Susan Campbell is a columnist in The Hartford Courant. She's one of the few reasons I continue to read the paper online.
Dear Ms. Campbell - You asked a really wonderful question in your recent column:
"If Breivik is a perversion, and Christianity is a religion of peace, how does it get twisted, and not just in violent, life-ending ways like Breivik's?"
As someone who has wrestled with the same question for many years, I thought I might offer my answer, because I don't believe the answer lies in either philosophy, or in theology. The answer lies in history. When Christianity became the state of religion of Rome upon the conversion of Constantine, it grafted unto itself the power structure of the Roman Empire. Thus, what had been a cult of the have-nots, became most emphatically the property of the haves. The way Catholic dioceses are organized, for example, and the governing structure of the Vatican, comes down pretty much intact from the Roman beaurocracy created to administer the Empire in Constantine's day.
And the Council that created the current and accepted Canon of Scripture occured after this as well, so of course all the scriptures are skewed in such a way that taken as a whole, they support the power-over world view grafted onto the developing religion. Consequently, all sects of Christianity - especially the so-called fundamentalists - are susceptible to falling prey to these interpretations which I believe are most emphatically not in line with the actual teachings of Jesus.
These are simple facts of history. If you want to know what's gone wrong in a system, I think the easiest place to find the answer is in the beginning. But hardly anyone studies history that far back any more, and certainly the fundamentalists of the Christian world aren't eager to acknowledge the ramifications of that ancient infestation.