Another terrorist attack, another candle

Candlelight vigils will be held in numerous cities in wake of the terrorist attack at a Quebec mosque.

As Theodore Dalrymple put it about a prior attack:

A moment used to be defined as the amount of time between a Mexico City traffic light turning green and the sound of the first car horn, but now it might be defined as the period between a terrorist attack in a Western city and the first public appearance of a candle.  Every terrorist attack, including the latest one in Berlin, is immediately followed by the public exhibition of lighted candles.  It is almost as if the population keeps a store of them ready to hand for this very purpose.


The candles, then, are a manifestation of modern paganism, a striving for transcendence without any real belief in it.  They are also a somewhat self-congratulatory symbol of our own peaceable temperament: the violent are not great candle-lighters.  We cannot, for example, imagine Genghis Khan lighting many candles for the souls of the departed (not that we really believe in souls).

I think Dalrymple is correct when he says the candles signify a striving for transcendence without any real belief in it. It is only fitting, then, that Anglican bishops and lesser clergy will be well represented in Quebec, London (Ontario), Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton and, no doubt, many other locations.

4 thoughts on “Another terrorist attack, another candle

  1. It was not a terrorist attack; terrorists normally attack non-Muslims. It was a night of terror when six people lost their lives in Quebec City. Now, six families and their friends and neighbours are in mourning.

  2. People like candles. They give a pretty little light that for some reason makes us feel a little better. And coming together to do this in a large crowd likely also gives a feeling of support.

    But so what? What does it change? Nothing. If you were to ask these people what things should be changed that would prevent this from happening again what would they answer? More gun controls? I seriously doubt that they would even think of anything that would effectively address the hate and violence that exists within the perpetrators of these crimes. Suggest to them stricter border controls and they will label you the intolerant bigot. Suggest to them tougher punishment in our criminal justice system and they will call you ignorant. Any suggestive action that might actually prevent another such tragedy is summarily dismissed with the usual left wing nonsense. And they have their supply of candles ready for next time.

  3. While living on this planet earth, Christians and non-Christians alike, all share some common human experiences, e.g. life and death, health and sickness, joy and sorrow, comfort and pain, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, truth and alternative facts, etc.

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