Eric Bryant: Why Do People Turn to Violence?

Why does this happen? Why would someone think violence against innocent people will get them what they want? Who would do such an evil thing?

Police have arrested Anders Behring Breivik for bombing downtown Oslo and shooting at teens at a political camp. Over 80 people have died in these cowardly acts.

According to an article at CNN.com: “Official sources and social media indicate that Breivik might be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who may have had an issue with Norway’s multi-cultural society. The attack may have been politically motivated, one official said.

‘I think what we have seen today is that politically motivated violence poses a threat to society and I commend the police for carrying out a very swift and effective investigation, but that is still ongoing,’ Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters.”

A Skynews article describes the suspect with these words:

“National police chief Sveinung Sponheim said internet postings by the suspected gunman ‘suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but if that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.’”

I do not know how the political parties work in Europe, but the word “Christian” is used way too often to describe people who do not follow the ways and words of Jesus.

To kill other Norwegians because he does not like immigration policies or does not like Muslims shows the depth of evil that can grow when one allows hate inside.

Hate leads to destruction which does not make anything better.

Tolerance is not the answer either. Who wakes up in the morning wanting to be tolerated?! None of us. We long to be loved and belong.

When we are tired of tolerating others, we should try loving them.

How should we respond to world that is becoming more and more diverse?

What if loving, serving, and influencing those around us (no matter from what culture they came) became the norm? (See “Kidnapping a Muslim” or “Why Multi-culturalism Fails“)

In his book Soul CravingsErwin McManus writes:

“The farther we move from community, the closer we move to violence…. Where there is no love there is no value for life. When hate consumes our hearts, all we can think of, all we desire is to destroy. When there is disengagement from human community, there is the potential for inhumanity.

The human heart was not created to be a container for hate.

When we allow bitterness, jealousy, envy, racism, lust, greed, and arrogance to fuel our souls, we create an environment within us to be agents of violence.

We live in a time when the most terrifying bomb is not a nuclear one, but a human one.”

Praying for those affected by the tragedy in Oslo….

Praying we choose to create a healthy and diverse society….

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Eric Bryant
Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.