Frustrated With Explaining Myself to the Delusional: "Praying for You".

Ahh, what a relief it is to be here!
In my everyday life, for the most part, I keep my atheism to myself. Since we all know that, for the most part, voicing a non-belief in God can invite misunderstanding and hatred.

I'm lucky enough that my husband, parents, and only sibling (brother) think that religion is a bunch of B.S..

Recently, due to my daughter's severe illness (uncontrolled seizures), I received an outpouring of well-wishers praying for us. To those people, I always responded graciously by saying, "thank you." Although I found it logically troubling that they were unable to comprehend what in my mind, seemed almost arrogant because, if my kid's epilepsy trajectory was diverted due to a surgery, and another child did not have such luck; it seems to me that circumstances were on our side, i.e., having insurance, and having the best neuro team. Not God.

Why is that so hard to understand?

After all, who would be so bold to claim that God decided to answer one child's prayers and not the other?
(Having come in contact with lots of M.D.'s----I was astounded at how many of them are quick to express their belief in the super-natural. To my chagrin, a Dr. prayed for us while she was in the O.R.!)

Regardless, I chalked it up to people being kind, not knowing what else to say, etc...And for the most part, was not at all offended by prayer offerings, except when my MIL sent me an email telling me to "put it in God's hands." That p*ssed me off, because I have been her DIL for 14 years and have never brought up God with her, knowing that she believes and I don't....what would be the point? I found it to be lazy of her to tell me to "put it in God's hands", because she knew very well how much effort was involved in getting her granddaughter treated.

Why is it that the reality-based folks get demonized?

Also, when I do mention that I do not believe in God, and people jump on me....and ask, "What made you an atheist?" ( I answer back, "what made you NOT believe in unicorns?" )

Thanks.

Tags: believe, doctors, god, in, in-laws, prayers, who

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First let me say I hope your child recovers well and soon....if she hasn't already, and the unicorn answer was classic! I must use it some time. In this part of the world people offering to pray for you is almost de rigour. I just say "Thank you" and go about my business as it's not worth the hassle. There are several things I'm thinking, but don't say out loud.

Putting everything in god's hands is so much better than stepping up and assuming responsibility. That way, when things go to shit it must be god's mysterious ultimate plan for his own purposes that we can't possibly understand........ blah blah blah. Not responsible....no guilt....and you didn't have to lift a finger.....it was all placed in god's hands. Must be a helluva great way to live...

And it always amazes me when physicians subscribe to the superstition....but, I learned a long time ago that being smart didn't necessarily mean a person had good sense.
I hope your daughter is OK now. Imagine the parents who would rather "leave it in god's hands" and avoid medical care. It's child abuse pure and simple.

I read this somewhere the other day - Two hands working is more productive than a million clasped hands praying.
I think you're correct in the assumption that the prayers offered to you and your child were honestly kind, if not altogether misguided attempts at solace. At the same time I believe you were justified in graciously accepting their offering while being bemused by their incredulity.
It's not for me to say with any certainty what intentions lay behind your "well-wishers" prayers. I hold that their sincerity was genuine but the delivery process for which they offered their good intentions was inappropriate.
I hope your child overcomes this medical condition well and quickly.
Thanks for your post
The "MIL" thing's a little disturbing, though. Especially if she was aware of your disbelief. Some people can't help but jab you when you're down and even subconsciously burying the tip of their incomprehensible belief system into your heart (and at times, being honestly unaware that they've even done it!). I think due to the proximity your mother-in-law probably claims to the future of you child's well being, I suppose it's time for a conversation. Don't be afraid to assert your feelings and make others aware of your stance. I mean it may sound selfish but well wishing is supposed to allay your fears and provide you with a sense of comforting feelings. Who'd feel secure when someone says "May Thor's Hammer, Mjolnir, guide your thoughts and actions".
Thank you all for the thoughtful response. My daughter has been doing very well. She had a two-phased brain surgery (132 electrodes were implanted in and around the motor-cortex so the neur team could locate seizure focus and map her brain.)----- in April.

Pretty neat what those who dedicate their lives to science are capable of, huh?

William,
Thanks for also being annoyed with the MIL! Why she gets a free pass while I'm the boogie-man is unfair. (What a relief it is to be among rational people!) And your right, well-wishing is supposed to be just that. Not, annoyance-causing.

My 3 yr. old daughter had the best neurologist in the world. He was never concerned about just getting paid because 95% of his efforts were done over the phone. He gave me his personal cell phone #, and that is how he adjusted her medicines, (sometimes daily). I'm so grateful, and not to God. Sheesh!

A little off topic, but here are some facts.
1). One in 30 people will have a seizure sometime in their life.

2). When two anti-seizure drugs fail the chance of a third working is around 5%.(it goes down
exponentially, from there)

3). 30% of all diagnosed with epilepsy, (which is defined as more than one seizure) will not be
helped by any medicine.


4). For those who are good surgical candidates, (i.e. localization of seizure focus in one
hemisphere.) The outcome is very good, upwards of 50% being cured.

5). In the U.S. about 100,000 are good candidates for the surgery, but only 3,000 will have it.

*********

When my husband and I looked at the facts, it was clear what the logical, and only decision was.

I am sure that out of the 100,000 cases, many did not have the surgery for a variety of reasons; insurance, or lack there of, and because it is the brain. And people are frightened of that.

But, when making the decision for my child, it was only fair to make such a choice informed by reason.

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