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Topic: Q for Non-Christians?

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Subject: Q for Non-Christians?
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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OK, stepping out on a limb here....First I want to preface my question with a statement!  Yes, I am a Christian and I believe in God and His soon second coming...I understand you don't believe like I do and I can accept that but, it is my hope that you will one day believe as I do...so, I'm here if you ever have a question. 

Now my question is this do you find it offensive/rude/demeaning or whatever for me to pray that you will one day believe in my God?

Do you pray to your higher power for other people to believe as you do?

 

These questions are asked in sincerity and wanting to dialogue, no for preaching or trying to convert anyone to anything...I'm trying to understand you better!!

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
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I don't pray for other people to believe as I do, because I don't believe that my path is the only right one. It makes me feel kind of strange to know there are people praying for me to change my beliefs, but it doesn't offend me - I know Christians believe that Christianity is the only way, so it makes sense that Christians would want non-Christians to convert.

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I don't find it rude as long as you're not constantly telling me about it.  Prayer is not useful in my opinion for anything but making the pray-er feel better & more in control, so if it helps you that's great, it's not doing me any damage.

I don't pray to a higher power that Christians or any religious people will one day realize the irrationality of most of their beliefs.  I rely on my ability to reason and hope that other rational people will reach rational conclusions about the existence or absence of any supernatural power through reason.  It worries me when people talk about hoping that the second coming will be soon or that the world will end soon because that seems like it leads to destructive behavior.  To me that kind of 'this world doesn't count' thinking is what leads to suicide bombers and people who don't think they need to protect the earth's resources.  I know most religions believe that the world will end one day, but I get frustrated when people look forward to that day.  If you believe God made this world for you, why would you want that wonderful creation destroyed?  Some people I've spoken to seem to want it just to validate their beliefs, so that all us non-believers can get our comeuppance.  I know that not everyone who believes in god thinks like that, but a worrying number seem to.

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,647
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Honestly, what you do with your personal prayer time is, in my opinion, private and not of my concern.  If it makes you feel better to pray for me and others like me, why would I object?  I don't think it will make any difference of course, but that's neither here nor there.  Now, if you feel the need to tell me that you are praying for me because of my lack of religion, I will find that rude and condescending.  You know that it's not going to give me positive feelings to tell me that you ultimately think my life is wrong, so to do so would just be to prove a point.  And if a Christian honestly believes in the power of prayer, then why would they need to tell a non-believer that they were praying for them anyway?  Couldn't they count on God to do the work for them? 

So in a nutshell, I have a pray but don't tell policy.  At least if you're praying about that.

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Not at all.  When someone says "I'm praying for you" there's a part of my mind that goes "how odd" but I'm not offended or upset by it.

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 997
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I do find it offensive, but I certainly don't waste my time thinking about it.  But consider this -  to pray for someone to become part of your religion naturally assumes that their own religion or beliefs must be inferior to yours, which yes, is obnoxious. 

I also think that praying for anyone's conversion shows an appalling lack of faith in your own God.  Don't Christians believe that their God is infallible?  Then obviously he made many different religions for a reason, so why on earth would you assume that you have to "correct" that by converting others?

It would never occur to me to try someone's religion, because it's very obvious in my faith and in Torah that there are many different gods, and many different paths.  The important thing isn't what anyone believes, it's how they behave.  And you certainly don't need religion for that.

Deed, not creed.

 

 

ETA because I can't type!



Last Edited on: 5/11/08 5:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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"But consider this -  to pray for someone to become part of your religion naturally assumes that their own religion or beliefs must be inferior to yours, which yes, is obnoxious. "

Perhaps in my wording I wasn't clear...I don't pray for people to become part of my specific religion...I pray for them to have a relationship with God.  I don't pray because I think I have something better than what you have, I pray because I have found something so amazing wonderful I want everyone to have some of it...

As far as my specific religion, well on that I don't agree with probably about 90% of God-fearing Christians...well on certain points we disagree.

"I also think that praying for anyone's conversion shows an appalling lack of faith in your own God.  Don't Christians believe that their God is infallible?  Then obviously he made many different religions for a reason,"

Ok, as I respond to this I'll probably get crucified by other Christians but, the OP was for non-Christians so, I'd like to keep it that way but, to address the above comment.  I do believe that God is infallible but, I do not believe that He made all these different religions...granted He has allowed them to be but, that was not His original design.  He has allowed mankind to have freedom of choice and individual thought and that has allowed for much differing of opinion in regards to spiritual matters.  Every religion thinks that they have the one and only true/complete message that will save but, I do not believe this to be true...I think some have more of the true/complete message than others though but, that is an entirely different thread all together. 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Now my question is this do you find it offensive/rude/demeaning or whatever for me to pray that you will one day believe in my God?

No - you have the right and freedom to choose to do as you wish.

Do you pray to your higher power for other people to believe as you do?

Nope - like I said before, that would be the last thing a UU would do.

 

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Do you pray to your higher power for other people to believe as you do?

Sorry, I missed this question earlier.  No I don't.  I'm a Taoist, and to not believe in the Tao is also the Tao.  There's no way out.  :)

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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It doesn't bother me if people say they will pray for me.  They can pray for me to believe their way if they want.  Usually, when someone says "I'll pray for you" I want to tell them, "Don't waste your breath or your time" but I don't because that would be rude.  It makes the person praying feel good and that's ok with me.  Just don't pester me with trying to convert me.  Then I would take offense.

My husband had knee surgery last November and our neighbor said she would pray for him.  He smiled and said thank you, even though he's a non-believer like me.  She believes in prayer and that's important for her.

 

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 997
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Perhaps in my wording I wasn't clear...I don't pray for people to become part of my specific religion...I pray for them to have a relationship with God.

But with your God, as you said in your OP.  Your God is perfect for you, but who are you (generic) to assume that your God is better than mine, or anyone elses?   Or if you just want to share the wonderfulness, rest assured that most of us are perfectly happy with our own Gods.

Not that we ever would, but wouldn't you find it a wee bit condenscending if you thought that Jews were praying for all Christians to realize the error of their ways and convert to our God?  Or if Muslims were praying for you to find the true God in Allah, instead of your own?

If you want to pray for everyone else to be as happy and fulfilled as you are, that's nice.  Just don't presume that they can only find that through the same path you took.  Everyone has their own way, their own Tao.  There's no reason to concern ourselves with the state of anyone else's faith, only their actions.

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 2,461
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Usually, when someone says "I'll pray for you" I want to tell them, "Don't waste your breath or your time" but I don't because that would be rude.  It makes the person praying feel good and that's ok with me.  Just don't pester me with trying to convert me.  Then I would take offense.

 

I feel the same way... only difference is, many people who say that to me know I am not religious.  And a few have said it condescendingly.  When asked where I go to church I say "nowhere".  After that I normally get the invite and after turning them down and telling them I am atheist I'll get a rude comment 1 out of 4 times (estimated). 

This will sound rude but, I know some people I believe to be TRUE Christians and I know a  LOT of what I call POSER Christians. 

T. -
Date Posted: 5/12/2008 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 9,989
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Prayer is for the person DOING the praying, not the person being prayed for.....if it gives someone peace  to pray for me, go for it.  I don't care one way or the other. 

I have never, nor would I ever pray for someone to change their belief system.  Even when I was a Xtian I didn't pray for people to change their beliefs.

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 2:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2005
Posts: 2,317
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Do you find it offensive/rude/demeaning or whatever for me to pray that you will one day believe in my God?

If someone simply does so out of their honest feelings of kindness, no, it doesn't offend me at all.  If they tell me they're doing so kindly, calmly, privately and quietly, and only once, I probably would not find it offensive -- though I do think it's a bit perplexing, I wouldn't be angry about it.  If they make a big obnoxious deal about it, then I would try not to, but I would probably find it rude, though even more than that I would find it sad.  

Do you pray to your higher power for other people to believe as you do?

No, I'm a burgeoning Buddhist, and so the closest I would come to that is a generic hope that everyone finds whatever path to serenity works for them if they haven't already, but deciding whether they have found what they were looking for is entirely up to them, not me.

In a separate post, you said-- Every religion thinks that they have the one and only true/complete message that will save

Actually, that is not true of Buddhism.  One of the things that made me consider it seriously is that it describes itself as "a" path, not "the" path.  Not offended at the assumption, just an honest FYI. 

BTW -- thank you for asking.  I believe you are trying to make a genuine connection and are really trying to listen, and I wanted to acknowledge it and tell you I appreciate it.

 

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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Jeanne said, "Not that we ever would, but wouldn't you find it a wee bit condenscending if you thought that Jews were praying for all Christians to realize the error of their ways and convert to our God?  Or if Muslims were praying for you to find the true God in Allah, instead of your own?"

Actually Jeanne, no I wouldn't find it uncomfortable or condescending to know that Jews were praying for me because after talking with my Jewish friends I believe we worship the same God and as far as Muslims that wouldn't bother me at all either, I don't know why!   (ETA:  perhaps because I have people that I work with that are Muslims so, I feel comfortable with them)

Now, and please anyone that believes in this please don't take offense...but, I would be uncomfortable with someone praying to the devil about me...I wouldn't be offended but, I would be uncomfortable.

If someone takes the time to pray for me specifically then that means they have to have a genuine love for me as a person and they must care about the things that impact my life.



Last Edited on: 5/12/08 7:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/13/2008 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 462
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Now my question is this do you find it offensive/rude/demeaning or whatever for me to pray that you will one day believe in my God?

I don't concern myself with what other people pray about...It is a private thing and none of my business...If someone tells me they are going to pray that I will some day see things their way..I would probably roll my eyes and tell them to have fun...and then walk away....

 

Do you pray to your higher power for other people to believe as you do?

No. I believe all paths go to the same place, and that the more important thing is how you walk your path (rather than which path you choose).  Plus, it isn't any of my business what other people believe...

T. -
Date Posted: 5/13/2008 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 9,989
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Oh Crap, Christy....I was talking to Satan the other day and mentioned your name.  Hope that doesn't make you feel TOO uncomfortable.  He says "Hidy!"

Date Posted: 5/13/2008 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Well Christy you have admited that it would make you uncomfomfortable for a Satanist to pray that you become a member of their religion. Shoe --> other foot.

Now how do you think it makes others feel when a christian does the same? I personally dont mind as long as its not a malicious type of thing. For example (you can go back and read I posted about this) my cousin told me she would pray for me to learn to think the right way (her way) meaning being a christian republican. That was offensive. It is offensive to me that others feel they have the only right way of thinking and that since my way of thinking isnt the same it is wrong.

When someone of any faith says they will pray for my well being that is a totally different thing. I cant fault someone for doing what they know to do to try to help me feel better.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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It does bother me, to an extent. To preface, I don't care, nor is it any of my business what anyone choses to pray about. However, In my experience, when people who know I do not believe in god say they are going to pray for me it has been in a condescending manner. "Oh, I'm going to pray that you get out of this horrible phase"  I don't appreciate being condescended to.

I am notbothered in the least if someone says to me they'll pray for me because they know something major is going on  in my life or I am ill etc.  But praying that I'll eventually come around to the "true" way? Incredibly irritating.



Last Edited on: 5/14/08 1:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/14/2008 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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"Well Christy you have admited that it would make you uncomfomfortable for a Satanist to pray that you become a member of their religion. Shoe --> other foot.

Now how do you think it makes others feel when a christian does the same? I personally dont mind as long as its not a malicious type of thing."

Clarification:  I do not pray that someone become a member of my religion...I pray that they develope a relationship with God...major difference.

Now as to why having a Satanist pray for me makes me uncomfortable, the best way I can explain this without offending one I hope is by sharing an experience I had with a family of Satanists.  I am a nurse and this day I was working in the Intensive Care Unit and my patient was a man that was severely ill...in fact we had to resusitate him a couple times.  It was about midmorning and the man was still hanging on by a thread, we were doing everything possible to keep him alive. Well, his family came in at visiting time and they spent time with their sick family member and when visiting time was up they left.  Shortly thereafter the department director came to me and ask me or rather told me she needed to have someone else exchange patients with me because the family had come to her and said..."that nurse that is taking care of our family member cannot do so any longer, as long as she is in that room Satan and his angels cannot be there to heal our family member."  When the director asked them why this was they said, "it is obvious she is a Christian, when she is in the room Jesus is present and Satan cannot be in the same room with Him." 

This experience has left me very uncomfortable with the thought that a Satanist would pray for me...

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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I'm...

not....

gee.  I'm really not getting your point there, Christy.  I understand what you are saying, but again put yourself in their position.  What if it were your loved one, being taken care of by a nurse who practiced Satanism? 

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 997
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Clarification:  I do not pray that someone become a member of my religion...I pray that they develope a relationship with God...major difference.

Not neccessarily different Christy, as not all religions pray to the same god.  

As others have said, I have no problem with someone praying for my health or well-being to whatever god they choose.  But that's very different than praying that I'll find a different spiritual or religious path, which - while harmless in that it's ineffectual - is still rude and condescending.

But most of all, it's been my experience that many religious Christians use both prayer and  their Bible as a weapon against others.   I can't tell you how often I've heard "I'll pray for you," when it clearly meant  "you're wrong (or bad) and I'll pray that you become like me."  And I'm sorry to single out one religion, but I have never heard that from any Jew or Muslim or pagen.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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I can't tell you how often I've heard "I'll pray for you," when it clearly meant  "you're wrong (or bad) and I'll pray that you become like me." 

OMG Jeanne, you must know my MIL!! :P   

The minister at my church (yes, I attend church although it doesn't really suit my needs....long, convoluted story) always says when praying for someone "Please heal them in the way they need it most."    I think that's awesome.  It doesn't presume what is best for the person.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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As Beth pointed out Christy your story really doesnt fit here. Its again shoe on the other foot. And just because you had an awkward situation with THOSE Satanists doesnt mean that ALL Satanists are like that. I see Christians all the time (not you christians in general) saying they hate it when nonbelievers lump them all in one pile. Well thats what your doing with the Satanists just because you had a bad experience with a few of them. The small group of bad or awkward people do not speak for the whole of any group.

Also saying that you pray for people to have a relationship with god if they are satanists, agnostic, jewish, whatever is a condescending notion. By praying that they have a relationship with god you are (possibly inadvertantly) praying that they see things your way. Not everyone needs a personal relationship with a god you believe in. Its a big world with a lot of different types of people in it. There is no one right way no matter what religion says its so.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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I didn't know that Satanists practiced intercessionary prayer.

The ones I have known - yeah, I've known a few - were far too selfish to have asked Satan for any favors except for themselves. They really did think that the world - the universe - the cosmos - revolved around them and them alone, and that the sole purpose of anyone else's existance was only to satisfy their needs. Objectivism taken, I suppose, to its logical conclusion. I am astonished, truly. I'm not doubting your word, Christy, just astonished.

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