Essay: Analysis of the 2011 Oslo attacks from a Christian perspective
Anders Behring Breivik was accused of, and has since confessed to, murdering 77 people during a killing spree in Norway on July 22, 2011. On that day, a bomb was detonated near government buildings in the capital city of Oslo, killing eight. Some 90 minutes later, Breivik went to a summer camp on the island of Utoya and began shooting, killing 69 people.
Breivik's manifesto and ideology
Over a period of approximately three years, Breivik wrote and/or compiled a 1,518 page, partly plagiaristic manifesto titled 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, half of which he states he wrote himself. He sent this to 8,000 dedicated nationalists just before his murderous rampages began, and which was subsequently converted to a PDF file and posted on the Internet after the attacks.
In his manifesto Breivik details how Islam invaded Europe in the past and was defeated, and expresses plans to combat, by an "armed indigenous rights movements/resistance movement" (p. 668), the latest Islamic invasion/attack in which they employ "demographic warfare." (p. 816) Breivik resistance involves raising up an army of Justiciar Knights, PCCTS, ("Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici" or "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon" in English), commonly known as the Knights Templar,(p. 1509) which Breivik claimed had been re-formed in London in 2002.
Breivik's compendium/book presents "advanced ideological, practical, tactical, organizational and rhetorical solutions and strategies" for his war against "Islam and the cultural Marxism/multiculturalism in Western Europe," and its different political fronts, and the reestablishment of a secular "Christian" Catholic culture, and thus the restoration of Europe's cultural self-confidence (nationalism) by 2083. (pp. 4, 5, 802) Its extensive instructions include prolonged violence and the advocation of the use of drugs to enhance performance.
The manifesto also shows that Breivik was an active player of the World of Warcraft (and other computer games), and indicates that he was inspired by such themes.
While the manifesto contains a legal disclaimer that states certain chapters in Book 2 and Book 3 (a Declaration of pre-emptive War) were hypothetical, and "must not be confused with an actual plan, or strategy to attempt to harm any individuals...," and that the author does not condone such, (p. 766-68) yet it has become apparent that this disclaimer itself was part of his malevolent strategy.
Religion and moral views
On his Facebook profile, Breivik describes himself as a Christian. He states that he chose to be baptised into the Protestant Church of Norway at the age of 15, although he later became disenchanted with Norway's State Church. He supported “an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic” in an online post in 2009.
Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen initially told reporters that "We have no more information than... what has been found on [his] own websites, which is that it goes towards the right and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist." 
Likewise, some reports were quick to described Breivik as a “Christian terrorist,” based largely on his self-identity as one on his Facebook profile, and his postings to some Christian fundamentalist type websites on certain shared views.
However, in contrast to the common theological understanding of Christian fundamentalism, that of "militantly anti-modernist Protestant evangelicalism," and its emphasis on Protestant doctrine and salvation by faith, in his manifesto, Breivik referred to "Protestantism as the Marxism of Christianity". (p. 1346) He criticized salvation by faith and deplored "Christian fundamentalist theocracy" as "everything we do not want", in favor of "a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage". (p. 1346) He also commended the separation of church and state. (p. 1132)
Breivik invoked Roman Catholic canon law and the example of the Crusades for support, and looked toward a "Crusader Pope." (p. 1135) He also believed those who died in his case were worthy of an indulgence, (pp. 1324–26, 46) and stated, "If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past," (p. 1345) and advocated that such take of "the Eucharist (Holy Communion/The Lord's Supper)" for the practical purpose of strength to face such death. (p. 1345)
Breivik also considered it sufficient that one be "a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist" to fight for his Christian cultural heritage, (p. 1361, 62) and held that "it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings." (p. 1403)
Breivik denied the need for a personal relationship with Christ to be a Christian, stating, “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.” (p. 1307)
In response to the question as to why he choose an allegiance to a group with Christian values and pan-European goals instead of a purely national/regional group, Breivik stated that,
"My choice has nothing to do with the fact that I am not proud of my own traditions and heritage. My choice was based purely pragmatism...A hateful ideology (white supremacist), death metal, Odinism, conspiracy theories does NOT have mass appeal...It is essential that we choose a banner that has the potential to appeal towards central and southern Europeans as well...Mass appeal should be the most essential factor in this strategy. (p. 1380,81)
Responding to the issue of perceived anti-gay mentality among conservatives, Breivik stated,
The multiculturalists WANT us to fit in their pre-defined stereotype. They want us to be racists, fascist, gay hating individuals because it would make their job so much easier in their effort to label us as the scum of the earth. The truth of the matter is that I personally know several gay individuals and have known several gay people during the years and I don't have any reservations against them. Why would I care what they do behind closed doors?
However, I personally do object to the "gay media hysteria" which has been going on in Western Europe the last two decades. In many cases "alleged victim groups" are subjected to positive discrimination within politics, media and certain sectors. In those specific contexts it has become standard policy to discriminate so called "heterosexual men". Western European media, especially in the protestant countries are obsessed with cheering the gay community and other minorities they see as "preferred groups" in their so called "victim hierarchy". The glorification of "preferred groups" in the EUSSR "victim hierarchy" have gone too far. It's racist and fascist. (pp. 1357,58)
In addition, Breivik stated that after 5 years in the Freemasons, he was finally accepted for rank 4-5. However, due to lack of time he decided to decline the offer and told them he would be unavailable until autumn 2011, due to extensive traveling. (p. 1431)
In an insight on his personal morality, Breivik was fond of the clubs in Hungary, though he disliked rock music. He avoided affairs with females for the sake of his mission, although he had engaged in fornication less recently, which he stated was "a relatively small sin compared to the huge amounts of grace I am about to generate with my martyrdom operation." He also revealed that he had reserved a substantial sum from his operations budget which he intend to spend on a quality prostitute just before or after he attended his final martyr's mass in Frogner Church in order to place him "biologically, mentally and spiritually at ease." (p. 1424)
While he avoided getting drunk due to the priority of his mission, he advocated the use of performance-enhancing drugs to that end, and he did enjoy getting very drunk at a birthday party. (p. 1415) He also played video games for pleasure and motivation, such as those in the "World of Warcraft" series and "Dragon Age Origins", and stated, "I regret to admit that I’ve become a notorious downloader of pirated movies, series and games etc." (p. 1418, 24, 25)
The Norwegian Foreign Minister had visited the Labour Youth League summer camp on the island of Utoya Thursday, and was met with claims that Norway must recognize a Palestinian state, which Breivik opposes, as part of his nationalistic beliefs. Breivik also supports nationalistic movements in India.
Many liberal secular sources were quick to label Breivik a Christian extremist, a "Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections," or a "Christian terrorist," based upon a Facebook and a Twitter account in which he identifies himself as a Christian and a conservative.
However, rather than being product of Bible-preaching evangelical or fundamental preaching, which historically has taught that it is fundamentally contrary to Christ to engage in killing after the manner of Breivik, further research revealed that the Christianity of Breivik was that of a "cultural Christian," one that denied the necessity of the conversionary new birth (John 3:3) and its personal relationship with Christ. (p. 1307)
Breivik also claimed to be a fan of some violent video games, and whose favorite television show was the serial killer show "Dexter." He was also an advocate of performance enhancing drugs for his mission, and was a somewhat advanced Mason.
Although Breivik valued Christian morality in general, and had a perverse hope of glorification as a martyr, much of the value he placed upon religion was for the practical purposes of fulfilling his mission.
It is pointed out that while religious violence was sanctioned for Israel in a limited context, under the New Testament, the Bible does not offer any sanction for physical religious violence, such as,
- Christians killing others due to their contrary views.
- the church using violence in correcting false beliefs among church members
- the church exercising such to rule over those without
- the church exercising such to expand the physical territory of the church
A possible exception might be in order to save others from being hurt in an immediate situation, but that is hardly a religious context. And historically, rather than religious violence, many Christian Evangelical “fundamentalist” groups have chosen to be complete pacifists, while acts such as the Crusades are seen to be the result of Biblical illiteracy and of men presuming a higher authority. This led to the conclusion that those who assert that Breivik was acting consistent with the Bible may be potentially as dangerous as he is.
While Breivik could express a lucid understanding of problems due to liberalism, he also evidenced various delusions. His method of achieving a "a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage", (p. 1346) was itself immoral, and not in accordance with Scripture, as was much of his idea of a such a society itself.
Breivik's goal seems to have been to bring about a repristinated Norway according to the memory of his youth and his interpretation of history, with a secular Christian but Catholic culture. He saw Islam as engaging in another invasion, this time by a birth rate far above that of the "indigenous" people, whom he compared to American Indians. (p. 688)
His antipathy toward the Islamisation of Europe apparently had beginnings far earlier, as he states that he remembers Muslim gangs in the 90's "that systematically harassed, robbed and beat ethnic Norwegian youngsters who were unfortunate enough to not have the right affiliations." (p. 1382)
Anders Breivik’s motivation for targeting of the youth camp of the Norwegian Labour Party was apparently due to its support of the Islamization of Europe, which some assert implicitly supported terrorism. The day before the massacre, Norwegian Foreign Minister Gahre-Store visited the camp and was greeted with banners calling for a boycott of Israel, and Gahre-Store responded with an anti-Israel speech to cheers from the campers.
However, his best friend was a man named Arsalan who was a Pakistani, 1389) and Breivik also asserted. "I don't hate Muslims at all. I acknowledge that there are magnificent Muslim individuals in Europe. In fact, I have had several Muslim friends over the years, some of which I still respect. This does not mean however that I will accept an Islamic presence in Europe. Muslim individuals who do not assimilate 100% within 2020 will be deported as soon as we manage to seize power. Although I do admit that I am disgusted by the current development, I would rather say I'm driven by my love for Europe, European culture and all Europeans. This does not mean that I oppose diversity. But appreciating diversity does not mean that you support genocide of your own culture and people by accepting for example Islamic Demographic Warfare." (p. 1382)
Breivik was anti-Nazi and also supported nationalists in India in general, who seek to make the Indian state a "Hindu nation" and its Sikh, Buddhist and Jain minorities incorporated into Hinduism, and impugned Christian missionary work among the lower caste. (p. 1475)
It therefore seems evident that what Breivik was engaged in was a culture war for the institution of a quasi-Catholic based secular culture as opposed to Islam, but his murderous means of waging such was like those of the Muslim extremists that he abhorred, and which methods afforded him little moral high ground. Also, paradoxically, his manifesto, with its guide to waging war, may have provided Muslim terrorists and other violent radicals with improved tactics, while his actions are expected to make it more difficult to peacefully support conservative values.
Although Breivik's legal disclaimer states that his manifesto is "a fictional account" by a "sci-fi writer" using a new writing style "that has the potential to shock the reader with an incredibly credible fictional plot (written in first, second and third person narrative), it seems apparent that the only part of the book intended to be fiction was his statement that "the author or distributor does not condone or agree with any of the descriptions or methods used in this book and the related chapters." (p. 767)
However, it may be speculated that Breivik's lack of distinction between fiction and reality was fostered by his indulgence in computer games. The pretense of writing fiction perhaps also allowed him to advocate and plan things that more objectively and rationally he might have not engaged in. In addition to the calculated killing, in dealing with the need for absolutely committed comrades, he stated that,
"The difference between an agent and a Justiciar Knight is that the latter will be willing to make a great sacrifice for the purpose of proper validation. Now what kind of sacrifice would be great enough to remove all doubt that the candidate is not a EU/US agent? A Justiciar Knight is willing to martyr himself for the cause while a EU/US agent will not be willing to sacrifice much. The entity should demand that the alleged Justiciar Knight in question surgically remove his penis and testicles and/or execute a fixed number of civilian children. While this requirement seems morbid, absurd and unreasonable, it is perhaps the most effective method of confirming the intentions of an individual. (p. 960)
That Breivik understood the gravity of his planned program of actions is evident from his statements in his manifesto. In the event that he had "a successful mission" and lived to "stand a multiculturalist trial," he stated that not only would all his friends and family detest him and call him a monster, but that he would be "labeled as the biggest (Nazi-) monster ever witnessed since WW2." He wondered if he could biologically "survive the mental" pressures he expected, including physical torture, though he asserted, "I have an extremely strong psyche (stronger than anyone I have ever known)," and that "I will always know that I am perhaps the biggest champion of cultural conservatism, Europe has ever witnessed since 1950."
In the end, Breivik joins a list of other deluded souls who only wanted some form of Christianity - due to some of its positive aspects - but denied the power thereof, that is, Christ and His kingdom (and which denial paradoxically is conducive Islamic takeover), and therefore he choose "a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
- Death Toll in Norway Attacks Rises to 77
- Norway's mass killer pursuing anti-Islam crusade
- BBC News, Europe, 23 July 2011
- George M. Marsden, "Fundamentalism and American culture," pp. 3, 4, 110
- Christian fundamentalist charged
- Free Republic
- "Just how Christian is Anders Behring Breivik?", Christian Post, Tuesday, July 26, 2011
- Rotten in Norway, FrontPage magazine, August 1, 2011