I came across a great article from Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol on the travesty that took place in Oslo, Norway.
Akyol investigates whether Brevik really deserves the title of a “Christian Fundamentalist.” Sure he used a lot of Christian symbolism. He made references to the crusades. He talks about praying to God. He spoke of defending the Kingdom of Christendom from the onslaught of its Islamic enemies. Is this symbolism equivalent with “Fundamentalism”? I would argue vehemently that it is not.
There is a huge lack of clarity on the meaning of the term “fundamentalist.” It is an ongoing debate within conservative Christianity. There is a similar debate going on within Islam. While I hope to develop this thought much more in the future, my basic understanding of fundamentalism is the core tenants of a faith (or ideology) as recorded in their sacred texts and as practiced by the founder and early followers.
If we bring this definition of fundamentalism to the analysis of Brevik and what took place in Norway is it accurate to portray him as a “Christian Fundamentalist?” His actions are completely unjustifiable and are in direct contradiction to the core tenants of Christianity as recorded in the Bible.
So how then should this abuse of Christianity – in this case with Brevik in Norway, and perhaps in the same way for Islam with Al Quaeda among others – be confronted? How do you stop this type of thing from happening? Here Akyol makes a salient point:
Well, I rather think that none of the ideas promoted by Breivik are great. I am certain that they are actually terrible. I just wonder whether “moderate Westerners” will now wage a “war of ideas” against them.
There is a war that needs to be waged, but it is a war of ideas against those who would demean a system of belief by committing acts that are in direct contradiction to that faith and claiming to do those actions in defense of the faith. Those people are truly opponents of the faith who ought to be opposed.