FFRF condemns Manchester attack


The Freedom From Religion Foundation expresses its deep sorrow at the horrifying toll of the Manchester terror attack — a toll that, heartbreakingly, includes a number of children.

While all the details aren’t available yet, the act is a work of a suicide bomber, who, in recent history, have been most often religiously inspired. Religion is undoubtedly the motivation for the bombing and carnage.

The texts of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism —consider music and the arts as blasphemous. Muslim fundamentalists interpret the Quran as disapproving of any form of music as entertainment. The suicide bomber’s choice of a famous pop singer’s concert as a target is quite certainly not a coincidence.

And let’s not blame Ariana Grande’s political views (or, facetiously, her musical caliber) for the attack. “A big bomb goes off at a pop star’s rock concert bombing a bunch of liberal trendies. The same people — god love them — on average who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in,” rightwing provocateur Alex Jones said. This attitude is distasteful in the extreme.

ISIL has actually claimed credit for the bombing (even if it may not be directly responsible). ISIL is bent on spreading its religious “truth” worldwide. This mentality is not subject to evidence or reason. It promotes an “us versus them” thinking and the dehumanization of those who practice other faiths or no religion. Most important, religion, using that division and the superiority that comes with being part of a god’s select group, silences people’s innate human compassion.

Religion gives people what they believe to be a divinely sanctioned license to kill. Because the grant is divine and based on faith, reason and logic often can’t overcome its contradictions and barbarity.

Even if Islamic terrorism has associated economic causes or is related to U.S. foreign policy, there can be no doubt that religion provides both the justification and the motivation for these terrorists. Religion convinces young men to kill themselves for the promise of a better future. Religion promises them an illusory paradise superior to the pain of this world.

As always with religiously motivated attacks, thoughts and prayers are feckless, at best. More religion is not the answer, more reason is. Don’t #prayforManchester. On that note, it was refreshing that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s initial response was, “All our thoughts are with the victims and the families” without the inclusion of a religiously obligatory reference to prayer.

The simple fact is that some people do not want to believe religion is bad for the world. And to maintain that outlook, they will ignore the mountains of evidence that show otherwise.

The way to protect our nation and the world from Islamist terrorism is to redouble our efforts to keep religion out of government, not to fan the flames by indulging in hateful rhetoric or by engaging in harmful interventions abroad.

The world needs less religion. Religion, humanity’s first attempt to explain the world, has since become our biggest roadblock to truth and progress. We don’t need more religious “truth,” we need more curiosity, more compassion for those who are different, more people who are good without god. We need goodness uncorrupted by religious “truth.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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