Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
July 26, 2011

Anders Breivik and the presence of God

As each day passes, we learn more about Anders Behring Breivik. As you know, last Friday he killed 76 people in the bloodiest act of terrorism Norway has seen since World War II. Before launching his attacks, he posted to his Facebook page a 1,516-page document which explains his motive.

His manifesto blames multiculturalism for the destruction of Western culture. In it he states, “I do not hate Muslims at all… This does not mean that I will accept an Islamic presence in Europe. Muslim individuals who are not assimilated 100% by 2020 will be deported as soon as we manage to seize power.”

There is no question that resentment and anger towards Muslim immigrants is growing across Europe. Political parties advocating anti-immigrant policies have won an increasing percentage of the popular vote in recent elections. Migrants now compose 13% of the Swedish population and 8% in Denmark and Norway. As immigrants change the culture of their society, frustration mounts.

Last fall, after the Swedish elections, a gunman shot at least 15 people in the city of Malmo, targeting people with dark skin. Now Breivik is claiming that he has “two more cells” working with him. What can we expect to come next? As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Americans worry about further attacks from foreign terrorists. Now we must be concerned about terrorists in our midst—both those from different cultures who live here and those who resent their growing presence.

How do we live in a world where our neighbors can attack us out of anger at problems we did nothing to create? We can learn some lessons from Israel. Each time I travel in the Holy Land I am amazed by the tranquil way her citizens deal with the perils they face. Their government maintains remarkable vigilance against potential enemies. The people look to redeem what they confront, viewing their mandatory military service as valuable in maintaining their unity and common culture.

Most of all, they live in the present. During a recent trip, I got to know a veteran of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and numerous battles since. I asked him how he deals with the stress of his nation’s security situation. He smiled and replied, “One day at a time.” He described his home in Galilee and told me about his four daughters. “Life each day is good,” he said. “If this is it—if there is to be no future for us—I am glad to have today.”

If you’re a Christian, you’re in the hands of God today (John 10:28). Nothing can come to you without going through him. Don’t despair—all of God there is, is in this moment. More tomorrow.

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