I'm not sure if my niece knows about my lack of belief, and i don't want to be rude to her. She tragically lost her husband, BUT I wish she would stop sending me this stuff. She knows i'm looking for a house, and the banks are tight, etc. The problem i have is that if anything happens that she prays for will be proof of God (in her eyes). She was trying to be nice, and i appreciate the sentiment, but if i happen to get a house, it won't be because of a prayer, god, etc. Anyway, here's what she sent me >>>>>>>>
You are probably right to assume that she has the best intentions, and although you might believe her to be misguided it is not easy to explain this in a way that is not offensive.
You could tell her that although you do not believe in a god, that you do realize that it is love and kindness that she is sharing with you and that you appreciate her for it.
You could also point her to Matthew 6 (link), where it is clearly said that prayer should be a private manner, but this might be considered a bit rude.
It's a difficult thing to balance telling people the truth, and attempting to be nice and inoffensive, good luck!
I reported my mom as spam and blocked her emails entirely because of the volume of cr@p I was getting in my box. Now I talk to her on the phone on occasion. Dialogue is so much better than monologue. You'll do what ever you think is right. Every situation is different. I just wrote this so you wouldn't feel so bad about taking the less communicative route, if that is what you choose later. ;)
Rob nailed it. It is difficult for the person who is sending these things to you to learn it's not appreciated without being offended. They're doing something they consider nice, and that they firmly believe in. Depending on your relationship with her (and her parents and the rest of the family), you might want to start slow with something like, "I don't do 'chain' emails, but thanks for the thought." (It did say pass it along to 12 people). Followed up, later on, with something like, "I appreciate the thoughts, but I have my own beliefs, and not everyone's are necessarily the same as yours, or anyone else's." And slowly work your way into letting her know the truth. Easing her down is probably better than dropping the hammer.
I have just been confronted with a similar situation. I was recently outed to my family. Most probably suspected it, but a few die-hards are now sending me religious crap. I considered my alternatives, and decided to take the high road and just drop such stuff right into the trash. I just consider it more support for the post office:)
I agree with Rob that you should be honest with her that you don't believe in a deity, but that you realize she intends to be kind and good to you and that you appreciate her for that. This would be a great way to let her know your beliefs without hurting her in any way.
"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."
200,000 Haitian Christians who died in the 2010 earthquake may disagree (for example).
i would also agree that ignoring these emails is the best approach. i get stuff like this from my mother, and while we have been having some good discussions about religion and my Atheistic beliefs, the majority of these emails i quietly delete.
I don't even open the emails that have the religious/spam vibe from my aunt. The delete button is my friend. I have a feeling since she has heard I am an Atheist she now goes out of her way to send me these emails. I have found it easier to ignore the junk since christians can be so overly sensitive about their religion and there need to spread the "word." Especially if you are aware she is fragile, there is no need to rock the boat.
So far, i'm ignoring her, but saying this has crossed my mind > "PLEASE STOP SENDING ME
THIS CRAP.. I DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD!" I think she may be bipolar, because she's either really jazzed, or really down. It makes me think about how many people are suffering because they are trying to make sense of religion.
keep ignore her until she gives up