Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Need Prayers"

Another thing I've been thinking about lately, is this. What do other non-theists say or do when someone posts or asks or prayers? Do you ignore it? Do you say "thinking of you" or something similar? It kind of makes me uncomfortable when people ask for prayers -- especially when they don't tell you why them want/need them. Like do they think I'm a jerk if I don't offer any? Am I supposed to acknowledge the request at all?

I'm in a few Facebook groups, and from time to time, somebody will just post "need prayers" and nothing else. There is no handbook to tell me how to respond to that. I don't have any prayers to give them, so usually I just ignore it. But then if not enough people respond, does that make them feel like nobody cares? What do they want from me??!!

Now, I'm pretty open about my atheism, so none of my personal friends ask me for prayers. Although some people I know do broadcast a general prayer request. Which I generally ignore, also. But the people I know tend more often to be the new age type who ask for "prayers, healing thoughts, or white light." Which, I can think thoughts, so that's OK. It's not actually going to do anything, either, but I feel like I can honestly participate in thinking about them. If it was within my financial ability, I'd actually do something for them, too.

I also don't always know how to respond people who say that they'll pray for me. Usually it's meant in a kind spirit, and I'd just thank them. And then there are those people who say it passive-aggressively, and I tell them that their prayers won't work, because I have magic shields that keep out spells, witchcraft, voodoo, prayers and other occult rituals. But every now and then you just can't tell. I end up not responding in those cases. Probably for the best, I guess.

I think the worst would be having someone ask me to pray with them. I really can't do that. Although I suppose in the horrible situation where they wanted me to lead a prayer, I could (panic disorder permitting) thank the farmers and the grocers who made the food available or something. Or thank the doctors and nurses, aides and orderlies who take care of the sick people.

Seems like it would be easier to just thank those people, if you really wanted to, but that would probably weird them out.

Thoughts about Needing Help

So I haven't updated this in years.Usually I only posted when I was annoyed with something, anyway. But I was just thinking about some stuff, and figured this was the best place to work out my thoughts about it. Mostly it's stuff to do with being a non-believer in an overly religious world.

The thing I was just thinking about was how, if I were a different sort of person, I would just pretend to be religious. You get all the breaks that way. You get to be in The Club. You don't get socially shunned. The Church helps you out when you need money. And I guess that's where I am with that thought.

A church-going woman I sort of know through acquaintances has some fairly severe mental health issues. We'll call her Patty. So Patty has undiagnosed something or other, probably at the very least bipolar and some psychosis (no judgment here, just making an observation from what I know of her). She really needs treatment, but won't get it. Not sure why. Anyway, that's not the important thing. Until recently, Patty has been holding down a full time job with varying degrees of success. She's not been fired, so that's pretty successful. Her husband, from what I hear, lost his job years ago, and since then mostly sits on the couch and drinks. Her kids are mostly grown. I think one is still in college. She takes a lot of time off. Like whenever anybody else gets time off for any reason, she suddenly decides that she also needs time off. She's not working a high paying job. It's not minimum wage, but it's definitely paycheck-to-paycheck working class if you're the only one working. Anyway, she talks about how, if she doesn't have enough to make the mortgage, the church pays it for her. Which explains how they haven't been thrown  out on the street.

Now that's nice of them. I don't want to see anybody thrown out on the street. But I see stuff like that, and a part of me wonders if I should have been playing the religion game. Because I also have mental health issues. I also have not gotten financial help from my kids' father since... damn, the 90s? And my panic disorder is so bad that I can't even work. Never mind my other health issues that I'm unsure if I've ever had properly diagnosed. But since I don't believe in gods, I don't have a religious community to help me out. And since I'm too honest to pretend to believe in gods... well, there you go. I can't do it. I can't believe, and I can't pretend I believe. And when I say I can't believe, it's like if somebody commanded a religious person to believe in the Easter Bunny. Or trolls under bridges. I could say that I did, but it would be a lie. And AFAICT, there are no secular programs to help with a mortgage, or taxes, or water bills. Which just keep piling up on me. There is no property tax relief from my city (I've asked) or my state. There are no programs to assist with water/sewer/trash bills, which are high in my city. And those bills are higher than my actual mortgage. Which, there are also no programs to assist with paying. There are supposedly programs that will get me into a rental, but I've been on the section 8 list since 2010 or so, and still haven't heard from them. So whatever.

Another part of me feels like there is something I'm missing, and some way to make money that I ought to be able to find. But I'm not finding it. Like rich people just make money out of money they already have, and thin air. But I can't do that. Really, I'd just like to be able to repair my house and pay my bills. I could make a whole blog post bout the house repairs I need to make. Ugh. So many. Anyway, that was one of my two big thoughts lately. I'll put the next one in another post.