That from a most thoughtful piece by Timothy Dalrymple as he counters the liberal meme attempting to use the Oslo killings to besmirch conservative, traditional Christians:
Stephen Prothero writes at CNN that when ideas accomplish positive change, we speak of the power of ideas, but when ideas “do things we do not want them to do, as in Oslo,” then we pretend that ideas are powerless. The contention that Anders Behring Breivik’s actions “had nothing to do with his Christian faith or his anti-Islamic ideology” is, according to Prothero, “wishful thinking of the most dangerous sort.”
I agree with Prothero that Christians should be mindful of the uses to which their ideas will be be put, and should examine the resources within the Christian tradition – its scriptures, its history, its thought – that can be assembled into a case for violence against the innocent. Christians should have the humility to confess that they are not immune to criticism and to look for faults within themselves and their tradition.
The problem, in this case, as Prothero would have seen with a careful reading of Breivik’s manifesto, is that Breivik had no Christian “faith” to speak of, and the “ideas” that most influenced him were not Christian in any sense of the term.
There is a kind of liberal Christian who is deeply committed to the proposition that conservative Christians are just as dangerous as al-Qaeda, but when they are pressed for equivalents to 9/11 they have to reach back centuries to the Inquisition and the Crusades (which they portray in exaggerated and decontextualized forms), or else they refer to the actions of Timothy McVeigh, or the Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, or the Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn, who are all expressly non-Christian.
My point here is not to indict Islam, but to note how the liberal illuminati seem incapable of distinguishing between ancient military conquests that were justified by a pre-modern way of thinking abandoned centuries ago, or individual madmen who resided in Christian cultures but were the opposite of devout believers, and (alas) the legions of pious Muslims whose acts of terrorism are supported by a vast infrastructure and celebrated by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Imams throughout the Muslim world.
Why the self-appointed guardians of nuance want to ignore these facts — that Breivik was no kind of Christian in the ordinary sense, but more like an agnostic committed to Christian symbols for pragmatic reasons — in their rush to portray Breivik as a “Christian fundamentalist” or “Christianist” (which Andrew Sullivan uses to associate Breivik with conservative American Christians), is a question well worth asking.
The whole thing needs to be read and of course passed on. It’s right and good and true.