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Why do people who do not belive in G-d care if I pray for them ?

I have had atheist ask me to not pray for them . I don't understand this. If G-d is not real then my prayers are nothing .

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Asked by hadassah1582 at 1:01 AM on Jan. 10, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 9 (287 Credits)
Answers (32)
  • I don't give two figs if someone prays for me. I just consider them to be putting positive thoughts out there. What annoys me is when they think they need to pray for my soul. *big ass eyeroll*

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 8:39 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • If you want to pray for an atheist that's fine. It really depends on the situation, but based off their request, I'd say it was one of those "you need to see the light I'll pray for you." kind of situations. In which case it comes off as rude. You do not get extra brownie points for announcing your intentions to pray for their soul, so don't. I would hope since a request was made that you would honor it out of respect. A witch once told me, "I can send my well wishes and positive energy, but if a person is not willing to receive them, they don't do any good." Same thing with prayer. I don't think G-d would interfere in someone's free will on your behalf unless that person was willing to be open to it. Thus your prayer is wasted time and energy. I'd rather you put it to better use.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 8:56 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Where is the prayer coming from? Is it coming from a place of concern and love (and praying for a person to "see the light" or be saved does not fit here) ... or is it coming from a place of moral superiority (which is where that "see the light" and "be saved" prayer fits).

    The Atheists I know aren't bothered by prayers that are for sickness and hard times - they see it as well thoughts. But others prayers are often come across as self serving by the one who does the prayer.

    Also, is an Atheist asking for you not to pray for them any different than a Christian (just an example) asking that non-Christians do not think well thoughts, or light a candle, or whatnot when they have sickness or hard times?

    Answer by saphire_eyes802 at 8:59 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • The same reason why you wouldn't want someone casting spells on your behalf.

    Answer by tnm786 at 9:03 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • As you can see from the replies so far, not everyone is offended.  Some are, and with good reason.  Some don't really care what you do with your time.

    What I get from "I'll pray for you" is:  I can't (or won't) do anything to help you in a real sense, so I'll put out happy thoughts for you and hope for a positive change.  There's the saying that two hands working are better than a thousand hands clasped in prayer.

    I also like the point made on the first page asking how you'd respond if a Satanist offered to pray to Satan on your behalf.

    As for me, it's your time to do with as you please.  Prayers do nothing for me - nothing harmful, and nothing positive, so essentially, the prayer is for your benefit, not mine.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 9:06 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Also, I put forth a challenge to a Christian on another debate page a while ago.  I told her that she's welcome to pray for me.  In fact, I asked her to have everyone she knows pray for me to know their god and believe in him (make sure that the prayer is a combined effort toward the same goal - the experiment would be meaningless if everyone prayed for something different), and she could even get a prayer chain started with other churches - get thousands of people to pray for me, if she could.  If her god is real, and if prayer is truly effective, then something would happen, right?  I'd "see the light" and whatever changes needed to happen to help me believe would come about.  That's what the Bible promises, right?  Nothing has happened so far.  Maybe she hasn't started praying for me yet.  Why don't you, OP?


    Answer by jsbenkert at 9:17 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • It would depend on why you wanted to, but normally it wouldn't bother me since most people don't know my beliefs anyway.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 9:53 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • You know I'm usually with the "it's harmful and done out of concern or love, but upon further reflection the whole "I'll pray for you" following talk of illness, or hardships just comes off as pity. Unless someone specifically asks for well-wishes or prayers, positive, thoughts or whathaveyou, it's rather rude to offer them even if you do mean well.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:11 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Sorry that should have read "Harmless if done out of love or concern" but the point still remains. I fsomeone asks you not to pray for them, don't. It comes off as rude and you having nothing more than pity for them instead of being a heartfelt gesture.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:20 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • It's just annoying when someone says that. Go pray if you want to, I don't need to know about it. I don't push my beliefs on you, I don't want to hear about yours.

    Answer by SuperrMommyy at 10:53 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

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