National Day of Prayer Versus the National Day of Reason

Each year people from every walk of life, regardless of religion or political affiliation, gather for a National Day of Prayer that’s held on the first Thursday in May. Hoping to capitalize on the attention given to the National Day of Prayer, the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition of America “are joining forces to combat the National Day of Prayer by promoting the National Day of Reason.”

The history of prayer for our nation goes back to at least 1775 when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a new nation. The day was officially recognized in 1952 when President Harry Truman signed into law a proclamation for an annual day of prayer.

Now the atheists want in on the action. They are claiming that we can solve our problems with reason alone. The reason-alone approach has been tried before with bloody results. The Enlightenment philosophers of the eighteenth century rejected the Christian religion and declared reason to be supreme. “Europe disintegrated because the goddess of Reason, whom the French revolutionaries placed, in the shape of a Parisian streetwalker, upon the altar of Notre Dame,”1 became France’s new authority. Outfitted in the attire of a Roman goddess, she was “carried shoulder‑high into the cathedral by men dressed in Roman costumes.”2

To make the transition from the old religion of Christianity to the new religion of reason-worship the church of Notre Dame was reconsecrated to the “Cult of Reason.”

In the France of 1793, Reason was not only a god that failed, she was a goddess who cut her own throat. The fanaticism of reason that gripped the French revolutionaries convinced them that they could create a republic of reason out of thin air — or more correctly, out of hot air. The men who came up with the idea of celebrating the Festival of Reason were all quite intelligent men—rational actors in the most pronounced sense of this word. They were determined not only to think for themselves and control their own lives, but to build a society that would meet their ideals.3

Belief in reason over religion is beginning to look like the modern materialist’s new savior. Sam Harris tries to make this point in his book The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Al Gore argues in a similar way in The Assault on Reason. If people were only reasonable, they and others argue, all would be right with the world.

Harris and the other reason-alone advocates don’t not tell us whose version of reason we are to follow. Is it the reason of the French Revolutionaries who hadn’t met a head they didn’t want to lop off or the reason of the Stalinists who believed the Gulag was a good place for someone to “get his mind right”? Maybe we should follow the reasoning of Aristotle who believed in the reasonableness and “natural order” for the institution of slavery because there are some people who are “slaves by nature.”

One last thing. The reason-only crowd contend that the Constitution is a “secular document” that does not mention anything about religion. It should be pointed out that the word “reason” does not appear in the body of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment does use the word “unreasonable searches and seizures.” While the word “reason” is not found, a reference to Jesus Christ is. Just above George Washington’s signature, the following is found:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names.

  1. Richard Hertz, Chance and Symbol (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1948), 100. []
  2. Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (1976) in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, 5 vols. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1984), 5:122. []
  3. Lee Harris, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 67. []

30 thoughts on “National Day of Prayer Versus the National Day of Reason

  1. I think we have a problem here with the definition of ‘reason’. If what passes today as ‘reason’ were remotely reasonable, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    1. Hmmm, I sure don’t get why many believers feel the need to vilify atheists, belittle them for their lack of belief in the improvable construct of a god, any god or as PMDavis alludes to, that I must be a fool to hold the view of religion I do.

      I feel no similar need to attempt to belittle believers positions simply because we see things differently. I couldn’t care less is someone wants to worship 2 headed snakes so long as in doing so they cause no harm to others.

      While I’m at this, let me dispell a few common myths: 1. atheists are not satanists, we don’t believe in a god so why would we believe in his arc nemesis either? 2. atheists are not all raving leftists. In all the ones I know, all are staunch conservatives. 3. atheists aren’t all enemies of believers, nor do most of us even care if you pray or practice your faith publicly. Most of us are firm believers in personal rights, so how could we be offended by your faith?

      Many facets of the conservative press and indeed many conservatives seem to view atheists as the enemy of freedom, or persecuters of believers simply because a small vocal band of atheists do so, yet that’s hardly the same position many, if not most of us take.

      Most of us believe completely in the right of religious freedom and just wish the same level of acceptance was given to the position we hold in regards to our lack of professing faith to a god. Is that really so much to ask, or does that make us ….. unreasonable?

      1. Kim,
        Although I do not agree with the atheist’s premise, it is so refreshing to hear your take, because It does not make sense how some atheists spend so much time and get so upset, over literally (in their minds) NOTHING. A true atheist believes that no gods or God, exsists. Therefore, logic would tell me that the most an atheist would do is laugh at or have pity for Christians, etc. However, this is not true of all atheists. Some, like the above mentioned National Day of Reason folks, spend way too much time reacting to, what in their minds, is literally NOTHING. This is foolishness, illogical and ironically, unreasonable.

        1. Back atcha JC,

          Thanks for the understanding position, but let me clarify things a bit further still.

          I don’t laugh at believers, nor do I pity them, I simply see us as holding differing views.

          Personally I can’t even grasp the concept of an atheist group as mentioned in the article. I need no validation for my thoughts, but perhaps they do, hard to say.

        2. Percisely Kim. No valadation of thoughts are required if you are perscribing to believe in nothing. What would be the point? Nothing. Exactly the correct conclusion. However, that being said, I have always admired the faith of an atheist, because by their own definition they say that there is no God or gods because there is no tangible proof of such. However, at the same time, the atheist has no conclusive tangible evidence that such a statement is true because they nor anyone has ever been, nor will ever be able go to, every corner of our vast (perhaps infinite) universe to see or collect data one way or the other on the matter. Ah, the faith of such folks…..

        3. Though there’s truth to your statement JC the very same can be said of people of faith as they nor I have been able to explore the far reaches of our universe yet claim allegiance to an improvable construct of a god. To me, that takes a lot more faith than simply claiming as the concept is itself improvable, I choose not to espouse such faith ;>)

        4. Kim,

          As stated below to Jim, I am not saying that faith in something necessarily makes you illogical, however, the amount of faith required toward a particular belief or non-belief, is the issue at hand. You say….. “People of faith…..I choose not to espouse such faith.” Very well. However, you do admit that you have at least some faith by your own admission of no conclusive evidence to support your own claim that there is no God or gods, you would be by default, in that category. An atheist must claim that they can only believe in what they can understand with their mind through comprehensible data and also verify with their eyes.

          Therefore, if I nor any other human never has collected enough or any data to verify a particular claim, it cannot exsist, nor function…….Is this also true of the atheist position?

        5. Hmm JC, though that’s an interesting manipulation of ideologies and verbage it still evades one all too simple truth.

          My position is that I have found no evidence to support the theory that any god exists, hence I put no “faith” in the idea that there is one. While I admit there’s always the possibility I could be disproven at some point, I lend no more credence to the theory of religion anymore than I do “the Big Bang Theory” or the “Theory of Evolution” as none are or at least at this point in time can be proven, hence the defining word “theory” is common to them all.

          Conversely, people of faith not only believe this improvable theory to be held forth as the truth, but do so and say one simply has to have faith because the concept is too far above our powers to comprehend.

          That my friend takes a lot more faith than is required of myself to simply say I am unwilling to swallow all that hook line and sinker on faith alone ;>)

        6. Kim,
          Then I must put no faith in your theory that there is no God, because again, you nor anyone have been to every corner of the universe to check, then come back and prove it to us. Atheists always say they need data. Well, where is it?……….You are making a huge assumption, much like a person who is a dectective that has not gone to the scene of an alleged crime, but rather assumes nothing happened. Wow. Now that detective has some faith. Stick with me here…..

          For example, it has also been at least alleged, and there is currently lots of information that is available to the evidence seeker and truth seeker, that Jesus Christ exsisted/exsists, and that He did say and does say that he is God and He also says He is the only God.

          Now, believe that or not, at least you have much more tangible info. here and now on Christ’s claim, more info. than you ever could consume, to look at. With atheism, it is a shot in the dark into an infinite universe. If you cannot touch, feel it, completely understand it, verify it and see it, (Data) then it does not exsist!, cries the atheist. But the atheist has not been everywhere, nor can he ever get to everywhere, to verify his absolute claim, and this is what does not make sense about the atheist making his absolute claim!

          Seems there is an infinite information gap as wide as the universe in his belief. His position therefore can be nothing more than hypothetical at best and he sees it as an absolute……….See? Well, maybe I am missing something here, please feel free to offer counter points, however, you already demonstrate that by being an atheist, you have some faith, so why not just relax, open your mind and explore other possibilities that take less faith?

          You also say that you have your reservations about evolution. Why so and what are they? Just curious…….. .

        1. Jim,

          You mean a very reasoned response to faith filled atheist zealots? Just Checking. I am not saying that faith in something necessarily makes you illogical, however, the amount of faith required toward a particular belief or non-belief, is the issue at hand.

  2. People that don’t believe in God and Jesus just keep trying to come up with some other way to make things right or try to explain everything away. It is really sad to watch them all walking around in such anger and hate. If they could only see and realize that knowing Jesus gives all the answers and gives inner peace and hope. But because they have the spirit of evil, that’s all they know and want to destroy the good. I just wish that Christians would start being bolder and quit letting non-believers push their agendas onto everyone else. It is not wrong to be bold and push back. Frankly, we have no one to blame but ourselves for letting our Christian and religious freedoms be taken away.

  3. “Reason”–a god worshipped by those who do not know nor understand that there is only one God, THE GOD of the Universe. So if the god, Reason, is worshipped it becomes another tool in the Enemy’s arsonal to perpetrate war upon God’s people. And thereby “good becomes evil and evil becomes good.” I read that somewhere……oh yes, it’s in the Bible!

  4. True reason would show people that faith is actually reasonable. No way any reasoning person would conclude that this world and everything in it evolved by some cosmic accident.

  5. This country wouldn’t have made it 50 years if not for the protection and guidance of the Lord God Almighty as revealed through His Son Jesus Christ. I would say that ALL of these “reason” proclaimers are fully without reason; God says so in His word.

  6. Come now, let us reason together and pray. There are lots of reasonable, logical and intelligent people who pray. Why is there any necessary divide, purported by the people of “reason”? This divide is unreasonable and not necessary……Come now, let us reason together, unify and pray!

  7. Psalm 1:1-3
    1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly (worldly reason), nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

    2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

    3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

  8. Is The Republican Establishment Is Trying To Steal The Nomination  From Ron Paul By Fraud?

    Absolutely! & The Main Stream Media Including FOX News Is Helping Them!

    Supporting Info:!&oq=Is+The+Republican+Establishment+Is+Trying+To+Steal+The+Nomination++From+Ron+Paul+By+Fraud!&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=hp.12…2858.16453.0.22403.…0.0.4SGngZVpCJw&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=d144f7b4c6d78456&biw=1010&bih=627

    1. I’m right there with you Ken.

      If RP were being given his due instead of the MSM (and YES even Fox) along with even his own political party making him as small in the publics eye as possible Romney would not have near the same support as he’s “shown” to have. It saddens me still more that even sites like this one rarely report on the shenanigans going on in the caucus and primary voting where they are literally robbing voters of their right to participate in the process.

      I am curious to see how they will attempt to continue these practices once the televised convention begins. That should be a real eye opener to many who finally see what’s going on ;>)

  9. I liken Ron Paul unto the Good Shepard, who when the wolf cometh, he standeth & fighteth, for he careth for the sheep. I liken Mitt Romney & Barak Obama unto the Hirelings, for when the wolf cometh, they runneth away, for they careth not for the sheep!
    Ron Paul is bringing a sword of division to the flock, to divide the real Constitutional Conservative Patriots from the phonies in the party who are Democrats & do not even know it.

  10. The French Revolution is what would have happen to us if we had kept the Articles of Confederation. We would have violence and mobs and not the rule of law. The Constitution is based on the Bible and is the only source of morals and ethics some thing that “reason” does not give you.

    1. Another attempt to portray believers as the only ones capable of morality. Very predictable yet quite untrue.It does not take faith in an improvable god to have morals.

      Quite simply all morality can be based on the the concept of “harm”. If ones actions lead to physical, emotional or mental harm of another, it is then immoral.

  11. Since you Democrats & Republicans posting on this site are obviously people of high moral principles, I would like to ask you join with me in denouncing & repudiating the Democratic party for their involvement in the formation of the KKK, & both the Democratic party for promoting, & the Republican party for doing nothing while Genocide is being committed against Black Americans through the vehicle of the eugenics program of Planned Parenthood, whereby 58% of Black America as well as unknown percentages of other races have been eliminated through the heinous & barbaric so-called medical procedure known as abortion. I’m sure all of you would agree that no place on earth should be safer for a baby than in it’s mother’s womb & that it is time for this insane subhuman politically correct culture of death to end! And to make sure that we elect a President who will actually do something about these atrocities, join with me in supporting the only candidate that matters: The lifelong anti-abortion Patriot from the great state of Texas; Veteran & Congressman, the Honorable Dr. Ron Paul!

  12. When Obama died, George Washington met him at the Pearly Gates. He slapped him across the face and yelled, “How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!” Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, “You wanted to end our liberties but you failed.” James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, “This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!” Thomas Jefferson was next, beat Obama with a long cane and snarled, “It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence.”
    The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the radical socialist leader. As Obama lay bleeding and in pain, an Angel appeared. Obama wept and said, “This is not what you promised me.” The Angel replied, “I told you there would be 72 VIRGINIANS waiting for you in Heaven. What did you think I said?? You really need to listen when someone is trying to tell you something!”

  13. Those who believe in God will find out when they die.
    Those who do not believe in God will find out when they die.
    Those who are ‘on the fence’ will find out when they die.

    As all we as humans can do is respect each others view, do the “right” thing while we are here on earth. We wil all find out when we die.

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