Even though it is pretty well established that I am an atheist, I still get e-mails for “Prayers” or to join “Prayer Chains.” On social networking sites I also see these stupid things. How ought an atheist respond to such things?

For starters, I have to figure out what these people are hoping to accomplish with their prayer requests. Fundamentalists of course believe that prayers might change God’s divine plan or something, but moderate believers use them simply as a way of showing some sort of support for their friends and family.

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Comment by motrin on February 18, 2010 at 12:08am
your saying no good comes from appeasement? Like WWII. I agree with that reasoning Davis, but i think it comes down to the mentality of each individual atheist. I for one have no problem with avoiding a silly conversation with a bible thumper to a certain degree. If my believes come in to question then surely i will and must get my point across. But if i'm asked to join a prayer group for a relative that has cancer then i would probably find a way out of it.
Comment by benjamin Davis on February 15, 2010 at 5:19pm
Agree equally Mortin, however, at the very least you have dispatched your own personal duty to promote disbelief. The Atheists who does not stand forthright in own views, and then fails to deliver that view,( Just as vociferously and as passionately as the bible thumpers), fails Humanity.

I would very much welcome more discussion on this point.

Kind regards,

Ben
Comment by motrin on February 15, 2010 at 1:32pm
i agree with you 100% Davis. But one thing the situation DangerousTalk made is a touchy one. i find it hard to think that bible thumpers will not be offended
Comment by benjamin Davis on February 14, 2010 at 6:33pm
may I suggest something here guys...

I say respond to them with the truth...that you don't believe in prayer, but your (hypothetical) cousin is in your thoughts, and if there's anything you can do to help you will...this way you do two things:

a) offer your support (which is important) and b) clearly establish your disbelief so that they are confronted by it, but not offended...and in the process of doing so you help to chip away at their own inner sense of what faith is....

You get them asking questions like...."Why doesn't he believe? He is a moral person yet he disbelieves, how can he do that?" "If he is doing that does it relate to me?"

Gentlemen, to me (and hopefully others) it is our responsibility to actively promote disbelief....wherever you have the opportunity. If you can do that with grace, dignity and humility you might just turn someone back around...or at least I hope so.

Hope I added to the discussion constructively. Kind regards,

Ben
Comment by motrin on February 13, 2010 at 9:33pm
hha.. it was a hypothetical apology then..
Comment by Staks Rosch on February 12, 2010 at 1:04pm
Lol, you didn't offend me Motrin because it is a hypothetical. I am trying to have a discussion about this issue and we as atheists ought to address it. I don't know why the link doesn't work for you. I tested it out and t works fine.
Comment by motrin on February 12, 2010 at 12:51pm
oh wel.. i did not know that was the case.. the link you provided does not work for me. but if i have offended you then an apology is in order.

(not so stupid response) ok, you say you have to deal with this online, like prayer e-mails. well if your on this site i imagine you know that prayer is just a placebo. So if you receive an e-mail and don't forward it or respond than whats wrong with that? I would't bring up my atheist beliefs because this a touchy subject i now know.. And if you get a request to join a prayer group for your cousin online then i say join, your their for support and wouldn't have a problem with that. you could get your cousin's personal e-mail if he/she has one. or use snail mail to by pass the prayer e-mails and do it your way
Comment by Staks Rosch on February 12, 2010 at 7:14am
Really? a family member tells you that your 8 year old distant cousin has cancer and asks for prayers and you send them to Satanic rituals? Wow. That's fucking cold Mortrin.
Comment by motrin on February 12, 2010 at 1:11am
send them a copy of the satanic rituals.
Comment by unholyroller on February 11, 2010 at 11:42pm
HAHAHAAAAA....I was going to say "Ignore them", but I think I like Tom's answer better.

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