I’ll Pray For You

FYI, I am posting the full text, because apparently FB notes don’t work as links unless you are friends with the person who wrote the note, and I can’t seem to find any location that Jack posts these other than in FB… If Jack happens to stumble across this and wants to give me his blog URL, I’ll change this to point there, and use a snip instead of full text.

[Originally posted by: Jack Rivall at Facebook]

One of the most condescending things a theist can do to an atheist is to make a point of announcing that they’ll be praying for us. Atheists don’t believe in the power of prayer, but even theists can’t think that prayer will be more effective for having announced. So what’s the purpose? Some say that it’s to express well-wishes, but people say that they’ll pray for someone when the person is sick or having trouble. One way or another, the theist appears to be expressing superiority over atheists in a passive-aggressive manner. That suggests they weren’t interested in serious conversation to begin with.

From: “Kim”
Subject: Guide Into What?

I want you to know that im going to put you on my prayer list. I know He that is in me is stronger than he that is in the world. And even you still have a chance to get to know jesus as your Lord and be forgiven for your sins before its to late. one day at Gods appointed time the Rapture will take place and this world wont be such a good place anymore and it will not be as easy to find the truth. so im gonna pray for you earnestly.

It’s not unusual for me to get emails from people who say that they intend to pray for me – but as often as I hear such things, I continue to have trouble understanding why people would do and, if they must pray, why they would feel the need to tell me about it. Neither seems to make much sense.

First, actually praying for me doesn’t make much sense because presumably they believe that their god already knows what it will do, has probably known for a long time (if not forever), and isn’t going to change its mind simply because they ask. Thus, whatever their god is going to end up doing, their praying about it won’t have any effect on the ultimate course of actions. At most, it might make sense for them to hope that one thing happens instead of another – but that seems to be about it.

Second, telling me that they are praying doesn’t make much sense because there’s simply nothing that can be accomplished that way. I can’t imagine that they think that anything will change for me simply because I happen to know about these prayers. If someone is praying that I become a theist or a Christian, then telling me is about the same as telling me that they wish I would change their mind – but I already get that, so what is added by the prayers?

And, to be perfectly honest, Kim’s god doesn’t sound like an especially pleasant or moral being. I really wonder about the theology of Christians who earnest and even fervently believe in the Rapture.

I feel so blessed to get the chance to tell you that Jesus said that “if we confess our sins He is faithfull and just to forgive us our sins” I have been right where you are right now and i have come to know the real truth.

I wonder why Kim feels “blessed” to tell me these things. Does she think that she will derive some benefit or reward from how many people she tells such things to? Does she simply not get out much and not have the opportunity to talk to people about religion?

I feel quite confident that Kim has never been where I am now – Kim doesn’t know me, has never met me, and probably doesn’t know the first thing about me. I’m sure that she has all sorts of stereotypes and assumptions about atheists – gathered from evangelical literature no doubt – and that she therefore thinks she can make assumptions about me. That would be the pattern I have seen with similar people.

Unfortunately for Kim and others like her, the evangelical literature about atheists contains little if anything that is accurate. Making assumptions about real atheists from such material inevitably causes a person to look rather ignorant and even arrogant.

God isn’t gonna use the rapture as a means to punish those left behind…He is still gonna be showing His mercy by showing that His word (the Bible) is and was true. Still showing mercy to those left and giving them one more chanch before death.

At the beginning of her email, Kim said that during the Rapture “it will not be as easy to find the truth.” Now she says that during the Rapture her god will show that “His word … is true.” Sounds like a bit of a contradiction. If the evangelical ideas about a Rapture are true, I don’t think that it will be so hard to “find the truth” – the sudden disappearance of so many annoying evangelists will make it pretty clear what is going on.

[Originally posted by: Jack Rivall at Facebook]

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About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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