First, let's talk about the inauguration with Obama. Even if I weren't a vocal atheist, I'd be offended by the choice of rick warren to deliver the prayer. Of course, as a Constitutionalist, I believe in the Separation of Church and State. The office of president of the United States is earned by votes. Not direct votes of the people, but hey, let's not nitpick on that issue at the moment. This job of president is purely secular. Why is there a bible, a pastor and prayer involved at all? The FFRF is suing to get rid of the reference to god and the prayers, at least.
warren, this hypocritical slimeball, is going to act as an agent of the state to deliver the invocation and benediction. Read more about warren and how he backs a man (martin ssempa) who burned condoms in the name of jesus in Africa, virtually stamping out the free distribution of condoms to people to replace it with abstinence only (yeah, we all know how well the abstinence program works!). Oh, and let's not forget how warren compares homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and beastiality. So now we know how far off his rocker he is.
It disturbs me that Mr. Obama is embracing a hateful christian fundamentalist and giving him such a stage on this big day. It seems to me that it is a grim harbinger of things to come, and how they look bleakly like recent times.
On a lighter note, the catholics are trying to clamp down on "false" claims of seeing the virgin mary or jesus. If you are eating a bowl of spaghetti-o's and you happen to see jesus in there, you must remain silent until psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists investigate your claim. If you don't keep quiet then you're obviously lying. (ooh, the logic!)
Here's the best bit, if you keep silent about your vision (then how would anyone ever know? some kind of weird catholic brain twister there), then you will be visited by exorcists and demonologists to make sure that satan isn't hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful. WTF? Satan is so powerful that he can appear on a piece of pizza to fool catholics to pray to .. um.. wha? Ok, those people are whacked. AnAtheist.net wrapped this one up nicely:
Demonologists! I’d love to meet one of those. Exorcists! Clearly such people are useful for distinguishing between reality and fantasy.
Never mind that. Look at what this passage is implying: Satan has the power to create Christian apparitions and visions. Presumably, then, Jesus’ resurrection appearances as described in the gospels - or his famous appearance to Paul - could all have been a Satanic apparition with the purpose of deceiving Jews and Gentiles into believing in the false religion of Christianity. Now that would be brilliant.
And then there's this woman saying that it's ok to turn to god in times of crisis, even if you've been ignoring him since then. From what she says I am under the impression that it's good to have a big problem in your life if it drags you to your knees and gets you to pray. WTF?!
I hate to tell you, but I've been through bad times as an atheist, and it never occurred to me to pray to anyone, not even the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I agree that in times of stress and need, it's nice to not be alone, but I rely on friends and family, real people, to help me, not some pathetic hope that has zero chance of helping me.
In fact, a huge study was done on intercessory prayer back in 2006. The results? There were no differences between patients who were prayed for and those who were not. But, there were significantly more complications for the patients who knew they were being prayed for, 59% as opposed to 51% for those who didn't know they might be receiving prayers. For those who weren't informed that they were receiving prayers, 18% suffered major complications, while only 13% of the people who didn't get prayers had complications.( See here for a different report on the same study.)
Spooky weird, huh? By the way the study cost $2.4 million. I have no idea how it could cost so much. But same article also mentions this little tidbit: The government spent more than $2.3 million on prayer research between 2000 and 2006. Again, I say WTF?
Back in '97 the University of New Mexico did a smaller study with 40 alcoholics in rehab. The men and women who knew they were being prayed for also did worse. Now how does that scramble your eggs?
Prayer does nothing. In fact, all it does is waste your time and energy for actually dealing with what is wrong.