When they say "I'll pray for you".
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20-04-2012, 11:51 AM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
I understand where the OP is coming from but personally, I don't think its a big deal. At the end of the day most of us here know that those prayers won't save the boy. The prayers may also be for sympathy for the hardship the family is enduring. Those that want to help probably are, its just not visible on fb.

I'll bet many times the "I'll pray for you" is similar to a social involuntary reaction such as when someone sneezes and the response is "bless you" or some derivative. They may or may not even remember to "pray" for them but I don't think that's the point. Its just a "oh that's such a shame, I'm really sorry" type reaction on the other side of the scale from clicking the "like" button.
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20-04-2012, 12:36 PM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2012 12:56 PM by lightninlives.)
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
Thanks guys! I remember good ole Benny Hinn (grew up with a fundamentalist Christian mom after all) and I can't wait to read that thread and watch that clip.

P.S. My buddy spotted some great YouTube parodies of Hinn. Enjoy:
http://youtu.be/5lvU-DislkI
http://youtu.be/lauz2_0TOXM (this one has plenty of jacket-swatting goodness, including some slow motion footage)

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20-04-2012, 12:55 PM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
This type of thing has never bothered me. If someone is using it in a way that is trying to impart a positive sentiment it is fine. I know many Atheists get upset at it though. I also don't get annoyed with Merry Christmas as they are wishing you well in their way.

I can fully understand what you mean in this situation. They should put their money or efforts where their mouths are.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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20-04-2012, 01:30 PM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2012 01:40 PM by AdamGarton.)
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
(20-04-2012 09:53 AM)lightninlives Wrote:  The only thing I would say is that this kind of inactivity/lip service isn't limited to theistic stuff like "I'll pray for you." Society in general has issues with apathy, and they are quite evident on social networks as you've mentioned. For example, you'll see posts about some devastating tragedy or criminal act (Treyvon Martin's murder comes to mind) and you'll see posts that say something to the effect of "Like this post if you support justice for Treyvon", etc. and so forth).

In fact, one might argue that even within the atheist/skeptic community, there's a whole lot of liking posts, voting up YouTube videos, and arguing via discussion forums and blog comments. But when it comes to taking to the streets and volunteering time to help spread the message or even just help people with no particular agenda in mind (e.g. community service) there's not nearly as much activity. And the same thing goes for monetary support.

So yes, I share your frustration, but not just at folks that posit the old "I'll pray for you" platitude. Almost all of us are guilty of apathy and could therefore benefit from an injection of real-life activism.
I agree that not enough is done by the masses, this is one of the reasons I support Seth and the charity drive he has going right now. Everyone should by all means if capable donate to these two great charities!
(20-04-2012 10:09 AM)satan69 Wrote:  
(20-04-2012 09:24 AM)AdamGarton Wrote:  Question for the community.

Something is pissing me off and it may take a short story to explain my frustration. So please bare with me while I delve into a topic close to home for me.

There is a family in Oklahoma who has some influence in one of the denominations on a state wide level who's son has stage 4 cancer. For over a year now they have had a website documenting this four year old's struggle with being diagnosed and the subsequent treatments. This week the family was given the worst news, there is simply nothing more the doctors can do for him. News of this kind is devastating, I know first hand what a death sentence is like for a family member, having lost my father to cancer a few years ago. I know this family from my past and though I don't agree with their religious views, I still feel for the devastating news this situation brings. My outrage is not from cancer ravaging the boy, it's not from the fact they are Christians and are hoping for a miracle; who wouldn't in their situation? My rage is from the lack of real action of those who post on Facebook every ten minutes saying they will pray for the family, yet offer no other form of support. I understand the meaning behind what some of them are saying. Yet, a part of me knows first hand there is so much that can be done. Simple words of kindness, a passage from a novel that inspired hope while you were going through a hard time. Offering monetary assistance with the upcoming funeral that must be handled. There are a litany of things that this family could use assistance in, and the simple cop-out of "I'm praying for you" seems insulting to me. Am I alone in my rage at the lip service so many people offer in times of trouble like this? Am I wrong in my frustration at the lack of real action from the religious right? I know this isn't something new, but I would like the communities opinion on this.
i hope that kid dies soon. i hate these religious nuts in the midwest. they will get what they deserve. lets see if their fairytale comes through for them. SUCKAaaaS!!
Your sentiments are counter productive to this site. Being flippant with your attitude towards a child is saddening. Regardless of his parents beliefs, this child is suffering far more than most ever know. Wishing something that is assured for everyone is simply pathetic of you. I hope you find a better way to vent your anger, a way to channel it for good instead of negative comments like this.

A
(20-04-2012 10:46 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(20-04-2012 09:24 AM)AdamGarton Wrote:  Simple words of kindness, a passage from a novel that inspired hope while you were going through a hard time.

Exactly how is this any different than "I'll pray for you"? Words are relative. They are relative to the meanings that they hold to the recipient. Since the recipient is a Christian, the words hold power in comfort that others are remembering them in prayer to their God - whom they believe in omnipotent.

You present comfort to others in a form that they will get the most from it. While a kind word or a inspired passage may be helpful to you, it might not have the same effect on others.

Quote:Offering monetary assistance with the upcoming funeral that must be handled. There are a litany of things that this family could use assistance in, and the simple cop-out of "I'm praying for you" seems insulting to me.

Not everyone can or wants to give monetary assistance, which is why people use words for comfort. If you are going to get mad at "I'm praying for you", then you need to get equally mad at everyone offering words of support such as your aforementioned words of kindness or an inspired passage.

Quote:Am I alone in my rage at the lip service so many people offer in times of trouble like this? Am I wrong in my frustration at the lack of real action from the religious right? I know this isn't something new, but I would like the communities opinion on this.

I would say this is a pretty arrogant position to hold. Getting mad at someone's gift of sympathy because it's not up to your own personal standard of what sympathy should be seems pretty selfish and ungrateful.
I think perhaps I should clarify. You have a right to think me arrogant and I will respect that. My point is that making this statement is the easy non-thinking response that is pre-programed into many people. Yes the intent behind this is often times good, though requires very little on the part of the one saying "I'll pray for you". I simply find this as a cop-out in comparison to the care and thought it takes to actually respond with something of merit. Having lost my father to cancer I understand the stress and what little comfort or help those words meant to me as an atheist and to my family who is full of believers. I may be selfish in my thinking, selfish in that I find more value in the life of a small child than the words "I'll pray for you" can convey.
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20-04-2012, 01:52 PM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
(20-04-2012 01:30 PM)AdamGarton Wrote:  I think perhaps I should clarify. You have a right to think me arrogant and I will respect that. My point is that making this statement is the easy non-thinking response that is pre-programed into many people. Yes the intent behind this is often times good, though requires very little on the part of the one saying "I'll pray for you". I simply find this as a cop-out in comparison to the care and thought it takes to actually respond with something of merit. Having lost my father to cancer I understand the stress and what little comfort or help those words meant to me as an atheist and to my family who is full of believers. I may be selfish in my thinking, selfish in that I find more value in the life of a small child than the words "I'll pray for you" can convey.

Yeah, I get it... I get what you're saying. But, you're vilifying a phrase because it's religious and you have angst towards religion. You aren't being fair with your presumptions.

"I'm praying for you" is no different than "I'm sorry", "My condolences", "Thinking of you" or "Stay strong in this time of hurt".

It's hypocritical to say otherwise. I can understand a disdain with apathy; but, attack the apathy. Don't make religion your straw man.

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20-04-2012, 02:05 PM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
(20-04-2012 01:52 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(20-04-2012 01:30 PM)AdamGarton Wrote:  I think perhaps I should clarify. You have a right to think me arrogant and I will respect that. My point is that making this statement is the easy non-thinking response that is pre-programed into many people. Yes the intent behind this is often times good, though requires very little on the part of the one saying "I'll pray for you". I simply find this as a cop-out in comparison to the care and thought it takes to actually respond with something of merit. Having lost my father to cancer I understand the stress and what little comfort or help those words meant to me as an atheist and to my family who is full of believers. I may be selfish in my thinking, selfish in that I find more value in the life of a small child than the words "I'll pray for you" can convey.

Yeah, I get it... I get what you're saying. But, you're vilifying a phrase because it's religious and you have angst towards religion. You aren't being fair with your presumptions.

"I'm praying for you" is no different than "I'm sorry", "My condolences", "Thinking of you" or "Stay strong in this time of hurt".

It's hypocritical to say otherwise. I can understand a disdain with apathy; but, attack the apathy. Don't make religion your straw man.
You just stated what I was unable to articulate. You are absolutely right in my frustration with the apathy. There is more to the story that is left out. I have been inundated for more than a year with lack luster comments on Facebook and face to face. This is a very nice family whose views though different from mine, still deserve more than the lip service that so many people are giving them. Cancer is a sore spot for me and the apathy I've seen throughout this ordeal is truly sad. I was not intending to convey the idea of vilifying the term, only that it was the source expression of the problem I see with the lack of action or real condolence.
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20-04-2012, 10:32 PM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
I think this is pretty relevant to the discussion. 1:05-1:20




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21-04-2012, 09:24 AM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
To an extent, I agree with KC on this one. What constitutes an appropriate message of comfort depends less on the comforter than on the comfortee. For many religious people, "I'll pray for you" is a comforting thought: it holds out the hope that somehow things can turn around--God can do anything, miracles do happen. I'll pray for you and your son, as will many others, and maybe, just maybe, God will listen to our prayers. Within the religious subculture, the words can be comforting. That's not to say a hot meal delivered to the family's doorstep wouldn't be comforting as well. It all depends on what's most meaningful to the recipient.


With the wrong audience, "I'll pray for you" can go over like a lead balloon, which is why considerate people don't say such things unless they have reason to believe the hearer shares their underlying assumptions about the world. If I were in the position of those poor parents and someone told me they were praying for me, I'd probably say something like, "Thanks for the thought, but could I suggest you actually do something useful, like donating to the American Cancer Society so that maybe four-year-olds of the future won't have to suffer and die like my son?"


What gets me about people who say "I'll pray for you" is how little they've thought about the implications of their words. Presumably they believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god who answers prayers--if he wants to. This god is perfectly aware of the little boy's suffering: if he hasn't deliberately caused it, he's at least permitted it to happen, and he could end it at any time with a snap of his god-fingers. So far he hasn't. But if enough people petition him to cure the boy, maybe he will! Maybe he'll say, "Hmm . . . Looks like 477 prayers have come in asking me to end little Johnny's cancer. Well, I usually hold out for 500, but I guess that's enough. OK. The kid's cured." That's the god who's supposed to be a paragon of morality, the god we're all supposed to worship?

But that's me. If someone derives comfort from "I'll pray for you," so be it, and it's not my place to object. Comfort is comfort no matter where you find it.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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21-04-2012, 09:55 AM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
Prayer, for those of us who have faith in the practice of such is a nice gesture. However, I can understand the frustrations exhibited here.
As people, it is not unusual to desire a kind word or gesture in times of crisis.
Words....can do only so much. A thought is nice, but why not put them into action?
It is a valid question. I agree.
If someone is hurting in a hospital bed and has been given the worst news....why not make what time he or she has left of value right? Why not sit and spend time with them? Why not bring a meal to them on occassion, a card, a book, some flowers.... something.
The heart of the matter here is....action right?

A man's greatest pitfall is none other than himself. For only he can dig himself a hole he cannot get out of.
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21-04-2012, 09:55 AM
RE: When they say "I'll pray for you".
I agree with KC and cufflink as well, to an extent. If those offering prayers really mean it, and intend it to provide comfort or hope to the family, then I see nothing wrong with it. However, it does make me mad when used as a copout. It can be hard to tell when people are just offering lip service, but when it is recognized I think it is insulting. I encounter it a lot on the Army. So many people tell me "We support the troops" or "Thank you for your service." WTF does that mean? They aren't offering me day care or help with the bills. I don't see them joining up to give us a reprieve from deployment. And if you ask if their son, grandchild, etc is serving it's "Oh, not my baby." These strangers don't volunteer at the base with our wounded soldiers and veterans. They went out and bought a yellow car magnet in the shape of a ribbon and think it means something. The companies that make those don't give anything to us either, btw. Mostly, I think offerings of prayers are much like the hollow words of gratitude that civilians give us all the time. It makes them feel better about themselves. For the ones offering lip service, I imagine when they talk about this young dying boy they are sure to emphasize how they had offered prayers. Oh oh, look at us! We are such good christians!
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