Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

The usefulness of religion

March 31, 2009

Yup. That’s about right.

Advertisements

Of lambs and prayer in schools

February 17, 2009

A chain letter made itself into my in-box a few days ago and seems to be getting around everywhere. The main text of it you can see here and scattered around the intertubes here and there. Apparently there’s even year 2000 version. To save clicking time, here it is:

Mary, had a little Lamb
Mary, had a little Lamb,
His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The Lamb was sure to go.

He followed her to school each day,
T’wasn’t even in the rule.
It made the children laugh and play,
To have The Lamb at school..

And then the rules all changed one day,
Illegal it became;
To bring The Lamb of God to school,
Or even speak His Name!

Every day got worse and worse,
And days turned into years.
Instead of hearing children laugh,
We heard gun shots and tears.

What must we do to stop the crime,
That’s in our schools today?
Let’s let The Lamb come back to school,
And teach our kids to pray!

It is said that 86% of the World’s people believe in God. Why don’t we just tell the other 14% to be quiet and sit down?

Aw. The emotional strings are tugged. Can’t we allow the Lamb back in school? Let’s examine this a tad more closely. Is the writer of the chain-mail implying that kids can only learn to pray at school? Is there some reason they can’t learn to talk to imaginary beings at home or in the church? I must also be missing the critical thinking element that shows causation between lack of school prayer and school problems. Let’s further probe the implications here.

The 86% figure of the “World’s” people believing in God looks like it was a recent addition to this chain email compared to other versions I’ve seen on the web. As was the request for us atheists to, in other words, shut up. They seem to be saying that 86% of the world’s population, being theist, will be on the side of prayer in school. ReligiousTolerance.org helps us out by breaking this down a bit further. It looks like 33% of the planet’s inhabitants claim to be Christian. In addition, we have 19.6% Muslim, 13.4% Hindu, “non-religious” at 12.7%, and we eventually get to atheists at a too small 2.5%. Lumping the big three together gets us at 66% (I’ve neglected Taoists, Buddhists, Chinese folk religions, etc. for space). Indeed, it does look as though a majority of the world’s population is still theistic in some form or another. So, to be fair, 33% of school days should be have a Christian prayer (dividing that up among the various denominations and sects, I imagine), 19.6% Muslim prayer days, and 13.4% Hindu (probably again divided up among devotees of Lakshmi, Shiva, Ganesha, Vishnu, etc.). Of course, divide up the rest of the days among the various other religions according to percentage. After all, to single out one prayer type would be government official recognition of one religion and that is unconstitutional. Perhaps it should be done by the majority of the local population? This would be a tacit and hurtful exclusion of others with minority religious beliefs. Would Christian parents be fine if their community had a large influx of Muslim immigrants so their local schools now had to do Muslim prayers? Somehow I suspect that the agenda is “freedom” of having unconstitutional school sanctioned Christian prayer.

As for the call for free thinkers and unbelievers to sit down and be quiet, that is the one thing we can no longer do. If anything, we need to become more visible. The fact that chain emails like this are being distributed, and, in fact, actually taken seriously, is reason enough.

Don’t pray for me Argentina

February 4, 2009

As I struggle to find posting time in the midst of hectic pressing schedules and all, I thought I could at least offer a few thoughts on one of the latest bits of news circulating the web. No, it’s not about Andrew Lloyd Webber. The title just seemed to flow. Rather, a nurse is facing disciplinary review for calling attention to her righteousness by praying for a patient over his understandable objections. I for one, would not want a medical professional doing magical incantations to cure me; I want them doing their job.

Look, if I am in the hospital and you want to show your concern, fluff my pillows, find something interesting on t.v. for me to watch (good luck with that one), bring in an ipod with cool tunes, or make sure my medication is in order and life signs are good. Prayer is the most useless activity you can do.

I understand that if you are a Christian friend and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can possibly do to be useful (even company is usually appreciated, so I don’t even see that as a likely situation), you may feel the delusion that prayer is at least something of use you can do. Said around me, this will simply make me sad that you persist in your delusion. So now I’ll be bed-ridden, sick, and sad. You don’t want that.

But if you are a medical professional, please stick to modern medicine. No anointing with oil, no chants, sacrificed goats, or prayers. If there is some compulsion to prayer, you will give your patient (at least this one) confidence if it is not seen and is done during a personal break.

Day of Ba’al

October 30, 2008
Prayer to Wallstreet Ba'al

Prayer to Wallstreet Ba'al

From Wonkette, we should all have some more consumer confidence now as today is the “Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies”. I’m sure it will do a lot of good at shoring up the fundamentals of our economy. Considering that the last time God’s chosen people decided to worship a metal bovine (Exodus 32), they had to drink powdered gold (is this how banks will liquidate assets?) and 3000 people were killed, I’d be worried if I were these spiritual warriors. Perhaps Christians ought to read their Bible more often. I suppose though, that would just make more atheists.