Today the people of Sri Lanka experienced terror on attacks on Christian churches leaving more than one hundred innocent people dead and hundreds more injured. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. As with the Christchurch shootings last month there are no words that can ease the burden and pain we could possibly express. These attacks underscore the need for us to resist violence and extremism, to promote a philosophy of humanity.

As of writing there has been no claim of responsibility, but given the targets of the attacks it is difficult to conclude that it wasn’t related to religion. The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists believes in an open and tolerant society where everyone can hold their own beliefs and worship in safety. While we may also disagree with religious views our core ethical foundation is the well being of people. There is never justification for the kind of violence and inhumanity that we have seen today. No political ideology or religious conviction can justify the crimes committed against humanity today.

As a species we are facing so many threats, none so grave as the ones we create for ourselves. There will be no hero to save us, no saviour to rescue us from the consequences of our own nature. It is, for better or worse, up to us to save ourselves, to find it in our hearts to be better, to be compassionate, to be kind, and to heal the divisions which are driving us closer to oblivion.