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Jewish Journal

Religious answers in Norway massacre?

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 26, 2011 | 7:15 am

As I mentioned, there was another really big story with religious elements this weekend: Anders Behring Breivik.

His rampage left at least 93 dead and, according to the NYT, “put spotlight on rise of right-wing sentiment in Europe.”

But what is a “Christian fundamentalist” if Breivik fit the bill. Jerry Falwell must be rolling over in his grave. Or that Breivik “might even be a pro-Israel, philo-Semitic racist Nazi?” Jews everywhere must be thinking, With friends like these, nu ...

The religion elements to this story are still working their way out. Despite a Muslim group originally claiming responsibility, it appears that Breivik acted alone. And it turns out he is a rabid anti-Muslim.

As Mollie at GetReligion points out, there is a still much to learn:

The terrorist, it turns out, is vehemently anti-Muslim. Apart from that, the mixture of information we’re getting about the man is very hard to synthesize. I saw his Facebook page before it was removed. It had only been started a few days ago and featured a professional headshot, no friends and a listing of YouTubes featuring some of his favorite classical and trance music. In his “information” section, it included a list of his favorite books and influences, including Swedenborgian philosopher William James and the books On Liberty, 1984, The Trial, War and Peace, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Critique of Pure Reason, The Prince, Wealth of Nations, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Leviathan, The Divine Comedy and The Republic. On Facebook, he self-identified as Christian and conservative.

In this lengthy listing (49 pages) of writings the alleged shooter posted to a message board, there’s a paragraph or two devoted to his religious views. We learn that he’s a Protestant (of his own “free will”) who wishes that the Church of Norway would just convert back to Rome, he dislikes priests who wear jeans and support Palestinians, and that he thinks the modern church is dying. We know from other evidence that he is a Free Mason.

Meanwhile, the deputy police chief announced that the shooter was a “Christian fundamentalist” but no one has reported either the evidence for the claim or how the police determined that. Whatever the case, he may be the only Freemason, Rome-leaning, Protestant fundamentalist in the world.

Breivik doesn’t want to stay silent, and something tells me the mystery behind his motivations will become horrifyingly clear really soon.

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