Atheism, Christianity, and the Tragedy in Norway
by Robert Driskell 8/19/2011 / Christian Apologetics
It is a shame that the horrible actions of Anders Breivik, who killed scores of students attending a European youth camp, should be used to attack Christianity. Atheists were quick to point to Christianity as the cause, albeit an underlying one, of this man's insane rampage.
It is no surprise that atheists are quick to believe the words of this killer as to his religious affiliations even though it is known that he is far less than a trustworthy source. They are more interested in discrediting Christianity than getting at the truth.
In fact, atheists and secularists are being dishonest when they attribute Breivik's actions to either God or Christianity. Christianity's beliefs are found in the Bible. Breivik's actions are in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. When someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He said, "AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31 NASB). Jesus was saying that every thought and action of the Christian should be motivated by the love of God and our fellow human being. Even the atheist must admit that living according to Jesus' words would rule out committing the murderous actions of Breivik. Anyone can claim they believe something, but their actions will either verify or disprove that claim.
Nowhere are followers of Christ (which is the short definition of a true Christian) encouraged to promote their faith by violent means. If anything, Christians should err on the side of pacifism. As Jesus sent His disciples out into a hostile world, He told them:
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16 NASB). Jesus told them to be wary, but not deceitful or dishonest. The Apostle Paul instructs Christians on the right way to interact with others, when he wrote: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men" (Romans 12:18 NASB).
Anyone with the slightest understanding of the God of the Bible knows that the kind of behavior Breivik exhibited is wrong, immoral, evil, etc. From beginning to end, God's word condemns murder. In the Bible, the only time killing anyone was acceptable was when God Himself commanded it. As Creator, sustainer, and minute-by-minute source of life, He has the right to give life and to take it away. We humans do not have that right. Breivik was not sanctioned by Christian beliefs, or God, to do what he did. He is another tragic example of man's sinfulness taken to the extreme.
It was stated by one atheist that: "Breivik built his terrorist agenda and world order on Christianity, and Christians should stand up to refute the philosophical claims not just the identity claims." However, Breivik did not get his ideas from Christ's Christianity. Breivik simply attached the Christian name to his delusions of conquest. A fact anyone would realize if they understood what real Christianity is. Jesus never intimated that His followers should convert others by force or violence. On the contrary, Christians are to share the love of Christ with others. It would take a twisted mind, much like Breivik's, to think that what he did was motivated by love. Surely even atheists do not believe that. Nevertheless, atheists will still say that this tragedy was due to Breivik's connection with the Christian religion.
Much has been written concerning Breivik's 'manifesto'. He often wrote about his "Christian" views. But, how many quotes from the Bible are contained in it? It appears his philosophy is based more on his own misguided fantasies than on biblical truth. His philosophy is terribly misguided, this much is true. However, it is not the fault of Christianity or the responsibility of the Christian community to apologize or attempt to correct this misperception. Those who know Jesus Christ, know that Breivik's horrible act was evil. Those who do not know Jesus will concoct all kinds of scenarios to shift the blame to this and that, while the truth is that Breivik was a sinful human being who was able to act out his delusions in a most horrible manner.
Breivik needs Jesus Christas do we all.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."