The Blond-Haired, Blue-Eyed, “Christian” Face of Terrorism
A blond-haired, blue-eyed “Christian” terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, shocked the world by killing over 90 people in Norway just a few days ago. The largest massacre by a single gunman in modern history. What are we to make of this savagery?
Some people are stunned that a so-called “Christian” committed these acts of terror. Please note I put Christian in quotes and added the phrase “so-called” because I do not consider him a true follower of Jesus. Now I know how Muslims feel when terrorist acts are done in the name of Islam.
This event reminds us that the potential for evil in the human heart knows no racial boundaries. Hating and killing in the name of God knows no religious boundaries. Let’s get this straight: There are extremists among all races and all religions.
We may get some insight into Breivik’s motivation by looking at the Gospels. The Gospels display a sharp contrast between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees. Jesus hung out with the wrong crowd. Jesus loved people – all kinds of people. Because of this, he was called, “a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). If Luke wrote his gospel today, Jesus might be accused of being a person “who had eating disorders, engaged in substance abuse, and was a friend of corrupt officials, prostitutes and gays.”
By contrast, the Pharisees showed their devotion to God by hating sinners. They demonstrated their holiness through their hostility towards “God’s enemies.” They hated sinners because they loved God. I am sure they argued their case from Scripture by using a verse like this: “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies” (Psalm 139:21-22).
But Jesus repeatedly challenged the Pharisees’ skewed views of devotion and narrow views of love. Jesus confronted the tradition of hating your enemy head-on in the Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies” (Matthew 5:43-44).
Anders Behring Breivik hated his enemies. He purposely murdered innocent people to make a political point. His detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war against the threat of Muslim domination is a wake-up call. It reminds us of the deadly consequences of hate-filled politics. Years ago I walked the streets of Oslo with an Evangelical leader. I asked if we could visit the Nobel Institute, the location where the famous Nobel Peace Prizes are given. He reluctantly agreed and said, “Why are you concerned about peace on earth? What counts is people’s eternal salvation.” I wonder what he would say today?
For more, check out the Seven Resolutions Against Prejudice, Hatred and Discrimination.