Tag Archives: Christianity

Prayer in Public School? It’s the Twenty-First Century!

I read a fairly short article on Huffington Post Alberta, which I agreed with. But that’s not the interesting thing. On Facebook, there was a rather heated argument.  And I got myself involved in it briefly.

There’s a woman who was supporting the Lord’s Prayer being recited in public schools in Saskatchewan, and a lot of people argued against her, saying that the prayer infringes on non-Christians’ right to be exempt from it. In Canada, you cannot impose your religion on another person. The woman argued that since the others were asking that the prayer not be said in class, they were infringing on her children’s right to say the prayer. But that’s not what they were saying at all. They were saying that her children could pray however they like, but the other children should not be forced to do it. She went absolutely nuts. I chimed in with my own little comment:

Your kids can pray whatever they want whenever they want. That is their right. However, that prayer should not be forced on other kids who may not be Christian. It’s a public school. Atheism is not being taught. School subjects are being taught. Religion doesn’t come into it. Religion is a personal thing and should remain private. Your kids can pray if they want, but don’t make mine pray to something they don’t believe in.

You see, she claimed that her children were being taught atheism. They weren’t, of course. I presume that she believes that the teaching of evolution, the big bang, and science in general is the teaching of atheism. It’s not. She later said that scientists believed that the Earth was flat. Actually, that didn’t happen. I added this:

Late to this conversation. Judy, it’s been know that the earth is round since the times of Ancient Greece. No one suggested it was flat after that. Anyone who captained a ship knew the world was round, because they has to take that into account when calculating their location and direction.

The belief that Columbus thought the world was flat is completely wrong. He knew the Earth was round. He was trying to find a shortcut to India across the ocean. He just ended up running into a few islands in the Caribbean. But that’s another story.

Back to the original topic. The teaching of religion in public schools should never be something forced on students. If you include one religion, you must include the others. If you have prayers in class, they should be silent, and should never be forced on students. Nor should they be shamed into it. Like I said on Facebook, religion is a personal, private thing. It should never be imposed on others. And public schools are for learning the skills needed to become a functional adult in society. Leave the teaching of religion to churches.

One other thing, she wouldn’t respond to this. Someone asked her that if she follows the Bible religiously, does she obey Matthew 6:5-6? Prayer is not to be done publicly, but in the privacy of your own home. Anyway, I’m staying out of that. I’m not going to argue scripture, because I find it a pointless activity.

What do you think? Should kids in public schools have to pray? Or should religion be kept out of public schools completely? The comments section is open for a little debate. But keep it civil, please.

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A Nightmare for an Introverted Atheist

I was just talking to my wife about how annoying it can be to have small talk with a stranger for an extended period of time. It reminded me of a time when I just wanted to be left alone with a magazine.

I was reading Astronomy magazine in the Chapters store in Victoria’s Eaton Centre, minding my own business, when a woman approached me. She was around fifty years old, dressed like she had money, and a friendly face. I don’t recall what day of the week it was, but most likely Saturday or Sunday. I looked up and noticed she was looking at me and the magazine.

“The universe is so beautiful,” she said, looking at the galaxy photo on the page I was looking at. I nodded. But she continued, “Everything is so beautiful, just as God had intended it to be.”

I started feeling uncomfortable. As an introvert, I just wanted to be left alone with the magazine. I was trying to relax. As an atheist, I just wanted to be immersed in the all natural science I was looking at. I did not want a theological discussion.

She continued talking to me, but changed the subject. “Do you know Jason? Are you his brother?” she asked me.

“I don’t know anyone named Jason,” I said.

“Jason Smith, you must know him. You look just like him,” she said.

“Sorry, I haven’t met anyone with that name.”

“Well, he’s a wonderful young man. He goes to my church,” she said, smiling.

“I see,” I said, and went back to the magazine.

“Which church do you go to?” she asked me.

I looked at my watch and said as politely as I could, “I’m sorry, but I have to go now. I’m meeting my friend.” I quickly put the magazine back and walked out of the store.

At that age, I did not do well with conversations like that. I was still somewhat shy, didn’t like interaction with people in public, and as I was a very private person, I never talked about things like that. I just wanted to get away from her. Looking back now, I think she was just trying to be friendly, but completely ignorant to the fact that she was being rude. If someone is reading a book or magazine, do not interrupt them! Secondly, it was very presumptuous of her to think I was a Christian.

Today, I’d be able to handle that in a much better way. I would have said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t go to church. I’m not a Christian.” I may have added, just to politely get out of the conversation, “I’m looking up something for my studies in university right now. I’m studying astronomy. So, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my research.”

I would be polite, but direct about it. Honestly, I’m curious how she would’ve reacted. I’ll never know, though.

Have you had an encounter with someone you just wanted to get out of? Share your story in the comments below.

Something a Three-Year-Old Shouldn’t Say (But It Was Hilarious)

My wife was watching an American show, I think it was Bones, and someone on the show was talking about how someone will go to hell. She asked me why many Christians will say, “Go to hell.”

Well, my daughter was playing next to us, and whenever we talk about places we want to go to, she says she wants to go, too. Except this time, we weren’t talking about that.

So, my daughter said, “Atashi go to hell!” That means “I go to hell.”

I laughed so hard. I wish I’d caught that on video. My daughter telling us she wanted to go to hell.

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Have You Ever Created a Religion?

L. Ron Hubbard created a religion. He made a fortune off of it. He was a science fiction author. Like any new religions, it’s highly controversial. But what about in fiction?

It’s quite common for fantasy authors to create religions for their worlds. Since they are totally original worlds that usually have no link to our world, their religions are extremely likely to also be original. The author has complete creative control over the religions, and can make them as conventional, bizarre, or extreme as they like. And they’ll often form the basis of the world’s culture, magic system, and even interfere with what happens in the world.

In science fiction, real religions are already available, but over time, religions tend to change or branch off into cults or new denominations. It’s happened in the past, and it’ll happen in the future. Many of the science fiction novels I’ve read deal with religion of the future extensively (Hyperion with Christianity, Reality Dysfunction with multiple religions, and Dune with its far future mix of Buddhism and Islam).

What I’m doing with Ariadne is no different. There are three religions I have already created: a form of militant fundamentalist Christianity, a kind of mix of Christianity and Neo-Paganism, and something entirely new that develops out of an obsession with Earth.

Have you ever created a religion?

End of World Conspiracy Theories Just Don’t Stop

I don’t like drawing attention to these kinds of things, but I just wanted to say a few words about this. Take a look at this video. You don’t have to watch all of it, just a bit to get an idea about what this is.

So, they say a “confirmed” 2.5 mile wide comet will hit the Earth between September 15th and 28th this year. Who confirms this? Not anyone I know of. I don’t believe it’s confirmed by anyone. In other words, this is complete male bovine excrement. A big cow patty. Manure. Looking at the description of this video, I see advertisements for the video maker’s book and other things about repenting to Jesus, etc.

On one hand, we have someone who’s trying to scare people into believing this pile of garbage. She (Renee sounds like a woman’s name) wants to encourage all the gullible people to buy her book. It’s all about money. Sounds like a typical evangelist, doesn’t it? “Hey, my loyal followers and those who are scared of death, repent to God and Jesus, and buy my book while you’re at it. It’ll save you from Hell when the world goes kaboom in September!”

On the other hand, this could be someone who has deep connections in world governments and astronomical societies who keep everything secret, because we all know astronomers don’t share their discoveries.  Nah, that can’t be, because astronomers love to share their discoveries. This so called “confirmed” comet would have been announced so long ago and confirmed by many amateur and professional astronomers, that it would be impossible to keep this a secret. With it being so close, a comet like this would likely be easily seen with a telescope if you knew where to find it. It would’ve been shared all over the internet. But guess what? It hasn’t. Therefore, it doesn’t exist.

The world is ending in September? No. Don’t believe this garbage. If you do, you are incredibly gullible.

Writing Controversial Characters

Today, I did some work on Journey to Ariadne part six, and it’s mainly about a rather prominent character I’m introducing. She is somewhat controversial. She’s not just loud and opinionated, but she’s also not afraid to tell people they’re morally bankrupt. You see, this part of the story involves religion. But not just any religion, one that developed as an offshoot of Christianity in the late 21st century. One that becomes very controversial.

As I wrote it, I wondered if I’ve gone too far or if it’s too mild. I’ll see how it goes when it’s critiqued. I’m looking forward to that.

Just so you know, the religion doesn’t exist, but is a kind of extremely fundamentalist Christianity. It won’t play a major part in the story, but is important in establishing the character’s background.

So, who is interested in it?

A Reading Challenge of Biblical Proportions

I am going to read the Bible.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m sure some people I know will be surprised.  I’ll tell you the reason.

The Bible is one of the most popular best-selling books in history.  I often read popular books.  I’m reading one now.  So, for literary purposes, I’m going to read this rather lengthy piece of literature from a literary and entertainment point of view.  But I’m not going to review it.  However, since I’m calling this a challenge, I will write blog posts for each book I finish, and there are 66 of them.

I won’t be looking at this from a religious point of view.  I’m not going to evaluate Christianity.  I’m not trying to offend anyone or ruffle any feathers.  I’m just interested in seeing if any part of it is interesting.

But there’s another reason.  It’s actually for cultural reasons.  Writing a novel that will feature new religions requires some knowledge of existing religions.  And one of these religions will be started by a Christian in the book.  Consider this research.

The version I’ll be reading is the English Standard Version, the only one I could get for free on Amazon.  And to be honest, the last time I read any of the Bible, I found it quite boring.  We’ll see how age affects that, especially considering I’m more interested in culture and history now.

I’m not sure when I’ll start reading.  I have so many other books to read.  This will be a once-in-a-while kind of thing.  I don’t expect to be converted.

So, just to remind you, I’m reading this from a cultural, literary, and entertainment point of view.  Let’s see how it goes.