Monday, July 25, 2011

I don't know what conclusions we can draw except that Breivik's motivations might only be comprehensible to the likes of a Glenn Beck

The Blog : Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia : Sam Harris:

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Is Breivik mentally ill? Judging from his behavior, it is difficult to imagine a definition of “sanity” that could contain him.

It has been widely reported that Breivik is a “Christian fundamentalist.” Having read parts of his 1500-page manifesto (2083: A European Declaration of Independence), I must say that I have my doubts. These do not appear to be the ruminations of an especially committed Christian ...

... As I have only read parts of this document, I cannot say whether signs of a deeper religious motive appear elsewhere in it ... What cannot be doubted, however, is that Breivik’s explicit goal was to punish European liberals for their timidity in the face of Islam.
I agree that it doesn't appear Breivick was religious extremist, more of a right wing xenophobe. Harris goes on to characterize Islam as "the most retrograde and and ill-behaved religion on earth," a claim I'm not sure I'd want to dispute except to point out that, without trying too hard, you could make a case for any one of the others. It's religious fundamentalism that worries me, regardless of the religion, and whether Breivik was that particular sort of nutter or not, I don't see the value in singling out Islamic fundamentalists over any other kind. Let's not call Breivik a Christian extremist if he wasn't, let's not call the kids that were slaughtered 'Hitler Youth,' since they weren't, Glenn Beck.
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