So I know, you’re looking up and going, “huh?”

It’s not a particularly funny comic but then again, it’s not supposed to be. It’s a political cartoon and as such, it’s more about sending a message. Namely this:

Don’t pray for Paris.

What happened in Paris was absolutely awful and we should all pour out every ounce of sympathy and compassion we can for the victims of the attacks. We should also show as much love and compassion as we can for the secondary victims of Paris: namely innocent Muslims and Syrian refugees that are now being turned away from safe havens out of fear, ignorance and hate.

But we should not pray for Paris. Because prayer is a bad idea. And bad ideas kill people.

Now, I’m not just saying that it’s a bad idea because I’m anti-religious. It’s a bad idea because it’s proven that it simply does not work in any way that meditation or simple distraction and positive thinking cannot. And because it doesn’t work, it’s a useless gesture that lets people feel accomplished without actually doing anything. Which is bad enough. But let’s look at that grenade I threw out there called, “bad ideas kill people.”

Timothy McVeigh was a gun loving, liberal hating veteran that committed the most significant act of domestic terrorism in American history when he bombed theĀ Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Before Waco and Ruby Ridge, two incidents that have issues of criminal and/or negligent behavior by the federal government, McVeigh hated the federal government and viewed it as tyrannical. So, rather than Waco and Ruby Ridge causing his hatred and eventual mass scale murder, they merely gave his bad idea an excuse. That resulted in the death of 168 people and injuring of 600 people (including children). So, because he had formed a misguided belief that he was living under a tyrannical government and needed to inspire a massive rebellion, innocent blood was spilled.

Charles Manson created a pseudo cult based on early Christianity, viewing himself as a reincarnated Christ set against “the Romans” (namely, any American authority). Though he was able to mostly exist on the fringes of society with this bad idea rattling around in his head, he eventually began to read messages into the Beatles’ White Album. He believed that they were telling him of a coming race war between whites and blacks where whites would be annihilated, save him and his “family”, and blacks would prosper under his rule. This warped view eventually led to the infamous Manson Family murders and the ruin of the lives of members of the Manson Family.

Which brings us back to #dontprayforparis. Prayer is a bad idea but is mostly viewed as harmless. Distrusting the government or thinking taxes are criminally high isn’t inherently harmful and many people around the world believe it. Even having a warped hippie cult isn’t going to lead to murder (as Manson lived for a few years with his crazed followers without hurting anyone; even babysitting children). But they’re all bad ideas that were allowed to grow and fester without being challenged.

Islam is a religion. And like all religions, it demands faith and adherence without evidence. This, on its own, isn’t bad as millions upon millions of Muslims are peaceful, good people just trying to live a decent life. But as we see in Paris (and Beirut, and Syria, and…) it’s still a bad idea that can be warped to awful ends because it is open to interpretation because it lacks any evidence.

So don’t pray for Paris. Don’t fight bad ideas with more bad ideas. Look at the facts. Encourage the scientific method and practical thinking. Encourage kindness and don’t let fear lead to rash decisions. Make real meaningful change in this world.

Just please. Don’t pray for Paris.