A court has ruled that prayer at the start of business at Bideford Town Council is not lawful, on the grounds that it is not covered by the Local Government Act. The Religion Law blog has a useful commentary on this.
Naturally, the atheists are rejoicing; naturally because they as always completely miss the point of prayer. But then that is not surprising. People who do not apparently have the ability to recognise or relate to anything which is not purely material will necessarily be handicapped in understanding the nature of prayer; just as they are necessarily incapable of understanding the nature of decision-making, as it too is not purely material.
And this lack of spiritual awareness is what appears to lie at the heart of so much atheist nonsense. The idea, for example, that the existence of God needs some material proof is a simple lack of conceptualisation of the spiritual, which to many of us is just a natural part of life. The idea that religion is consent to a set of propositions – and that casting doubt on those propositions is therefore a ‘disproof’ of religion – is equally nonsensical, because it lacks not just sense; it lacks senses.
The idea that faith is an assent to an unprovable proposition is a misreading of the very meaning of faith: we have faith in God because we know we can rely on God, just as we have faith in mathematics because we know it is reliable, not because it is a set of propositions, or despite, in the case of mathematics, even its demonstrable incompleteness. Someone ignorant of mathematics cannot understand that; so the atheist cannot understand faith. Exclusion of faith from the decisions of a council makes as much sense as the exclusion of mathematics.
The knowledge of God in which we rejoice and under which we live is something which brooks no rejection. It is an aspect of human completeness; and without it no human activity can be complete. even the American-style separation of Church and State carries the implicit acknowledgement that neither is complete without the other; that they are complementaries.
For those with a full set of senses – including the sense of the spiritual – praying before taking decisions is simply a matter of engaging all the faculties, spiritual as well as material, in the process of reaching the best balanced and informed decision. It is inherent to the decision-making process of any body, if that body is to take the right decisions.
Atheists, reject stridently the faith they do not understand, without the basis of understanding to reach a decision as to whether it should be rejected. As noted in the Psalm, they thus doom themselves to foolishness; to incompletely based decisions, shutting out essential parts of human understanding and nature.
That is their tragedy, but insofar as they are determined to spread their tragedy to the rest of us, that is also their danger.
However the atheist victory in this case appears to be very short-lived; as has now been pointed out, the Local Government Act is very shortly to be superseded. The new Act allows a wider interpretation; so Bideford will be able to pray again. And the fact that the Court saw no Human Rights justification for banning prayers will, if anything, tell against any future mischievous attempts of this sort.