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REPLY #1 TO
"PUBLIC PRAYER"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) Ah, life was so much simpler when I was a boy. In the world I lived in, prayer and praying in Jesus' name was as normal a brushing your teeth.
(MB) It was the same when I was a boy. Of course, since I came from a small-town farming area of North Dakota, 99.46% of the local populace shared the same religion and there was no need to be concerned with other views. I thought little of it myself until I began to make a study of religion. Now that I've been fortunate enough to have been around much of the country and several different parts of the world, it has become blatantly obvious that the typical American practice of public prayer is, like so many of our other customs, unique to this country.


(R) Your suggestion to simply offer a short time of silence would probably not be that bad.
(MB) It seems like a simple and easy solution. Why not allow for all views instead of promoting (however unintentionally) just one of them?


(R) As a Christian, it only comes natural to want the thank the Creator for the blessings of life, represented by the food we eat. However, more and more I realize there are many, many different views and beliefs and this deserves consideration.
(MB) I have no problems with giving thanks for one's blessings. One needs only consider the billions who are less fortunate than we are to justify a moment of reflection to be grateful for what we have.
    I have a theological question on this issue, too. If one believes that there is only one God and gives thanks to him for what he has provided, and if that same belief posits that this God loves all of Mankind more or less equally, why should there be great numbers of people (including pious believers in God and/or Jesus) who suffer from a great lack of similar blessings?



(R) I am 57 years old and the president of a small bank here in Kentucky. During my life time there have been radical changes in society. I will not bore you with the usual litany of social problems. However, over the years my early faith has only been strengthened by the observations that the "world" takes its own path searching fruitlessly for the meaning of life. Although I have studied other religions and atheism, I have always come back to the Bible as the only trustworthy guide for the answers to what "ails us."
(MB) I have little quibble with the Bible as a basis for a personal morality or as a guide to living. There is much wisdom within it. However, this wisdom is not exclusive to the Bible or to any other belief system -- to include non-religious systems. And, let's face it, one would have a hard time finding too many people who follow all of the Bible's teachings. In a way, most people seem to treat its guidelines much as they would make selections from a menu in a stereotypical Chinese restaurant -- one from Column A, three from Column B, etc.


(R) Pretty deep subject here, and one that a believer and non-believer could "argue" all day without resolving anything.
(MB) True. But, it's one that is worthy of discussion if only to ensure that any conclusions have been well considered.


(R) Good luck to you. Thanks for your views on public prayer. I am going to use your article this morning in my Sunday School class. We are studying the matter of public praying and whether and why we do it.
(MB) Excellent! I would be greatly interested in hearing the outcome of those studies.



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