In 15 ways atheists can stand up for rationality, author Jeffrey Taylor lays out the ways in which atheists can and should speak up for rational living. He does it by presenting actual situations or statements we are likely to confront regularly as we speak our minds.
I’ll deal with them over the next few days.
1. “Let’s say grace!”
No, let’s not. When you’re seated at the family dinner table and a relative suggests clasping hands, lowering heads and thanking the Lord, say “No thanks. I’m an atheist. So I’ll opt out.” Nonbelievers have every right to object when being asked to take part in superstitious rituals; in fact, if children are present, they are morally obliged to do so. Courteously refusing to pray will set an example of rational behavior for the young, and contribute to furthering the atheist zeitgeist.
The very few times this has come up I usually leave the room (if everyone is standing, as for a buffet style Thanksgiving dinner) or simply push my chair back so those on either side of me can join hands if that is requested (and it usually is). Unfortunately, in either action, I am forced to refrain from eating or drinking or doing much of anything else but look around to see who else isn’t superstitious.
People can do what they want, but the only appropriate way to pray at a meal where non-believers are present is silently, by yourself, without imposing your religion on others and without demanding an audience from others.