The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics

Well, at least he’s not doing anything useless… wait…

Last week marks the end of an era: Pope Benedix XVI delivered his final public blessing, according to CNN Breaking News.

The Pope said he will continue serving the church by, according to the article, “taking up a life of prayer and meditation.”

Um… what?

How is this serving anyone or anything?

pope praying

Meditative prayer has been linked to things like reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, but let’s not kid ourselves here: The Pope is not serving anyone by taking up a life of prayer. What is a life of prayer, anyway? That’s essentially saying, “I’m done contributing to the world.” There has never been a proper double-blind study that has shown any statistically significant effect of intercessory prayer. Not one.

At best, the Pope is no longer doing damage as leader of an organization which rails against condom use, abortion, stem-cell research, gay civil rights, women’s rights, etc, etc, etc.

Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, made an excellent point in a Huffington Post article that I think bears repeating: A new pope, regardless of whether he is more liberal or more conservative, will be a good thing for rational people. If the new pope is liberal, he will work to enact policy changes that are better for stem-cell research, AIDS prevention, abortion access, women’s civil rights, LGBTQ civil rights, and relations with secular people. If the new pope is conservative, he will drive even more “C&E” Catholics (Catholics who only care about their religion on Christmas and Easter) away from the Church and toward the wonderful world of reality in the 21st century.

Until next time,


dave_bio_pic4Dave Muscato is the Public Relations Director for American Atheists based in Cranford, New Jersey. An atheism activist, blogger, and public speaker, he is also a board member of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday; twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard, and monthly or more on His website is

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and don’t forget… other SASHA members! We are here for you, too!


About Danielle Muscato

Danielle Muscato is a civil rights activist, writer, and public speaker. She has appeared on or been quoted in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, VH1, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, "The Real Story" with Gretchen Carlson, The O'Reilly Factor, Huffington Post Live, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Raw Story, CNN, CBS, and Howard Stern Danielle is the former Director of Public Relations for American Atheists. She is also a board member of MU SASHA (University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists & Agnostics). Her website is Follow her on Google+ Follow her on Twitter @daniellemuscato Subscribe to her on YouTube at

3 comments on “Well, at least he’s not doing anything useless… wait…

  1. rocketkirchner
    March 3, 2013

    dave , never underestimate an activity that lowers blood pressure. every time i go on down to the river my high pressure lowers . when you sit and just play your instrument by yourself , like we musicians do , it is good therapy . walking in the woods is another thing . people ask what good is this ? some activitys dont have to have meaning to have meaning . this may sound like a zen koan but it really is true .

    we all need to do what helps us put gas back in our tank to help others so that we dont burn out . Sean Connery in the movie ”Finding Forrester ” put his socks on backwards . the real rational intellectual kid he was tutoring said ” why do you do that? ” he answered …”well , they say that it is good luck ”. and the kid says ”do you actually believe in luck ?” Connery replied ”no . but its like prayer . i dont believe in that either , but who knows , it cant hurt”.

    now if we assume your position is true merely for discussion sake , my response would be that even if there is no God , and prayer does nothing ”out there”, many have attested that it does something to sooth one , and help give them peace of mind . staring into a river , playing the guitar , walking in the woods , prayer , etc… helps many people cope with a very noisy and crazy world . to qoute john lennon ‘whatever gets you thru the night , is alright”. LOL .

    • Dave Muscato
      March 3, 2013

      I’ve no issue with meditative prayer, aka meditation (or playing guitar, walking in the woods, etc). But that is not the same as intercessory prayer, which is why I specified.

      • rocketkirchner
        March 4, 2013

        Dave , Intercessory prayer can fall under the same category of giving one peace of mine in dealing with the existential angst of the burden of ones sentience just as contemplative prayer can . it is just a longer hike in the woods thats all . LOL

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