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.

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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.

62 Replies to “Enough religion! Praying for Paris won’t work!”

  1. — “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 


  2. 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,


    1. I think you have to study Islam and open their Koran if you find a direct quote that preaches love. Hence, you can find a lot of passages that preaches hate like to kill that unbelievers among other horrible lines.

  3. 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.

    1. …religions rooted in peace? I guess you never read the old testament. A violent, horrifying book. The Jewish Talmud advocates pedophilia, murder, racism and other very, very bizarre acts. Is Islam a religion of peace? Buddhism, Hinduism? Any kind of religion or religious philosophy has brought the world far more violence than peace. It’s always about one thing only. My god is mightier than your god and if you don’t believe it I will kill you.

      1. And you thing Christianity actually uses the Old Testament? Read some history, boy!

        I think I’ve said it before. Religion is an ABSTRACT. Any people can bend it to their interests, thus they can use it to wage war or strive for peace.

        Religion in itself is neither right nor wrong. It’s the perception of the people towards it that molds it in either way.

        1. I’m not your boy and this has nothing to do with history, but more with fairytales, which goes for the old and new testament.

      2. The ISIS terrorists shouted: “God is great”, while murdering innocent people. What has God to do with killing of innocent people?

        Then, they blew themselves up with suicide belts. Believing their immediate “entrance to Paradise, with 72 virgins, waiting for them, as rewards”…

        Insanity at its worst…caused by Organized radical religion.

        When will we ever learn to be human and humane?

      3. That is how you perceive the old testament but for a lot of people, it is life. It is a book of learning. It does not teach immoral act but teaches how not to be immoral. Our world is about relevance. If you are not relevant to me, will your opinion be of matters to me? It will not but I can respect it. It is how you value things and I cannot judge you because I do not know what you have gone through. We have different experience. We have different genes. We might have gone in the same situation but our bodies will react differently. Our brains will perceive the experience differently. Some people is telling to put yourself in other shoe to understand others. For me, you cannot because we are genetically different. We can just understand other people in reference to our own experience. We might be wrong, close but it will never be exact. That is why I value the word “Respect”.

        1. You can’t deal barbarism with respect. You have to understand the theology of the attackers before you discuss respect and love if they believe on these things. Why there’s so much hatred on their hearts? Is it their religion teaches them so?

  4. 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.

  5. 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 everyone will be given the chance to live again under God’s dominion for another chapter. that’s his promise!

      1. “God designed this death for those who are in mental agony. because he doesn’t want anyone to suffer forever.”

        so what’s this paragraph mean to u?
        these terrorists are driven by frustration and killing is mental agony. death penalty is justified under this circumstances. so this is where God employed death.

  6. 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!

    1. “The next prayer is for the bombs to hit the real targets.”

      Spoken like a real Christian, something that Jesus would say???

  7. @ 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.. “Solo el que carga el cajon, sabe que pesa el muerto”.. roughly, “only he who bears the coffin, knows how heavy the dead is”. But, even he..the Spaniard..has the most profuse consoling words on such occasions.

    I’m sure the tradition of consoling one another isn’t just harmless. It actually demonstrates empathy and solidarity, which in the context of “humankind being inter-connected”, is a good thing.

  8. 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.

    1. Actually, no. I lost my mother to cancer and my father to heart attack. I thought it was the prayers that helped me stay sane and be at peace. No. It was ME. I did it to me. So no, you’re wrong. People’s minds can condition them to actually feel better or bad. People condition and convince themselves that the prayers help. No, they don’t.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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: murders, massacres, wars, tortures, inquisitions, slavery, bigotry, prejudices, etc…were done in the name of Organized Religion. I am not only pointing on Islam…

    1. Be careful of what comes out of your mouth.
      Christianity does not advocate murders, massacres, wars, tortures, and all the other evils of this world you had mentioned.

      1. Crusades, Inquisition, KKK all atrocities under the banner of Christ. Islam is the only one wholly endorses it now? Come on guys let’s not do cherry picking here. Religion is either a proselytizing, oppressive concept or it isn’t.

        1. Yes, because charity, forgiveness, the Golden Rule and mercy never ever came from religion.

          But whatever floats your boat.

        2. Not originally. Altruism didn’t suddenly sprouted when religion came arounds. By your logic, we would be knuckle dragging cavemen killing one another before the sand religions which is totally false.

      2. Christianity may not advocate murders, massacres, wars, tortures, but they will certainly take side on who takes part in those attrocities. The same goes for Islam. There is no such thing as evil in this world. However, there is such thing as selfishness, greed, and competition; and, we are all deeply involved in it.

  13. 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.

  14. I’m not “criticizing other people of their beliefs”. Heck, I myself pray. But for me, religion and spirituality are personal things. Going to a church to pray in public is also a personal choice.

    If we look around, the evidence is very stark. Religion divides. Catholics go to a Catholic church to pray, Muslims go to a mosque to worship, etc. Even within the Christian faith, the different Christian sects hardly ever get together to worship in a single building. What’s the point then?

    Consoling the bereaved is always welcome of course. But flouting one’s religion on the grieving is asking for trouble. I once got “prayed over” during the wake of someone close to me. It was more annoying than comforting, to be honest. I did not appreciate it nor do I appreciate people telling me “I need prayers”. I and I alone can tell ME what I need and don’t need!

    1. Praying ‘for’ someone, is quite different from praying ‘over’ him/her. The object of the former does not have to know it, whereas that of the latter, would surely know what’s going on… and might get really ticked-off. Your point is well taken.. the French don’t have to be told. But… like I said earlier, “it seems to be more for the satisfaction of the ‘pray-er’ than for the good of the ‘pray-ee’.” You can chalk this up to the ‘face book’ syndrome.

    2. Religion of this world brings nothing but a poison to one’s sound mind.

      i left my religion for my own good and peace of mind sake.

      these advocators of heaven who supposed to be guides became a hindrance instead to my progress in seeking the truth of God.

      i can now stretch and move to my wish, i can now read the bible clearly and pray to God without getting any help from them.

      because not one of them can prove the truth of going to heaven after death. no biblical proof to support it but all of these are just a mere human imaginations.

      i don’t believe to the saying, this is the only day of salvation. that’s a lie actually, they’re instilling fear to the mind.

      they opposed the biblical truth about the judgment day when everyone will be given a chance to live again.

      bec for me judgment means trial.

      the gospel of salvation can liken into a passing bus when u missed a trip u got to wait for another bus who will take u to ur destination which is ur salvation.

    3. I agree with you on one thing: Religion is a personal thing—and should be kept that way. It shouldn’t be accepted across the board as “Blind Faith” for the masses.

    4. I agree with you. Religion is a personal thing. Im catholic but seldom go to church. I feel like i know more than the regular church goers. I rather seek enlightenment from God alone.

  15. Jim

    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.

    1. You speak of Jesus as if he was a real person and what ever is written in the bible were real events.

      Sorry, but it’s just a story… nothing more.

      1. Jim, you gotta do better than that if you want to be taken seriously. Arguments without proof won’t hold water in a debating environment like this.

        I’ll give you 1 proof that Jesus existed. he has a birthday coming up called Christmas. In fact you may even find yourself looking forward to celebrating it – you do realizing his title “Christ” is central to the whole season we’re celebrating don’t you?

        1. We both have our opinions, but please feel free to prove Jesus is real. On the other hand serious scientists and historian have tried hard to find out if Jesus has ever existed and the verdict says, no trace of him.

          But if you think I celebrate Christmas then you don’t really believe where I stand and what I don’t believe in. Christmas falls into that category. I would be a hypocrite if I am an atheist, but then go ahead and celebrate Christmas. I don’t. But I might celebrate “with” people, people who hold a different believe from mine.

        2. Jim, do you believe Peter, later crucified upside down, and Paul, later beheaded by Nero, actually walked the face of this earth 2000 years ago?

          If so, why? What minimum level of proof do you need to accept a person actually existed?

          Which historians are you referring to? Did they discount all the accounts of the early witnesses and all the artifacts? How about the empty tomb in Jerusalem, the shroud of Turin, and the fact that his disciples endured gruesome tortures and death to tell people this Guy actually existed?

      2. Jesus “MAY” have been real, but it’s really hard to trust whatever was written about him 400 something years after his death, no? LOL
        Also, very hard to trust politicians who decided which part of the bible to keep and what to discard and what order the books should appear.
        So the short of it, yep, fairy tales.

    2. Fock Christianity and Islam. Neither one works for the Filipino people who are hard up to validate their idealism and to justify their actions for self-servingness and arrogance by using their respective religion to fock each other up.

      1. Zaxx, you were talking about being taken seriously and then you mention the shroud of Turin, which has been proven over and over to be fake. Carbon dating by reputable Universities is not enough? Furthermore you mention a hole in the ground as proof. Are you kidding? Please tell me you are just pulling my leg.

        I can’t believe that an obviously educated person can believe such infantile nonsense. Jesus never existed. And just as Sammie mentioned in his post, not a single historian mentions the resurrection until the 3rd and 4th centuries, and after that, only Christian historians. Not a single scrap of contemporary information about Jesus exists — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.

        So please…. give us all a break. You sound like a brainwashed fanatic.

        1. Now that’s more like it Jim. Now you’re talking!

          I need to test if I’m dealing with serious atheist material here. Someone who knows what he’s talking about.

          “Christmas” being a proof is actually a joke – the date actually traces to some Pagan god’s special day. I don’t know why you didn’t call foul at the get go upon my mentioning it.

          Actually Christianity esp. Catholicism has been adulterated to an extent it’s almost unrecognizable for what it stands for.

          I did mention one thing which convinces me of the reality of Jesus as an actual historical figure – the blood of the witnesses.

          I can understand radical Islamists blowing up themselves for an unseen promised Paradise. But I just have to concede – people who are willing to die for what the saw with their eyes are the real thing.

          Now prove to me that Peter and Paul were also fairy tale characters. let’s see what you’re really made of.

        2. Nillie DeVille,

          Thanks for the link. I am now enjoying reading the comments there. They are sooooo interesting!

          Also, from Blue (on of the commenters there):
          There is no mention of any special Jesus in these items just that Pilate executed a Jesus (a popular name then) and that John wet a Jesus’ head (again I refer you to the above which is that it was a popular name). For all we know Pilate could have executed Jesus the chariot thief and John baptised Jesus the rent boy. That is how much actual proof you have for your Jesus and nothing else, everything else is circumstantial at best and not supported by any real evidence.

  16. 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.

    1. To keep myself from getting caught up in the quagmire of who is righteous, and who is not, when it comes to religion, I just look at the actions and not the religious idealism of each individiual. Preach less about humility and compassion and do more. This is why I don’t endorse religion—any religion.

  17. 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.

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

  18. 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.

    1. Toby,

      Morality did not originate from religion; it started with humanity’s need for order to keep everyone from killing each other, to re-channel man’s violent tendencies into something more constructive instead of destructive, and to create a civilization for the survival of mankind by becoming an inheent part of it.

      Religion came later to adulterate those basic morality for survival by twisting the basic rules of morality to fit the motives of its founding members.

      Give me an example of how atheists became “moral parasites.” I’m very curious.


      1. Toby,

        Morality did not originate from religion; it started with humanity’s need for order to keep everyone from killing each other, to re-channel man’s violent tendencies into something more constructive instead of destructive, and to create a civilization for the survival of mankind by becoming an inherent part of it.

        Religion came later to adulterate those basic morality for survival by twisting the basic rules of morality to fit the motives of its founding members.

        Give me an example of how atheists became “moral parasites.” I’m very curious.


  19. Toby,

    “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)


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