Because sometimes “praying” is an awful lot like “wishing”

3 May

If he's anything like me, he's wondering why he's still watching Heroes.

The National Day of Reason is celebrated on the first Thursday in May in the United States as a humanistic response to the National Day of Prayer. While I disagree with those who argue that a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, I do think a National Day of Reason is a more useful way to spend the day. I’m going to celebrate by making a cake with Rodin’s Le Penseur (The Thinker) in lemon icing.

I know for many people religion fills an important role in their life. Here are some things that I think may fill those roles even better. Try them out this Thursday!

  • Looking to understand “why?” Try science! It’s way more satisfying. If your goal is not to feel satisfied, but rather to feel awestruck by the magnitude of things, try nature.
  • Looking for some comfort? Talk to a friend or bartender.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by life? Try chocolate. Or a good To Do list.
  • Looking for morality? Here’s an easy exercise: think about your relationship to other people on the planet. Then think about your relationship to animals. Then, your relationship to the planet itself. Now, keep those things in your head, and on a piece of paper, write down a list of “good things to do,” and below that a list of “bad things to do.” You might write, for example, “share” on your good list, and “enslave people” on your bad list.
  • Feeling guilty? Say you’re sorry.
  • Looking for meaning? Try helping other people. Give blood. Volunteer.
  • Looking for a sense of community? Try
  • Looking for a way to get your kids to behave? Teach empathy. And maybe offer (earthly) bribes every now and then.

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