Living a fulfilled life without God
I’m often troubled by the amount of sensationalism around every important issue in our lives. The current issue that is causing everyone to lose their minds is around the issue of violence. This has mostly turned into a debate about gun control. I want to make very clear at the beginning of this post that this has nothing to do with my views on gun control and my intentions are to steer clear of this subject in our comment threads. My post is merely about the need to seek real solutions to problems rather than relying on hope. I want to write this in such a way that people will find some common ground in what I’m saying. Part of the reason for my writing and for speaking out like I do is to help people who don’t share my views on atheism at least understand where I’m coming from and to seek some common ground together. I’m hoping what I write below is written respectful enough that religious and nonreligious people alike can nod their heads in agreement.
President Obama recently announced some initiatives that were the result of a task force organized by Vice President Joe Biden to address the problem of violence in America. The urgency to address this problem has largely come by popular demand from the citizens of the United States after the recent school shooting in Connecticut. While many citizens may disagree on the ways to address the violence, many feel that something has to be done. Some of the suggestions have been tighter gun control, more mental health support, and less violence in our entertainment. Though there are some who insist that the government doesn’t need to get involved, many people feel that something has to be done. With this demand, the president had assigned this task force to talk about possible solutions. Regardless of what you think about our president or your political affiliation, creating a task force to discuss solutions to help meet the demands of citizens seems a reasonable approach. Because I don’t want this post to turn into an argument about what the answer is for the violence, I’ll refrain from giving my opinion on the conclusions of the task force. I’m merely asserting that it seems reasonable to pull people together to discuss a growing demand from the citizens.
Now let’s talk about something I read that is not a reasonable approach to this demand from the citizens. I read this article which talks about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s solution. Rick Perry was quoted as saying “As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.” So Mr. Perry’s solution is simply for us to pray. Keep in mind that the article mentions no other solutions presented by the governor. I wouldn’t have near as big a problem with this if he had presented an actual plan and concluded with a plea for people to also pray. While I personally feel that prayer is a useless endeavour, I don’t have a problem with people praying or even encouraging others to pray. The fact that this is his only proposed solution combined with the fact that he criticizes secular laws as a solution frustrates me. It frustrates me because he’s influential. It frustrates me because people will rally behind him without considering how useless his solution is in our secular government.
I’m not out to completely discredit Rick Perry and hope that any current Perry supporters don’t stop reading here. Support him as a governor if you like, but please join me in acknowledging that in this particular situation, this is not an acceptable solution from a politician that the public counts on to make reasonable decisions and recommendations. We look to the leaders in our country to make good decisions. We can only hope that they’re basing their decisions on reason and logic and using a little critical thinking. Due to the vast diversity among our leaders, we can’t allow them to propose their faith as answers to the problems in our society. Before you dismiss what I just said, if you are a Christian you would likely not be comfortable having a Muslim politician making decisions based on his or her faith. To take it a step further, some Christians may also not want politicians of another Christian sect making decisions based on their faith. We look to our leaders to set aside their personal views and to make decisions for the good of all of the citizens. As hard as this may be sometimes for politicians to allow their faith to take a backseat, we must insist on it. It’s in everyone’s best interest that we do so. One’s personal faith has no business in our secular government.
I once worked with someone who often said “Hope is not a strategy”. In order to create action plans and to propose solutions to problems, we have to do more than hope and pray. Regarding the subject of violence in our country and the demand from the citizens that this be addressed, we can’t just suggest that they pray. We have to stop supporting lazy answers from our leaders. We have to send a message to them that they will not have our support until they start bringing real solutions to the table. Perry’s plan isn’t a strategy. I’m not asking that you agree with Obama’s plan. I’m not even asking my Libertarian friends to accept anyone’s plan since they would want little influence from the government. I’m simply asking us all to acknowledge together that it is unnacceptable for a politician to offer prayer as the solution to our problems. Can we agree on this point?
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