Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The mad mind...

I've been reading some blog posts about the Norwegian murderer Anders Behring Breivik and his ties to Right-wing Christianity (as evidenced in his rambling manifesto). However, I caution folks not to draw causal conclusions from his own writings. From the little I've read it's apparent that the man is insane.

While I'm not fan of religion, I've read parts of his manifesto and it seems more like the ramblings of an insane mind than the coherent philosophy of a Fundamentalist: Christian or otherwise.

Don't misunderstand me: labels are useful and this guy was definitely a right-wing, nationalist nut-case. And although I believe him mentally ill (if killing children to further your nationalistic goals isn't evidence of mental illness, I don't know what is), labeling him a 'christian' because of his writings simply doesn't correlate.

Do we know anything more about him than what was published in his manifesto and has been recently reported? I haven't been following this in detail, but it appears that the level of christianity he 'practiced' was based on a standard, western understanding of the faith that almost all of us possess. My point being that I don't think he took much of these beliefs to 'heart. His knowledge and references to the faith fall in line with what most non-atheists (i.e. - the majority of folks in the US, however not the majority in Norway) would profess: i.e. - Jesus is god, he provides a path to forgiveness, etc. etc. (which, as my friends know, I believe to be utter nonsense). To say such beliefs are part of the 'cause' of this atrocity misses the bigger point:

1- Such beliefs have been around for many centuries,
2- they are held by millions (if not billions) of people
3- the vast majority who hold such beliefs (and even those considered devote), don't believe in the killing of innocents to further their ends

However, in this case we see a man who wantonly killing dozens of people to further his right-wing aims. The critical piece of information here isn't that he spouted Christian nonsense... But that such mundane beliefs were at work in a deranged mind.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he's "not guilty" and shouldn't be punished to the maximum extent of the law... Crazy or not he must be held accountable for his actions. But Christian ideas (and far worse - Islam anyone?) have been around for centuries... I'd caution everyone not to draw causal relationships when the more likely cause is a mal-functioning mind that latched onto a plethora of nonsense to justify  homicide.

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