Putting prayer back in schools may in fact BE the answer to our problems. I have thought about this and have changed my mind, perhaps it is time to do this.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am an Atheist or more correctly an Anti-theist. On this I have not altered my feelings or convictions.
But, in light of the many tragic events that have occurred, we have nothing to lose. Of course, this flies in the face of the stubborn fact that there has never been a scientifically valid study demonstrating the efficacy of prayer, no repeatable experimental process unequivocally showing a direct effect of prayer, and no consensus on what form of prayer works best, or at all.
Then there is the annoying secret agenda driven US Supreme Court that obviously wants to turn us all into Marijuana smoking, same sex couples, with full health care.
They consistently shoot down any attempts at reintroducing prayer in the public classroom.
But I have a solution.
We introduce Prayer as part of the educational curriculum. Each day we have every student in the United States recite a different prayer, from all 22 major religions, and the thousands of sects, off-shoots, and myriad of minor religions. We have perhaps two fifteen minute Wikipedia style lessons daily explaining the tenets, doctrines, and precepts of the religion to educate our children.
There is a risk here.
Studies show the religiosity decreases with higher educational levels. We risk unveiling the faults, fallacies, and inconsistencies rampant in all religious doctrines. If you have ever read the Bible, or the Koran, or any other “God inspired” document, it can be troubling.
The other problem will be the resistance from within the religious organizations themselves. They support prayer in school now, but what if it were all prayers and all religions?
In a document written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, entitled “Dominus Iesus“, he essentially says the only true Church is the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Pope Benedict, as then Cardinal Ratzinger, encourages embracing all religions as having “some” benefit in directing men to the true God. Yet he clearly states all other doctrines are wrong, but tolerable, in as much as they provide some benefit to finding the true path, as long as everyone knows the Catholic Church is the one and only true faith.
I am afraid such teachings illustrate the true message of the general attitude in the United States toward prayer in school, it must be the “right”, meaning Judeo-Christian, one.
This invites interference from the heathen Supremes once again.
But education, that is a worthy, Constitutionally friendly, goal.
Let’s teach them about all religions. Let’s pray in all faiths, all languages, all doctrines, to all the “Nine Billion Names of God” to borrow from the title of the Arthur C. Clarke classic.
It would be the biggest test of the effect of prayer on the world. Schedule one or two sessions per day. 180 days per school year. By the time all public school students graduate high school we would have generated a significant number of prayers.
Perhaps it would change the world, or maybe it wouldn’t and we could move on to other solutions.
Blaise Pascal, a brilliant philosopher, once proposed what has come to be known as Pascal’s Wager.
“God is, or He is not”
A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
According to reason, you can defend either of the propositions.
You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
To summarize, if you believe in God, and he exists, you win, if he doesn’t you’ve lost nothing, if you deny the existence of God, and he does exist, you lose.
So for the investment of a few hours on Saturday night or Sunday morning perhaps you buy yourself some Eternal Salvation Insurance. Besides, there is no football on then anyway.
My point here is that there is a significant number of people in this country that BELIEVE prayer would make a difference.
We can pacify the multitude, test the premise, expand understanding of different faiths, and, as Pascal is intimating, play the odds.
If it works, great, if it doesn’t we can move on to a more intellectually sound, scientifically established, rational approach to preventing tragedies.
And taking all the guns, as promising as it sounds, is equally untenable.
Pray hear me, I beseech thee.