I will pray for you
To all of you people who consider yourselves “decent Christians/Muslims/Jehovah’s Witnesses/Fill-in-the-Blank”, of all the demented things you can say in any social situation, “I will pray for you” is certainly just about the goofiest.
Well, no, I take that back, “Have you accepted Jesus/Vishnu/Allah as your personal savior” is probably goofier, except it veers any polite conversation quite suddenly into oncoming traffic, so to speak, so pretty much our terror masks the goofy. It’s not that you personally are terrifying, there’s just this long historical precedent of verbal conversion attempts being followed by sword/fire/torture that unsettles us.
Back to “I will pray for you.” I know that you think you’re trying to help. You hear someone is going through some kind of horrible bout with cancer, or has lost their job, or their kid has fallen out of a tree and broken both legs, or they’re about to be evicted from their home, or perhaps they have a case of rockin’ pneumonia/boogie-woogie flu and you say “I will pray for you.”
Please take a moment and just reflect on how fucking asinine this statement is. Here’s a person going through a cosmic shit storm of some kind, and you’re basically saying, “I won’t lift a finger to help you in any real sense, but I will petition my deity of choice to bend the rules of the natural universe in your favor.”
Frankly, I’m not sure if people who say this are trolling or just demented. If prayer worked to heal the sick, don’t you think the hospitals would be using it to squeeze out even more profit from Medicare? My other thought is, well if prayer is so grand, why don’t you pray away all your own troubles then? As the poet said, “Wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up first….”
Of course, responding this way to such a thoughtful statement just makes me the “angry atheist.” I suppose it is my cross to bear.