Prayers are not the answer. In fact, prayers are the problem.
While some pray for Paris after the attack, the prayers of the terrorists and their supporters were answered with the attack.
The fact is, for the Islamic terrorists, and those extreme Muslims who support the terrorists, the death and destruction in Paris is an answer to their prayers, and serves as a validation of their faith.
Perhaps even more damning, those Christians and moderate Muslims who are praying for the victims of the terrorist attacks are praying to the same God, the God of Abraham, that the terrorists and their supporters worship.
The uncomfortable truth is that this God that both terrorists and non-terrorist alike beseech with their prayers is useless, or worse.
Either God helped the terrorists kill and maim hundreds of innocents; or, God watched and did nothing while the terrorists killed and maimed hundreds of innocents; or, much more probable, God simply does not exist.
Of course, the uncomfortable truth, a truth that many simply cannot accept, is that God does not exist, and prayers are futile gestures of the desperate and the confused.
For all intents and purposes, prayers are spiritual masturtbaton: they might make the person doing the praying feel a little better, but prayers do nothing to effect change in the real world.
Prayers are the consequence of irrational beliefs, and it is irrational beliefs that allow people to do irrational things, like kill and maim hundreds of innocents in the name of a God that does not exist.
Prayers are not the answer. More religion is not the answer. Religion is the problem.
If not prayer, if not religion, what are we to do?
Instead of prayer we must stand against religious extremism. To defy the terrorists we must embrace our shared humanity. We must rise above the religious superstitions that divide us. We must be honest with ourselves and our communities.
We must be willing to confront the challenge of Islamic extremism without demonizing individual Muslims, and without making excuses for the horror and terror committed in the name of Islam.
We must challenge the hypocrisy of so-called progressives who will scream about Kim Davis refusing to give a marriage license to a same-sex couple in Kentucky, but remain silent while gays and lesbians are executed in the name of Islam in the Middle East.
Whether it be Muslim extremists hating the freedom and liberalism of the West, or Christian extremists hating homosexuals in Kentucky, there’s a lot of hate that comes with following ancient and discredited dogma.
We must transcend that hate.
Bottom line: Religion divides us. We must reject religious extremism, and embrace our common humanity.
Joann Sfar, a French cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo, asks us not to pray for Paris:
Better than prayer: Pianist performs John Lennon’s Imagine after Paris attacks –https://youtu.be/MNRCTC1ElXQ