The first and most obvious thing to say about the tragedy which just recently took place in Norway is that it never should have happened, it was horrendous, and we must pray for this nation and all those so heavily and deeply grieving right now.
In one sense that is enough to be said. Indeed, we should perhaps pray more and say less during such situations. But already – even at these early stages – a fair amount is being written about all this, and some people have been asking me for my thoughts on this event.
So let me offer a few preliminary thoughts, bearing in mind that more light and information about this act of evil will be forthcoming in days to come. As far as a general Christian apologetic on all this (why does God allow evil?), I won’t – and can’t – presume to solve that issue here.
Indeed, for at least four thousand years (if we date the events of the Book of Job to around 2000 BC or thereabouts), this issue has been bubbling around. What we can briefly say is one human being, by his own free will, detonated the bombs and pulled the triggers.
So the short answer is this character is responsible. If we want God to step in and intervene every time some act of evil is about to occur, not only would every single one of us be continuously interfered with from above (the very thought of which would be anathema to our atheist buddies), but this would be the end of free will.
‘So what?’ some might ask. Quite simply, if there is no free will, there is no evil, but there is no good either. Love and goodness are nonsensical apart from the notion of free will. So the price we have to pay to live in a pain-free world means we will also have to live in a love-free world.
But that is not a discussion I wish to take further here. The immediate cause of this tragedy is not God, but a crazed loner, Anders Behring Breivik. Why he did it and what led up to it is still being investigated. But as to why evil like this happens, the answer is short but sure: because there are evil people in the world.
Another point worth raising about this is how the MSM is already telling us that he was a right-winger and a Christian fundamentalist. It remains to be seen just who exactly he is and what his specific beliefs are. But a few things can be said about this.
First, if in any way he is claiming to be a Christian, he clearly is nothing of the sort. The entire New Testament makes it clear that the deliberate killing of the innocent is not only morally wrong, but can never be the hallmark of biblical Christianity.
We cannot kill the innocent in the name of Christ. We cannot say that biblical Christianity mandates that we commit murder. So whatever claims this guy may be making about his actions, he has absolutely no justification for them from the New Testament.
But of concern already at this early stage is how the MSM is rubbing in this issue of his supposed conservatism and Christianity. The truth is, when similar massacres take place, say at the hands of someone clearly aligned with Islam, the MSM will often downplay this connection.
Often the media will not even mention the religion of the person doing such atrocities, if it is Islam and the like. But here the religious angle is being trumpeted far and wide, because he is supposedly a Christian. Even a non-Christian like Andrew Bolt can see the glaring hypocrisy here (see link below).
He documents cases of the MSM going quiet on religion when a Muslim massacre takes place. This is just another example of our biased secular left MSM which will use any tragedy to score cheap political points in its war against Christianity and conservatism.
Also worth noting is that apparently the mass killer was heavily into bloody, shoot-em-up video games. According to one report, he spoke of this in his diary: “he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as a training simulation. ‘Target practise is likely going to be a problem for many people in certain countries. Consider taking a vacation to a country where you are able to train in marksmanship or join a gun club. Simulation by playing Call of Duty, Modern Warfare is a good alternative as well but you should try to get some practise with a real assault rifle (with red point optic) if possible’.”
A federal government minister has already tried to play down any connections here. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said that the government does not need to impose any further restrictions on violent games or films. And the civil libertarians will shout till they are hoarse that there is no connection between the two.
The truth is, while most violent game players will not go on to become mass murderers, there is indeed a connection. Not only have numerous studies made the connection, but common sense tells us that if someone spends countless hours soaking up these bloody, violent games, becoming experts at killing people, in ever more realistic scenarios and settings, some – who may be a bit unbalanced to begin with – will seek to play this out in the real world.
So a case can be made for tightening things up here. But as mentioned, it is still early on in terms of learning about this killer, his background, his motivations, and his worldview. But the various political debates, it appears, have already begun in earnest.
As I said at the beginning, our best course of action at this point is to uphold the Norwegians in prayer, and seek to show them our love and support. As the days proceed, further discussions about religion and violence, and violent computer and video games, will undoubtedly ensue.
For now, we grieve with this nation as it recovers from this horrendous tragedy, and we cover it in our prayers.