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. TheTruth72

    Take this to heart. This is the beginning of persecution of Christians in America. This is a false flag trying to stir up hate towards Christians. If people actually read the Bible and not pretend they know it, you would see that Christianity is all about love towards one another. Christians and terrorism cannot be used together truthfully.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • SayWhaaa

      Oh Man do you people ever stop playing the victim card.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      This IS one more act in an on-going attack on Christianity. This CNN Belief BLOG is definitely dedicated to anti-Christian propaganda. The main strategy is "divide and conquer" and they employ it well. It is by design; intended to under mine and discredit Christianity. They do not do it against any other group.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Abu Umar

      I woud suggest you search on Internet forums and check for yourself the abuse left by so called Christians against Muhammad (peace be upon him). If you are fair seeker of truth, you will realise that there are very few abuses in the Internet forums done by Muslims against Jesus (peace be upon him). If you ponder what I just mentioned, you will realise there is a reason for this. The Quran mentions all the prophets as preaching the same message, to worship the ONE TRUE GOD ONLY. If a Muslim were to abuse Jesus (peace be upon him), he/she she will be out of the fold of Islam. we Muslims respect and follow all of the prophets, as they preached the same message, to worship the ONE TRUE GOD, and to reject the false deities. None of the prophets asked people to worship them. GOD clearly warns those who worship Jesus as god and threatens them with eternal punishment, as it is the GREATEST SIN and OPPRESSION that a person can commit against GOD.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @ TheTruth72, are Christians fed to lions? Are they forced to wear some kind of identifying badge on their clothing? Are they arrested, tortured, disappeared, denied access to their houses of worship? Are they shot in the street or dragged from their homes? No? Then they aren’t being persecuted. Get over yourself.

      @ RightTurnClyde, just because Christianity is no longer the default and all-encompassing doesn’t mean it’s being attacked. Not getting your way all the time is not an attack. It’s not getting your way. Like Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and any number of faiths have head to deal with for centuries. Having your fee-fees hurt does not mean you’re being oppressed.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  2. Activ8a

    Of course, Christians and others should denounce these senseless murders. But when it comes down to it, Jesus was against violence and bloodshed; the same can't be said for Muhammad. Just because the psychotic killer is a blonde, blue-eyed hippie who makes absurd references to Christianity, that doesn't make him a Christian. There are plenty of White Europeans who are as un-Christian (or more so) as anyone else.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Joe

      Ummm have you read Mathew 10:34-36? If not here is a quick Bible lesson and this is what Jesus said mind you

      Matthew 10:34-36
      King James Version (KJV)

      34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

      35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

      36And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Kewl Ade

      Like many other sayings of Jesus, the meaning is not literal but hidden. It's not literally about kililng people in your family.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  3. Maria

    I agree with you, Christians have the responsibility to condemn this man's use of Christian writing. That's not even debatable. While there are some who are naive and will claim that he's not a "real" Christian (like in these comments), most will condemn him as a terrorist.

    You call for Christian condemnation but with hundreds of thousands of all faiths having marched already and even more condemning him around the globe, that call is simply not needed. It's superfluous. Because where exactly are all these Christians who sit in non-judgmental silence, or even celebrate his murderous act of terror? Where exactly are the throngs of Christians publicly taking to the streets to burn the Norwegian flag and cheer? Are they gathering in social houses, coffee houses, or bars, cheering at the news reports that show a bombed out building and the covered bodies of the young?

    The truth is that it's only the twisted internet spheres which birthed and nourished this warped man, they are the ones cheering. And these types of people cheer at every act of terror, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sectarian, Left, or Right. They cheer because they want to see our world burn. They want to see all of us burn.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  4. Tricia

    It is surprising that so many commenters are missing the point. If you spew garbage ideas and then people out in the wide world act on those ideas, you might be accountable. That's the point. Hitler didn't kill 6 million Jews, but people swayed by his arguments did. Thoughts have power. Simple enough concept.

    And, if Christians blame Muslims for 9/11, and it sure seems that many do, then OF COURSE, Christians should blame Christians for this nut job. And, if you can't do that, then stop blaming Muslims for 9/11. You can't have it both ways. If all Muslims are responsible for 9/11 and there's no middle ground, then all Christians are responsible for the actions of this warped individual.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Hitler didn't kill 6 million Jews? Excuse me! This was called the "final solution" and they had formal high ranking meetings to approve it. Oh yes he did. Hitler was not Christian - he was an anti-Christ .. and a servant of Satan. He deliberately and consciously bombed London (day and night) and destroyed Poland and had extermination camps. They lined up one-out-of-ten and shot them in France, in Greece and eastern Europe. They starved and annihilated 20 million Russians. In all 55 people million were brutally k.i.l.l.e.d. and Hitler approved it and provided the army and the resources to accomplish it. You don't get to revise history to your incorrect opinion

      July 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      This nut job was not caused by anything other than a defective brain. He is a nut job. It was not caused by Christians and it was not caused by guns (which are completely illegal there) or by the existence of whatever materials he used. It was caused by his sick and defective mind. If you do not understand that then grow up.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • SayWhaaa

      Yeah whatever helps you sleep at night clyde. Get over it you are the same garbage you make Muslims out to be.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. WEBSPY

    America has killed 1 million Muslim man women and children in the past 2 decades Osama says he will try to do the same and kills 10 thousand all total...and we should condem Osama and not mention America... As I like to say Bush and Osama are both scabs on humanity!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  6. Abu Umar

    To the folks who are vehemently denying this person was a Christian, I would urge you to consider this: If a person with a muslim name commits an act of terrorism, he is immediately labelled an "Islamic" terrorist, no questions asked, even though the Quran clearly states that a person who kills an innocent is like he/she has murdered then whole of humanity (the Quran mentions this in reference to murder of ANY innocent person, irrespective of the victims belief):
    To quote from the Quran:
    "On that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear (guidance), yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (5:32)"

    Now that you are at the receiving end, I'm sure you will realize how ordinary Muslims feel when the actions of a bunch of madmen are wrongly attributed to their religion.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      I'm pretty sure you left out some parts of the Quran that contradict what you just said.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @ Abu Umar

      I just have one question for you Abu: How many "christians" did you see celebrating this "man's" actions? Because I seem to remember thousands of "muslims" celebrating and dancing in the streets after 9/11...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Ayesha

      TheTruth72: There are tons of references in the Bible (New Testament) that contradicts its own commandments/stories.

      Abu Umar: well said.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • SayWhaaa

      Yeah lets see those thousands of Muslims idiot. I remember a video being shot that couldn't even be verified that it was shot on 9/11 and that video had like 20 people in it. I got one for you now what the heck was the world doing when thousands upon thousands were massacred in Srebencia. Just because some precious American lives were lost doesn't mean the whole world needs to go to war for it. Worse things than 9/11 happen everyday.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Vicki S

      Nicely put, Abu. Thank you. I wish more Muslims would speak out as you've done. Speaking as a Christian, I am appaled at this man's actions in the name of Christ. He may be Christian, but his behavior isn't. Same goes for Osama. He may have been Muslim, but his behavior wasn't.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @SayWhaaa

      You said, "Yeah lets see those thousands of Muslims idiot. I remember a video being shot that couldn't even be verified that it was shot on 9/11 and that video had like 20 people in it."

      First of all, the fact that you resort to name calling is very telling about where your heart is with regards to this issue...Secondly I am not referring to one video in particular but the many images and literature that both supported and endorsed those particular attacks...

      Then you said, " I got one for you now what the heck was the world doing when thousands upon thousands were massacred in Srebencia."

      Not sure where Srebenica is...Not trying to poke fun if you misspelled, but I am not familiar with any place by that name...

      Lastly you said, "Just because some precious American lives were lost doesn't mean the whole world needs to go to war for it. Worse things than 9/11 happen everyday."

      It seems here that you have also wrongly as-sumed that I am American...I am not...As for the "whole world" going to war for the events of 9/11, I think you are grossly oversimplifying with that statement: there were many other factors that led to Afghanistan...And also after having been to Afghanistan myself I can assure you that the vast majority of the people that live there hate "all" westerners and I have little trouble believing that the vast majority of them celebrate every time another westerner dies...

      July 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Abu Umar

      @Doesn't matter
      How many Muslims do YOU personally know who celebrated 9/11 In the streets ? Do you have close friends who are Muslims ?  You seem to be in a state of paranoia and basing your opinion on something you saw on TV, which is not a very objective approach to understand a religion. There is no media channel that provides 100% honest, unbiased news coverage anyway (case in point –  FOX news ;-)). If you want to truthfully know about Islam, seek from the right sources. I am a Muslim, and live in a Muslim country, and I have yet to meet anyone who openly celebrates 9/11 in the streets, as you claim.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • An O'Brien

      Abu Umar – How do we know that you are not practising taqiyyah?

      Qur'an 3:28 enjoins Muslims not to take the company of non-Muslims unless as a means of safeguarding themselves.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Abu Umar

      You said, "How many Muslims do YOU personally know who celebrated 9/11 In the streets ?"

      If you're asking if I know them personally the answer is no of course because why would I associate with people who would celebrate something like that? But if you are asking how many people do I know "for sure" who celebrated? I can't give you an exact figure, but when I spent 8 months in Afghanistan, which is (as I'm sure you know) a predominately muslim country, the vast majority of those people celebrated every death of "any" westerner that occurred, so it is a fairly safe guess that they were ecstatic when thousands died at once...

      Then you said, "Do you have close friends who are Muslims ?"

      No I do not, just as I'm sure you don't have any close christian friends, although not because I don't like them but because there just aren't many where I live.

      Next you said, "You seem to be in a state of paranoia and basing your opinion on something you saw on TV, which is not a very objective approach to understand a religion."

      I am not paranoid about anything I was making a statement that the difference about what happened in Oslo was that there was no support from the supposed religion of the perpatrator the way there always is when a "muslim" commits an act of terror as breivek did.

      Then you said, "There is no media channel that provides 100% honest, unbiased news coverage anyway (case in point – FOX news )."

      I agree and I never said it was...

      Lastly you said, "If you want to truthfully know about Islam, seek from the right sources. I am a Muslim, and live in a Muslim country, and I have yet to meet anyone who openly celebrates 9/11 in the streets, as you claim."

      I already am well aware of what islam believes and teaches thanks...and that's good that you don't know anyone who was happy about 9/11, but does that mean that because "you" don't know of any, there aren't any? That's not very objective either is it?

      July 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Kewl Ade

    Thank you for an excellent editorial. It is interesting and unsurprising to note the muted response to the truth that words and ideas matter and can create horrific violence. We prefer perhaps to see this one shooter in Oslo as an abberation rather than a reflection of the truth that hateful words and ideas poison us all.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Kewl Ade

      You said, "Thank you for an excellent editorial. It is interesting and unsurprising to note the muted response to the truth that words and ideas matter and can create horrific violence. We prefer perhaps to see this one shooter in Oslo as an abberation rather than a reflection of the truth that hateful words and ideas poison us all."

      Exactly what "hateful words and ideas" are you referring to? His manifesto or the bible? If you think the bible endorses or condones hatred of anyone, perhaps you should actually read it...If you are speaking about what "people" say the bible says, well I can't speak for everyone and I will not have to give an account for the actions of anyone but myself...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kewl Ade

      Thanks for asking–the hate I am speaking of is not in the Bible at all but is used by forces that use the BIble to sow fear, hatred and division into the world. They are the words of extremists and xenophobes, who define one group as "in" and another group as "out" and who fail to acknowledge that God is above all, and that our neighbor truly is ourself.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Kewl Ade

      Is this the same way that you have defined some people as "extremists"?

      July 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  8. Artimus

    Stephen, this is a very convoluted piece of writing and reasoning. Can you be specific about what aspects of the New Testament he cited in his demented manifesto or other pronouncements related to this act of terrorism? His understanding of Christian history is irrelevant to his standing as a "Christian." Atheists can be students of "Christian history" are Christians responsible for their acts as well? It's very strange that this "anti-muslim Christian terrorist" didn't target or kill (as far as we know) muslims – he killed his fellow "Christians." Christians, and all other sane people, should condemn his heinous and cowardly acts of violence. His views on the problems caused by the deliberate introduction of un-assimilating islam into Europe is actually pretty accurate. I think this is what you want "Christians" to reject but are too cowardly yourself to come out and say it.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  9. frank the anti-liberal

    they can't denounce because he is not a christian!!!! he doesn't belong to a church and did not do it in the name of christ.
    stop confusing people!! he did not shout anything related to Christ!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban

      Sorry FAIL. He claims he is a christian. He might not be one like you but he is a christian. He believes in the same zombie you do. Suck it up and take the lashes like your dead christ did.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Anti Christian Taliban

      You said, "Sorry FAIL. He claims he is a christian. He might not be one like you but he is a christian. He believes in the same zombie you do. Suck it up and take the lashes like your dead christ did."

      First of all my Christ is not dead, He conquered death and rose again. Second, you said he "claims" to be a christian...so by that rationale I can "claim" to be something and I am? So if I claim to be an American and commit a mass murder should all Americans be held responsible? Or if I claim to be the king of the universe, does that make it so?
      Before you pronounce failure perhaps you should spend some more time thinking before you write...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban

      Doesn't matter

      First of all my Christ is not dead, He conquered death and rose again. Second, you said he "claims" to be a christian...so by that rationale I can "claim" to be something and I am? So if I claim to be an American and commit a mass murder should all Americans be held responsible? Or if I claim to be the king of the universe, does that make it so?
      Before you pronounce failure perhaps you should spend some more time thinking before you write...
      -------------
      First there is no evidence that your zombie christ rose from the dead. You trust what men have written. Mormons have magical plates but again they trust what men have written. Muslims think their prophet rose to heaven...but then again they trust what men have written. The mass murderer is a christian but I never said that all christians should pay for his "sins". Enjoying holding that mirror? S u c k s when one of your own goes rogue.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Anti Christian Taliban

      You said, "First there is no evidence that your zombie christ rose from the dead."

      This is of course your opinion and you are ent-i-tled to it, but if you really believe that perhaps you should investigate the matter yourself instead of taking other people's opinion as gospel the way you claim anyone who believes in a diety does...

      Then you said, "You trust what men have written. Mormons have magical plates but again they trust what men have written. Muslims think their prophet rose to heaven...but then again they trust what men have written."

      The difference here of course has nothing to do with trustung what "men" have written, it has to do with faith in whatever diety you believe...If you accept that there is a diety responsible for inspiring someone to write about them then really it is not the person writing but the diety writing through them...so your argument from that perspective is moot...

      Then you said, "The mass murderer is a christian but I never said that all christians should pay for his "sins"."

      Neither did I, I only said that you cannot hold christians responsible for what he did based on the fact that people have erringly referred to him as a christian when by his actions he has denied everything that christ stood and died for...

      And lastly you said, "Enjoying holding that mirror? S u c k s when one of your own goes rogue."

      As I stated above he was not one of my own...he neither attended a church nor has he been embraced by one...therefore in what way was he part of the body of christ (the church)? He himself has stated in his manifesto that he is not a christian "in the strictest sense" and many of his statements directly contradict what christ taught not to mention his actions are also in direct conflict with christian love...so exactly in what way is he one of my own?

      July 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Doesn't matter

      @Anti Christian Taliban

      Then you said, "You trust what men have written. Mormons have magical plates but again they trust what men have written. Muslims think their prophet rose to heaven...but then again they trust what men have written."

      The difference here of course has nothing to do with trustung what "men" have written, it has to do with faith in whatever diety you believe...If you accept that there is a diety responsible for inspiring someone to write about them then really it is not the person writing but the diety writing through them...so your argument from that perspective is moot...

      ------------–
      Actually no it isn't moot. It starts with the "faith" in the writings....the writings of men. As other religions, man's faith/trust has always been in writings of men. I am not sure how simplier it can get.

      July 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  10. Winglass

    If Christians begin conspiring to kill Muslims, then I'll speak out. One individual with an inhuman view of reality who acts alone cannot be equated to Muslim-terrorists who make a collective effort to carry out their deeds. It's a bad line of reasoning to suggest that those who are anti-peoplewhowanttokillAmericans also express hatred of Islamic faith and therefore share the blame for the tragedy in Norway. Americans' obeying of laws political correctness is terrorists' most efficient weapon.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  11. derekkistner

    The author's need to attach Christianity to a mass murder is strange... but he's stuck like all other liberal minded. I don't doubt his sincerity, but when you don't get it, you don't get it. I'm left wondering if he even understands Christianity. Many liberal minded think they understand Christianity, but they don't. It's just that simple. It should be obvious, but just because someone writes a journal with Bible verses and considers themselves Christian doesn't make them a Christian. It pains me to declare something that basic, but so many just can't grasp it. Just because I own a hammer and nails, it doesn't make me a carpenter. Christians "follow Jesus". They do what He would do, which is bless enemies, pray for people, etc., not kill. As a Christian myself, this article across silly. Liberals simply can't see what they're blind to.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Vicki S

      You could say the exact same thing about Muslims. It's painful when you are holding the mirror, sometimes.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Nonimus

      And this reasoning doesn't also apply to Muslims?

      July 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Paul

      That was the entire point being made... That fringe believers killing indiscriminately in the name of GOD don't represent their respective religions, but it behooves those of the same religion to denounce the perpetrator and their actions, and more importantly, to assume that religiously based hate speech will continue to breed more of this. This argument is nor anti-Christian, it is just showing that Muslims don't have a monopoly on terrorism.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • derekkistner

      I find it interesting that the three people who responded to me all brought up an argument about Muslims when I didn't even mention Muslims. Weird. My comment to the author was about wrongly attaching Christianity to mass murder, not anything or any faith else. Yes, I'm aware that a growing post-9/11 liberal agenda that some liberals don't even know they've fallen into is to defend the mainstream Muslim faith while demonizing what they make to be Christianity, but this author's piece is just silliness at a new level, yet it does represent liberal sentiment very accurately. Again, my argument is that the author has a painful, woeful misunderstanding of Christianity and Christians. He's trying to call a cat a dog. The killer is a proven lunatic. I know it's hard, but just leave it at that. Calling him Christian is like calling CNN conservative. It's just incorrect, factually speaking, though I don't expect modern liberal outlets such as CNN or their writers to care about facts or truth. There is such a thing as truth by the way. Oh, and the only reason I found this article was because it was shared onto my Twitter feed.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Accoring to Islamic tradition, the following lines are drafted by Muhammad:

    "In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful; from Muhammad, slave of
    God and prophet, to Heraclius, lord of the Romans; peace be upon the rightly
    guided. I come to you with a call for submission; submit, and you will live in
    peace."

    The demand of Muhammad is outrageous. He requires the Roman emperor, who was a Christian, to convert to Islam. Solely on this condition Muhammad would not attack the Roman Empire (also called Byzantium at the time of Heraclius and Muhammad).

    Islam, no thank you! Barf!

    Heraclius was emperor of Byzantium from 610 to 641 a. D.. Muhammad died in 632 a. D..

    July 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Joe

      You are mistaken he quoted lines from the koran that said
      'O people of the scripture! Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah).' (Âl 'Imran 3:64).

      He was inviting the King to Islam and was looking fo an allie he was not threating the King at all. People think Muslims are tought that Christians and Jews are infidals which is not the case. Christians and Jews are refered to as people of the book in the Quran because Muslims believe in Jesus (not in the same way) and Moses. In fact they are allowed to marry a Christian or Jew and can not try to force them to convert.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  13. IndyJim

    What he did was a bad thing, a very bad thing. There is no justification whatever his thought process. On behalf of Christians all over the world, we condemn this man, and I vow if I ever hear a fellow Christian in my church speak out in favor of any violent act like this I will stand up to that person. Ok, can we move on to the next world news topic now?

    July 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  14. Lynz

    This is another sloppy opinion piece.
    When Joseph Stack flew his plane into the IRS building after posting a manifesto which ideologically can only be described as Communist bent with a Michael Moore filmography twist, did anyone call upon communists and did you ask Michael Moore to embrace that individual and then repudiate his actions? There is nothing in the Communist doctrine that prohibits violence though is there.
    When James Lee tried to blow up The Discovery Channel, his reasoning that of an Environmental Extremist did you call upon all environmentalists to embrace and repudiate. Don't think so. Did Al Gore, father of the hysteria over carbon issue any statement repudiating Lee's action , uh no, didn't happen did it. Of course there is nothing in an environmental doctrine that prohibits murder against human beings is there.
    when Muslims commit murder in the name of their religion, there are calls for Muslims to denounce theses actions.
    But too many times these calls are drowned out by non muslims racing to make the distinction of peace loving and muslim extremists, yes. I would not hold my breath waiting for Whoopie Goldberg to publicly urge that everyone to do that.
    Finding one basic tenet of Islam that prohibits violence against everyone is problematic because it's very nature is that of Submission and a Fatwah urging violence is binding as part of that submission. All prohibitions within the text I have read do urge within muslims a code of behaviour, however against the world of the unbeliever and that's all non muslims. So actions of lying, murder against unbeliever have been justified by clerics within their faith. The only widely accepted prohibition during the first Jihad was to not murder the "people of the book", that would be Jews and Christians, but all of the people of the book would have to under Muslim rule and could not do anything against Islam. As we know Bin Laden called for a Jihad, the 2nd Jihad and made the distinction that this time the people of the book should expect the same treatment as all non muslims which was coerced conversions under threat of death.
    Now this man in Norway claims to be some kind of Christian and you have chosen to now call for all Christians to accept this man as a brother of the faith and then repudiate Christian extremism. This is absurd because by his actions he denied everything that Christianity is based on. How can one claim to embrace and then violate the very basis of Christianity be deemed a Christian. If he followed the teachings of Jesus Christ, and that's what Christianity is, he would not have murdered these people. No, this man is not a believer in Christ, what he should be called is what he is , a Heretic against the Christian faith, and should be deemed by all Christians as such.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • WEBSPY

      What religion is Jared???? it struck me both made a political point but one was portrayed as mental the other religious!

      July 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I agree with Lynz. This is an insult to every Christian and a very transparent attempt to infer that millions of Christians are insane like whomever this Norway nut is .. the crazy man is an anomaly one-to-seven billion .. why not ask all 7 billion to renounce his acts (and make that implication). Hard to understand how people like Prothero have university professorships when they write something this stupid. But then O.b.a.m.a.s professor buddy got mad when a cop asked for ID when he was breaking into a house.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  15. WEBSPY

    gr12345 I know so I'm good,,, and I also know an out dated version of a deity that is all knowing there for why not just put us there,,,a little to simplistic for me ... I like to say if I lived a 100 life times I would not comprehend mother nature let alone God there for where my imagination ends God begins and in between those 2 points is all and nothing that is the same!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Lynz

      His associating himself with the "Knights of Templar" is interesting, was he basing his actions Dan Brown's mythic version. Hmm ,why don't you call on him to denounce the Norwegian murder who fancied himself a Knight of Templar, and shall we wait for Tom Hanks to make a public statement calling upon all to make the distinction between peace loving followers of these ancient knights and violent followers. See how absurd your article is.
      by the way, still waiting Whoopie for you to make the same distinction between peace loving Christians and terrorists who call themselves Christians that you made for Muslims.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  16. SayWhaaa

    Excellent job Mr. Prothero. Both Muslims and Christians have made a habit of deflecting blame and pinning it on each other. Sadly people will always find an excuse, the most ridiculous being that Jesus didn't teach violence, what people don't understand is that it doesn't matter what Jesus taught or didn't taught rather how it is interpreted.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Andrew

    As a Christian Pastor I have no problem denouncing this mans acts and his supposed faith. It is certainly not the faith of historic orthodox biblical Christianity.

    This man states in his manifesto that his first ultimate committment is to rational science over the Bible or anything else. He states that he does not pray and has never considered himself a religous man. He states that his definition of Christian does not require belief in God much less Jesus and certainly doesn't require a personal relationship with either.

    It is simply unfair to blame bible believing Christians for somebody who says you can be an atheist by his definition and still be a Christian. And it is definitely not sound reporting much less opinion.

    On another note Jesus affirmed the seriousness of rebellion against God, affirmed a coming judgment, and yet taught his followers that they are to love their enemies and leave room for the wrath of God. He also told them to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins in his name to the ends of the earth.

    This offer of mercy before judgment day was even extedned to the Jews whom Peter (a Jew) proclaimed to have conspired together with the Gentiles to put Jesus to death. Acts 2 records his sermon to the Jewish crowd and 3000 were said to repent recieve mercy and be united into the fellowhsip of the Church. That Church is not a Gentile Church it is a Church made up of Jews and Gentiles who both need forgiveness and have found forgiveness through Jesus (Ephesians 2).

    Believing every word of the Bible and taking it seriously cannot lead to Violence. The Christian is one who has found mercy rather than judgment through Jesus and proclaims that mercy to others calling them to repentance and faith. A Christian leaves judgment and wrath to God because the Bible tells him to.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  18. Reality

    Steve P,

    Listen up as the following condemnation is echoing across the globe from all good and gracious agnnostics, atheists, secularists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans:

    Another Timothy McVeigh !!! Hopefully this "nut job" meets the same fate. The sooner the better!!! If Norway does not have a death penalty, then there is always the "oops" accident. "While transporting Breivik to prison via an aircraft, the cabin door suddenly opened and he fell 30,000 ft. He did not survive the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. "

    Next topic !!!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Vicki S

      Your second paragraph is very sad. An "oops" accident? Even guilty-as-sin nut jobs deserve due process. It is one of the underpinnings of democracy. It's what separates us FROM the nut jobs and radicals. It's very hard to follow sometimes, but it is absolutely vital to a successful democracy. I hope he gets his just due, but that due must be just.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  19. aghast

    your presumption that Christians need denounce is in-of-itself absurb. all humans denounce this. your only not so transparent point is to equate the muslims that blow up buildings with supposed Christians that kill indiscrimanetly. your thesis is stupidity at the highest level. this man was a nutcase and no more a Christian than you are a scholar.

    this is a problem with higher education – is that clearly those that 'cant do' teach

    July 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Ben

      Don't think your spelling helps your case against higher education.
      But more to the point, show me the difference between the two. There is a difference in scale, yes, but each atrocity was committed by groups/individuals with political goals thinly coated in twisted religious terminology. I don't think anyone involved in either attack could be considered mentally stable.
      When the twin towers were attacked, did you expect condemnation from Muslims? I know I did.
      ...Just like I expect condemnation from the far-right conservative movements and Christian movements he claims to be affiliated with.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • SayWhaaa

      Aghast which school do you teach at since you obviously have an advanced degree in teaching.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  20. Alex

    CNN,

    This article is terrible. CNN post what you want but this is just a horrible, inconsistent article.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • SayWhaaa

      Yes God forbid somebody speaks the truth.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • WEBSPY

      Its ok most of us probably didn't read it as our points of reason and knowledge more important

      July 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • reACTIONary

      This is a great article. Instead of dodging, weaving, and denying, Christians should forthrightly accept the fact that this act of violance came from one of their own and was encouraged by the hatred of the Chrisitians who are denouncing Islam. If hate is being preached, which is actually the case, then this is the result. Say so, and say it to those who are preaching the hate!

      July 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
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.