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Religion Doesn't Build Civilization


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Religion doesn't build civilization

I thought that I have become immune to strange actions coming from elected politicians, but the proclamation recently signed by Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, establishing an "Islamic Heritage Month" in the city, is in a class by itself when it comes to the lack of understanding of the basic principles of what human civilization and heritage are all about.

Perhaps the intentions were noble, and I have the same respect for the followers of the Islamic faith as I have for the people of different other faiths, or for those who follow the Buddhist, Confucian, Sikh principles, even for atheists, agnostics and others. However to proclaim that "Islamic civilization and heritage belong not only to Muslim Canadians ..." is as nonsensical as one talking about Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, Sikh or Episcopalian civilizations, for such things simply don't exist! Civilizations and scientific endeavors were created by human beings in different countries, in different times, no matter which religion they adhered to, if any at all.

It is true that some thousand years ago, scientists, physicians, poets and mathematicians from Persia, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, who were converted to Islam either before or after their "significant contributions to the well-being of humanity" were a leading force in the progress of human endeavors, but why mix religion with their accomplishments?

Nobody talks, or cares about, whether Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Pasteur, Vincent van Gogh or Rembrandt, to name but a few, were faithful Catholics, Protestants, Baptists or whatever, and nobody links their creativity to their religion.

When Mayor Corrigan opened the floodgates by declaring Islamic Heritage Month, he better be ready for a Catholic Heritage Month, other months for the Baptists, Hindus, Buddhists, Unitarians, Greeks Orthodox, and many others, even another for the Hare Krishna followers, all well represented in Burnaby, and, why not, one special Atheist Heritage Month, because, based on attendance to religious services, I would bet that they probably form the greatest majority of the people living in Burnaby.

And each of the above have made their own important contribution to the well-being of humanity.



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