Okay, I’m writing a bit more today than I usually do, but I just saw a twwet from my friend Courtney (@godless_mom) that made me stop for a moment. As an atheist, I’ve had people that know I am a non-believer tell me that they would “pray for me”. But do they really? Some may. I have a friend, someone I’ve known for over 50 (yes 50!) years who is a pastor that has told me that I I do believe when he says that, that he actually does. Some Christians are actually Christian.
But in me response to Courtney’s tweet, I said that this is a rote response to an unbeliever, something the average Christian is taught to say in one way or another. Although it may make them feel better that they said it, it’s unlikely that they will ever actually pray for that unbeliever. Okay, maybe they will say a silent prayer as they part from that other person, but that’s the extent of it. And that’s just maybe. Why do I say that? It’s easy to be a Christian. Just say that you believe, go to church every once in a while, maybe donate a little money (not the 10% of your GROSS income as dictated in the Old Testament, but some) and be mostly cheerful around your fellow brethren (at services). That’s it.
Other than a few dollars every Sunday, it costs you nothing and based on where you live, may give you status in your community. That’s what’s worth more than anything. You have a business, selling cars, hardware, whatever. You’re a good Christian. Maybe you even promote your business as a “Christian owned” business. Of course there will be those, believers or not, that do business with you because, of course, No Christian is going to rip me off.
And that’s the greatest con in history: That believers actually give a damn about you (especially non-believers). They’re no different than anyone else. They want your money first. Your “soul”? Got money? Yes. Poor, indigent? Less so. It’s not what they can provide for you but what you may give them. A prayer for my “soul”? How about, especially in these times, a tenner for something to eat. Seriously. Of course they may point you to a soup kitchen, (if they’re aware of one), but other than that? The prayer is probably sufficient for most. It makes them feel good and that they have, in someway, served their god. Now there may be some that will do more, but if your experience around Christians is anything like mine, those are actually a minority.
Pray for me? Keep it.
3 thoughts on “I’ll Pray for You (No Thanks)”
One of the prices I pay for being godless, is that people will threaten to pray for me. Which can be a little creepy because I know they are not praying for me to become happy & fulfilled, but to become religious like them. Which is far from being the same thing. They’re praying that their beliefs will somehow have influence over my life. So in other words, they’re not praying for me, they’re praying against me.
You can’t pray for someone anymore than you can think for someone. They’d be far better off praying for themselves, because that’s what they’re doing anyway. They needn’t pray for me or worry about me. I’ve already called religions bluff and frankly I’m quite ok with hurtling towards hell in a handcart while smoking a big cigar. Bring it on.
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Thank you. Excellent response!
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I know full well that my Christian friends do pray for me and for many reasons, and of course, for my soul and my enlightenment to Christ.
When I tell someone that I will keep them in my thoughts, I do. Not all the time, but I do think about their pressing concern at the time, and later, be it health or sorrow or money woes. I have little doubt that a piece of their prayer time might go to my problems or whatever, should they tell me that they will pray for me.
And, yes, I always thank them, because it might be an automatic response, but it is said in a moment when I would have said to them, “I will be thinking of you.” And we both are speaking with compassion in the moment. Compassion from another human being should not be pushed away with skepticism.
Now..what you cite about using one’s religious belief as a weapon to garner support, especially monetary support, is something far different. There are scoundrels of every sort and some claim to be Christians and some claim to be our political representatives.