This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Military Proselytizing by the Gideons – and how we stopped it.

Griz82's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Griz82

I've been in the Army for several years now, and religion is thrown in everyone's face all the time. I can't say I was ever given a brief by the Gideons at MEPS, but I certainly remember their bibles being widely distributed. The Chaplain Corps is an institution that needs to be cast out in its present form. The religious nonsense spewing from the Chaplain Corps on a daily basis makes Army life difficult for non-believers. "Let us pray" is a command given at each change of command ceremony, and every Soldier is expected to bow his or her head. Prayers are offered up at almost every function. Each time a chaplain offers up a prayer, I'm surprised how my head is the only one not bowed in a room of hundreds. It's difficult for me to believe I'm the only atheist every place I go. If there are other atheists in the units I've been in - and I'm sure there are - they have been very quiet. I believe that the chief concern is backlash; no one wants their lack of belief to affect their careers. I myself have been fairly open about my non-belief, and I haven't suffered as a result yet. I'm sure, however, most of my co-workers do not know that I'm an atheist. I'm sure if word really got out, my career could possibly be in jeopardy. Christianity is a big part of the Army culture. I had one brigade commander who told a group of my fellow Officers that if we had "strayed in our faith", we had better find it again quickly. Without faith, he said, we could not be good leaders. "Soldiers need an explanations about the violence of war that only faith can give," he asserted. "When a Soldier is dying and he asks for you to pray with him, you had better be ready offer spiritual guidance." Most people are completely clueless that transcendence, goodness, courage, and words of guidance and comfort are all possible without god.

I recently arrived at a new duty station, and was promptly asked my "religious preference". The chaplain was extremely concerned when I told him "no religious preference". He began to ask probing questions about my religious background, and he wants to "get together sometime to talk about" my lack of faith. He had better be careful. He might just lose his faith.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 05:41:43 UTC | #945809