Friday, 24 October 2014

Pure Laine Terrorists, Or Why a Little Religious Education Never Hurts

I have no way of knowing if the two troubled young men who took down Canadian soldiers this week had any kind of religious education as children.  Given their age, they probably were exposed to a bit of Catholicism in school, since when they were little kids, Quebec schools boards were set up on religious lines.  The change  to a language based system came in 1997, although a certain amount of teaching about religion--as opposed to teaching religion itself--remains in a compulsary ethics and religious culture course.

The school commission reorganization was something I advocated when our kids were little: schools should be neutral when it comes to religion, I think.  But teaching kids about religions is important, as is touching base with whatever religious heritage a family has.  That's why we started taking our kids to Sunday School when the oldest was about five.  For  a couple of years I'd see them into the church basement and then go read in the library until they were done.

The result was that both of them have an appreciation of the more attractive tenents of Christianity and a good moral compass even though they are far from being believers. But that's it. 

In contrast the shooters seemed to have had  holes in their spirits that cried out to be filled by religion.   Their psychological problems resonated with the appeal of radical Islam.  

There is no way of knowing if exposure in a positive way to religion in their families would have made a difference.  But I think that kind of education should be considered seriously by all parents.  Look at it as vaccination against fanaticism, less painful but more time-consuming that the shots that keep our kids from getting diseases. 

1 comment:

lagatta said...

Though of course Norwegian terrorist and mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik did the same with radical "anti-Islam" and anti-immigrant bigotry. And bombed the centre of Oslo, a capital that is known as even calmer (and more boring) than Ottawa, despite the many qualities of both northern cities. Before he committed a mass murder of social-democratic youth at the same kind of summer event groups such as Alternatives would hold here, in almost identical locations.

Some of the more fundamentalist Catholics in Québec don't like the course on ethics and religions, as they don't want to be reminded of the fundamental similarities of the Abrahamic religions, and the core ethical beliefs shared by many others.

I was annoyed when a friend talked about Muslims "not worshipping the same God; they worship Allah." Allah is the Arabic word for God - the same God as that of the Jews and Christians - and Christian Arabs worship "Allah" (the God) as well.

There is also a good dose of macho thuggery in all these killings.