I had different posts scheduled for this week. I decided to cancel and delay them in order to make room for a different post. I’ve been thinking about whether I should say something at all, and I have decided that I need to say something.
What happened in Norway is unspeakable. My prayers are with all the families who lost as loved one as well as with the survivors and their families, and the many families who have to suffer from this in any other way. My heart and many others all across the world are with you.
Ever since 9/11, the world has become awfully aware of the dangerous potential fanatic ideas can have. It’s not a new thing. Fanatics have always existed. But ever since WW2 ended, the western nations have abandoned their belief that something like that could happen “to us”. And then, 9/11 came around, proving us that ideas can still cause a lot of damage, even to us, so far away from all the pain, suffering and hunger of the world.
When you asked Eruopeans about 9/11 and if they were afraid of extrememist fanatics, what you’ll mostly get was “It’s terrible that happened, but we’re not really involved. It’s not going to happen to us.” And this might be true to some extent, as fanatic muslims generally view America as the biggest threat to their lifestyle. Europeans weren’t scared of fanatics. And yet, security increased. People who were known violent hate preachers (muslim only, obviously) were under close watch. They managed to stop a group which was planning bombings. They were proud that they were able to stop that. This wouldn’t happen to us. No, never.
And then Norway came around. But this time, it wasn’t the muslims, who the christian fundamentalists believe they could never be real americans. Being american and being muslim doesn’t go together. But it wasn’t the muslims. It was a person with an utterly christian point of view. It was somebody who believed our values were so much higher, so much better. He hated muslim people just like all the fundies do. He believed that our christian culture was the only true one, one that was so valuable to us that “defending” it at all cost was the right thing to do. A war of cultures.
We have stigmatized the islam with our negative view. You hear so much about muslim fundamentalists in the media. How they are dangerous, undemocratic, surpressing women. The christian fundamentalists aren’t one single step above them. But we didn’t care. We didn’t think christianity, with a figure like Jesus walking upfront, could do any real harm.
While there is a lot of attention for what’s wrong with fundamentalist islam, there’s hardly any attention for what’s wrong with fundamentalist christianity. That there is just as much potential to do harm.
I believe we need to start asking ourselves whether it was right to stigmatize islam the way we did, instead of stigmatizing fundamentalism all together. Muslim fundamentalists are viewed as dangerous extremists. Christian fundamentalists are weird but that’s pretty much it.
I can already hear the christian fundamentalists scream that the man in Norway had nothing to do with real christianity. That is true. But I’m telling you something, if you are a fundamentalist christian, you have nothing to do with christianity either.
I can already hear you say how terrible it is that all these kids who died in Norway weren’t saved, that they’ll go to hell, because they were muslim, or catholic, or buddhist, or something else. You might even be genuinly sad that, as you believe, they’ll go to hell. You are so disgusting.
I can already hear you say that you would never harm anybody, that violence is wrong. But at the same time, you force your kids to marry people whom they hardly know. You tell them what to be when they are grown up. You force them into every detail in their lives. Your kids are already dead, I can tell you that. You hurt them emotionally, spiritually, and yes, also physically. You are just as violent. You just hide it much better.
End of the story is, extremist christianity is always dangerous, whether it be in the way the P/QF people live it, or in the way Breivik in Norway lived it, as a simply cultural thing to believe.