I am certain that I am not alone when I say that it is extremely annoying to attend professional meetings, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and other public, non-religious functions, and be subjected to what feels like mini church services. I have attended more than one professional staff meeting, for example, and out of “respect” I must stand and endure lengthy sessions of prayer and praise and worship before the meeting could finally begin. For goodness sake, if I wanted to go to church, I would have no difficulty finding a place of worship in this Christian society of ours. If I am invited to attend a meeting, I expect to attend a meeting and not have to stand there and watch people engage mindlessly in their incantations and the stroking of their God’s ego. Leave that for the weekend services or Tuesday night prayer meetings.
This tradition demonstrates a total lack of respect for the varied beliefs of others and perhaps the time has come for some public discussion about it. It is disturbing, that in the year 2012, so many people are still oblivious to the fact that everyone in a room may not be Christian or even religious. I have attempted to explain that to certain individuals in the past, and of course, they are unable to see anything wrong with it because “Christianity is the only way”. Instead, they attempt to justify this inconsiderate practice by saying that no one is forcing anyone to do what they don’t want to do. But the point is, why create an environment that would make someone of a different faith, or a non believer uncomfortable in the first place? Many Christians can’t even bring themselves to read any literature that seems to contradict their beliefs and would most likely walk out of a room if a Muslim were to lead prayers and ask the members of the audience to prostrate themselves on the ground reciting “Allahu Akbar” or “Subhana rabbiyal adheem”. I could envisage the Christian callers on the radio call-in programs protesting if an atheist teacher were to seize every opportunity he could get to encourage children to reject religion as mythology and enlighten them about the evolution theory. Yet, Christians feel they have the right at all public events to totally disregard the feelings and beliefs of others.
I recently attended a graduation ceremony where a ministry official felt it necessary to spend a few minutes preaching away, quoting scriptures, and indoctrinating the graduands with statements like:
“You were specially designed by God.”
“The bible is the best inspirational book that exists.”
“You cannot succeed without God.”
It’s one thing to share such ideas with your devout congregation, but to assume that the audience before you – just because they are mainly adolescents – does not know any better is undermining their intelligence. Most biologists and those in the scientific community who matter accept as fact that human beings evolved after billions of years and that the earth, according to the bible, couldn’t possibly be only 6000 years old. This obviously sheds a whole new light on the famous creation story. In any event, how does one explain to a physically deformed, not so pretty, or mentally challenged person that he or she was “specially designed by God”? And concerning the bible – of all the beautiful, deep, life-changing books out there, saying that the bible – a confusing, hodge-podge of a book, of which more than half is totally useless, is the most inspirational book, can only be the opinion of one who has not read widely. As for not being able to succeed without God, I would love to hear an explanation for the many non believers, who are indeed happy and successful, relying on their own efforts and that of other human beings, to get the same “blessings” and achieve the same success that believers experience. As surprising as it may seem there are people who have no need for magic, nor do they need to rely on supernatural intervention in order to get through this life.
What really baffles me, however, is the apparent learned helplessness of believers. How could their self confidence and sense of self worth be so low that they cannot even hold a meeting, host a concert, write a speech, or make a simple decision without God? Even God himself must be totally irritated and embarrassed at the weak-willed nature of mortals, who are supposed to be preparing to be leaders, rulers, kings and priests in the afterlife. How does one believe that he was created in the image of God, and given the necessary talents, wisdom, and intelligence, while at the same time behave like a total handicap, relying on God to pass an exam or deliver a public speech? Would your proverbial God have gone through all that trouble to murder his own son for your sake if he was not cognizant of your immense worth and value? Have some confidence in yourselves and in your “God-given” abilities, oh children of the king.