Atheist Ramblings - 3.1

From approximately October 1999

What scares me at night...

...Recently the massive resurgence of fundamentalism in the world has placed the future of freedoms quite in doubt. Whether it be muslim or xtian or any other fundamentalism, they all share one trait in common: they feel they are right and everyone else is wrong.

...In of itself, fundamentalism is no problem. People are free to believe as they want. However, most fundamentalists not only feel they are right, but those are wrong are 'against them' or worse 'against god'. They see nothing wrong with treating non-believers as second-class citizens, since after all, non-believers aren't 'in the club'.

...Fundamentalists display a marked disregard for the feelings, opinions, and rights of others, in particular those of non-believers or counter- believers. Because these people are second class, they are not deserving of the same freedoms demanded by them. The freedom for second-class people to speak is granted as long as they don't speak out against the fundamentalist. The freedom to worship is ok, as long as they worship the fundamentalist god (all others are wrong and are going to suffer for their mistakes to quote a fundamentalist pamphlet I've seen).

...So what keeps me awake at night? The fear that those fundamentalists will find their way to power, or perhaps that they already have...

Prayer in Schools

...Does prayer really help? Would it make a difference if offered in school? Perhaps we should try it? Perhaps we should learn from others who have tried it?

...Here is a prayer that was recited before every class at one time:

"Almighty God, dear heavenly Father. In Thy name now, in pious spirit, begin our instruction. Enlighten us, teach us all truth, strengthen us in all that is good, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from all evil in order that, as good human beings, we may faithfully perform our duties and thereby, in time and eternity, be made truly happy.     Amen."

...Did the prayer help? Would a similar school prayer help in America?

...These were the words of divine supplication that secondary school students were required to recite in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Did it help them? Did it teach tolerance and love? Did it promote virtue or morals? Did the culture that enforced prayer in school rise or fall?

...Think about what happened despite that prayer and think about how hollow such examples of faith are...

Source: July, August 1995 issue of Liberty: A Magazine of Religious Freedom, published by the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.