Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day of Prayer: Atheists Peer In from Outside

On this National Day of Prayer, the mainstream media presents its view of prayer ranging from curiosity to utter contempt.

-- From "America observes National Day of Prayer" posted at 5/4/11

Organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, more than 35,000 people are expected to gather across the country in prayer, according to the group's website.

The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by Congress and signed into law by Harry Truman.

President Obama issued a proclamation designating May 5 as a National Day of Prayer on April 29. He issued similar proclamations in 2009 and 2010.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "National Day of Prayer spotlights prayer's healing power" by David W Freeman, CBS News 5/5/11

Religious people take on faith the healing power of prayer - on today's National Day of Prayer as on other days. And even hard-nosed doctors who have studied spirituality say science supports the belief that prayer brings health benefits - though not necessarily because God is listening.

Several studies have linked prayer to better health. A 2001 study showed that reciting rosary prayers or yoga mantras can enhance heart rhythm and breathing, and a 2011 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine linked prayer to pain relief.

Research has also shown that the death rate of people who attend church regularly is about 30 percent lower than that among people who spend their Sundays doing something else, according to Dr. Lynda Powell, chairman of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

What explains churchgoers' lower death rate? Is it because God smiles on the faithful?

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "National Day of Prayer prompts reflections on the practice" by Jeannie Kever, Houston Chronicle 5/4/11

. . . most services, here and elsewhere, will take place in Christian churches, reflecting both the National Day of Prayer's beginnings in 1775 as a Christian observance and the fact that more than 75 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

Almost 60 percent of Americans say they pray at least once a day, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, and Rice University sociologist Michael Emerson notes that those who believe in the healing power of prayer generally embrace studies that confirm their belief, while rejecting those that find no impact.

"Prayer brings a sense of control in an uncertain world," he said. "Whether it works or not, at the level of the supernatural, it works in giving humans a sense of control over their environment."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Skeptics Challenge Day of Prayer With Day of Reason" by Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter 5/5/11

The non-theists of the North Carolina Triangle Freethought Society have constructed a full day’s schedule of speeches, musical performances and social events meant to rival the many local and national prayer events being held in conjunction with NDOP.

The Day of Reason’s schedule includes several speeches from atheist, agnostic and humanist leaders with titles such as "Coming Out as an Atheist and Humanist" and "How to Protect a Secular America" at a rally at the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh. After lunch, there are scheduled visits to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Meanwhile, the NDOP website shows that there will be well over 10 prayer events at North Carolina churches, hotels and flags in the communities surrounding the Freethought Society’s rally. These events feature outdoor prayer sessions, prayer breakfasts and luncheons, and youth rallies.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Under Attack: National Day of Prayer as well as Atheists Lose: 'Day of Prayer' Ruled Constitutional