I adore #AndersBreivik!
I admit it. When I heard about the attacks in Oslo, I was absolutely sure, dead certain that it was a Muslim. To find out it was this guy, really blew my mind:
I mean, seriously. He’s kinda hot. Looks a bit like me. I mean, I’m hotter, of course, but still. Similar eyes. Similar skin tone. Never thought I’d see that. In fact, I’ve often joked that the current US policy of screening EVERYONE at airport security is dumb because those who predominantly attack others, and obviously the 9/11 hijackers, pretty much don’t look like me.
That’s just the first thing. The next thing that shocked me was that he’s a Christian. My reservations on Christianity aside, they don’t usually do shit like this. I mean, not in a long time. Sure, other atheists bring up the Crusades, the Salem witch trials, the KKK, the Inquisition, that Mormon massacre of men, women, and children for no other reason than the Mormons •suspected• their would-be victims were vaguely related to the Mormons’ earlier persecutors. But it really has been a while. Okay, so that mom who drowned her kids because God told her to do it. But that’s an isolated case. Alright, yes, Timothy McVey was a Christian. Oh, and David Karesh. But my point is that Christians don’t •frequently• and indiscriminately kill people in the name of their god.
So to see one so brazenly do so was a bit of a shock. And then came the bullshit. Take it away, Bill!
Ah, the beloved No True Scotsman fallacy. But here’s the thing. I get what Bill’s saying. He doesn’t want to be associated with a mass-murderer. He doesn’t want his family and friends to be associated with a mass-murderer. Who would? I don’t want my self-identity as an atheist to instantly ring up images of Chinese communism (although I have less of a problem with it than I think Bill does). In my case, though, I can’t deny that if someone doesn’t believe the claims of gods they’ve heard, he is an atheist, even if he has killed, tortured, or otherwise caused or contributed to the suffering of his fellow man. With Bill’s denial, it begs the question, what is a Christian?
I have my own preconceptions, but let’s go to a couple of sources who don’t…
First, from Dictionary.com:
Chris·tian [kris-chuhn] Show IPA
of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country. 3.
of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades. 4.
exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.
decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.
a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity. 8.
a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ: He died like a true Christian.
a member of any of certain Protestant churches, as the Disciples of Christ and the Plymouth Brethren.
the hero of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
a male given name.
Second, from Merriam Webster (m-w.com):
Definition of CHRISTIAN
a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ b (1) : disciple 2 (2) : a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) : a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961
: the hero in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
So clearly, many of the definitions simply don’t apply to what Bill was talking about. But the ones that do, like Dictionary’s adjective #1-4 definitely seem to. It seems that, if someone believes in and follows Jesus Christ and His teachings, someone is a Christian.
“But,” my (former) born-again friend, Judy T., might’ve said, “a real Christian wouldn’t (lie, cheat, steal, kill, etc.).” Okay, so if following the teachings of Jesus Christ doesn’t make one a Christian, then what does? Is it being good all the time? I’ve heard enough Christians tell me that even they aren’t always good. Is it never killing anyone or having anything directly to do with killing? That can’t be true. i cite Pope Urban II, who was instrumentsl in launching the first Crusade. I cite all the Christian knights who became Crusaders. I cite every American, Christian troop who has ever taken a life in the heat of battle. Yes, I do cite Hitler, who made a great many claims as to what he as doing and what he thought coming directly from a commandment from God. Even the Nazi belt buckles read, “Gott mitt uns.” I cite Cyril of Alexandria who was instrumental in the death of Hypatia.
The list goes on.
How, then, is Breivik not a modern-day Crusader? I know he didn’t receive a commandment from the Pope, but would such a thing really have made Breivik’s actions moral? If not, then can we really say that Pope Urban II’s actions were moral? If we can’t, can we really say that a Pope’s actions are beyond reproach? If we can’t, then what does that say about the Pontiff and the entire institution that supports him?
I’m not at all saying, unlike many of my non-believing brethren, that Christianity necessarily leads to mass-killing. What I am saying is, if all of the above, some sainted, Christians aren’t really Christians, then who is? And if the definition is this fluid, is it meaningful at all?
I get why Bill claims that Anders isn’t really a Christian, but then I wonder if Bill would be so hot under the collar to toss out so very many others of those he claims to admire and follow. Chairman Mao and I may have a couple of things in common, but at least I admit it.