Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Don't have a Prayer....

When you don't believe in god, it becomes all the more obvious how the idea of god is entangled in our daily lives.

"Oh my god," is a common phrase, although it is not often used in the religious sense. And the idea of a curse, "damn it to hell" becomes a bit more absurd when one doesn't acknowledge the existence of a hell. I don't see a conflict between my own use of these terms and my believes, as I know even believers misuse these terms quite frequently. These terms have become like any of the 7 words you can't say on TV, just like saying "shit" doesn't often refer to fecal matter, saying "oh god" doesn't refer to a deity. I think the power these words have to offend & shock people is lessening with time.

A more serious term that comes up frequently in life is "I'll pray for you." This for me is a little harder to work around. I'm not about to tell anyone "I don't need your prayers." People who offer prayers in times of trouble or sadness are often generally sincere, and I know my response of "thanks" is not for their prayers, but their thoughts & kindness. In turn, when others are going through a rough time, I often find myself sending "my best wishes," "the best of luck," or "my thoughts are with you & your family" where the religious would offer prayers. Is this appropriate when talking to people of faith? I can't say "I'll pray for you," because that's just a lie.

When people say they'll pray for me to find god, or pray for my soul, if they are sincere, I also say "thanks," but I'm never certain if that is the appropriate response. I want to be nice if they are offering something to me they feel in their heart could be good for me. On the other hand, if they offer prayers out of anger, or pray that I burn in hell, I might pick a fight. I get the feeling that the loving & accepting Jesus I read about in the Bible isn't the same one those types of people believe in.

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