“I, having been subjected to a Christian baptism before reaching an age of consent, or having submitted to baptism before embracing freethought and reason, hereby officially renounce that primitive rite and the Church that imposed it. I categorically reject the creeds, dogmas, and superstitions of my former religion, particularly the pernicious doctrines of ‘Original Sin’ and damnation.
“I further denounce as an affront and defamation to humanity the false and demeaning belief that any baby is born with ‘Original Sin’ and must be cleansed of it by baptism. From this day forward, I wish to be excluded from any claims of religious affiliation or membership based on baptismal records.”
Opening a professional society meeting.
- Give thanks to the magical elves that no one thinks about: the catering and cleaning staff and administrative support professionals who made this meeting happen, who worked tirelessly to organize and produce it while making it look like it took no effort whatsoever, that it all appeared out of thin air, and were paid very little to do so, and who will clean up the mess we make and do it all again tomorrow for some other organization, forever and ever, till death do they part, world without end. —Judy L.
- Replace the invocation with a reading of the organization’s mission statement before each meeting begins.. —dezcrawford
- “All of us assembled here clearly know from our studies there is no evidence for any sort of god, and we give thanks that the wishes of imaginary deities have no effect on chemical bonds.” —Randomfactor
Someday I’ll be called upon to lead a group in prayer, when it is completely inappropriate for the setting. I’m ready for them.
Let us pray.
Lord, help us to adhere closely the teachings of Jesus, who told us, in Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 5 through 8: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what your need before you ask him.”
- Secular Grace, various examples
- “What a great occasion! We are gathered here together in the safety of our home, each of us taking a moment from our busy, separate lives, to enjoy this wonderful meal with ones we love. Let this evening be a special time in our lives, a blessed stopping point in which we can simply enjoy who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. Let us enjoy this magnificent now with family and friends. Thank you, mother, for preparing this beautiful meal.”
- “We have created this meal to serve and sustain our lives. Let us enjoy this meal in the full knowledge that all life is purposeful action aimed toward our highest value, our own precious lives and happiness.”
- At Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, Step-Daughter asked me if I’d say grace before the meal. I declined. But, while we were all sitting down to eat, I said, “I just wanted to say thanks again to [Step-Daughter] and [her S.O] for hosting dinner this year. I know it is a lot of work, and I really appreciate it.” Step-Daughter replied, “Amen”. [from GaryU]
The Anatomist’s Prayer
My favorite story about group prayer is one I heard from the late Maxwell Cowan, who had been a student of the eminent anatomist LeGros Clark.
Dr. Clark was in the habit of having weekly lunches at a gentlemen’s club in London — the kind with leather armchairs, oaken wainscoting, and waiters in morning coats serving brandies.
Sometimes the members invited some prominent non-member to these luncheons. On one such occasion, when it was Clark’s turn to serve as master of ceremonies, the guest was the Bishop of London.
As the meal was about to begin, the Bishop showed some hesitancy. Being unfamiliar with the customs of the group, he was uncertain whether he was expected to say grace, or whether that role fell to Dr. Clark.
Seizing the occasion, Clark bowed his head and solemnly intoned: “Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi.” The Bishop said “Amen”, and everyone was satisfied.
Especially Clark. His Latin invocation was, in fact, the name of a small muscle on the side of the nose…
Keeping the X in Xmas
Lets pray for the day when Christ becomes synonymous with peace, love, the voiceless velar fricative, the voiceless uvular fricative and any statistical hypothesis test in which the sampling distribution of the test statistic is a chi-square distribution when the null hypothesis is true. Amen. [from Gyeong Hwa Pak, 2010]
*Empty religious hand gesture* Amen. [from Jules, 2010]
- O Lord, Ooh, you are so big, so absolutely huge, Gosh, we are all just absolutely impressed down here, I can tell you. Forgive us, Lord, for our dreadful toadying. And barefaced flattery. But you are so strong and, well, just so super. Amen.
–The chaplain’s prayer from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Liff.”
The politically correct prayer
Oh great, but not necessarily superior, being who dwells beyond this plane of existence and who is accessible only through prayer, meditation, or crystals, we salute you without thereby acknowledging that you are entitled to greater respect than that accorded any other endangered species. We hope to pass through your plane of existence at some point on our psychic journey to the same exalted status as marine mammals or even snail darters. Moreover, to the extent your design for the universe coincides with the U.S. Constitution and includes low-cost access to cable, we ask you to provide us our minimum daily requirement of essential vitamins and nutrients consistent with FDA guidelines, and when judging us be duly mindful or our status as victim, which provides full justification for what might appear on superficial examination to be felonious. In the same vein, we will endeavor to excuse and forgive those who have transgressed against us, with the possible exception of our parents, teachers, policemen and clergy about whom we have just resurrected disturbing memories. We ask all this in the name of your prophet —————. [Here on alternating weeks substitute names drawn from the consensus of the class. Some suggestions for early in the year: L. Ron Hubbard, Ayatollah Khomeini, Jimmy Carter, Patricia Ireland, Mike Wallace.]
[from John F. Bramfeld, a lawyer in Urbana, Ill., as printed in the Wall Street Journal Pg A-18 Thurs, Jan 12, 1995, contemplating what would happen to school prayer after it was filtered through the apparatus of politically correct educrats.]
The Possibly Proper Death Litany or Agnostic’s Prayer
Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to ensure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.
[From Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness, 1969]
- Shorter Agnostic’s Prayer: We give whatever thanks are due to Invisible, Hypothetical Deities that might exist but probably don’t for whatever they could have done but probably didn’t.
,,,to be continued.