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.

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