Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Philosophy that Motivated Anders Breivik

A couple of months ago, the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik’s name splashed upon the news in red. He exploded a building in Oslo and gunned down children. In all, 90 died. The New York Times (NYT), among others, quickly labeled him a “Christian extremist.” Indeed, the Times did have some “justification” in labeling Breivik this way. Shortly before his violent exploits, Breivik had posted a 1,500 page manifesto in which he mentioned the “Lord Jesus Christ.” However, these words can be misleading. World Magazine wrote,

• Breivik clarifies that he is only a Christian in the “cultural” sense. He is not a “Religious Christian,” he says, because he possesses no “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The object of his devotion is not Christ or Christianity, but Christendom, the powerful monoculture that united Western Europe. “Christendom is essential, he writes, because it’s “the only cultural platform that can unite all Europeans” against their enemies. Breivik affirms the superior authority of science and logic, voices no belief in the deity of Christ, and openly doubts the existence of God. (Tim Dalrymple, Aug. 27, 2011, 68)

More recently, however, John G. West delved further into Breivik’s 1500 page document to discover that according to Breivik,

• “Christianity” [should] include those who worship the Norse pagan god Odin. Breivik calls for the Christian Church to be “recreate[d]…as a nationalistic Church which will tolerate and allow (to a very large degree) native cultures/heritage/thought systems such as Odinism.” (“Salvo Magazine,” Autumn 2011, 28-29)

Although the NYT prefers to label Breivik as a “Christian extremist,” there are no adequate grounds for this. Instead, he advocated for a secular state where,

• “The Church and church leaders will not be allowed to influence non-cultural political matters in any way. This includes science, research and development and all non-cultural areas which will benefit Europe in the future…As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings.”

For Breivik, science includes Darwinism:

• Breivik lists Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” as one of the “important” books he has read, and Social Darwinism [the application of survival-of-the-fittest to human society – Eugenics] is never far from the surface in his discussions of social policy. At one point he laments that “Social-Darwinism was the norm before [sic] 1950. Back then, it was allowed to say what we feel. Now, however, we have to disguise our preferences to avoid the horrible consequences of being labeled as a genetical preferentialist.”

Hitler had given Social Darwinism a bad name by his attempt to create the “master race” through genocide. West continues on Breivik:

• He argues that “radical policies will have to be implemented” to reduce human population by 3.8 billion which is more than half. He writes that if “second and third world countries” cannot curb their production of human offspring, “Nature will correct their suicidal tendencies as they are unable to feed their populations.” He further argues that Western countries should not interfere in this natural process, even if it results in mass starvation. “If starvation threatens the countries who have failed to follow our guidelines we should not support them…”

Out of the abundance of the heart speaks the mouth. Out of this same heart arise the material consequences of our philosophy – 90 dead! Breivik’s hope clearly was not in Christ, but in this type of “science”:

• “The never-ending collective pursuit for scientific evolution and perfection should become the benchmark and essence of our existence.”

Indeed, it became the benchmark of his own existence. Breivik’s hope was in genetic engineering. It is therefore disingenuous for the NYT to label Breivik a “Christian extremist.”

The way we act is a product of the way we think. As the chisel sculpts the marble, so do our ideas sculpt us. Actions do not arise from a philosophical vacuum. The death of millions was a product of Hitler’s belief in eugenics – creating the master-race and eliminating undesirables. The murder to 90 Norwegians was a product of Breivik’s beliefs.

It is remarkable that the press labeled him a “Christian” instead of what he actually is – a Darwinist who horrifically acted out his beliefs in the social arena.

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