Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
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14-12-2012, 11:44 PM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(14-12-2012 10:01 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  Well, since I'm the other piece of this puzzle and the source for the topic of this thread, I suppose I'll chime in. In secret code and metaphors of course, due to the nature of said puzzle. The context in this case was this:

Atheist 1 spends his day deeply involved with mocking the belief in a god.
In fact, Atheist 1 is surrounded by other atheist friends, who also spend their time disproving and mocking aforementioned belief in god.
So it is well known that Atheist 1 does not believe in a god and finds those who do irrational creatures.
Atheist 1 has a certain event occur that is a substantial speed bump in the road of life and confides his troubles with the group of atheist bastards.
Theist 1 is the first person to respond and immediately promises to pray for Atheist 1.
Atheist 2 comes along (let's call him Muddy Christ) and sees the prayer statement.
Muddy notes the irony of immediately promising to pray for someone who proudly boasts their non-belief daily.
Muddy sees this as a sort of insult and mockery towards Atheist 1, akin to a Poseidon believer smugly promising to pray for a sailor who has become lost at sea.
This was certainly not Theist 1's intention, but Muddy has noticed that this slap in the atheist's face commonly goes unnoticed by all theists. Offering to pray for an atheist in a time of trouble is like offering to eat a bunch of food in honor of all the starving children in Africa. You eating food does not benefit the children and is rather insulting.

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You left out some very important details.

Theist 1 is well known among this group of particular peers; likewise, so are his intentions and motives.
Theist 1 has never shown a shred of indignity towards atheist 1's belief (or atheist 2-1000000000000 for that matter), so the concept of theist 1's prayer being an insult is unfounded.
Theist 1 and atheist 1's friendship is well known.
Muddy is the only one in the group that has never taken the time to get to know theist 1 on more than a superficial and secondary plane.

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15-12-2012, 12:52 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(14-12-2012 11:44 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Theist 1 is well known among this group of particular peers; likewise, so are his intentions and motives.
Theist 1 has never shown a shred of indignity towards atheist 1's belief (or atheist 2-1000000000000 for that matter), so the concept of theist 1's prayer being an insult is unfounded.

I stress that I'm aware that it wasn't your intent. (Anonymity aside. Atheist 1 is the only one who needs to wear a mask here.) But see below:

Quote:Theist 1 and atheist 1's friendship is well known.

Exactly. You KNOW exactly how Atheist 1 feels about prayer and gods and the ridiculousness of it all. The majority of these threads consist of accounts of the harassment and hostility delivered by theists, so you must be aware that there is a certain anger towards the pious and their good intentions to "save us" and to "pray to their god for us." To me, that's like if I had a friend who was extremely Republican, like "Tea Party, blame gays for hurricanes, think Glenn Beck is a visionary" Republican... and when he tells me that he finally got his job back after 3 months of unemployment, I respond: "Well thank goodness for President Obama!" My Repub friend knows of my liberalism, but still it's kind of an unnecessary low blow.

Quote:Muddy is the only one in the group that has never taken the time to get to know theist 1 on more than a superficial and secondary plane.

I don't really "know" anyone on this forum. That's just a personal choice. I never understood the point of purely online friendships. I'll share my beliefs and opinions with the members and sympathize with their hardships. But to befriend a digital entity who may be completely different in real life, or someone who may log off and never be seen again (where's Unbeliever these days?) seems kind of silly to me. Especially when I still have a handful of real life friends whenever I need to talk. People I've known since grade school. So, nothing personal. Just not my style.

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15-12-2012, 07:22 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(14-12-2012 03:44 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  
(14-12-2012 09:22 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I've noticed this before, but never thought to bring it up. Do you, as atheists, find it insulting when a theists tells you that they will pray for you?


Now of course, there is context to consider. Obviously, when someone says they'll pray for you because you're an atheist it can feel pretty ignorant and condescending. But what about when you have a friend who is just concerned about you? Say you have an illness, and that friend really genuinely says a prayer because they want you to be better? Knowing that friend believes, and that they really believe they're prayers are meaningful, shouldn't we feel complimented? The prayer may be meaningless to us (in the context that we know it won't help), but there's meaning in that the person praying is doing something they think will help.



I dunno. Just seeing a lot of nastiness towards theists these days. There probably isn't any more than before, but I'm definitely noticing it more.
Theists, atheists, they can all insult me as much as they like.
I've learned to grow a thick skin............ Big Grin
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15-12-2012, 08:45 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
I really don't care if someone wants to pray for me. Prayer is for the pray-er, not the pray-ee.

But I do instantly register, "Oh, so you're one of *those.*" somewhere in the deep recesses of my thinker.

And that changes the game.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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15-12-2012, 11:51 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 08:45 AM)Thinkerbelle Wrote:  I really don't care if someone wants to pray for me. Prayer is for the pray-er, not the pray-ee.

You nailed it, Thinkerbelle! Thumbsup

I try not to compare people too much... certainly not people whose lives I'm not involved with. Unless it's up in my face, I rarely pay attention to what someone else is doing in any given situation. Often I have my hands full staying focused on what I'm trying to accomplish... or just get through.

I recently became somewhat puzzled by a group of praying folk. I kind of felt sorry for them, but I wasn't quite sure why. Their prayers certainly did nothing for me but I supposed praying was supposed to make them feel as if they were contributing or just feel better... it very obviously did not. Without prayer, I was ok with everything going on ... while they were quite obviously, distraught. Their faces registered such confusion, fear, and hurt after their prayer, I almost felt I needed to comfort them and in fact, did.

***
Non-theists see innocuous prayer to be among other things, nonproductive, impersonal, lazy, or just down right irresponsible... maybe that translates into "insulting" for some. I defer to Kingsy for the standard theist insight but it is apparent many actually feel it must do some kind of good. I wonder if they also wonder about it's effectiveness.

I have to ask Non-theists what sort of productive, personal, responsible activity might they (we) might participate in to comfort our fellow human beings or simply ourselves? We often say we will keep others in our thoughts or send out positive thoughts or vibes, we might offer supportive advice or ideas. Are these things at all successful in producing a desired or intended result?

In the face of reality, people who pray are just as helpless as anyone who doesn't.

Human beings all, we clutch at the same straws. Life is a bumpy ride.

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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15-12-2012, 11:54 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 11:51 AM)kim Wrote:  I have to ask Non-theists what sort of productive, personal, responsible activity might they (we) might participate in to comfort our fellow human beings...
Pretty much non-existent. I know, the human touch, physical closeness, all that jazz. It might (and does) work to an extent, but at the end of the day, everyone is alone in their suffering and no one can carry it for them but themselves.

Didn't mean it to come off as cold as it did.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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15-12-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 11:54 AM)Vera Wrote:  
(15-12-2012 11:51 AM)kim Wrote:  I have to ask Non-theists what sort of productive, personal, responsible activity might they (we) might participate in to comfort our fellow human beings...
Pretty much non-existent. I know, the human touch, physical closeness, all that jazz. It might (and does) work to an extent, but at the end of the day, everyone is alone in their suffering and no one can carry it for them but themselves.

Didn't mean it to come off as cold as it did.
Sadcryface That was.....so cold.

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15-12-2012, 12:00 PM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 11:57 AM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  
(15-12-2012 11:54 AM)Vera Wrote:  Pretty much non-existent. I know, the human touch, physical closeness, all that jazz. It might (and does) work to an extent, but at the end of the day, everyone is alone in their suffering and no one can carry it for them but themselves.

Didn't mean it to come off as cold as it did.
Sadcryface That was.....so cold.
The world is cold, kiddo, you better learn it as soon as you can. And for once, I'm not really joking (not entirely anyway). It's a cliché for a reason - we are born alone and we die alone. I just added that we suffer alone. And I stand by it.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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15-12-2012, 12:03 PM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 12:00 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(15-12-2012 11:57 AM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  Sadcryface That was.....so cold.
The world is cold, kiddo, you better learn it as soon as you can. And for once, I'm not really joking (not entirely anyway). It's a cliché for a reason - we are born alone and we die alone. I just added that we suffer alone. And I stand by it.
Oh I'm more than aware of it. Part of why I'm not as bothered by the school shooting as other people are. Hundreds of African children starve to death each day and we seem to move about our lives just fine without that on our conscience. Drinking Beverage

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15-12-2012, 12:09 PM
RE: Is, "I'll pray for you" insulting?
(15-12-2012 12:03 PM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  
(15-12-2012 12:00 PM)Vera Wrote:  The world is cold, kiddo, you better learn it as soon as you can. And for once, I'm not really joking (not entirely anyway). It's a cliché for a reason - we are born alone and we die alone. I just added that we suffer alone. And I stand by it.
Oh I'm more than aware of it. Part of why I'm not as bothered by the school shooting as other people are. Hundreds of African children starve to death each day and we seem to move about our lives just fine without that on our conscience. Drinking Beverage
The thing is, unless you've seen the person who's suffering, it's pretty much statistics and news.

This being said, while we do suffer alone, we also have this (futile) desire to alleviate the suffering of others. And when it can't be done by physical means, like providing them with food or shelter... Well helplessness in the face of the suffering of others is a horrible horrible feeling.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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