Thoughts on the Norway Killer

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’d like to thank a reader for the comment on the 1 Corinthians 13 series. It’s good to know it’s appreciated. By personal request before doing the next series, I’m going to first take a look at what’s happened in Norway. The question I am addressing is that of the relationship of religion to violence.

Like most of you, I haven’t read the manifesto. I doubt any of us fully have seeing as how long it is. I have heard bits and pieces of it, and although some think that he was a Christian, I am inclined to think that he was not. However, even if he was, it doesn’t really matter to me.

The question to be asked tonight is if religion leads to violence. I think the answer to that question is yes…sometimes. I think non-religion can also lead to violence. What is the cause of violence is the evil that exists in the human heart. There are facets of beliefs that can spark those violent tendencies in people. There are some beliefs of secularism that I believe can do that and there are some beliefs that are religious that I believe can do that.

Note also that because a worldview leads to violence, that would necessarily mean it is false. For instance, I am not a Muslim, but if it was true and there was an Allah and it was His order to kill the infidel, well that’d be that. I don’t believe Christianity is like that however nor do I believe in a voluntaristic approach to morality. Of course, if God says to do something, it is good, but it is not good just because God says it.

While we could look at this and see if it proves or disproves a belief system is true or false, it does not. It is a factor we can consider in looking at a belief system. However, as a Christian, I also realize that my belief system lies on a different foundation. The argument will not work this way and it doesn’t even follow.

The Norwegian killer was a Christian. (Assumed for the sake of argument. Not a belief I hold.)

Therefore, Jesus did not rise from the dead.

Thus, rather than actually studying the accounts and seeing if they are historical and then if they are historically accurate, the solution to some supposedly is to just look at an event today and say that based on this event, that one in the past didn’t happen, even though there’s no logical connection between the two. This is also the case with arguments from the problem of natural evil. Because a tsunami or earthquake hits, it does not prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

This is something also that sets apart Christianity from other religions. Other religions do take place in history of course. Muhammad, Moses, and others are all said to have lived at a certain point in time. They’re all said to have handed down what they wrote at a certain time. (Some qualification with Muhammad based on whether he could write or not. If not, he at least dictated his writings.) Joseph Smith lived. The Buddha lived. These are historical truths.

However, in the Christian tradition, a historical event is at the heart of the belief system. As I told a friend tonight over dinner, science and philosophy are important. You can use science to defend Christianity. You can use philosophy. However, if you are going to prove that Jesus rose from the dead, you will have to go to history.

With Islam and Judaism, I cannot really point to a historical event that confirms the teachings of Muhammad or the teachings of a prophet like Isaiah. In that case, we often look at their teachings. Both of these religions can easily rely on right living. For Chfristianity, it’s also right beliefs since our beliefs about Jesus have Him central to the religion and thus, some claims about Him are essential.

That’s not saying how you live isn’t important. It definitely is. However, the resurrection of Christ is not proven or disproven by events that happen today. If you want to see if Christianity is true, you have to look at Christianity. While I could say that if atheism is true, what happens in atheistic societies follows, that also does not prove atheism false. I have to look at the claims of atheism and study them. If I don’t approve of killing the infidel in Islam, that doesn’t prove Islam is false. I have to look at the claims.

Debate about the killer might tell us about ethics, but if we want to see the truth, we need to look at the worldview.

Tags: , ,

14 Responses to “Thoughts on the Norway Killer”

  1. Articles « Loftier Musings Says:

    […] perspective. I agree with him (and Nick here) that Brevick’s actions are no real reason to reject Christianity, but I’d also ask, […]

  2. Alvin Says:

    apologanick,

    you can also make the same statements about Christianity in regards to killing unbelievers through Yahweh, which is Jesus’ father

    you can’t deny that christianity has past links with judaism; that the Old Testament God is the same as that of the NT and that his vision of what the world ought to be like is as monolithic as the social engineering projects the secular nazi’s and marxist had in building their exclusive utopias

    Don’t you find it conveinient that if a Christian monarch where to forcibly convert a pagan country to the sword or divorce his wife through unreasonable grounds, they don’t find inspiration from the pauline writings rather they reference the levitical laws and deuteronomy? since Christianity deem both NT and OT as equally inspired works, if a king cannot find guidance in down-to-earth pauline ethics, he can seeks counsel on the more imperialistic legislations of the mosaic law in governing his kingdom as a king under a theocracy

  3. Alvin Says:

    apologanick,

    So if you’re agnostic about Jewish history in regards to the prophets and Moses, would this imply that Jesus was a liar, because he quoted OT events?

  4. apologianick Says:

    Nope. I’m not agnostic about Jewish history. I affirm it. I also don’t find it convenient we don’t go to those passages because the Law of Israel is not the Law for all people. The ceremonial and such aspects were for that specific time and place.

    As for the so-called slaughter of the Canaanites, I have no problem there. This was a one-time deal for a one-time people. Judah and Israel were not given orders to go beyond their borders and conquer other nations to expand their horizons.

  5. Alvin Says:

    Some Rabbi’s supporting the Jewish fundamentalists zionist movement disagree with you; They equate the Nazi’s with the Amalekites and the Palestinians with the Canaanites, stating that Yahweh’s rule about the 7 nations and the Torah are unchanging or eternal ‘olam’ They justify their plots to annihilate and drive out the palestinian settlers through violence, because Yahweh ordered it so

    Now, you may disagree with this by stating you are a christian and that the law does not apply to you or its just mistaken exegesis on the part of mis-guided rabbis. But it doesn’t add any more force to your arguments to compel them to change their ways anymore than fanatics condemning one group of fanatics of being a deviant/heretical sect.

    One simple solution would be for Yahweh to simply tell the world through extraordinary evidence that his word should not be abused or clarify the status of the Law.

  6. apologianick Says:

    Oh! Some disagree! That means what exactly? Well you’ll have to state what that is. They believe X? Good. Can they provide any evidence that there is such a parallel? Can they provide evidence that they’re in any way bearing a relationship to the ancient state of Israel in the wilderness and the Nazis are equated with the Amalekites and Canaanites. (The Palestinians didn’t exist back then.)

    Can they show a Moses who gave them the command, especially since Israel never again repeated such an action, not even when Rome was in the land, or is it just “Well some random group says this so that means it can be taken that way.” Okay. I suppose you want to be held accountable then for every non-Christian view out there as well.

    And actually, yes. I can say it’s exegetical error and that does add strength to one who is supposed to take the text seriously. One either acts according to the text, or does what they want and later interprets the text to justify it.

    And that would be a simple solution, or it could be a simple solution also for people to learn to think and study for themselves. Amazing how some people think that we need to be freethinkers and then at the same time think God should tell them all the answers.

    • Alvin Says:

      What about parallels, allegory, pesher exegesis or the double-view; Look if the gospel writers can use techniques of equating this verse from Isaiah “Out of Egypt, I called my son”

      Original context is Israel to re-interpreted form that Son = Jesus, can you also see that the rabbi’s used the same technique with the Nazi’s and the Palestinians. With the isaiah verse, he talks about the Exodus, the gospels allude to the holy family’s flight to Egypt to their return trip. Using the same parallels, the Rabbi’s equated Haman, the amalekites and canaanites geneological hatred and genocidal policy with Nazi Holocaust, the six-day war to mean that indeed amalekites and canaanites are reincarnated in the form of Nazism and palestinians contempt against modern zion.

      So they might have used the same exegetical techniques the gospel writers themselves used in interpreting their theologies

  7. Alvin Says:

    You’re right about restrictions of Judah and Israel. What about the second coming of christ, where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess his lordship, and those who don’t believe will be consigned to hell.

    its unethical if virtuous non-believers who believe in a good cause more than stale and indifferent christians get consigned to hell.

    I think God doesn’t get true righteous diversity, where people who believed in different gods, or ideologies can find a common ground to help, encourage and strengthen people, love peace and promote justice by doing so and not compromising in their beliefs and identities.

    Its his monocular view of righteousness, his version of the good that only gets promoted and accepted, never if virtue comes from humanism, islam, hinduism and buddhism impulses

    This by the way is religious/cultural imperialism on a cosmic scale, its way worse than the secular land-grab, since the whole universe will be controlled and changed with one goal, worship of Lord Jesus Christ, if you’re not a believer no matter how good you are, its hell for you. His justice and love then is tyrannical

  8. apologianick Says:

    Alvin: What about parallels, allegory, pesher exegesis or the double-view; Look if the gospel writers can use techniques of equating this verse from Isaiah “Out of Egypt, I called my son”

    Reply: They did use that, but also it was related to the time of Messiah, as even the Qumran community saw. If one claims to speak that today, let them establish that their usage is valid.

    Alvin: Original context is Israel to re-interpreted form that Son = Jesus, can you also see that the rabbi’s used the same technique with the Nazi’s and the Palestinians. With the isaiah verse, he talks about the Exodus, the gospels allude to the holy family’s flight to Egypt to their return trip. Using the same parallels, the Rabbi’s equated Haman, the amalekites and canaanites geneological hatred and genocidal policy with Nazi Holocaust, the six-day war to mean that indeed amalekites and canaanites are reincarnated in the form of Nazism and palestinians contempt against modern zion.

    Reply: And they’d have to show that they are in a covenant with YHWH. Considering He blew away their temple, good luck doing that.

    Alvin: So they might have used the same exegetical techniques the gospel writers themselves used in interpreting their theologies

    Reply: And even if so, that doesn’t make them valid.

    Alvin: You’re right about restrictions of Judah and Israel. What about the second coming of christ, where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess his lordship, and those who don’t believe will be consigned to hell.

    its unethical if virtuous non-believers who believe in a good cause more than stale and indifferent christians get consigned to hell.

    Reply: I believe you mean the return of Christ. First off, stale and indifferent Christians will also get what they deserve. However, if someone wants a good cause but says “I don’t want God in my life” God will simply give them what they want. Do you want God to measure by actions? Okay. His standard is perfection. We’ll go by your rule. Rather than some go to Heaven or Hell, we’ll ask God to change it so that only perfect people can go in.

    Alvin: I think God doesn’t get true righteous diversity, where people who believed in different gods, or ideologies can find a common ground to help, encourage and strengthen people, love peace and promote justice by doing so and not compromising in their beliefs and identities.

    Reply: And all of these are more important than treating the greatest good as the greatest good?

    Alvin: Its his monocular view of righteousness, his version of the good that only gets promoted and accepted, never if virtue comes from humanism, islam, hinduism and buddhism impulses

    Reply: His version of the good? Sounds like you’re assuming a voluntarist approach. I don’t go for that here. Good behavior can be rewarded and is taken into account, but the worst evil one can do is rejecting God as God.

    Alvin: This by the way is religious/cultural imperialism on a cosmic scale, its way worse than the secular land-grab, since the whole universe will be controlled and changed with one goal, worship of Lord Jesus Christ, if you’re not a believer no matter how good you are, its hell for you. His justice and love then is tyrannical

    Reply: And if God has set it so that He has revealed Himself sufficiently and someone does not seek out truth, whose fault is that? Theirs or His? Right now, your opinion is God should do the acting for you. Then, when he doesn’t, you complain that he’s being tyrannical. I’m sure you wouldn’t dare say that if He showed up suddenly and made the same request.

    Anyway, I might not answer again for awhile. I’m out until Friday.

  9. Alvin Says:

    The point is, God didn’t setup perfect control systems to take into account every minutae of religious groups’ beliefs and creed that profess to believe in him or versions of him.

    So you get syncretism and cultural mutations of Christianity like the Positive, euro-centric racist one espoused by Anders or the scholastic Graeco-roman intellectual version that Aquinas and the RCC espouse or even the ‘death of god’ liberal theologies of Paul Tillich, to Kakure Khristians of Japan

    Yes, I know one should study one’s bible to figure out the truth, but which versions Apocryphal, the coptic or the protestant ESV urban chic version? I guess there really is nothing divine about Christianity, it always has been a human institution disguised in divine garb.

    Why else could it mimic perfectly the diversity and contradictory stances characterized by human ideologies and religions? Secular or Sacred. If God is a God of order and he really is concerned with the contents of his Word, he can universally declare to all religious groups one correct way or several sets of interpretative methods to figure his book out, but he didn’t. Post-Ascenscion day, the Church had to go through so many schisms and dissensions on what state, society and church means whilst the Son of God was busy ascending to care about what will happen next on how different groups of people interpret his word.

  10. Alvin Says:

    Reply: And even if so, that doesn’t make them valid.

    -how do you know then that the NT writers interpretation of Jesus=Israel is right or wrong? Maybe the Jews are right the apostles got it wrong

    Reply: I believe you mean the return of Christ. First off, stale and indifferent Christians will also get what they deserve. However, if someone wants a good cause but says “I don’t want God in my life” God will simply give them what they want. Do you want God to measure by actions? Okay. His standard is perfection. We’ll go by your rule. Rather than some go to Heaven or Hell, we’ll ask God to change it so that only perfect people can go in.

    -So God is black and white then, no middle ground, he has to obliterate one person even if they sin unintentionally or even if there’s a speck of immorality. He’s a hypochondriac then, his standards are unreasonably high, since no morally perfect person exists. its like jailing your son forever if he steals his sister’s toy. That’s where Jesus comes in right?

    Reply: And all of these are more important than treating the greatest good as the greatest good?

    Yes, pretty much that’s what the rest of the world operates on now, human rights, religious freedom and environmentalism are on the forefront as universal encompassing goods that can include a larger scale of people than God or gods and they actually better people;s lives more than miracles. All of which can be done so without invoking God’s name unlike before in Wilberforce time

  11. apologianick Says:

    Alvin: The point is, God didn’t setup perfect control systems to take into account every minutae of religious groups’ beliefs and creed that profess to believe in him or versions of him.

    Reply: Oh. That’s right. God’s supposed to do all our thinking for us. He’s just supposed to tell us everything rather than have us be disciples and study the text for ourselves.

    Alvin: So you get syncretism and cultural mutations of Christianity like the Positive, euro-centric racist one espoused by Anders or the scholastic Graeco-roman intellectual version that Aquinas and the RCC espouse or even the ‘death of god’ liberal theologies of Paul Tillich, to Kakure Khristians of Japan

    Reply: I see no evidence that Anders was a Christian from his writings even. I also have no problem agreeing with Aquinas whose Christianity I would not call Graeco-Roman. He had a firm rooting in Scripture and used Aristotlean philosophy as an aide to logical thinking. For Paul Tillich, I also don’t see that as I don’t see him affirming the great creedal affirmations of the church, and I don’t know enough about the last group to comment.

    Alvin: Yes, I know one should study one’s bible to figure out the truth, but which versions Apocryphal, the coptic or the protestant ESV urban chic version? I guess there really is nothing divine about Christianity, it always has been a human institution disguised in divine garb.

    Reply: I have no problem with either one. I could use a Protestant Bible, a Catholic Bible, or an Eastern Orthodox Bible frankly.

    Alvin: Why else could it mimic perfectly the diversity and contradictory stances characterized by human ideologies and religions? Secular or Sacred. If God is a God of order and he really is concerned with the contents of his Word, he can universally declare to all religious groups one correct way or several sets of interpretative methods to figure his book out, but he didn’t. Post-Ascenscion day, the Church had to go through so many schisms and dissensions on what state, society and church means whilst the Son of God was busy ascending to care about what will happen next on how different groups of people interpret his word.

    Reply: Try stopping and thinking a bit about what you’re saying. You expect God to beam down a message to every cultural group in every time and every place just to avoid confusion. As if that wouldn’t happen when these cultures start talking to one another? As if such foreknowledge of cultural groups could not be taken advantage of by prior ones? What an excuse to avoid actual study. You’re not willing to study the text because God didn’t beam down the right answers?

    Alvin: -how do you know then that the NT writers interpretation of Jesus=Israel is right or wrong? Maybe the Jews are right the apostles got it wrong

    Reply: I know by studying the text. If you want to attempt to refute the resurrection, go ahead.

    Alvin: -So God is black and white then, no middle ground, he has to obliterate one person even if they sin unintentionally or even if there’s a speck of immorality.

    Reply: No obliteration. He just gives them what they want. Also, if you think you can find the person who’s only sinned unintentionally and never intentionally, I’d like to meet them. I’ve never seen such a person.

    Alvin: He’s a hypochondriac then, his standards are unreasonably high, since no morally perfect person exists.

    Reply: If His standards were lower, then that would mean He would say that His own goodness does not matter. But He is the highest good so to downplay that is to say goodness does not matter. And here all the time you’re telling me how good someone is does matter….

    Alvin: its like jailing your son forever if he steals his sister’s toy. That’s where Jesus comes in right?

    Reply: Yes. That is where Jesus comes in. However, I note that you seem to think all punishment will be the same. It won’t be. Furthermore, if this is the way God will judge, complaining about it won’t change it. I would suspect that if you were really interested in truth, you’d want to investigate to see if it’s true beyond the supposed reason of “I don’t like it.”

    Alvin: Yes, pretty much that’s what the rest of the world operates on now, human rights, religious freedom and environmentalism are on the forefront as universal encompassing goods that can include a larger scale of people than God or gods and they actually better people;s lives more than miracles. All of which can be done so without invoking God’s name unlike before in Wilberforce time

    Reply: I do not believe that I referred to miracles. I also see God as the foundation of goodness being goodness Himself. Furthermore, why should these issues be of such concern today? Do they worry about the same in Japan or China or perhaps third world nations? Why should I think of these as good things?

    And no, I don’t think these always better human lives as thought today. If anything, I see American society as getting worse because we’re so concerned about our rights rather than what is right.

  12. Alvin Says:

    Reply: Try stopping and thinking a bit about what you’re saying. You expect God to beam down a message to every cultural group in every time and every place just to avoid confusion. As if that wouldn’t happen when these cultures start talking to one another?

    Yes I would expect that from an omniscient and all-good being in the universe to clarify what he said more and update information as the world changes based on his guidance. Better than a book with static texts on it. the constitution gets amended and tax laws get reformed, which could be bad or good, since people are the ones making the changes. But i would expect God to be all-knowing enough to prevent mistakes of interpretation; like allowing one group thinking that he wants them to burn people alive as witches or to another group to picket gay people’s funerals

    Reply: I see no evidence that Anders was a Christian from his writings even. I also have no problem agreeing with Aquinas whose Christianity I would not call Graeco-Roman. He had a firm rooting in Scripture and used Aristotlean philosophy as an aide to logical thinking.

    Ok, i agree with you that Anders’ version is a mistaken one, but you forgot to mention that cultural aspirations tend to dominate christian churches on whatever continent it’s in. in nigeria, christianity tends to be more pentecostal and aggressive, because they are battling islamic followers, who are persecuting them. In the US, they tend towards mass-marketing ‘church’ programs and activities like any multi-national corporation, because of consumerism. In Canada, churches here are individualistic, and interest-oriented (e.g. individuals go because they think its a social club) How come it’s not always the other way around, where the gospel influences the culture? I always see the reverse happening.

    Reply: Oh. That’s right. God’s supposed to do all our thinking for us. He’s just supposed to tell us everything rather than have us be disciples and study the text for ourselves.

    Not necessarily, just the vague bits and hermeneutics. We still have a responsibility to apply the ‘authorized’ tools in interpreting scripture through exegesis that God approves; its simple, if a christian doesn’t know the answer, they could ask God, who can give them a direct answer. Instead of referring to other people’s work like the theologians or preachers, who you might say are inspired by the holy spirit or whatever that means and getting contradictory answers to faith questions.

    Reply: If His standards were lower, then that would mean He would say that His own goodness does not matter. But He is the highest good so to downplay that is to say goodness does not matter. And here all the time you’re telling me how good someone is does matter….

    No, his goodness would be more apparent in being merciful enough to give less-deserving people credit by lowering the ‘perfect’ standard, his goodness not mattering is non-sequitur. What do you mean by highest good? compared to what?

    Also, what do you make of the apocrypha?, since you said that you don’t have a problem with using orthodox or catholic bibles,

    Reply: I do not believe that I referred to miracles. I also see God as the foundation of goodness being goodness Himself. Furthermore, why should these issues be of such concern today? Do they worry about the same in Japan or China or perhaps third world nations? Why should I think of these as good things? And no, I don’t think these always better human lives as thought today. If anything, I see American society as getting worse because we’re so concerned about our rights rather than what is right.

    The human rights activist at gaza, the medics at doctors without borders or the syrians in the middle-east don’t invoke God’s name whenever their in the front lines, the good that they do gets understood by cultures foreign to them at least. I’m talking about democracy, freedom of expression, economic security, things like these resonate to people who don’t have them or whose culture is inimical like the Arabs or the chinese.

    Sure, you might say these people are deluded without God, but you’re not one of the protesters, who don’t have a job, or who gets treated unfairly as a minority by the majority government. Spiritual concerns take a side-step, if the physical needs are not met and that’s what’s happening in the middle east right now. A secular revolt. you keep downplaying the good that they do, but its more real than God’s goodness

    For example, you have open access to the internet in which you can freely debate with people like me who have different views or you can vote for leaders that is more to your conscience-liking or even the freedom to worship on sunday besides other religions is the freedom being fought for in some countries in the middle east with/without god. he’s an option, not an ought.

    So some churches do fight for the same cause and risk getting the gospel of the kingdom downplayed in all their activism, or others just ignore it and become so heavenly-minded, that they’ve become irrelevant to the public culture.

  13. Alvin Says:

    Either way, the world has mostly forgotten Christianity, its busy solving problems and finding practical solutions for everyday people.

    Don’t you ever wonder, if you’re going the way paganism went when it was facing the rise of christianity? Now that secularism is becoming the dominant culture; with atheism growth tripling in the last 10 years even though Christianity is still number one in adherents and most of the growth placed in the most-industrialized, influential and safe societies in north america and europe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: