Welcome! The issues will be discussed from a Kuyperian perspective, a dynamic branch of old Calvinism. It goes by a holistic view of religion, thoroughgoing pluralism and genuine democracy, by its insistence on combining human rights with respons-ibility and on giving religion legitimacy in all public affairs. Other blogs are WorldlyChristianity and ChristianInTheSecularCity.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
“Christian” Extremist Jihad
We’re in Sharia Banking country at the moment, but this needs to be interrupted by the recent shocking violence in the paradise of peace known as Norway. Since Christians along with the entire West are always blaming Muslims and Islam for terrorism, it is necessary that I as a Christian blogger address this “Christian” attack.
Reasons for Breivik's Terror
I don’t intend to rehash the event itself as it happened and subsequently unfolded. That’s what the media are for. But I do want to comment on some of the things I read and heard. As always, various reasons and causes for this event have been offered. No doubt many of them have elements of truth to them. All of them will have contributed in some way and to some extent. There is, of course, the ubiquitous Marxist economic explanation: It was due to economic conditions, these conditions then seen as encompassing almost everything else. Probably there was an economic element to it, but certainly not that Breivik himself is poor. You don’t lease a farm and, on that basis, buy enough chemicals to prepare for this attack, if you don’t have access to raw cash. Neither can it be attributed to lack of education, not when he wrote a document of some 1500 pages. Not even most highly educated people could manage that.
I tend to give more credence to the role of restlessness that has developed in Western Europe with respect to immigration issues, especially Muslim immigration. The West’s extreme secularism, its dominant and main stream orientation, has naturally called up its obvious opposition, the “extreme right.” It seems that this “extreme right” has bubbled to the surface in every Western European country. Of course, it does not take much to be dubbed extreme by the secular media. You may not be more extreme than the secularist community, but since you are not main stream, you will be considered extreme simply because you represent its “opposite” in some way and make the secularists uncomfortable. Applying the epithet “extreme” is their declaimer and puts you at a safe distance.
Secularism vs "Extreme Right"
Though I do not approve of or support this “extreme right” anymore than I do secularism, I do sympathize with them in some way or, at least, understand their reaction. They are reacting at the situation of indiscriminate Muslim immigration created by blind and ignorant secularists who were assuming all along that “these Muslims” will become rational and normal like their Western hosts. That is to say, they were expected to become secular naturally, for is that not the reasonable and natural way to be? Just like Muslims feel it is natural for every one to be or become Muslim, so many secularists think it natural for every one to be or become secular. Muslims proved them wrong and threw them into a dither from which they have not yet emerged. The “extreme right” is a natural reaction to that extreme left of main stream secularism. It was to be expected, us humans being the polarizing animals that we are as especially Herman Dooyeweerd, the main Kuyperian philosopher, has clearly shown us. As it is sometimes said that Western sects like Jehovah Witnesses are the unpaid bills of the church, so is the “extreme right” the unpaid bill of secularism.
I must pre-empt a misinterpretation. I am not suggesting that Muslims should not have been allowed in the West. However, if the secular(ized) politicians and bureaucrats had not been so blind to the nature of religion in general and not been burdened with their secular tunnel vision, if they had been blessed with the clear and comprehensive view of religion in general as embodied in the Kuyperian movement, they would have had different expectations and therefore developed more realistic policies. And if they had been blessed with a clear understanding of Islam, that might have given them even better guidance. Unfortunately, even the Kuyperians among them were lacking here as we can see in The Netherlands, the source country of Kuyperians, in spite of the fact that “Father Abraham” Kuyper wrote a fairly penetrating 2-volume tome on the Mediterranean Muslim community a century ago. (See my translation of a key chapter at www.lulu.com. Just type in < Kuyper-Boer >.)
Breivik a Christian?
Breivik is dubbed a “Christian extremist.” He does claim to be a convinced Christian. Translating from a Dutch translation of the Norwegian original, he said of himself, “I am a baptized Protestant and had that voluntarily confirmed when I was fifteen.” But he is totally dismayed about the state of the Protestant Church and considers it a joke. Should we accept his self-designation as Christian? Jesus warns us not to judge a man’s heart, but He also affirms that one can judge a tree by its fruits. If Breivik were a member of my denomination, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, he would traditionally have been placed under formal ecclesiastical discipline and banned from Communion as well as all official positions and functions. He would become the object of intense pastoral care. If he were to resist the church’s overtures, refuse to confess his sin and reject repentance, he would eventually be excommunicated and considered to be beyond the pale, a non-Christian. Breivik may consider himself a Christian, but I judge his ambitions and acts of violence as totally unchristian.
Christianity and Violence
At any rate, Muslims often complain that Islam is unfairly accused of generating violence and terrorism. They are looking for an acknowledgement that Christians also engage in violence and terrorism. In the past, they have pointed to Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. Sometimes they point to the various mass shootings that occasionally take place in North America. To what extent any of these shootings are triggered by twisted versions of the Christian faith, I do not know. But, bluntly put, I cannot possibly recognize any of these acts as triggered by Biblical Christianity. Seems simply impossible to me. As to the Crusades, the Christian church or its members have time upon time expressed their disapproval of that movement. I see it as an action by a Christian community that was still very close to its pagan past and which, along with most of the world, considered warfare and other forms of violence a normal and legitimate part of life. It was an era described in the Old Testament as, “In the spring, when kings go to war….” They would not have had the “patience” we display today with the current unjust stalemate between the Palestinians and Israel. They would have just marched in with their hordes and blown up the whole place. Muslims should discontinue their custom of considering everything the West or Westerners do as Christian. Mainline Islam denies that Muslims always act as Muslims; same with Christians and Christianity. Terrorists may be Muslims but their terrorism is not motivated by Islam; same with the McVeighs and Breiviks of this world. The most awful things have been perpetrated by both Christians and Muslims, but I can vouch that none of it could ever be justified or was ever motivated by Biblical Christianity. Most Muslims would say the same of Islam, but I would not be the right party to vouch for that.
Promise re Next Post
In the next blog we return to Islamic Banking, I promise, but, as with everything else in this world, inshallah.
Posted by Jan/John H. Boer at 11:47 AM
Labels: Breivik Ander, Christian Reformed Church, Dooyeweerd Herman, Europe, extremism, immigration, Kuyper Abraham, Kuyperianism, Muslims, Norway, polarization, secularism, Terrorism and Religions
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