Enough religion! Praying for Paris won’t work!

I’ve been seeing a lot of these ‘Pray for Paris’ and ‘Pray for France’ slogans, memes, and hashtags on my social media timelines lately. I dunno. There’s something about these calls to prayer that kind of does not sit well with me. For that matter they don’t seem to fit in to the situation in France.

I find it quite presumptuous to be calling others to ‘pray’ for France. I think they’re doing pretty well without all that prayerfulness. In fact, it’s religion that is at the heart of all this violence to begin with. So I doubt that the French are in any mood to hear more about religion at this time.

For one thing, France is a modern secular Western European society. They don’t rely on prayers to solve their problems. They rely on the latest thinking, the latest technology, and the latest science to surmount their challenges. Well, all that and some awesome military hardware as well.


My colleague Ilda put it pretty well in a recent comment: “France stands for liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity). Their motto has become an inspiration and model for other societies around the world.” Obviously a country like the Philippines where none of those notions are in full practice cannot really presume to export their prayers to a modern society like France on the other side of the globe.

I do subscribe to John Lennon’s words in his hit song “Imagine”…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

I know quoting Lennon’s “Imagine” is just sooo cliché (hey, what’s with all these French words nowadays??). But, it seems all roads keep leading to the timeless words of this brilliant poet!

In fairness, there is merit in all these shows of “solidarity”, even if many of them aren’t really much more than mere token gestures. The thing is, there are concrete reasons and series of events that brought us to this point — like how we are now hearing that there may have been a chance the French government had been privy to valuable intel in the months leading to this attack; or the whole question as to why France let in so many Muslim immigrants to begin with.

Well, people don’t seem to be in the mood for all this openness now that France in in serious lockdown. Thing is, the serious and pointed conversations may not be happening (or are being hindered) because of all this political correctness that adds so much noise to the discourse. I mean what’s up with the delusion of continuing to assume — or, worse, expect — that people of different cultures would necessarily think the same way Western Europeans do as far as what the “right” things to do or the “right” kinds of behavior are, right?

We can push out the notion that being “non-judgmental” about people’s lifestyles is the “modern” way to be. But the truth is, Western Europe’s openness and sense of “justice” and “decency” is pretty much in the minority even today. Much of the world is still a brutish, oppressive, dogmatic, and judgmental place if we base things on sheer population size alone.

In that regard, I do wonder whether there really was any wisdom in the naive openness with which Europe “welcomed” hordes of immigrants into their tiny oases of modern egalitarian and secular values. Or maybe that “openness” in the guise for a need for “diversity” was just a clever sugar-coating of what really was just a really basic economic need for cheap labor. Well, you reap what you sow I guess.


Post Author: Kate Natividad

Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.

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62 Comments on "Enough religion! Praying for Paris won’t work!"

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Domingo Arong

— “In fairness, there is merit in all these shows of “solidarity”, even if many of them aren’t really much more than mere token gestures.”

But are these “token gestures”?
The World Shows its Support for Victims of the Paris Attacks
14 November 2015


— “So I doubt that the French are in any mood to hear more about religion at this time.”

But the French still celebrate Mass
Mourners gather for tearful Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral
November 15, 2015 


Alberto Tibayan

Hi Kate,

Criticising other people of their beliefs is one of the reasons why there is hatred. There is a difference between educating and telling other people what they should do. If you have the freedom to express yourself so do the people who are calling for prayers for France. This is what I believe to what happened in France, it is caused by hatred and not by religion. Religion in its essence teaches love, equality and respect.

Peace to the world,


Philip Jamilla

This is dumb. With a foe such as ISIS, you cannot just remove religion from the issue. These people commenting on how hypocritical it is to “pray” for terror attack victims are naive. We pray because out there, a terrorist group is using their religion to justify their violence and political motives and the best way we could do to fight a crooked ideology such as terrorism is through empathy – through prayer. God might not exist. Prayers might do nothing. But prayer and sympathy show that religions should be rooted in peace and solidarity. Not violence ad hatred.


One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient. In fact, a man convinced of his virtue even in the midst of his vice is the worst kind of man.

Kate, prayer goes to the bereaved family for a moment to relieve pain. on the other hand, death served like an art of relief from life struggle on earth. God designed this death for those who are in mental agony or . because he doesn’t want anyone to suffer forever. But this is only a temporal death. we’re just only a human flesh designed to perish or rather we’re a clay pot and God is the master potter. a spirit can’t beget to a physical body. Yet we called God our Father despite he is a spirit. At the resurrection… Read more »
Mike Hofileña

This is the most idiotic commentary I’ve heard pertaining to the Paris massacre aftermath. What will you do with all the technology & science when the weather is bad and the jets can’t hardly see their targets? What an idiot of a writer! We pray for the souls that has passed away. The next prayer is for the bombs to hit the real targets. BOBO!

vagoneto rieles
@ Ms Kate Its just a knee jerk reaction that’s gone the extra mile. It’s also addressed more to the ‘pray-er’ than to the ‘pray-ee’. Among most civilized peoples in the world, a word (words) of condolence seems to be the accepted convention when one passes on. Today, though, this practice has so caught on that it has become almost an obligation… so much so that it now seems to be more for the one who consoles to feel that one has complied with convention, than it is for the bereaved to be comforted. Actually, I subscribe to the Spaniard’s..… Read more »

Ms kate. I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you still havent experienced the deep sorrow of losing a loved one. Because if you did, you know a prayer will only be your salvation to to keep your sanity.


Prayers from people far away are an attempt at giving comfort. We know they can take care of themselves. If a member of our family dies, doesn’t it feel good to receive kind thoughts instead of just saying “Kaya mo yan!”? This religion bashing is getting ridiculous. I guess it’s the “in” thing to do. When a great tragedy strikes you in your life I am sure you can remember to pray (to whatever you believe in) and appreciate kind thoughts from friends and even strangers.

Gagong Lipunan

Seriously, Kate? Another shitty article? I thought you’re improving already.

I think you should follow benign0’s advice, stop judging those who pray for Paris. Let the people do what the want on their own will. If they want to pray, let them be. It’s their way to sympathize. Besides, the French government is already retaliating.

I agree with you with regards to “#PrayForParis” bandwagon. It’s just plain hypocrisy. Mga pinoy siguro may pakana nyan.


However inspirational the motto liberté, égalité, fraternité, France is also a rigidly secular society which has been known to impose its cultural norms and beliefs on immigrants and others. Rather like Ms. Natividad, as it happens.


One of the most insensitive article i read coming from an atheist.

Some ISIS Jihadists came with the hordes of refugees, from Syria. Most of those ISIS , who did the massacre, were born in France. They went to Syria for training, and came back as ISIS terrorists, in France. Radical Islam will not stop, until we kill all these ISIS terrorists. Their Radical Islamic thinking, will never change. Their beliefs in “martyrdoom”, as immediate entrance to Paradise will never change. These people are like “Walking Robots”, bent on killing all the Infidels or non believers of their God :Allah. Orgsnized Religion is the scrouge of mankind. History had shown that most:… Read more »

Ms. Natividad,
It is reassuring to note that a lot of people in this world still believes in prayer. It is also with this observation that I may now take to task diverting my energies to praying, not for Paris, but to one who needs it more. You.

Presidente Emilio


There’s a reason Jesus criticised the Pharisees. It’s because he himself is against organized religion. Why do you think he preached a religion highly different from the Hebrews? It’s because he deemed Judaism as inappropriate & obsolete.

If I remember, Benign0 wrote an article about how Jesus saved the image of His Father that the Old Testament portrayed him to be.


Yes, prayers from Pinoys won’t work – they won’t even reach past the ceiling coz God does not listen to lying thieving hypocrites who call themselves “Chritians” but whose lives only show they are anything but.

Not all Pinoys though – there are some genuine disciples – you will know them by their fruit.


Praying doesn’t work—and it’s usually done for selfish reasons. Action does towards peace does, but everybody has to be in sync of wanting the same thing.


It’s really simple. If you believe that Alexander the Great is a historical figure while Jesus of Nazareth isn’t then you have a lot of history readings to do.

“Altruism didn’t suddenly sprouted when religion came arounds.”

Yes, it deed. Charity, forgiveness, mercy and the Golden Rule became doctrines to lead a moral life thanks to religion. So yes, religion originated those things.

What we had prior to the creation of moral doctrines are just pure instincts.

Up to now, atheists end up becoming moral parasites since they could not come up with anything better.



“Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.”
–H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)