And Who Prays?

Column by Connor Jaschen, Features Editor

Growing up in the Bible Belt, you see a lot about religion and most of it is pretty singular in regards to denominations.

So, while I am not particularly religious, the ideas of some higher power have been ever-present in my life, from what I’m interested in to what I dedicate myself to. When I write creatively, religion is almost always an ever-present theme coursing through whatever I set my mind to.

How could it not be? The belief in something greater than oneself has been around as long as the human race, whether it be God or the power of nature itself.

The quote for the week is from Mark Twain, from his autobiography. He writes:

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in 18 centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”

Of course, Twain is talking about religion here, seemingly here to criticize the whole practice.

I am not here to do that.

Instead, I hope only to read the quote at face value, regardless of what Twain was trying to get at originally.

This quote is powerful.

Being intelligent human beings allows us the ability to do both great and terrible things. From acts of love to acts of sheer evil, they are all in the spectrum of human thought, of human emotion and the history of the human race.

But this quote reminds us not only of the bad, but also the innate ability for us to have hope, even in the darkest of situations, and even for the darkest of souls.

Now, the whole praying for Satan thing doesn’t literally hit home for me, due to my ambivalence towards the subject, but the theme of seeing light in the darkness is an optimistic one at least, even for people like myself.

At the end of the day, we are all human. For better or worse, we all have the same innate abilities to do harm as well as to do good. To believe yourself above the sins someone else has committed is arrogant.

They are human, too. They may have chosen incorrectly.

Take a good look at yourself. You have all the potential in the world to be good. With that comes the responsibility to make conscious decisions about your actions, based not solely on the repercussions, but what it means for the world.

There is enough evil in the world. If you have the ability to become the antithesis to that, why wouldn’t you?

At the end of the day, we are all just human. Don’t forget that when you are looking at someone you don’t agree with.

All a prayer is, is hope. So, when you are told to pray for the sinner, it is just being told to look at both them and yourself, and remember everyone has a chance.