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Right-wing Christian fundamentalist charged following Norway terror attack

THIRTY-TWO-YEAR old Anders Behring Breivik, arrested after yesterday’s bomb attack in Oslo and a random shooting at a youth camp on the Utoya Island, has been described as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist by the Norwegian police.

Anders Behring Breivik's Facebook photo

According to this BBC report, the police announced today that they had arrested Breivik over the two shocking terrorist attacks that killed at least 84 people, mostly teenagers attending a Labor Party youth camp, and another 7 people in the bomb attack in downtown Oslo.

While the police have refused to speculate about the suspect’s motives at this stage, they said that he appeared to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist based on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Police chief Sveinung Sponheim said Breivik’s internet postings:

Suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views. But whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.

Little is currently known about him apart from what has appeared the on social networking sites – and these entries appear to have been set up just days ago.

On the Facebook page attributed to him, he describes himself as a Christian and a conservative. The Facebook page is no longer available but it also listed interests such as body-building and freemasonry.

The gunman was described by witnesses who saw him on Utoeya island as tall and blond – and dressed in a police uniform. The image of him posted on Facebook depict a blond, blue-eyed man.

The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang quoted a friend as saying that the suspect turned to right-wing extremism when in his late 20s. The paper also said that he participated in online forums expressing strong nationalistic views.

He had no military background except for ordinary national service and no criminal record, it seems.

A Twitter account attributed to the suspect has also emerged but it only has one post, which is a quote from philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

As with his Facebook page, the tweet was posted on 17 July. It reveals very little about the man except an interest in libertarianism and a clear belief in the power of the individual.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

 

86 Responses to “Right-wing Christian fundamentalist charged following Norway terror attack”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Jason Mitchell: Another troll! I thought you were about to say something interesting, and then I come across this:

    Objectively speaking, religion is any set of principles to which one chooses to adhere. A few popular religions today that don’t necessarily involve a “god” include nationalism, Darwinian socialism, atheism, pantheism and secular humanism.

    Absolute rubbish. Your definition of religion is hilarious, and as for atheism, or secular humanism, being a “religion” – well, I’m almost lost for words! I don’t know what the point of your comment was, but I would say please don’t clutter up this site with such drivel, and don’t comment unless you have something intelligent to add to the debate.

    PS Communism and Nazism are ideologies. Buy yourself a dictionary if you don’t know what that means either!

  2. Jason Mitchell says:

    barriejohn: Your point is taken, however, religion does not have to involve any form of “god,” as some would like you to believe.

    From Webster’s dictionary:

    one definition of religion = a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor or faith;

    another definition of religion = a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, practices

    ideology = a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture

    Nazi actually stands for: “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” which translates into National Socialist German Worker’s Party, and yes, the ideology (system of beliefs) as practiced by the Nazi political party certainly is “religious” in its fervor.

    The point is that any one particular ideology can be as “dangerous” as any other. 20th century genocides and democides sprang forth from fervent ideologies that are espoused, accepted and promoted today. The nationalistic fervor acted upon by Breivik is the same nationalistic fervor incited by the National Socialist German Worker’s Party and the results of both are the same. As well documented, both pale in comparison to the result of communist ideology and the human terror that it has wrought in the last century.

    Like German leaders in the 30’s & 40’s, today’s political leaders point to minority groups within a society (Jews, Christians, Muslims, blacks, browns, whites, genetically inferior, lazy, jobless, those with more than 1 child, etc.) to blame them for society’s problems (today it is acts of terror and their point is that ANYONE can commit an act of terror – therefore we must treat EVERYONE as a terrorist) and the end result is and will always be tyranny, slavery and death (acts of terror).

    Breivik’s crimes of terror will justify to political leaders (and some citizens) acts of institutionalized terror on a wholesale basis: search, seizure, home invasion, eavesdropping and every other form of invasive personal violation ever committed by any authoritarian regime.

    It is right to punish Breivik for his crimes and to hold him accountable for his actions.

    It is wrong to institutionalize an ideology based upon the fear and hatred of the Breiviks of the world and to use this fear and hatred to justify the acts of terror carried out by politicos and their agents.

  3. MrGronk says:

    Broga
    Applying my PopPsych app, I’d describe Breivik as a narcissist/sadist. He probably isn’t a psychopath – they can’t imagine another’s feelings, whereas a sadist can imagine – and relish – his victim’s fear and pain all too well. All too horribly sane, I’m afraid. I’m still chilled by the way he exulted in those childrens’ terror. As much as I admire Norwegian humanist values, I really hope something nasty happens to him in prison.

  4. MrGronk says:

    Jason
    You make a valid point that any ideology can be cleaved to with religious fervour, but religion by definition must involve belief in a supernatural aspect. Regardless of religion’s moral or practical benefits, freethinkers object to any insistence on belief in absurdities.

  5. remigius says:

    @MrGronk

    Regardless of religion’s moral or practical benefits…

    OK I give up. What are they?

  6. Jason Mitchell says:

    MrGronk: There are plenty of philosophies such as buddhism, taoism and hinduism that are categorized as “religions,” but do not delve into the supernatural (although some branches of each may include supernatural beliefs along with their philosophical views).

    Additionally, there are plenty of examples of absurd beliefs by people accepted to be freethinkers (such as Richard Dawkins’ belief that man was planted on earth by space aliens) that would not be widely categorized as religions in and of themselves, but require unequivocal belief (faith) in the supernatural and therefore they ARE religious – in that they are “…beliefs held to with ardor or faith…(see webster’s dictionary)” in the absence of logic or evidence.

    A belief in ANYTHING in the presence of obvious physical evidence to the contrary IS religion.

    Any moral judgement (right vs. wrong) is religion and does not necessarily involve the supernatural. Who is to say what is right or wrong – it is simply a system of beliefs, an ideology… …a religion…

  7. David says:

    He wanted to kill people and leave his mark on society, the Right wing Christian veneer means nothing, he has planned this out for a long time and picked a side that he liked just to justify his own actions. Strange days ahead. Will we see a rise in right wing terrorism just to add to left wing terrorism, Islamic terrorism and seperatist terrorism as well as enviromental terrorism. I think one day we will look back at the centre ground and say remember when

  8. remigius says:

    @Jason Mitchell.

    Contrary to what you believe, Richard Dawkins does not think man was planted on Earth by space aliens.

    Several years ago he was duped into taking part in a pseudo-documentary called Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed. During the taped interview he explained that there were many theories as to the origins of life, but we just don’t know yet. He explained one theory, panspermia, but made it clear he didn’t support it himself. However deceitful editing turned it into an endorsement.

    Nowhere in any of Dawkins writings, programmes or interviews does he support such a theory. It is only to be found in a shamefully edited film made by cretins creationists with the purpose of misleadng the audience.

    And you believed it. Sucker.

    That’s how religion works!

  9. […] A pretty tragic story, the authors over at Triablogue have some interesting evidence too, I’ll leave it to you to decide how damning either pieces of information are in regards to P.Z’s article (and something from John Loftus too and Blag Hag and The Freethinker here). […]

  10. remigius says:

    I love these early mornings on the internets. It’s the best time to catch the crazies.

  11. MrGronk says:

    Remigius
    Religion can make some suggestible sorts behave better. Of course, it’s just as likely to turn others into complete dicks. My point is that its putative benefits are irrelevant to the more important question of it being true or not.
    Jason
    Buddhism and taoism may have started off as philosophies, but they have most certainly acquired supernatural baggage since then. As for Hinduism, with 10 or 100 million gods ( I forget the exact number) it most certainly “delves into the supernatural”. Anyway, your point that any ideology or philosophy can evoke fanaticism is true, but IMHO religion makes for the worst fanatics, simply because of the huge psychiatric damage that results from belief in absurdities.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Don’t encourage him: He’s making it up as he goes along!

    I am certain that there will be many who are inspired by these actions of Breivik’s, and that we will see others seeking to emulate him in the not too distant future.

  13. Marky Mark says:

    WOW…great discussion!

  14. Templestream says:

    “Still at least we see the christian community showing their true colours”

    – Witnesses say there were at least 2 gunman and so the unstable, lone Christian theory is weak:

    http://www.infowars.com/norway-terror-attacks-a-false-flag/

    Also, I would like to challenge Barry Duke, who appears to be at the helm of this blog, to come and refute my article proving God’s existence:

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

    Atheism offers neither true freedom nor logical thinking. If I’m wrong, it should be fairly easy to show me Barry.

    Regards,

    Rick

  15. barriejohn says:

    Jesus Christ Almighty – this thread has certainly brought the trolls out of their caves!

  16. remigius says:

    @Templestream. I had wondered how long it would be before the conspiracy nuts started crawling out of the woodwork.

    Took a look at that word goulash you posted on your blog. I won’t bother reading it but you do get points for using paragraphs. If you had really been able to prove the existence of any of the gods it would have been on the telly or something.

    Why not try to peddle it to the Vatican, or one of the myriad other churches? They’ve been looking for proof for two thousand years.

  17. barriejohn says:

    I could have saved you wasting your time, Remigius! His “revolutionary” argument is that because there are “laws” operating in the universe, therefore there must be a god. Not only old news, but a complete non-sequitur, I’m afraid!

  18. AgentCormac says:

    @ Templestream

    The Norwegian police aren’t looking for a second gunman.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14270655

    You’ll also note that the BBC refer to Breivik’s Facebook page on which he quite overtly describes himself as a Christian.

    And if you call that spectacular drivel on your blog ‘proof’ that god exists, I suggest you you get some psychiatric help.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Remigius: Supposing Richard Dawkins DID support panspermia (or, more accurately in this case, exogenesis)? It’s a possibility. It is only ignorant trolls like Jason Mitchell who would make the allegation that he therefore believes that man was planted on earth by space aliens. Talk about misrepresentation! It is also ironic that a religiot should be castigating a renowned scientist over his open-mindedness on this issue, when the usual accusation is that atheists have CLOSED minds!!

  20. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @Templestream
    Presuppositional apologetics (which is what your drivel appears to be) has been thoroughly debunked already.
    http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com/
    I’ll leave you to find the relevant posts.

  21. Don says:

    Assuming the manifesto to be authentic (I haven’t read it thoroughly) he does not appear to be a christian fundamentalist. There is no indication of a belief in god, but rather a belief that christianity is a necessary defining and binding characteristic of the ‘culture’ he saw as under threat.

    He talked of praying and taking communion before his crimes, but as a way of psyching himself up. In much the same way he talked about playing ‘Lux Aeterna’ at full volume on his Ipod. The banality of evil, eh?

    If praying will act as an additional mental boost/soothing it is the pragmatical thing to do. I guess I will find out… If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past.

    I am pursuing religion for this very reason and everyone else should as well, providing it will give you a mental boost.

    His motives do not seem to have been religous but rather racial/political/cultural/territorial with christianity being a totemic part of whatever mythical entity he thought he was killing for.

    Obviously I could be completely wrong about this, but I’m guessing that many of the youngsters he murdered were more sincere christians than he is. Although likely secular christians, given the nature of the camp.

  22. Steve Foulger says:

    I am still finding it hard to get the atrocities committed by Breivik out of my mind – there is something particularly heinous about the way he targeted young people in the way he did – young people moreover who by their participation and interest in humane and decent politics probably represented much that is good and positive for the future. I have to say that I cannot imagine our “Labour” party running such an event as they have long since forgotten to care about people. The Norwegian embassy has opened a book of condolences but it is not very practical for me to get over there especially as they have somewhat restricted opening times for signers so I have e-mailed a message to the embassy

    Following the dreadful and heartrending events of last week perpetrated by a ideologue of hatred and despair I would like to offer my condolences to the bereaved and wounded and their families and my hopes that this tragedy will ultimately reinforce Norway’s fine tradition of humanity and tolerance and thus defeat and overcome the message of inhumanity. I dag er vi alle nordmenn…..

    I hope it is not too pretentious … Certain commentators are now carping that people who automatically concluded it was an Islamist atrocity are guilty of “islamophobia” to which I’d reply that if you correlate the bombings and suicide bombings that have been perpetrated over the last few years to the ideological make up of the perpetrators then there are more than sufficient confirming instances to make it a reasonable assumption. I actively dislike this tendency to coin words like homophobia and islamophobia in an attempt to deflect any criticism/commentary whatsoever by attempting to adjudge it as irrational and therefore untenable. It is possible to have, as Breivik has, an irrational hatred of Muslims but that is a different thing altogether. I personally think Islam is a particularly perverse and unpleasant religion and that islamists are a potential threat to the enlightenment project, liberty and liberal humane society in general but I would be betraying everything enshrined in that triad if I were to say that people could and should not practice that religion in peace. Breivik’s ideology is fairly typical of a ‘future world’ ideology – following his ‘revolution’ Europe will become an homogenous conservative white Arian ‘Christian’ society without Muslims (or Jews?) but to attain this promised future it is perfectly OK to murder and maim because all is legitimated (“gruesome but necessary”) by the coming future world. This uses people as means to an end but, following Kant, this should never ever be done.

  23. barriejohn says:

    He is now claiming to have “two more cells”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14280210

    Could be pure fantasy of course.

  24. remigius says:

    barriejohn. That would be the one at the police station and the one awaiting him at the prison!

  25. barriejohn says:

    Remigius: I think he was referring to brain cells actually, but we all know that can’t be true!

  26. Robert Stovold says:

    Jason, stop behaving like Humpty Dumpty (“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”) and admit that by any reasonable standards, calling atheism a religion is like calling baldness a hairstyle.

    With regards to life being planted here by aliens, Creationists believe in an invisible magical extra-terrestrial called God.

    Higher population densities and more powerful technologies help explain why so many people were killed in 20th century conflicts. We can control for the former by looking at the proportion of people killed. As Margaret Knight notes, “Europe was frequently devastated by religious wars, which destroyed a far higher proportion of the population than the global wars of the twentieth century. The Thirty Years’ War, for example, reduced the population of Germany by a third”. (Christianity – The Debit Account 1975, p.4)

    And by transmitting the Black Death, fleas (God’s creatures?) killed ¼ of Europe’s population in the 14th century. No, don’t tell me – God couldn’t intervene to stop this – to do so would have interfered with the fleas’ free will…..

  27. barriejohn says:

    Calling atheism a religion is like calling baldness a hairstyle.

    So true! And how about this statement:

    Any moral judgement (right vs. wrong) is religion…

    Or this:

    Objectively speaking, religion is any set of principles to which one chooses to adhere.

    Do people really believe such nonsense?

  28. Templestream says:

    Barry Duke,

    Any reply to my challenge to refute my article proving God’s existence would be appreciated.

    “How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God’s Existence.”

    Barrie John and others, thanks for your colorful and entertaining comments.

    In case you are not aware, posting a description on Facebook as Christian doesn’t make a person a true Christian any more than labeling an atheist a freethinker makes an atheist truly open-minded. :)

    Small errors can be corrected with a little debate even as mild stains come out in the wash. However, some arguments are so weak they’re like old clothes people are afraid to put in the wash.

    Regards,

    Rick

  29. […] Right-wing Christian fundamentalist charged following Norway terror attack (freethinker.co.uk) […]

  30. remigius says:

    Templestream. Read it. Not even wrong.

    But well done with the No True Scotsman argument. Works every time.

  31. adam says:

    @Milz, think you might want to re think your last statement! jerk off!

  32. […] but the moronic Mormon’s latest outburst regarding the young victims of the weekend shooting by Anders Behring Breivik at a Norwegian summer camp plumbed new depths of offensiveness. Glenn […]

  33. Brian Brown says:

    I hope he gets to meet Jesus very soon.