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. Herewe Goagain

    He is a secular terrorist. He does not pratice Christianity.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Thermopylae

      Based on his compendium/manifesto, and that he has so far never been reported to have yelled while shooting "Praise Jesus!", no, he's not a Christian terrorist. I think he considers himself a cultural Christian, not a fundamentalist Christian or a fanatical one. It's too bad Norway does not have a death penalty, because they are going to keep him in room and board for a very long time. But hopefully he will be studied and lessons can be learned for all our good.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  2. Lyndsey

    I live in a nation of idiots.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Thermopylae

      You have my condolences. Why don't you move to a different country?

      July 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • J.W

      You should move to the United States. No idiots here

      July 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Reality

    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. "

    July 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Richard Vasquez

      This young man is presenting as quite extreme. Hopefully his case will be studied under a microscope for decades to come. Knee-jerk reactions and sound-bites are not appropriate at this juncture. Only sadness and disbelief that this could happen in such a wonderful & civilized country. I would expect the government of Norway will get as many facts and educated/experienced views on this tragedy before telling the world how such a thing came to pass. It seems like these unhealthy people are popping up more and more....

      He reminded me of that cray evil corporal in the 1930's. I am so tired of weak bullies who use the most average of reasons to explain away their demons. Christianity and Islam are closer together than most people realize. They both favor peace and understanding. And those are only two faiths. And fighting and dying and killing for any belief is wrong. Never solved anything, ad it Never will.

      Get rid of the ammunition and have a little more beer and wine. Whatever it takes to get through wrong ideas. Take a day off and think before acting.We are losing our best and brightest through intolerance and nationalism. Buck up. Life is a wonderful sequence of trials, happiness and loss. It is called growth.

      On a personal note, I do not believe for an instant that our divine Lord approves of such behaviour. Peace is catchy. Conflict and greed are terminal. You escape nothing in this life. Goodness always wins. And the payback for bad deeds is something we should not even be capable of understanding. Get back to the business of living.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  4. Sir David

    Unbelievable, when it comes down to acknowledging a wrong, those it applies to will duck & dodge, then slick talk w/a gutter excuse to justify the wrong they do, but quick as hell to say Islamic fundamentalists, extremists & terrorists...so why not call yourselves the same, ive yet to see any Christian nation, let alone a group inside their belief structure an example of Jesus, hellz, if Jesus is clearly written in the bible as a non-white guy, but ends up catching leprosy, looking like a hippy on most necks & walls of Christians, that itself is enough to convince me Christian fundamentalism...to portray an image of God (or his purported only begotten sun) as the same image of the world's slavemaster, is a very slick psychological form of mind control, yet these devilish people are the farthest thing from holy.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  5. being real

    For the first 200 years following christ death, the only way to be a christian was to convert from judaism. Funny how nobody mentions that. Jesus was a jew, funny how nobody mentions that.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Sir David

      In Islam, Jesus is held up as a Muslim, not based on what he or anyone says of him, but bcuz of his actions, he is said to be of the same faith as all prophets before him, and thats only if Yeshuah bin Miriam actually walked the earth. Him being Egyptian (but born in Bethlahem), he bears an identical semblance to Horus, sun of Isis/Osiris, he too was born of a virgin, an exhalted Christ, crucified & resurrected, even his Kemetic (Egyptian) name is Karast or Khrist (KRST), Greeks later adopted the name, 1st becoming Khristos, then Christ under Rome

      July 26, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  6. EdNv

    spare me == he IS just as christian as any of the teapartyers and republicans GWB, DC ....and the people who vote(d) for them..

    Accept him into your ranks, you are him!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • steve19

      Please ..... any of those groups would completely condemn him as they should and you know it. If you really believe what you just wrote, he belongs in your group – unreasonable, illogical and irrational.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • EdNv

      heh heh - so you are telling me that you believe jesus told bush to invade iraq?
      you are a blooming idiot

      July 26, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Nice try

      Okay, I'm a Christian but not a mass murderer.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • EdNv

      If you voted republican I can dare say that you are no Christian..
      Go and take 20 minuted and simply read the Book of Matthew and tell me how you could ever vote for the me, my, mine party, eh?
      20 fricken minutes READ IT

      July 26, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Nice try

      Now you have to be a Democrat to be a Christian? I missed that memo...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • EdNv

      You cannot vote for war and call yourself a christian...
      The memo is in Matthew, and Christians claim they are the the Word of the Living God, Jesus.

      Now, on the other hand, admit you are not a Christian and vote however you please, yeah?

      July 26, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Nice try

      Who says I voted for war? I don't accept all of the Republican fundamentals. I don't even call myself a Republican. In fact, I call myself an Independent.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • deployedmarine

      I'm confused what this terrorists in Norway has do with Republics, Democrats, Obama or Bush muchless anyone in USA.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:01 am |
  7. Name*rob

    Churches are just as complicit in their silence as mosques are when muslims were killed by ariel sharon in refugee camps no church spoke out we as a civil society must speak out against all murders not simply point to irrational behavior of the vocal minority

    July 26, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  8. Reality

    For body counts from the major atrocities that humans have committed against other humans peruse:

    http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (REQUIRED READING)

    July 26, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Reality

      An excerpt:

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      "1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      July 26, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  9. Name*rob

    You didnt really say christianity is uhh chuckle non violent biblically alluding to slaying of the philistines i would call it historically very violent

    July 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  10. Eric C

    Horror in Samaria: A terrorist infiltrated the West Bank settlement of Itamar, southeast of Nablus, early Saturday and slit the throats of five family members.
    The shocking attack occurred around 1 am as the terrorist entered the family home and murdered three children aged 11, 3, and a baby girl along with their parents. The victims were apparently sleeping as the killer came in.
    Three other children at the home, a 12-year-old girl and her two brothers, aged 6 and 2, were able to escape to a nearby house and inform their neighbors of the attack.
    Ynetnews.com reports, Shortly after:
    Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.
    Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."

    Same response after 9/11, Muslims around the world celebrate

    Show me one Christian church anywhere in the world that celebrated this mass murder in Norway??

    Does anyone out there see the difference???

    July 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • VBMot

      Westboro Baptist?

      July 26, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Eric C

      and what exactly would westover baptist have to do with Christianity? what actrions that the press makes them famous for would be Biblically correct?

      July 26, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Sid

      Well Christian churches may not have celebrated but "christian radicals" like the Norway Nutcase must surely have. For all you know they may be inspired by this guys actions. I think your analogy is incorrect. The Muslims who celebrate mass murder and violence are fundamentally the same who commit such actions. They are just labelled Muslims or Christians or Jews by virtue of their birth. Both kinds of people are brainwashed in the name of religion. Imagine the world with no religion, and you can pick such people out and classify them as lunatics. The other people will be a mix of all religions who want peace and justice just as badly as you do.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Free

      Eric C
      "what exactly would westover baptist have to do with Christianity?"
      They claim to be Christians, that's what! Within the protestant blanket aren't they as free as anyone else to interpret scripture for themselves? Who made you Pope with the authority to judge who is following the 'true' interpretation of the Bible, or not?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  11. Warren

    We are all wretched sinners. Grace is our only hope in life. Embrace it

    July 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  12. Brian

    We can't have truth because truth is offensive to religion.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • G bOOTHE

      You are closer to the truth than most of what I have read? I wish I hadall thhe answers, then again I would be scared to death with that much knowledge!

      July 26, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  13. RealtyCheck

    "Christian Fundamentalist?" Hardly. Neo-Natzi? Absolutely.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Jim

      Right-wing conservative, fundamentalist Christian, neo-Nazi... Same ballpark.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  14. being real

    I bet in a few thousand years these same arguements will be heard, as they might have been a few thousand years ago. Only difference is that it will be a different religion or religions, with a different god or gods, and different prophets or prophet. Opeth rules.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  15. Whostartedyourchurch?

    Also, none of the Christian religions that I mentioned have "killing people" as part of their doctrine.
    Christianity is a non-violent religion.
    So it's as incorrect to call him a Christian, as it is to call him a Buddhist!!!

    July 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • James

      The hypocricy of backpeddlers like you is almost stunning in its audacity. Guess what, champ – the bible doesn't say anyting about driving a SUV or eating cheerios for breakfast either, and yet millions of people do this and yet you have no problem calling them Christians. This guy self-identified as a fundamentalist Christian. Whether or not you happen to agree with his particular spin on what that means is irrelevant (and of course you, like all the other rationalizers, will claim that his spin was 'not really Christian', in hindisight) unless you are also prepared to believe, that, say, the 9/11 attackers were not really muslim. Oh, I know, I know – you're going to point to some passage or another in the "holy" texts to back up some distinction without a difference or another but it's nonsense and you know it. The man was a conservative Christian whose interpretation of conservative Christianity in part informed his worldview and thinking. Deal with it and just be thankful we're not asking YOU to personally apologize to US for these attacks just like many people demanded individual apologies from Muslims in general over 9/11.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bioartchick

      What happened to the old testament? If its really all that irrelevant, why not just be done with it??? Go see "The Ledge".

      July 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Angela

      u are so wrong.war world 1 and 2,christians did kill christians

      July 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Rod

      James, this guy is no "conservative Christian". You or he cannot point to Jesus' teachings to in any way justify his actions. On the other hand Muslim terrorists do justify their actions by referring to the Quran

      July 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Free

      I'm sure that a guy like this could quote select verses from the Good Book to support his views and actions. Holy scriptures, like the Bible and the Qur'an, are ambiguous enough to support just about any view, with the 'right' interpretation, of course.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  16. steve19

    Any very large organization or group has people in it who are evil or insane. But in some groups or in some countries there are enough of them that they wield considerable power. Germany had a Nazi problem. There were enough people that supported them or looked the other way that they gained power and brought devastation to Europe. Many Muslim countries have a Radical Muslim problem. They are controlled by people who kill people (Moslems and non-Moslems) who disagree with them and would kill a lot more of us if they could. They openly say so. This distinction between random nut-cases and dangerous movements needs to be understood

    July 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • john

      So true. difference between nut cases and movements is the key! well said

      July 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Free

      Pretty much all Nazis were Christians though, right? They sure weren't Jews, or atheists, or Muslims, or Hindus, or anything else.

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

      Adolf Hitler, 12 April 1922

      July 26, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  17. Whostartedyourchurch?

    In the U.S., you need seven people to start your own religion or church.
    The Catholic Religion was founded in 33 A.D. by JESUS CHRIST – SON OF GOD.

    Lutheran Church founded in 1517 by Martin Luther.
    Anglican Church founded in 1534 by King Henry VIII
    Presbyterian Church founded in 1560 by John Knox
    Episcopalian Church founded in 1600s by Samuel Seabury
    Baptist Church founded in 1605 by John Smith
    Methodist Church founded in 1744 by John and Charles Wesley
    Mormon Church founded in 1829 by Joseph Smith
    Jehovah's Witnesses, Calvary Chapels, Assemblies of God, Christian Scientist, Nazarene, Holiness Church – all founded in 20th Century

    There are 250,000 to 300,000 churches in the United States
    So who founded your church???

    I am not putting any of these churches down, it's just that the original Christian church IS the Catholic Church. All others came after the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Bioartchick

      Um.... NO....

      July 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • JustLiberty

      THE church was started by the followers of Christ and gradually morphed into the Catholic church. If a tree trunk gets diseased and starts to go crooked, and then a healthy, straight trunk grows up in the original direction, which is the real trunk?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Mel

      @whostartedyourchurch; actually the catholic church was started more than a century after Jesus ascended at a bunch of meetings where religious scholars pontificated over how to compile the letters of the apostles. The sign placed over Jesus head read "King of the Jews", not "King of the catholics." The true church, the true bride of Christ, is anyone who repents of their sin and accepts Christ redemption he provided by willingly dying on the cross and 3 days later rising again. It's the Catholic church, and other denominations as well, that have added man-made laws to redemption. "You must do this, you must do that." Well, if the thief on the cross needed to repent to someone other than Jesus, Jesus would not have turned to him and said, "I tell you the truth. Today you will be with me in paradise."

      July 26, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Almost

      Well, actually Mormons believe that the church was restored again through Christ by Joseph Smith after a global apostasy-opening the "dispensation of the fulness of times".

      July 26, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Amom

      In heaven there will be no division. There will not be a Catholic section, a Lutheran section, a presbyterian section etc. There is no other name by which man can be saved other than the name of Jesus. Forget the divisions. The days are coming when having a brother or sister in the Lord is all you will need to know.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Terry

      And you come to this conclusion how? The Catholic church was founded some 300-500 years after Peter's death who was considered by many to be the first pope. But somehow there was a gap between him and the second pope. And even if you don't take that into account let me ask this...if the catholic church was started by Jesus why if the curtain was torn in two symbolizing that the old covenant was broken and i and everyone else has a direct relationship with Christ. Why oh Why do I need to confess my sins to a priest to be forgiven when i can confess them straight to God and receive a better forgiveness because it comes from the almighty and not man? Now let me also ask this...is not man imperfect and God perfect? Then why is any edict from the pope considered perfect when it comes from man? Where is purgatory mentioned in the bible? Jesus himself tells us there is no second chances that when you die you will be judged then not put on hold until someone buys your soul back but judged at that time, so why purgatory? I'll give you a hint, in the middle ages the church started losing money so they needed a way to convince people that as long as they gave money to the church then they would make it to heaven. So they created this nice little thing to convince people they could buy their way to heaven and in the process probably sent many the other way. Thanks but no thanks...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Factfinder

      Really? A 200 year gap between the first and second pope? I thought pope Linus was second, he came right after peter, followed by Pope Anacletus. I see no 200 year gap.

      ABout the tree anology, tell me, who do you trust more? The Church that traces its line back to the original apostles? Or a single man who comes alone 1500 years after Christ, and thinks only he knows the truth? You tell me, out of the thousands of denominations, which on is the true Church, if not the Catholic Church? As this shooting shows, any single person can be a nut with an agenda. Many of the things Luther posted were right, and the Church agreed with some of them. However, luther wanted all of nothing, and went his own way. Im not Catholic, this is historical fact, look it up instead of listening blindly to your pastor. You have a problem with the Pope? Why do you make your pastor into an individual Pope?

      July 26, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Factfinder

      @ Terry,
      Confessions to a priest John 20:23- the priest today follow the apostles, why would Jesus stop giving his disciples the power to forgive sins after their death?
      Also Matthew 18:18

      For Purgatory- Well, it was mentioned in the book of Macabees as a place of final cleansing before Heaven. Purgatory isn't a place, but a verb, it is where your soul is cleansed for heaven. But funny how Protestant reformers like to take books out that had been in the bible since its introduction because it doesn't fit their agenda. Tell me also, where does the word Trinity appear in the Bible?
      Im not Catholic, its just facts. Look them up yourself

      July 26, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Carole in San Diego

      You need to read the Bible dear. The first churches were in Macedonia, Greece, Jerusalem, etc. It took longer for the gospel to make it to Rome where Paul was imprisoned (not by Christians). Paul was the "apostle to the Gentiles". In the book of Revelation, the letters to the seven churches do not include Rome. Also, suggest you never make the assertion to a Greek Orthodox Priest that the Roman Church–they tend to take offense. Oh, and I am not Greek so I have no axe to grind. Just suggest you read the Bible.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  18. mauser

    See, once again the world is witness to violence that is spawned by religion! The religious right is full of extremists in Europe and in the states, they are just as bad as the islamists, religion can be a poison to society.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • deployedmarine

      I guess you forget the 20th Century violence of atheist such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Sung Ill, and Khmer Rouge just to name a view. Plus most of the wars of the 18th and 19th century were not wars of religion. Ideology and atheism are just as violent as religion.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • being real

      Its man that CAN be violent. Doesn't matter if your religious or athiest. Man is violent and destructive. As long as humans roam the earth there will always, always be violence athiest or not.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • deployedmarine

      Exactly. Man has been fighting since he evolved. Really what all wars boil down to is land and resources. Leaders just use different reasons to whip up people whether it be religion, patriotism, wealth, women or ideology.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Free

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

      Adolf Hitler, 12 April 1922

      Does that sound like an atheist to you? How's about checking your facts before making claims, or is a good lie better than the honest truth?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • deployedmarine

      @ Free: "The individual may establish with pain today that with the appearance of Christianity the first spiritual terror entered into the far freer ancient world, but he will not be able to contest the fact that since then the world has been afflicted and dominated by this coercion, and that coercion is broken only by coercion, and terror only by terror." Hitler Mein Kampf, vol 2, Chapter 5.
      Mein Kampf was written in 1925 (vol 1) and 1926 (Vol 2)
      Hitler also stated that Christianity was disease that would needed to be eliminated before the Third Reich could achieve total victory.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  19. deployedmarine

    The author brings up a good point this terrorist had no vision of a pan-world Christian society or even a pan-European Christian society. Just that a crusade was needed. He has not expressed any points of being against other religions besides Islam. Most fundamentalist of the religious order are against all other religions. This terrorist's attacks seem more political based and being against immigration.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Conky2012

      He makes a "Good Point" by not explaining anything the guy said. All he said was one opinion on what the guy might not know. Do you believe everything someone tells you? My god....I don't remember getting to here anything the man said.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Conky2012

      And I meant hear, not here. I wasted an entire comment correcting that.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • deployedmarine

      Maybe you should read other articles from other sources such as BBC or even Norwegian news articles. Your ignorance is not an excuse. Plus this man has a manifesto maybe you should read that too before you show your ignorance, but I guess you enjoy your bliss.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  20. Thermopylae

    To hear the shrill trolls hollering their heads off over at the Fox site, Breivik is representative of every Christian they've ever known, heard of, or imagined. Or so they want to pollute the threads with such bigotry against a religion. I end up thinking either they are Muslims, Jews, or whatever, and have been mistreated by a Christian or someone they think is Christian, and wholesale denounce Christianity. If Muslims can mal-interpret their religion to permit bad acts, so can Christians and everyone else who claims to have a religion. What I resent is when Muslims are in fact responsible for an act of terrorism and everyone acts as if we're not supposed to notice. Alright, then let's apply that standard to Christian terrorists. Will the media, CNN, go out of it's way to omit the qualifier "Christian" from identifying an alleged terrorist? If it looks like a lion, roars like a lion and hunts like a lion, it's a lion. Call it like it is, just be honest.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Conky2012

      Nobody is claiming that all Christians are crazy, or evil, or whatever. But, like you said, Christians can mal-interpret their religion to permit acts. If you had any experience in any church, you would know how legitimate most church goers are. It would be different if most Christians were innocent, loving, pure hearted, good intending people, but thats just not the case. I understand that being a bad person has nothing to do with your religion, but if a religion is made up of people that contradict its teachings, its pretty hard to sit and argue that people are unjistified in complaining about Christianity. Our president is a "Christian" according to himself. So was George Bush. There are good teachings in the bible, but it is vastly out dated and most of its contents are ignored by Christians (Old testament commandments and laws). It is hard to respect a religion that doesn't practice half of its teachings that are supposed to be the true word of God. I mean come on, be realistic.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Free

      There appears to be some who wish to claim every good person who claims to be a Christian, but reserve the option to disavow any Christian who brings scandal to the faith. Just more cherry-picking, I suppose?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Thermopylae


      July 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Thermopylae

      Replying to C0nky2012, July 25, 2011, 11:48pm:

      "Nobody is claiming that all C hr! st! ans are cra zy, or ev il, or whatever."

      Nobody? You didn't see what I saw at the F0x site. And the ha ters are calling them far worse than cra zy and ev il. Far.

      "If you had any experience in any c hv rch, you would know how legitimate most c hv rch goers are."

      If? You have mis interpreted my comment. I have a religion and it isn't one that hates _C hr! st! ans, ok. I agree that most of the pract itioners are trying to be more like __J _3 _z _v _$. Of course, though the vast majority get it closer to right more times than not, ultimately, they, we fall short. Usually by being too busy passing judgment on each other's quality of

      "It would be different if most _C hr! st! ans were inno cent, loving, pure hearted, good intending people, but thats just not the case."

      Sorry, but most of those qualities are absent from most adults of ALL religions.

      "I understand that being a bad person has nothing to do with your religion..."

      Unless, of course, the bad guy makes it about his religion. You know, as in rad!cal I _z _1 _@ _m _! _s _t _s who kill
      n0n-M v z l ! m $ and say they do it for A_1 _1_@ _h. Or the bad guy who m v r d 3 r s an _@ _b _0 _r _t _! _0 _n
      _d _0 _c _t _0 _r and says it's due to his beliefs.

      "[B]ut if a religion is made up of people that contradict its t e a c h i n g s, its pretty hard to sit and argue that people are
      u n j i st i f i e d in complaining about C h r ! s t ! a n ! t y."

      Or like _M v z 1 ! m s who allegedly defy the teachings in the _Q v r '@ n by co mm itt ing m@ ss m v r d e r? Watch it C0nky, are you claiming to be perfect?

      "It is hard to respect a religion that doesn't practice half of its teachings that are supposed to be the true word of
      __G _0 _d. I mean come on, be realistic."

      Be realistic? About what? Of the two of us, I'm the one being realistic. And consistent. This isn't about trying to force a moral equivalence between any modern n o n-M v z l ! m religion and unreformed I z 1 @ m. It's about calling the cr! me and cr! m! nal by the correct, accurate and appropriate terms. Honesty about who, what, when, where, how and sometimes, eventually, hopefully, why.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:37 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.