Sunday, December 1, 2013

Prayer will not help prevent calamities

By Lukoye Atwoli
Sunday Nation 01 December 2013

As we come to the end of the year and the beginning of the holiday season, we are once again confronted by the spectre of deaths on our roads, in our homes and on our streets. Road crashes have increased exponentially, and daily we are bombarded by news of yet another “grisly” collision that leaves many dead and dozens injured.

Violent crime is also on the rise, and hospitals across the country are finding that they have to develop expertise in dealing with gunshot injuries. Carjackings resulting in fatalities are now commonplace even in relatively rural hamlets. Kidnappings and muggings, often with fatal results, are also increasing in frequency.

Daily, people are killing each other for such flimsy reasons as “she touched my genitals, so I had to kill her,” as was reported recently in the press. The alleged culprit had allegedly dismembered his victim and slit open her abdomen, and stored the head in a basket.

Reports of young people engaging in gun battles over a garbage dump or some other seemingly “trivial” property have become the new “normal” news, as are incidents in which these same young people kidnap women and sexually assault them for sport.

In all our endeavours, we have degenerated into monstrous robots that seem obsessed only with “making it” in life, without regard to the welfare of those we leave behind. Our leaders in all spheres have not offered a good example, either. From political leaders facing all sorts of charges in court, to business magnates who break all possible laws with abandon, we are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Religious leaders, many of whom engage in questionable practices, are now weighing in with their usual rhetoric. “We must pray more,” they intone. They argue that we are facing the present calamities because we have displeased one deity or the other, and we must take steps to appease these beings or else face inevitable destruction.

As a result, we opt to address the madness with a healthy dose of prayer and dedication to our favourite deity, while leaving the conditions that led to the death and destruction intact. We have had religious leaders congregate at the scene of multiple road crashes to pray that a supreme being intervenes and stops the carnage. Many times these prayers are attended by senior government officials, some of them in charge of road safety. The irony of taking part in prayers meant to shift their responsibilities into the spiritual realm is often lost on them.

Similarly, after the Westgate terror attack we held national prayers attended by all top government leaders, and asked for supernatural protection against future attacks. We have since moved on and forgotten to deal with the weaknesses exposed in subsequent investigations.

Prayer does it for us. It helps us absolve ourselves and the governments we elect from all responsibility in dealing with problems. Prayer is our national disaster management and prevention plan. Prayer is our refuge, our shield against evil global and local forces that would stand in the way of our prosperity as individuals and as a nation.

Unfortunately, as long as we do not take concrete steps to deal with the threats to our safety and security, no amount of prayer will keep us safe. 

Dr Lukoye Atwoli is a consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer at Moi University’s School of Medicine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say something about this post!