Let us pray

Newsday Editorial
January 29, 2014 – newsday.co.tt

BibleWe fully support the current National Week of Prayer, as a potential tool against crime and other social ills, launched last Sunday by the Inter Religious Organisation (IRO) and Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration.

We respect this nation’s diversity of beliefs including the right of a citizen to disbelieve, but we think the country at this socially-fragile time has more to gain than to lose through collective religious practices such as this Week of Prayer.

Yes, the abuse of religion can lead to ethnic strife, sexual abuse and financial scandal, and no-one must mindlessly surrender their faculties of reasoning to any false messiah, but religion can play a key role in social cohesion.

This country’s rampant crime is largely the result of a social breakdown.

Some persons chase wealth by dangling harmful things such as illicit drugs in front of socially vulnerable persons such as fatherless young men who then become the everyday “face” of the country’s problem of violent crime, both as perpetrators and victims. Sadly, certain imported fare of violent movies and video-games, antisocial music, pornography, aspects of the mass media and certain online activities including a misuse of social networking sites, adds fuel to the fires of our social breakdown.

How do you urge a youngster to wait until marriage before having sex, when online pornography at the click of a mouse is showing imagery of instant gratification? How does one talk about neighbourly love and tolerance for all when certain video-games have scenes that encourage youngsters to shoot and beat random strangers on a city street? How do you espouse a scriptural injunction to not covet your neighbour’s property when mass media advertising can instill such cravings in their viewers/readers?

Amid such a tumult of varying values, religion can play a key role in helping establish some consensus and common ground by which we should all live. For a society to endure, we need a core of common values by which we can all live our lifestyles to the collective benefit of all persons.

That is probably the first role of religion, and one that should be espoused in the Week of Prayer. IRO head, Harrypersad Maharaj, launched the Prayer Week by urging listeners to carefully reflect on five key areas of their daily lives — their food, money, time, environment and social circle. While a society grows through its diversity of thought, it also needs a common core of values practised by individual persons in order for it to be a stable collective. Maybe the “Leviathan” that English philosopher Thomas Hobbes once said must stabilise an era when life is “nasty, brutish, and short”, is not a dictator but could be an ideology or even religion?

So religion can establish a list of common values for individuals to live by and so establish a practical self-discipline in each of their lives (such as not having children until they are in a socio-economically stable situation), and in doing so project onto the society a feeling of common empathy.

Secondly, praying can actually be quite therapeutic for the individual. To us it’s no coincidence that many schooldays start with a prayer, likely as a way of settling down and setting up the children positively for the rest of the day.

Thirdly, many faiths teach that prayer can actually lead to divine intervention to avert disasters or to improve conditions in their daily lives. One scriptural verse (2 Chronicles 7:14) portrays a God urging Mankind to turn from its wicked ways, upon which their sin would be forgiven and their land would be divinely healed.

While no editorial can either prove or disprove the occurrence of any act of the divine/supernatural as being effected by prayer, nonetheless we think that if enough people humble themselves, get their lives in order, and are seen to be doing so by the larger society, this in itself can be a hugely positive influence on this society, even apart from any actual divine influence that might directly materialise. We also endorse the call of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, for citizens to seek God in times of trouble by praying in whatever way they know.

Source: www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,189905.html

7 thoughts on “Let us pray”

  1. That is why we elected a government? You think it’s ok for them to now join the IRO and call on the nation to pray to solve crime?

  2. your name is watchman but ya eh “watching” OR ya watching but you ent ‘seeing’ nothing … .This magnitude and grusome degree of unexplained crimes and murders requires more than the government. If you elect the ‘government’ and them alone to solve crime then ya dead ..buy ya coffin. Even kamala has come to terms and admitted that we need help from a higher source. That does not mean the government does not have to do their part it means PRAY will help a long ! long ! way. Ya see watchman if you are a true believer then you will know that ‘PRAY’ can stop a person from committing a crime but ONLY if that person knows how to ‘PRAY”.This will only make sense if you believe in a Higher Auhtority…much ..much .. much … Higher Authority…

    1. Thanks for putting “watchman” in his place. It never cease to amaze me how easy they are to criticize the PM. The event was organized by the IRO along with the minister from Arima. He felt with the crime wave that it was important to have an event of this nature. The PM gave a good address reminding them that they can talk to God in their own way, even if they don’t feel his presence, and essentially that is the nature of prayer, talking to God every day.

      The criminals are weak people who do not have the spiritual strength to resist the temptations place before them by the devil. Therefore they engage in criminal activities controlled by evil forces. To break those evil forces hold on these youths it would take praying people appealing to God for his strength to destroy the works of evil in their lives.

  3. One can hardly argue with this editorial. It speaks to our values, religious beliefs, respect for each other and development values towards national pride. Some contributors use any and every opportunity to make any discussion a either an assault on their political beliefs or the support or lack thereof of political leaders. ‘Prayer’ is a very personal thing, it should not be confused with how we feel about our government or political entity, it should not be confused with our ethnic affiliations or practices. It is one’s connection with one’s conversation with his God or Infinite ruler. We pray for our health, well being, our family, our community, our leaders, our country and for things material and immaterial. We pray for a safe environment and hope for our life conditions to improve our existence on earth. We pray in times of uncertainty and strife and for our loved ones to be safe from danger and uncertainty. We congregate and use our dictum through prayers to gain the satisfaction we seek. No where in this process by practice or constitution is there promulgation to authorize government to interfere with one’s communication with his GOD. Any such interference runs contrary to our god-given rights. We are free to use that process in support of our government but the reverse is not true or sanctioned by beliefs or custom. CRIME is the product or our behavior and practice. It is a reflection of our justice system, it is a reflection of our wealth distribution and how we view each other. There is commonality of beliefs in this country that the very mention of the word ‘crime’ defines our view of what a criminal looks like and no where in that connotation describes the criminal as a businessman, priest, clergy, police, teacher, public servant, maintenance worker, tradesman or gainfully employed people. The media is replete with descriptions of the criminal based on where they live, their financial status, their status of employment, their lack of education and bad behavioral traits. The AG is seen everywhere on TV and he has definite views on who the criminals are. Nowhere in his conversations has he expressed the view that criminals does not come from the depressed areas of the ‘PNM’ or the lesser considered peoples of this wonderful country. While he views the criminal as those who impose physical acts of violence on us, he does not similarly view the shipping of guns to those same people and supplying them with drugs with the same degree of criminality.

  4. That is why those who harbor the primitive traits of racial prejudice and now extol prayers as a solution to crime are appendages of the devil’s tool box. They represent the synagogue of Satan, devils who walk among us and contaminate our existence with the evil that is like a concrete anchor that binds their racist thoughts to their psyche.

    We have always been a people who have exhibited the closest parallels to spiritual Christianity. The doctrine of religions are practiced based on inverse proportional interpretation, and the AG, the PM and their cheering acolytes are reservoirs of these types of interpretations. But every long road will come to an end, and I pray that this Caribbean region in which our ancestors slaved and bled and sacrificed will soon find release from the evil that seem to have creeped surreptitiously upon us.

  5. Religion and politics are inseparable so said Mahatma Gandhi with concurrence from Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. There is history to show the Rev.Ian Paisley leader of the Protestants in N.Ireland, Bishop Makarios in Cyprus as well as some of the African leaders Bishop Muzorewa, Rev. Sithole and Desmond Tutu to name a few have been very much involved in politics. The Americans have shown distinction between spirituality which tends to be always associated with good and religion where all the negatives tend to be dumped into. For example, history is replete with religion being used as an instrument by the Capitalists in the exploitation of third world countries, the genesis of communism. Some people tend to forget that they should not throw stones when they are living in glass houses and yes there are many amongst us who are wolves in sheep clothing. They must mirror the all together suffrage experienced by indentured labour as well in the development of our country. Keep in mind many of the thieves can be found in temples, mosques and churches in this and every land.

Comments are closed.