Obviously I don’t believe in the power of prayer. If there were a god, why on Earth would such a thing as this ever happen?
Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through Baldwin County, Alabama.
But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.
She said ‘Amen’ and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire. The 65-year-old Brown said she is blessed to be alive.
Firefighters said its likely she was hit by a bolt of lightning that apparently struck outside and traveled into the house yesterday afternoon. She was found lying on the floor by her 14-year-old granddaughter.
Fire officials think the lightning likely struck across the street from the couple’s home and traveled into the house through a water line. The lightning continued into the couple’s backyard and ripped open a small trench.
WSBTV.com – News – Woman Hit By Lightning While Praying
Many who value the separation of religion and government have sought an appropriate response to the federally-supported National Day of Prayer, an annual abuse of the constitution. Nontheistic Americans (including freethinkers, humanists, atheists, agnostics, and deists), along with many traditionally religious allies, view such government-sanctioned sectarianism as unduly exclusionary.
A consortium of leaders from within the community of reason endorsed the idea of a National Day of Reason. This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May (4 May 2006). The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason – a concept all Americans can support – and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.
Why a “National Day of Reason?”
Once again, I support a National Day of Reason to counter the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, 4 May 2006. Once again, here are a few fine points as to why a National Day of Prayer is not needed and is indeed a bad thing for all citizens:
Religious Americans who wish to pray don?t need to be reminded by government to do so, so there?s no reason to limit prayer to a single day for those who chose to practice their chosen faith in that way. Government has no business saying when or what Americans should do when and if they engage in religious practice.
Government also violates the First Amendment with the National Day of Prayer by acting to promote a certain manifestation of religion. It emphasizes only one form of religious practice, and therefore discriminates against the many others, including alms giving, social justice, fasting, peace activism and meditation.
Over recent years the National Day of Prayer has become an exclusive day within religious traditions and last year the Senate Chaplain even offered an official prayer that fit closely to the Christian tradition. As the Washington Post said in a January 31, 2003 editorial, “The problem?is official prayer, and the implausible notion that it can ever be truly ecumenical.”
I know that in the past, some have suggested exposing our children to other peoples’ religions. I can see the benefits of this, especially when our kids are young and we are there with them to explain it the way we see it. But what about sending them with their friends? Cassandra is right that those formative teen years give the child a desperate need to find a cause that is separate from their parents’. They need to belong somewhere where they will feel accepted. The ‘acceptance’ they will encounter at churches will be alluring, but deceiving, because the acceptance comes with unrealistic and manipulative conditions.
Agnostic Mom – Religious Peer Pressure On Your Teenage Child
I went to Wednesday classes at my Catholic church as a teenager for the very reason of acceptance and to be with my friends. Eventually one of the girls there became my girlfriend which continued my desire to attend. Fortunately for me they weren’t pushing an indoctrination that was irresistible. It was an odd group actually because the class leaders (or whatever they were called) and all of us “kids” were more about the fun and friendship and only really dealt with the instructional part of it all because we were supposed to. Nobody there defended the faith as a life or death matter and just sort of took it for granted as it all being true.
I learned a great deal from the class even though what I learned was the opposite of what they taught. Since they delved more into specifics of the bible, I started realizing the flaws of the whole idea and the obvious similarity to any other form of mythology I’d studied. I think people should be exposed as much as possible to their religion. It’s the people that haven’t truly read the book that believe the most in it.
When it finally came time for our Confirmation ceremony, I had to stop attending class because I couldn’t and wouldn’t go through with it. My mother brought me into the Catholic church but she knew I had the free will to walk away… and I did. I think I owe it to my children to make up their minds in the same way as long as they are the ones truly making the decision.
Do we outlaw all participation in church services and activities? Will that seem paranoid? Does that matter? Do we let them go and then talk about it with them afterwards?
After thinking about my experiences as a teen, I feel inclined to not allow it at all. But maybe I am reacting to the anger I am starting to feel at my memories.
What are your thoughts and experiences on the matter?
We let them go with people we trust and talk about it with them afterwards. If they begin to get lured into a cultish environment (Christianity does qualify as a cult in my viewpoint) then I would combat it with reason and exposure to even more conflicting varieties of religion. The most important lesson I can give them is that no human has a monopoly on the “one right path” in life and nobody has the big answers for life, not even their parents.
It wouldn’t bother me if either of my children gained a spirituality and belief in a god, as long as they do it with an open mind and the belief is truly of their own mind. If I ever thought a religious group was trying to control the mind of my children I would definitely have to counter that any way that I could. However, I do know that just forbidding certain things usually backfires with children, so outlawing religion won’t happen in my household.