This latest atrocity, the beheading of Alan Henning by the Islamic State, is another example of concentrated barbarism carried out under a religious banner.
The fact that world leaders have condemned it is good. The fact that religious leaders have condemned it is also good. However, the way some of these religious leaders have condemned the killing is, in my opinion, not so good.
To say this act is “contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an/Bible/Torah/Vedas/etc and that it is a crime against religion x, y or z is not so good.
If you need to go scrabbling through an ancient text to find out whether beheading someone is a moral or immoral act, then there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you.
I am sure the IS would argue that they are only following the words of their religious book whereas other religious leaders are interpreting these words differently or incorrectly.
And this is the problem when you tie your moral values to some “infallible” sacred text of yours. You are going to be confronted by stuff you don't like and so you have to start interpreting the text, but then there are other people who see that text in another way - and then there are people who hold a completely different text to be holy and infallible and who think yours is just a load of tosh.
We humans know intrinsically that killing others is wrong, that killing others in a barbaric way is..well, barbaric. We don't need a fucking book to tell us this.
As a first step, how would it be if we consigned all these conflicting, holy, sacred, infallible religious texts to the literature bookshelf and started accepting that we need to derive our moral code from our own basic common human values...?