Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically

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I’ll pray for you

Ever engaged in debate with a Christian and got the trite “I’ll pray for you“?

Probably not exactly their motivation when they say “I’ll pray for you,” but I’m sure they know how condescending and annoying that is to an atheist. It is the ultimate conversation stopper. I think they use it to conceal their real thoughts, which I suppose would go along the lines: you’re threatening me with reason, and I need a way out; or, screw you I’m right you’re wrong, but I have nothing worthwhile to counter-argue your reasons so I’ll say some religious crap self-righteous cop-out phrase to get you off my back.

It pisses me off.

It annoys me more than all the other meaningless phrases they have at hand when confronted with reason: “Jesus loves you,” “Hope you enjoy your special place in Hell,” and my all-time favorite “what happened to you to make you hate god so much?”, which is the funniest, since they fail to understand we can’t hate a figment of someone else’s imagination. Du’h.

I think he picture totally captures the sentiment, and it’s funny enough to give it a little space here. Hope you get some kicks out of it.

EDIT: My response? Well, one of them was brought to mind by Mark Joseph in the comment bellow. Thank you, Mark!

26 Responses to I’ll pray for you

  1. Paul Wiklund says:

    I get that once in a while, and my typical response is: “If your god intended for me to be a believer, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

  2. Mark Joseph says:

    Here’s another good response that I found:

    What, exactly, are you going to pray for?

    When you say “I’ll pray for you”, what I hear is “I’m better than you, and you need to conform to my interpretation of a deity”, which is very Christian and arrogant of you.

    Please, don’t let my comment stop you. By all means, pray. Since, according to you, prayer is considered a form of communication to your god, it’s reasonable to assume that you’re asking your god to do something magical, that would make me find your arguments more agreeable. But since your god won’t listen, you’ll be proven wrong.

    On the other hand, praying in this way means that you’re making an honest effort to override my intellectual autonomy because I disagree with you.

    You here imply that I am missing something, that I’m either blind to something that you see, or that my facilities for discovering truth from falsehood have not done a good enough job, and I find it disrespectful.

    ***

    Where did I find this? In another Monicks post (!) here:
    http://monicks.net/2010/09/20/john-316-revisited/#comment-4235

  3. hoverfrog says:

    If they offer to pray for me, I can offer to think for them.

    Not that I do as that would be snarky and rude. ;)

  4. Monick, I’ll pray for you. I shall pray that the Holy Spirit descend upon you and lead you to know the love of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Immaculate heart of Mary and the Holy Mother Church. I shall pray that you are blessed abundantly and that your Angel Guardian shall protect you always.

    Sincerely, ralph marie de largo
    @ProLifePoet Twitter®

  5. Monica, do you think perhaps the reason you are so angry with religious theists in general might be because you are constantly surrounded by insensitive and unintelligent religious people? It seems to me that any Christian who responds to you that they will pray for you is either being condescending or else has absolutely no foresight, let alone insight.

  6. Monicks says:

    Hi Mark,

    I am amazed at your recollection of such an old comment of mine buried in an old post of mine. Also, maybe not your intention, but I’m very flattered. Thank you!

    Yet, as you can see, I am getting more prayers here. Oh well…

  7. Monicks says:

    LULZ! Very funny, Ralph Marie – hilarious! Oh wait, um… you’re kidding, right?

  8. Craig says:

    Maybe this is naive but what’s the harm? If someone says they want to pray for me, fine. It doesn’t help me any but if it makes them feel better how does that harm the world?

  9. Jouni says:

    Thanks for the blogtext, different viewing angles to situations are so important.
    Generally it’s pointless to argue with believers. They all are brainwashed from very early age, that their belief is buried so deep in their minds that the whole picture of their world would collapse without their beliefs.

    But different angles could be useful for them also, so discussion could anyhow benefit them also. In respect for example those honor-killings and other peculiar relics from thousands of years back. Which must be the most difficult thing a man is supposed to do to be good according to their beliefs.

  10. Fitz says:

    It is not pointless to argue with believers. Will you change their minds in one argument? No. But points well made with logic backing them up tend to stick with people. How do I know? I was once one of those believers. Many of the atheists I know were once believers.

  11. Monicks says:

    It’s not that they just say this, it is the way and the timing, it is especially annoying when you have disagreed with them, it is their way to dismiss you. It is a snide insult to you that you are wrong, someone to be pitied, and who will be judged by god accordingly. I never said it harms the world.

    Moreover, my mom prays for me everyday, but she never says to me “I’ll pray for you.”

  12. Monicks says:

    I honestly think it’s not pointless to engage in intelligent debate. Notice that I said ‘intelligent’ debate. Actually, I have become quite good at pinning down who wants to just spew their gibberish for their own contentment, and who is really trying to deliver a message, and also understand what’s being said to them.

    It is important because by debating and forcing them to think and justify their beliefs is how we create cognitive dissonance, that’s the first step towards inquiry.

    Thanks for your comment, Jouni.

  13. Monicks says:

    I know it doesn’t seem like it, but this is a fantastic testimony. Thanks for your comment, Fitz!

  14. Mia says:

    I’d tell them: “Since your god already made me an atheist and I am not going to change anytime soon, I think he’d tell you to STFU. “

  15. Beast says:

    This resonates; I get the i will pray for you even if the discussion isn’t directly about religion because they know I am not religious. I also get the “the lord will provide” saying if i point out what they are saying doesn’t make sense.

  16. Greg says:

    “I’ll pray for you” as you say is second only to “God works in mysterious ways” on the Ultimate Religious Cop-Outs top 10, closely followed by “well I didn’t descend from monkeys”

    I think the proper response should be something just as ridiculous like “save the oxygen, there are cyanotic kids in africa that need it more than your imagination does.” or alternatively “while you’re at it, ask santa if I’ll finally get the bike I asked for when I was 5…”

  17. Joel Finkelstein says:

    Wait, remind me why we should be making fun of this? I can think of 60 different things more worthy of our snobbish disdain than this particular little gem (like gay bashing and anti-choice and anti-evolution)…

  18. hoverfrog says:

    @Joel, so Christians do worse than act dismissively to non-believers. Does that mean that we should just let their disdain go without comment? I think not.

  19. iota says:

    Them: “I’ll pray for you.”

    Me: “Oh, thanks. That’s terrific! I want a Porsche, a red Porsche. And I need it by Tuesday.”

  20. Hmm, my initial impression of you was that you and other Atheists were only looking for answers. This is something I more than understand, but bashing others for no other reason than to bash them is NOT something I understand.

    I haven’t seen one single comment on this post about scientific studies to back up one single comment. Nothing about how when people actually state the words, “I’ll pray for you” that studies and research have shown that simply by saying these words to people who are ill, they actually heal faster if they are sick or have gone through a surgical procedure even if you don’t actually perform the act of prayer for that individual. It’s simply something that gives them hope where they may not have had it before.

    Forrest Gump said it best, “Stupid is as stupid does”. I see it almost daily. Some moron who is actually stupid enough to ask God for a Porsche by Tuesday is just that – an imbecile! Is this REALLY the kind of element you associate yourself with? To want answers is one thing, but to associate yourself with idiots who have zero proof to back up any statement they make is simply NOT TRULY LOOKING FOR ANSWERS OF ANY KIND!

    There is unfortunately no cure for stupid and, personally, I go out of my way to NOT associate myself with it in ANY of its incarnations. Again, my initial take was that you didn’t either and that you were open-minded enough to NOT even desire to put yourself in a position where you associated yourself with anything other than people possessing higher thought processes.

    Bottom line – if someone says they want to pray for you, the human thing to do would be to simply say thank you and leave it at that. You don’t have to believe it. On the other hand you also don’t need to confront them over it. They have done nothing more than state their honest and heartfelt wishes for you. They have done nothing to physically harm you in any way and would probably never even consider doing so. This is not a criminal act and should not be treated as one.

    iota definitely seems to have need of a new and shiny bauble that can be driven really fast! And he/she even seems to be willing to go to great lengths to obtain it if, as an Atheist, they need to ask God for it! (yes, I understand it was sarcasm – so was mine)

    The initial impression I got from you was that you were simply looking for answers and you stated this was the case for Atheists in general. This made me re-think my opinion of Atheists. My initial take was that they were ignorant, didn’t do any research and simply found pleasure in bashing others for not seeing things their way. Sound familiar – kind of Christian maybe?

    Do you REALLY want answers or just a bunch of people who will write on your blog? I have answers. Real answers, not just the ramblings of retards.

    I understand looking for answers. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years. What I don’t understand is treating other people like they are somehow beneath you because of how they believe. In most cases, they are simply trying to be nice and don’t know any better with regard to whatever “political correctness” you find to be popular for the week.

    You believe Christians bash you for not seeing things their way. Typically I couldn’t agree more! It’s human nature to shun those who don’t see things in the same light as the majority. At least half of the Christian religions are precisely like that – shun you if you question them in any way. So I find it funny how, being a believer, I am shunned in the same fashion because I refuse to affiliate myself with any church even though I am a believer in the SAME GOD. Most Christians don’t even know, or for that matter care, that the term Christian was first coined by a small sect of believers living in Palestine! History, science and math – my weapons of choice!

    Anyway, my belief does not stem from blind faith, but rather from science itself.

    I’m more than happy to explain my views at any time for anyone who actually has an open mind and doesn’t just want to be an a-hole. Yup, I said a-hole – there are more than enough of them out there, they usually know who they are and they most definitely deserve the title!

  21. Science For God wrote:

    I haven’t seen one single comment on this post about scientific studies to back up one single comment. Nothing about how when people actually state the words, “I’ll pray for you” that studies and research have shown that simply by saying these words to people who are ill, they actually heal faster if they are sick or have gone through a surgical procedure even if you don’t actually perform the act of prayer for that individual. It’s simply something that gives them hope where they may not have had it before.

    Speaking of science… Harvard Medical School disagrees with you. Some people fare worse when prayed for.
    http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/04.06/05-prayer.html

  22. hoverfrog says:

    Chris already mentioned the evidence that contradicts your assertion so I won’t repeat it.

    Bottom line – if someone says they want to pray for you, the human thing to do would be to simply say thank you and leave it at that.

    Do you know when Christers use this line on us? In every instance of my experience it has been a tacit dismissal of my point of view, another way of telling me to “go forth and multiply”. It has never been delivered in a spirit of compassion or offered as a genuine way to reach out to another person.

    So I find it funny how, being a believer, I am shunned in the same fashion because I refuse to affiliate myself with any church even though I am a believer in the SAME GOD.

    Multiply that attitude by a hundred and you’ll come close to how these same Christians view those who reject their god entirely. Rather than it being half of Christians who act like this as you suggest it is more like 95%. I can count on one hand the open minded, compassionate, non judgemental Christians that I’ve met and still have fingers left to carry a pint glass.

    So when we get snarky because yet another Christian has chosen to “act like an a-hole” then you’ll know why.

  23. Flatline says:

    I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by very few religious people, so I haven’t been told those phrases that much. But when I do, I always ask them about the “divine plan” and why prayer interferes with it. Just for the lulz :P

  24. Jason King says:

    They: “I’ll pray for you.”
    Me: “There’s really no reason.”

    They never get it.

  25. Pingback: Shit Christians Say to Atheists — Let us reply! « Monicks: Unleashed

  26. James Smith says:

    When I hear the smug, condescending “I’ll pray for you” I know that first, they are probably lying and have no intention of doing any such thing. My favorite reply is, “You demand respect for your beliefs but have no problem being disrespectful, offensive, and obnoxious to me. What if I were a Satan-worshpper (although Satan doesn’t exist either) and said, I’ll sacrifice a couple of babies to Lord Satan for you. Would you be offended?”

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