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Old 10-05-2012, 08:49 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by AVDesigns
I am Christian and I wouldn't be offended if someone responded "sending positive thoughts your way" or "thinking of you" Sometimes when I post on a message board, I'll put "please pray for/be thinking of me...." that way I'm not making anyone who isn't christian/religious uncomfy.
I totally agree

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Old 10-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #42
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

I wouldn't be offended at all by a secular response. I do wonder if as a Muslim, a Christian would be bothered by me saying I am praying for them, though.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #43
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

i never respond to people asking for prayers
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by MatildasMum
:nod: "Thinking of you" usually suffices.
Yup. I am a Christian and would appreciate that response.

As for handling when it is brought up, just stay cool and say I am Athiest. If more questions happen answer but stay calm.

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:04 PM   #45
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I'm a Christian but I understand that not everyone shares my beliefs. If someone says they're "thinking of me", "sending good vibes", etc... I appreciate that. I know that while they don't share my beliefs, they care about what I may be going through and are hoping that things go well. I would never want anyone to feel conflicted by sending their well wishes no matter their belief system.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:57 PM   #46
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

Don't overthink it.

Where I fall on the atheist/Christian spectrum suggested in the OP is complicated. Wishing people well and hoping things work out for them (or noticing and appreciating that things are going well for them), however are not complicated--they're simple expressions of simple goodness, so I respond simply:" I wish you well," or, "I hope things work out for you," or, "thank you!"

If someone really wanted an essay reply with well reasoned arguments in support of my word choices as reflections of my beliefs in relation to their own, they will be sorry because I will deliver at length. But they never do.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:55 PM   #47
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

Honestly...it DOES bug me when people say they'll pray for me. I don't let on, obviously, but I hate when people assume that a perfect stranger or acquaintance they barely know shares the same beliefs. However, I'm pretty good at reading people. If someone is clearly kind-hearted, I say thank you politely and don't let it get to me. If it's someone who is either saying it out of habit (as in, they don't give a hoot about me) or they're overbearing/trying to prove something, I ignore them. When it's somebody that I do know/is my family, it bugs me because it's spiteful...they know perfectly well how I feel about prayer.

I avoid any and all requests for prayers for obvious reasons. If somebody posts something like "Today really hasn't been my day, the kids are sick and I broke my arm" without the request at the end, I would absolutely respond telling them they're in my thoughts, let me know if I can do something that will actually help (you know, like cooking/babysitting/cleaning/anything they need), I really hope things get better quickly, etc. Even when I was a staunch Christian though, solicitations for prayers bugged me, so this line of thought isn't new
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:31 PM   #48
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

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Originally Posted by cheezpoofs View Post
I am an atheist and I generally avoid the topic outside of my own wall. However, if I find the issue worth responding to (ie. I'm not going to show a whole lot of concern for a sick pet, a test you didn't study for, your sports team to win, you to get the prime parking place at the mall, etc.), I will say "I hope that (whatever it is) is taken care of quickly/ you feel well soon/ etc." If that's not as good as an extra prayer, oh well then.

I have never had anyone get offended that I am not in their prayer group. My friends should be pretty well aware that I am an atheist who doesn't like religion. I post about it on occasion and belong to several groups that reflect this. Most often, the prayer requests I see are for either silly things or super religious things that I didn't care about and have no concern about anyway (think missions trips and the like) and am not commenting on at all in the first place.
^this^

I guess I've never really understood the habit of telling someone they are in my thoughts. It's just weird. Are they supposed to thank me for thinking about them? Is it kind? How so? I can't figure out an explanation for how that is a kind gesture. It's not like I'm doing anything to help their situation, I'm simply thinking about it. And even if it is a kind gesture, why the need to broadcast it? I don't give a donation and tell them, "I'm donating to you" and expect appreciation, that would be pompous. So why is it less pompous to broadcast and expect appreciation for thoughts, which aren't even helping the person anyway? I just don't get it.

If I am truly concerned about someone, and they truly will not leave my thoughts, I might try to offer any help that they need or just give whatever I can, be it volunteering my time, or buying them a coffee and escape for a little break, maybe talk if they need to, etc. But I guess those absolutely moving situations where I know the person enough that my presence and time will really help in some way don't come along very often, since it mainly applies to deeply formed relationships.

I also want to add that I do understand why Christians ask for and give prayers. Obviously they believe it is making a change in the persons situation and is providing real help. But even when I believed in Christianity, I found the broadcasting of "I'll pray for you" just as show-off-y (as well as praying out loud in groups). But like I said, I might just not get it....maybe my brain is wired wrong for it. Since I acknowledge that this may just be a social quirk of mine and I can see that most religious people offering prayers are doing so out of sincerity (and most people don't overthink like I do ), I still accept them gracefully.

Last edited by harmoni247; 10-05-2012 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:21 AM   #49
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

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Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
I wouldn't get offended by your response, but even though it's a nice sentiment, I don't find it particularly helpful. I believe that prayer can change things, not happy thoughts. Your answer would give me a warm fuzzy feeling, but not really make me feel like it did any ultimate good.
This is something I understand, but it also sort of irks me when I'm on the other end of it (no offense). For example, we had a family member with a medical issue, and while she recovered hubby and I sent her a care package with lots of special things we picked out just for her. We spent a good deal of time on it. Never got a thank you or any acknowledgement, but on Facebook there were daily thank yous to all the people who prayed for her.

Another time a family member was sick we decided to send her a check to help her pay some bills. Again, no thank you, but online was a constant stream thanking people for their prayers and saying god is so great.

Like you, I think "positive thoughts" and "thinking of you" stuff is kind of useless except as a demonstration of sympathy. I don't think it technically does anything, so I can completely understand why religious people would rather folks do something they see as having an actual impact. That's why if I do anything I try to do something substantive, like send a card, a care-package or money. But I can't tell you how many times we have been hurt because it seems like what we offer just isn't good enough for the Christians in our lives, that no matter how much time and effort we put into something that seems objectively helpful, we don't actually matter because we don't pray. It makes us feel rather inadequate.

Last edited by Palooka; 10-06-2012 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:35 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by carriek38
I also think the custom of "blessing" after a sneeze is silly & pointless.
Didn't read all the replies, sorry if it's been mentioned...that came from an old thought that when you sneezed there was a demon inside of you. People would try and "bless you" to get the demon out.

I don't get offended when someone says thinking of you vs. praying for you. To me it's the thought that counts. I do tell people "praying" for you even if I know they are atheist. It's what I would do for Christian friends and I don't see why I should treat non Christians any different. I don't say it just to say it, I truly mean it.
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