By Dave Schechter, CNN
(CNN) - Republican presidential contender Rick Perry recently urged social conservatives to pray for President Barack Obama.
“As I campaign for president, I not only ask you for your vote and your support, I ask for your prayers. I ask you to pray for our country. I ask you to pray for our president to give him wisdom, to open his eyes,” the Texas Governor told an audience in Florida last month.
Doing just that is the stated mission of the Presidential Prayer Team.
Conceived in November 2000 in an adult Sunday school class in Scottsdale, Arizona, the PPT – or “The Prayer Team,” as it calls itself – takes its charge from the words of the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
“We believe prayer is the most important power in this entire world,” PPT president Jim Bolthouse tells CNN. The idea is simple: prayer moves God and God moves the leaders.
PPT members are charged to pray for their leaders, even if they don’t care for the individual or disagree with their policies. “We don’t necessarily agree with everything our President is doing, but that doesn’t stop us from praying for our President. That is a mandate,” Bolthouse says.
The PPT is a Christian enterprise. Prayers are offered “in Jesus’ name,” but Bolthouse notes that calls to pray for leaders can be found in the Old and New Testaments. Because of the range of beliefs within Christianity, the PPT tries to avoid denominational conflicts.
The original goal was to persuade one percent of the American population (at the time, roughly 2.8 million people) to pray for the president. The campaign was set to launch in November 2001 but the date was pushed up after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In March 2009 the PPT claimed 1.7 million members worldwide.
Today, 3.7 million people “have been served,” according to Bolthouse, a veteran of the computer industry, who played a key role in setting up the PPT’s technical operation at the beginning and became its president (a part-time position) in March 2010.
The $30,000 a month it costs to finance the PPT comes from individual donations. There is no charge to be a member; in fact, fewer than 1 percent of PPT members make a financial contribution, though there are 1,000-2,000 people who donate on average $45-55 monthly, Bolthouse says. These donors, he says, are people who “see the value in what prayer means for our country.” Finances are among the subjects discussed when the small staff gathers for its regular Monday morning prayers.
Most of the communication with members is by e-mail. A daily devotional is sent to some 38,000 members who have signed up for that service. The major weekly e-mail, covering a variety of topics, goes to about 580,000 people. E-mails include suggestions on topics worthy of prayer, “as the Lord moves you,” Bolthouse says.
Since its founding, the PPT has expanded its scope with prayers for Cabinet secretaries, congressional leaders, Supreme Court justices, the U.S. armed forces and even the first lady, Michele Obama. Suggestions are made for prayers on topics in the news, including the economy, relations between Israel and the Palestinians and the health care reform law advocated by the Obama administration.
“We’re taking a much more far-reaching stand in praying for our country, beyond just praying for our President,” Bolthouse says.
The PPT can be timely in its call for prayers. The January shootings in Tucson, Arizona, in which six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of 19 people wounded, happened just eight miles from PPT’s offices. Bolthouse says that the website began offering prayers – not only for those shot, but also for the emergency response and medical personnel involved – within 30 minutes of the incident, even before much of the news media had reported the news.
As for President Obama, Bolthouse says that it has taken effort to convince some PPT members that it is proper to pray for the current president, given their opposition to his policies, some of which he says are “in conflict with biblical principles.” Gay rights and abortion are two such issues, Bolthouse says, explaining, “These are not gray areas in the Scriptures,” he says.
PPT members are “asking God more for his divine intervention in Mr. Obama’s life than in Mr. Bush’s,” Bolthouse says, referring to President George W. Bush.
Bolthouse admits to being personally “cautious” when it comes to the President’s own assertions that he is a Christian, but Scriptures he says, counsel against passing judgment.
President Obama discussed the role of prayer in public policy debates when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2010.
“Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary,” he said. “But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith, and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle – and I assure you I’m praying a lot these days – prayer can also do something else. It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of are children of a awesome and loving God.”
Obama has reaffirmed his Christian faith many times, including in a January 2008 interview with Christianity Today.“I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian,” he said. “I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful.
A poll conducted in July-August 2010 for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press offered evidence of the public confusion about the President’s religion. In the survey of more than 3,000 adult Americans, 18 percent identified the President as a Muslim, up from 11 percent in March 2009. About one-third (34 percent) said he is a Christian, down from 48 percent the year earlier. Forty-three percent said they did not know.
As for those who would like to succeed President Obama in the Oval Office, when the PPT website posted a column about the Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, the comments that followed included discussion – and warnings – about the degree to which individual candidates are worthy of being called Christian. That Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons is just one aspect of that debate.
The PPT website features a prayer wall on which participants offer prayers on a variety of subjects, sometimes on topics known to spark arguments and debate, such as same-sex marriage and the military’s recently-rescinded “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” regulations. There also is a page dedicated to “Morality in America.”
And coming in November from the PPT, one year before the 2012 elections, will be “Pray the Vote,” a project to provide to prayers for candidates at all levels, from the office of President to state legislators. The site will analyze where candidates stand on 10 “value points” identified by PPT members as being of particular interest.
I pray daily for all those in high places which do exercise authority and dominion over the masses, perhaps not as they would like, but for me, it is what is needed for their sake.
I pray that God would give them repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth, that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil; and I also pray that God would give His grace and mercy to them, and keep them from the evil, and keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, because they are daily in a great strait of manifold temptations.
"snare of the devil" haha, so the creator of this vast universe, billions of years old has an arch enemy who he fights over for the ghosts of pink monkeys living on a spec of a rock spinning through space. right
Spottswoode: From what I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.N.C.E has gathered, it would be 9/11 times 100.
Gary Johnston: 9/11 times a hundred? Jesus, that's...
Spottswoode: Yes, 91,100.
Chris: Basically, all the worst parts of the bible.
You have no soul (all you are is within your brain) and only a few thousand more days of existence before you come to an end. Arguing what is greater then our universe with no evidence is a moot point. Enjoy your life and those around you before it is forever lost. Do what you can to better our species success into the future, that is all you have in terms of immortality.
It's very funny to me that PPT was more active for President Bush, who claimed divine inspiration for his actions. Those actions which turned out to be very destructive to our country. And now they hesitate to pray for President Obama. Is it because they disagree with his public policy? If so, they need to re-evaluate their own faith and question whether it is even valid. If they are unable to pray for someone they don't agree with, what's the point in the first place. They should be praying for personal enlightenment instead.
It's insulting and undermining of Christianity to assume that President Obama is lying about his Christian faith. What a brood of vipers. Case in point why I don't attend church anymore–I can't stand the hypocrisy. He's a self-affirmed Christian. If you choose to disbelieve his own testimony, how about you're own testimony? What does anybody's mean if we are unwilling to believe one another?
@sassysaint 11:45 post. You are very correct, God isn't going to work that miracle any more than Jesus would work a miracle for the accusing preists at that farce of a court trial. If Jesus had chosen to work a miracle at their request at that time, they, the preists, would have found some reason to turn it against Him. The same with the atheists of today. They would only seek to find a way to exlpain away the miricle of why the paper did not react as expected. When atheists can't explain something that is a miracle, it is just called a fluke, anything not to give God the credit. I f they were sincerely looking for a sign, then perhaps God would perform a miracle; that has happened, and lives were changed. Ask ex-gang member Ron Halverson, it was a miracle that changed his life.
People looking for a sign will typically find one. However an atheist would not reject REAL evidence. Are you saying your god is not capable of creating evidence sufficient to convince a skeptic? Seems like a pretty pathetic god if that is the case.
Atheism is not a belief so it would be quite easily discarded if given reasonable proof of a god's existence. The fact that you have a low threshold of "proof" does not mean anyone else should believe in magic just because it "feels" right or whatever.
@Markin, what purpose would there be for God to show Himself? If this life (as some religions suggest) is a time for us to show our "true character," then concealing himself (or revealing himself subjectively, would make more sense.
Think of it like this. There is a man who hires a bunch of employees. After a while, he decides he wants to reward the honest and hard-working employees. If he stands over their shoulders watching them, none of the employees will really show who's honest and hard-working of their own accord. Right?
what "miracle" may I ask, has your god performed?
Question. What is the purpose of creating imperfect creatures to then test? Why even "wait" for the results? By most accounts he already knows what we will do in this life. He even knew before he created us. Why not just send us straight to heaven or Hell instead of mucking about with this little pageant show on earth?
It really does sound like such nonsense.
"There is a man who hires a bunch of employees. After a while, he decides he wants to reward the honest and hard-working employees. If he stands over their shoulders watching them, none of the employees will really show who's honest and hard-working of their own accord. Right?"
You realize that people can be deceptive in the hard work they are supposedly doing. As for honest one of the biggest issues facing companies right now is the internet and people surfing the web at work. The average employee spends 2 hours of company time surfing the web when they should be working – that is stealing. Not to mention how many people take office supplies home from work. LOL!
I thought that might come up ;) God didn't "create evil." Let me ask you something, can you "create darkness," or "create cold." NO! They are an absence, not a substance. Evil is the absence of good. God had to allow good. Because if "goodness" is forced, it's no longer "good." One of the key aspects of "good" is that it has to be chosen over its absence.
I'm still trying to figure out the point in this whole exercise in the first place. Are we simply toys created to amuse an infinite mind? He winds us up and we wander about randomly and the ones that fall off the table
Oops my post fell off the table.....
....If we fall off the table we fall into a pit of eternal damnation.
You want my feeling? I'm a Deist... I think the goal is eternal progression. What God has, he wants for us... he's teaching us how to be like Him... And we will do the same.... A Cycle of creation. That's my personal beliefs though.
"God didn't "create evil." Let me ask you something, can you "create darkness," or "create cold." "
Yes I can but can you?
Sometimes we fail to learn and grow, and so we try again... Eternal damnation isn't "God's punishment," it's our own cyclical foolishness being repeated because we refuse to learn. Anyone can change, and break that cycle.
No you can't create darkness. You can remove light. You can't "add cold" to something, but only remove heat.
"No you can't create darkness. You can remove light. You can't "add cold" to something, but only remove heat."
Ahh....you fell for it, nice. My definition of darkness and cold are different from yours. ;-)
LOL fair enough... but do you get my point?
"LOL fair enough... but do you get my point?"
Sort of but do you get mine?
Oh certainly. However, the ultimate question is always "How can a good God can 'create' Evil?" And I was just trying to give you my answer to that question. That God didn't "create" evil, he allows us to choose it. Can God be omni-benevolent, and still allow evil? I was trying to show that He can. It's how you look at it.
"hat God didn't "create" evil, he allows us to choose it.'
But according to your myth what created the evil for them to choose? Who created the serpent, the angel that fell? ;-)
The serpent fell of his own accord. God didn't make him do anything. God created them, and gave them freedom... this is what I'm trying to say. God created us, and gave us freedom to choose Virtue over its absence, evil. If we didn't have freedom... or if there weren't an opposition to Good, what then is good? Good must be chosen in order to BE good. For that matter, I suppose God didn't really "create" good either. They are eternal principles. God abides by the eternal principle of Virtue, and encourages us to do the same.
What a brilliant idea! We can all just sit around on our obese hind-ends sending mystic mind messages to that cosmic puppet master in the sky and we will never actually have to actively DO anything because it's all going to turn out when our mystic wishes are magically answered. Now _this_ is _genius_...more time for Dancing With the Stars and other such fantastic mind numbing nonsense...
To all the bible thumpers out their why is it that when people don't agree with you we are the devil or lost souls,let me give you some in sight most wars in this world are caused by idiots like you. Your hatred of other religions and you disrespect for other people that don't share your same views .You hide behind the bible to justify yourself interpreting passages to the uneducated that don't understand the true meaning if any of what is said.Religion was never meant to be used as a tool for conflict but it always seams that the people who hate the most are always the ones who preach it and the innocent are the ones who pay the price.
Actually I think your a bit mistaken. Most wars in history were almost entirely political. (Over land, resources, population, or culture conflict.) Religion is just one aspect of culture conflict. And while I agree, that Christians and Muslims could stand to be more tolerant, it doesn't excuse the pendulum swinging the other way. Atheist fanatics insult and deride religionists too. It's not a one way street.
(Do you think it's fair if I were to say: "Atheists in during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia slaughtered thousands of Buddhist monks, and several tens of thousands more Buddhist pract-itioners therefore all atheists are wrong!" No, it's not fair, is it?)
As an atheist I think other atheists are being rather inane when they complain about someone praying. You already deon't believe in god, therefore you should already comprehend that when someone prays it's a kind of meditation, or wishful thinking, or giving thanks. Of all the things there are to protest when it comes to theistic idolatry, this one should a total non-issue.
Prayer is an excuse. When something is needed, be it justice, or any other cause, it requires concrete action.
I assure you if the poor are led to believe prayer will help, they will stay poor.
Fake science harms anyone who wants a better world for their kids.
Justice shall ONLY come from man, and those who expect a supernatural justice damn those in the REAL word to thecontinued REAL injustices they are subjected to every day.
As an atheist, it frustrates and saddens me that so many people sit around hoping for something to happen instead of actually making something happen.
The meditation part I totally get.
CULTISTS HERE, I HAVE CULTISTS HERE! SAVE ONE SOUL GET ANOTHER FREE! CULTISTS HERE, I HAVE CULTISTS HERE!
CLIMB THE STEPS OF YOUR FAITH NOW, SIT WITH YOUR FATHER, LORD AND SAVIOR BY SIMPLY PRESSING 999 NOW!
SOULS NEED SAVING AND I HAVE CULTISTS HERE, SAVE ONE GET THE SECOND FREE!
Again, Christians refuse a simple test.
Pray for my death you maggotts. Look deep down in your imaginary soul and do it.
You are all cult members, who worship a gay Palestinian hippie from before the dark ages, and you are AFRAID to pray me dead.
Because you ALL know it wont work.
Simple science disproves your most profound beliefs.
You are fools.
Prayer, like your
God, is a joke.
Pray me dead you Christian cowards.
William, you are already spiritually dead. What more do you want?
"William, you are already spiritually dead. What more do you want?"
So are you.
I am the Anti Christ. Sent to kill your hero upon his return, and to take him mothers virginity with an ice pick.
Pray me dead Jesus Freak, so you can save your pathetic savior.
What utter silliness. You point a finger at them as you wallow in a pit of pettiness and stupidty.
"Pray me dead".
Every prayer for your death will be answered, even my own, and I'm an atheist!
William, too cute for a guy who challenges magical thinkers to pray to their idol for something to happen that is sure to happen anyway.
Just as it has done before it has happened again. The prior William Demuth is dead and now a new one takes over till someone prays for my death too. Good job to you all that prayed, now we'll just have to go through this all again.
for stupid politicians not to wear their religion on the sleeves . . .
Again, the atheists don't comprehend Jesus' wisdom because they reject Him.
Any wise words attributed to Jesus, which are proven to be beneficial to our peace and welfare are most certainly accepted (even though none of them were at all original). There is not a shred of verified evidence for *any* of the supernatural claims supposedly made by him, however.
Of course the bible said that jesus said some pretty wise things, you would be a fool not to know such an important piece of our western mythology/culture. But, so has many other prophets.
@Colin answer to your11:00 post. Let me ask you, Colin, supposing, without any accidental hitch, the litmus paper did not change the expected color: would that make any serious change in your life? I hope you reply.
Actually the experiment as set up is not sufficient. There would definitely need to be a control from the same piece of litmus paper and same bottle of acid that would not be prayed for to ensure that there is not another factor involved(bad litmus paper, contaminated acid, contaminated tube, mislabeled bottles, etc.) With that many actual tests there would be a high likelihood of an occasional error. Now since this is supposed to be a god involved I think a good way to say "hello" would be to change EVERY piece of litmus paper on that day to a different color. Same with magnets, would need good calibrated measurements to ensure the magnets are still otherwise acting as expected.
Now, should a god decide to actually reveal itself in a measurable manner, obviously atheists would then believe in the existence of a god and no longer be atheists. The next step would be for that god to earn our respect and love if it wishes us to follow its rules voluntarily. We could of course be compelled to follow any set of arbitrary rules given a nasty enough set of threats. Bloodthirsty dictators with infinite power will tend to get their way.
If the litmus paper became a Unicorn, and the magnet melted a hole in time and space, MAYBE I might consider divine interaction.
AND it would be so cool. If a god did that I too might sit up and notice!
Wow, reading all these atheist comments have strengthened my faith in God and Jesus even more! It's very clear to me now that Christianity is a rather complex religion, and there's no way these ignorant comments above even skim it. For example – God is not here as some robotic servant to obey our commands, such as "to make that Litmus paper CHANGE COLOR!!" Man, how stupid!! God is here to have a relationship with us.. Which means heartfelt prayer and desire to communicate with him. Also, the bible addresses every single issue these atheists bring up above, but they are so arrogant and know-it-all, they wint even pick up a bible and spend a day with it, no I mean a week with it, no, I mean a month with it - because like I said, christianity is complicated, "but in a good way!" For example, the bible says "do NOT put the Lord your God to the test." It also says "lean not on your own understanding."Yeah, like you think our tiny minds can figure it all out over the Maker of all. Please read the bible before you attack it. You might just finally see the light, before it's too late.
I have read your rag more than your whole family put together.
Stop spouting your cult nonesense, this is the 21st century.
Evolve ASAP, before you get us all killed.
Well, of course it says not to put him to a test. He could not possibly pass it.
DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN!
Funniest post I've read all day...
And Yes I have read both the Old an New Testaments. That activity is part of what cemented my disbelief.
"Also, the bible addresses every single issue these atheists bring up above, but they are so arrogant and know-it-all, they wint even pick up a bible and spend a day with it, no I mean a week with it, no, I mean a month with it – because like I said, christianity is complicated, "but in a good way!""
Hey you realized you just lied right? That's a sin. We have read the bible, many times in fact and some of us use to be christians. I have writing on every page of my bible, with highlights and a journal, I just finally came to my senses and realized it was just as fictional as Santa Claus. You make that crap up in your head about those that don't believe as you do so you can feel justified in your support for your cult.
I appreciate that you have faith and you pray, but my whole issue with uber-religious people is that they do expect "God" to make things happen without realizing they need to make it happen themselves. When bad things happen, they blame "God" instead of themselves or those who caused the bad thing. When unexpected things happen, it's "God's Will" instead of something they may have had a hand in causing. In a nutshell, they hold a lack of personal responsibility, and "God" is often used as a crutch or "Satan" caused them to do evil things. It's just a cowardly and irresponsible way to live life. I know not all religious people are that way, but so many are that it just really makes me wonder about their sanity.
Believers fail to understand that reading the bible does not create faith. I just recently reread the New Testament (in eBook form this time), and it didn't convert this atheist back into a christian again. It was fascinating of course, as usual. What a privilege that we have such an ancient text that we can access and open a window into the distant past!
Markin hit the nail on the head.. of course if someone tells you to believe something they are also going to tell you not to question it... duh. And most atheist know far more about the bible then the majority of chrisitians, I myself am a confirmed Lutheran.
I use to have an invisible friend but that was when I was six. I think it's silly to use prayer as a problem solving mechanism to resolve our county's issues.
William Demuth, still babbling your nonsense, we see.
I AGREE with you!! Keep the faith and finish the race!
Perry wants people to pray so that God "opens his eyes" (?) What? Open his eyes to the Republican way? Maybe Obama's eyes are already open. Maybe God has already opened them and he is doing God's work. Just because Perry et al don't like what he is doing does not mean they are right and he is wrong. Maybe they should pray for themselves so that God could open their eyes.
Parry prayed for rain and got fire. Parry prayed for the economy to be "fixed," and yet we still face challenges.
While I believe prayer can give comfort, insight and help a person refocus, it's absolutely silly to think that praying for something specific will result in a magical outcome.
I hope Perry prays for the Chinese
Okay, I'll PRAY for you to shut and up and loose!
It would be interesting if they would pray for specific things and keep track of their score
"It[prayer] can remind us that each of are children of a awesome and loving God.”- Pres. Barack Obama
“I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian,” he said. “I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. " – Pres. Barack Obama
Awesome! Well done to all your efforts PPT!
He is lying to get votes.
He no more believes than I do.
William, So do you think on his second term, if he get there, that he will never say any prayers like he does now?
Of course he will.
If he said what he REALLY believed, one of you Christian Red Necks would kill him.
I know of hundreds that claim to believe, yet secretly confess it is for "practical" reasons.
You can lose your job, get assaulted, persecuted and even have your life put at risk for admiting its all bulls@#T.
William Demuth, you wrote to J.W "Of course he will. If he said what he REALLY believed, one of you Christian Red Necks would kill him. I know of hundreds that claim to believe, yet secretly confess it is for "practical" reasons. You can lose your job, get assaulted, persecuted and even have your life put at risk for admiting its all bulls@#T."
Answer: I lost my career due to atheists. I always was destroyed at the same time personally, again by an atheist.
You folks are ruthless while living in your big egos. When I wrote part of my situation, I was written the typical response of the atheist blaming the victim for the atheists bad behavior.
Again, the egos of the atheists are ruthless.
People have lost jobs and careers because of Christians too, you know. I lost a job years ago because of the collusion of a Jew and a Christian. It was just insidious office politics. It can happen to anyone.
I ask all Christians to pray for me immediate death.
Then tomorrow I can mock your ridiculous cult all the more.
I pray for you not to die, but to live, faith or not.
Sorry to burst your bubble Billy Boy, you like the rest of us has to endure to the end.
You fear simple tests!
How can I blaspheme to inspire you?
I'll pray that prayer.
All right, we have one Jesus freak praying for my death,
Can I get another cult member to kick in for my death sentence?
Not to fret William. God is in control.
"I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
12 For man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them."
Not to fret William. God is in control....... so we are throwing free will out the window. You will always loose when arguing with a theist because you are held back by reason.
Williams, you arent trying to "inspire", you are trying to test God (engage in some behavior with an expectation that God is obligated to do something in response, a demand for evidence)
testing God is specifically described in the bible as something you should not do. Obviously, you cant expect God to jump when you say so.
Hasa: free will vs God being in control is pretty easy to understand with an example.
Suppose you have a child in a playpen, that child is to young to be able to climb out of it.
Now, as a parent, you have decided to give that child free will, the ability to do whatever he/she wants.
But, as a parent, you are in control of the situation. You can at any time decide to intervene, if for example the child gets it's head stuck, or swallows something. You can also choose not to intervene.
So, the child has free will, the parent is in control.
COME FOLKS, LETS PRAY!
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty SUN,
Creator of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy LIGHT WAVES
he became incarnate from the Merry people,
there will be no judging the living and or the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the LIGHT, the Lord, the giver of life,
With the SUN he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophet Hippypoet.
We believe in one holy SUN and Church of eternal LIGHT.
We will look up towards the heavens,
bathe in the LIGHT OF THE LORD, THE ALMIGHY SUN.
may you walk in the light of truth!
That is Awesome! All praise the glorious Sun!!!!! Thanks for filling my day with light!!!!!
School prayer should ABSOLUTELY be mandatory in every high school in America. It would be the best educator possible.
We set up a very simple physics or chemistry experiment. Say, a strip of blue litmus paper with a test tube of an acidic solution poised above it. We have all the students in class pray to god that it will not turn red when the test tube is upended and the acid pours on it. We then upturn the test tube and see what happens.
It will, of course, turn red.
We do this experiment every day, sometimes substi.tuting red litmus paper for blue litmus paper and an alkali solution for the acid solution – with the appropriate change in the prayer. We can also do other simple experiments – two identical poles of a magnet always being repulsive, with the students praying that they will attract.
We do these experiments every day of every year for their entire high school experience, with the children praying each day that the result will be different. As we know, their prayers to their gods will fail every day of every week of every year. Every single time, without doubt and 100% guaranteed.
After a few months of repeated failures, the students are invited to bring along their priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and other religious authority figures to lead their prayers. They can all pray, chant, implore and bob to their various sky-deities that the litmus paper does not turn red. We can also bring in some gulf War veterans who lost limbs, and they can pray for their recovery and the regrowth of their limbs.
We even have special “open” days where they are invited to bring along the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dalia Lama, head of the Orthodox Church, the USA’s most sacred rabbi etc., etc. to join their prayers.
As we know, their prayers to their gods will still fail every day of every week of every year. Every single time, without doubt and 100% guaranteed. A couple of practical realities we would have to guard are the occasional “flop” where, for example, a bad batch of acid has been delivered and the litmus paper does not change color (we don’t want anybody to claim that a prayer was answered) or intentional sabotage by those with a religious agenda, but that is no different to the risks of any other science experiment.
In this manner, prayer can “put up or shut up.” It is preferable to me that we expose the children to prayer in their formative years and let them see for themselves how utterly worthless it is, rather than try to keep prayer from them. The constant radio silence from above and the stoic indifference with which their prayers are met every day will help the students understand:
(i) that there is no god listening and that praying is a futile exercise when the results can REALLY be tested;
(ii) the complete superiority of the scientific method over religious supersti.tions, as science accurately predicts the results of each experiment every time;
(iii) the silliness of still believing in Bronze Age sky-gods in the 21st Century;
(iii) the frailties of their religious leaders as they scurry for excuses –“god won’t be tested”, “god moves in mysterious ways” etc; and
(iv) the weakness of human nature as the religious right moves to shut the experiments down.
Tex Governor Rick Perry is correct. Children would learn a lot from praying in school.
If this site was not up with information about the specific needs of prayer request, how would I know what those specific requests are?
Thank ya CNN this website now goes as a wallpost on my page!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.