Hemant Mehta has an interest video at blog: What Should an Atheist Do If Asked to Say Grace During Thanksgiving Dinner?.
First off, Grace at the Thanksgiving table is a common custom, even among families who don’t normally say grace at home. Some families sit at the table and hold hands; others gathering in a standing circle and hold hands.
I do not say grace. If I am asked to say grace at a gathering of religious folks, I will politely decline or defer to someone who actually believes. If I am expected to bow the head, close the eye, and hold hands in a circle while someone else says grace, I will excuse myself from the room until their little ritual is done. It’s not my ritual so it’s rude and inauthentic for me to participate.
When it comes to
superstition and pointless ritual religion, I don’t think it is proper for me to just play along while the superstitious folks believers do their thing. I won’t interfere or stop them, but it is wrong to conform just for the sake of conforming. Going along with the crowd is fine if you actually believe in it, but if you don’t believe in it, you have to own your own thoughts and separate yourself from the crowd.
If everyone at the table started masturbating, would you join in? I wouldn’t. I’d remove myself from the situation. Prayer and masturbation are the same, in that they are both supposed to be done in private, or at least with those who genuine feel it. When done in front of others it is more often a means to coerce conformity. I’ve never been one to “go along to get along” in such situations because it rejects individuality and independent thought or action.