I study in a christian University and it is very common to get picked on by a lecturer to pray for the class before any given lecture commences. I havent been as unfortunate as to be chosen to lead "brethren" into a word of prayer but am sure a day will finally come when am picked out. So fellow thinkers, any ideas on how to go about it if the day comes? What reason can you give a lecturer whose age tripples yours, why you can not pray, and not sound like you are disrespecting him? suggestions highly welcome

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Perhaps use an argument against prayer I like. "I do not wish to pray because God is all-knowing and has already formed his unchanging, perfect plan. When praying, asking for something that comes to pass serves no purpose because he was already going to provide it. Asking for something you end up not receiving is presumptuous and arrogant. You are asking God to change the aforementioned plan. I do not dare attempt to tell him how to go about his business." Or something along those lines. Use their "virtue" of God-fearing as the Achilles heel it is truly. Btw, I think you have just convinced me there is a hell, an atheist at a Christian "university." Bet there's a superb science department.

Play the game or stand up for the truth and deal with the consequences, but first weight the Pro's and Con's.  What are you in this University for in the first place?  Whatever it is, keep the goal in mind and do what you need to, to reach that goal.  If Sheep's clothing get's you thru the herd to the exit at the other side of the pasture, you're still a Wolf and you can throw off the Sheep's skin now that you no longer need it.

Why make your Academic life harder then it needs to be?

Shucks I'll forgive you for 'going along to get along', if that makes you feel better about blowing smoke up their ass to get to your goal.

Enjoy life, you only get the one.

Gregg

You're in an unusual situation. I would probably try to say something like "I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable with that" and just let everyone assume you're shy. If that doesn't work, I'd just go ahead and do a short, generic prayer. Think about what you'd say beforehand, so you have something in mind and can wrap it up quickly. You don't have to impress your fellow atheists by taking some pointless stand in a classroom -- we don't have some kind of dogma you'd be betraying. Get it over with, get on with your life, and forget it. You know you don't believe it, and it's not a life-or-death situation, so who cares?

This won't help you, I'm sure. LOL But soon before leaving the church myself when I was 12, the leader of the youth group I was in would (like your lecturer) would call on someone to lead the prayer. When I was called on, I'd do the whole passive-aggressive thing and not say anything. Just remained silent. He was also so busy with someone else at the end that I managed to sneak out without him talking to me about it later. I did that 2 or 3 times before he stopped calling my name. Again, I was 12. Not something I'd do in my 40's. I think what I'd do now is something someone else mentioned is speak with the Lecturer then explain that I wasn't comfortable about leading the prayer and if he could respectfully not call on me next time to do it. 

Not entirely on subject, but then again, not entirely off, I ran across an article a couple of weeks ago that expounded on the benefits of prayer. I really wish I had saved the URL, but I had no way of knowing this topic would come up.

The article related that prayer has been proven by brain scans, to release positive endorphins that provide the body and mind with a feeling of tranquility and well-being. Almost four-fifths through the article, it also added, in only a couple of sentences, that meditation does the same thing.

Anybody think that just possibly the article might have been slanted?

pax vobiscum,
archaeopteryx
www.in-His-own-image.com

I hope you are not studying biology!

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