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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

A curious believer has sent me an email with some questions in it. She is sincere in her questions and I have taken a stab below at answering her honestly. Her questions are broad though and I do not want to speak for all Atheists so in the interest of fairness I will post her questions and my answers here so others may comment as well.

We will call our writer Kelly. Kelly writes the following:

I am a Christian but I feel very uncomfortable “evangelizing” to people. I cringe when fellow Christians tell me they’ve brought people to Christ. I believe that the omnipotent and omnipresent Lord sort of has control over that situation. For them to take credit for someone else’s conversion kind of makes me chuckle. However, I am equally disturbed by atheists who feel the need, as you say, to evangelize their unbelief. Also, I’m of the belief that if you start a conversation with me about religion then I get to participate. Unfortunately, I’ve had the bad experience of being told that I shouldn’t push my religion on them. Huh??…….

My experience with atheists and agnostics has been negative.

Truth be told, I can accept that you don’t believe in God. I just wanted to be accepted for believing in God. Why must I be considered stupid, naive or at worst an extremist? Isn’t this a form of prejudice/discrimination? Not every Christian is a screaming, judgmental evangelist who beats unbelievers with a Bible. Conversely, not every atheist is a screaming, belligerent college student with a superiority complex.

No doubt, religious and political beliefs are often passionate and deeply held convictions based upon each individual experience.

These are some questions I have:

Do atheists feel a need to disprove the validity of Christianity?

What do you care what Christians believe about your afterlife? You don’t believe it. Isn’t that all that matters?

If a majority of Americans claim that they are Christian or of some other religion then why shouldn’t we have a National Day of Prayer?

Has anyone been arrested or persecuted for not praying recently?

Why are atheist offended by “The National Day of Prayer”, “In God We Trust” National Monuments with the “Ten Commandments?”

**These are sincere attempts on my part to understand. I’m not being sarcastic. I look forward to your response.

Here is my response:

First of all allow me to say that I do not speak on behalf of all Atheists, I can speak for myself only, I will allow other Atheists to speak to their approach.

Do atheists feel a need to disprove the validity of Christianity?

Only insomuch as the validity of Christianity is used as the basis for judgment against Atheists. Not just Atheists might I add but all other non-Christian religions. I do not care what you believe or do not believe. I don’t care if you serve a Chihuahua in a tuxedo, a Unicorn, or an omnipotent being. Your beliefs are yours and yours alone and you have every right to have them. I write about Christianity because it the single greatest controlling factor in the nation in which I live.

What do you care what Christians believe about your afterlife? You don’t believe it. Isn’t that all that matters?

I don’t care what Christians believe about my afterlife provided they keep their opinion to themselves. I do care when their opinion causes my every day life to be disrupted. It matters.

If a majority of Americans claim that they are Christian or of some other religion then why shoudn’t we have a National Day of Prayer?

If a majority of Americans want a day of prayer they should have at it. They should work amongst themselves and organize the event. Just like Gay pride day, or fathers rights rallies, or the truckers organizing events in DC. I am 100% in favor of your right to pray. What I am not in favor of is a government sponsored event advocating any religious belief. This is not rocket science, The United states government is a representative of ALL people. What if the government had a national White skin day? It is true to say that the majority of Americans are white skinned, would that be OK?

Has anyone been arrested or persecuted for not praying recently?

Arrested? Not that I am aware of at least not in America, persecuted? ABSOLUTELY! Atheism has been demonized (sorry but I can’t come up with a better word). Open Atheists have many challenges with believers including challenges at work and other social and economic challenges. This is the reason that so many Atheist blogs and writers do so under assumed names. We are forced to protect our identities. Many of these blogs receive violent, threatening emails on a regular basis. The big name Athiests – Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and the like receive regular threats against their lives, why? Becuase they don’t believe in God and have the courage to say so in public.

I appreciate that you threw in “Recently” because this illustrates that you are at least somewhat familiar with your religious history and the massacre of so many in the name of so little.

Why are atheist offended by “The National Day of Prayer”, “In God We Trust” National Monuments with the “Ten Commandments?”

Again these slogans and activities are not the role of the federal government of the United States. If these slogans were concerning the superiority of Men, or the superiority of a particular race their meaning becomes different to you this is how I view the meaning of these slogans and activities.

I hope that helps you understand a little bit better. Further reading on my blog on this subject can be found in the links below.

You ask me why I care
Do Unbelievers Evangelize?

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I got hooked on a band named XTC in 1989 when they realeased their album entitled Oranges and Lemons.  A few years later Purchased the album Skylarking and discovered Dear God.  The song rang true with my soul and in that time of decision making was a comfort to me.  If you haven’t heard it (which I find unlikely) I hope you enjoy it.  If you have I hope you enjoy it again.

Frankly I don’t think it can be said for me much better than they have said it here.

~AP~

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While I am not a religious person and I find religion to be the “beast” of our world there are three things about religion that I relish in.

First the art, from the chaotic drawings in Dante’s inferno to the stained glass windows of the Cathedrals to the wondrous paintings in the Sistine chapel. Religion has provided some of the most amazing art ever created. To Dawkins point, would we have the same works of wonder if the times they were created under were had different beliefs? Perhaps, perhaps not, either way they are amazing to look at, I am grateful that they exist.

Secondly the music, since I was a small boy I have learned and loved the old hymns, from “I’ll fly away” to “Amazing Grace” , Catholic monk chants and the prayers of Islam. Being raised in an evangelical church the songs were usually upbeat with bass sections that I would enjoy listening to my father sing. As I got older and distanced myself from my religion the words lost their meaning but oh how I still love to hear the old songs. You will often catch me singing an old hymn and if you know me you will initially be confused.

Lastly I find the rituals of the Jewish, Muslim and Catholic Churches intriguing. The pomp and circumstance can be trying but when you combine the mythology of the religion with the rituals it can be quite a beautiful thing. Of course some the rituals are horrible and some are down right brutal but some are quite beautiful.

Shame that an institution (religion) that has so much beauty is so ugly at its heart.

The wonderful thing about being an Atheist is the ability to find beauty in all things. The Christians have a saying that goes like this: Hate the sin, love the sinner. For me I hate the message of religion but there are many things about the underlying culture that I find pleasing.

This is a very beautiful Islamic song I found. It is in English and Arabic but I also enjoy many traditional Islamic songs as well. If you can distance yourself from the religious aspects and the goal of endoctrinating children and settle into the ebb and flow of the song you may find it quite pleasing. It is sung by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), granted not your typical Muslim, or maybe he is. This is off a children’s album he dedicated to his daughter.

Do you find beauty in religious things?  If you are a religious person do you find beauty in other religions?

~AP~

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May 7th is the “National Day of Prayer” This is the time when Christians throughout the nation dedicate a day to prayer. The day was signed in to law by President Truman in 1952.

In a nation as diverse as the US you would think that something as single minded as the National Day of Prayer might loose sponsorship from the government.

Strictly speaking the day would not include Catholics, Mormonism, Judaism, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhism, Baha’I Faith, Coadaism, Cao Dai, Druidism, Confucianism, Druse, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, Jainism, Santeria, Scientology, Shintoism, Taoism, Unitarianism, Vondu, Zoroastrianism, and of course Atheists.

The US government sponsored day, is a law supporting the following values:

In accordance with Biblical truth, the National Day of Prayer Task Force seeks to:

  • Foster unity within the Christian Church
  • Protect America’s Constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely.
  • Publicize and preserve America’s Christian heritage
  • Encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions
  • Respect all people, regardless of denomination or creed
  • Be wise stewards of God’s resources and provision
  • Glorify the Lord in word and deed

The case can be made that since the major faiths in America are Protestant and the protestant religions believe that Catholics are hell bound, because they pray to the saints and of course the virgin Mary as well as other key theological differences, that the intent of this day excludes Catholics.  In addition it would certainly exclude Mormons who did the ultimate no-no of adding on to the bible. 

According to ReligiousTolerance.com protestant America is represented by roughly 52% of the US population.
 
This day then is designed by a slight majority to pray against the other 48% of the population.  Have no delusion about this.  They are praying against everyone else.  I don’t care if they pray, pray away, it is not as if your prayer will actually accomplish something.  What I do care about though is the mentality behind the prayer, the propagation at a national level that the Christian is superior in thought, mind and deed to the other 48% of the population, the propagation at a Government level that the Christian agenda is deserving of national recognition. 

 Lets review what we are recognizing with this day

  • A religion that refutes evolution, which would force evolution out of the school system in favor of a 6,000 year old planet.
  • A religion that would force our children to pray to their God in schools
  • A religion that would completely outlaw all alternative lifestyles
  • A religion that would encourage the beating of children for wrong doing
  • A religion that stifles all creativity and wonder by explaining all unknowns as God did it
  • A religion that would remove alcohol from our nation
  • A religion that would remove a woman’s right to choose
  • A religion that supported slavery
  • A religion that supported the denial of a woman’s right to vote
  • A religion that is responsible for the continuation of minority rights struggles
  • A religion that encourages prayer over action
  • A religion that……………………………….

 
Need I go on? The Christian will say “If you don’t want to pray then don’t pray, why are you making such a big deal about it?”

I am making a big deal about it because it is a federal law that this day must be observed on the first Thursday of May.  This is not a conglomerate of churches saying “Hey, lets get together and pray on Thursday” it is a federally sponsered day, supporting an agenda that is completely ludicrous. That is why I am making a big deal about it and why you should make a big deal about it too.

~AP~

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These TV ads are ruining my late night TV experience. I absolutely loathe the guy who narrarates the ad and the product is so stupid I can’t imagine who would buy it. Other than maybe Catholic priests looking for and excuse to stick thier face in a 14 year bosom to “read the prayer”.

I looked it up on the web today and found that it produced by a company called Idea Village Products. Imagine my delight when I find that the Prayer Cross is made by the same guys who brought us these other ridiculous quality products.

Wrap Arounds

Purse Bright

The Clever Clasp

And many others……

I just needed to vent a bit you may now continue viewing more pertinent material below 🙂

~AP~

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