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Old 10-07-2012, 02:50 PM   #51
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

I am agnostic. I spent most of my youth and as a young adult pouring over various religious texts. I do believe in God, but my idea of God has changed alot. Through my readings I have found that in every instance of God you are able to replace that word with "the universe as a whole". The universe as a whole has always been here and will always be here. The universe as a whole is all knowing and all powerful. I believe that when looking at God through this light the idea of prayer drastically changes.

Prayer is the communication between an individual or group of people and God. Through my words, thoughts and actions I attempt to communicate with the whole of the universe. One of the apostles said to "be in a constant state of prayer", I believe in this as I see a world that is in constant need of positive change. Most people are pretty open minded now that we are back in a scientific age, and those who aren't I find that it furthers my relationship with those people and my chance to show the positive lifestyle of an agnostic by telling them that I will pray for them as well.

It all depends on how you understand the words of God and prayer.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:37 PM   #52
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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.
I'm torn here. As an atheist I don't believe in praying to a god I don't believe exists so someone "praying"for me seems pointless. For a Christian who believes that a god is listening and can "help" the person who is being prayed for it makes sense to tell them you are praying for them. I would suggest telling known atheists that they are in your thoughts, even if you are in fact praying for them because thoughts have more meaning then prayer to most atheists and it communicates a level of respect for their beliefs unlike prayer which reflects your own beliefs not those of the person who you are trying to help.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #53
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

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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 exactly how I feel.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:25 PM   #54
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Re: Some questions for atheists, and some for Christians.

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Originally Posted by lalaith View Post
Not offended at all by secular things, anymore than I imagine an atheist is offended by "God bless you". It's the thought that counts.
It certainly doesn't offend me, butit does catch me off guard! And I find it very difficult for me to utter those words when someone else sneezes, I feel so much more comfortable with Gesundheit!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:05 PM   #55
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I'm Christian but I know not everyone prays so if I ask for a prayer I usually say thoughts and prayers. If I leave out the thoughts and someone says thinking of you or something like that, no I don't get offended at all. It would be silly of me to assume everyone prays.


Eta: I also don't mean to offend anyone if I say I'm praying for them. Usually if I know they are atheist I will say they're in my thoughts just so I don't offend them. I think everyone can co-exist without huge debates and problems. I try to at least.


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Old 10-07-2012, 06:22 PM   #56
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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.
I'm sorry for those experiences. That's just plain bad manners on their parts and extremely rude. I know how you feel...we have had similar with not being thanked with Christians and non Christians alike. It is offensive. It has also made me very mindful of saying my own thank yous and being better about not just forgetting.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:59 PM   #57
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Interesting. I have the exact same sentiment in the opposite direction. I appreciate the prayers, but don't believe they actually do anything.
Me too. Lol.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:06 PM   #58
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I'm torn here. As an atheist I don't believe in praying to a god I don't believe exists so someone "praying"for me seems pointless. For a Christian who believes that a god is listening and can "help" the person who is being prayed for it makes sense to tell them you are praying for them. I would suggest telling known atheists that they are in your thoughts, even if you are in fact praying for them because thoughts have more meaning then prayer to most atheists and it communicates a level of respect for their beliefs unlike prayer which reflects your own beliefs not those of the person who you are trying to help.
But why should she have to change what she says to accommodate someone else? Positive thoughts are prayers to her, regardless of who receives them.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:09 PM   #59
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I tell people im praying for them and sometimes ask for prayers but i do not expect my athiest friends to pray for me. If they want to say something..i think "im thinking of u" is very appropriate and sweet. I wouldnt feel hurt that an athiest isnt praying for me lol. I think its just the way it is. I do pray for my atheist friends though

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Old 10-07-2012, 09:35 PM   #60
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But why should she have to change what she says to accommodate someone else? Positive thoughts are prayers to her, regardless of who receives them.
For the same reason that we all change what we say to accommodate other people. To show respect or understanding, or to be kind. If you know someone is jewish its respectful not to say merry christmas. No need to learn all the Jewish holidays and wish those, just say happy holidays or something. My point was if you KNOW someone is an atheist it's probably more respectful to say you are in my thoughts. You don't know how that particular atheist will experience the whole "prayer" thing so safer to avoid it. Obviously if you don't know the religious beliefs of the person it's a non issue and say whatever you normally would.
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