A friend of mine, Madge, sent me a very interesting article surrounding the recent terrorist attacks in Norway, a predominately secular country. It’s worth a look:
This posting will not add anything to the information that is blanketing the internet about Anders Breivik’s ideology and motivations, how the tragedy unfolded, who the victims are, how real the threat from the extremist right is. This posting is based on my observations as one with two feet physically planted in Norway but with a spirit that feels far removed from this beautiful country. Watching and listening to a completely secularized country deal with a tragedy of these dimensions brings forth great spiritual sorrow. A convicted Christian’s instinct in the face of such tragedy, I believe, is to drop to one’s knees – not necessarily in urgent prayer, but more from a sense of vulnerability due to the flash-bulb realization of how minuscule we are, how dependent we are on and thankful for something greater than ourselves, something larger and more powerful than our natural responses of confusion, fear and retribution. But in a country that has for more than a century intentionally and systematically purged its state church, its schools and its care-giving institutions of any true spirituality and faith, what is left is an astounding poverty of the spirit and an inability to invest suffering with greater meaning. The prime minister’s initial response to the tragedy on Utøya was that “more openness, more debate, more democracy” is needed to counteract this senseless act. King Harald, the head of the Lutheran State Church, has frequently been quoted saying: “Let us hold tightly to the belief that freedom is greater than fear.” The leader of the opposition stated that: “Now is the time to show that freedom and diversity are fundamental values we will fight for.” Ironically, the only state leader whose religious message made it to the popular media was Barack Obama, assuring the Norwegians that they are in the prayers of the American people.
For the entire article, see: http://deacongerry.blogspot.com/2011/07/poor-norway-reflection-from-catholic.html