Sunday, July 24, 2011

I dag er vi alle Norske

Today we are all Norwegian.  I have to admit, up to this week I have never given Norway much thought.  Beautiful country, land of the Vikings and their incredibly hot descendants and that's about the extent of it.  But the recent tragedy has changed all that.  Anders Behring Breivik murdered almost a hundred people in a senseless act of terrorism this week and now Norway is on our minds and in our hearts.  My heart goes out to them, cliched as that may sound, I feel saddened with them and touched by what happened to them even though they aren't my people.  As I read this story though I find myself wishing they were my people because as much as the tragedy fills me with empathetic sadness, their response to it fills me with admiration and respect.

Anders - a right wing fundamentalist Christian - committed this atrocity because he hated the culture of tolerance in Norway, especially towards immigrants and Muslims.  The Norwegian response to this attack on tolerance?  A vow to continue being tolerant.

The Prime Minister of Norway, said:
"You shall not destroy us, you shall not destroy our democracy and commitment. We are a small but proud nation. No one should scare us or shoot us into silence. No one should scare us from being Norway."

Meanwhile Eskil Pedersen, leader of the youth camp that Anders attacked responded by vowing to continue such camps in future saying:
"We meet terror and violence with more democracy and will continue to fight against intolerance,"

Now that, is incredible.  I wish we could all see such sentiments from our leaders when terror attacks happen.  If evil men attack you because of your principles, shouldn't the correct response be to hold on to those principles?  Wouldn't the worst possible response be to sacrifice those principles in the name of safety and security?

It's a little ironic that in the wake of an attack by a Christian fundamentalist, it is the people of Norway who are acting more in line with the fundamentals of Christianity.  In the book of Acts and the history of the early church, when the Christians were being cruelly persecuted by a brutal military regime their response was to become more like their Messiah.  They did not choose to become more cruel, brutal or military themselves in order to become safer, instead chose to lay down their lives as their Master did before them.  Being attacked by Rome for being Christian made them more like Christ, not more like Rome.  That only happened later...

These days whenever a tragedy occurs it seems as if it's the Fundamentalist Christians who are most vocal in calling for stricter controls, harsher penalties, more draconian measures and more blood in retaliation.  Of course at the moment they are too busy decrying the media reporting that the perpetrator was a Right Wing Fundamentalist Christian, pointing out that no true Christian - one who followed the teachings of Jesus - would ever commit such an atrocity.  They are completely right in that but if this tarnishes them by proxy then they really only have themselves to blame.  Who do you think started this trend of blaming the acts of evil, deranged men on their purported beliefs?  Turnabout is fair play, is it not?  Besides, modern Fundamentalist Christianity has little to do with the fundamentals of Christianity.


GumbyTheCat said...

This is a terrible tragedy indeed. One can only wonder at what the killer's motives and mindset were.

On one of my discussion threads, a fundamentalist had this to say: "And btw.. the Norway shooter was Freemason.." and linked to this article.

When I went to the article he cited, I found that it actually said "On his Facebook profile, Breivik describes himself as a Christian and a conservative.

It also listed interests such as body-building and freemasonry.

When I pointed out the commenter's dishonesty-by-omission, another fundie promptly chimed in with "A mason is a Mason, above all things. He may be a christian too, but first he is a freemason. That is what dominates his life. "

I think at this time that attention should be focused on the "hows" and "whys" of this horrifying tragedy, but I couldn't help but shake my head in amazement yet again at how Christians will go to any length to pull out the Christian variation of the No True Scotsman canard.

A religion can never be fixed and can never improve when its adherents automatically deny that believers can do horrible things. Having the mindset "a true Christian could not possibly due something like that" is the most cowardly out possible.

GumbyTheCat said...

By the way, on a cheerier note, I found a nice article about your favorite Nazirite, or more specifically, her taxidermist..

Eugene said...

I can't help but feel that in a case involving a lone deranged individual and not an organized terror group it doesn't help much to dissect his beliefs and interests. It won't help much in preventing a similar occurrence since senseless acts like these rarely (if ever) happen for the same reason twice. I also don't see how blame is going to fix anything, the damage is done. As always the real question we need to ask ourselves is how are we going to respond? Is this going to make us worse or better?

Thanks for the article on the meat dress btw! I had heard it had been preserved and I had been secretly plotting to track it down and eat it but now that I know it's been treated with so much chemicals I probably won't do that anymore. You're a lifesaver Gumby!