslims around the world as terrorists and not as the ideology of a certain extremist group, then we Muslims can safely say that with a 100 times greater extremism on display by some Christians scores of generations of Christians before and after us should be termed terrorists.
    If Madrasahs are breeding grounds for terrorism, then its no differentwhen it comes down to child molestation as reported at no less than 25 different occasions from abbots, monasteries and churches around the world in the past decade. There have been scores of incidents in the past decade where teenage snipers specially in the USA have gone on a shooting spree. What makes them so different from acts carried out by certain Muslims? If they were one-off incidents of extremism, then you are basically admitting that good and bad exist everywhere. Why is it so different for Muslims then? An act by one Muslim would represent 1.6 Billion Muslims around the world but an act by a Christian in any part of the world reflecting extremism would be an ideology confined to a certain sect or his own individual self. The longer you hold this biased multi-faceted view, the longer the threat looms for events of such nature in the future.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  15. ysc

    My take - Karl Marx's manifesto (albeit not 1500 pages) put a lot of ideas into people's heads, too. Look at the deadly gulags and purges of the USSR, the deadly Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward of Mao, and the deadly Year Zero of Pol Pot, all which Marx's writings inspired....and all occurring within the past century (and people still prefer to make a stink about the Crusades that happened 1000 years ago). Religious people were one of the main targets....after did Marx not say "religion is an opiate"....an idea/phrase quoted rather enthusiastically by atheists the world over? Well, Russian, Chinese, and Khmer anti-religionists took Marx's ideas/words to heart and launched their decades-long "war on drugs" (aka war on religion) and millions of innocents died. And please, spare us the "well-they-did-it-for-power-not-in-the-name-of-no-god". No, they did it in the name of anti-religion....holding the exact anti-religious views and sentiments of those who desire that religion be abolished, eradicated, etc (you know who you are). Those atheists who've desired such in the past and were in a position of power to do something about it have a very bloody track record to show for it. Remember that next time you fear religious people in power.

    Also let's not forget the blood of thousands of guillotined bodies (all beheaded in one year, no less) on which the so-called "Enlightenment" piggy-backed in on. The perps of the French "Reign of Terror" later beheaded their own leader Robespierre all because they couldn't stand that he dare to consider deism (not Christianity or Islam, mind you) and embrace the *gasp* Cult of the Supreme Being. And yes, this whole atrocity has been labeled historically as the "Reign of TERROR"....all happening a little over 200 years ago (and people still prefer to make a stink about the Crusades that happened 1000 years ago). Google "Reign of Terror" and "French Revolution" and read for yourself.

    So atheists, dare to denounce your own terrorists before you demand religious people denounce theirs. Your history has no morally higher ground to stand on than anyone else.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  16. Confused Chris

    The problem with modern day Christianity, and its wildly diverse denominations, is that there is no real clear picture of what Christianity is anymore. Everyone is saying that a "real" Christian would not do this, but what is a "real question?" For instance, we have Luke 19:27, which might suggest that Christianity is not the all loving, peaceful religion people so desperately want it to be. And, of course, the whole the Jesus I come with a sword thing, and in Revelations he really comes back with a sword. In my experience, the protestant movement created an individualism movement where every person can create a personal interpretation of whatever they believe and act upon those beliefs. Whenever you have something requiring faith in a supernatural being, it becomes hard to place any checks and balances on it. This guy claims to have been inspired by the scriptures of his choosing, but how that does that differ from anyone else drawing upon their personal revelations of what God is to them. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there seems, to me, no concrete Christianity to me. Modern Christianity baffles me completely.
    How can we say this guy didn't receive any special transmissions from God telling him to do this? How does that differ from any other revelations people have gotten from God over the years. Yes, this was a terrorist attack, but plenty of countries with thousands of soldiers have gone dutifully to war with such a divine mission, killing thousands upon thousands. Any enlightenment or friendly discussion would be greatly appreciated.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Confused Chris

      "real Christian" not "real question"

      Sorry guys, it's late.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @ Confused Chris

      You make an important point.

      As per Islamic beliefs, GOD reveals in the Quran that people altered the real message of Jesus. The original message of Jesus, as was the case with all other Prophets, such as Abraham, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon all of them), was to call the people to worship the ONE TRUE GOD ONLY.

      The differing versions as well as the contradictins in the bible that exist today is testimony to the fact that the original revelation given to Jesus was altered as time went by. This is also why GOD promised that HE will preserve the Quran till the day of judgement, as it is the last revelation.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • peace

      To know Jesus Word, is a hidden codes. Its only Christians and peoples choosen by GOD know this meaning. Islam never know because Islam based on wordly minded. If muhammed say kill infidels then Islam think that muhammed order to kill "the body" of infidels. In Christianity, if Jesus said love all peoples including Islam then it means to love "spritual" and not love "the body". Christianity is all about spritual mind of Jews teaching while Islam is about wordly mind of Jews teaching. TO understand Christ Word, you must release wordly minded. Before you read other chapter in bible, start it by read story of Jesus in new testament. After your mind is spritual then you can understang the promise of GOD long time before Adam and forever.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @peace

      "To know Jesus Word, is a hidden codes"

      On the contrary, Islam does not require anyone to decipher "hidden codes". It's message is plain and simple, as it should be as it's a message dfor everyone. The main difference between Islam and Christianity is the concept of GOD. Islam says ONE, not THREE. Ask yourself honestly – which is more logical to understand; worshipping ONE GOD ONLY (as in Islam) or worshipping THREE (as in Christianity) ?

      GOD reveals in the Holy Quran:

      "Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Maryam". And the Messiah said: "O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust." (5:72)

      THINK !

      Peace.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • peace

      @ Abu Umar: Please let me know about this:

      open ..http://quran.com/7/11

      Islam must believe trinity: Islam Quran use name "WE" mean there is more than 1 in one – trinity. This is not angels or jin because THEY ordered all angels. Of course this is not charlie angels..hahaha..lol..lol..


      Transliteration
      Walaqad khalaqnakum thumma sawwarnakumthumma qulna lilmala-ikati osjudoo li-adamafasajadoo illa ibleesa lam yakun mina assajideen

      Sahih International
      And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.

      Muhsin Khan
      And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate.

      Pickthall
      And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration.

      Yusuf Ali
      It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who prostrate.

      Shakir
      And certainly We created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam. So they did prostrate except Iblis; he was not of those who prostrated.

      Dr. Ghali
      And indeed We already created you, thereafter We fashioned you, thereafter We said to the Angels, "Prostrate to Adam;" so they prostrated, except Iblis; he was not of the prostrators.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • peace

      This is from Bibles about hidden meaning that only known by them that GOD have revealed:

      At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

      Mat 18:7 Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. Muhammed??

      Jas 4:4 Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world becometh an enemy of God.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @ peace

      Actually, I am not surprised that you misinterpreted the word "we" to mean more than one. You have taken the word "son" which was mentioned figuratively, and applied It literally, giving rise to the totally false and grave accusation that GOD begot a son ! Let me ask you – In real life, if an elderly calls you "son" affectionately, do you consider him to be your real father ??

      Peace.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • peace

      A Abu Umar: YES, it is a spritual father. But unfortunetely, there is only one father spritual: It is GOD it self that created humanity.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @peace

      Good. Now that you accept that what is meant is "father" in a "spiritual" sense and not "literally". that is in line with what GOD mentions in the Quran; that GOD does not beget a son. Everyone, including the prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon all of them) were HIS messengers who called the people to worship HIM ONLY.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Krin

      I think you put a clear mark on the problem there! this is exacly why we must discuss the meaning of the holy texts of the past and how they may be percieved by people. We can't just claim that people are wrong and not true christians, muslims, jews etc, beacuse they were not enlightened enough or whatever, that is to shy from responibility. real people are commiting crimes in the name of religion and backs up there claims in real texts that we claim to be holy. this is a problem!

      to Peace:
      since you know the spiritual way of the bible and know that you're not supposed to really murder people, would you mind telling Anders Behring Breivik, Hitler, the guy who stood behind the crusades, King Ferdinand of spain who started the Inquisition, MNCA in india and all the other people who murder in the name of jesus, cause they seemed to have missed it...

      July 27, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  17. Spiffy

    The bible says that slavery is OK. So do all Christians support slavery? I doubt it.

    Most Christians don't even follow the bible so by definition they aren't Christian.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • peace

      bible never slavery ok. Bible only show that in that time slavery is a fact.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Krin

      You're right!

      Bible quote:
      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      July 27, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Krin

      (I meant Spiffy was right of course)

      July 27, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  18. Adam

    While I agree that Christians, and all people, should denounce this violent act, I take issue with blaming religion. Crazy people can take anything they want and twist it to fit their crazy beliefs. Mark David Chapman cited Catcher In The Rye as his influence to kill John Lennon. Does that mean JD Salinger should be blamed? In this very article, the author undermines his own point by including the fact that this murderer plagiarized from other works that had nothing to do with Islam or Christianity, like the unabomber's manifesto. He was merely seeking out words he believed justified beliefs he already held. The bible was merely a convenient resource, due to it's nature of being open to interpretation. A whole religion should not be blamed for the actions of one individual who went against everything the vast majority of that religion stands for. No more than Norway should be held responsible for the actions of one Norwegian or white blonde Nordic
    Men should be held responsible for the actions of one white blonde Nordic man. The blame lies with this madman alone.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • ysc

      Along with your example of Mark David Chapman and JD Salinger, you could also add whether we could blame....

      Jodie Foster for Hinckley's attempted assassination of Reagan.
      Or "The Basketball Diaries" movie and Marilyn Manson (the atheist) for the Columbine killers.
      Or scantily-dressed women for their rapists.
      On and on....

      July 27, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  19. Keith Daniels

    @Alex kalish, the rest of you. Read this. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman

    July 27, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  20. Alex kalish

    This is absurd. I can call myself a Christian but if I don't follow christ's way (I.e. Kill people), does that really make me a Christian. Come on man, don't be such a liberal sensationalist. Really unfair journalism.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Buddy R

      Yes, that is obvious to any honest, rational person who has a clue about Christianity. However, anti-theists don't mind lying about religion in general and Christianity in particular.

      July 27, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Omar

      This is absurd. I can call myself a Muslim but if I don't follow Mohammed's way (I.e. Kill people), does that really make me a Muslim.

      Welcom to our world Alex

      July 27, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • peace

      Yes indeed killing is one of mohammed way. He can't win Mecca without killing. Christ win Rome without killing. Christ win only by love. Muhammed??? he never win without killing. He is a real looser...

      July 27, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Abu Umar

      @peace

      "He can't win Mecca without killing"

      That just show your utter ignorance of history. What happened is exactly the opposite of what you mentioned. When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reentered Mecca (his hometown) from where he was exiled by his enemies, he was accompanied by a large number of Muslims and they could have easily killed their enemies in Mecca. Yet, the Prophet entered Mecca with his head lowered down in humbleness to ALLAAH. Not a drop off blood was shed and the Prophet explicitly told the people of Mecca that he forgives all of them.

      Get your facts straight.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:26 am |
    • Hope

      @ Abu Umar : your muhhamed use immigrant to attack mecca just like now Europe with islam immigrant.

      open: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad

      In 615, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated to the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian emperor Aṣḥama ibn Abjar.

      In 617, the leaders of Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams, two important Quraysh clans, declared a public boycott against Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, to pressurize it into withdrawing its protection of Muhammad. The boycott lasted three years but eventually collapsed as it failed in its objective

      Islamic tradition relates that in 620, Muhammad experienced the Isra and Mi'raj, a miraculous journey said to have occurred with the angel Gabriel in one night. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have travelled from Mecca on a winged horse to "the farthest mosque" (in Arabic: masjid al-aqsa), which Muslims usually identify with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

      By 622, Muhammad emigrated to Medina, a large agricultural oasis. Those who migrated from Mecca along with Muhammad became known as muhajirun (emigrants).

      In March of 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Muslims set an ambush for them at Badr.

      Muhammad expelled from Medina the Banu Qaynuqa, one of three main Jewish tribes.[10] Following the Battle of Badr, Muhammad also made mutual-aid alliances with a number of Bedouin tribes to protect his community from attacks from the northern part of Hijaz

      The attack at Badr committed Muhammad to total war with Meccans, who were now anxious to avenge their defeat. To maintain their economic prosperity, the Meccans needed to restore their prestige, which had been lost at Badr.[100] In the ensuing months, Muhammad led expeditions on tribes allied with Mecca and sent out a raid on a Meccan caravan.[101] Abu Sufyan subsequently gathered an army of three thousand men and set out for an attack on Medina

      Thus, Muhammad led his force outside to the mountain of Uhud (where the Meccans had camped) and fought the Battle of Uhud on March 23.[103][104] Although the Muslim army had the best of the early encounters, indiscipline on the part of strategically placed archers led to a Muslim defeat, with 75 Muslims killed including Hamza, Muhammad's uncle and one of the best known martyrs in the Muslim tradition. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory. and Muhammad subsequently delivered Qur'anic verses 3:152 which indicated that their defeat was partly a punishment for disobedience and partly a test for steadfastness

      Around a year later, Muhammad expelled the Banu Nadir from Medina. During the battle, the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza, located at the south of Medina, had entered into negotiations with Meccan forces to revolt against Muhammad. The Banu Qurayza eventually surrendered and all the men, apart from a few who converted to Islam, were beheaded, while the women and children were enslaved

      Although Muhammad had already delivered Qur'anic verses commanding the Hajj,[125] the Muslims had not performed it due to the enmity of the Quraysh. In the month of Shawwal 628, Muhammad ordered his followers to obtain sacrificial animals and to make preparations for a pilgrimage (umrah) to Mecca, saying that God had promised him the fulfillment of this goal in a vision where he was shaving his head after the completion of the Hajj

      Although Muhammad had already delivered Qur'anic verses commanding the Hajj,[125] the Muslims had not performed it due to the enmity of the Quraysh. In the month of Shawwal 628, Muhammad ordered his followers to obtain sacrificial animals and to make preparations for a pilgrimage (umrah) to Mecca, saying that God had promised him the fulfillment of this goal in a vision where he was shaving his head after the completion of the Hajj

      Negotiations commenced with emissaries going to and from Mecca. While these continued, rumors spread that one of the Muslim negotiators, Uthman bin al-Affan, had been killed by the Quraysh. Muhammad responded by calling upon the pilgrims to make a pledge not to flee (or to stick with Muhammad, whatever decision he made) if the situation descended into war with Mecca. This pledge became known as the "Pledge of Acceptance" (Arabic: بيعة الرضوان , bay'at al-ridhwān‎) or the "Pledge under the Tree". News of Uthman's safety, however, allowed for negotiations to continue, and a treaty scheduled to last ten years was eventually signed between the Muslims and Quraysh.[127][128] The main points of the treaty included the cessation of hostilities; the deferral of Muhammad's pilgrimage to the following year; and an agreement to send back any Meccan who had gone to Medina without the permission of their protector.

      After signing the truce, Muhammad made an expedition against the Jewish oasis of Khaybar, known as the Battle of Khaybar. This was possibly due to it housing the Banu Nadir, who were inciting hostilities against Muhammad, or to regain some prestige to deflect from what appeared to some Muslims as the inconclusive result of the truce of Hudaybiyya.[102][130] According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad also sent letters to many rulers of the world, asking them to convert to Islam (the exact date is given variously in the sources)

      Muhammad began to prepare for a campaign.[137] In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. With minimal casualties, Muhammad took control of Mecca.[138] He declared an amnesty for past offences, except for ten men and women who had mocked and ridiculed him in songs and verses. Some of these were later pardoned.[139] Most Meccans converted to Islam and Muhammad subsequently destroyed all the statues of Arabian gods in and around the Kaaba.[140][141] The Qur'an discusses the conquest of Mecca

      July 27, 2011 at 5:57 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.