The Norway Murders, Christianity, Darwin, and tolerance
As predictable as the sunrise, creationists are launching another round of the disgusting practice of trying to tie every mass murderer to Darwin and evolution, self-consistency and logic be damned. This time it’s about Brevik, the bomber and shooter in last Friday’s killings. We saw this at Uncommon Descent on Sunday (“Norway shooter a Darwinian terrorist?”) – itself relying on an article from the fundamentalist WorldNetDaily (“Terrorist proclaimed himself ‘Darwinian,’ not ‘Christian’”), and today from alleged scholar John West at the Discovery Institute (“Fundamentalist Christian or Deranged Social Darwinist?”).
West does the usual thing, word-searching Brevik’s 1500-page screed for the few references to Darwin, and brazenly playing down the hundreds of references to Christianity and God and the Templars and Christian holy war against Islam. These are just brushed off by West. West pretends that Brevik calls himself a “Christian atheist” through pretty optimistic (optimistic from West’s perspective) readings of some Brevik passages, which completely ignores the various quite direct references that Brevik makes towards his own belief in God. Here’s West:
Although he adds that he has not yet actually prayed to God for strength, he expects that he may do so when he goes on his murderous rampage: “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.” (p. 1345) Note the “if” in his statement about whether God exists. Breivik himself doesn’t even appear to believe in God. He frequently identifies himself as a “cultural Christian,” a term which he defines at one point as the same thing as a “Christian atheist.” (p. 1360)
About the last sentence – it’s pretty clear that while Brevik thinks you can be a cultural Christian without being a practicing Christian, he doesn’t see the categories as mutually exclusive. Practicing Christians would be a subset of cultural Christians in his view. I think Brevik sees himself as a cultural Christian who definitely believes in God, but doesn’t practice much (undoubtedly quite a common position in the general public, by the way).
West also draws the dubious conclusion that Brevik doesn’t believe in God, based on “optimistic” readings of a Brevik passage on prayer and a use of the word “if”. This is ignoring direct contradictory evidence. Here is a section from Brevik’s journal from June where he discusses his praying with God. I include the surrounding passages about bomb-making, which Brevik was in the midst of.
From page 1459 (italics added):
Friday June 10 - Day 40: Continued synthesizing 4 and 5 of 10 batches picric acid and placing the finished compound to dry. I placed 50g of my best batch in the oven to prepare for testing and to use it for DDNP manufacturing. Potent PA should burn when lit with flame.
To my great disappointment, nothing happened when I did the fire test…! What the hell, how is that possible, it was completely dry and that particular batch was manufactured perfectly according to specifications!? I did everything according to specifications… Could the compound I have manufactured be inert???? Unfortunate circumstances rams cock in arse once again…! I started to have serious doubts and my morale and motivation started to shatter…
I concluded that given the recent events, I would now have to move forward with operation B, at least continue to complete all preparations for this as the primary operation seemed to wither away.
Saturday June 11 - Day 41: As I was doing research on the net, a thunder storm approached, but it was still very far away. I have never had any problems with electrical overcharges the last 15 years because I always use specialty electrical outputs with gas cylinder electrical overcharge protection. Suddenly my PC made a relatively large bang, and the electricity went out. Once electricity was back on I noticed that my PC was dead. FFS, not again… As it was in the evening, I couldn’t fix it until Monday…
I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail. He must ensure that I succeed with my mission and as such; contribute to inspire thousands of other revolutionary conservatives/nationalists; anti- Communists and anti-Islamists throughout the European world.
Sunday June 12 - Day 42: Although highly demoralized, I decided to do one last test of the PA compound. I decided to create a batch of DDNP using my best batch of picric acid. This was to be my last attempt to move ahead with operation A. I didn’t have much faith in creating such a difficult compound as DDNP when I couldn’t even manage to create a decent batch of PA… I spent most of the day preparing that batch of DDNP, then drying it in the oven for 4 hours.
Monday June 13 - Day 43: I prepared a test device today and drove off to a very isolated site. The test bomb was composed of a 3g DDNP primary and a 30g PA secondary. If this test would fail, I would abandon operation A and move forward with the non-spectacular operation B.
I lit the fuse, went out of range and waited. It was probably the longest 10 seconds I have ever endured…
BOOM! The detonation was successful!!!:-) I quickly drove away to avoid any potential unwanted attention, from people in the vicinity. I would have to come back a few hours later to investigate the blast hole, to see if both compounds had detonated.
A few hours later, after returning from a restaurant in the southern town to celebrate this success, I went back to the blast site to evaluate the detonation. The DDNP primary detonated successfully but the dry picric acid booster did not detonate at all. So I confirmed that the PA was not inert, just of a very low purity grade. This could be sorted as I would now move forward with purification after completion of the last PA batches. Today was a very good day as I really needed this success.
Tuesday June 14 - Day 44: Continued synthesizing picric acid and placing the finished compound to dry.
There are a lot of disturbing things about this passage, ranging from Brevik’s use of smiley-faces while building a bomb (as if his journal entries were goddamn facebook updates), to the fact that Brevik’s bomb-making efforts were experiencing setbacks, reversals, bad luck, etc. – until he prayed to God, at which point it appears that things started working.
West goes on to claim that “Social Darwinism” and “eugenics” are Brevik’s recommendation for the future. Well, there might be a little of that in Brevik’s plan, he does give a few brief references to eugenics – but what’s Brevik’s main idea? Well, it’s holy war! Holy war against the cultural Marxists and multiculturalists, and once they are out, deportation of all the Muslims from Europe, never to return again. There’s actually not a heck of a lot left for eugenics to do, even theoretically, if Brevik’s holy-war-and-deportation agenda were ever carried out, anyhow!
And what is Brevik’s inspiration for and defense of using violence, both in his future envisioned holy war, and in his planned July attacks, which he sees as the first strike in that war?
Continue to read this article at Pandas Thumb
This is a pretty exhaustive and in depth article. Of course, the American Right are attempting to distance themselves from this man - using every slight of hand trick they can think of - but it’s not going to work. The usual fall-back is ‘Darwinism’ - as in, Eugenics based on superiority of race/genes/etc. Which, in this case, is an absolute pile of twaddle.
The man identifies as Christian and he is a terrorist. He is also socially conservative and anti-Islamic. He may not be a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’ in that he believes in the inerrant word of the Bible - but he is fundamentalist in that he would rather commit acts of terrorism than politics. The Christian Right need to stop playing games with this and just accept that a Christian man committed some atrocious acts, they are doing no-one any favors by continuing to deny the links.
Anyway - it’s a fascinating read, I recommend it.
Christians are often reluctant to see the connections between their religion and extreme violence. They will dismiss it as “madness” rather than confront the Christian element directly. As a woman interviewed in Oslo observed, “If Islamic people do something bad, you think, ‘Oh, it’s…