January 12th, 2015

vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
So this picture has been making the rounds: it's a picture of Anders Breivik and this caption:
This is Anders Breivik
On 22 of July 2011 he murdered
77 people & injured 319,
most were children.
Remember how the media made a big thing out of the fact that he was a Christian?
No? Neither do I

This kinda had me wondering just how low a bar you can go, and I started reading some commentary.

Some interesting discussion about that here, as well as Andrew Sullivan's much-needed reminder that we are all sinners who must repent, quoted in part here.

One recurring theme I've noticed: lots and lots about the bounds of the label "Christian", but nothing about the actual Christ part of it.

So I decided to search his manifesto.

What I find is pure, spectacularly naked heresy, the fulfilment of a ridiculous cartoon of every single thing both Protestants and Orthodox unfairly and overstatingly caricaturize* as wrong with Roman Catholic ecclesiology. )

In short, there is absolutely nothing in here that can even be argued as a joke to have come from what was expressed in John 3:16. This is analogous to my stating that I'm a Communist and displaying all sorts of Soviet and hammer-sickle propaganda, but I'm not a member of the Communist party and I'm working from a manifesto that celebrates the corrective power of the market, assumes private property to be the cornerstone of rule of law and the need to keep the plebs quiet and working for the good of those on top, occasionally quoting from das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, but mostly from Stalin and current Chinese Communist Party doctrines to justify my position.

Or another analogy that could get me into a bit of hot water: I walk into a Vital Stats office in my men's suit and tie and five-o'-clock shadow and demand they change my driver's licence to say F instead of M. I insist that I am a woman and that I am representing a female voice in all that I contribute, and that all my feminist support should be understood as my supporting my fellow sisters in their plight. But it is shown at all times I openly leave a substantial amount of facial hair on and speak with a masculine voice, wear men's clothes (and express shock when other people tell me about how bad women's clothing is), use implicitly masculine inflections and vocabulary where the language makes a distinction, and generally approach all matters with total, unabashed male privilege. And then:
Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.
admit that personally I don't "necessarily" feel like I'm a woman at all, but I am culturally identifying with feminist cause and identity (to wit: I love pink and Barbies and am an avid fan of My Little Pony - both the old and the new cartoon, no "brony" here!) and therefore, by Dumpty, I am a woman!

It's the sort of thing that This makes me consider taking up E-Prime again.

Of course, I know the better motive for this sort of posting: the implication that what the terrorists are doing now is just as wrong under Islam as Breivik's actions are in Christianity. (The worse motive, to express total moral equivalence, is summarily rejected as indigestible waste product.) Part of my intention in the above is to show just how utterly absent the core doctrine of the Cross and salvation is in Breivik's stated beliefs, and no definition of "Christian" can include such a set of beliefs without being utterly stripped of the word's basic theological and doctrinal meaning.

Or perhaps this is another "Protesdox" bias, that the unifying identity of Christianity must be inextricably bound to the actual subjective belief of the person confessing that identity, whereas for the Catholics baptism (but was Breivik actually baptized in the Roman church or in a way that would be recognized in it?), communion (same question) and submission to papal authority may be enough. But everything I've seen from actual Catholics suggests quite the contrary and that they're much more like all other Christians in this respect.

So what, then, do we make of that analogy? What is the core Islamic doctrine that we can with complete confidence say the Hebdo murderers or ISIS or Boko Haram or the Saudi government have utterly failed to consider in their motivations? And, more to the point, how do we establish that it is core Islamic doctrine in the face of any number of Islamic theologians (to use the word in the broadest sense, to engage in any kind of logos whatsoever about God) who would so vehemently argue otherwise?

(Relatedly... this also answers my previous question: always seek and follow the truth. Have mercy on me, a sinner.)

*as opposed to a more sober criticism, of course. There's some overlap, but it's the unfair caricature version that I've got in mind. (If you were directly linked here and don't see the asterisk'd statement, ignore this footnote.)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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