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Prayer question for the non-religious


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#11 Epistaxis

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:47 PM

There are, in fact, atheists in foxholes.

http://www.richardda...wforum.php?f=11

As to the OP, I'd never quit fighting, and if I die, I'll face the nothing that happens afterward, since it won't be difficult, warm or interminably boring.

#12 cookinwithgas

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:03 PM

Thats a cool link there - my fave:

FYI - Email sent to Bill Schaefer @ Journalnet]: Re: 'Faith Abounds in Iraq' - Kindly Forward to Capt. Unsworth.

Mr. Schaefer: It would be most appreciated if you could forward this email to Capt. Jason Unsworth.

Re "Soldiers, even those who profess to be non-believers, I think when they say that, they aren't being very critical about it,'' Unsworth said. ''Every time I ask these soldiers if it's okay to pray for you, never once have I been turned down. So whether they actually believe in the efficacy of the prayer or find comfort in the fact that I care enough to actually ask if I may say a prayer for you, they always accept. I've never been turned down.''…

Jason: Having been an atheist in submarines, I believe I can speak to your misconceptions as presented by Mr. Schaefer. There will be neither belief in the efficacy of prayer nor any comfort relating to your prayer. Just as if you had asked if they believed in the luck of rabbit’s feet (completely on par with ‘prayer’) and they answered ‘no’; if you, as a military officer persisted and asked if it was okay to chant for their safety over your rabbit’s foot, they’d likely not ‘turn you down’ here either. What purpose would that serve? You do them no harm, but to turn down a very specific request from an officer with such beliefs would not necessarily be very prudent.

While they would likely ‘accept’ your rabbit foot belief, there would be some apprehension that you - as one with some minor level of power or influence - would actually press this belief onto a non-believer of rabbit’s feet. And if they knew that you did this on a continuing basis to non-believer after non-believer, distrust would mount and you would be viewed as likely grossly intolerant and potentially dangerous.

And if this scenario took place in an environment where 90% of one’s peers not only believed in rabbit’s feet but there were known feelings of superiority and wide-spread intolerance of the rabbit’s feet believers towards non-believers, the perception of you - as a probable danger - would also suggest that you of all people not be 'turned down'. And finally, with everything from punishment of atheists to the potential or likely assassination of Pat Tillman in the background, it even boggles the mind that an officer such as yourself cannot even seem to see these as possibilities around why you “do not get turned down”, but rather, the somewhat droll answer that comes to you is that likely these non-believers may in fact believe in the efficacy of rabbit’s feet chants, or similar.

I too have been asked if someone could ‘pray’ for me on occasion. As it affects only the one praying, I hardly think that it’s for me to say ‘no, do not do that’. I may say that I’m an atheist and it’s utterly irrelevant to me, but it would seem to be rude to request that someone not do something that has no affect on me at all. But please don’t delude yourself into thinking that either politeness or prudence in the face of a clearly pushy and biased officer means anything related to belief in chanting, prayer, rabbit’s feet or mythical beings - it simply does not.

As to your bigoted: "There's truth to the saying, absolutely'', I would ask that you at least think twice. Based on your attitude towards atheists, I’d guess that you have long been viewed as suspect and your credibility as a safe, caring, impartial and tolerant human being has been severely compromised by constantly inappropriately asking people if you can chant over your rabbit’s foot (or whatever). That is, you likely don't know much about atheists.

Please also think how you’d feel if some four-star general vocally, ardently and continually wanted your and others’ permission to burn incense to Ra or the Flying Spaghetti Monster in your honor, and would never let it go despite knowing none cared one iota about Ra, the FSM or incense. I submit you’d begin to distrust said four-star for his consistent, pushy and effectively disrespectful requests; think him a fool; or perhaps both.

Please treat your atheist charges with the consideration or respect you probably treat your like-minded theists and stop pushing your ‘God’ and your rituals onto those who think of them as they do Ra and rabbit’s feet. It would get tedious very quickly, and escalate to distrust and more.

Respectfully, Brett Aubrey.



#13 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:13 PM

In times of fear, struggle and uncertainty, I don't tend to look for a mystical being to bail me or others out.

#14 Mr. Scot

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

So, for some, let's say your child is on the verge of passing, there's not a thing anyone can do for them, no hope of any sort, you still wouldn't take a chance on praying?

#15 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:46 PM

If there is no hope, how will praying to something that I don't really believe in get me anything?

I mean, really, you're trying really, really hard to prove something or get someone to respond in a certain way... desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

#16 Mr. Scot

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:51 PM

If there is no hope, how will praying to something that I don't really believe in get me anything?

I mean, really, you're trying really, really hard to prove something or get someone to respond in a certain way... desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

No, just asking.

#17 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 06:09 PM

No, just asking.


Well, it clearly seems that you're trying to prove that those who claim to be non-believers aren't truly that and that they would for some reason doubt what they believe should times get desperate enough... as your ever more serious scenarios point to- that someone who claims to not believe would throw up a "hail mary" should it be a desperate enough situation.

Am I wrong in my surmisal?

#18 rodeo

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 06:23 PM

So, for some, let's say your child is on the verge of passing, there's not a thing anyone can do for them, no hope of any sort, you still wouldn't take a chance on praying?


no.

#19 Mesmer

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 06:53 PM

So, for some, let's say your child is on the verge of passing, there's not a thing anyone can do for them, no hope of any sort, you still wouldn't take a chance on praying?


I don't see why not. It's not like it would take long. For me, I'm in the "not really sure" category. I'm not stomping around claiming there's no god, but I don't really believe in any one in particular.

Throwing out a prayer would probably be part of the "exhausting all resources" method for a scenario like that. In a life/death situation where those precious minutes could be used in saving my ass? Not a chance I'd pray.

#20 Mr. Scot

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:51 PM

Well, it clearly seems that you're trying to prove that those who claim to be non-believers aren't truly that and that they would for some reason doubt what they believe should times get desperate enough... as your ever more serious scenarios point to- that someone who claims to not believe would throw up a "hail mary" should it be a desperate enough situation.

Am I wrong in my surmisal?

How bout if I respond this way...

Do you honestly believe Zod was "just asking an honest question" when he threw out his "should he have prayed" thread?