Across Norway, memorials have been held by the very institution that espouses the doctrine that inspired Anders Behring Breivik to carry out his sickening massacre. In such a secular and peaceful country, I find it painfully ironic that Norwegians are turning to the Church for comfort in this time of great tragedy.
Debate is still going on as to where exactly Breivik stands politically. Almost uniformly branded as a "right-wing extremist" by the mainstream media, he has been touted as both a neo-Nazi and a staunch supporter of Israel and Zionism. The contradiction there is clear, but we can almost certainly be sure of his bitter resentment towards the growing influence of Islam in the West and of "cultural Marxism" - the strangle hold of political correctness choking much needed public discourse.
We can also almost certainly be sure of his Christian faith and his belief that he was carrying out God's wishes. In his rambling 1500-page diatribe, he scorns Islam and the Western liberals who appease it. He also calls for a new Christian crusade against these polar opposite forces.
Such rhetoric is clearly binary and extreme, prompting many to simply label him as disturbed and mentally ill. But despite his often incoherent babble, he appears to have a broad knowledge of global politics and issues. His coordinated planning and ability to stay under the radar also suggest a cunning, if not reasonable intelligence.
This is of course not to say he was not suffering from sort of disorder - often the most intelligent tyrants also suffer severe mental impairment. But what should be abundantly clear is that he was suffering from religion.
In any case, can we not at least say that religion provides a rationale to disturbed individuals to carry out such acts? Breivik has insisted that his actions were "cruel but necessary", a clear indication that he truly believed in carrying out his own brand of holy war. Many will simply say that he has twisted the word of God; very much in a fashion similar to the mantra of Islamic appeasers. But when disturbed individuals believe that God is commanding them, the scriptural interpretations of any others ceases to matter.
Many are now warning of the dangers of "Islamophobia" and of Christian radicalism. I would indeed argue that we should be fearful of the rise of Islam (the term "Islamophobia" is silly, as a genuine cautiousness about Islam is perfectly rational) and of a Christian population stirred into violent retaliation. But I would also argue that what is much more dangerous is the black and white Weltanschauungs of the opposing God-fearing sides.
As the example of Breivik shows, with God on your side anything is permitted. This is why the fight against the Islamisation of the West (and indeed other religious scourges) should be taken up by secularists. Non-believers do not wish to engage in any sort of holy war and do not believe there is a supernatural entity commanding them to action. But unfortunately, too many secularists are not willing to take up this fight.
Indeed, too many secularists are the "cultural Marxists" that Breivik describes. While usually quick to condemn the Catholic church for protecting child molesters, they are usually silent about disgraceful Islamic acts such as female genital mutilation. Gentleness is often a virtue, but appeasing such brutality should not be considered by anyone as such.
If the influx of Islamic influence continues to pour into the West and the Christian dissenters continue to be radicalised in their opposition, we risk a very dangerous and binary religious dynamic. This is why the strangle hold of political correctness must be broken, and why secularists must cry out against the intolerance of every side in order to maintain a peaceful and secular order that we too often take for granted.