Putting Your Faith In A Blender, Or How I May Be Like The Norway Terrorist

When I first heard that the attack on Norway earlier this month was done by a Christian I cringed. It just didn’t make any sense. When professional baseball players fly to Florida for spring training they work on the fundamentals – in other words the basics of the game. They practice fielding ground balls, throwing with accuracy, and other techniques. The news labeled the Norway terrorist as a fundamentalist Christian, so if this guy claimed to follow the fundamentals, the basics, of Christianity, then how on earth did that lead him to detonating bombs and gunning down children at point blank range?

Being a peacemaker is a fundamental to my understanding of Christianity. It’s a fundamental that we are to work toward reconciliation, that we are to not inflict pain, and that we be a stark contrast to the rest of the world that uses violence as a means of power and manipulation. Assuming that’s really a fundamental, it seems to me that it is entirely possible to have some other belief or idea and unknowingly infuse it into your understanding of Christianity. This fear of Islam the terrorist held came from somewhere else, maybe the family culture he was raised in, yet he was able to mistake it as a Christian belief. And he was convinced that taking the actions that he did were necessary – so convinced that he’d resigned to spending the rest of his days in incarceration even before he carried out the acts.

So for me what happened is actually a powerful lesson. Many have pointed out that this man was an extremist – he took his beliefs too far, taking them over the line of what is acceptable. They say this so that people don’t get the wrong idea about Christianity. But maybe it is worth looking at how we can add extra ideas mistake them as apart of our Christian faith. I suspect that this phenomenon was not specific to just one guy in Norway – but that it may actually happen to us all

I am trying to look at my own faith and see what I want to be true – what fundamentals I hold because, well, I put them there. 

Have you previously held a fundamental that you mistook as a Christian one? Do you think it’s possible that we all make the mistake the Norway terrorist did? 

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7 Responses to Putting Your Faith In A Blender, Or How I May Be Like The Norway Terrorist

  1. David says:

    I don’t come from your type of fundamentalism, so maybe i am missing the point, Charlie. People insert all sorts of things into their “Christianity”. Why not. Most folks don’t believe the word of God is infallible, and they enjoy whatever interpretation they like – liberal, fundy or otherwise. You have Ann Rice on one end, and Westboro Baptist on the other end. We have lots of intellectuals, we have denominations, and we are not unified. Nothing new, man. And the worst is we believe men, and not God. We follow the teachers and authors that make our case for religion – and so do the Satanists, the Mornons, the Muslims and all the rest.

    There has to be something that makes “true” Christianity different. I can’t all be ab out blind faith (belief) and talk, or everyone is right. And I doubt that is the case.

    I was one of those people, and then I simply started to read the Bible, challenge the teachers and pursue God in an intimate way.

    Jesus said that wheat will grow up with the tares. It is up to each person to know and hear God. It doesn’t matter what the label on our beer can says.

    It is unlikely that the Norway terrorist knew God. That doesn’t mean that people who know God can’t murder, Moses and David certainly did.

    Most Christians just believe stuff. If we are honest, there are probably a few dozen verses that we actually live by.

    • it’s funny you commented on true Christians, considering the post I just wrote for Tuesday. I agree it’s unlikely the Norway terrorist knew God, and I also agree that people who try to be faithful still murder. It’s merely interesting to me how we infuse things into our Christian worldview that clearly shouldn’t be there, or how we justify actions that are clearly against the spirit of following Jesus. And as I say in my post, I’m not simply critiquing the Norway shooter, I’m interested in how I do the same thing, even it’s obviously far less extreme. And man your last comment is dead on, though in some ways it may not be a bad thing – as long as you are hanging your hat on something huge (like the 2 great commandments for instance)

  2. Darius says:

    To be fair regarding the terrorist, he wasn’t a Christian and didn’t claim to be one. He said he valued “cultural Christianity,” but had no interest in spiritual Christianity. He was much like many “Christians” in this country… they like the Judeo-Christian ethics passed down over the generations (at least the ones they follow), but they don’t really have a clue what the Bible says.

    • I definitely agree with you. If I were to judge him he had no interest in spiritual Christianity and that he merely followed cultural Christianity (much in the same way someone can be culturally Jewish but not follow the actual practice of it)

  3. Pingback: Let’s Talk About True Christians, Or I’m In It For Free Gourmet Coffee | Charlie's Church of Christ

  4. Amy says:

    Honestly, I can’t even compare myself to the Norway killer. Maybe that’s all high and mighty of me, but whatever. I mean, this guy dressed like a cop and shot kids at a summer camp while pretending he wanted to help them. That disgusts me as much as a child molester or rapist. I am definitely not at the place where I can love and accept rapists, molesters, wife beaters, or people who are cruel to animals (I almost when nutso on this guy I saw kicking his dog last week!) To me, I grieve over the sin–the brokenness of the victims who carry this assault against them forever (or in this case, the families burying their loved ones)–but will not go there. I can’t go there.

    • fair enough. I definitely get where you are coming from. I found that section of Blue Like Jazz (I’m so emergent I’m assuming you’ve read it) moving where Donald admits he could have been a Nazi (if you haven’t read the book this will sound very weird), and that part very much so influenced this post. That said, I do think there is a big disconnect between us and the Norway shooter. I think it’s helpful to see how we could make some of the same mistakes, all-the-while aware of the vast differences.

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