Now, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas.”
In the four months since Perry’s request for divine intervention, his state has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Nearly all of Texas is now in “extreme or exceptional” drought, as classified by federal meteorologists, the worst in Texas history.
Lakes have disappeared. Creeks are phantoms, the caked bottoms littered with rotting, dead fish. Farmers cannot coax a kernel of grain from ground that looks like the skin of an aging elephant.
Is this Rick Perry’s fault, a slap to a man who doesn’t believe that humans can alter the earth’s climate — God messin’ with Texas? No, of course not. God is too busy with the upcoming Cowboys football season and solving the problems that Tony Romo has reading a blitz.
But Perry’s tendency to use prayer as public policy demonstrates, in the midst of a truly painful, wide-ranging and potentially catastrophic crisis in the nation’s second most-populous state, how he would govern if he became president.
As a lone citizen, he’s free to advocate Jesus-driven public policy imperatives. But coming from someone who wants to govern this great mess of a country with all its beliefs, Perry’s language is an insult to the founding principles of the republic. Substitute Allah or a Hindu God for Jesus and see how that polls.
(Read More: The New York Times)
Matt Dillahunty wrote an excellent piece regarding the quote “You can’t reason people out of a position that they weren’t reasoned into.”
So, what’s wrong with this particular saying?
Well, if we’re being very literal, every position someone holds is the product of reasoning. Believing a proposition is the result of being convinced. You can be convinced for good reasons or bad reasons, but as long as the brain is involved (and how could it not be?), reason is involved. In that scope, the statement is wrong because the premise is false. They were, in fact, reasoned into their belief.
Also, in a more colloquial sense, it refers to people whose beliefs were spawned by indoctrination, emotional appeals, socialization/inculturation and other things that aren’t normally in the realm of ‘pure reason’ - and in this scope, the statement becomes a claim that you’re just not going to be able to convince them of their error by using strict logical reasoning.
The problem, though, isn’t just that this statement is wrong, it’s that it’s a white flag. It implies that efforts to free people from religious thinking, via reason, are futile.
There may be some people who are forever beyond the reach of reason, but this isn’t true of everyone and I haven’t seen any data to support the idea that it’s even true for most people.
People often become convinced of things for bad reasons and are remarkably good at protecting those beliefs from critical examination - especially if those beliefs have been long-held, publicly professed and are shared by many others in that person’s social network. But that doesn’t mean that they are forever incapable of recognizing that they’ve accepted something for bad reasons. People can, and do, understand the value of having good reasons for their beliefs - it’s the reason why there are so many attempts to provide apologetic arguments for those beliefs.
(Read More: The Atheist Experience)
I definitely agree with Matt. I “reasoned” myself out of my religious beliefs by having discussions with those who were not religious as well as by reading numerous books on atheism and Christianity. I’m sure that many of you have had similar experiences. I tend to view the aforementioned quote as more of the exception than the rule.
One professor apparently made a FAQ for his students regarding the impending rapture. I wish some of my professors had such a great sense of humor.
Q: With the rapture coming, should I bother working on my final paper?
A: Yes. The odds are you will not be judged worthy of ascent to heaven, in which case your grades will still be a basis of judgment for rewards in this earthly sphere.
Q: What if my instructor is raptured?
A: None of our instructors bear much chance of being judged worthy. However, on the off chance your instructor is chosen, an army of unemployed secular Marxists is waiting to take his/her place.
Q: If my mother/father/grandfather/grandmother/favorite aunt/etc. is chosen, will I be excused from the final so that I may mourn his/her loss?
A: No. They have not died, but been granted eternal life, thus this does not count as a case of a death in the family.
Q: If my instructor is not raptured, is he really fit to judge me?
A: Yes, seeing as you were not raptured, you are still subject to the earthly judgment of the unsaved. If/when you are redeemed, a change of grade form will be automatically processed by heavenly authorities if they decide your grade was unfairly given by one of the damned.
Q: If my computer crashes and my printer breaks and there is no email on account of the rapture, will I be able to get an extension on the paper?
A: Everyone in tech and IT departments is of Satan’s party, so the internet, your computer, and your printer should continue to work the way they always have: sporadically.
Q: How will the rapture affect your curving, particularly if raptured students are exempt from final tests/papers?
A: Final grades are not curved, but students who are taken up in the rapture will be given incompletes, just in case.
(Via: Exploring Our Matrix)
It is terrifying to me that some educators still feel it is okay to do this:
A Van Buren teacher prayed over her class, handed out individualized pocket Bible verses and posted Bible verses on her classroom wall, according to some parents.
On April 21, a parent said, her son told her that before the students’ annual Benchmark exams the preceding week, Central Middle School teacher Jan Redden prayed “for the Devil to be bound up and not to enter their brains.” (emphasis mine)
Following another parent’s complaint during the Benchmark exam period, district administrators handled the matter, stopping the pretest prayer as well as Redden’s practice of giving the children personalized Christian Bible verses to carry in their pockets, Van Buren School Superintendent Merle Dickerson said Thursday.
The Bible verse postings on the classroom walls were confirmed Thursday by Dickerson and Central Middle School Principal Eddie Tipton during a conference with the teacher, and the posters were removed Thursday morning, Dickerson said.
The prayer and the handing out of bibles/verses is an obvious step way over the line…
I have more mixed feelings about the posters on the other hand. I have much less issue with the fact that she’s hanging up posters or other personal items. As a substitute teacher, I see all sorts of stuff like this in variety of classrooms I’ve been in.
There’s a very fine line between evangelizing and displaying faith-based personal items. While I’m not religious, I feel that it’s the attempt to completely oust anything having to do with personal faith from public places that actually encourages this behavior.