Tunisia 26th June 2015.
Ten years after the July 7th 2005 atrocity in the transport system of London, innocent people are again massacred and once more the same old lame “explanations” are being propagated.
The Prime Minister has been at pains to point out that the IS “extremists” are not true Moslems. The No True Scotsman fallacy is being dusted down and used again. Probably with the best of intentions, that is, to divide the IS supporting “non-Moslems” from the “good” Moslems. The motive seemed to be both to isolate the IS motivated people from their non-extremist co-religionists and to protect the majority of decent Moslems from despicable far-right retaliation. But rarely is deviation from the truth a successful strategy in the long term.
On the BBC 1 TV morning broadcast today a guest speaker trotted out the familiar line “this was done by a young Tunisian who, having no prospects, struck out at what to him were wealthy foreign tourists. Never mind that the assassin was a student of engineering with far better prospects than the vast majority of his contemporaries. The conscious or sub-conscious purpose of this trite response being to absolve religion from being in any way responsible for the atrocity.
But the cause of this massacre was religion.
Spencer Lucas today (28th June) posted on Facebook a link to a brief lecture “Why Atheism Matters” – Doug Cowan at The Non-Conference 2014: Toronto it seems to be very timely. I apologise to Dr. Cowan for stealing his title.
The Tunisian atrocity, like the many previous atrocities, can only be understood in relation to how the human mind operates when under the influence of religion.
Now atrocities are committed as a result of many other motivations or causes. Hatred, jealousy, a psychosis, racism, nationalism. H.sapiens is a species with a complex mind and many motivations.
But the atrocities of 7/7/2005 and 26/6/2015 were clearly and indisputably motivated by religion and they will certainly be followed by many more such tragedies.
The perpetrators had a simple and evident world-view. Human life on this planet was relatively unimportant except as a prelude to the afterlife. The prophet had revealed this and there are two types of human being. Believers and unbelievers. Unbelievers have lives which are worthless. They have no possibility of an afterlife other than one of eternal torment. Believers and only believers can enter paradise. The way to paradise is through doing God’s will. An Imam will explain what this is.
That is a religion. An atheist believes that it is dreadfully wrong and can (and did in these cases) lead to tragic results both for the believers and their victims. An atheist believes hat a human life is unique, exceedingly rare in this universe and imeasurably precious. That is why atheism is important. That is why a rational understanding of the world and human life is so important. We dare not believe that the battle with irrational religion is now won, despite the occasional outrage or political setback like the recent introduction of hundreds of state funded religious schools in England. Religion is well entrenched, well financed and has the means and the political influence to fight back. It will try to survive. The struggle for a rational world is only beginning and may require centuries to achieve.