Friday, July 29, 2011

A Christian Does Not Commit Mass Murder?

There was an article on Huffington Post that caught my eye this morning.  It was about the Norway killer and Bill O’Reily’s lambasting of the mainstream press for repeatedly referring to him as a Christian fundamentalist.  A few snippets from the HuffPo article….

O'Reilly singled out the New York Times, which called Breivik a "Christian extremist" in an article. Breivik also referred to himself as a Christian, as did the Norwegian police, and his 1,500 page manifesto has been described as coming from a Christian perspective. In the manifesto, he writes that he does not have a "personal," religious relationship with Christ, believes in Christianity "as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform," which he says "makes [me] Christian."

But Bill O’Reily says, no way jose’…..he was not a Christian.  And didn’t I say the same thing here…in my last post when I quoted the kooky 1389 blog guy?

Whoever shot up the youth camp wasn't a Christian despite what he (or others) might claim.  That isn't something that a Christian would do.

And now, I’m in the uncomfortable position of disagreeing with MYSELF.  Sort of. That’s how it is when you see things from too many different angles.  And agreeing with Bill O’Reily. Sort of. 

Okay…so even though nobody…none of us….. can really know what is in another’s heart, it kind of stands to reason that if we claim to be Christian, we follow the teachings of the namesake of our faith….Jesus.  And if the Bible says that “by their fruits you shall know them” then clearly, this guy Breivik did not display the fruits of true Christianity.  And neither did many of those who have claimed the religious banner of Christianity down through the ages.  Hitler, Mussolini (as O’Reily used as an example), the witch hunters, crusaders, inquisitioners, ethnic cleansers, executioners, bomb droppers.

So it all gets very messy and unclear and hard to figure out.  To me (and O’Reily) this guy was clearly NOT a Christian if you define being a Christian as a follower of Jesus. Right wing…fundamentalist….working to restore Europe to a Christian state….yes….but a follower of the one who said, love your enemies, do good to them who persecute you….doubtful.  And I think that one of the clearest directives, a true north statement, for what it means to follow Jesus and how that translates into real life situations comes from the musical pen of one of my favorite singer songwriters….John Prine. 

Jesus don’t like killing, no mater what the reason for…..

This post needs spiffed up and polished but it’s hitting the web “as is”…..

Links to two articles that discuss this…from the  Sorry, O’Reilly: Anders Breivik Is A Christian perspective…..and ……..

Huffington article

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Atrocities in Norway….some of my musings…

This morning I’ve been reading about what happened in Norway…looking at pictures of the small Island where a bunch of young adults (kids as young as 15) were having youth camp. Their parents were members of the ruling party in Norway….the Labor Party and they were young party activists. The shooter, not an Islamic terrorist as originally suspected, but a home grown, disgruntled, angry Norwegian.  Pissed off about Muslims taking over Europe, immigration policies, political Marxists. 

He uploaded a 4 part You Tube video shortly before the attacks..and a 1500 page manifesto…outlining his beefs, his beliefs and political opinions…and even included his trial and error bomb making escapades (because before the shooting rampage, he also bombed the Oslo political district) The manifesto covered a two year period…he had planned this for a long, long time.  

And just an FYI for all those who downplay the very real, very dangerous influence of the hate rhetoric of zealous anti-Islamist bloggers….

Breivik’s manifesto, entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” was filled with comments from the cyber pages of their blogs.  Notably, Atlas Shrugs, JihadWatch, The Gates of Vienna.

The title was chosen because of his target date for the triumph of Christian forces in the European civil war he called for in order to drive out Islamic influence.  Oh…yes….Breivik was a Christian.  According to his comments on a very conservative (radical ) anti Islamic website called…..
I myself am a Protestant and baptized / confirmed by my own free will when I was 15.
I visited a site this morning named  “Islam Versus Europe – Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies" (catchy little tag line, no?) Obviously an anti Islamic website with comments from other anti Islamists…including one by 1389AD….associated with another charming blog called 1389 Blog – Counterjihad!.  And in keeping with the line of reasoning that even a broken watch is right two times a day, he/she does say something dripping with truth….
Whoever shot up the youth camp wasn't a Christian despite what he (or others) might claim.  That isn't something that a Christian would do.  
The “whoever” reference alludes to the most recent post on the 1389 blog which was rambling on about the possibility that Breivik might not be the actual perp….even though he claimed responsibility (but added he was not guilty) and that he posted the You Tube thing…and the manifesto he’d labored away at for over two years.  I can only spend so long on a site like that before I have to come up for a breath of fresh air.  I’ve included the link to both sites if you want to take a look see. 

Oh…and he also used quotes from the Unabomber’s writings.

But anyway….. 

All three of my kids are in the same age group as the victims on the island. It evokes a horrified disbelief, an empathetic sadness….sorrow for the victims whose lives stretched before them like an unopened book.  Lives, snuffed out, stolen from them. Their bodies littered the shore of the Island…and the water.  Like the victims in the Twin Towers…escape by whatever means seemed the only option. Many of the victims tried to swim to the mainland.  Some of them drowned, others, he shot.  

He dressed as a policeman and for 90 minutes he meticulously picked off the teenagers….shooting and killing at least 85 of them…and wounding 97 others.  At last count.  Some are still missing. These were teenagers!  Kids as young as 15. It was reported that he laughed and joked as he searched them out…cajoling…come out, don’t be afraid, I’m a cop.  Don’t be shy. 
He said his acts were atrocious but necessary. 
"Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike."
According to Wiki:
It is also reported that the shooter used hollow-point bullets or frangible bullets to cause as much damage as possible. The gunshot wounds are hard to treat, as there is only an entry-wound and no exit-wound, nor any large fragments inside the body.
And Breivik was a frequent poster on another anti Islamist/conservative/anti internationalist website called  I read through a lot of comments (thanks to Google Translate) he wrote….from 2009 to as late as October of 2010.  
He echoes many of the same anti Islamic comments I have read all over the internet, mirror copies of comments made by American bloggers, commentators and commenters, e-list members etc. etc. etc. 
They are taking over. You are not safe.  Your children are not safe. Your country is not safe. 
Just google it…the websites with transcripts of his ramblings abound.  A few of the comments that I took note of below …
  The truth is so ugly that it has the potential to scare many moderate cultural conservatives back into apathy.

We were honest once but Marx and Mohammed have forced us to become more like them, unfortunately.
He comments on the November 2009 terrorist train attack in Russia that left 39 dead….  

I do not understand why CNN mentions the extreme right and the national Socialists. I have never ever heard of a right extreme or national Socialist terrorist attack of importance on European soil. This sounds like wishful thinking.
And finally this…again proving that even a broken watch is right twice a day….
 For me it is very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists different. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies.

    Islam (ism) has historically led to 300 million deaths
  Communism has historically led to 100 million deaths
  Nazism has historically led to 6-20 million deaths
Not sure where he gets his figures…or some of the other figures he uses in his comments.  Some seem skewed and inflated….purposely misleading (or was HE misled?) But he sums it up by saying….
    ALL hate ideologies should be treated equally.

Who can argue with that? 

Whether the hate ideology resides in the minds of Islamic terrorists who vow jihad against western culture (and yes, I freely acknowledge they exist) or from the pages of history…in Nazi Germany and the atrocities executed against the Jews….or the Christian Crusades….or the witch hunts…the dark ages….the genocide in the Old Testament….and yes….even now…on the cyberpages of the far right wing bloggers who espouse sweeping prejudice and hatred against any group of people. 

All hate ideologies should be treated equally.  Let’s call a spade a spade….hate mongering is hate mongering….whether the target group is a different religion, a different race, a different political persuasion or a different sexual orientation. 

And now…. few quotes on hate….thrown in “free of charge”  :)
Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.
George Washington Carver

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
Booker T. Washington

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,
 I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hate crimes are the scariest thing in the world because these people really believe what they're doing is right.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
Hermann Hesse

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.
Charles de Gaulle

We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Jonathan Swift

PS....The formatting is off on this post.  Not sure why...copying and pasting etc. and I've dinked around with it for a while this morning trying to correct the gaping holes...and places where the margins are erratic....and where the paragraphs are all scrunched up no avail.  So....I am leaving it as is and getting ready for work.....even though it bugs the hell out of me.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Passing Adam food through the slot….

I'm spending the weekend at my mom's....which means "no internet access w/o a trip to McD's"  I was there for an hour or so this morning but they had the a/c so low, I was absolutely frozen when I left.  So, here in my mom’s apartment, I've been going through notes, snippets, copies of web pages, blog ideas, quotes etc. etc. etc. that I have saved on my computer.  I keep coming up with more ideas for posts than I will probably ever have time to write about. 

This one just struck my fancy, taken from a blog called the Four Mass'keteers…a Catholic leaning blog (evidenced by the name--the "Mass"keteers....which I never noticed till just now) I liked the following snippet from a recent post....that originally came from a daily meditation on The Magnificant, a site I've never visited but may....later.... when I get within broadcasting range of a wifi router......

First the snippet….


The Magnificat has a meditation today, as they do everyday, that one should contemplate on for hours allowing the words to touch our hearts, our souls - to melt the ice at the center of our beings...

Yielding To The Holy Spirit
Tears are the humble, created water of my heart that corresponds to the powerful uncreated water of the Spirit’s life in me. Tears are perhaps the most rejuvenating and re-creating water of all, the evidence that I have allowed grace to melt the ice at the center of my being.

As Leon Bloy says strikingly, where there are tears, there is the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit of God is always, as at the beginning, “hovering over the waters”

What areas of my life are still rigid, refusing to yield resistance and be shaped by God’s fingers? “Flecte quod est rigidum,” we pray in the Veni, sancte Spiritus.

In what parts of my person do I still allow the old inflexible grouch of sin to have his way?  Each one of us, according to our state in life, has different strategies for allowing the old Adam and Eve to survive in us. We may have that rascal, the decrepit old self, locked away safely, but surreptitiously we still pass him food through the slot in the dungeon door, do we not?

A couple of phrases in this short meditation captured my attention…. 

Melting the ice at the center of our being.


Each one of us, according to our state in life, has different strategies for allowing the old Adam and Eve to survive in us. We may have that rascal, the decrepit old self, locked away safely, but surreptitiously we still pass him food through the slot in the dungeon door, do we not?

"Adam doesn't want to die"....

Keith used to say that now and then when we talked about spiritual things. I didn't really understand it then...still don't really get it....not completely.  This separation in us--the true and the mistaken identity....spiritual/ carnal....adamic/christ...this “two natures beat inside my breast” concept....but I have a deeper understanding now than I did then.

So Adam doesn't want to die and apparently "we" don't want to kill him.  But he’s gotta’ go, the Bible is clear on that, and tells us to crucify "the rascal." 

If we have any hope of killing him off, we've got to stop passing him food through the slot.  I alluded to a poem above....written, I think, by Ray Prinzing....

Two natures beat within my breast

One is cursed, the other blessed

One I love, one I hate

The one I FEED will dominate......


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Evil Perpetrated Against a Child…

In the conversation between the brothers (aka Ivan’s tirade) in Fyodor Dostoevsky's, The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan’s big beef was the evil perpetrated against children…under the omnipresent eye of God.  That was his ultimate “WTF is wrong with this picture” moment….no fair, this isn’t right, time out, you’ve got to be kidding.  Children should not suffer the way they do.  Especially at the hands of adults. Especially not at the hands of adults who are supposed to love them and care for them….their parents.  Sometimes that is the most treacherous place for a child to be is in the care of their parents.

It’s really not like me to comment on current events in a post.  It is more my style to wait until the event is a distant memory and then write about it. The reasons? Perhaps procrastination…and too much I want to write about, not enough time to write it.  Maybe a bit of my “far from the maddening crowd” mindset.  If the vast majority of blogs in the Blogosphere are writing about it, I probably won’t be.

But the current events of the past few days so fit the topic of my last post that I would be remiss not to mention dear little Caylee Anthony and the great evil perpetrated against her at the hands of an adult.  Probably an adult who was responsible for her care. 

I love my Facebook feed,  It serves as a sort of demographic of popular opinion.  I have friends on FB that span the range of the spectrum--liberal/conservative, fundamentalist/new age. So I get a plethora of opinions and viewpoints.  There are no shortages of viewpoints about the Casey/Caylee Anthony case.  They run the gamut from “fry the bitch” to “our justice system worked the way it’s supposed to” to “what was the jury thinking?” and “this is the OJ verdict for a younger generation.”

I don’t know.  I didn’t follow the trial…and only read about it helter skelter during the three years the case captured the media’s attention.  Is Casey guilty?  I don’t know.  If she is guilty, why would she do such a thing to her own child?  Just another question mark…amongst the endless number of question marks surrounding suffering and evil….especially when it involves children. 

Again as I mentioned in my first post….Epicurus summed it up:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”



That is the heart wrenching cry of those tormented by the POE, the Problem of Evil. 

Why? Why? Why?

Theodicy tries to answer the question….and there are no shortages of opinions about it…and we’ll take a look at a couple of the most interesting theories in upcoming posts….but nobody REALLY knows for sure…and so the question remains