I was talking to a friend today, who does not believe in god. She was making a remark that she did not like to eat with her Christian friends, because their saying grace made her feel awkward. She felt awkward because she would feel dishonest if she participated in their prayer.
There are two kinds of “active” non-believers, those who believe religion and issues of god are something are totally meaningless (could be atheists or agnostics), and those who vehemently opposed and offended by anything to do with religion (probably only atheists).
This feeling of “dishonesty” made no sense to me if you fit into one of the above two categories. If you are opposed and offended, you would find the prayer annoying. If you thought it was a bunch of meaningless ritual, then you are just reciting a bunch of nonsense, so there’s no reason to feel dishonest and not participate, as long as it was not offensive.
I’m not really sure if acting like this is offensive to Christians. I don’t mean going to church and acting like a believer; I’m talking about simple everyday things like saying a prayer before a meal. If you’re a Christian I’m interested in your opinion.
I like to think I am the former kind of non-believer, the one just sees it all as meaningless. The latter kind of non-believer, the one who finds religion offensive, are the kind that make the news. Consider the controversy over the removal of the phrase “under god” from the national anthem [of the USA]. My feeling is that it does not belong there: added not even a century ago, it is no way part of America’s history, and is a clear violation of the seperation of church and state. That said, I don’t really care to get it removed because of how much hassle it would be. Basically, I’m glad something is thinking and doing something about these things, but I’m glad I am not paying for it.