The problem with prayer

Atheists are becoming more open about their atheism. I am, by definition, an atheist, but I think of myself more as a nontheist, mostly because there’s some baggage that comes with the word atheist, and I don’t like baggage. I think what separates me from some (certainly not all) atheists and from some (but certainly not all) believers is that I honestly don’t care what somebody else believes, and I’m not the least bit interested in trying to make believers reject their belief, nor am I the least bit upset or disappointed if an atheist starts believing in God. I honestly don’t think we have much of a choice about it, and none of it is based in fact (either way), so, from where I sit, it’s not like arguing over whether or not gravity is real, it’s like arguing over whether or not dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate. I certainly have a very strong opinion on that, but I’m not comfortable telling somebody they’re wrong if they like milk chocolate better. So what’s my problem with prayer?

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Does everything have to fall along partisan lines?

The viral story of the week award goes to the United Airlines passenger who was forcefully removed from an overbooked plane in order to make room for crew members who needed to get to their destination to staff another plane. The video is crazy, and the follow-up videos of the man bleeding, asking people to just kill him, show a very disturbed, very distraught man. I don’t blame folks for saying the whole thing is crazy, nor do I have any problem with people seeing both sides of the story (that airlines need to oversell if they’re going to stay in business, and that people shouldn’t get physically assaulted under these circumstances). What surprised me, at least at first, was how even this seemed to fall along partisan lines.

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