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Is Breivik a Christian?
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2011-08-05 08:22:42
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In an otherwise truthful and penetrating analysis of the phenomenon of neo-Nazism in the EU, Dr. Siddiqui,  in an article which appeared in Ovi on Wednesday the 3rd of August, could not resist the temptation of most extreme left-wingers (the so called “progressives” who see progress as deterministic) and several prominent news organizations, generally biased in favor of Islam if not outright anti-religion, to label Breivik “a fundamentalist Christian Zionist zealot,” thus managing to disparage with one stone two of the three Abrahamitic  religions: Judaism and Christianity. Obviously Dr. Siddiqui in labeling Breivik “a Christian Zionist zealot” has forgotten, or could it be that he is ignorant, of some fundamental teachings of the Judeo-Christian ethos as found in the Bible.

Let us see: in the first place it is fundamental to the teachings of Jesus to “love your enemies.” So if Breivik is a Christian he is not a very good one, since far from loving his enemies he hates them with a passion, to the point of murder. Unless that is, Dr. Siddiqui wants to make the case, with the philosopher Nietzsche of “will to power” fame, that there are no genuine Christians and that the first and last Christian died on a cross two thousand years ago and his name is Jesus Christ.

And in fact, that is what Breivik implies when in his 1500-page rambling manifesto he describes himself not as a fundamentalist zealot but as “moderately religious.” As a good night Templar of the 12th century that he fancies himself to be (interestingly enough, the Templars are not even mentioned by Dr. Siddiqui), he even advocates  “a reformation of Protestantism leading to it being absorbed back into Catholicism.” In the manifesto he also mocks salvation by faith, referring to Protestantism as “the Marxism of Christianity.”

This is undoubtedly a rather unconventional view for a fundamentalist zealot who abhors Catholic Popism; but it is easily explained by the fact that for Breivik, those who join his exalted knightly vision and cause do not need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, nor follow his teachings too literally. As he puts it: “As a cultural Christian, I believe Christendom is essential for cultural reasons. After all, Christianity is the ONLY cultural platform that can unite all Europeans, which will be needed in the coming period during the third expulsion of the Muslims.”

So, what Breivik is advocating is not any kind of traditional religious Christianity concerned with existential issues such as salvation, repentance, redemption, love, solidarity, brotherhood, but with a Christianity  of Christendom a la Charlemagne, as a mere heritage and cultural cement of sort to unite all Europeans for the coming crusade against the Moslems who, like a Trojan horse, have entered the citadel called EU. 

As far as Breivik is concerned, it is even possible to be a “Christian-atheists,” an oxymoron if there ever was one. He writes: You don’t need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage, it is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian-atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy, christian holidays, Christmas and Easter).” Indeed, this kind of lukewarm cultural Christianity is a far cry from a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a commitment to justice and solidarity and love. That love that for Dante “moves the sun and the other stars.” Breivik’s  version of Christianity has less in common with Dante and more in common with those who perpetrated the Bosnian genocide.  Indeed, they call themselves Christians but as Christ himself powerfully intimated “by their fruits you shall know them.” Those fruits are not Christian but neo-Nazis. Two of those so called “Christians” are now in the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

What has obviously escaped Breivik, and Dr. Siddiqui too, is that in fact is pervasive in today’s EU “culture,” the culture of economic prosperity and soccer games, is a population which adheres to Christianity merely as a flimsy cultural heritage of sort. Churches with steeples and towers look more Europeans than mosques with minarets, albeit nobody attends them; soccer stadiums are preferable to churches on Sunday and many no longer bother baptizing their newborn children. But they do however resent the minarets, or when the Moslems, those despised Moslems who still believe and practice their faith, buy their empty churches and convert them into mosques. That is seen as a blasphemy  and a desecration of sort not to be tolerated. But the desecration has nothing to do with the sacred and more to do with a xenophobic cultural mind-set.  This is indeed a bleak and absurd scenario that paradoxically has shown its face in the land of Voltaire and the Enlightenment. Western Civilization’s Enlightenment has still to enlighten itself, I am afraid.

To be sure, I have myself repeatedly advocated the vision of the EU founding fathers as a Christian vision which needs to be well understood and considered by all Europeans, believers and non-believers alike, if the EU has to recover its original solid philosophical and political foundations. But that vision has nothing of the xenophobic and the racist of which the likes of Breivik (now counted into the thousands) are so proud of. The founding fathers’ vision, when studied and properly understood, is never a confessional manifesto or orthodox y, or worst a mere cultural scaffold; it remains universal and democratically leaves people free to practice or not practice their faith, free in fact to be a believer or non-believer. Christianity remains the foundation because it guarantees certain secular inalienable rights (which not even the Greeks and Romans had) consonant with freedom and democracy. Most importantly, Christianity for a Schuman or a De Gasperi was never the basis of a new Crusade or the reconstituting of the Holy Roman Empire. 

If Breivik and his cohorts as well as Dr. Siddiqui had really bothered to read the Bible attentively, then they would have realized that they forgot all about God’s love for the poor and the needy, for the widows and the orphans, even for the immigrants. In Exodus God imparts this command: “Do not mistreat the alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” In the Book of Psalms, David says that “The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” By aliens, He is not talking about extra-terrestrials arriving from another galaxy. The reference is to immigrants at the lowest rung of Hebrew culture, be they documented or undocumented,  communitarian or extra-communitarians.

One final thought: given that Allah is the same God of the Christians and the Jews, then it makes eminent sense to assume that just as he rescued the Hebrews from misery, distress and bondage when they were immigrants in Egypt, he likewise stands ready to rescue Muslims who call on his name. As mentioned above, not by what they say but by their fruits one may distinguish the genuine Christian from the pseudo-Christian.

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Emanuel Paparella2011-08-06 07:07:39
P.S. The deafening silence of those Ovi readers who made what to them was an obvious connection between Breivik's “Christianity” and his abominable political ideology and then cavalierly proceeded to brand me a fool (in the comment section of another article) for not perceiving such a nexus is quite intriguing. As mentioned, it makes one suspect the motivation for even suggesting such a fallacious nexus. A hidden agenda? Indeed, there is much confusion on the issue coupled with an inability to discriminate the will to truth from the will to power.

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