From: email@example.com ("Timothy J. Horton")
Subject: Re: Declaring natioanl religious "days"
Date: 11 May 90 15:14:27 GMT
firstname.lastname@example.org.UUCP (Keith Jackson) expresses the sentiment that
we react to "national prayer day" because we want to impose our beliefs. That
may even be the case for some atheists, but there are much better reasons. He
goes to lengths to make the case that introspection is beneficial, with which
we all agree entirely. But a great deal of prayer is quite the opposite of
clear introspection, its anathema, and so if introspection is important why
should we endorse putting it at risk? Why is it called "prayer" day and
not "introspection" day? Very simply, because this is religious use of the
government voice, religion endorsing itself. We know very well they have the
judaic monotheistic god in mind when they call it "prayer day".
There are many of us who feel that governments have little place siding on
religious issues or involving themselves in personal matters of conscience
and intellect. I mean, what goes through your mind when you consider some
church declared a day for "Religious Tinkering In Government Day?" The
situations are not entirely unsymmetric. Nobody has to point out that
this *particular* brand of interconnection, that of dogma and state, is a
particularly dangerous one?
Nobody has to point out that there is a new naivety and superstitiousness and
dogmatism about religion, growing in the U.S., and that no society is magically
exempt from the ravages of this world, including human mania. America is only
what it is because of the intensely cautious *skepticism* that the founding
fathers brought to its construction (especially about religion and individual
intellectual independence); should it make sense to toss that to the wind?
email@example.com.UUCP (Keith Jackson) writes:
>>> National Prayer Day. Is this true? If so I hope there's LOTS of legal action
>>> being taken to remove this piece of pro-superstion legislation...
>OK, so you and others feel that religion is superstition. SO? Does having
>a prayer day do anything to you?
Seems that these people are concerned that their government endorses religion.
>Probably not. But it makes other people happy.
Why does it make them happy? Same reason it makes atheists angry. It is
not a neutral benevolent act, but a calculated position.
>So what's the problem? Do you feel it's your moral obligation to
>show others how wrong they are for believing in something.
Do you feel it's the right of the religious to borrow the voice of government
to endorse belief in magical beings?
>Sounds sorta like an evangelical fanatacism if you ask me.
>I find nothing wrong with people `having religion' as long as they don't
>impose their beliefs in a dogmatic way.
I agree, but you have fingered the wrong fanatics and forgotten who is
imposing their beliefs. Atheists and agnostics are not imposing "national
skepticism day" or "national look-out-for-cult-brainwashing day", which
would represent a number of very dear and objectively important concerns.
Atheists and agnostics are reacting to an imposition.
>Another thing about what you're arguing against: the day was named National
>Prayer Day, not National Pray to Jesus or Burn in Hell Day. It says
>nothing of any specific form of religion,
But it endorses religion, and we should know that deep down "national prayer
day" really means "christianity", don't we? It's kind of like IBM's ads
that used to talk all about how great computers were without mentioning their
own name. Why did they do them? Simple. Computers were effectively equated
with IBM, for many years.
Make no bones, it's an endorsement relion. They didn't call it "national
introspection day," or "national meditation day" (gasp -- that would
sound comparatively hindu or buddhist!!).
>but devotes itself to the introspective act of prayer.
Who says it will be introspective? You've obviously not seen many of the
forms of prayer that I've seen!!!
>Contrary to what you may think, prayer has wonderful
>psychological benefits if approached the right way.
Do its psychological benefits rest on the involvement of superstition?
>it provides mechanisms for coping with problems
Sometimes, but sometimes religions and cults induce serious problems.
I'd love to introduce you to instances of said problems that I have met.
Independant introspecion is great. But that's not identical to prayer.
In fact, it's not even a necessary ingredient of prayer. In fact, it's
often quite the opposite of prayer. Therefore my own reaction.
>Hmm, did your parents force you to go to church as a young child,
I'm not who you were talking to, but yes. And as a young adult too. And
they forced me to go to a religious school, and so forth. I was quite
earnest in my skepticism, but in practise the religious look down on that
with contempt. I think that with respect to its own dogma, the Catholic
church, to which I was born, or any fervent dogma, is as near a thing as
one can get to genuine organized evil, thank you very much. I'm not sure
I'm exgerating the case, either from my own personal experience alone,
or from the burgeoning historical evidence that is quite available to
anyone. I *fear* the religious endorsing themselves through governments.
I think my contempt is based on objective evidence.
>Yes, well the problem is that you can write all the letters you like, but
>by taking away these niceties you do nothing but offend people who take
Or perhaps I defend myself from the currently and locally dominant dogma.
I empathize with your wanting to present the other side of an issue, and that's
something I feel obliged to do myself from time to time, but I don't know that
returning one-sided venom for one-sided venom achieves anything but immediate
self-gratificiation and laying the foundations for more hatred and venom.
The people you argue with in this manner are not going to be reached this way,
they are going to be all the more repulsed.