28th November 2011

“Prayer is a matter for students and parents, not politicians and school officials.”

Adam Schwartz

24 Responses to “28th November 2011”

  1. archaeopteryx Says:

    I think this is OK, to a point. Perhaps this would be better – “Prayer must never be imposed on others.”

  2. NatureofReality Says:

    U.S. claims Freedom of religion which also means freedom from others religion.

    U.S. Christian Fundamentalists seem to have a problem with this concept.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Prayer is a matter for sociopaths: As the person is technically talking to nobody and thinking that they are getting answers. It is a mental disorder.

    Sociopaths like to cloak themselves in a mantel of respect. They seek careers, or pretend to have careers, in fields that people associate with good character, trustworthiness, and authority, such as law enforcement, the military and the clergy.

    Look at all the crazy things people have done in the name of religion. Of course people have often used the pretense of religious belief to magnify their own power or influence, but I think that many sociopaths are actually capable of religious/spiritual beliefs independent of the motives of trying to fit in or manipulate others.

    Example: It is stunning the extent to which Christians forgo what they know to be true, pure, and right when they get to sit across the table from a powerful and charming bishop, pastor, or seminary professor. Studies show that otherwise normal and healthy personalities will do some of the most atrocious things in their blind allegience to an official with a title.

    And then there are the sociopaths who use religion as a reason to keep bleeding their victims. Christian religions, and New Age spiritualism, embrace the concept of forgiveness. Sociopaths use this to claim that they’ve “found God” who has forgiven their transgressions, and you should too.

    Religiosity is a mental disorder. It is time to recognize this fact. Brainwashing a child to believe in things that aren’t real is criminal. It is time humanity stops this terrible crime.

  4. CaptainZero Says:

    Sinjin – I’m not sure praying qualifies as a disorder from the diagnostic manual. I know many theists that pray and I think the worst you could say is that it qualifies as self deception or wish thinking but is otherwise benign to the believer and hurts no one. Believe it or not, there are sincere believers out there that practice the better bits and try to live moral lives. Much of what you say is true but there is a pretty broad spectrum when it comes to how religion informs ones actions. Actions are what concern me.

  5. Xhim Says:

    Thanks, Capt-0. That’s gentler than I’ve often heard.
    N of R, to expect freedom of religion to mean freedom from religion is just not do-able. Any world view, if taken seriously, is going to express itself in daily life, and so it should. But unless we set up ghettos – all Moslems in this corner, all atheists in that corner, etc. – we are going to do some overlapping. I believe tolerance means to be able to stand next to some one I disagree with and allow him to express his world view without getting bent out of shape. In other words, if I pray in your presence, you are not obligated to approve, but you are equally not obligated to join in. If you express in conversation your belief that religious people are deluded dupes, I am not obligated to agree, but I am obligated to respect your right to say it.

  6. electrabotanical Says:

    I think this means that prayer should not be made an official part of a secular event, such as prayer from the podium at a public highschool graduation. It’s in very poor taste at the very least, and at worst, it is promoting a particular religion over another in a publicly funded arena (violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment) that prohibits Government from establishing a religion.

    It only seems normal and acceptable to say a Christian prayer at a (for example) Alabama highschool because of the prevalence of Christians there. Try reciting a wiccan, Pastafarian, Norse or Native American prayer and then you see how truly out-of-place such and uttering can be.

    I’m sure the babble-belt christians would object if representatives of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ramped up a campaign to reach their kids. Same thing in reverse.

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

  7. Xhim Says:

    I don’t have much of a problem with your perspective, even though I am a follower of Jesus myself. Most of those public prayers are so namby-pamby they are hardly worth the effort anyway. But there are some places (schools or workplaces, for instance) who won’t allow an individual to silently say grace over his lunch. That seems a little extreme.

  8. Dan Says:

    I’m as atheist as they come, but I don’t really see much of a problem with prayer per se. But that’s my background – growing up going to church and viewing prayer time as a respectful and communal sentiment of wishing for a better world. Jennifer Michael Hecht’s comment on this in Doubt: A History resonates with me:

    “Prayer is based on the remote possibility that someone is actually listening; but so is a lot of conversation. If the former seems far-fetcher, consider the latter: even if someone is listening to your story, and really hearing, that person will disappear from existence in the blink of a cosmic eye, so why bother to tell this perhaps illusory and possibly un-listening person something he or she is unlikely to truly understand, just before the two of you blip back out of existence? We like to talk to people who answer us, intelligently if possible, but we do talk without needing response or expecting comprehension. Sometimes, the event is the word, the act of speaking. Once we pull that apart a bit, the action of talking becomes more important than the question of whether the talking is working-because we know, going in, that the talking is not working. That said, one might as well pray.”

    Of course one can only take that so far however. Those people that actually think that an almighty benevolent being is listening jump the shark, IMO.

  9. Jeff Says:


    Tolerance is actually a little more than that, sir. In terms of speach, tolerance is to be able to defend the right of someone yelling at the top of his lungs that with which you violently disagree to yell whatever he feels is needed. But it is also to respect the fact that your belief might just be offensive to others. And in respect to the establishment clause of the first amendment, it is to understand that freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion is absolutely meaningless, something SOCOTUS has totally failed to do since it came into existence.

    Sorry to hit and run, but it’s time for me to begin a bit more of my day off, and go home from work. I’ll check back in tomorrow.

  10. electrabotanical Says:

    Xhim – Can you give an example of a place where people are expressly forbidden to individually silently say Grace?

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Cap’n in and of itself, as a singular action, sure its self deception/wishful thinking. Let’s be more specific. It is a part of, and it enables, the delusional state. A contributing factor in what makes up the disorder.

    I’m not sure any “diagnostic manual” is just one page long, or hinges upon one singular symptom. Maybe but I’m betting most have many pages and multiple symptoms.

    The point being that wrapping religiosity up in misdirecting terminology like “religious freedom” isn’t going to help people evolve socially. Sure you are entitled to your world view, sure I may not agree, and sure I’d defend your right to say it, but a religious world view is misleading. It implies that “anything” qualifies as a world view. Would a “force” world view where we teach children that Obi Wan Kenobi was a real historical figure constitute a legitimate world view? I mean since when does fiction become a world view suitable for brainwashing children into?

    Actively inflicting material that is patently false into the mind of a helpless child is bad all the time. There doesn’t become an exception when it is simply an ancient widely accepted tradition.

    It is funny how xhim weaves into this dialogue space for the guise “religious tolerance”, for inflicting mental illness on people.

    Yes we are all just rational people with differing world views. It is like the Ken Ham creationist museum which has displays the look very similar to those in natural history museums. You know where they have dinosaurs standing next to people six thousand years ago.

    Folks we are talking about teaching children to depend upon the supernatural. Lets be honest that isn’t a world view that’s nuts!

  12. Xhim Says:

    So, Sinjin, by definition yours is the only world view we can tolerate?

  13. electrabotanical Says:

    PS – even “Namby Pamby” prayers in a publicly funded event are still a violation of the establishment clause, and they are not protected. Just like lamely sexually harrasing a co-worker is still harrassment.

  14. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Religion is the Manchurian Candidate novel in real life played out upon the hapless masses of the ignorant. Brainwashed to believe that instead of Raymond Shaw saving them Jesus did. Years after the war of their childhood they begin suffereing recurring nightmares of it all being a lie. All the while they are monitored, not by Chinese and Russian intelligence oficers, but by their local clergy.

    Unraveling the mystery and finding its meaning becomes the pursuit of the faithful. These sleeper agents are subconsciously activated not by the Queen of Diamonds but by crosses, and star symbols, pick your faith.

    Obeying orders of your handler, your Mother. Governments have fallen and the will of society has been shaped and to whose ends?

  15. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim I’m saying there can be no such thing as a religious worldview. That religion in order to sneak itself into every space it can has hijacked the very meaning of “worldview”.

    Weltanschauung (worldview) is the product of political borders and common experiences of a people from a geographical region, environmental-climatic conditions, the economic resources available, socio-cultural systems, and the language family.

    In “The Question of a Weltanschauung” from his New Introductory Lectures in Psycho-Analysis, Sigmund Freud describes Weltanschauung as

    … an intellectual construction which solves all the problems of our existence uniformly on the basis of one overriding hypothesis, which, accordingly, leaves no question unanswered and in which everything that interests us finds its fixed place.

    I don’t think even the most diehard religionist would attempt to say “religion answers more questions than it leaves unanswered”. Would you?

    A world view is a very large perspective born of much more information that could ever be contained within the pages of the few religious texts that exist.

    Religion is “belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power”. Calling it a worldview is akin to saying there is a Santa Claus worldview, or a Harry Potter worldview.

    Philosophy is a funny thing and maybe you could relate it to economics where there is both microeconomics and macroeconomics. Sure microphilosophies must exist in Harry Potter for us to follow along the logic presented. Heck L.Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand developed microphilosophies for just this purpose.

    Understand we are talking about something much larger philosophically when we talk about worldviews.

  16. Xhim Says:

    Sinjin, most churches would envy the amount of organization you attribute to them. But you have evaded the question: is yours the only tolerable world view?

  17. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim no, my worldview is a work in progress. It is ever evolving. It is not the same now as it was 5 years ago or 5 years before that.

    I am today thinking quite differently from when I was young and had yet to travel the world.

    Ther can be no static, singular worldview. I haven’t evaded your question rather I dismissed it with the explanation I provided about what a worldview is and isn’t.

    Surely as you search your thoughts after reading this you realize that there is so very much more to what makes up your present view of the world than your religion.

    I mean you would have to live in a cave where shadows were projected upon a wall and thinking that this hand puppet shadow show was all that there was to life to say that the only element to your worldview was your faith in Jesus Christ.

    Admit it. Admit the town you grew up in, your personal travels, the people you have known, the subjects you have studied, books you have read, the politics you have, and all that is the totality of your experience all continously shape your worldview.

  18. Xhim Says:

    Sinjin, our worldviews are most certainly works in progress, but they all have a foundation. One speaks of a “Christian world view”, a “Naturalistic world view” etc, all with the indefinite article for that reason. So let’s try to evade the semantics: are world views grounded on the same foundation as yours the only ones to be tolerated?

  19. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim there is no foundation that is religious because the nature of worldview is not something built upon a foundation. A worldview isn’t a house it is a collection of experiences and our interpretation of those experiences.

    There isn’t a recipe where we start with flour and then add an egg.

    This temptation to usher in the word “foundation” and stand a definition on worldview upon it might sound plausible to you but that doesn’t make it so.

    You are in-character I admit, religionistas have long used this technique conversationally to hijack language with religious meaning. Words like worship, sanctuary, marriage and a whole litany of others have been hijacked by religion.

    Christians didn’t sanction marriage until the 16th century but the way they talk these days you’d think they invented the word. The words origins are Latin.

    Words have meaning and to casually dismiss the meanings to suit your reasoning is advancing a dialogue.

    When you create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition you are the straw man.

    Remember “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor is one of the Ten Commandments”. I know we are neighbors but I think we should at least be neighborly.

  20. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    “isn’t advancing a dialogue” my bad.

  21. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    “aren’t neighbors but I think we should at least” it’s late in the day for me.

  22. Xhim Says:

    So, it’s not that my world view is intolerable. It’s that I don’t have the right to even call my perspective a world view. Thanks, Sinjin!

  23. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    No you have every right to call a fish a giraffe, a car a potato, a rose a follywocker. You can call whatever ever you want by any word you want.

    It isn’t that your worldview isn’t tolerable it is that your worldview is more than you are expressing it to be.

    Were we to get to know each other we would learn things about each other. That in your case were religious things for sure, but we’d learn many other things too. It wouldn’t be all religion or ever all founded upon religion. For instance your climate preferences aren’t religious are they?

    You might learn about me that my position on the death penalty isn’t rooted in my stance as an atheist.

    You aren’t being limited by me, you have limited yourself.

    I can understand that you are a fan of the character Jesus as depicted in Christian literature. Perhaps you might understand that I am a fan of Roberto Clemente. You may even be aware that Clemente like you was a fan of the Jesus character?

    In either case my worldview isn’t a Clemente worldview or a Carolina Puerto Rico worldview, or a black person worldview, or any other extension of Clementism or Clementianity.

    If we are actually trying to get at something intellectually here they we begin where the definition begins and you entered worldview “Weltanschauung” into the discussion.

    Today’s quote was about parents and students and politicians and school officials and the place for prayer.

    I agree that politicians and school officials have no business in the matter, but for reasons different than Adam Schwartz. I think prayer is crazy and the politicians and school officials ought to steer clear of crazy religious stuff.

    If you will look at where my objection to what you were saying begins it started with “…funny how xhim weaves into this dialogue space…”.

    In the conversation you have digressed in all directions. It wasn’t about worldviews, tolerance, namby pamby public prayers, it was about church and state, children parents politicians and school officials, Adam Schwartz, and prayer.

    If you want to open it up, to get off topic, I think you are free to do so. But please don’t just aimlessly just wander about and then toss out digs when you get frustrated.

    Meanings of words and concepts change and the casual use language is going to change things. In this forum, where your experiences and interpretations aren’t known, your worldview isn’t knowable, you have to speak from references we can all relate to.

    The background Googling for meanings is part of that.

    I think religion is dangerous you think it beautiful I suppose. I see the rape and torture, the lies and outmoded thinking and see it as a threat to humanity. You see the Christ character and see this wonderful person and want to live and love as he did. This is just a small part of us though.

    We differ but we may also have similarities. We may both like cooler climates or feel they are better environments to live in for health reasons. We might both be politically progressive Republicans or staunchly conservative Democrats. We might both enjoy the outdoors, or like James Bond movies. The reasons for this may be the same, maybe we both grew up in the same area of the world?

    What is the likelihood that these similarities are founded upon a religious worldview? They are if anything founded upon your life, the sum total of your life up to now.

    And for you religion is part of that life but remember we are born atheists, we have to be indoctrinated into faith, brainwashed to believe. Where would faith be if we didn’t get em while they were young?

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