Skepticism

National Day of Prayer

Bunk, over at JREF, brought this to my attention:
Atheists to Counter “National Day of Prayer” with Blood Donations
What a great idea!

Lifesaving Action, Not Passive Prayer, Is the Message

What do you do on May 3, 2007, the “National Day of Prayer,” if you are an atheist, do not believe in prayer and are opposed to the observance of a prayer day being imposed on all American citizens?

While Believers are praying on May 3rd (an act that has been scientifically proven to be ineffective), groups of atheists will go to Blood Banks in scores of U.S. locales to donate their blood and sign up for organ donation programs. It is a nationwide action which we hope will point out that there are alternatives to silently beseeching a deity to perform miracles.

“While religious people are on their knees, we atheists will be on our feet, giving a part of ourselves for the benefit of humanity,” says Kenneth Bronstein, founder of the Center For Atheism, an informational and activist group based in New York City. “We know that prayer does not work–but medical science does.”

How can you join the effort?

1) Find your local blood bank by accessing www.americasblood.org or http://www.givelife.org, then type in your zip code to find your local blood bank
2) Phone the blood bank to make arrangements for a group donation (You will find them amazingly supportive and accommodating.)
3) Notify your local newspaper, TV and other media that your group is doing this and why.
4) Visit www.atheistvolunteers.org to log your donation.

Yay!

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39 Comments

  1. My first reaction was "Brilliant!"

    But then I thought, there are other good reasons to encourage quiet meditation and reflection. Maybe this reaction is being a bit too snide.

    And then I looked at the website for the National Day of Prayer Task Force (http://www.ndptf.org/about/index.cfm) and was terribly frightened. Not only is it explicitly focused on Christian prayer, but it really is calling for more intercessory prayer on behalf of America.

    Let's get out there and bleed for secular humanism.

  2. You don't have to *look* at the needles.

    After ~15 years of donating while staring determinedly at the ceiling, I did have a quick look last time, and rather wished I hadn't.

    That said, assuming the person sticking it in knows what they're doing, it doesn't feel at all bad.

    I really don't like the sight of my own blood in any kind of quantity, and I don't like watching people stick needles in me, but it really is just a visual thing. If I don't watch during insertion or removal while donating, I don't have any problems.

  3. I strongly recommend that those of you with blood/needle phobias use blood donation as a means to overcome your fear. The best way to overcome your fear is to confront it in a safe, supportive environment. That's what blood donation is. The phlebotomists who work for the Red Cross are very experienced and go out of their way to make you as comfortable as possible. They give you plenty of time to relax before the insert the needle.

    To get your best chance of having a good experience, I recommend you go with a friend who has lots of experience donating blood. Eat a big meal before you go. This will keep you from feeling dizzy, and food that contain tryptophan will help by making you mellow. If you don't feel confident when you first arrive at the blood bank, let your friend go first, and ask if you can stay with him/her while they donate. This allows you to observe the process and talk to your friend while they are doing it. Then when your turn comes, ask to have your friend stay with you. Your friend can talk to you, comfort you, and alert the phlebotomist immediately if you're experiencing any discomfort or want to stop.

    The reason I feel it's important to do this, aside from all the reason why giving blood is a good thing to do, is that, sooner or later, we all have to face needles. If we're in an accident, there is a high likelihood we will be seeing our own blood. There is also a high likelihood that we will need multiple injections, catheterization and blood sampling. Having to deal with all this while you're already under the stress of being in an accident and possibly having multiple injuries only adds to the likelihood that you'll go into shock. If you already have a high comfort level with these procedures, you might have the opposite reaction, perceiving them as helping rather than threatening.

    I started donating blood when I started college. So far I've donated more than twenty gallons. My blood is Type O negative, which means I am a universal donor. This also means my type is the first type they run out of, and I cannot receive any other blood type. If I donate as frequently as possible, I'm doing everything I can to make sure they'll have enough O neg blood if I ever need it. This is another reason for giving blood that is totally based on self-interest.

  4. What the hell is this?

    Attention non-mathematician: on March 14th, Pi Day, we should do something that actually helps: donate blood

    Attention non-internet nerds: on September 19th, Talk Like A Pirate Day, we should do something that actually helps: donate blood.

    Attention atheists: on December 25th, Christmas, we should do something that actually helps…

    Attention atheists: on every Sunday between 9AM-12PM, while those believers are wasting time in church, we should do something that actually helps…

    and so on. Seriously, I appreciate the blood drive, but couldn't you at least think of a better reason than a snarky, immature attack on Christianity?

  5. @ illuminatedwax:

    Yes, exactly! considering most of these made up holidays are pretty silly, why not have fun with'em as a reason to give blood? actually, donating blood while talking like a pirate sounds great (my personal favorite is still 'Bloody Valentine' tough :)

    And well, poking snarky fun at Christians a bit is fun, too (they get all the enjoyment of telling us we're going to hell…)

  6. To speak to those with a needle phobia I would agree that donating blood is a very good way to, if not overcome, at least manage this phobia.

    I have very tiny veins and finding one large enough for a blood test or a donation is a challenge. Whenever I've had a test done at a doctor's office, hospital or lab (in many different parts of the country) I usually have to wait for two-three technicians to have a committee meeting over my poor arm to decided which vein to use and which one of them will try it. That being said, I've donated blood whenever able since I was 18 and I have NEVER had one of the RC technicians even give my arm a second glance. They do this so often, they know exactly how to do it quickly with minimum discomfort.

  7. Wish I could help, but I am not allowed to donate blood because of my tattoos. And because of my clinical history I am not eligible to donate organs. Is there any other thing I could do?

    Speak to the kids at your local middle school about the negative consequences of getting tattoos. :)

  8. Seriously, I appreciate the blood drive, but couldn’t you at least think of a better reason than a snarky, immature attack on Christianity?

    What could be better than a snarky, immature attack on Christianity?

    Okay, seriously: could you please explain what it is about this response that you consider "snarky," "immature," ore even an "attack"? Is giving blood for other reasons also a "snarky, immature attack" on something, or is it just that you consider any criticism of Christianity a "snarky, immature attack"?

  9. I don't understand why we're promoting awareness,

    this isn't a legitimate National holiday

    US National Holidays for 2007

    Date Day Name of Holiday Set Date

    Jan. 1, 2007 Monday New Year’s Day Jan. 1

    Jan. 15, 2007 Monday Martin Luther King’s b-day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

    Feb. 19, 2007 Monday Washington’s birthday 3rd Mon. in Feb.

    May 28, 2007 Monday Memorial Day Last Mon. in May

    July 4, 2007 Wednesday Independence Day July 4

    Sep. 3, 2007 Monday Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sep.

    Oct. 8, 2007 Monday Columbus Day 2nd Mon. in Oct.

    Nov. 11, 2007 Monday Veterans Day* Nov. 11

    Nov. 22, 2007 Thursday Thanksgiving 4th Thur. in Nov.

    Nov. 23, 2007 Friday Day after Thanksgiving

    Dec. 24, 2007 Monday Christmas Eve Dec. 24

    Dec. 25, 2007 Tuesday Christmas Dec. 25

    http://www.sourcingmag.com/blog/archive/us_nation

    So where exactly is the fire ,everyone's getting upset over?

    Prayer-day,is everyday,for most members of faith.However

    this isn't a real holiday,nationally or Federal,so how does

    this topic actually hold any merit?

    To me this is an equivalent to National smoke day 4-20,

    either you participate,or you don't..

    Are we adults,or children here?

    V..

  10. To speak to those with a needle phobia I would agree that donating blood is a very good way to, if not overcome, at least manage this phobia.

    The problem for me isn't needles, since I've have IVs done before. I'm afraid of passing out, which I do surprisingly easily. To be honest, I'm not even sure I would, but just knowing I might has always been enough to scare me.

    I do need to register as an organ donor, though. I checked the box for it on my license, but I need to finish everything else.

  11. Okay, seriously: could you please explain what it is about this response that you consider “snarky,” “immature,” ore even an “attack”? Is giving blood for other reasons also a “snarky, immature attack” on something, or is it just that you consider any criticism of Christianity a “snarky, immature attack”?

    Well, you're basically implying that Christians are:

    1) idiots who think that prayer is going to cause change in the world when it won't

    2) hypocrites because they say they believe in Good Things but waste all their time praying and worshiping a fake magical fairy in the sky

    I hope you can see what is wrong about those two implications. If not, 1) is a straw man (contrary to what some Christians say, prayer is not a magic wand), 2) is a false dilemma and is based on the axiom that religion is stupid, which is circular logic. It's immature because you're adopting the same holier-than-thou attitude that you decry Christians for.

  12. Couldn't one counter National Prayer Day with National Hot Monkey Sex Day? That way the slogan could be “While religious people are on their knees, we atheists will also be on our knees”.

  13. I don't exactly see the need for *countering*, at least not publically.

    If someone wants to feel they've done something useful, they can just do it.

    In the [unlikely] event that someone else came up to them and said "*I've been praying today, what have *you* been doing?", they'd have a response, but the idea of general oneupmanship against regular believers does seem a bit dubious.

    If someone asking "What should I do an National Prayer Day?" was answered with "Do something useful, like giving blood" on an atheist website, that's one thing. Making some specific organised association to almost define giving blood as anti-prayer seems a bit unnecessary.

    I suppose there are the practicalities of numerous people donating blood on the same day if an event actually took off (rather than maybe making that day the day they officially *decide to become* an ongoing donor).

    If it's judged that giving blood is good, either starting to give blood oneself, or encouraging others to do so would seem a good thing at any time of year, irrespective of what the others may believe.

    I suppose there's also the religious perspective of "If it wasn't for us praying, *those* people wouldn't be giving blood. Prayer works". To an extent, that may be a justifiable conclusion.

    Personally, I'd rather not have people thinking that positive things I do are in negative response to them. Even if on occasion they may be.

  14. On a more serious note csrster,

    I don't believe a counter attack is warranted here.

    In fact,it seems that some of you,draw a fine-line

    between,preemptive and reactive response..

    I've concluded,(fact)there's no such holiday!

    Put down musket and bowie knife,simply

    go about your normal life..

    You are being mislead and goated into a non-issue,

    breath in,and relax..V

  15. Well,I may not be as eloquent as some,however

    since we're entertaining irrelevant non-issues,

    Should we be upset that Superman draws his power

    from the sun,but we don't?

    I think it's race discrimination!

    Should we make Yogi bear,pay restitution,for all of his

    thievery regarding pick-nick baskets..

    What message are we sending to our kids?

    Finally,how many days has it been?

    really,why do we still call the show 24,

    when it's been running,for over a hundred hours?

    I apologies if I take this thread out of context,

    but considering it never had any legitimacy,

    I hope I'm entitled to rabble too

    V

  16. "Well,I may not be as eloquent as some,however since we’re entertaining irrelevant non-issues,"

    V, Eloquence isn't really the issue.

    Intelligibility is the issue, and much of the time, what you write really isn't easy to understand.

    Unless you actually start being more understandable and coherent, I'll likely pay you less and less attention, and I suspect that most other people will do the same.

    That won't necessarily mean people are ignoring your points, but that they don't think it's worth the hassle of trying to decipher what you're saying if it's likely to be nonsense anyway.

  17. You know PH that high horse of yours can cause noise bleeds,

    I do my spell checks,so my words are legible.I also have Guild-Wars,

    so their other places my attention is better served..

    My question is,what make you actually think,

    what you say,is worth reading..

    So far,my monk could be at lvl20

    I would much rather test batteries with my tongue,

    than read another boring opinion,parroted by everyone but me..

  18. "You know PH that high horse of yours can cause noise bleeds,

    I do my spell checks,so my words are legible"

    Your words may be legible, and even spelled correctly, but that's not nearly enough to guarantee you make sense. I could play a piano both audibly and in tune, but what would come out wouldn't be music.

    Assuming you're on the level, I presume English isn't your first language. I freely admit that my attempts to write in any other language than English would likely not come out at all well, but that's one reason why I stick to English.

    "I would much rather test batteries with my tongue,

    than read another boring opinion,parroted by everyone but me.."

    If *I* found myself somewhere where I honestly thought the only interesting opinions were coming from me, after a good long bit of introspection to make sure I wasn't being an arrogant egocentric child, I'd move somewhere else.

    I wouldn't hang around moaning at people or *talking* about going, I'd just go.

  19. Hello PH,

    "Your words may be legible, and even spelled correctly,

    but that’s not nearly enough to guarantee you make sense."

    Understood PH,even if I spell perfectly,

    I'm still just not your kind of people,huh?

    " I could play a piano both audibly and in tune"

    Understood PH,I need to affluent in both English,and in

    Music,just to hold a note with you,is that right?

    I did say I felt unwelcomed here,thank you very much,

    for pointing out,why that is..

    "If *I* found myself somewhere where I honestly thought the only interesting opinions were coming from me, after a good long bit of introspection to make sure I wasn’t being an arrogant egocentric child, I’d move somewhere else."

    Right,I checked,and I'm fine with it..

    Reason being,is because a year ago,you didn't matter.

    this year,you don't matter..and next year,you wont matter..

    So why should I lose any sleep?

    V..

  20. V,

    You display such charity and humility. What an advertisement you are for your amazing belief system.

    "I’m still just not your kind of people,huh?"

    Generally, my kind of person doesn't act like a spoiled child and say everyone apart from them is boring. There are few things less interesting than a spoiled child.

  21. "What an advertisement you are for your amazing belief system."

    Who said I had any?

    I'm like you,I make them up as I go..

    "Generally, my kind of person doesn’t act like a spoiled child

    and say everyone apart from them is boring. There are few

    things less interesting than a spoiled child. "

    Totally went over your head

    I never said I'm the only important opinion,

    I will say,my opinion is the only important one,that matters to me.

    Do you feel,your opinion to me,should matter more?

    Should anyone's opinion,matter more to me,than mine?

    I don't understand your vast wisdom..

    But back to my point,I LISTEN to many important opinions,

    I'm just pointing out,how very few,there are here..

    Do you feel better now,wont a cookie?

  22. "Who said I had any?

    I’m like you,I make them up as I go.."

    So your talk about God *was* just pathetic trolling then? Thanks for clearing that up.

    "Should anyone’s opinion,matter more to me,than mine?"

    Not if you're unwilling to risk learning anything, which seems distinctly possible.

    "I’m just pointing out,how very few,there are here.."

    You're claiming there's *nothing* here that isn't boring apart from you. *You* don't like anyone here, and then you whine about being unwelcome. It's little wonder that with that kind of arrogance, you erode the respect and attention that people may initially give you.

    You've sure as heck eroded mine.

  23. "So your talk about God *was* just pathetic trolling then?

    Thanks for clearing that up."

    I have no clue what you're referring to here,nor do

    I care for an explanation..

    my views,are always mine,not yours,but what makes

    you the pathetic king,to deem little ol me,unworthy?

    “Should anyone’s opinion,matter more to me,than mine?”

    Not if you’re unwilling to risk learning anything, which seems distinctly possible.

    I don't have to "learn something"to make your opinion matter..

    (that's just stupid)

    a)I will not learn,how to crack a safe

    b)I will not learn,how to build explosives

    c)I will not learn,how to pee,standing upside down

    There's plenty of ways,I'll discriminate,

    how your opinion is irrelevant to me..

    V

  24. V,

    I don't think everyone with a different point of view is boring.

    If *I* was somewhere where I thought everyone was boring and where I had made myself unwelcome, I'd leave. I wouldn't hang around being a pain in the backside while whining about the better things I could be doing somewhere else. Only someone pretty sad would do something like that.

    Unless you actually try and contribute to topics rather then just derailing them, I'll leave you to your sub-literate mumblings.

  25. Dear PH,I never said "everyones boring",just

    mostly what I hear here..

    2)when does anything you say effect my life?

    3)what you call derailing,I call objectionable critical thinking

    or do you believe everyone deserves healthy criticism,but you..

    Funny how you wont me out the kitchen,

    because you can't handle the heat..

    V.

  26. The biggest problem I have with donating blood is that they discriminate based on sexuality. Homosexual men and women who've slept with bisexual men are not allowed to donate.

    Seeing as they test the blood, this seems like a silly requirement. It's essentially saying that all homosexuals carry blood diseases. I can understand that testing blood is not cheap or easy, and it would be better to reduce some risk factors, but is there truly a higher risk of disease among homosexual and bisexual males? I kind of thought that was a perceived statistic, not necessarily a true one.

  27. I think part of the logic might be that if someone was actively homosexually promiscuous, they would be a high risk due to the difficulties of picking up infection in the early stages.

    One might argue that there's a point of monogamy and/or sexual inactivity where the risk is essentially 'average', or indeed that there may be many heterosexual people who would be significantly above average risk, but I suppose there's always the difficulty of relaxing blanket rules once they've been introduced.

    In the UK, they do reject various other people as well, either permanently (anyone who's ever self-injected nonmedical drugs, even a single dose of steroids decades ago, anyone who's ever accepted money for sex), or temporarily (people who've had recent cosmetic needlework, anyone not covered by a permanent restriction who's had sex in the last year with anyone in the permanent restriction group or with anyone who's been sexually active in HIV-prevalent areas).

    Having a blanket rule isn't saying that all homosexual men carry blood diseases, it's saying that on average, the risk is rather higher, and however harsh or simplistic it may seem, from a practical point of view, if they have about enough donors already, they don't need to bother with trying to make subtler distinctions within any of the restricted groups.

    If I were living in the USA, I wouldn't be able to donate because of the potential risk I may be carrying vCJD as a result of having lived in the UK. I might think they're being over-cautious, but then my donating isn't about me, and, I wouldn't see the restrictions as Anglophobic.

    The main function of the blood service is to get the largest amount of clean blood at the least cost, and even if they opened up a little by having more complex rules, how many potential donors would they gain? There'd likely always be a fair chunk of homosexual men who'd still be excluded by any reasonably simple and adequately cautious rules.

  28. It seems to me that if you so adamantly disagree with the presence and power of an almighty God, you would care less about a national day of prayer. Seems like an awful lot of time and energy focusing on what you claim to be non-existent!

  29. You think the National Day of Prayer is being forced on you?? Be thankful for a country that allows you to be "atheist". When Islam takes over, you'll be praying alright, to Allah, or you'll be shot … or worse. They don't TOLERATE "atheism". You bow or die. They don't "TOLERATE" anyone who doesn't believe the way they do, they don't tolerate Christians, Jews, gays, or atheists, they kill them all in their countries and they intend to take over ours. Be very careful not to take your religious freedom for granted. You want to see a non-tolerant group, look there. What are you doing to protect religious freedom for all people in this country, yours and mine included????? Donating blood? (Fine cause, I'm all for it) But if you don't stand up for religious freedom, you'll be shedding yours! By the way, you may try reading Romans 1. That chapter tells you that God says there are no atheists, everyone KNOWS there's a God, it is clearly seen in Creation. There are only those who don't WANT to admit it… Food for thought….

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