Dallas News posts opinion that it is Christians that are hypersensitive to contrary views.
Will, in his article about public prayer and thin skins, seems to make the assumption that it is the atheists who have the thin skins and who need to get over being so “prickly.” His assumption does not totally match with reality. Should Mr. Will care to look at some history, he would find that when prayers other than Christian are given, many times it is the Christians who yelp in protest.
A prominent example of this was when, in 2007, a Hindu gave the opening prayer for the U.S. House, over the sound of hecklers from the gallery and over the protest of a prominent Christian group. Another such example occurred in Arizona when an atheist Arizona representative gave the opening prayer for the 2013 session of Arizona’s Legislature. Two days later, a group of Christian Arizona representatives gathered together to offer up prayers of repentance.
While this does not always happen, time after time, those walking out of prayers by non-Christians or protesting such prayers are Christians, not atheists. I think that Mr. Will has a blind spot generated by his being part of the majority religion.
A commentor reminds of what the bible says about prayer.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” -Matthew 6:5-6
Aside from the futility of musing the bible to convince non biblical people to behave a certain way… This passage is sometimes interpreted as Christians having to pray out of sight because of persecution. But it’s more about sincerity, humility, and a personal relationship with god.
1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. 4 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. 11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
The transition of christianity from a people’s religion to a state religion meant making a big, mandatory show and spectacle. Combine that with evangelicalism’s need to convert the world and all humility and fact checking is lost. Religion can’t be private if everyone is to be “saved.” Religion must be magical to make it powerful in a time of magic where mystery is under every rock. All that’s left is perceived offense.
Mathew creates much confusion in the church as he seems both accommodating to Judaism and gentiles, tradition and innovation, legalism and individualism, apocalypse or not. Whatever you seek you will find in Mathew. It’s a terrible book with which to govern people’s belief, indicative of the kind of cloudy thinking meant to convert but confounds.
What is clear is the common christian desire to be insulated from criticism because they are certain they have the truth, the only truth. Not surprising when you consider it used to be law and democracy is antithetical to theocracy. Democracy only works in christian religion if everyone already agrees.
Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com