Enlightenment Fundamentalist Slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp

Monday, 25 Jul 2011

At least 76 people are dead after Anders Behring Breivik massacred campers on an island off the coast of Oslo, Norway.

Finally, the media has a face and a name for making its heretofor unjustified claim of moral equivalency between conservative Christianity and Islam.  Religion may be fine as long as it’s private, and you don’t really believe the key teachings of any one in particular.  In any case, those who think they need to act on their confessional convictions in daily life—much less encourage other people to embrace them—are on the path to terrorism.  Finally, we can reassure ourselves that Islam is not the problem; it’s “Christian fundamentalism.”

But for anyone interested in the facts of the case, the secularist narrative has lost its poster-boy.  In an on-line manifesto, Breivik makes it clear that he is not a “fundamentalist Christian.”  He prefaces one comment with, “If there is a God…” and says that science should always trump religion.  So in terms of religious convictions, he sounds more like Richard Dawkins than Jerry Falwell.  Yet, unlike Dawkins, Breivik pines for the “good ‘ol days” of Christendom, especially the crusades.  “Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe…”

The nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche shrewdly observed that in his day the bourgeois elites of Europe wanted  the fruit of Christianity (i.e., moral culture) without the tree itself (i.e., the actual doctrine and practice).  Breivik is not a poster-boy for “Christian fundamentalism,” but the fulfillment of Nietzsche’s prophecy.  It’s one thing to confuse the kingdom of Christ with the kingdoms of this age, but we need a new category besides “fundamentalism” for the secular faith in “Christendom” without Christ.

Anders Breivik.  Here is someone who thinks of himself as a general in “a culture war”—a defense of Christendom without Christ. “As this is a cultural war, our definition of being a Christian does not necessarily constitute that you are required to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus.”  In fact, “Being a Christian can mean many things,” he says, but mainly it’s about protecting “the European cultural heritage” with “reason [as] the primary source and legitimacy for authority.”

It is not required that you have a personal relationship with God or Jesus in order to fight for our Christian cultural heritage and the European way. In many ways, our modern societies and European secularism is a result of European Christendom and the enlightenment. It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a ‘Christian fundamentalist theocracy’ (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want) (emphasis added).

At least in religious terms, it sounds like the average European or North American: “It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy (Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter). The PCCTS, Knights Templar is therefore not a religious organization but rather a Christian ‘culturalist’ military order.”  It’s hatred of the cultural “other,” not faith in Christ, that drives groups like Breivik’s.

In another irony, Breivik’s portrait of the reinvigorated crusader invokes the “die-a-martyr-and-go-straight-to-Paradise” doctrine of Islamic terrorists.  “We are not only automatically granted access to heaven in light of our selfless acts; our good deeds and final sacrifice will be added to the divine storehouse of merit and will therefore help other less virtuous individuals…”

One thing Breivik clearly is not: a Protestant.  In fact, he hopes that all Protestants will return to Rome under a unified papal system that (he hopes) will recover its old crusader nerve.  “I usually refer to Protestantism as the Marxism of Christianity. As long as you ask forgiveness before you die you can literally live a life as the most despicable character imaginable.”  Interesting thing to say after you’ve massacred 80 Norwegian campers.



  • 25 Jul 2011
    Enlightenment Fundamentalist Slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp  White Horse Inn Blog « thereformedmind says:

    […] Enlightenment Fundamentalist Slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp  White Horse Inn Blog […]

  • 25 Jul 2011
    Chase says:

    clear, concise, consistent and correct. thank you.

  • 25 Jul 2011
    What I Read Online  07/26/2011 (a.m.) | Emeth Aletheia says:

    […] Enlightenment Fundamentalist Slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp  White Horse Inn Blog […]

  • 25 Jul 2011
    Henry says:

    “The nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche shrewdly observed that in his day the bourgeois elites of Europe wanted the fruit of Christianity (i.e., moral culture) without the tree itself (i.e., the actual doctrine and practice).”

    Exactly. Too bad they don’t make our critics as logically consistent as they used to.

  • 25 Jul 2011
    soopermexican says:

    This is a fantastic analysis. Anders sounds to me like Lucretius in De Rerum Natura, when he describes the enlightened athiest who still uses the names and images of the gods in order to keep his place in society. They’re useful as ends, whereas the entire philosophical tradition of Christianity has been that God is the end, and never the means.
    I got here from a comment through Ricochet on my post along similar themes: http://ricochet.com/member-feed/Oslo-Terrorist-Was-He-a-Christian-Conservative

  • 25 Jul 2011
    Oslo Terrorist – Was He a Christian Conservative? [update] | SOOPERMEXICAN says:

    […] more philosophical, analysis by Michael Horton: Enlightenment Fundamentalist slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp ties the real ideology of the murderous monster, and rightfully identifies it as Enlightened […]

  • 26 Jul 2011
    Anders Breivika Christian? « Strengthened by Grace says:

    […] Read Hortons brief but helpful article. […]

  • 26 Jul 2011
    Aimee Byrd says:

    This is yet another good reason to be teaching the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms more fervently. Do you know, I had a decent publisher interested in my book, but when they sent it out to a woman reviewer (From WTS, east coast), she told them that they shouldn’t publish it because within it’s pages I work from the “controversial” two kingdoms doctrine.

    Christians and non-Christians alike are asking important questions about Christ and culture. Obviously, this terrorist is not a Christian, but we almost need our own 21st century “The City of God” as an apologetic to both our haters and those within our own faith who do think they are going to Christianize the world through polital triumph.


  • 26 Jul 2011
    David says:

    His Catholicism was one of the things that really stood out to me when I looked closer at the manifesto. It wasn’t just his call for the Protestant churches to return to Rome, but more his understanding of sin and grace. For example, hiring escorts was a very minor sin in light of the massive grace he would get from completing his mission…

    I couldn’t help but see the similarity with Islam too.

    I wrote a great big blog post that is mostly quotes from the manifesto concerning his religious views. If you shortened it then it would probably look a lot like this post 🙂


  • 26 Jul 2011
    Mark says:

    “A Confucian stole my hairbrush; Down with Confucianism!” –G.K. Chesterton

  • 26 Jul 2011
    An Act of Christian Terrorism? Not Even Close. | MattRob.com says:

    […]  After all, they have reason and science on their side.Breivik was a fundamentalist, no doubt. But as this article points out, he was an Enlightenment fundamentalist. In an on-line manifesto, Breivik makes it clear that he is not a “fundamentalist […]

  • 26 Jul 2011
    Call Me Christian | says:

    […] Modern Day Crusade The tragic Norway terrorist attacks last Friday took the lives of about 76 innocent people, mostly teenagers. The man responsible, Anders Behring Breivik, had cultural conservative views and an anti-Islamic agenda. He supports a Christian Europe and claims to be part of a modern day Knights Templar. Breivik was, at one point, labeled a Christian fundamentalist but is actually more of a cultural Christian. […]

  • 27 Jul 2011
    What is a Christian? A Response to the "Christian" Label of Norway Killer | Not Yet Perspective says:

    […] Also, for other helpful blog posts on this topic, see the following here and here. […]

  • 28 Jul 2011
    FRIDAY FAST-FORWARD (early delivery) | says:

    […] WHY THE NORVEGIAN KILLER IS NOT A CHRISTIAN – This is a pretty snappy and clear article by author and theology professor, Michael Horton explaining why that certain man is not a Christ-follower. http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2011/07/25/enlightenment-fundamentalist-slays-80-at-norwegian-summ… […]

  • 28 Jul 2011
    Suzanne Calhoun says:


    I really liked this quote of yours.

    The good news is not the mark we leave on the world but the mark God leaves on us in baptism.

    And I thought I understood it, but in the light of Anders Breivik, baptized at age 15, what does it mean?

    • 01 Aug 2011
      Mike Horton says:


      God’s pledge remains valid objectively, but we do not receive the benefits apart from faith in Christ. As Hebrews 6 reminds us, there are those who have belonged to the covenant community—have been baptized, heard the gospel regularly preached, received Communion, shared in the common operations of the Spirit, and yet fall away. They are like dry ground drinking in the rain regularly, the passage tells us, and yet all they produce are thorns. For those who reject God’s promise in baptism, there is only a fearful expectation of judgment.

  • 30 Jul 2011
    Mark says:

    Actually, Suzanne, baptism is an act of obedience, the sign of the new life, but it has no power in itself. Being baptized does not make on a Christian; it has no power to spark regeneration of itself. It is by faith alone, apart from any work before or after, that we believe into Jesus Christ and gain eternal life. And even that is no guarantee that a Christian will not stray or sin. “Blessed are ye if ye are reviled for the name of Christ, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. From them he is indeed blasphemed, but from you he is glorified. For let not any man of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody. But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this regard. Because the time to begin judgment is from the house of God, and if first from us, what is the end of those who disobey the good news of God? And if the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the irreverent and sinful man appear? Therefore also let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls as to a faithful Creator by well-doing.” Peter would not have written those words if Christians weren’t capable of doing terrible things to the shame of the Savior who bought them.

    John wrote, “My little children, I write these things to you so that ye may not sin. And if any man does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—righteous Jesus Christ. And he is the atonement for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this man. But whoever keeps his word, truly in this man the love of God is fully perfected. By this we know that we are in him. The man who claims to abide in him, he also ought so to walk just as that man walked.” So we must be discerning and seek to obey the Lord, so that we do not fall into temptation, sin, and despair, which will lead to violence and death.

    Michael, my intention was not to answer in your place, so please provide your own response if you desire. I simply didn’t want to leave Suzanne’s question hanging very long. Many people misunderstand the role of baptism in the faith.

  • 02 Aug 2011
    Norway: A Christian Fundamentalist « The Pietist Schoolman says:

    […] She claimed to find this kind of fundamentalism at work in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Confucianism, not just Christianity. (And Wallis added secular fundamentalists — e.g., the Khmer Rouge. Incidentally, the editor of Modern Reformation has labeled Breivik an Enlightenment fundamentalist.) […]

  • 02 Aug 2011
    Rana says:

    While we may all conclude that Breivik is not a Christian, this article, with all due respect, does little to shed light on the culture of bigotry that clearly informed this man’s terrorism.

    To merely conclude, Breivik is not Protestant and say, “it’s a wrap.” Would be similar to Muslim religious leaders after 9-11 concluding “the guys behind 9-11 can’t be true Muslims, we’ve washed our hands of this, no need for further reflection on our part as leaders, it’s a wrap.”

    On the other hand some thoughtful reflection on what it is about our culture inside and outside the church that would lead some to believe that it is ever okay for “Christians” to incite violence, promote genocide, hate and find pleasure in the demise of “others” is the better dialogue to have at this time in my opinion.

    Perhaps people think we don’t need this, that the church is immune I can sadly assure you this is not the case.

    Here are just a few examples of “Christians” promoting hate, violence and genocide against a particular cultural group, these comments are lifted straight from a Facebook group called Christians United for Israel/ CUFI. All comments were made this morning in response to the CUFI administrator’s post which said, “HIT LIKE to APPLAUD the IDF for striking Gaza …” :

    Denise Ogden Simons 
    Just drop an adam bomb over Gaza, iran, and all the rest that are giving them trouble too

    Darrell Timpson 
    Kill em all Israel. God won’t have any trouble sorting them out. He may have to enlarge HELL.
     ·  1 person

    Robert Taylor 
    Bomb these evil demons to hell where they belong.
     ·  1 person

    Darlene Brooks 

    Peggy Spencer Fitch Preece 
    good ,good, PRAISE IDF 

    Lee Harmon 
    Praise God

    Abu Zacharias Al-Amriki 
    Strike harder, deeper, faster. Go Israel!
     ·  1 person

    Janet Lynn Lovely Cunningham 
    Return rocket for rocket! God Bless the IDF!!!

    Cathy Plimpton 
    God bless the I.D.F !!

    Claudia Martin-Gaule ‎
    100 fold return, from the great i am, dont mess with gods chosen

    Megan Van Heerden 
    Way to go IDF !!!! WE LOVE YOU .. GOD BLESS !!! …

    …..and these comments are just *some* straight off the first comments page, there is 4 pages of this rhetoric.

    And Dr. Horton lest you wash your hands of these CUFI comments thinking they are a remote ideology, I want to add the culture that breeds this disgusting “Christian” reaction and promotion of violence is the same Left Behind/ Late Great Planet Earth reading, Dispensational, Christian Zionist culture that some-many WTSCA students come from at Biola, Calvary Chapel, etc.

    My point is, sadly this kind of thinking isn’t all that far from some people’s minds these days. Thankfully not all act on it like Breivik did, but as you read the comments above, many verbalize it.

  • 02 Aug 2011
    ferdinand paguia says:

    I would like to share my own views on the issue and in many other similar events. The Breivik affair is just one of many as my limited knowledge of Church history tells me. It’s saddening, and even disgusting, when we think of all those innocent victims, but the thing is, these must happen. Gross sins such as these are sure to happen (even Scripture prophesy that), but the Scripture also says, “woe to them by whom it comes.” God says, “It is mine to avenge.” What are we to do then? I believe we should continue to preach God’s truth to the world despite overwhelming opposition from reprobate people, and trust that the Spirit of God will enlighten the minds of the elect sinners who are still submerged in sin. I praise God that even in our more-troubled times, He still leaves a “remnant” who “has never bowed the knee to Baal.” More power to your efforts, such as this website, for it magnifies the glory of God in you.

  • 02 Aug 2011
    USA says:

    The alleged bomber and shooter, Anders Behring Breivik, was baptized (regenerated) as a teenager into Norway’s national church, the Lutheran Church and wrote this in his manifesto:

    “I usually refer to Protestantism as the Marxism of Christianity. As long as you ask forgiveness before you die you can literally live a life as the most despicable character imaginable.” 

    Perhaps this Protestant was influenced by Luther’s philosophy:

    “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly . . . as long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.”

    -Official Lutheran American Edition of his complete works, vol. 42, pp. 281-82

    [Thus, this is not too surprising a] “thing to say after you’ve massacred 80 Norwegian campers.”

  • 03 Aug 2011
    The Kingdom of God vs. the kingdoms of man says:

    […] man Here’s a podcast I listened to yesterday, Mike Horton discussing his recent essay/blogpost: Enlightenment Fundamentalist Slays 80 at Norwegian Summer Camp – White Horse Inn Blog . I think its pretty good. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect….080211H2S1.mp3 Rev. Bruce G. […]

  • 04 Aug 2011
    Horton Interviewed about Breivik on Issues, Etc. - White Horse Inn Blog says:

    […] good friend Todd Wilkin from Issues, Etc. called Dr. Horton on Tuesday to talk about his recentblog post on Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian fundamentalist and cultural crusader who murdered eighty people at an […]

  • 07 Aug 2011
    max hillier says:

    As Christians we can deplore harsh measures to deal with those who differ from us. After all the church was built on the blood of the martyrs. Do we want it to be built again with our blood? In later times it was built and protected by Christian monarchs. He mentions Charles Martel. What would have happened to Europe if arms were not taken to resist the Muslim invasion? What would have happened to Luther if he had no strong king to protect him from the Inquisition? And what will happen to Europe at the present rate of Muslim immigration and growing influence if those in authority do not change things? Breivik sees the architects of these social changes as being traitors to their nation and people. I think thinking people in Europe ask these questions with growing concern. If there is no political change with regards to matters of immigration and social engineering, Islam will gain an ascendancy, and the churches and cathedrals of our fathers will be torn down, as we saw in Russia under the Marxist revolution. The Europe their fathers fought for is being invaded not by foreign armies but by immigration. One response to this is the violence of Anders Breivik.
    I think there is a place for some immigration, but there comes a point when a nation is no longer the same but has been invaded, and swallowed by others. This is tragic, as it is the death of a people and a culture.
    He mentions the Frankfurt School, a think tank of Marxists who sought to change our Christian societies from within and imposing a culture of political correctness that neutralises debate about racial and moral matters and which has successfully eroded Christian values in our world over the past 50 years in an injection of the anti national internationale of Marxist ideology, which has served the corporate monopolies well. God has made us tribal and different, the Marxists and social engineers have sought to turn us into plasticene men, grey and multiracial. In fact he puts this issue at the very front of his book, the place where you want to put things in the mind of the reader. The great changes in our society away from Christianity have been no accident, the work of the Frankfurt School has played no small part in the sexual revolution and the ongoing assault on Christian civilisation.
    In putting these ideas in his book, for I understand much of it is not his own writing but a compendium of others he shows a concern for his own European culture. Despite the insane means he has used to draw us to his compendium, which are inexcusable, many of the ideas and concerns he publishes are not to be dismissed, as they are the ideas and thoughts of others concerned for our Christian culture.

  • 08 Aug 2011
    ferdinand paguia says:

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us how to confront the enemies of the church, whether enemies from outside or inside of the church. When Christ was tempted by the Devil, He did not smack him on the head, but opposed him with the Truth of God’s Word.And the Devil left him!!! Violence is never offered as an option in the struggles of the church, since her battles are more on the spiritual realm (even though sometimes manifested physically). Ephesians?
    Educating the people on the precepts of God is the mandate of the church, but it’s completion is of God ALONE. Opposing the enemy on his terms is wrong tactic. Oh, yes, there may be serious and real problems in the present states of the world and the church, but “can we really” do anything? GOD IS NEEDED HERE! I believe this is truly beyond man’s scope, no matter what solution others may think of.

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