What happened in Norway the other day was a human tragedy of incredible magnitude. In such an open-minded, progressive country, it was probably as damaging to their national psyche as 9/11 was for us here in America. My heart broke and still breaks for the people in Oslo and on that island, both those who died and those who survived. For the survivors, it isn't something they'll get over anytime soon. It likely wounded parts of their souls that will never heal in this lifetime. Then, there are the families which are now a member (perhaps more) short, having to forge ahead in life without beloved sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, who were victims of the deranged killer. Heartbreaking.
I was watching the news with my dad a few days ago as reports were just beginning to surface about the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, and his motivations. I looked at my dad and said, "You know, the margin between this guy and most of the groups I write about is paper thin."
Then, today, I read this compelling piece by Elizabeth Esther. I agree with her entirely that there's nothing "Christian" about this guy, despite his label by the media as a "Christian fundamentalist" and his self-labeling of "Christian". What is he then? Simple. A fundamentalist. Period. He cloaks his fundamentalism behind a "Christian culture", while having no genuine connection to or faith in Christ. Elizabeth included a quote from his 1,500 page manifesto that, frankly, made me shudder...
So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians? If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.
What does that remind you of? Who does that remind you of? I'm not saying the groups I write about are just like Breivik, but again, I believe the margin to be as thin as a piece of paper. Just a couple of days ago, on a friend's FB page, I made this statement...
"As far as patrios and fundamentalists, only God knows, but based on what I see, they pay lip service to Christ - but the true deity of their faith is "the bible" and the culture they've crafted from it, using it as a religious rulebook (in many cases adding to it) and denying the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers."
I see little difference in the mindsets of the leaders of the patriarchal paradigm/Christian homeschooling mafia and men like Breivik. This isn't an attempt at hyperbole, nor am I being even slightly facetious. I think they worship neo-conservative, white, romanticized "American", "Christian" culture, stemming from idolization of the biblical canon and a narrow, narrow, narrow, legalistic, superficial reading of it. I think reference to Christ is nothing more than lip-service and a facade to front their ambitions and desires for social engineering and domination. Keep in mind that I'm talking primarily about the leaders of these movements rather than the rank and file - most of whom I believe are just severely deceived despite having good intentions. The problem is, the rank and file have their minds polluted and indoctrinated with fundamentalist poisons, can easily get worked up into a sociopolitical, cultural fervor ("fear-vor" might be more appropriate), and it's from the rank and file that people like Timothy McVeigh, and men like Breivik, emerge.
Breivik didn't need Jesus to practice his version of Christianity. He admitted as much in the quote from his manifesto. All he needed was the culture he attached himself to. A while back, in this post, I wrote the following...
You don't need Jesus to have a plethora of children. You don't need Jesus to home school. You don't need Jesus to adhere to any particular dress code. You don't need Jesus to adhere to any particular behavioral code. You don't need Jesus for a man to be a masculine visionary or a woman to be a feminine homemaker. You don't need Jesus to stand against the effeminate or the feminist. You don't need Jesus to vote Republican or Constitutional. You don't need Jesus to overpower the opposition by force of numbers, particularly when those numbers are primarily dependent on breeding. You don't need Jesus to practice priestcraft, and most certainly not for a father to act as prophet, priest, and king of his home. Many who know little to nothing about Jesus do these things. Many devout atheists do these things.
You do, however, need those things to take dominion.
Compare that to Breivik's "Christianity". Paper thin margin.
Consider than many of the dominionist/reconstructionist churches and para-church organizations have connections to various militia groups, and perhaps have weapons caches of their own. Maybe even some of those I write about. Heck, I've even heard rumors that the Focus on the Family "compound" has, or has had, a weapons collection. I can't verify it, but I'm not quick to dismiss it. They're all cultural warriors. To believe these groups have spiritual ambitions is naive. They have cultural ambitions. Period.
Look at the romantic notions some of this crowd presents about America and its history. And by "America", I mean neo-conservative, white, fundamentalist "Christian" culture, filtered through a literal, superficial interpretation and idolization of "the bible". Joe at IC recently took a look at the romantic spiritualization that Doug Phillips used to distort the interpretations of some the the cultural icons of the "Greatest Generation" and WWII - cultural icons who would likely consider him a sociopolitical "religious" fringe fruitcake. I once linked to Geoff Botkin's take on what Major Dick Winters passing meant for "American manhood". My comments at the time...
Pretty low rent. I read "Band of Brothers" shortly after it was published almost 20 years ago, and I've been the proud owner of the HBO box set of the "Band of Brothers" miniseries for almost 10 years, having watched it so many times that I've nearly memorized the dialog. Major Winters is, in my opinion, a true hero of American and international freedoms, and I think it's pretty disgusting for Botkin to use the man's memory and legacy to promote the poisonous VF ideas of "manhood"...especially when Major Winters himself would likely think Botkin and the VF crowd are as batcrap crazy as the rest of us do.
...still stand. I seriously doubt Major Winters, for example, taught his young daughters to remove the shoes and rub the feet of distinguished male guests, and he'd probably see it as being as creepy and geisha-esque as I do.
None of these things involve Christ. He isn't necessary to promote a sociopolitical cultural ideal or take sociopolitical dominion over a culture. He's just unlucky enough for all of these people to slap His name all over their desires, their ambitions, their cultural goals. He has nothing to do with it.
It's a sad thing when Jesus leaves your culture...and He isn't really missed. His departure should change everything. What you're left with is just plain old fundamentalism comprised of dangerous fundaments (for those of you in Wilkes County, that means "assholes") who do nothing more than use God's name in vain - and make the practice of our faith in Christ more challenging for those of us who actually place our faith in Christ, what with society equating their "faith" with ours.