One of my pet peeves is when people are rescued from a horrible death, and babble about miracles and thank their god instead of thanking the brave passers-by or first responders who actually pulled their sorry ass out of whatever it was trapped in, or when they dismiss their rescuer’s involvement with “god must have sent him.” And now that I think of it, this applies to the saying of grace as well – a lot of giving credit where none is due, while making dismissive mention at best of the actual people who provided and prepared the meal. Which is why I love this story very, very much:
Anthony Seldon, the headmaster of Wellington College, was presented with a dilemma when he hosted a debate between Lord Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford, and Charles Moore, who proposed the motion “Atheism is the new fundamentalism”, against Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling. Once the atheists had won by a generous margin of 1,070 to 363, the question of whether to start the dinner that followed with prayer arose.
In the event, Seldon asked both sides to kick off the meal in their chosen fashion. Lord Harries’s grace finished, in conventional manner, with a “thanks be to God”.
“I then asked the atheists to say a grace,” says Seldon, “and Richard Dawkins took up the challenge. ‘For what we are about to receive,’ he said, ‘thanks be to the cook’.” – source