July 25th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Is 'Christian fundamentalist' label correct for Norway terror suspect?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Given initial suspicions that Friday's bombing and mass shooting in Norway were carried out by Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda, the way police ended up describing the suspect behind the attacks came as a big surprise even to many security experts: The alleged attacker was called a "Christian fundamentalist."

But experts on European politics and religion say that the Christian fundamentalist label could overstate the extent to which the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik - who has told authorities that he carried out the attacks - was motivated by religion, and the extent to which he is tied to a broader religious movement.

"It is true that he sees himself as a crusader and some sort of Templar knight," said Marcus Buck, a political science professor at Norway's University of Tromso, referring to an online manifesto that Breivik appears to have authored and which draws inspiration from medieval Christian crusaders.

My Take: Norway attacks shows terrorism isn't just Islamic

"But he doesn't seem to have any insight into Christian theology or any ideas of how the Christian faith should play any role in Norwegian or European society," Buck wrote in an email message. "His links to Christianity are much more based on being against Islam and what he perceives of as 'cultural Marxism.'"

From what the 1,500-page manifesto says, Breivik appears to have been motivated more by an extreme loathing of European multiculturalism that has accompanied rapid immigration from the developing world, and of the European Union's growing powers, than by Christianity.

"My impression is that Christianity is used more as a vehicle to unjustly assign some religious moral weight," to his political views, said Anders Romarheim, a fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. "It is a signifier of Western culture and values, which is what they pretend to defend."

"I would say they are more anti-Islam than pro-Christian," Romarheim said in reference to what appear to be Breivik's views.

The manifesto is religion-obsessed in that it rants for long stretches against Muslims and their growing presence in Europe.

Who is Anders Behring Breivik?

It calls for a European civil war to overthrow governments, end multiculturalism and execute "cultural Marxists." The manifesto includes a link to a video asserting that the majority of Europe's population will be Muslim by 2050 "unless we manage to defeat the ruling Multiculturalist Alliance."

The author of the document identifies himself as Breivik, but CNN could not independently verify that he wrote the document, and Norwegian authorities would not confirm that the man in their custody wrote the manifesto, saying it was part of their investigation

Opposition to booming Muslim immigration to Europe, exacerbated by high birth rates in the Muslim community, has become a mainstay of Europe's burgeoning far-right, helping right-wing parties gain seats in parliaments across the continent.

But those right-wing movements are mostly secular. Europe's hard right does not have deep ties to Christianity in the way that the United States' conservative movement is entwined with evangelical Christianity and other theologically conservative religious movements.

A far-right comeback in Europe

Recently adopted European laws aimed at curbing Islam's public visibility, including France's new burqa ban and Switzerland ban on minarets - towers that a part of mosques - were secular causes, not ones championed by Christian interests. Many Christian groups oppose such bans.

"The bulk of the anti-Muslim sentiment is not against Muslims as such, but is a secular rejection of how some Muslims allegedly want to place Islam at the center of society," Buck said. "It is more anti-religious than anti-Muslim."

Breivik's apparent manifesto, by contrast, cites biblical verses to justify violence for political ends.

"Clearly, this is not a pacifist God we serve," it says. "It's God who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament, His people are commanded to fight with the best weapons available to them at that time."

"The biggest threat to Europe is the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist political doctrine of 'extreme egalitarian emotionalism,'" the manifesto goes on. "This type of political stance involves destroying Christendom, the Church, our European cultures and identities and opening up our borders to Islamic colonization."

The video that's linked to in the manifesto also includes some religious language: "Celebrate us, the martyrs of the conservative revolution, for we will soon dine in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Experts on religion in Europe said those faith-infused views are likely peculiar to the suspected gunman and do not appear reflect wider religious movements, even as they echoes grievances of Europe's right-wing political groups.

"He was a flaky extremist who might as well have claimed to be fighting for the honor of Hogwarts as for the cause of Christ," said Philip Jenkins, a Pennsylvania State University professor who studies global religion and politics, describing the suspected Norway attacker. "He did not represent a religious movement. ... People should not follow that Christian fundamentalist red herring."

At the same time, Breivik told investigators during interviews that he belongs to an international order, The Knights Templar, according to Norwegian newspaper VG, which cited unnamed sources.

He described the organization as an armed Christian order, fighting to rid the West of Islamic suppression, the newspaper said. He also told investigators he had been in contact with like-minded individuals and said he counts himself as a representative of this order, it said.

For many in Norway, the potential implications of the suspected killer's religion are still settling in.

"This is the first time we've heard of Christianity/religion as a driving force behind right-wing extremism," Buck said. "The mainstream right-wing movements in the Nordic countries (very small and disorganized groups in Norway) would generally point to the Old Norse beliefs, if anything."

"Norwegian, Nordic and European society," he said, "were totally unprepared for a violent attack from someone who calls himself Christian."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Norway • Terrorism

soundoff (1,640 Responses)
  1. CheyneyBush

    If it quaks and walk like a duck, it is definitely a duck. This nut is what he is. He is a christian fundamentalist terorist guided by his religion. We cannot paint it any way no matter how we spin it. Terrorism is terrorism regardless of who conducte it.

    Simply, this sick person is guided by his religious belief which led him to kill innocent people. He is McVeith's type period. He is a christian terrorist period!!

    July 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Avdin

      actually, if you read the article they said that it was NOT his religious beliefs, rather his political beliefs, that guided him

      July 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  2. novice75

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. As a muslim, I was somewhat relieved these acts weren't committed by a Muslim in the name of Islam. Like others I too initially thought terrorists calling themselves Muslims were the culprits who did this in the name of Islam. Perhaps there is an opportunity for moderate Muslims and Christians to at least admit – blaming an entire religion or faith serves no one. Other than hurting each others sentiments which is childish at best.

    Also, as Muslims lets not kid ourselves – for every Timothy McVeigh there are 100 if not 1000s of people willing to commit murder in the Muslim world. Victims of these atrocities are also Muslims. Its a big problem that should be acknowledged unequivocally by Muslims here in the west.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  3. snow

    Well, a guy who thumps a koran in others faces is an Islamic fundamentalist.. but a guy who thumps a bible in others faces is NOT a christian fundamentalist... Got it! Thanks for the lesson people!

    I missed school on the day when they taught stupidity in class.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      It's being taught at your local church.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • john

      Every 15 years or so, a radical white guy goes crazy and kills many people (and they don't hop on table tops while shooting everyone yelling "Jesus Christ all power to him"!!) Wow!, everyone always forgets that muslims kill THEIR OWN and others everyday around the world as they loudly say "Allah is the Greatest". They hide behind baby carriages, mosques, school buses, etc, EVERYDAY!!!. Truly, where is the outcry from muslims at the everyday murders around the world from there own! (Sorry, the USA can only be blamed so long for your troubles). I believe, as a christian, that anyone who kills an innocent person/child should be hunted down and brought to trial... hang Breivik now! (oops, sorry... noose mob on the loose). We christians would hunt the streets looking for such a low life! ...whether so called christian or muslim or jew. Not so with the muslim community.
      A Chinese man goes into a kindergarten school (in China) and kills most of them with a knife (sorry you libs, they have great gun control in China, so they use knives instead). The point is...its a human nature thing!!!!, and right now the radical islam terrorists are the biggest problem! Get over it!
      Islamic fundamentalist = expect others in your own faith to not stand up and hunt down the evil doers in your religion, followed with blaming all problems on USA instead of Fascist, Dictator, Socialist leaders! Cower in fear instead of standing up to what is right. Almost all in Islamic fundamentalist yell " allahu akbar!" when killing little children on buses.
      Christian fundamentalist = ALWAYS hunt down those who kill in the name of Christianity. NEVER, I repeat NEVER, has any so called "Christian" yelled "Christ is Great!!" in killing others.
      Common sense... it is long gone in media and general humanity.
      Ideologs always come in all forms...we are always surprised everyday when something new happens. To compare the atrocities around the world everyday to one incident is childish and not very common sensed. You picked one "christian" compared to many muslim/Islam "radicals" (political correct)whom almost EVERYDAY blow children and innocent people during weddings and funerals, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, and yell "allahu akbar" in almost all attacks. I tell you what, let me know when the ratio of Islamic killings, while they yell "Allahu Akbar"!!!!,even comes close to a 1 in 100,000 ratio of christians yelling "Christ is all Mighty!" when they kill.,

      July 26, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  4. Castle

    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      In MLK's day, he couldn't dare include "religion" in that list. But now we know, religious people (of any sect, cult or "faith") are the most dangerous people on the planet. Always have been, always will be. All religion divides.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Avdin

      thank you mike from Iowa. you are right. religion, not misinformed, deranged, mentally ill, foolish, prideful or jealous people, is what kills. imperfect creatures could not possibly be the cause.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Avdin

      though i guess, if you include atheism as a religion, you would be right. After all, Hitler only pretended to be a christian but was an atheist. Stalin was an atheist, as was Lenin. Those three put together killed more people than any number of wars instigated by religion. And yes, their atheism was a strong motivator of their deeds. In fact, a major tenant of communism was that religion caused wars and death. That didn't work out so well, now did it.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  5. being real

    See what I mean, so many on here afford of there own mortality. Why are christians right and so many, so many that came before them wrong. You and I are just animals, we just happen to be the most destructive animal that ever EVOLVED. History proves me right. Most on here had been brought up in a christian or catholic house hold, as was I. I found religion to be a hypocracy. The ten commandments are just common sense. Be a good person, help others, love your family and neighbors. Its not enough though, never is for these people. Do what I say or suffer eternity, that sounds like love to me, right.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Avdin

      y. pestis once wiped out a third of the population of europe. Even WWII didn't quite reach that number. What was this about most destructive organism?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  6. Kenzo

    "It is more anti-religious than anti-Muslim."

    Nonsense, it is the same as saying a person is against "judaism" but they are in no way ant-semitic. Any stance that is against human expression and belief is anti-humanist and oppresive.

    As for this guy, i see no difference between his beliefs and those of extremist muslims. His view is pretty much in line, except on the opposite end of what Al Queda and the Taliban believe. They want the West to cease to exist and to convert anyone or else they face death.

    Well this guy pretty much preaches the same thing on the other end. He wants multi-cultarilism to stop, he believes the power of the church is declining and is against that. He is afraid of anybody with opposing views (much like terrorist sects) This guy fits the perfect definition of a terrorist.

    As for the guy who said he isn't a real christian. Ok fine, but you can say that about any fundamentalist or extremist person (muslim, christian, jewish etc..) That doesn't take away the fact that he uses his Christian beliefs and they clearly had an influence in his thinking.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • scotschurch

      When a individual or a small cell performs some dreadful act, some people jump quickly to blame the religion he claims affiliation to, while others jump just as quickly to defend that religion, saying he is a loner, or an extremist, or a fundamentalist.
      The proof of which way to jump is surely in the reactions of the leaders and vast majority of members of the faith. By their actions and words we will discover just how close the individual's act is to he heart of the religion.....
      When the World Trade Centre was attacked, Muslims the world over celebrated with wild street parties and the burning of American flags. The perpetrators were feted as heroes throughout the Muslim world.
      With apologies and respect to the few who spoke out; very few leaders of Islam, even those who enjoy the fruits of western civilisation, spoke out to condemn such an atrocious act of terrorism vented on innocent and unsuspecting civilians.
      Yet, Christian leaders the world over have condemned the perpetrator of evil in Norway. No Christian leader that I am aware of has tried to excuse what he has done or justify it.
      Prayers have been said in hundreds of thousands of churches around the world for the victims; and if any have been offered for the perpetrator they have been prayers that he might be convicted in his heart of the sin he has done and repent of it.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • KP

      Kenzo: Have you read his manifesto? Most people who have read it, including Sam Harris (famous anti-Christian, anti-religious atheist), say that it's not pro-Christian as much as it's anti-Islamic. Sam Harris was HOPING that Anders B would be an evangelical Christian, but as Harris said, this guy just didn't fit the bill. In fact, Anders B. also criticized the Catholic and Protestant churches in his manifesto, too. He was defending European history and culture, which he defined as a Christian heritage. He wasn't a practicing Christian, there's no evidence of him being an active member of any church, etc etc.

      You should really read his manifesto before you claim what Anders B. believed or didn't believe.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Castle

    Psalm 14:1 The fool[a] says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Bob

      I am an atheist and find your comment vile.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      You can't quote from the thing under question to prove itself. That is called a self-tautology. Jesus may have been real, but all the new testament after the gospel was written by Paul who was Saul who was Christ's antagonis and who, as soon as Jesus left, began writing all the fire & brimstone stuff that Jesus had absolutely nothing to do with. Saul, who fell off of his horse and did not die from his fatal head wound.

      Jesus spoke only of loving thy neighbor. He did not preach alot of rules. Then, along comes Paul, contradicting Jesus' word and laying down all kinds of hate and rules.

      I am all for Jesus, but the Bible and Christian religion have nothing to do with Jesus.

      "I like your Jesus. I do not like your Chistians. Your christians are nothing like your Jesus." - Ghandi

      July 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      Allow me to correct myself:

      "I like your Christ. I do not like your Chistians. Your christians are nothing like your Christ." – Ghandi

      July 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Avdin

      hey mike, thank you for being one of the few from your point of view who admits that Christ was a real person. I appreciate that.
      However, I also want to point out a few things. James, Peter and John all also contributed to the new testament after paul wrote his letters. At least two of the four gospels were also written after paul had written his letters. No one is certain of the authorship of the book of Hebrews.
      Now, while paul did mention quite a few do's and don't most of these things can be backed either by the teachings of Christ himself or by the old testament, which Jesus does uphold. Furthermore, paul is also famous for penning one of the best definitions of love ever recorded:
      I Corinthians 13:4-8
      Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
      Love never fails.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  8. ruemorgue

    Let the bickering begin! Muslims will say, "Christian hypocrites!". Christians will say, "Secular Humanist disguising as Christians!" But, *no* one will say, "Zealots!" The ism (theism, atheism, communism, fascism, ...) is just an excuse for murder, as in this case.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  9. Rb1102

    Funny how people are saying he doesn't have insight into what Christianity is about so we can't label him a "Christian Fundamentalist" when at the same time we call masked Muslims "Islamic Fundamentalists" simply because they hold a Qur'an in the air. Those "Islamic Fundementalists" don't have an insight into Islam either.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • lelouch

      alas, but most people are too ignorant nowadays, it's basically mob mentality, they need someone to be the bad guy

      July 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • KP

      Actually, that's not true. The day of the attacks, many news agencies were labeling him as a "Christian Fundamentalist." Now a few days later, those same exact news agencies are admitting that Anders B. is not a practicing Christian, but was "defending" what he perceived as western cultural heritage, which includes a common Christian and pagan heritage. Hence Anders quoted both Christianity and Freemasonry as his religious beliefs, though these two are contradictory. Sam Harris, who is a famous out-spoken atheist, who is very much against both Christianity and Islam, had read Anders B.'s manifesto and admitted that Anders B. is not the "Christian Fundamentalist" that people thought he was.

      Now, regarding Islamic terrorists not "understanding Islam," this just isn't true. There's ample evidence that as a Muslim is more involved in his or her religion, then the correlation of extremist views increases. There's also evidence that as education and literacy increases, extremist views increase. The less understanding a Muslim has of the Quran, Islamic history, the Caliphate, the Sunnah, etc, the more moderate the Muslim tends to be. Moderates are less likely to pray to Mecca 5 times a day, fast during Ramaddan, read the Quran daily, less likely to practice the Haj, less likely to give Zakat, and are less likely to have chapter and verse memorized. There have been multiple studies that have shown this.

      I think people don't understand WHY Muslims are so upset that they're willing to wage war. I objectively disagree with the Muslim view on a factual basis, but what their upset about are logical legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, their governments have done nothing to solve these concerns, so they take up arms to solve their problems themselves. They view the west as installing puppet governments and controlling Muslim lands through them. This is actually partially true. They also believe that the Jews have no claim over Israel, and the land should be returned to the Muslims. I disagree with this, though this is their belief. They are also upset that their Caliphate was abolished in 1924 (after it had existed for 1400 years). They view Democracy as inherently flawed, and believe that the Quran and Sunnah provide a more just system of government. All of these are legitimate concerns that a faithful Muslim would be concerned about, while an unpracticing Muslim just doesn't know or care about these problems. Unfortunately, the faithful Muslims concerns are ignored by their perceived "puppet governments," and they feel they must take up arms to solve these problems themselves.

      You don't see millions of people pick up arms and fight for no reason. If there's enough atual crazy people in Iraq and Afghanistan to wage war with the American military, then there must be something wrong with Iraqi and Afghani DNA that causes so many people to be crazy. Simply labeling them as crazy or not understanding their religion only allows you to not understand WHY they're fighting. There's a reason they're fighting.

      Now, I believe what they stand for, what they believe in, is objectively wrong. That is, their view of the west and of Israel is wrong, on a factual basis. But that doesn't change their perception of reality from their perspective. But to just say they're crazy, they don't understand their religion, etc; is just wishful thinking without having to realize what these Muslims really believe and are concerned about.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  10. SickandTiredOftheLies

    For those of you in America who say Christianity is extreme and intolerant, I will repost on of the best responses on the subject I've ever read about a CNN article that ended with most people referencing Christianity as a horrible religion.

    "I find it hilarious that a bunch of Americans are posting comments like "good!" and "religion is evil!" and "stop Christianity before it takes over!" and "we're so oppressed by the evil Christians here!".

    Meanwhile, they live in a nation that is amongst the most secular and religiously diverse on earth (yes, really), where atheists, Jews, Mormons, and Muslims all earn more than Christians (yes, really), where religious freedom and freedom of speech are protected more than anywhere else in the world (again–yes, really), where virtually all of the most important inventions of the past century have come from, where abortion is legal, where gay marriage is legal in six states, where people are not required to declare a religion (unlike in my country!), where non-Christians are allowed to vote. All while having a 80% Christian majority.

    Let's all feel sorry for those poor oppressed non-Christian Americans who are sitting on their Macs typing screeds against Christianity without fearing any sort of repercussion from their government. It must be so hard to be them. They are clearly VERY discriminated against."

    Thank you to the person who initially posted this comment! 🙂

    July 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Joy

      Posting this quote on my facebook now. Love it!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • trentos

      It is the secular government, which our founding father's fought so hard for, that gives Americans these freedoms, not Christianity itself. But the US is creeping closer to a theocrazy (spelling error intentional) by the day. First god was put on our currency, then added to our pledge.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  11. Buddy R

    Anti-theists are fundamentally dishonest people. There is no way anyone could honestly think the man is a Christian if they know anything about the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christianity is about loving God and loving your fellow man.

    Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian.

    The man did not follow the teachings of Christ and therefore can't be called a Christian by any rational honest person. Of course anti-theists abound with their preaching of hate and intolerance of theistic religions on this website.

    The Bible states that anyone who hates or murders is not a Christian. Jesus said his followers (Christians) keep his commandments. Jesus said to love, do good to, and pray for even one's enemies.

    John 14:21 King James Version (KJV)
    21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    1 John 4:20 King James Version (KJV)
    20If 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?

    1 John 3:15 King James Version (KJV)
    15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

    Matthew 5:44 King James Version (KJV)
    44But 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;

    Luke 6:46 King James Version (KJV)
    46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

    July 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • GoodJeans

      That's right, if you can't follow the commandments you're not a Christian. You must be a Church of Christer reading out of the KJV or a crazy fundamentalist that thinks King James had it right. Though doest know that Jesus did not read from the KJV or speak in Old English right? You forgot about forgiveness, grace and mercy. If you TRY to follow the commandments of God and New Testament teachings, you are Christian. Just because you fail sometimes doesn't make you a non-christian. This is a great example of what is wrong with religion. It's not about what you do, it's about what you are.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • NJBob

      @ Buddy R - Funny, you overlooked the entire Old Testament. Why don't you quote that? Inconvenient, isn't it?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Avdin

      NJBOB here are a few old testament references:
      Genesis 45: 4-7
      Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

      Exodus 1:20-21
      So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

      Judges 2:18-23
      When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” So the LORD allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

      If you actually read those you would see that the reason most people think the old testament only talks about an angry God is because they assume that unconditional love does not discipline or become angry. God, was provoked... think about it, he gave the pharoh 10 chances to let the israelites go, each time He showed him a more powerful example of how pharohs gods would do him no good. After about 5 or 6 times most people would have just wiped the egyptians out completely... you might say God was merciful.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • popejon

      Buddy R, did you not study American History? You left out the part where the bible was used to eradicate the American Indian. Took Christians only about 2 centuries but they have successfully used the bible to commit genocide not only the culture but the people who where indigenous to this land for thousands of years before white Europeans came and took over. Only decreasing minority in America? The American Indian, that’s a real world consequence of the bible being used for destructive purposes. Any, let me repeat that, any religious scripture can be used for evil and not good. So take yourself off that high horse and go study some history of the real destruction that your so perfect book of scripture has caused. Its not alone, but its just as guilty as the rest. By the way, why was the King James Bible written in the first place? You should study up on that to.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Avdin

      popejon that was christians, not christ. there is a difference. people are sinners and they sometimes justify their actions very stupidly. Also it wasn't just christians who did that. In addition to that, diseases played a large role.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • trentos

      Your god wants to burn 4.8 billion of the world's current population. Why any sane person would want to love a "god" such as yours is beyond me.

      Just stop and think for a minute on your beliefs. Your religion doesn't make any sense and does not fit in with reality. It's so sad to think that so many of us still believe in these bronze age fairy tales.

      Do you really think there's an invisible god keeping score of all our actions? Sounds like what we teach our kids about Santa. The only difference is we never tell our kids that this whole god thing is a lie.

      Do you really think that prayer works? If you or someone you know is very sick or severely injured, don't have that person go to the doctor or ER. Just get a bunch of your religious friends together and pray a lot for that person. Let us know how that works out.

      Who created that god you are referring to? Oh yeah, man created god in his own image.

      It's funny that you say anti-theists are dishonest, when theists can't even be honest with themselves. God is made up, stop letting "him" control your lives through 2000+ year old fairy tales and fear.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Avdin

      trentos prayer does work. However, God does not always answer in the affirmative. But you wont believe that, so here are some real life stories that I can personally claim to have knowledge or.
      My sister-in-law was miraculously healed from debilitating scoleosis. By best friends brother had severe back pain due to his legs being different lengths. He was also healed and his legs are now of equal length (he was in his 20s when he was healed so rapid growth of this type was miraculous).
      I once experienced an entire day of completely small but unfathomable miracles. (Imagine getting clear across O'Hare international in 15 minutes. Then imagine testing God by asking him to change the direction of approach of the airplane at the final destination and finding that He did. Then imagine that your luggage also made it.)
      My pastor had a rare and incurable form of leukemia. God did not heal him despite many prayers. God chose to say no.

      I cannot explain why God chose to answer my tiny prayer about which direction to land on a runway and why he did not heal my pastor. But I am certain that my redeemer lives, and that He is both just and loving, even if the "polls" seem to indicate His popularity to be between 20-30%.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  12. Eugene

    The author did not do his job well. Breivik himself is explicit in the video he produced that he is speaking about Cultural Christianity, not Fundamentalist Christianity. It said in a text close to the end.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  13. illuminated Genius

    I am personally getting tired of seeing people take advantage of striking blows to opposing religions given they are all equally responsible for fueling radical fundamentalist extremists. Just because the attacks were not made by a radical muslim extremist does not mean Islam does not fuel extremists for Jihad and holy war, and just because it was done by Muslims of Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban does not mean that there are not radical extremists from the Christian side. Many people forget that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party during the second world war were Christians and used religious hatred by accusing Jews of being Christ Killers. Jews especially radical Orthodox Jews are against the state of Israel and have been known to side with radical Islamic Palestinian supporters. I believe Islam is a serious problem and it caused this psycho path to snap, but terrorism all together is a problem world wide no matter who does it as it is a crime. No manifesto or political ideology justifies the horrible crimes of terrorism and atrocities made by this monster in Norway. I blame radical Islam for fueling the problems of multiculturalism in Europe and trying to undermine society by provoking hatred, demonizing European culture and western life and all freedom together. Through out history we have seen both religious and atheists commit atrocities in humanity. Many also don't note Stalin was a Atheist who ordered millions be killed during his rule of power in the Soviet Union. Any one who commits a act of terrorism for political reasons are criminals and the world needs a real manifesto to fight against this evil in the world. Being religious or atheist does not necessarily make you better morally, one has to be devoted to be a good human being and devote his life to appreciate human life through empathy, respect for human rights in this world and human dignity of appreciating democracy and freedom in this world.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Buddy R

      While Hitler publicly professed to be a Christian privately he expressed his hatred for Christianity in particular and religion in general. He was the typical anti-theist that we see ranting about how evil religion is on this website.

      These are a few quotes of Hitler from private conversations recorded in "Table Talk."
      National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)

      19th October, 1941, night:

      The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.

      13th December, 1941, midnight:

      Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery.... .... When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunised against the disease. (p 118 & 119)

      July 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  14. redeemed

    People kill people, religion kills no one.people are sick and twisted by nature,that nature is sin

    July 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Avdin

      well put.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • ge

      There are evil people who do evil things and good people who do good things. Religion allows good people to do evil things.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  15. Keith

    If anything, it is time for our society as a whole to move beyond religion in general. It's archaic nonsense and is an early primitive form of philosophy that in the modern world has lost its value. Rather than debating Christianity vs. Islam, we should be debating Religion vs. Rational Secularism

    July 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • being real

      Exactly thank you, I hate these folks who say" your gonna burn in hell if you don't believe what I'm telling you". Wow, what a way to scare people into buying such nonsense. Believe what I say or burn in hell, tough decision, better to be safe then sorry. Glad to read a rational comment on here.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • GoodJeans

      Ummm, "rational" secularism? Just because your "opinion" is not "tainted" with religion does not make it rational. I am not a religious nut, just so you know. And just because religion is old, doesn't mean it's useless or wrong. Sheesh, breathing is archaic too but a necessary part of our lives. Religion, as well as secularism, brings many good things along with the bad. You can't have one without the other.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • trentos

      Yes religion and breathing are "old", but breathing fits in with reality and an invisible sky man does not. Religion can bring about good things as well, with strings attached.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  16. mike from iowa

    if we could lose religion, then finally there could be peace in the world.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Buddy R

      Yes, because officially atheist nations lead by atheist like Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, ect, were only responsible for the deaths of over 250 million people in the past 100 years. Far more than all other religions combined for all of recorded history.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • NJBob

      @Buddy R - That's because the people you mentioned regarded their politics as a religion, thinking they had found absolute truth. Religion in its metaphysical form or its political form is always toxic, divisive, and dangerous - and false!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Avdin

      NJBOB, if politics was their religion then I would assume that, to a degree, everyone has a religion or a god.

      What is yours?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • trentos

      Buddy R, your "god" wants to burn 4.8 billion non-christians for all eternity. Puts all those others you mentioned to shame. What a loving god you worship.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  17. being real

    There is no god. Get over it. Humans are a product of evolution. We know this to be true now. Man has made up countless religions and gods to explain what he really couldn't. I suppose the world is still flat and giant monsters will swallow our ships whole. The stars are holes in the sky and the universe revolves around us. In a few thousand years, though I highly doubt we will last that long, it will be some other religion with some other god and the same old hate for each other. There is no god. Can we please advance now, thank you.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Bill C

      I am sorry you feel this way. There is a God, and he loves us both. He only asks for you to repent and avoid an eternity in hell separated from him. I would recommend Tim Keller's "The Reason for God" which is perhaps the best book yet on proving the eixstence and need for a savior.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Buddy R

      In my opinion a person has to be missing a few brain cells to think the universe produced itself out of a steady state of absolute nothing. Atheism takes a great deal of faith and little thought.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Avdin

      Bill C, I agree with you, that book gives some wonderful insights.
      Mr. Real, what you need to realize is that there is not a single body of knowledge or way of knowing that can uncover and explain everything. My guess is that you mention evolution out of ignorance. While evolution may be the best scientific explanation for the origin of the universe it does not exclude the idea that it was started and guided by God.
      I would also caution those out there who would claim that religion has all the answers. Religion as the pursuit of a knowledge of God can never be finished or completely fulfilled. God is far to complex for our finite minds to fathom, even though He has given us scriptures and markers in nature by which to begin such a journey.
      I would further caution those who would attempt to fully integrate faith and science. Both are so incomplete (and will always remain so) that they contradict themselves on many major and minor issues. To attempt to bring about a full integration of the two bring about even greater contradictions and arguments.
      What responsible individuals should do is explore both with the wisdom that, while their knowledge will grow, it will never be complete. Thus, sciences will provide limited evidence and ways of admiring and using Gods creation (how ever He may have chosen to create), and faith will provide limited understanding and meaning to what science discovers.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • NJBob

      @Buddy R - Just because you don't understand something - in this case physics - doesn't mean it's false!!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • snow

      Well buddy, Theism takes as much of faith and even smaller thought.. All you need to hear is, "HE CREATED US" and be done with thinking. To recognize our insignificance in the vast play of universe takes a lot of mental acuity that I am sure you can not invest.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Wigsnot

      Did matter create intelligence, or did intelligence create matter?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • snow

      Well.. what is intelligence? it is a result of how electricity flows through a complex system of interconnected neurons (called Brain.. for the uninitiated). So obviously matter created intelligence.

      Anybody who disagrees should stop taking any and all sorts of medicines and start "praying" everytime they are sick. Because obviously, medicines are a result of research that assumes brain as a system or neurons and body as a complex organic machine with individual role for each of the organs..

      July 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • trentos

      Buddy, a person who believes in an invisible god with no spec of proof at all is "missing a few brain cells". Who created this god you speak of?

      This god you worship must be irreducibly complex to be able to record the thoughts and actions of 6.8 billion people at the same time. So who created this irreducibly complex god of yours?

      Show atheists just one tiny spec of proof of god, and we will believe. Unfortunately, no matter how many contradictions we find in religion, the religious will not admit their faults.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  18. Ricardo

    im christian and i agree with this type of description. Why? because he had a problem with "how islam beeing introduced in Europe" due to his belief that Europe should be a christian Continent.
    I belief in multi-culturalism because religion shouldnt be something that leads to violence but to knowledge and to comprehension. just because some1 is muslim/jew/... that shouldnt matter to others. In Europe i believe we tend to respect others religious beliefs

    July 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  19. Muneef

    Anders Behring Breivik
    from the article understand following;
    "Impression is that Religion is used more as a vehicle to unjustly assign some religious moral weight," to support political views.

    "Europe's population will be Muslim and colored by 2050 "unless those from European Ancestries manage to defeat the ruling Multiculturalist Alliance."

    That is being said being discussed as Intentions by certain groups.


    Let us here young or old look in deep thoughtfully into what has Mr.Anders Behring Breivik of Norway,Oslo has made in a form of a "Bloody Protest" attracting media attention to what he calls for in a Racist and Religious manner
    As an Arabic Muslim personally i wouldn't think or like to call for any similar ideas that are Evil Doing..! There your are supposed to be the free world, where justice can be found or established through advanced legal systems it is your right.! It was only countries as yours has brought and taught us the free democracy's that we might enjoy,maybe less in some things but at least better than nothing !
    A call as such judged at closed doors from people and media in an alarming and serious issue that might bring changes in the areas of European ancestry for non European ancestry Muslims and colored races..as to immigration and residency  permits.
    Other than that this will alarm other nations in and out of the intentions fora  Neo Crusaders movement !?.

    You were right about blaming the Religion as source of disputes and conquer but never as Racism that was not in mind?! What about being in many colors,cultures branches of Christian faiths ?!

    The Prophet Jesus (saws) with the Torah and Gospel has come into breaking all the walls into bringing the Children of Israel as being Equal among them selves and with other races in their faith or if any other faiths,bringing them into admiting and the worshiping of the oneness of God. 

    Then came The Prophet Muhammed (saws) with the Quran calling to destroy the Gods of Pagans as Prophet Abraham did before towards uniting the people under one umbrella of worship rather than each or per group having their own God or many Gods to worship.
    Prophet Muhammed (saws) in the name of Islam has bought the slaves who wanted Islam from their rightful owners and freed them to become in islam as equal as any other muslim.

    The prophet in Islam has saved the baby born females from being buried alive by their pagan parents in Mecca which was out of poverty or shamefulness of being taken kidnaped as hostages or slaves by other stronger attacking tribes.
    Females were made from being "Zero" into being equal "Half a Man". 
    Islam has created a multi culture integrated nation of all races all as equal.

    The prophet of Islam has made treaties with other heavenly holy booked faiths to live,work,trade on islamic lands togather in peace..achieving some form of Multi cultures in "AlMadinah Al Munwara". 

    Both Messengers of God had made what ever right deeds that they had  called for but until their deaths what has men done is called Igtihad "diligence by men...and no one was/is perfect...      

    Therefore seems we are at stage of choice between choosing to live by treaties or build towards confrontations wether we as religious living under secular systems or under Religious systems. I would rather look forward to living in peace by the will of The Merciful GOD...  Peace

    July 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  20. TC

    He can call himself what he wants but he is no Christian. He is anti islam and anti multiculturalism and just smearing the Christian faith.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • MZ

      All those idiots who said this was done by muslim extremist should really say sorry to all muslims who were hurt by there idiotic thought. This attack was infact against muslims. and all those who say he has no insight into christianty should also know that all those attacks carried out by so called muslims also have no insight into islam and should not be even called muslims. and as a matter of fact 94% of attacks carried out in U.S are done by non muslims.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
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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.