Brussels March 2016
In response to media reports issued throughout the world, CFI Canada has published statements condemning faith-based violence and calling for tolerance throughout 2015. We have objected to violent bigotry and intolerance whether it takes place in Paris, Dhaka, Peterborough, Copenhagen, Kabul, Lahore, Jamame or indeed anywhere it happens. Indeed, we now condemn violence that has taken place in Brussels, Belgium.
Paris is the tourist capital of Europe, but Brussels is its real capital. A famously unglamorous city, it is home to many of the key institutions of the European Union—the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament (which also meets in Strasbourg, France). It is known mostly for its high concentration of Eurocrats and postwar Brutalist architecture (outside the Old Town), and, lately, for the Islamic extremists who inhabit its drab suburb of Molenbeek, which lies to the west of the city center.
Vox presents a series of articles analyzing the significance of the Brussels attacks by Matthew Yglesias on the threat to European Union, Zack Beauchamp on how jihadism became a significant problem in Belgium, and Johnny Harris and Max Fisher present their perspective of why Brussels was attacked. In a second article by Zack Beauchamp, he quotes Alain Grignard (a representative of Belgium’s anti-terrorism task force)
Previously we were mostly dealing with ‘radical Islamists’ — individuals radicalized toward violence by an extremist interpretation of Islam — but now we’re increasingly dealing with what are best described as ‘Islamized radicals.’
In addition to the horror and sadness that these events raise, is a terrible sense that these events have become commonplace and routine. So pervasive and continuous is faith-based violence that even religious leaders are unable to pretend that their religious mumblings are not a cause of problems. On March 14, Canadian Father Raymond J. De Souza, published an article in The National Post (http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/father-raymond-j-de-souza-decoding-the-theology-of-religious-violence) where he states that:
The answer to the bad theology that gives rise to religious violence cannot be no theology, as if jihadists should become secular liberals. The answer to bad theology must be good theology. But excellence in theology, as in other fields, cannot simply be ordered up at will. It is rare.
De Souza explains his assertion by citing one of his own Catholic Pope’s meddlings which directly led to violence in 2006. Imagine that! A Catholic priest, who claims to believe that his Pope is directly connected to his god, acknowledges in print that his Pope espoused some bad theology.
De Souza’s argument seems to be that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) simply need to get their biblical interpretations together and everything will be all right. In light of the very routine nature of the violence that is rampant in the world (which De Souza seems to have forgotten includes radical Hinduism, not part of his Abrahamic sing-along, is also on the rise) and the observations of people like Alain Grignard . We must understand that there simply is no “good theology” to answer the problem as it currently exists.
While discussing this article with CFIC members, Ashley Rooney – our Branch leader in Sudbury commented,
To admit that theology is valid in the first place, requires the acknowledgement of the existence of a deity of some sort that requires discussion and reasoning of, and whose mind can be known. From there, you have to then admit that it is left to (usually a select group) of mere mortals who are best positioned to interpret god’s will so that it may be imposed on the rest of us. Judging from history, any means and justification can be contrived for such imposition. We must acknowledge that there is no such thing as “good” and “bad” theology. There is only theology, which is a completely useless discipline as elaborated by Thomas Paine: “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.”
The world faces a terrible situation where some unreasonable religious people are using violence to promote their faith and some violent people are using religion to justify their violence. A clever new interpretation of a biblical story isn’t going to solve this problem – it’s going to be called a blasphemy, or a heresy, by whomever doesn’t agree with it and inspire further distancing of sects. That is how it has always worked with clever new interpretations of religious doctrine.
It is time that reasonable people inform theologians that further meddling simply won’t help.
What we need is to study the patterns and systems of religious violence – not the literary interpretations that inspired the violence in the first place. Study of systems, and the subsequent design of methods to alter those systems, may be found in scientific and systemic fields like psychology, law and security and sociology – not theology.
When we have recovered from our grief and anger, when we have finished with condolences to the families and friends of those who have been murdered, reason and science can provide the tools and methods that are needed to push us out of this appallingly familiar pattern of bigoted violence.
Eric Adriaans – National Executive Director
- Paris, November 2015
- CFIC Condemns Ongoing Faith-Based Murders in Bangladesh
- Pope Has Nerve Citing Ideology: (His trip to Cuba)
- York University
- Parliamentary E-Petition Opposing Canada’s Blasphemy Law
- Extraordinary Claims Website
- CFI Regina
- Reason For Change
- ICABL Charter
- CFIC Remembers Our Friends
- Kids For Inquiry Canada
- Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Year-End Perspective For 2015/2016
- Montreal Pride
- WiFi Rats
- Living Without Religion – Overcoming Isolation
- Quebec’s Bill 59: A Hate Speech Bill
- 17 Organizations Issue Joint Statement to PM Trudeau
- 2016 Fundraising Campaign
- Science Over Naturopathy in Sentencing of David and Collet Stephan
- End Blasphemy Laws Now!
- Saskatchewan Burlesque Controversy
- Muti: Traditional Medicine Practice in Africa
- City of Ottawa’s Hijab Day
- CFIC Implores the Canadian Government To Help Tareq Rahim
- C-14 Passed
- CFIC Joins Call to Repeal Greek Blasphemy Law
- CFIC Discusses Bangladesh with UNHCR and ORF
- Saskatchewan Wants a Secular Government
- CFIC’s Darwin Day Headquarters
- CFI Canada Discourse #3: Telepathy Proved !?
- Bangladesh: Protection For Secular Human Rights and Atheist Bloggers
- Dangerous Dilutions
- Ashu Solo vs City of Saskatoon and Randy Donauer
- Have You Ever Inquired About Services at a Naturopathic Clinic?
- Joint Statement Condemning Bangladesh Government
- John Hofsess: Humanist Perspectives
- Consumer Education and Advocacy
- A Brief History of Secularism in Canada
- CFI Canada: Setting Our Agenda
- O! Canada
- Brad Wall’s Christmas Message: Should Saskatchewan Secularists Complain?
- Canada’s 42nd Election: Secularism and Science
- University of Toronto Scarborough
- United Way, Employee Giving and Centre For inquiry Canada
- Pseudo-Science: Inquiries into the Incursion of Pseudo-science into Health Services Education
- Physician Assisted Dying: Use Science and Secular Values – Not Dogma
- CFIC Goes to Reason Rally 2016
- Chilliwack School Board March 2
- Letter to Centre for Inquiry March 2015
- Congratulations to CFI (US) on Leadership Transition
- AGM Agenda and Minutes March 2015 – Draft for Approval
- AGM Agenda and Minutes March 2015 – Draft for Approval
- Celsius42 TCS (Tumour Cell Solution) Inquiry
- Chilliwack: Rejects Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality
- Canada’s New Parliamentary E-Petition System
- Critical Evaluation of Journalism: Deadly and Dangerous Pseudoscience
- Gifts in Kind at Centre For Inquiry Canada
- CFI On Pseudo-Science and Religion in Healthcare
- Skull Suture Manipulation on Children with Autism and/or ADHD
- Recollections of the Founding of CFI Canada