A few weeks ago I said that I agreed with Obama's statement at a prayer breakfast regarding wrongs being committed by adherents of all religious faiths.
But a Salon article argues for a broader conclusion: no President should be attending prayer breakfasts, since this supports the ridiculousness of religion.
Check out "Faith-fueled forces of hatred: Obama's religion speech was troubling -- but not for the reasons the right alleges."
What, some might ask, could be wrong with prayer? By common definition, prayer entails someone sitting for a quiet moment and beseeching his or her Lord for intervention in matters of grave import – that it rain on the crops or souls be saved, that gays be “healed” or atheists “see the light,” and so on.
In objective terms, however, the supplicant is demanding improbable favors from an imaginary despot, and most likely doing so with lowered head and genuflections and other toadying gestures of obeisance — behavior that without faith’s halo would be classified as symptoms of mental derangement. (And all the more so if the petitioner claims to receive answers to the muttered incantations.)
This debasing ritual, fruitless and foolish though it may be, is at least usually peaceful, but in some cases (notably in certain corners of the Middle East), rioting and rampaging follow, especially on Friday afternoons, when imams may deliver sermons exciting crowds to fury and frenzy. What’s not to like?
...The best first step toward a future of light and love would be for rationalists to freely espouse their nonbelief and object to locutions that further irrationality. We might start, for example, by stating that we are not “children of God” but of the fact of evolution. (Ask any biologist if evolution is “just a theory.”)
Poverty and hunger have generally been the concomitants of the God creeds that have done so much to retard human progress. Realizing the “dignity and value of every woman, and man, and child” is impossible while cringing, cowering and murmuring superstitious gobbledygook in the hope that an invisible — let’s just say forthrightly, inexistent — being will take pity on us and toss us a scrap.
President Obama, your faith is your business. You have every right to practice it, talk of it and advocate it.
But please understand: Speaking as you did at the National Prayer Breakfast, with the eyes of the country and the world upon you, does nothing more than lend credence to faith-fueled forces of reaction, both at home and abroad. With ISIS on the rampage in Iraq and Syria, Islamist violence striking the heart of Europe, and, of course, evangelicals funding much of your political opposition in the United States, the secular, Enlightenment-era civilization from which we all, believers and nonbelievers, benefit, is under threat.
We’re on a slippery slope. To get off it, we can start by doing one thing: telling the truth.
But on the positive side, "College Students are Abandoning Religion in Record Numbers."
America’s Class of 2018 cares less about religious identity than any other group of college freshman in the last 40 years, newly released research shows.
An annual survey of college freshman found that students across the U.S. are continuing to distance themselves from religion in record numbers. “The American Freshman” study—which also tracks new students’ political leanings and attitudes, as well as their alcohol and tobacco use—shows that nearly 28 percent of those who began college in the fall of 2014 say they do not identify with any particular faith, bringing religious affiliation on campus to an all-time low.