God is not at your graduation

God is not at your graduation

An “inclusive, secular invocation” will replace the traditional commencement prayer this year, according to an email from the Commencement Committee that was forwarded to MIT undergraduates by the UA president on Friday, May 9.

The email says the committee based its decision on a survey of students that “yielded nearly 600 results.”

The announcement comes after an April 18 opinion piece in The Tech criticized the prayer as exclusionary, noting that the 2013 prayer had invoked the “God of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed.”—William Navarre

Anonymous over 6 years ago

That's a rather unfortunate choice for a headline. God will still be at my graduation. Claiming otherwise is just as silly as claiming that the government is "keeping God out of our schools" by not having school-sponsored prayer.

By not invoking God by name, others who don't believe, or have different beliefs, can feel included. Not mentioning God explicitly doesn't exclude him from my graduation, but it includes my friends and classmates. Graduation is a moment that we all celebrate in unison as a class, and we should be able to celebrate every part of it in unison.

Anonymous '13 over 6 years ago

Thank you, Commencement Committee.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

1 Did you complain about the title of the original article for implying that God exists? Funny how, by your logic, both titles would be inaccurate to the beliefs about some people, but only this one warrants criticism.

God was not at my graduation.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

The intelligence, innovation and creativity of the MIT community has touched lives in every part of our world. You make such a casual remark - 600 respondents to a survey (all students), and yet, you make such a profound decision based on these few responses. There has been constant debate in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times written by "believers" and "non-believers." Would MIT offer the world anything that had not survived a barrage of tests? I truly respect the rights of all. However, this country was founded on the belief of a supreme being and the freedom to worship in one's own way. Could we please keep it that way until it is absolutely positively proven that the God of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed does not exist.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

4, this country was founded on the separation of church and state. Many of the founding fathers did not believe in a God - and even more did not believe in "the God of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed".

Country aside, MIT should not be putting some religions above the many others that exist in this world. I'm glad they have realized this.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

I really think this is all a political move to remove God/religion from the public sphere. Thank you thought police. This is all about making a statement. I don't think anyone really feels excluded or deeply offended by a short prayer of blessing. I would think most people would welcome this gesture even if they don't believe in God. It certainly can't hurt. And even if a few people feel genuinely offended, I'd ask them to examine why they are offended. Is it because you think you have the "right" to not hear about God/religion or hear a prayer in a public setting? Why is that a right of yours? If true inclusion in the goal, then you should have a prayer offered by any religion that wants to have a prayer. Now all we have is some "inclusive, secular invocation"? Secular is NOT a neutral viewpoint. It is just as exclusive as the previous prayer. So this doesn't solve anything what so ever. It's just the same thing. Now the secularists can have what they want and others will be "excluded" (just using the same logic that was used in the initial complaint). There is no such thing as a worldview that is totally inclusive to all worldviews. Everyone holds exclusive beliefs to some extent. And that is okay. The real issues is how we treat people of different beliefs and how do we talk about the differences. And if tolerance is the virtue of the day, then how is this all not just a case of someone's intolerance towards religion and a move to privatize religious beliefs and only allow certain worldviews in the public sphere? Now who is being exclusive?

Anonymous over 6 years ago

In reply to comment #4, here is a wise quote from Christopher Hitchens:

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

RAM over 6 years ago

God is at all graduations but probably finds some to be way too PC.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

I am an alumnus who came to Christ later in Life. I am retroactively grateful for the supplication of God at my commencement. To the graduating secularists, accept the recent announcement graciously and with humility, do not indulge in triumphalism, because you do not know how your beliefs might change a couple years from now.

David Thom over 6 years ago

In reply to #7, if what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, then your very life is at stake of being dismissed. We enact laws to protect what our hearts minds tell those who enforce the law what is right to protect even tho no empirical evidence is available. Laws say something about what we think is beautiful, right, or valuable. You'll find measurement and evidence applies to very little of consequence - until one does something significant with the data.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

I agree that the headline is offensive.

My first thought was that it was a snarky counter-editorial. I was surprised to see that it's a straight news piece.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

I agree that secular is not inclusive. Why couldn't it just be an inclusive time where you can pray or reflect or do whatever you want otherwise, without mentioning the Abrahamic gods, or the lack of religion, or anything else. Why specifically say secular?

This might be too literal a reading of the words. I hope that's what they actually had in mind.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

There's no reason to add religion to graduation. Glad they took back that mistake.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

Christians are so cute when they feel insecure. Tell me again, is your god omnipotent or impotent? Having relied on colonialism and slavery to expand in the past, the fact that educated Europeans have been avoiding churches like venereal disease has really alarmed the faithfools. It's no surprise that Americans are using the development-industrial complex to spread Christianity in the African, Asian and South American continents, and the rise in homophobia and religious conflicts across Africa is no accident.

Kudos to the secular society of MIT, Aaron in particular, for taking this initiative.

Anonymous over 6 years ago

Commencement is long enough as it is. Why not omit this "invocation" altogether?

Anonymous over 6 years ago

For me, God will be there as I will sit quietly and thank God for bringing me through and seeing me through the challenges of my years at MIT. I, personally, could not have succeeded without his guiding hand and without conducting myself in the way that He taught me. I suppose I don't need the public acknowledgement of His presence at graduation but He will be by my side always. A moment of silence for me to pray would be a very nice gesture but I can pray amidst all the "noise" just as effectively.